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Friday, February 18, 2011

Lady Doctor Wyre by Joely Sue Burkhart

Lady Doctor Wyre by Joely Sue Burkhart
A Jane Austen Space Opera
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (86 Pages)
Other: M/F, Ménage, M/F/M, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

A dangerous technology could conquer the universe. Love could set it free.

A Jane Austen Space Opera, Book 1

Charlotte, Duchess of Wyre, once held the Queen’s highest confidence—and the technological secret that keeps the royal heart beating. Fearful of what atrocities that Britannia might commit with her research, Charlotte turned to the galaxy’s most infamous assassin, Lord Sigmund Regret, to stage her own death.

Even without the simplest of luxuries, seven years hiding in the Americus colony is preferable to one day in the Tower of Londinium. Until a bounty hunter’s bullet forces her to revive her research. Now the same nanobots that keep the Queen alive also run rampant in Lord Regret’s body. Making his yearly Solstice visits increasingly…intimate…and complicating her courtship with the safe and honorable Sheriff Gilead Masters.

When the Americus colony declares independence, and her humble sheriff makes a shocking confession, Charlotte has had enough. Weary of running, tired of living without tea and silks, she fires a warning shot across Britannia’s bow: cease hunting Lady Wyre, or lose the technological power the crown holds so dear.

Her next task isn’t so simple. Somehow she must keep the two men she loves alive—and prevent them from killing each other.

Joely Sue Burkhart has written a delicious story, one filled with romance, political intrigue and danger.

The Duchess of Wyre holds the secret to the continued life of the Queen of Britannia. When Charlotte begins to fear what atrocities the Queen and her government could perpetrate with Charlotte’s impressive inventions, she decides she must fabricate her death and disappear.

Charlotte enlists the aid of the notorious assassin Lord Sigmund Regret to ‘kill’ her, and for seven years she has been hiding on the colony world of Americus. Charlotte holds more than the Queen’s secret, she also is the only one keeping Lord Regret alive with her wonderful inventions. But all good things come to an end, and Charlotte soon realizes that her ruse has been discovered.

The president of Americus seeks her help in free Americus, and sending a message to the Queen. It seems that Charlotte’s suitor, Sheriff Gil Masters, is an undercover marshal working to gain her trust. What is unexpected is that he has lost his heart in the process. Charlotte will agree, but only on her terms. And she will not give up either of the men she loves. Can Charlotte provide the technology needed to keep the Queen at bay? Can Lord Regret and Sheriff Masters keep their beloved Lady Doctor Wyre safe from the Queens wrath? Can these three sail away to new worlds, finding new adventures along the way?

The world of Lady Doctor Wyre is a mix of history, space travel and modern technology, and in spite of the incongruities, it is a marvelous new world. I loved discovering the similarities between our world and the space colonies of Ms. Burkhart. I love the characters in this, from the strong title character, to the two totally opposite leading men, and the wonderful supporting cast that make this adventure possible.

Charlotte is that contradiction in terms-a totally feminine woman, who follows her own mind and uses her talent for invention to better her world. She sees what could be done with her marvelous inventions, and so flees to keep the technology safe from those who would abuse it. She is independent, but is not afraid to show her softer side with her men.

Lord Regret knows that Charlotte hold his life, his very heart, in her hands, both figuratively and in fact. He loves her, but cannot offer her more than a life on the run. I like his passion, and that he isn’t ashamed of his weakness for submission. In fact, it is this weakness that makes him all the more likable, when it is revealed why he chose regret as his name.

Sheriff Gil Masters is much different from Lord Regret. He is a revolutionary, wanting Charlotte’s help in the fight for liberty and independence. He also loves her, and offers marriage as his way of keeping her safe. I like that he is willing to do what needs to be done to ensure her safety, even joining Lord Regret to help rescue Charlotte and save her life.

I like Ms. Burkhart’s description of this as a Jane Austen Space Opera. I enjoyed the interplay between the three main characters, and the passion that they shared. There are several surprise twists in the story, and I love the ending, which hints that there will be more from this adventurous trio, as well as more in this brave new world.

Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Lorelei James

Cowgirls Don’t Cry by Lorelei James
Publishing: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (322 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

Jessie McKay has accepted her marriage to Luke McKay wasn’t perfect. After two years of widowhood, she’s ready to kick up her bootheels—until Luke’s younger brother shows up to spoil her fun. But if Brandt thinks she’ll ever take orders from another McKay male, he’s got manure for brains.

Brandt McKay has avoided his sweet, sexy sister-in-law ever since the night he confessed his feelings for her weren’t the brotherly type. Unexpectedly faced with proof of Luke’s infidelity, Brandt is forced to ask for Jessie’s help in taking care of Luke’s young son. Jessie agrees on one condition—she wants Brandt’s boots exclusively under her bed for the duration.

