Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marooned by Sharon Maria Bidwell

Marooned by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (89 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When he's marooned on a strange planet, cosmonaut Vernon Attwater thinks his only problem is one of possibly ending up as reptile poo -- especially when the reptile chasing him looks like something out of an old science fiction movie. Little does he know that the alien who saves his life is about to complicate matters in ways he never imagined… ways that make him sigh, pant, groan and gasp with pleasure. Even so, surely he can control his own yearnings, especially when he's never previously felt such desires, being that the alien may look androgynous but is decidedly male in every way that matters.

Cresszna seems to have other ideas and is rather persistent. It doesn't help that Vern knows he's sending out mixed messages. He keeps saying no even as his body is saying yes, and feels rather shocked by the overwhelming sense of loss when it seems Cresszna is prepared to accept his rejection.

There's no way home and Cresszna is the only intelligent humanoid life-form he's run into. Would life, and sex, with the alien truly be so bad, especially when Vern's experiencing sensations he didn't know he was capable of feeling. Trouble is, there appears to be a price to pay if he wants to be Cresszna's mate -- one that's even more amazing than the strange things he's so far encountered on the planet.

How can a crash landing lead to love in a place where no one can hear you scream, whether from loneliness or fear, and huge reptilian creatures want to eat you? It’s a rocky road fraught with frustration and an amazing exploration into the resiliency of the human condition.

From the sounds of it, Vern, the hero, is a pretty average guy. He comes from a family of achievers and is the only one who sort of fumbles through life. His one big step into proving himself and making his family proud proves to be his last. He discovers a worm hole in space and his life as he knew it is over. Although it does takes awhile for it to finally sink in. Vern has to come to terms with a whole new outlook on life and that internal journey is one of the main conflicts in the story. And it’s huge.

Cresszna is the alien that befriends Vern on the strange planet. Both males are stranded there and as they are the only humanoids around, they end up relying on each other for survival. Staying alive isn’t just about the body however, and the author did a great job of exploring this conundrum; it’s about keeping one’s mind, heart and soul healthy and vibrant as well. Cressna’s quick acceptance of Vern was refuted and rebuffed by Vern for most of the story and I can’t blame Vern. Society and mores on Earth are very clear but what about on other planets and cultures. How might they differ and how might they be expressed? Ms. Bidwell wrote a wonderful story and she did it all from Vern’s point of view. I could only discern Cresszna’s feelings and wants by what Vern himself told me as he discovered every fascinating, scary and confusingly sensual aspect of living with Cresszna.

The gradual seduction was quite hot and yet tender. At times I felt very sad for Cresszna because he really was a sweet character yet he wasn’t a pushover. He knew what he wanted and practically laid siege to Vern’s heart but it took awhile for Vern to figure that out. There is quite a bit of internal angst on Vern’s part because he wants these feelings that he’s starting to have but he feels guilty too. And guilt is a great motivator for all kinds of drama and it is no less so here in Marooned. My only down note is I think the angst slowed down the tale at one point a little too much, but I never lost interest in the story so that’s a good thing.

Marooned is a fascinating sci-fi fantasy romance between a human man and an alien being that might or might not be male. The visual descriptions of the land and its flora and fauna were intriguing and well done and some of the other inhabitants were fun. The best thing I liked about this story is how love really can occur anywhere and with anyone. One of my favorite movies is Enemy Mine and this book reminded me of that wonderful story, but on a deeper and more sensual level then the movie ever dared go. I was entertained and captivated by this wonderful storyline and I thank Ms. Bidwell for an awesome reading experience.

Spurred On by Jenna Howard

Spurred On by Jenna Howard
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (146 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Rosemary

He wears the spurs, but she's not afraid to use them.

Country singer and secret Domme Jessa Brody is home to perform at the Calgary Stampede and to brainstorm some new songs for her next album. Sexy bronc rider Luke O'Connor is once again the perfect inspiration for her songs and naughty dreams. Strong, brave and handsome, he's man enough to submit to her wildest desires. But can she handle the responsibilities that go hand in hand with being a good Domme, or will she lose herself—and Luke—when Spurred On?

Spurred On is blazing hot right out of the chute as Jessa Brody and Luke O’Connor’s simmering passion explodes at a local rodeo. But is the sexy cowboy ready to submit to his childhood friend?

