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Friday, May 13, 2011

Captive of the Stars by Viola Grace

Captive of the Stars by Viola Grace
Hashka Chronicles 4
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (86 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Nasha Fano has lived her adult life as the host of Ithena, red star of the northern sky. Refusing to believe that her deceased father sold her to Lord Kalowell she fights for her freedom and the survival of her people. Caught on the wrong side of the wall between her people and the invaders, Nasha is made a captive by the Lord who wanted the avatar of Ithena, but he has no idea that she is the very woman he seeks. Learning about him, his people, and the course of events that brought them together is humbling, but the star inside her will not come out to confront the other avatar or the star he holds. Frustrated, Nasha gives in to the last thing she wanted and embraces the power of his touch in hopes it will rouse the star within.

The Hashka Chronicles is Viola Grace’s most recent series, and I believe it is quickly becoming one of my favorite worlds to visit.

Nasha Fano is the avatar of Ithena, the red star of the northern sky. She is determined to avoid the man who ‘bought’ her from her father before his death, and when Lord Kalowell and his troops approach, Nasha is at the head of her small group of warriors, defending the keep to the end. When she is captured, she pretends to be a servant, and tries to escape and reach her people.

Thorn Kalowell is determined to find the avatar of Ithena, for it is the only way to satisfy his own inner star, and bring prosperity and peace to the people. He isn’t aware that the servant he has in chains is, in fact, the woman he seeks throughout the land.

When Nasha discovers that things aren’t as she was lead to believe, she gives in to Thorn, in hopes that her passion will draw Ithena to the surface so she can fulfill the promise she made to Eshkar; that when they each had the perfect avatar, they would join to create a child with the power of the stars. And although Ithena is a star, she has the same fears any female has, and isn’t sure she is ready for motherhood. Can Nasha and Thorn work through this, and find passion together? Will Nasha accept her destiny when she finds the truth is better than she could have hoped? Can Thorn break through the walls that Nasha has erected around her heart for a happy ever after?

This world of sentient stars and their chosen avatars is a fascinating place to visit, and Ms. Grace has the imagination to populate it with all kinds of delightful characters. I have enjoyed all of these, but this one is especially fun to read.

Nasha has known all her life that she is Ithena’s chosen, and she is a strong and determined woman. She seeks to protect her people and their way of life, and doesn’t realize that what she has been told isn’t the truth. She is a warrior as well, and leads her guards against unbeatable odds, knowing the chances are slim, but fighting for honor as much as anything else. I did enjoy watching how far she was willing to go to hide who she was, even when placed in chains to prevent escape.

Thorn Kalowell is not what he appears to be. He is a kind and generous leader, not the merciless warlord Nasha believes him to be. He is determined to find his destined mate, not knowing he already has her in his home. I enjoyed watching Thorn slowly unravel the mystery, and finally claim his mate once she is revealed.

There are some surprising twists here, especially the one about Ithena. I liked the idea that for once, the star was the one hesitating to join her mate, and that it was up to the avatars to lure her out to her proper place with Eshkar. I look forward to more adventures with Ms. Grace’s wonderful, blue skinned Hashka, and the growth of these worlds of fantasy and imagination.

Lucky in Love by Catherine Chernow

Lucky in Love by Catherine Chernow
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Stephanotis

She's a cougar, he's a cub, can they find happiness together and be...Lucky in Love?

Maddie Summers' friends nicknamed her 'Lucky'. The scratch-off lottery tickets she gives them for their birthdays are winners. There's only one place Maddie could use some of that good fortune – her love life. She's at that midpoint of her life - 50 - with grey hairs and a few inches added to her waistline. When her husband left her for a younger woman, a part of her died, but she bounced back, and now she's ready for...what? Maddie isn't sure what she wants to do with the rest of her life, but she's determined not to let it slip by.

Her dormant hormones spring to life the day six-feet, four-inches of drop-dead gorgeous man moves in to the vacant house next to hers. He's got her hot. He's got her panting. There's just one problem - he's thirty-five.

Jake Conroy's life changes the day he finds his sexy new neighbor standing on his doorstep. He's not looking for love, he's looking for a fresh start in a new town, with a new job. He never figured on meeting Maddie, an older woman with a new attitude.