The sexual heat that’s always simmered between them ignites. Brandt is determined to make the temporary situation permanent, proving to Jessie he’s a one-woman man. And Jessie is shaken by feelings she’s sworn never to have again for any man…especially not a McKay.

The McKay family is a long running series of stories that only get better with each new coupling. With every story the conflict, the passion and the emotional connection simmers and smolders until it finally erupts into an explosive and stunning lifelong love affair.

Brandt McKay has loved Jessie since the first time he saw her. Unfortunately, his brother Luke saw her too. Since then, his brother married her, cheated on her and died on her. One unpredictable night Brandt confesses his feeling for Jessie and their friendly relationship hits the skids. When Brandt presents Jessie with his brother’s illegitimate son, he suggests they take care of the child together. Is she ready for another McKay brother in her life and is he ready to accept that her feelings have not changed towards him?

Brandt and Jessie's story a simply lovely one of two people coming to terms with their feeling for one another and committing to each other under the strangest of circumstances. As with all the Rough Riders stories, the entire McKay family is accounted for as well as more insight into the life of Brandt and Jessie and the animosity towards her from his family. Jessie and Brandt are simple folks just looking for their happily ever after and the conversations they have along with their quiet moments are what make this story a special one.

Lorelei James has built a wonderful story from the first book to this newest one that will keep you waiting for the next installment. The stories are seamless and captivating without being repetitive. I love these stories and hope with every new introduction to a McKay man, there is the possibility of another story.

Pack Rogue by Crissy Smith

Pack Rogue by Crissy Smith
(Were Chronicles book 4)
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (79 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

The Rogue meets the Alpha...and their worlds explode.

Rogue Kiley Palmer doesn’t have a pack. Although deep down, she does want to be part of one, she tries to convince herself she doesn’t need pack life. But that all changes when she meets her new Alpha.

Austin Winters is visiting a friend when he runs into the one person he never thought he would find—his mate. Convincing Kiley she wants him? Not nearly as difficult as getting her to accept her position in his pack...

After years of closing her heart off, Kiley Palmer has to decide whether she is willing to open it up the alpha male who is destined to be her true mate.

Normally I find myself drawn to the heroes of romance stories. In this story Kiley is really the character that captivated me. She had such a loving and open heart for a woman who has been through so much. One thing I did miss was getting to know more about the past that seemed to impact her every waking moment. The author did touch on what happened to her, but I would have liked to know more details since it seemed like such a tragic story and so important to the heroine. Even without knowing the details I was able to see that Kiley suffered enormously as a child and an adult and deserved so much more than she had found in her life until she meet Austin. He may have been the alpha male she never wanted, but he was definitely the alpha male she needed.

Austin is not your typical “me man, you woman” alpha. He is a lot more compassionate and patient than most of the dominant males within erotic/romance stories. He recognized what type of mate Kiley needs and is willing to give it to her no matter what the cost. He is able to do this while keeping his status as alpha intact. I am sure his character was not one that was easy to come up with, but he was executed perfectly.

In the previous stories there wasn’t a clear series plot set in place. I think this story changed that. You can see the direction the author wants to take the Were Chronicles, which as a reader is truly satisfying. I think that a series this long (four stories so far) needs to have a direction to pique the reader's interest enough to keep them coming back for more. If the author continues on this path I think she will do a great job in keeping people coming back as well as acquiring some new followers.

Austin and Kiley have sexual relations as often as possible. So if you enjoy plenty of hot bedroom play between truly well-drawn characters, you should enjoy this story. I wouldn’t consider the encounters particularly kinky but they were definitely steamy and enjoyable.

This story was a nice quick easy read that anyone can truly appreciate.

Naughty and Nice Anthology by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton, Megan Hart, Lauren Dane

Naughty and Nice Anthology by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton, Megan Hart, Lauren Dane
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (246 Pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

A famous singer reunites with an old flame. A couple explores their desire to be truly bound together. Newlyweds heat things up when they're trapped indoors. And sparks fly when the lights go out. Whether you are naughty or nice, you can still get what you really want for Christmas in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Four holiday stories, two sweet and sensual, with love growing and flowing throughout. Two hot stories filled with domination and submission, but also filled with lots of love and romance. Something for everyone here, and lots of heat to warm a winter’s night.

Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey. When her parents take a winter cruise, Chloe Burke housesits for them. When she tries to warm up dinner, the microwave blows the fuses, and she realizes she out of her depth. Lucky for her, Scott Quinn is a skilled electrician, and the only thing he wants more than getting his hands on the Burkes antiquated wiring, is getting them on Chloe. He had a crush on her all through high school, but she never saw his geeky self. Now Scott is all grown up, and Chloe is seeing him through new eyes. But can she ever be happy back in the small town she escaped right after college? Scott will never move to the big city, so is he doomed to lose Chloe, just as he has found love?

