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Friday, May 6, 2011

One Thing To Give by Lynn LaFleur

One Thing To Give by Lynn LaFleur
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (81 pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

Lindsay Cunningham’s 30th birthday is far from happy. Tired of always being meek, she picks up a man in a bar for a wild night of uninhibited sex.

The night was much more than simply sex for Sam McKeifer. He wants a future with Lindsay. Now he has to convince her the only thing he wants her to give him is her heart.

With only forty minutes left to go on her thirtieth birthday, Lindsay sits alone in the booth at the saloon where her friends left her earlier, after a nice girl's-night-out birthday dinner. Ordinarily Lindsay is a conservative person. Not one to take many risks. But tonight she wants it to be different. Tonight she wants a special birthday present. She wants to have wild, uninhibited sex with a man that she doesn't know. That man is the sexy young bartender that she's been drooling over all evening.

One thing that Lindsay has never done is to pick up a stranger for a one night stand. After the long dry spell of lonely nights following two badly failed relationships, she is ready to do something exciting and out of character for her. Hoping for a successful marriage or relationship after witnessing the failure of all the marriages in her family, not to mention her twice-broken heart, is no longer even an option for her. But she misses the passion and sex that she had enjoyed. In fact, she is lonely and hot.

Sam, the bartender and owner, is getting ready to close up for the night. The gorgeous woman in the booth has been nursing a coke all night since her dinner and Sam refreshes her drink before heading into the back room to restock. He hasn't been able to take his eyes or his mind off the lovely Lindsay all evening, and his interest is apparent when he goes to refill her drink. Busy Sam hasn't been intrigued or attracted by a woman for a long time. This one, for some reason, is special.

Gathering her courage, Lindsay gets up to follow Sam into the stock room. Slipping in quietly, she locks the door the behind her. The hunger and the heat that follows the two of them into the night turns out to be more than either of them bargained for.

This scorching hot story sparks and flames off the pages and doesn't stop burning until the last word. There is trouble in all this heat when the heroine gets a bad case of cold feet. I won't give away the ending, but I will say that the hero does rise to the occasion. My only complaint is that the author didn't take it deeper into the telling and make the story a little longer. Even so, she did an excellent job of setting the pace and of turning out an engaging, upbeat story with interesting, believable characters and hot, wild sex. I enjoyed it thoroughly and recommend it highly.

Winter and his Twins by Cooper McKenzie

Winter and His Twins by Cooper McKenzie
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (83 Pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

After his ex-boyfriend beats him up, erotic romance e-book author Winter Ryan is forced to contact his sister for help. Little did he realize that in doing so his life would change in ways he never would have imagined.

Garrett and Hawk Sullivan, the youngest set of Sullivan twins, are visiting Charlotte when Spring asks them to help her brother. Arriving at Winter’s door in the middle of the night, they don't expect to meet their mate—Spring’s baby brother. The shape-shifting Irish wolfhound electronics geeks have found their mate who also happens to be their favorite gay erotic romance author. Life couldn’t get much better.

Life couldn’t get much better—until Winter’s violent ex shows up.

Who could ever imagine that getting beat up and left with casts on both arms could be the best thing that could ever happen to you? Winter Ryan might be having a run of bad luck when it comes to boyfriends but when he asks his sister for help he gets double his pleasure in the form of two very sexy twins. I wished I was Winter.

This story had a new interesting element to it being that the Sullivan family are Irish wolfhounds and seem to only have twin boy offspring. Like most shifters they mate for life. I’m a fan of romance stories that have a sexy hero and in this story we get two. Identical twins they might be but they have completely different personalities. It’s nice that the author made each man his own person. When it comes to caring for Winter each has their own strengths they bring to the relationship.

Garrett and Hawk come to Winter's rescue and immediately the sexual attraction is leaping off the pages. Yes Winter is getting over being beaten but the pull he has for the twins is undeniable. Both men are loving and caring with Winter so the fact that this man just suffered a trauma didn’t take away from the budding love growing between them.

The story has several steamy sex scenes that will leave you fanning your face. Winter and his Twins is a short story and a very fast paced read. There are internal struggles for Winter when it comes to having a boyfriend let alone two. Plus moving to a new town where he meets his mates' family has Winter on edge at first. Sanctuary is a perfect name for this hidden away little town because it becomes a safe haven for Winter.