Maddie is patient and forgiving, while most of Jake's peers are not. Her family has raised eyebrows and his job isn't working out. Is their cougar and cub relationship just a fling, or will they prove they are...

Lucky in Love.

Maddie Summers thinks she’s taking a "welcome to the neighborhood gift" to the older Mr. Conroy and gets a pleasant surprise when he’s actually young and gorgeous.

I enjoyed this story from the very first page. Maddie comes across as a real person and you felt her excitement and slight embarrassment when she discovers her new neighbor is actually a young hunk. I enjoy older woman/younger man stories and this one didn’t disappoint me. I felt Maggie’s attraction to Jake who comes across not only as handsome and sexy but as a nice guy too.

While you’re reading this story you cheer Maddie on and find yourself saying just go for it when you sense her reluctance to take their relationship to the next step because of their age difference. The sex scenes are well placed and sexy. The dialogue is natural sounding and the pacing just right for this short read.

If you’re looking for a quick and enjoyable story, I recommend you pick up Lucky in Love.

Ecstasy Times Two by Robin Gideon

Ecstasy Times Two by Robin Gideon
Dakota Dynasty, #1
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (173 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 2.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

Candice has plans for her future. She is going to become a nurse, eventually find herself a nice man to marry, and lead a quiet, middle-class existence utterly devoid of emotional super highs and super lows. All of this makes perfect sense…right up to the time the town’s ultra-alpha policeman decides to make Candice his own.

On that very same day, the boomtown’s most gorgeous oilman billionaire also decides that Candice is the woman he needs to make his life complete. When passion erupts, unplanned and most definitely uncharacteristic, Candice’s life is thrown into chaos.

Can Candice find fulfillment and lifelong love in the arms of two men so opposite from one another? Can these men, so strong in their own right, share their love for Candice?

Which would you choose? The charming billionaire playboy with a voracious sexual appetite or the very able bodied Sergeant with a penchant for using handcuffs? For Candice, the decision isn’t quite so easy, especially when they take matters into their own hands.

Candice never thought two of New Oslo’s hottest men would be vying for her attention. Little do they know that she is secretly seeing them both and can’t seem to stop the fast-paced sexual journey she’s taken with each of them. Now the men have developed feelings for Candice and want to go public with the relationship. Unable to decide and unable to stop the passion each man ignites when present, fate intervenes with the chance of a lifetime – what if Candice doesn’t have to choose? Of course not everyone is happy that Candice has started a new chapter in her life and he’s going to make certain that she regrets it.

Ms. Gideon takes some wickedly hot sex and turns the heat up a notch with a voyeuristic touch. The positioning and situations the characters are in while together creates some very stimulating imagery. Unfortunately, there are some slightly annoying editing errors and the story lacked fluidity between scenes. The emotional and devotional depth to which the characters professed for each other came about quickly, so while I desperately wanted to believe in the magnetic pull between Candice and the men it wasn't quite there. The story does offer a realistic look at how a ménage might be dealt with in society and the uncertainty and insecurities that go with it.

I would definitely recommend this story to readers looking for a hot and heavy ménage relationship that strives to push inhibitions aside. Since this is the first in a new series by Ms. Gideon, it will be interesting to see what she comes up with next.

Love Sexy by Stormy Glenn

Love Sexy by Stormy Glenn
True Blood Mate 3
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Logan Stone lives a lonely existence as the beta of his wolf clan. It's his job to protect his people and follow out the orders of his alpha. That doesn't leave much time to find a mate or fill the empty hole in his heart. When he spots a set of sexy eyes staring at him during the moon festival, Logan knows he has met his mate.

Finding Love Star is not as easy as keeping him. Love may be fascinated by all things wolf but when Logan goes feral during their mating, Love runs for his life. Logan has to call for help to find Love, only discover his mate is hiding right under his nose at the Stone Clan compound.

Instead of convincing Love of the merits of being mated to a wolf, Logan has to depend on Love to protect himself even as he tries to shield the man from the dangerous world he has just entered. If they survive the interference of well meaning friends and a coyote shifter bent on killing Love, they just might have a chance of finding out what fate has planned for them.