I liked the idea in this, that it is never too late to recapture love. Chloe is a wonderful character, torn at first on whether to return to the big city, or stay in her hometown with Scott. I enjoyed watching her journey from determined career woman to woman in love. Scott lost a woman to the big city, and I sympathized with his determination to remain where his business and family was. I enjoyed watching as these two grew closer, and made compromises along the way to make it work for both of them.

All She Wants For Christmas by Jaci Burton. Country singing sensation Riley Jensen is back in her hometown for the first time in ten years. Not much has changed, and Riley would not have come, except for the biography special being filmed. There is still too much hurt inside. If she can just avoid the main reason she ran so long ago, she will be fine. But when a small girl in the crowd, her biggest fan, snares her attention, she finds that the child brings Ethan Kent back to her life. She ran when she found her best friend and the love of her life in bed together. What she doesn’t know is that it was all a plot by her friend to hurt Riley. Now, ten years later, Riley gets a new perspective on everything, and finds a fresh chance at forever with the man she loves. Can a young girl bring them together?

This is a wonderful love lost and found again story. I liked watching as Riley finally let go of old hurts and opened up to a new and grown up love with Ethan. I loved Ethan, with his insecurities where Riley was concerned, thinking he couldn’t offer her as much as her career did, when in fact he could give her the world.

Unwrapped by Megan Hart. Leah and Brandon Long are on their honeymoon, a Christmas-in-Vail ski trip. Leah and Brandon are happy, and they live out many of their fantasies. Leah knows Brandon loves it when she takes charge in the bedroom, and she enjoys it too. But when Leah takes a spill on the slopes just a few days into the trip, she gets time to think about things as she sits while Brandon skis. When a game of Truth or Dare reveals Brandon’s hidden desire, Leah decides to let him have control, and finds that she can enjoy it. And they also discover that, while their life may change, their love doesn’t have to.

Leah is a strong character, and she enjoys taking control. She is totally in love with Brandon, but she is nervous about the changes marriage will make for them. She likes their hot and slightly kinky sex life, and worries that they could lose the spark that burns between them. She is fiercely independent, and fears that she is too controlling, but Brandon likes how she is just fine. I liked watching these two discover new ways to enjoy each other, and figure out that while their relationship may change, it doesn’t have to become dull, boring and, as Leah calls it, vanilla.

Believe by Lauren Dane. Rori and Jude have been given a rare gift; a second chance at love. Jude loves Rori with all that he is, and yet, he wants to start new holiday traditions with her. Her dead husband was Jude’s friend, and Jude and Rori have been together for two years, ever since her husband was murdered. She loves their life together, and wants only to please the man she loves. When Jude surprises her with a Christmas trip to the mountains for some alone time, Rori is thrilled. But Jude wants to find a way to discuss some serious changes with her, things he hopes she will understand and agree with. Jude knows he has a treasure in Rori, a woman who finds his dominance in their bedroom a perfect match to her needs. Can he explain his other needs to her without driving a wedge between them?

Rori is a strong woman, and she is in love with Jude. She knows what pleases him, and it is this desire that fuels all of her actions. But just because she is submissive, doesn’t mean she is weak, and I like the little touches that show her independence. I liked Jude, the strong and very Alpha male figure, who has insecurities about what he wants for their future. Dominant in most things, I loved that he was unsure how to tell Rori what he wanted for their future.

These are four wonderfully expressive holiday stories, with sweet and lovely for those who like gentle but sensuous stories, and scorching hot domination for those who like an edge to their holiday reading.

Protective Custody by Paige Tyler

Protective Custody by Paige Tyler
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (172 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Paisley McCoy is a sexy reporter who writes about the San Francisco club scene for a local magazine. Having a dad on the police force has led to one hard and fast rule--she doesn’t date cops. She likes her men sensitive and intellectual, two qualities in short supply in any cop she’s ever met. However, when her safety is threatened and her life in danger, she gets stuck with a standard-issue cop for a bodyguard--aggressive, opinionated, and certain he’s always right. In short, the complete opposite of the kind of man she usually goes for.

Gray Beckham is a no-nonsense cop who’s peeved about being taken off a major burglary investigation to babysit the captain’s bratty daughter. Just because she’s gorgeous doesn’t change the situation. His career is important and she acts as if the whole situation is a joke and insists she doesn’t need his protection. While she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near her, not if he can help it.

Despite their differences, though, Paisley and Gray can’t deny the chemistry between them. As that connection turns into a romance neither can avoid, they find out that the stalker is a far greater threat than they originally thought. They’re dealing with a crazed lunatic who has decided that if he can’t have her, no one will.