The author weaved together personal struggles with just enough love and compassion to make an exciting love story. Winter and His Twins is a delightful read that I highly recommend.

Dylan’s Dilemma by Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason

Dylan’s Dilemma by Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Rosemary

A handsome hunk, sceptical of ghosts, and the bad boy ex-con who’s stolen his heart, have a rousing good time at Whiskers’ Seaside Inn.

Dylan Wyatt doesn’t believe in ghosts. That’s what he keeps telling himself, night after night, when noises and unusual happenings at Whiskers’ Seaside Inn wake him. He’s there for two weeks running the place while his brother Cade and groom Ethan are away on their honeymoon. His first assignment is to oversee the removal of the wedding tent, tables and chairs. Dylan decides he’s more interested in watching one of the workmen, handsome, hunky Scott.

Besides having a tiger tattoo running from his neck to his wrist, Scott’s got a waist-length braid and has done prison time. He’s not Dylan’s usual type, but that might be part of the attraction. Dylan hires the handyman to do some work at Whiskers’, and winds up getting a lot more than he bargained for.

Like it or not, Dylan’s forced to figure out what’s going on if things at Whiskers’ are ever going to return to normal. If there is a Whiskers’ normal?

Who can resist a sexy, tattooed biker bad boy? In Dylan’s Dilemma, Dylan Wyatt sure can’t and neither should you!

Dylan and Scott are fun, multi-dimensional characters. Dylan’s generous nature is apparent by his willingness to manage the Whiskers Seaside Inn while his brother is on his honeymoon, and his easy acceptance of Scott’s prison record. He deftly handles the various problems that crop up with a sunny smile and positive attitude. His internal dialogue is quite funny and reveals the man behind the public persona.

Scott, on the other hand, is rather mysterious. While he is not dark or brooding, there are definitely many complex layers to this delicious ex-con, and Dylan is just the man to peel them away. Matter of fact about his prison record, Scott is working hard to begin a new life and leave the past behind.

Dylan’s skepticism about the spirits at the Inn is quickly challenged by the unusual nightly events. Permanent guest Delia Nelson has her own theories about why the spirits are so restless but Dylan just isn’t buying her theories. Don’t worry-the reason behind the ghostly shenanigans is guaranteed to melt even the most skeptical of hearts.

Dylan’s Dilemma is a light-hearted and passion filled novel. It is the fifth book in Jenna Byrnes and Jude Mason’s Kindred Spirits series, and it can easily be read as a standalone story. This is a new to me series that I can hardly wait to catch up on!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

With the Band by L.A. Witt

With the Band by L.A. Witt
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (330 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Rosemary

Hard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm?

Bastian has just gotten out of a long relationship with his volatile ex-fiancée when Aaron catches his eye. The sexy singer is irresistible, and in spite of the potential for strife within the band if this comes out, Bastian can’t help himself.

Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it's going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can't get back to playing with the band.

Fans of hot, sexy, hard rockin’ musicians are going to fall in love with Aaron McClure and Bastion Koehler, the lead protagonists from L.A. Witt’s latest book With the Band.

Aaron and Bastion are three-dimensional characters, and Ms. Witt brings them vividly to life. With the Band is told in first person from Aaron’s perspective, so the reader always knows what is going on inside his head. Some of his internal conversations are laugh out loud funny and completely in keeping with the novel’s light-hearted atmosphere. He, better than anyone, is aware of how disastrous a relationship with a band member can be, but he is cannot resist the fiery desire that explodes between him and Bastion.

Ms. Witt does a splendid job revealing Bastion through Aaron’s voice. His relationship with ex-fiancée Denise is very revealing as are his reactions to her continually popping up his life even though they have split up. He has a laid back and easygoing personality that is very appealing. He, too, is aware of the possible consequences of acting on their mutual desire, but he is unable to fight his overwhelming lust for Aaron.

The secondary cast of characters is also well-developed and likable. Their back and forth banter and good natured insults add to the novel’s charm. The various family ties provide additional depth to the plot and further insight into the various characters.