A misunderstanding following their erotic encounter drives Jessa and Brody apart for five years. Jessa’s return to her family ranch coincides with Luke’s yearly visit, and the two discover their passion burns hotter than ever. Luke embraces his submissive desires with Mistress Jenna, but trouble arises when Jenna’s country music world collides with her quiet stay in her hometown.

Spurred On is an engaging and passionate read. Jessa and Luke are three dimensional characters with a long standing friendship that provides a great deal of depth and realism to the story. Jenna Howard’s vivid portrayal of Jessa’s family ranch brings it vibrantly to life. Jessa’s parents add a delightful touch of romance, and her interactions with them offers additional insight into her character.

Spurred On by Jenna Howard is a unique BDSM novel since Jessa is the Domme and Luke is the submissive. It is an interesting dynamic and makes for a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend all the books in the Cowboy Kink series.

Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart

Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (67 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Scott got into a fair amount of trouble as a teenager, but now he’s grown and runs a respectable auto body shop. Unfortunately, the sheriff of his town has it out for him, no matter how much he’s cleaned up his act. When he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, no one is more surprised than he is when straitlaced Michaela Miller provides him with an alibi. An alibi that’s a complete lie. Determined to find out why his sexy next-door neighbor helped him out, he puts himself in danger of losing something he’d never considered. His heart.

What do you when the hunky guy next door is being harassed by the town sheriff? You take the opportunity to get real neighborly of course!

That’s exactly what Michaela Miller did for ex-Marine and local body shop owner, Scott O’Callaghan. A comment that was meant to simply put the rude behaving sheriff in his place opens the door for Michaela and Scott to get to know one another better and, BOY HOWDY, do they take advantage of it!!

Ms. Stuart has penned a terrific little novella that is full of heart and heat. Sometimes you read a book and it just makes you smile when the hero and heroine are so right for each other and the chemistry just clicks. One of the elements that immediately caught my attention was the easy dialogue. The conversations sounded real. Often times an author gets too grammatically correct and the dialogue comes off stiff and forced. Ms. Stuart’s writing style is smooth and genuine.

You get a small glimpse at the family that Michaela was brought up in and can see how the strength of that family bond has made her very independent and self-assured. Those personality traits come through pretty clear when she confronts the sheriff and when she lets Scott know without a doubt that she is interested in more than just friendship.

Likewise, Scott wasn’t brought up with quite the same strong family unit that Michaela experienced. He is slow to trust and is completely caught off guard when she stands up for him to the sheriff. He does have a bit of an alpha streak when it comes to Michaela and doesn’t hesitate to take control when they finally give in to the mutual attraction.

For such a short story, Ms. Stuart packs in some steamy as well as heart-warming scenes. If you are looking for a quick little diversion you should seriously consider picking up a copy of Tempting Alibi. This was my first introduction to Ms. Stuart's work but it certainly won’t be my last.

Second Chance Bite by Joyee Flynn

Second Chance Bite by Joyee Flynn
(Wolf Harem, book 1)
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (168 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Toys, Spanking, Violence
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Spencer Fallon never knew werewolves existed until he was attacked by one, making him a werewolf. For years, he lives lonely life until he sees a gorgeous man limping in front of him one day.

Ryder Jenkins' life is a disaster. Kicked out of his house at sixteen when he came out to his parents, Ryder caught a ride to New York. With no ID, birth certificate, and being underage, he had very limited options. When a guy offers him a place to stay, Ryder thinks has luck has changed... he couldn't have been more wrong.

Six years later, Ryder's knight in shining armor shows up in the form of a sexy hot werewolf. Can Ryder trust another stranger promising him a better life? Or is the devil he knows better?

Change can definitely be a good thing, especially for the characters in this story when each character is in such a desperate need for change.

This story is all about a series of unexpected events. From beginning to end it seemed as if the characters in this story are on a roller coaster ride with no ending. Each character is unhappy in their lives. So they all cling to one another for a semblance of happiness. This really allowed their relationship to develop into something beautiful and also displayed how generous and caring these characters are.