Paisley’s world is turned upside down when she finds herself being threatened by a stalker. Until they can find out who is stalking Paisley her father assigns Gray as her twenty-four hour bodyguard. While the two are together the sparks fly.

Protective Custody is a great story. Paisley is a feisty woman who can stand on her own, yet she knows just when to rely on others. Gray is a strong man who finds himself falling for Paisley and is more than willing to fight for her and her safety. The two make a wonderful couple. I enjoyed watching Paisley and Gray find each other. The love that they find shines throughout the story.

As much as I enjoyed the love story between Paisley and Gray I would have liked a bit more on the stalker part. Seeing that part of the story unfold was very interesting but it seemed a little rushed. Most of the book centered on the two being intimate and let me tell you those scenes are great. They burn up the pages. They seemed to be made for one another. Although they are a great couple I didn’t quite click as well with these characters as I have with others in Paige Tyler’s books. I think maybe a bit more depth into the characters would have helped me enjoy them better, what I did read I enjoyed.

Regardless, I am big fan of Paige Tyler and this book wasn't disappointing. I will definitely be on the look out for more of her books in the future.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bear and The Bride by Jianne Carlo

The Bear and The Bride by Jianne Carlo
Publisher: Etopia press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (47 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed By Myrtle

Jarl Torsten glimpses Ainslin of Durham, a recent widow with two sons, and immediately covets her for his wife. He outmaneuvers his rival, Ainslin’s neighbor Earl Sigrid, and receives the king’s blessing to marry her.

Ainslin fears Torsten's reaction when he discovers she’s a virgin. How will she explain her maidenhead and twin sons? Will Torsten cast Ainslin and the boys aside when he discovers the truth?

Before I even started reading, I wondered what a man would think and do if he found the woman he wed was still a virgin after being married and claiming twin babies as her own.

What a delight it was to read The Bear and the Bride. It was refreshing and a joy to read, and I found it such a pleasure to soak in a story with such an old world theme. I was in love with the story from the second chapter on. Ok I must confess in the first chapter, I had to stop and look up a few words so I could understand their meaning, but after that, the story was amazing. I don't know about anyone else but there is something about a strong dark haired Viking warrior that gets the heart beating.

When Torsten claims Ainslin as his wife with the king's blessing he keeps her out of the hands of Sigrid, a cruel Jarl that neither of them like. Torsten soon learns that things are not as they seem when he takes her to bed. Upon consummating their marriage, he learns that she is still a virgin and soon finds out the reason why after four years of marriage to her late husband and twins she claims as hers that she still has her maidenhead. As these reasons are made clear, the plot thickens giving way to a sweet short story that will make you sigh at the romances of it all.

In all the books I read there is always one phrase that sticks in my head. After I finished The Bear and The Bride it was “’Tis agony,” she moaned. “Can you not move faster”. The only sad part about this book was that is was way too short, and I had to spend a little time looking up words in the first chapter so that I could get the full enjoyment of the story. Even so, looking up words you don’t know is just something that goes along with reading and did not take away from the book at all. The Bear and The Bride is a book that I would recommend to my friends who like romance that isn't quite as full of really hot and heavy sex scenes.

Dragonfly Dance by Gemini Judson

Dragonfly Dance by Gemini Judson
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Torrid
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (66 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Her fingers play the fiddle like nobody’s business. Her band is Littlehawk Lightning. Her future is Tucker Jennings. They’ll share their dreams, somewhere on the open plains of South Dakota. Just like they’d always planned. When Lori Littlehawk walks in on Tucker in the arms of another woman, her dreams crumble.

The Dragonfly Dance is a South Dakota tradition and Lori realizes she’ll attend this year’s dance single, for the first time. When she learns a talent scout is coming to the dance in search of a fiddle band to feature in a movie, Lori is determined to catch that scout’s attention with new and fabulous music.

On cue, the skies come alive with swarming dragonflies under a perfect prairie sky and music fills the air. Lori meets a dark handsome man and impetuously sets her fiddle aside to explore her new freedom. She has no idea who her delicious new playmate is.

Gemini Judson has written a delightful romance, filled with passion, romantic disillusionment and new love.

Lori Littlehawk was certain she had her future all planned. She would play the fiddle in the family band, Littlehawk Lightning, marry her childhood best friend Tucker, and live happily ever after.

When her brother mentions that a talent scout will be in the audience at the big Dragonfly Dance celebration, Lori doesn’t even think twice about it. That is, until she goes to Tucker’s place and finds him in bed with Casey, the singer from the band, and fires both of them on the spot.