The first kiss between Bastion and Aaron is out of this world sexy and incredibly sensual. Keeping their relationship a secret builds anticipation and the sexual tension turned up high. The sex scenes between Bastion and Aaron are intensely seductive and arousing but never graphic.

Deliciously sexy men, extremely hot sex and a compelling plot keep this novel moving at a fast pace. L.A. Witt is an immensely talented and versatile author, and readers do not want to miss With the Band.

Keata’s Promise by Lynn Hagen

Keata’s Promise by Lynn Hagen
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (102 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

Young, naïve Keata Kia was kidnapped from Japan along with his cousin and three other young men. Struggling to make a home in America, he discovers the men who took him in are wolf shifters—and one of them is his mate. Unfortunately, Keata’s mate has refused to claim him.

If the human remains unclaimed, there is no shortage of eager wolves ready to step in to teach the beautiful and innocent Keata a thing or two about making love.

When Keata is kidnapped and it’s discovered the prince of vampires has him, Keata’s wolf goes crazy, ready to kill every vampire in the area. But the wolf's plans change when it’s discovered Keata has a little secret that now has everyone scrambling to protect his life.

Can a relationship withstand a language barrier and constant misunderstandings?

That’s the question when it comes to Cody and Keata. It’s comical to read how this two hundred and seventy-two year old werewolf tries not to hurt his best friend's feelings and not alienate his young naïve mate in the process. Cody is doing his best to put others first while managing the minefield of love and relationships.

Cody is a good man just not sure how to handle his new mate. When English isn’t Keata’s first language it does create a problem for these two men. Cody knows he hasn’t been the ideal mate for his Keata but Cody is caught up in trying to not hurt anyone’s feeling but it’s costing him more than he expected.

Keata is a sweet loveable character you just instantly love. He is naive to the world around him. His too trusting personality gets him into trouble more often than not. We do learn that Keata is like this not out of stupidity but out of wanting to be accepted. It’s also funny to read the dialogue when Keata is talking to anyone. His broken English is a complete laugh. Ms. Hagen did an excellent job getting across this young man’s language barrier.

The scenes with Keata and Johnny are very humorous and refreshing. These two have become best friends and have definitely unleashed chaos in the Brac household. Mates are treasured beings to these wolves and are on short leashes when it comes to being able to go out and about on their own. Despite being in constant danger from unknown sources it’s nice to see the mates being able to cut loose and live a little.

Keata’s story has been a long awaited addition to the series. I've ondered since book five who his mate would be. The struggles these two men have endured are completely worth it in the end. We also get some unexpected news where Keata and his cousin Kyoshi are concerned. Ms. Hagen has also introduced another paranormal entity into this series. I for one can’t wait to see where her imagination will take us next.

I highly recommend Keata’s Promise. We get answers to questions but are left asking more. This is a must read series.

Twin Trouble by Shelley Munro

Twin Trouble by Shelley Munro
Middlemarch Mates, Book Eleven
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (161 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Man wanted: confident and charismatic, a virtuoso in bed and capable of supporting a woman in her quest for freedom.

Shifter Kiera Pascoe is desperate to foil her brothers’ plan to ship her back to England. She needs help, and hunky Joe Mitchell is the perfect applicant. Joe misses his twin Sly, and Kiera presents a diversion from his isolated state. From the start, hunger explodes between them and sparks fly with each intoxicating touch. The sex is fun and challenging—mutual ecstasy with a little spanking and kink.

Sly arrives home unexpectedly, creating chaos with their erotic hijinks. Emotions tangle and create a dilemma for all three. Joe has feelings for Kiera and wants to keep her. Kiera worries about exchanging one set of pushy males for another while Sly lusts after his twin’s lover. Two sexy shifter twins and one gorgeous feline woman—they’ve got trouble in Middlemarch and it’s gonna take time to unravel the steamy muddle.

The tragedy of betrayal taints a beautiful relationship and love’s power is the only thing that can heal the pain while bringing promises of a new and better future. But first all the players need to be on the same page and that’s a bit difficult for the characters in this story. I had such a good time reading Twin Trouble because of the emotions that Ms. Munro tapped into.