Spencer is definitely the strongest of all the characters within this story including Diego, the werewolf who originally changed him. He protects those in need no matter what the cost to himself. This type of behavior really required an inner strength that many people do not have these days. I say he is stronger than Diego because he also sticks to his responsibilities to others and does anything to see them through. When he sees how broken Ryder is he cannot do anything else but help the younger man. The bonus is that Ryder is the sexiest thing on two feet.

I absolutely love the relationship development in this story I think it is because you know everyone came into the relationship with a open and willing heart. Spencer, Ryder and eventually Lucas all make it clear to one another that they only want what the other does and lucky for them they all want each other. These men constantly ask each other what they want and will provide what each other need no matter what. This is what let me know that the relationship was genuine.

One thing that I also feel needs to be mentioned is the creative imagery the author uses when describing the werewolf form of these men. I do not remember reading a story that allowed me to picture the werewolves so vividly. I knew exactly what the authors werewolves looked like because I felt as if they were standing right in front of me.

This story did include a few minor typos. I also have marked it a forced seduction because in the beginning, as the blurb states, Spencer is attacked. It is clear by each man's personality they would never forced themselves onto someone else so it in no way reflects the relationship between Spencer, Ryder and Lucas. There is also sex that involves one of the participants in werewolf form. The werewolf form is not that of an animal but something in between. The author also leaves this story with a cliffhanger which is great for author because it guarantees I will read the next book, but just seems cruel to me the reader because I want to know what happens next now.

This is a great story for someone who enjoys good shifter stories with a strong love plot.

Tartan Mate by Selena Illyria

Tartan Mate by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling, Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (41 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Iain has made plans for a date night with Katherine that she won't soon forget. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

What will he do when he finds out Katherine has a few plans of her own? Why lie back and take it of course.

Tartan Mate delves into a relationship that is being undermined by duty, work and pressure and what a couple does to rekindle their passion.

This book jumps right into a period of adjustment for the hero and heroine. It’s definitely a part of a series but surprisingly I didn’t feel left out from not having read anything previously. This short story can be told about anyone anywhere as we all have things we want in life where stresses and responsibilities get in the way and make us lose our focus. This is just one example, though a very hot and exciting one, of how a couple jumped started their waning love life and reasserted their commitment to each other.

What I found amusing was Iain’s elaborate and overly drawn out romantic plan to woo back his mate. He went for the big picture with all the bells and whistles. He was going to impress his mate with his thoughtfulness and fervent adoration. Instead, his mate, Katherine, had a totally different and very kinky plan that delightfully trumped and beat his down to the ground. He couldn’t even get back up. It was a ton of fun to read and I had a great time watching Katherine bring Iain to heel.

The paranormal aspect actually made this book a bit more interesting because Iain’s wolf had a role in the revamping of their romance in an unexpected manner. I’d never heard of that before and its uniqueness had me fascinated. I think I may have to take a closer look at this series.

Tartan Mate appealed to me on many levels and I think it’s a great little story. For readers who like werewolf romances and are short on time, this book fits the bill and delivers a satisfactory validation of their happily ever after.

Cowboy Domination by Stacey Espino

Cowboy Domination by Stacey Espino
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (159 pgs)
Other: BDSM, spanking, voyeurism, sex toys, menage, m/f/m
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed By Myrtle

Callie will do anything to save her grandfather’s farm. She’s even ready to offer her body to one of the wealthy Black brothers in exchange for peace of mind. What she doesn’t expect is how much she loves being dominated by the kinky trio. But can she trust the known playboys with her heart?

Colton and his brothers can’t get enough of the feisty blonde cowgirl with the wicked tongue and killer curves. They love playing their naughty games with Callie but never want the fun to end. Before they can convince her that she belongs to them, they’ll have to prove their intentions are honorable.

Talk about a book that will make you squirm in your seat and leave you reading late into the night! What woman has not, at one time or another, fantasized about a ménage with two or three dominating men? So, if you cannot make the fantasy come true, read about it in this hot and steamy tale Cowboy Domination by Stacey Espino.

The petite blonde firecracker, Callie Johnson confronts the owners of the multi million-dollar, Black Company after she learns they are trying to take her grandpa’s land by any means they can. She comes face to face with sexy as sin Colton Black who needs to be brought down a few notches. She also meets young Waylon Black who thinks he is God’s gift to women, and Boyd, the adopted brother -- equally as handsome but the silent type. She lets her temper loose and sparks fly when she faces off with the three Black brothers letting them know that she will not go down without a fight.