Now, Lori is ready for freedom and adventure, and throws caution to the wind. She meets a tall and handsome stranger, a photographer who warms places in Lori that she never knew were cold. But Bruce Burns is more than just a photographer, he is the talent scout, and after the first performance, he ‘accidentally’ meets up with Lori. The strong attraction and Lori’s newfound sense of freedom lead them to his camper and to a heated but brief encounter. Can Littlehawk Lightning beat out the other local bands for the movie contract? Will Casey and Tucker’s accusations turn the people against Lori and the band? Can Lori and Bruce find happiness together?

I love the pacing of this story, and the marvelous character development. The world Ms Judson has built is one of beauty and delight, and I could just imagine those dragonflies dancing in the warm summer air.

Loralei ‘Lori’ Littlehawk is a delight. I love her strength and resilience when faced with the betrayal by the man she thought loved her completely. She took time to cry, but also realized that it didn’t hurt as much as it should have. I liked her spirit and her willingness to move on to new adventures.

Bruce Burns is the handsome talent scout. He is determined to woo Lori, and doesn’t want her to think he is just after the band. I like that he never exactly lies to her about who he is, but just doesn’t volunteer everything right away. He is sexy and gives Lori exactly what she needs to feel strong and independent.

This is a wonderful romance, one that gives hope to those who have lost their dream only to find another waiting to be fulfilled. The characters work well together, and I would love to read more about this family, especially Lori’s two brothers, Henry and Cameron. I would hope Ms. Judson can find their stories and bring them to life in the same fashion as she did Lori and Bruce.

Mattress Music by Lily Harlem

Mattress Music by Lily Harlem
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Is it possible to lose one’s ability to orgasm? Nina has. Lately, her fun weekend hook-ups have been more ho-hum than hot damn! It doesn’t help that she has three flatmates and is forced to play loud music to mask the sounds of her lovemaking. Talk about distracting! Of course, there’s another reason Nina’s less than satisfied these days…she’s just having a hard time admitting it.

It’s a good thing she’s met Ian, then. Not content to be a weekend hook-up, Ian is set on giving Nina what she’s been missing while making her admit what she needs. His talented fingers—and other body parts—are up to the task. But Ian’s not admitting a few things himself. Turns out his fingers can do more than make Nina’s body sing.

When she discovers his secret, it’s time for both of them to face the music.

It seems Nina has lost her ability to experience an orgasm -- is that possible and will Ian change things for her?

I rated this story high for its uniqueness, especially in its opening scene. Nina loves sex but her roommates don’t like the noise she makes in their shared living area so she’s resorted to playing music and turning the volume up. Problem is, the lyrics are playing out in her head and it’s putting her off of sex. Her bed partner, Ian is not only a hunk but as the story unfolds, comes across as a guy who is really nice and doesn’t want just a one night stand with Nina.

The story has some humor in it which is always a nice addition to any story. It’s set in London and you get to experience the sound and sights of the city which I think added a nice element Mattress Music. There’s a great twist to this story which I can’t give away but it makes you realize just how lucky Nina is to have met this guy.

Pacing was good and the dialogue very natural sounding. This is a short story that can be read when you have an extra thirty minutes or so. It’s hot, sexy and contains two likable characters and a unique premise. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scorched by Amber Kallyn

Scorched by Amber Kallyn
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (101 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

A rare Argentinean dragon shifter, Cynthianna "Anna" Hernandez has never known trust, peace or safety, not even by fleeing to the deepest wilds of Canada. When bounty hunter Garreth Dragos shows up during a blizzard, things get complicated as their inner dragons decide they're perfect for each other. Things get worse when the dark mage hunting Anna finds them, sending his creatures to return her to his evil clutches. He's willing to sacrifice anything and anybody to further his quest for power. Together, Anna and Garreth must trust in each other or all will be lost to evil.

Amber Kallyn has written an excellent follow up to her first Dragos story.

Bounty hunter Garreth Dragos is tracking a dangerous fugitive for the council. The trail has led him to the snow covered woods of Canada, a climate not kind to dragon shifters like himself. But he has it on good authority that his quarry is there.

The target of his search is accused of the most heinous of crimes: murdering her father and stealing his power and his soul. For he is tracking a rogue dragon, a female who has turned evil, just like his oldest brother. He brought his brother to justice and he will bring this woman in too-if he can survive the bitter cold.

Cynthianna “Anna” Hernandez is running from the evil mage who killed her mother and father and enslaved her since she was a child. As a rare Argentinean dragon shifter, she can withstand the cold and snow without it weakening her powers. When she discovers Garreth passed out in the snow, almost dead, she drags him into her cabin, saving his life. As they spend time together, it becomes clear to Garreth that she is his mate, but before he can claim her, he discovers her identity: she is the fugitive he has been sent to bring in.

When the dark mage comes to try and reclaim Anna, they must unite and fight together, or become slaves to the mage. Can Garreth clear Anna’s name? Can they learn to trust each other in order to survive what is ahead? Can Anna stop running and learn to live free again?