This story is book eleven in the Middlemarch Mates series and brings the twins, Joe and Sly, to a crossroads in their lives. In the beginning, I thought them pretty carefree and frivolous. Certainly they were known for their silly antics and practical jokes, although well meaning, from previous books in the series. This time the spotlight is on them and their characters grow and mature before my eyes. It’s a bittersweet change because it comes on the heels of a shocking development. What happens created a disturbing domino effect and I wasn’t sure what could possibly help them. Certainly their older brother was powerless to do anything and that’s quite a switch.

Then there is the heroine, Kiera. She’s the newcomer on the block and she has her own problems. She’s unique in her viewpoints, her occupation and her pragmatic outlook on life. She knows what she needs to thwart her older brother’s plans for her and probably never in a million years guessed what that one statement, “I need a man” would eventually lead her to. It leads to a lot of fun which shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of this series.

Let me assure readers that this story is definitely a standalone book. Any necessary background was provided through the characters simply leading their lives and interacting with their friends and family. Once Kiera is behind doors at Joe’s house, this book zeroes in on Joe, Kiera and Sly and how they make it all work.

There are two levels of conflict going on. One is internal and deals with meshing the relationships between all three of the protagonists. The second is the external conflict which comes from Kiera’s brother and this other guy who, as far as I’m concerned, is a villain. Initially I was led to believe he’d take the hint and that’d be that, but his actions afterwards solidly placed him in the bad guy box and he never left. How in the world he thought she’d take him seriously is beyond me. The jerk was deluded. The heroine couldn’t have had two more perfect champions than Joe and Sly at her side and I really liked how they respected her enough to let her deal with things her own way but had her back if and when she needed it.

It was great seeing some of my favorite people again and the sense of community is alive and well in this tale. Another thing that continues to be a strong draw is Ms. Munro’s ability to combine sensitive emotions with white hot and kinky doings in the house. Notice I didn’t say the bedroom. Joe and Sly can’t be considered vanilla in any aspect and readers are in for a wild ride anywhere the whim takes those two guys. The only thing that I questioned was Joe’s initial foray into sex play with Kiera. His particular choice was a bit too fast for my tastes and I would think that more trust needs to be earned before a person to be comfortable with that. I can’t imagine having that sprung on me without a knee jerk reaction of wanting to retaliate. Then again, turnabout is fair play and could be fun, right?

Twin Trouble is no trouble to read at all. I found time zipping by at a quick pace because it was well written and entertaining not to mention blush inducing. I liked how Ms. Munro had them working out their differences. I enjoyed watching them fall in love. It wasn’t a fast event because they refused to label it love initially, but when they finally figured out they had the real thing and that dreams do come true, it was beautiful. Read it and see.

Creative License by Lynne Roberts

Creative License by Lynne Roberts
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (92 pages)
Other: M/F, anal play/intercourse
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Loose ends have a way of tripping you up…

Years ago, a law school graduation weekend in Vegas had been part of Lily MacPherson’s plan. Waking up next to a naked Adonis with a ring on her finger was not. After a quick annulment, she relegated Caleb Anderson to her late-night fantasies—and very short list of mistakes—until his voice on the other end of the phone asks a favor that could shake the foundations of her neat and tidy future.

Caleb is still haunted by Lily’s horrified expression that morning in Vegas. At least it had made it easy to set her free…except they aren’t. The papers were never filed. And when the nosy patroness who could launch his painting career insists on meeting his “wife”, does he confess, or call Lily? He calls Lily.

When she steps off the plane, Caleb’s determination to play tour guide disappears in the San Francisco fog. Lily thought she could keep up the pretense for one weekend, cut the last tie to her past, and move on. But their chemistry still pops and sizzles, finally exploding into passion at Caleb’s studio.

It’s everything they remember…but so is the yawning chasm of differences that, in the end, could once again drive them apart.

What happened in Vegas…apparently failed to be annulled before they left Vegas.

Are you looking for an honestly sweet and sexy love story that comes with its own soundtrack? Look no further than Lynne Robert’s Creative License. If you have access to a music site where you can pick the song, que up Evanescence's “Bring Me to Life”. The song has an integral part in this story but it’s towards the end. Listen to it before you read this novella and again after you finish it and you’ll understand why it’s the perfect soundtrack for Caleb and Lily’s story.