It has been a while since I've had a story keep me up until the wee hours of the night, no matter what I had to do the next day. Yes, I had a meeting with my boss at 8:30am, but did that make me stop reading once I was past my bedtime? No. I just could not get away from these entertaining characters and a captivating plot.

If you like quirky theatrical characters, then meet Love Star. Yes, that is his real name. Love is one of those characters you wish was real because he could entertain you for hours. I knew he was going to be fun from the first paragraph, as he complained about his missing tail. He has an energy about him that drawls people to him, even when you know nothing good will come out of it. Logan knew that his little mate would be trouble he just didn't realize how much trouble he was in. No one could ever tame the firecracker named Love.

Author Stormy Glenn always makes sure her previous characters are involved in any new story in a series, which was displayed perfectly in this story. Not only does she keep you up to date, she does not let this interfere with the flow of the main characters' stories. You also feel right at home if you did not read the first two stories in the True Blood Mate series, but I'm betting you'll want to go back and read the previous stories even if you have already read them.

The conflict really brought this story to a higher level. There is nothing like a threat to your partner that will help a character grow individually as well as appreciate the mate they have been given. Logan, the big Beta, is supposed to protect those around him including his mate, if only Love would let him do his job. It just is not Love’s style to let someone fight his battles or let someone hurt those he cares about.

This story is a must read. Love Sexy has made its way to my keeper shelf, and I plan on having my own marathon and reading all three stories so far in this series again (and again).

Dragon Kin: Resistance by Selena Illyria

Dragon Kin: Resistance by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (60 Pages)
Other: M/F, Light BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

It's been two weeks since Katrina last saw Braydon. She's beginning to have her doubts about their relationship. Braydon refuses to let Katrina's insecurities keep them apart. No matter what it takes, what walls she he has to break down and what excuses she makes, he's going to prove that they belong together.

This is Selena Illyria’s follow up to Dragon Kin: Binding Katrina, and I am delighted to see this story continue.

Braydon hated that he had to leave Katrina so soon after binding himself to her. He realizes what it took for her to trust and confide in him, and he’s worried that she will put all of her walls back up.

The trip to his family’s lands took longer than planned, because his younger brother went missing, and Braydon stayed to hunt him down. But now, it has been two long and miserable weeks without Katrina, and he is heading home.

Katrina imagines every bad thing that could have happened to Braydon in the two weeks he’s been gone. There has been no word from him, and she is afraid he will be just another one that she cared about-another one who left. She doesn’t realize what binding means to an elf, even a rebel like Braydon. But after some deep thinking, Katrina decides she has to start believing that she is worthy, that she has friends, people who care about her and aren’t leaving.

When Braydon finally gets back, he discovers that Katrina has built a few of her walls back, but has also made steps to change and accept more from life. Can Braydon break down more of Katrina’s walls, and convince her he’s not going anywhere? Can Katrina accept all that Braydon offers and open up to his love?

I liked getting reacquainted with these characters, and enjoyed watching Katrina slowly open up to some new experiences. Ms. Illyria has a knack for creating rich and detailed worlds, with delicious and unique characters. The first story had a decent happy for now, but I wanted much more for these two characters.

Katrina has started the growth process, opening up to Braydon as she has never done with anyone. But when he has to leave, she starts to backslide a bit. I enjoyed watching as she began to realize she wasn’t alone, and had friends she could depend on to stay and be there for her. It was a delight to watch as she took the first steps toward her new life, and the joy she found in something as simple as picking out paint for her house.

Braydon is still the rebel, the tattooed and pierced elf, but he has lost his heart to Katrina. He is frustrated with each minute he has to delay his journey back to her. I liked watching him grow more in love with her, and his worry was touching in a way. He sends messengers back with news, but doesn’t realize that none of his messages made it to Katrina, thanks to a werewolf uprising of sorts.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Selena Illyria book without some scorching hot sex, and the reunion of Katrina and Braydon takes the heat to new levels very quickly. I loved that she gained some sass and took some initiative toward the new life she wants with Braydon.

This is a wonderful addition to the Dragon Kin line, and I would love to visit Braydon and Katrina again in the future.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Double Bang by KyAnn Waters and Tarah Scott

Double Bang by KyAnn Waters and Tarah Scott
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 Pages)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Sara Martin has a problem. And it’s not the attraction she has for her co-worker Devon Curran…or the lust she feels for her sexy neighbor, Rigg. Yes, those are problems. But she has bigger issues. There’s been a security breach in the impenetrable computer system at work. Suddenly Devon doesn’t look happy. And that is a gun in his pocket!