Scorched was very good, and it was able to answer some of the questions I had from the first story. The characters are just as well developed as in the earlier work, and I enjoyed seeing the couple from the first book, Scott and Call, make an appearance in this one. I like the idea that the strong handsome Garreth was done in by the cold and snow and it took a female to rescue him.

Anna is terrified, but she is still smart and sharp. She knows where she needs to hide to keep the mage from finding her. I found her strength to be tempered by the insecurity she felt about her body and the scars she carries from the torture inflicted on her in the mage’s dungeons. But she is determined never to be that weak and helpless again.

Garreth is a bounty hunter, and he can sense when something isn’t right. I love that he believes in Anna’s innocence, and is willing to fight for her against the council. He is not too proud to accept this woman’s help, and is willing to express his gratitude for what she does. When he finds out that this is the same dark mage that corrupted his brother, he is willing to do whatever it takes to help Anna fight for her freedom.

This is a story of two lonely and driven people who find in each other their destine true mates. I enjoyed watching both of them fight the attraction. Anna felt she wasn’t worthy, because of something that happened when she made her escape from the mage. Garreth had given up ever finding his true mate, and was struck by the irony of their meeting.

There are a couple of intriguing moments in the story when things become much more than two people coming together, and these surprises make this a very good reading experience. I will warn you not to look for a happy ever after, exactly, because the mage is still out there. But Anna and Garreth do have a happy for now, with a bright and loving future ahead of them. And be sure to keep the fan on for this one because it heats up fast.

Head over Heels by Annemarie Hartnett

Head over Heels by Annemarie Hartnett
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Length: Short Story (93 pages)
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Bittersweet

That whole 'no nookie' rule seemed like a good idea until Chrissie got under the covers with Sam.

When Chrissie declared a moratorium on hooking up for this group road trip, she didn’t think a miscommunication with a hotel desk clerk would put her in the same bed with Sam.

A total dork wrapped in a nice package, Sam has been the object of her vacation lust since day one. Once she’s huddled together under the covers with him the rules go out the window.

Can Sam and Chrissie turn their carefree holiday fling into something more?

Head over Heels is not only the title of this novel, it’s the sentiment with which I finished the book: Happy, smiling, hopeful, in conclusion, head over heels for Ms. Hartnett’s story.

The novel tells the tale of Chrissie and Sam and their road trip into love. Ms. Hartnett hooked me from the first sentence. After all, who heard of a sky rocketing libido and hiking being on the same page?

Ms. Hartnett’s novel flows easily and kept me hooked. She made me laugh (some of the moments our characters live through are hilarious), worried (doubt, the greatest enemy of love appears), and hot and bothered at all the right moments.

The words in Head over Heels flow easily both because the plot is simple yet interesting and because Ms. Hartnett knows how to describe. The sexual imagery was fantastic: hot, torrid, lustful… the pirate sex was definitely primeval!

However, I have to admit that one of the best points of this book is that it felt authentic; the situation felt realistic and not forced. Head over Heels is a true 21st century story.

The characters are three dimensional with their good and bad sides (Chrissie worries too much, Sam is a bit immature, Laurie is gossipy, and Tony is a clown). Their thoughts and actions seemed grounded and human, as well as the development of their relationship.

Finally, I have to mention the cover. Bravo! It really transmits the sweetness behind the tale. Head over Heels is the perfect mix between sweet and hot, therefore, a definite must read!

Light Switch by Lauren Gallagher

Light Switch by Lauren Gallagher
Publisher: Carnal Passions
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (356 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, voyeurism, exhibition, masturbation, sex toys, anal sex,
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed By Myrtle

After far too much lackluster sex with her now-ex-boyfriend, Kristen Locke isn’t just ready to try something new. She’s ready to try everything. And as luck would have it, two of her good friends are more than willing to introduce her to the kinkier side of life: Experienced dominant Scott Moore wants to bring out the submissive in her. Neighbor and voyeur Matt Sommers quite literally sees the exhibitionist in her.

Little by little, they open up a whole new world to her, and Kristen’s about to learn that love can be found in the most unusual places…

I was completely entranced with Light Switch from the first chapter. There is nothing more exciting then starting a book that you hate to put down -- one that demands you finish it even if you have to give up a good night’s sleep to do it. What reader can resist a good book that starts out with the heroine kicking the boyfriend of four years to the curb because she is tired of the vanilla sex between them?

Kristen already knows she likes a little voyeurism/exhibition because of her “Window-to-Window affair” with her sexy neighbor Matt Sommers who lives in the apartment building across the alley. Now free from her boyfriend, Kristen is not sure what her sexual fantasies are, and allows Scott Moore a long time friend to introduce her into the world of BDSM.