Ms. Roberts has penned a really wonderful story of two people whose souls knew they are meant for each other when they first met. Too bad they let their brains become involved and ran from the amazing chemistry they both felt. When Caleb’s dream of having his art introduced to the San Francisco community and potentially the world hinges upon his patroness meeting his estranged wife he makes a call that changes his life as well as Lily’s.

Readers are going to fall in love with this couple thanks to Ms. Robert’s beautifully vivid writing. The characters are well developed and their situation completely realistic. Caleb is an artist that is very down to earth and well balanced and yet you get the feeling he’s missing something in his life. Lily has always been the “good girl” with the ten year plan. When she’s brought back into Caleb’s life she starts to question that plan and if the world she’s known is what she really wants.

The passion between Caleb and Lily is incredibly palpable and Ms. Robert’s made it so enjoyable to watch the progression from “we can be adults” to “we can’t keep our hands off each other”. Pick up a copy of Creative License. There is so much to love about this story. It’s one that had this reviewer searching for more stories by Ms. Roberts. If you love short stories that aren’t short on entertainment and emotion you won’t want to miss Creative License.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Play Me by Kaily Hart

Play Me by Kaily Hart
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (105 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Fetish, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Anemone

Lily Hamilton had her quiet, predictable life all mapped out, including a hot-shot attorney for a fiancé. That is until she catches him screwing around and takes off in his prized Mercedes, for once not giving a damn where she’s headed. How clichéd is that?

Gabriel Jackson is raw and disillusioned. Driving a tow truck is a far cry from the dangerous career he turned his back on, but when he finds the classy blonde in a dangerous part of LA, he’s immediately back in the role of protector.

Lily is hot and sweet and so out of his league it’s not funny, yet Gabe can’t deny the sizzling heat between them. He thinks he wants hard, fast and rough—until he gets his hands on her. He knows he should stay the hell away, but Lily makes him feel, really feel, for the first time in two years. Is she just slumming or can she see beyond the harsh, broken façade to the man beneath? A man who dreams of making her his?

Lily needs a hero. Caught in a broken down car that was borrowed from her cheating ex, she’s waiting for her white knight to save her. Gabe is a knight in tarnished armor. Working as a tow truck driver, he can’t help but rush in to defend Lily because that’s what he always does. But Lily is different and Gabe finds himself powerless to resist her charms.

With white hot chemistry between Lily and Gabe, the sex scenes were explosive. There was an odd part in one of the first sex scenes where the characters fumbled and it seemed disjointed (although it was realistic) but I didn't let it do more than cause a small stutter before I moved past it and kept reading. It was a mere blip on the radar, while there were many more delicious scenes to read after.

Lily is sweet and adorable but Gabe is the shining star of this book. With a broken past, he is sure he isn’t the right type of guy for Lily but she knows what she needs. Lily is a strong character, perhaps strong enough to heal Gabe.

This book is great for people who love broken and sexy heros. I love the characters as well as the secondary characters. Hopefully we’ll see books about them in the future from Ms. Hart. With yet another sinfully hot book, this author has become an instant buy for me. I highly recommend it.

Much More Than Blood by Kate Hill

Much More Than Blood by Kate Hill
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion

For years Rosa Ferrer has indulged her every whim, no matter how violent or debauched. What’s a spoiled vampiress to do when she’s run out of fun? Seek an unsuspecting mortal and create the perfect mate for herself.

Royal Marine Commando Alik Lennox faces his ultimate test of courage against an enemy for which there is no defense. He cannot escape his fate, or can he? In a Scottish pub he meets a beautiful woman with whom he expects to have a one-night stand, a farewell gift to himself. Instead, he finds the impossible.

Rosa, the feisty independent manager of an underground vampire fighting ring, decides she needs to make herself a "hybrid" - turn a mortal into a vampire to keep her company the rest of her immortal days. She finds Alik, a perfect specimen - except for the fact that he's dying. Changing him makes sense, but she finds herself falling in love with him, which messes things up considerably. I really liked the believable characater development in both hero and heroine. These two are equally strong and well-matched in love. They don't easily give in to the other, which I liked. However, the sex scenes are hot and many, which adds to the complexity of their relationship.