Callie is not sure she can trust the Black brothers even though she burns for all three of them. She is a woman that wants to be special to someone for once in her life. Will they end up with her land or will she find that special man or men? She is pretty sure the Black brothers are just looking for sex, not love. Can she handle domination from three cowboys who stand a good foot taller than her and twice as broad? Will they take her body, and her land, and leave both her grandpa and her without a home? This story is a violent mixture of hate, lust, and love with an ending that will leave you smiling and fanning you face.

The plot was interesting and unique with strong characters that were explosive through out the story. Lots of hot sex scenes with light BDSM, spanking, public display and voyeurism that made for excellent reading. If you are looking for a book to heat the blood then I would recommend this one.

Dangerous Love by Margie Church

Dangerous Love by Margie Church
Publisher: Noble Romance
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (203 Pages)
Other: M/F, M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal play, spanking, BDSM
Cherry Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Wade Kairos faces deadly consequences for defying the leader of the vampire nation. Ladislav Husek partners with Master Prophet Dirk, to prove Wade can run, but he can't hide. And neither can Jui Fabrice, the woman Wade loves. He needs every bit of his ingenuity to protect her from being turned into a vampire or a prophet.

If that's not enough trouble for him, another vampire from Wade's past comes forward and makes it abundantly clear that what used to be hers is still up for grabs.

Someone will pay with their life in Dangerous Love.

Self-sacrificing love saved them from the Prophets in Love Bites. But, will love be enough to stop a determined and sadistic vampire that wants to punish Wade and claim Jui for his own? Pick up the second book in Margie Church’s darkly seductive Love Bites series, Dangerous Love, to find out.

Wade and Jui have tried to make a normal life together for themselves, despite having to be in hiding from his sire. Wade is doing all that he can to protect Jui. Unfortunately, he seems to forget how strong and independent she is and sets himself up to lose her by not trusting her with how truly evil Husek can be.

There are some really beautiful and yet steamy love scenes in the book including my favorite that involves whipped cream and starry night! And then there’s the M/M scene! Holy smoking cow!! If you’re a fan of M/M with some BDSM, you won’t want to miss it!!

Ms. Church created a terrifically evil and vindictive nemesis in Dangerous Love. Ladislav Husek is obsessed with not only Wade and Jui but the young woman he personally turned into a vampire, Victoria. To be perfectly honest, obsession seems like a mild word to describe the extent that Husek goes to surround himself with Victoria replacements. The hatred Victoria has for life as a vampire is almost palpable. She’s very creative and single minded in her determination to punish everyone involved.

Overall, Dangerous Love was an exciting ride with several twists and turns, not unlike a rollercoaster. The story doesn’t end with Dangerous Love. Ms. Church has mentioned on a couple different sites that there is a follow-up book, Redemptive Love, in the works.

MINE! by Marteeka Karland and Shara Azod

MINE! by Marteeka Karland and Shara Azod
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (29 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Larissa has dreamed of a mysterious man for many years. When she meets the man who will become her boss, she knows he's her dream man. Too bad he's always such a perfect gentleman.

Damien is simply biding his time. He needs Larissa with every fiber of his being, but he's willing to wait until he's certain the time is right.

Now, having stood all he wants to, Damien begins his unique brand of seduction to claim Larissa as his. That is, if you can call a vampire's idea of collecting what's his "seduction."

Office politics takes on a whole new meaning when the boss really does have the hots for his employee and the seduction has a paranormal flair.

Damien is the boss and Larissa is his exclusive attorney, but she has no idea just how exclusive she really is to him. He’s plotted and planned and this book jumps right in at the moment Damien is going to strike. What he doesn’t realize is that Larissa is special in her own right and has a secret that the author used to make this scenario plausible.

I was treated to various imaginings in the beginning of the story from each of the main characters’ point of view. There was no doubt in my mind that these two people were right for each other based upon their internal dialogue. It’s when Damien finally can’t take any more and makes the first real move that the action picks up and never stops until Larissa says the words that make Damien’s life complete.