Devon is working undercover…and Sara is about to blow his case. He’d rather she blow him. She’s as smart as she is beautiful. But he’s lied to protect her. What will she do when she discovers he works with a partner? Tonight, they are going to keep her close…very close…in their protective custody.

This is a short but delightful read by two talented authors who write well together. Can a kidnapping turn into the fulfillment of Sara Martin’s wildest fantasies?

When Sara discovers a breach in the computer security at the import/export business she works for, her first thought is to contact her boss. After testing him, the new man in the office, star of many of her hottest fantasies, stops by her desk. After finding out what has happened, Devon spirits Sara away, and she believes the worst: that he is a criminal trying to steal from their boss. When he finally convinces her he is the good guy, trying to stop a sex slave ring run under the auspices of the import/export business, he realizes that he still has one more shock for Sara.

When he calls in his partner, Sara is stunned to answer the door to the other hottie from her late night fantasies, her new neighbor, Rigg. Both men ignite a fire deep in Sara, and she wants it all, just this once. Can these three set the night on fire? Will they keep Sara out of harm’s way as the law catches up to her boss? And Is there a happy ever after for Sara with either of these men?

This has much more to it than just a hot ménage. There is danger, and hot undercover agents and suspense, all in a very intriguing world. The characters are well crafted and real, and the storyline flows easily from the first page.

Sara is smart, sassy, and ready to face off against what she believes, at first, to be the bad guy that hacked her work computer. I enjoyed watching her slowly come to terms with what Devon told her about her boss and his ‘other’ business. Her surprise when Devon acknowledges an interest in her, in the middle of the investigation, gets multiplied when she learns who his partner is in this sting operation.

Devon is tall and hot, and has had fantasies about Sara since first seeing her. He is a steady and strong man, determined to stop this nasty business once and for all. He never expected to find someone like Sara, and his first concern is to make sure she isn’t involved in this. I loved that once he saw she was innocent, all bets were off. I loved Devon for his determination to protect Sara in this.

Rigg is the ultimate bad boy, dark and tattooed, every woman’s guilty fantasy. He is determined to break this case, but keep Sara safe. He is honest, and lets Sara know that he wants her, but not the same way Devon does. He is more of a love them and leave them kind of guy. As an undercover detective, he lives on the edge, taking pleasure where he finds it. I like his honest and open candor with Sara.

This is a short and very hot story, and there is so much more than just hot sex here. There is the danger of the investigation, the blossoming relationship with Devon, and the electricity between all three characters taking this up to another level. I recommend this for those times when you just need a quick pick me up to occupy your mind. But bring lots of ice, you will need it.

Breathe Me In by Lex Valentine

Breathe Me In by Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Life is good for vampire Wilson North. His family left him well off. His job as an estate attorney is prestigious, well paying, and non-demanding. He’s gay and out and never had any issues being either. In fact, until the day he ended up beneath his car, bleeding out and only a few pints of blood from a sure trip to the Afterworld, life had never been a challenge.

When Will meets his destiny in the form of an enigmatic Magia named Garrick Forrester he finds the challenge of his life. Garrick’s gay but doesn’t live an openly gay life. Instead, he hides his nature behind his ownership of a BDSM club. The two men instantly know they are mates, but that doesn’t smooth the path to their bonding. Garrick wants Will but threats from his past convince him that the only way to protect his lover is to leave him. Shocked by Garrick’s ability to walk away, Will struggles to understand why his mate doesn’t want him. For the first time in Will’s life, something isn’t easy and he must fight for what he needs or give up his chance for happiness.

Drawn together by destiny. Torn apart by self-doubts and fear. Two men on the cusp of a dream must set aside the lives they’ve always lived for a chance at a new and brilliant future.