The conflicts in the storyline make sense for the most part, though in a couple of spots the story jumps ahead a few months without a lot of consequence other than some "fill in" discussion by the author. That is my chief complaint about this book: too much author explanation and backstory, from the beginning to the end. While I did enjoy the story itself, including the ways in which the vampire world are described and the differences between "hybrids" (mortals turned into vampires) and "Immaculates" (vampires that are born rather than turned), I would have liked to see less narrative and more action and dialogue.

When the action and dialogue are in full swing, then the story moves along well. We see the mighty Rosa fall in love for the first time and question her own upbringing and lack of integrity, which Alik brings into sharp contrast for her. He is an equally admirable character, a man of strength and devotion and wisdom and amazing pecs. His reaction to becoming a vampire is understandable because we feel his confusion, his bloodlust, and his love for Rosa all in conflict with his commitment to his army unit. Overall this is an enjoyable story, especially for those paranormal romance lovers out there!

SWAT Team 1 and The Social Worker by Dixie Lynn Dwyer

SWAT Team 1 and The Social Worker by Dixie Lynn Dwyer
The Men of Five-0 Book 1
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (247 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/F/M/M, M/F/M/M/M/M, Menage, Spanking, Anal play/intercourse
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Caught in the middle of a hostage situation, social worker Samantha Gray faces death to help a family in need. When she calls for help, the SWAT Commander and his team of four gorgeous men come to her rescue. These five handsome faces, sexy bodies, and take-charge personalities send her body into sexual turmoil, but she has to resist. She fell in love once and caused her lover’s death. She can’t give in to temptation this time, no matter how desirable the brothers.

The Valdamar brothers are a pack of Alphas hired by the government to keep the peace. They discover their mate, but she refuses to reciprocate their advances. As trouble continues to find her, they lose their patience and decide to take what is theirs and shield her from further harm in the one place she resists—their arms.

As a social worker in the Bronx, Samantha Gray was accustomed to dealing with men acting like animals. In a refreshing twist on a paranormal, she is even comfortable with the fact that some men were part animal. Where Samantha’s internal struggle goes for a rollercoaster ride is when she considers the men of Swat Team 1. They are five brothers in the biological sense but, more than that they are teammates in an organization that has made protecting the innocent a way of life. Here lately the “innocent” life that occupies most of their time belongs to one stubborn social worker that happens to be their mate.

Dixie Lynn Dwyer is back with a terrific new series for Siren Publishing’s LoveXtreme line and she appears to be making a strategic change in the line's formula that should pay off for its originality alone. Where all of the authors (that I’ve read) have chosen to make their series about a single girl getting to know a group of men over X number of books it would appear that Ms. Dwyer is going to take an organization (SWAT Teams) made up of small groups of men and give each team their own story. That’s pretty exciting because readers are going to get a full length story in each book rather than six or more short stories.

Ms. Dwyer is terrifically gifted in writing both paranormal and menage relationships. ST1, as it’s been shortened to on social networking sites, is no exception. The men are every bit as Alpha as fans of Ms. Dwyer have come to expect and the women are independent and stubborn to a fault. Readers will appreciate how Ms. Dwyer differentiates the personalities of the men from each other as well as from the men in her other popular series. The plot is thick and layered but with perfect timing and resolution by the end of this exciting story.

One of the hallmarks of Ms. Dwyer’s writing is the ability to translate deep emotions into heart-wrenching dialogue and internal struggles. Samantha’s story begins with a tragedy that weighs on her for a large portion of the book. The reader will feel her pain and soul consuming guilt through Ms. Dwyer’s vivid and detailed language. To counter the emotional grief that Samantha is dealing with you can expect to be swept away by the awe inspiring love and devotion of the Valdamar brothers. It’s there in the way that they look at her, touch her and even in the way they give her grief over getting into trouble.

If you’ve never been introduced to the writings of Ms. Dwyer, SWAT Team 1 is a good place to start. This series is sure to bring you back for more and seeking out other books by this incredible storyteller. Pick up a copy today and get lost in the fantastic imagination of the talented Ms. Dixie Lynn Dwyer. You’ll be very glad you did.

Hush by Amarinda Jones

Hush by Amarinda Jones
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M/M/M, M/F/F, Ménage, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Clematis

Eliza McQuade is tired of her boring existence. She wants more out of life. She craves dirty sex with strangers. The way to get it? Give in to her wildest desires and let go of the good girl inside.