For paranormal romance readers this book has delicious bite. For erotic romance readers, this story should satisfy. MINE! is short, sizzling and very sexy. I liked Larissa’s innocence and in a way, Damien is just as innocent because of a fact that is revealed about his existence. Timing is everything for Damien and for me, the time reading this book was well spent. It was enjoyable and entertaining.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wolfman Apocalypse by Brannan Black

Wolfman Apocalypse by Brannan Black
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (89 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Life as we knew it pretty much ended with the lightning fast spread of the plague. The media called it Werewolf Syndrome. Women got sick, many died. They were the lucky ones. Men got sick, too, but those who didn't die... changed. A few immune men, like myself, joined the bands of refugees, scrounging for survival in the post-apocalyptic devastation.

I lived in a fortified compound with a couple dozen women, a bunch of kids and two asshole straight guys. Sounds like a man's wet dream -- unless you happen to be the last gay man standing. At the time, risking my life scavenging in the city sounded like a fucking vacation.

I went out hunting supplies and found something else. Not a quick death, or even a slow, painful one at the hands of the beasts -- no such luck. Instead I find myself captive to the largest, most well organized gang of beast men ever. Their leader, Mace, wants more than just a generator -- he wants my body. Oddly, a certain part of me likes that idea. The other part –- the part with working survival instincts -- insists I get the hell out of Dodge before my smart mouth gets the shit kicked out of me. Again. Tradeoffs...

I hate to admit it but I almost let this book pass me by -- but after reading a few excerpts I just had to listen to that little voice saying "read me". Now I am glad I listened. Wolfman Apocalypse is a great read. I don’t read a lot of male/male books and the ones I do read really have to catch my eye. This one did just that. I was caught hook, line and sinker and enjoyed the ride through and through.

One night while Daniel, one of the only humans left that are not infected by the virus, is out scrounging for supplies he comes across some men who have been infected and changed by the virus. Mace the leader of the pack decides that Daniel’s brains and talents are worth more to the pack than Daniel being a sex toy for them.

Daniel learns the ways of the pack and tries to keep his head down but there are those that don’t like him or Mace’s choice to keep him around and they decide to make trouble. The relationship that builds between Mace and Daniel is a great read. I loved Daniel and his smart mouth. He is a man willing to stand up and fight even when he knows that he is in a fight for his life. Mace is a great guy as well. He leads the pack with a atrong but fair hand and is ready to defend not only Daniel but also any human in need. The two make a good couple playing off of each other very well. Not only do we get to meet these two characters we also meet many other interesting men and woman in this story. I would love to come back and visit this world again to see what happens to some of the other members of the pack.

Brannan Black weaves a great tale with fantastic characters full of emotion and depth. I was pulled in right from the start and couldn’t put it down. Wolfman Apocalypse grabs your attention from the first page and keeps you on your toes all the way to the end making this a book that should not be missed.

In His Hands by Chastity Vicks

In His Hands by Chastity Vicks
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

After a long, dull week, Jenny is more than ready for some sexy fun with her sexy husband. It’s their two-year anniversary and Matt’s bound to have something special for her—but when Jenny unwraps his gift, the real surprises start coming.

Matt presents her with a remote-controlled vibrator…and a challenge. Can she make it through their celebration dinner at a local restaurant, knowing he has the power—and the battery-operated means—to leave her gasping in front of a room full of people?

With Matt in charge of the remote, Jenny learns just how good being completely in his hands can be.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your body under the control of someone else? What if that someone else was your spouse?

For their anniversary, Matt gifts his wife of two years with a little surprise she never saw coming. Soon their night on the town turns into some really erotic foreplay leading up to the main event when they get home.

It's apparent that Jenny thought she knew her husband and their sex life well enough to have thought it couldn't get much better, but it looks like Matt wants to step it up a notch. She hesitates, clearly a little uncomfortable with what he is proposing, but soon a little fantasizing of her own has her ready to try just about anything.

This story starts out reading like more of a-day-in-the-life-of Matt and Jenny, who seem to have the perfect cookie cutter two-year old marriage. Behind closed doors, however, is where we get to really see their amazing chemistry and some of the reasons why they chose each other to marry. When Matt sets up this plan to surprise his wife, what it seems he is really doing is making himself vulnerable to her rejection of the idea and possibly in some small way of him. It's obvious he wants to share this fantasy with his wife, so they can take their sex life to another level they can both enjoy. When Jenny hesitates to consider his gifts potential outcomes, what she's really doing is making herself physically vulnerable to him in a public setting and putting her trust in Matt. They take a leap of faith in their marriage and we get to watch.