Scott takes it slow wanting her to experience the positive parts of a Dom/sub relationship so she can get the feel of what she is looking for sexually. While enjoying her time with Scott and the BDSM scene, things change from the window-to-window affair with Matt to hot monkey sex and Kristen finds she likes being with Matt as much as she does with Scott. Knowing that Matt likes watching Scott and her through the window, she soon talks him into joining them in the bedroom. However, will exploring her sexuality end up hurting one of them in the end?

I loved the way Ms. Gallagher explained BDSM as being a teasing of the senses whether from pain, heat, cold, or even tickling. There are so many facets of the BDSM lifestyle that I did not realize or understand until reading Light Switch. One thing for sure, the action was not slow in this book with Kristen going from Scott to Matt -- then to the both of them in the sexual dance. I was surprised with the plot and did not expect a number of the events that took place in the story or the tangle web Kristen found herself in. I do love how the title Light Switch came about which made for even more excitement in the book.

As a whole, the book was a delicious and entertaining read -- with many catchy phrases and a lot of smart-alecky comebacks. A black cat makes you laugh and helps release some of the anxiety you get when you cannot wait to see what will happen next. The story piqued my sense of adventure if only in my mind. A definite must read for anyone who enjoys the BDSM theme with hot make-me-beg sex.

The Chauffeur by Serena Yates

The Chauffeur by Serena Yates
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (168 Pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

Physically scarred ex-model Kyle Anderson leads two lives: he is a chauffeur by day, and an exotic dancer by night. His performance attracts the attention of Nick Giddings, a factory worker visiting the club to forget his worries.

Kyle was kicked out by his parents when a car accident on his eighteenth birthday left his face scarred. Now he works for his uncle's limousine rental company, but the pay is too low for him to become financially independent. So, he dons a mask and works as an exotic dancer most evenings.

Nick has been kicked out of school for a prank he didn't commit, and rejected by his parents. He is too proud to sell his body, so ends up working for a fast food chain until he can secure a job as a forklift driver. Meeting a gorgeous exotic dancer is just the icing on the cake. But when he is laid off, all his dreams come to an abrupt end...

This is an enjoyable read about two men from complete opposite backgrounds who find love.

Kyle Anderson is an ex-model who has been abandoned by his family after a car accident left him with a large scar on his face. With no other option, he goes to live with an uncle he barely knows. Besides living with his uncle he also works for him at his limousine company as a chauffeur. Because his salary from driving is so small, Kyle has resorted to living a double life. By day chauffeur driver, by night exotic male dancer. Kyle is incredibly insecure about his scar but the need to be financially independent has him stripping at the local gay club. While working one night he meets Nick Giddings.

Nick has also been given a raw deal on life as well. He was kicked out of his home at the age of sixteen and forced to take care of himself. I loved the fact that no matter how hard things got for Nick he made the promise to himself he would never sell his body. Nick is a positive influence for Kyle and helps him see that there is more to life than being rich.

Their budding relationship takes a hit when Nick loses his job. Kyle suggests that Nick apply to be a chauffeur for his uncle’s company. All seems to be going well until Kyle’s uncle suspects Kyle is gay. He gives Kyle an ultimatum: either get his act together and live a straight life or be gay and move out and lose his job and home.

This story had a very unexpected ending that I never saw coming. The uncle, who I thought was pure evil, had a method to his madness so to speak. The one problem I found in the story was at times I felt the characters point of view was unclear. It jumps between the two characters quite a bit. I was still able to follow along and it didn’t deter me from reading or enjoying the story.

Overall I liked this book and would recommend it. This is definitely a heartwarming love story between two men who have been knocked down by life but never let it keep them down. I found myself rooting for these two to have their happy ending. Serena Yates is an excellent author and wrote a very touching love story.

Noble Blood by Dana Marie Bell

Noble Blood by Dana Marie Bell
The Grey Court Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (146 Pages)
Other: M/F, Ménage, M/F/M, M/M/F, Anal Sex/Play
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Nobility has its privileges…and its price. Sometimes it just sucks.

The Gray Court, Book 2

For Lord Duncan Malmayne, it was love at first sight with his true bond, the lovely half-Sidhe, half-leprechaun Moira Dunne. Yet something is missing from his relationship with the fiery redhead, something that prevents him from completing the Claiming and making Moira his forever.

As problems multiply in what should be a magical, idyllic time, the depression weighing on Moira’s Sidhe heart signals a potentially devastating condition. Mate sickness. Her instinct tells her what’s missing: Jaden Blackthorn, Gray Court vampire, Duncan’s bond brother and closest friend—who tactfully withdrew from their lives after Duncan declared his love.