How can someone live after finding their mate and abruptly losing him, all within a short period of time? Would you fight for your love or would you let it slip through your fingers? After a near death experience Wilson North realizes that he cannot continue to live his life as he has been doing. When he meets his mate his world is turned upside down. Garrick and Wilson are wonderful together but Garrick has fears and secrets that pull the two apart. After a great week of being together things make a turn in the wrong direction. Out of the blue Garrick announces that he is leaving and that Wilson must go on without him but Wilson is not ready to give up on his mate and follows Garrick to find his secrets.

Breathe Me In is another great installment to the Darkworld series. Wilson North is a great character and I am happy to see that he finds a mate and gets his story told. Garrick and Wilson make a wonderful couple. Always there for one another and so full of love for each other. I loved seeing Wilson come into himself and fight for Garrick. Garrick may love Wilson but he is afraid and thinks the best way to protect Wilson is to leave him. Garrick is a strong man who finds his life and emotions in upheaval win he meets Wilson. Their story is a great romance that kept me enthralled and turning those pages all the way to the end.

Full of great characters and strong emotions this book takes you on an emotional roller coaster. I loved the ride that this author takes the reader on in this book and cannot wait for the next book to come out.

Let’s Get Physical by Jan Springer

Let’s Get Physical by Jan Springer
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary.
Other: M/F/M, anal sex, menage, M/F
Length: Short Story (54 pgs)
Rating 4 cherries
Reviewed by Stephanotis

When the local swingers’ club throws a Medical Fetish Night Before Xmas party for charity, Roxie learns that scrumptious blue-collar worker Evan Johnston will be playing doctor…

And he’s offering one lucky lady an erotic sexual exam—along with a sizzling ménage e trois.

Roxie is desperate to be his patient. There’s no better way to intimately know the guy who’s stolen her heart than by hopping on the gyno table for the hottest physical of her life.

It’s almost Christmas and the local swinger’s club is hosting a medical fetish night. This gives Evan Johnson the opportunity to bid on Roxie, who’s been on his want list for some time.

Let’s Get Physical isn’t an erotic romance per se, more erotica with a happy ending so it might not be to all reader’s tastes. However, if you like a story with down to earth and very true to life characters it’s worth checking out.

It’s smoldering hot, there’s a ménage a trios with another man and anal sex but having said that it’s all done in a very sensual way. From the outset of this story you know that Roxie and Evan are meant to be a couple even when the other man does get involved.

Evan comes across as sweet and you’re happy he’s the one Roxie ends up with. Dialogue is natural sounding and pacing fast. If you have twenty or thirty minutes to spare and enjoy a smoking hot story this might be for you.

Wrath of the Stars by Viola Grace

Wrath of the Stars by Viola Grace
Hashka Chronicles Book 3
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (84 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

A simple trip to the market sends Venya on a nightmare of kidnapping and threat of sacrifice. She stores up her energy and breaks free, stumbling through the forest to hide and hopefully return to the spaceport. Morrer is the emissary of Lassing, god of Morvigeth, he is searching for the lost psychic to save her, and when he finds her, his focus shifts to luring her into his arms and his bed. With years of butchered psychics on Morvigeth, Venya is skeptical of his intentions, but she accepts the touch of the star and it leads to a satisfying revenge.

In Wrath of the Stars, Viola Grace completes the story begun in the first book from the Hashka chronicles.

The cleanup of Morvigeth has begun, but many of the priests have gone into hiding, determined to continue the torture and murder of the psychics that should be treasured.

When Venya is kidnapped for her talent, she is slated to become the next ‘sacrifice’ to Lassing, the star these priests worship, with their perverted rituals. Morrer is the emissary of Lassing, and he is searching for the lost woman, intent on saving her from the rogue priests, and preventing any more psychics from becoming victims.

Venya is skeptical of Morrer’s motives at first, but as she becomes more comfortable with him, she realizes he tells the truth. As they travel, trying to elude the priests, Venya learns that she has been chosen by Searaline as her emissary, to bring the star back to her place in the heavens above Morvigeth alongside her husband Lassing. Together, Morrer/Lassing and Venya/Searaline will heal the planet and bring new life and prosperity to all. Can Venya accept the challenge ahead and stay on Morvigeth with Morrer? Can they stop the priests once and for all? Most important, can Morrer gain the approval of Venya’s parents to be Venya’s mate?