Ms. Vicks' writing flowed very well throughout the story without lingering too long in areas that shifted away from the focus of the story. The sex scenes were both sweet and erotic in nature, making this an enjoyable albeit quick read. Perhaps this will inspire some couples to find the courage to ask for a little something extra in their own married lives.

Merry’s Christmas Ménage by Eve Vaughn

Merry’s Christmas Ménage by Eve Vaughn
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (52 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Merry Holiday has fallen on hard times. After the death of her mother, Merry learns that everything has been left to a sister she doesn't get along with, including the house she has lived in most of her life. With her confidence shattered and her heart in tatters, Merry finds herself looking for a job and a place to live. When she interviews for a position as a live in housekeeper, she finds the reclusive Thorne Mordeaux, one of the hunkiest men she's ever laid eyes on.

Thorne Mordeaux has a secret. He's Darwaedd royalty from the mythical island Sayrea. He's left his island to escape the shadow of his overpowering brother Dax and the heartbreak of a lost love. Thorne falls for his sweet new housekeeper and as the winter grows colder, his feelings for her heat up, but he's doesn't want to scare her off with his advances.

A week before Christmas, King Dax makes an unexpected appearance to convince Thorne to come back to their island. It's obvious to Dax that his brother and Merry are in love, and just as obvious -- neither of them has the faith to act on that love. With the help of some Christmas Magic, Dax makes it his mission to give fate a hand and bring them together.

I like spicy holiday fare and this little book fits the bill when a reader is looking for a quick fix of fun and frolic.

What I liked most about this book was its gradual build up of sensual tension. I liked the interplay between Merry and Thorne. She yearns but feels it’s not her place to do anything about it. He craves but can’t figure out how to approach her. I found it very funny that for all of Thorne’s expertise with words he just can’t ever seem to say the right things to Merry. It’s that whole miscommunication thing between men and women and I think the author had a fun time exploring that quandary. I can tell you that I certainly had a good time reading it.

All the combustibles are there between the hero and heroine, they just need something to jump start their relationship, you know, a match to start their mating fire? That turns out to be a close family member of Thorne’s and he has a bit of unsettling news to impart upon the pair of would-be lovers. It doesn’t stay a stumbling block for long because it’s the impetus for just what erotic romance readers will be looking for when they dive into this tale. I think they’ll be pretty pleased with it.

I will say that the story seems fluffy in nature, by that I mean that there’s not too much delving into Thorne’s intriguing cultural back ground. It’s sort of glossed over because the focus in this story is on the relationship between Thorne and Merry and not much else. It’s a streamlined romance and for readers looking for that type of formula this book should deliver. In fact, it was just enough to be fun and entertaining without giving me any kind of stress over character angst. Sometimes, I need that amusing and enjoyable shot in the arm, a happy diversion from the stress of the holidays, and Merry’s Christmas Ménage is just what the doctor ordered. Well, if there was a doctor whose prescription was for me to read a lighthearted and optimistic romance because if so, I totally enjoyed the cure. I think others will too.

Blitzened by Elizabeth Jewell

Sugarplum: Blitzened by Elizabeth Jewell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (21 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Nick hasn't seen Ian in a while -- Ian's been studying. But when Christmas Eve rolls around, the vampire bouncer gets a yen to kindle some holiday spirit in his human boyfriend's heart.

'I’ll be home for Christmas' takes on a whole new meaning.

And there’s eggnog!

I love holiday stories. Add a couple of handsome men, and I’m hooked. Ms. Jewell nabbed me from page one with Blitzened. This story had me in stitches and made me smile at the emotion involved. The writing is nice and tight, which made me want to know what would happen next.

Nick is a vampire, jaded by life and the holidays. Sure, he misses the festivities and the church celebration, but he misses his boyfriend more. I could relate to his feelings of depression and his desire to see the man he cared about. Ian’s practically knocking himself out in an attempt to get his degree in computers. I could relate to him as well, being a former college student, I remember the stress of exams and fitting time in for everyone. Ms. Jewell writes the emotional overload of both Ian and Nick well and I felt for both men.