Tobias Renfrew is more than happy to help Eliza smash her inhibitions with a little help from his friends. He sees nothing wrong in guiding the insatiable lust Eliza has in order to make her happy.

Charm, sensuality and dirty, needy sex are Eliza’s requirements. She wants a little fun in her life and Tobias is just the man to see that she gets it!

You just can’t help but enjoy this romp with Eliza. For all that she’s repressed, she knows what she wants and sets out to get it, no matter how terrifying the prospect.

“Are you looking for forever or fantasy?” asks Tobias.

“Can’t I have both?” Eliza replies.

And so it begins as Tobias sets out to fulfill Eliza’s fantasies, in every explicit detail, much to Eliza’s enthusiastic delight.

Two lost souls touch and the rest is history. It’s inevitable.

Short and sweet it may be but Amarinda Jones stills weaves a potent, character driven tale that will keep you glued and grinning till the very end! A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Pride and Surrender by Julia Devlin

Pride and Surrender by Julia Devlin
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Other: m/f, bdsm
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis

I want no part of messy emotions, of lust and surrender. But none of that seems to matter to Christos Constantine. No matter how much I resist, no matter how much I fight, he keeps coming after me…and I am powerless.

Juliet Russo’s pride and strength of will have always kept her safe. The armor she has built around herself is impenetrable and no one is allowed to see beneath. She has managed to keep Christos and the attraction that simmers between them at bay for two years, but he’s done taking no for an answer.

Pride and Surrender is a novella that packs all the sensual heat and emotion of a much longer work. Juliet is a strong-minded, intelligent heroine with a weakness that makes her easy to empathize with. She struggles with a tragic fear of her own emotions and a distrust that a man strong and alpha enough to excite her will really want her over other women who display more stereotypical warm, outgoing feminine personality traits. She has been used to hiding this aspect of herself and focusing on her professional life. She keeps her softer, more sensual side hidden. She goes through the motions, dating men who are safe but do not excite her. It is easy to root for her, to hope that she will find the emotional courage to overcome her fears and make the leap to trust the hero. It would have been interesting to go into why Juliet is this way but we are told that she just has always been this way and does not really know why.

Christos is handsome and alpha and sexy. He also possesses the understanding to see the real Julia behind the “ice-queen” mask she shows the world. He is assertive in his approach, patiently weakening Julia’s resistance. In the past, he fought his attraction to her, but he’s worked through all that and now is determined to win this woman who is more than his match. I liked this aspect of the hero being ready and open for love. Devlin does a good job of giving him a backstory that makes it believable that he has all of these emotional resources in the story. He knows how to be strong and yet tender too. Yet he’s all alpha.

There’s a rich sensual, visual evocative aspect to this erotic romance that sets it apart. Devlin is often economical with scenery descriptions, preferring to keep the focus tight on the internal emotional aspect of the characters and the interpersonal conflict between the hero and heroine. But when she does focus on external images, they are always powerful ones that are directly vital to the story. I loved the descriptions of the heroine’s bedroom and her photography. I really believe this story would not have been as powerful written in any other POV but first and I think it was the best decision to write it that way.

There were no external antagonists in this story, except for the phantoms of doubt and distrust in the heroine’s mind. The conflict was limited to the Hero and Heroine and their internal struggles. I believe this made the story more powerful, more emotionally intense with the focus strongly on the heroine coming to terms with her lack of comfort with her own emotional nature and her innate doubts about men whom she truly finds desirable.

The pace of the romance was just fast enough to give it an edge. The couple had known each other for two years so they already have an emotionally rich history and deep, ongoing sexual tension. The heroine resisted the hero just enough without it becoming tedious or repetitive. And I really enjoyed the feeling underlying emotional danger and passionate warring between them as he rather forcefully courts her. And courts her he does. He is very sensitive to her needs, very nurturing of her emotions and her physical well being while never losing his alpha edge. This is not an easy thing to accomplish but Devlin does so beautifully here.

It is a very sensual, spicy story. Devlin really makes the most of the sexual scenes, keeping the threads of emotion and the moment-to-moment sensual experience of the characters at the forefront. Aspects of bondage and submission are brought in a way that emphasizes the trust and sharing. Very refreshing in a contemporary erotica. There’s no sense of humiliation or masochism or outrageous kink here. Just pure trust given as a gift in a way that is all the more sexy because it’s pure focus.