I found this book to be especially satisfying, seeing the retribution visited on the rogue priests by Venya/Searaline as she sought to cleanse the temple on Morvigeth. Although darker than most of Ms. Grace’s stories, this was the only possible conclusion to this chapter of Hashka history.

Venya is strong and capable, and very able to take care of herself. She uses her brains and her talent to escape certain death at the hands of the priests, but isn’t able to ignore the heat the Morrer raises in her. I loved reading the banter between them, and I was glad that, although he saved her, she didn’t immediately trust him or his motives. Watching her gradually learn to trust him was fun to watch.

Morrer is determined and driven to cleanse the priesthood of Lassing. Strong and handsome, he is smart enough to know he can’t just walk up to Venya and declare his intent to rescue her. He is aware of what has gone before, and uses his intellect to show her with actions that he is not out to harm her. I enjoyed the way he slowly introduced her to Lassing, the star he shares his being with.

This is the perfect conclusion to the story begun in Sacrifice to the Stars, the first of the Hashka books. Yes, there is some very graphic and bloody violence in both books, but it is done to depict what the two emissaries must overcome to save the planet once and for all. These two books are a bit darker in tone than anything I’ve read by Ms. Grace, but they are both riveting reading experiences well worth the time it takes to read them. I recommend both for those who like to see justice triumph over evil, and love shine through to defeat the bad guys.

Between the Pipes by Stephanie Hecht

Between the Pipes by Stephanie Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (117 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

When Trey dreamed of one day playing professional hockey, he always imagined it would be for one of the top ranking NHL teams. He never fathomed he’d end up on a last place, farm team and struggling to live from one paycheck to the next. Instead of limousines, endorsement deals and accolades, he’s stuck with a rundown rink, jeering ex-fans and a crappy second-hand truck that only runs fifty percent of the time. Then his life goes from sucky to sucky-er when he’s blackmailed into coaching a group of kids from the local rink. Trey’s never been good with dealing with other people, let alone their mini-versions, so he’s certain it’s all going to end in one huge disaster.

As a member of the Battle Creek police force, Wade is proud of his town. Sure their local hockey team may be in last place, but with the new goalie, things seem to be looking up. When he finds out his nephew is being coached by that very same goalie, Wade can’t wait for a face-to-face encounter. He’s not prepared to find himself instantly attracted to Trey. Especially when it becomes apparent that Trey is hiding something from his past.

Trey wants to get closer to Wade, but knows to do so could spell disaster for not only him, but the rest of his family. Will Trey be able to give into his desires or will the past continue to hold him down?

Trey Canton has experienced more than most men his age: abuse, death, and the loss of an up-and-coming hockey career. After word got out that Trey was gay, he lost the chance to play for a professional hockey team. It also cost him what bit of normalcy he had in his life at the hands of an abusive father.

Trey and his older twin brothers, Chad and Devon, play for the same rundown hockey farm team, the Hawks. Chad and Devon are the kind of brothers any person would love to have. They sacrificed their professional hockey careers to protect their little brother. They helped cover a dark secret in the family's past and Devon announced that he was gay too to help take the spotlight off his little brother. These men are extremely overprotective--almost to a fault. They inadvertently treat Trey like a stupid naïve kid and their lack of faith in him causes him to feel about two feet tall.

Trey is a complicated character. He’s a funny jokester but he does that to cover his lack of self confidence. He’s one of the best goaltenders ever to grace the sport but that’s the only thing he thinks he’s good for. He believes he isn’t worth being loved due to his troubled past. That’s until a sexy police officer steps into his life and proves to him he’s more than just a hockey player.

Wade is a fan of goalie Trey Canton, but not until he meets him does he start to believe in the old saying love at first sight. Wade knows Trey and his brothers are keeping a secret and he has his suspicions but all in all it doesn’t matter, he knows what he wants, and that’s Trey. As you read you have the hope that Wade can prove to Trey he’s so much more just a pretty face and that he is someone a person can fall completely in love with.