I love the addition of the eggnog and the description of such. Yeah, it had me in stitches, but I can’t give too much away. The ending had a moment I didn’t see coming at all, yet I couldn’t see it happening any other way. And the love scenes? White hot. I read them again and again, not wanting to let go of these two handsome guys.

If you want a book that will warm your heart and make the holidays bright, then you need to read Blitzened. I give this story 4 cherries.

The Garnetsword by Caroline Aubrey

The Garnetsword by Caroline Aubrey
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (228 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Fuchsia

She was a widowed warrior, reluctant heir to a divided throne, thrust into a rescue mission that brought her deep into the heart of enemy territory. But Aurora Carreon, Lady Grayslake, seeks not to avenge her husband’s death at the hands of their enemies, but to spread a message of love and forgiveness in the foreign lands adjacent to her home.

Rebel, soldier, fighter, lover: Jedren tribal resistance fighter Ardan of the Wolf Clan serves his tribe well, fighting for survival in a hostile land between two hostile rulers. A cold, calculating strategist, he is also a man of intense emotions: passion, anger, love, and hate. When he captures Lady Grayslake, the beautiful, fierce warrior elicits a desire he thought long dead and gone.

Two sworn enemies. Desire born out of hatred and distrust. When Aurora is captured and taken deep into enemy territory by the man who murdered her husband, will she fulfill her mission of love and peace, or will she give in to the dark desires elicited by the touch of her greatest enemy, who took from her the one man she loved most of all?

Aurora had a love so deep not even death could lessen it's passionate hold. This character suffered a fate that romance readers dread, the loss of her true love. But this love and this heroine were strong enough to overcome and fate had a surprise in store for us readers and Aurora.

I must admit that I usually stay far away from any book that remotely resembles a historical, but I'm really glad that I chose this review. The writing was wonderful and the story even better. At times I found myself as conflicted as Aurora and I wondered how we could ever find a happy resolution. Stories that keep me on the edge are the best kind, and this one delivered.

If you enjoy a story that steps outside the bounds in order to stay true to the vision, a story that doesn't cater to what is expected, a story steeped in angst and a passion stronger than death then by all means check out The Garnetsword.

Sugarplum: Yuletide Spirit by Jessica Coulter Smith

Sugarplum: Yuletide Spirit by Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (23 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by: Xeranthemum

The last gift Jenna expected on Christmas was two lovers who make her explore her sexuality.

Jenna Monterey has inherited a plantation home that has seen better days. When she hires a restoration crew, she doesn't expect to be drawn to their lead team member. But there's just something about Jake that makes Jenna weak in the knees. She starts to have erotic dreams about Jake and someone named Matt, a man she's never met before, dreams that leave her trembling with desire. Are they an omen of what's to come? Or does she really just need to get laid?

This story is a short shot of volcanic loving sure to inspire hot flashes and naughty dreams just in time for those holiday nights.

This story pretty much has the erotic aspect cornered. I got to meet Jenna, the lady who inherited this big old house that, like a Cracker Jack box, has a surprise inside. She’s a woman who has been lucky in life but is at a crossroads. What better thing to do than look at her inheritance? She finds out that the latest residents have been mice and other dusty things so it’s time to clean up. And that is when the fun begins.

Ms. Smith wastes no time in having the reader dive right into the sexual hi-jinks. It’s a very sensual book and it explores some interesting couplings. I believe that a reader has to accept that the author has bent the rules of the paranormal world just a bit to make this romance work. I also found that because this is such a short book the crunching of the inevitable physical culmination was a bit rushed leaving me with a feeling that I was swept up in a tornado. I liked that Jake’s character was included but the how or the why were not. It left me with a lot of questions as to how it even came about. Why was he so accepting? What in the world happened that plans were made and had they perhaps done this before? I really would have enjoyed the planning of it all but as it is, a reader gets the delicious results.

I think the dialogue was fine, the characters were basic but good enough to make the story enjoyable and the physical love scenes were steam inducing and very well written. For readers who are looking for a quick hot read that will leave them grabbing ice cubes I believe this story delivers on all counts. It certainly was fun to read.