Jaden is both heartbroken and elated that the two people he loves most in the world are together. It’s best he cut off all contact to give them space to complete the Claiming. But trouble is brewing in the Malmayne clan, and when Jaden’s forced back into their lives by the Hob, their extremely rare tribond clicks with a reaction that’s swift, sensual and all-consuming.

But not everyone looks upon it as a blessing. In fact, the price of their love could be a potentially fatal shift of power…

In this, the second book in the Grey Court series, Dana Marie Bell brings us a story of intrigue, danger, and scorching hot three way passion. We were introduced to the characters in book one, but only as supporting characters. Now they are the stars in this tale of family betrayal, dark magic and a love so deep, it could hurt those involved.

Lord Duncan Malmayne has found his true bond in Moira Dunne. What should be the happiest time in both of their lives is anything but. Duncan has yet to complete The Claiming, the ritual the bonds them for life, and Moira and Duncan are at a loss as to what is going on. At least they are until the return of Duncan’s long time friend, Jaden Blackthorn, Grey court vampire. It would seem that theirs is a tribond, and both Duncan and Moira are suffering the effects of mate sickness.

There is the additional strain of Duncan’s family, trying to usurp the title and take over the Malmayne estate. The family is using black arts to attack, and Duncan is forced to make a choice-his family or his loves. When he chooses Moira, the Malmaynes accelerate their campaign, sending ghouls and other evil beings to try to remove Duncan. Jaden is determined to stay out of Duncan’s life, because he loves both Duncan and Moira, and doesn’t know about the unique tribond situation, at least not at first. Once Jaden realizes his worth and the needs of the two he loves, can he join them and make them all stronger? Can Duncan retain his position as Lord Malmayne, and does he even want to? And just what happens when you unite a Sidhe lord, a leprechaun and a vampire?

Ms. Bell knows how to draw you in to the story, and make you feel what her characters feel. The characters, even the evil ones, have true dimension and there is a sense that you could meet these people on the street somewhere.

Moira is a strong woman. She is confused at first, when Duncan takes her as his mate, but doesn’t complete the mating. She knows there is something missing, but only starts to realize what it is when Jaden returns and she feels complete for the first time. She is smart, and determined to have both of her men, and she schemes at how to make that happen.

Duncan doesn’t realize what is wrong; he only knows something isn’t right between he and Moira. He is the strong Sidhe lord, and thinks it is the distraction of his family’s demands causing the trouble. He knows he wants Moira, but doesn’t realize he also wants Jaden, and that only when all three are together can the Claiming be complete.

Jaden is trying to be noble, and step aside so that the man he loves and the woman he loves can be together. He knows nothing of the tribond, and has no idea that the two he loves most are both suffering because of his absence. He also feels unworthy, because of his less than honorable beginnings. I love Jaden, with his cocky attitude, and self-deprecating humor.

I enjoyed watching Jaden and Duncan come to terms with what they felt for each other, and for the one woman that both love. The family intrigues kept me on the edge of my seat, and the scorching unions between the three main characters had me grabbing the ice water many times. This is one for all who like a bit of danger along with the hot and passionate happy ever after. But beware, there are surprises in this story to shock and amaze you.

Bon Appetit by Ashley Ladd

Bon Appetit by Ashley Ladd
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/F, menage, M/F/M
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Being a lexical gustatory synethesist is the least of Demi’s secrets: her husband’s impotency and engaging in a ménage with his super sexy cousin would really make her friends’ heads spin.

Demi is a lexical gustatory synethesist. In other words, she tastes words. Penises taste like mint chocolate chip ice cream, one of her favourites. Sex toys taste more like dry toast.

Too bad as her husband, Alex, is impotent and she longs for a hot, hard, juicy penis, not that she’d ever crush him with that information.

But Alex isn’t stupid and he’ll do anything to make Demi happy. So he invites his cousin Matt into their bed and wishes them all a bon appétit.

Demi and Alex have a great marriage but after Alex is diagnosed with diabetes and becomes what they hope is temporarily impotent, Demi realizes just how much she loves and misses having sex.

I liked these characters from the first page. The author did a great job at establishing what a loving relationship this couple had. So real in fact, that you experience first-hand what these two are going through. You feel Demi’s frustration especially when she meets with her friends for lunch and they discuss their very hot sex lives. The author delves into Alex’s POV and through that we also experience what he’s going through too. He doesn’t want to lose Demi or her love and knows his wife really wants a baby. Things heat up when the couple decide to try a ménage and invite Alex’s cousin into the bedroom.

The dialogue was natural sounding in this story and I liked the deeper POVs the author used. I put me right into the story so that I heard, saw, felt everything the character's did. It’s a sexy, hot read and what made it unusual was that Demi experiences the world primarily in tastes, like chocolate and caramel. My only complaint….the story wasn’t long enough. I wanted to see what happened to Demi and Alex next.

If you have an hour to spare, read this one, it’s fun!