Yes, there could have been a little more view into what made Juliet so distrusting of men and uncomfortable with emotion but when a story sweeps you into such a evocative emotional landscape and allows you such immediate, intimate connection to the character and her experience, one cannot nitpick for long. One can only experience and enjoy. If you love strong, alpha heroes with a tender side and empathize with strong-minded heroines, do yourself a favor and indulge in the chocolate liquor-like richness of this not-to-be-missed erotic romance.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mikayla’s Men by Abby Blake

Mikayla’s Men by Abby Blake
A Bride for Eight Brothers, Book 1
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy
Length: Short Story (107 pages)
Other: f/m/m/m/m/m/m/m/m, menage, bdsm, anal play, spanking
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Clematis

Mikayla believed the wrong man and found herself stranded on a planet a long way from home. Faced with starvation or prostitution, she chooses to survive, but things don’t go quite the way she expected.

Matt, John, Peter, Ryan, Ty, Lachlan and Brock have a small problem. She’s a beautiful, talented, kind and incredibly sexy woman snowed in with them for the winter. But she is also a victim and in need of their help. Refusing to use her as the prostitute they paid for, they manage to find enough work to keep her busy.

But they hadn’t counted on Mikayla actually wanting to fulfill the terms of her contract…

Snowed in for the winter with seven sexy brothers, can Mikayla live a fantasy without losing her heart?

You’ll be captivated and drawn in right from the very first chapter. Abby Blake has a winner with a story that has it all: a heroine you can’t help but admire, eight sexy, incredible, divinely masculine brothers, who not only save her from a fate worse than death, but together, give her life new meaning and purpose.

Each interlude Mikayla has with one or two of her heroes, is a delicious and sensually satisfying foray into the unknown. You can't help but admire her bravery and honor and that of her heroes who think that they really just want a woman to keep them all sexually satisfied for the next year.

Their attitudes and feelings for Mikayla quickly change to acceptance, tenderness, caring and more. The emotional link that binds them all, makes this love story unique, evocative and thrilling, yet satisfying on so many levels, quite a feat for a relatively short story of just over 100 pages!

The writing is wonderfully written, sad, funny, erotic and sweet. The plot, wickedly fascinating and sure to leave you gasping for more. Thank goodness this is just Book one of six.

With well-defined characters and an interesting otherworldly setting, expect an emotional hook to draw you back each time and keep you there till the very end. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today!

Stroke to His Cox by J.L. Merrow

Stroke to His Cox by J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (20 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

As coxswain of a Cambridge college rowing team, pint-sized Dave Tanaka has eight strapping athletes hanging on his every word, their strength at his command. Leading his crew to win their oars might be easier if Dave didn’t have to hide his crush on Archie, the stroke rower – but as they prepare for their final race, Dave doesn’t suspect that Archie is in the same boat as him in more ways than one!

Dave secretly wants Archie to stroke more than the rowing oars on their team boat. Dave is the cox of his rowing team and Archie is the stroke. Together they lead an 8 man rowing team that is battling to win their bumps for the year. Between trying to hide his infatuation and the obvious physical effects of it, Dave hope to propel his team to a win. Yet the celebrations afterward may be the best part of the day.

Stroke to His Cox is a tongue in cheek (yes both cheeks) witty story. It’s a romance sure, but filled with sporting terms all revolving around English rowing. For those that aren’t familiar with rowing there is an attempt to incorporate that information in the story in numerous places. Some terms I understood while others not so much, but none of that matters. The men are charming, the sex is hot, and the double entendres never stop. Just like you wish the story wouldn’t ever stop.

The writing is incredibly good with tons of sly references and wry humor. The English setting is vivid and captures the adrenaline and competitiveness of the sport while never letting you forget where the story takes place. It’s very English from the language to the dialogue and this adds a new and modern feel. Likewise the romance doesn’t go the expected way and keeps you guessing and wondering ‘til the end.

For those that like unique and fun stories, you won’t get much better than Stroke to His Cox. You know the story is sure to pique your interest with a title like that and I can report that it happily delivers on every inherent promise.