This story deals with some serious issues but also has its funny moments. The dialogue is well written and keeps you glued to the story. Ms. Hecht has put together a very touching love story that shows everyone is worth being loved. This is the second story in the Blue Line Hockey series. This story can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading the first in this series Offside Pass. You get more background story on Trey and his brothers. This is a story and series I highly recommend to read, you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Emissary to the Stars by Viola Grace

Emissary to the Stars by Viola Grace
Hashka Chronicles 3
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (110 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Siri has worked her way through the temple of Ilshara until the goddess tapped her as the Emissary. With her life now revolving around worshipers and organizing the temple she has no time for herself and with the great festival coming up, she needs some me time. She asks the goddess for some time off and is shocked to her toes when it is granted. Life on Allacor is calm, serene and has a slow rhythm that Siri enjoys as she spends her days in baggy clothing that are completely different from her Emissary clothing. While the goddess lets Siri's biology come back to its rhythm, Mirkan, the next clan leader of the Sorro clan is there to seduce her into an attachment to his world. Time passes swiftly and when the representatives from her home world find her she is caught and her disguise stripped bare. When the goddess inside comes out to put her foot down, she surprises her Emissary with a plan for this new world. A plan that includes Siri.

The Hashka Chronicles is Viola Grace’s newest creation; a race of blue skinned, highly sensual beings, with sentient stars and their emissaries and avatars helping to guide and protect their subjects.

As Emissary to Ilshara, High Priestess Siralinalia Mzwin takes her duties seriously. With the great festival just three months away, Siri needs time to herself to prepare for the demands that will be put on her body by those seeking Ilshara’s favor.

When the star offers Siri a chance to take time away from the temple, she contacts her friend Tahsha to find out if the offer of a place to stay and visit is still open. After setting up last minute details for the temple, Siri embarks on her vacation, eagerly looking forward to being an anonymous young woman. When she discovers that she has arrived just as the harvest is beginning, Siri offers her experience as a reaper driver in exchange for her room and board at Tahsha’s family farm. And it seems, Ilshara has an ulterior motive for Siri’s trip: the temple at Allacor has been neglected, and Siri will visit undercover to see for the star’s enlightenment.

Upon meeting Tahsha’s brother Mirkan, Siri feels an attraction for the first time in her life. And Mirkan is more than he appears: he is the emissary for Karim, the star who has been seeking his mate, Ilshara for many years. Will Siri enjoy her time away from the temple, and fit in with life on a farm again? Can she, and Ilshara, resist the charms of their suitors, Mirkan and Karim? And is there a solution that will allow Siri and Mirkan to have a life together?

I love the worlds Ms. Grace creates, and the Hashka are particularly entertaining. The characters are all well crafted and enjoyable, and the world is a mix of advanced technology and primitive life that fascinates the reader.

Siri is delightful. When not in the temple at her duties as emissary, she is strong, confident and just a little rebellious. I enjoyed watching her become the farm girl she once was, and her independent streak when she protected both herself and Tahsha from unwanted attention. I also enjoyed her shock when she discovered her ‘mission’ on Allacor and the presence of Ilshara with her.

Mirkan is strong and handsome, and I enjoyed watching as her slowly worked his way into Siri’s heart as well as her mind. I also enjoyed watching his attempts to teach Siri to dance, and his jealous reaction to other men near Siri. I was surprised to find that Mirkan was also an emissary, and enjoyed the reaction Siri had when Karim revealed his presence to Ilshara.

This is a hot but sweet romance, a story of righting wrongs and of new beginnings. The problems Siri encounters while trying to hide her true identity are a delight, and the revelation of who she is comes at the perfect point in this story. I recommend this series for all who enjoy passion and romance, with just a bit of fantasy to it.

Run to You by Sarah Ballance

Run to You by Sarah Ballance
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (154 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Dogwood

Mattie James can't pinpoint exactly when she lost control of her life, but the moment she decided to take it back made the front page of the local paper. Desperate to dodge the fallout— and the tabloids—she jumps at the chance to spend an off-season week in a tiny resort community by the sea. Making the trip with her ex-lover is a complication she can live with; coming face to face with a dead woman is not.

The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on the storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt has to put his feelings aside to focus on the case. But his vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie's life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.

Suspense and love at the Carolina Coast? This sea-side adventure story has it all!

I can picture it now; Sarah Ballance's scenic words in Run to You melted into a graphic story to encourage the imagination in this mysterious love triangle romance.

Mattie James, the daughter of Senator James, is a Raleigh, NC socialite, who has the worst luck with men. She has been hiding out at her friend Hutch's place after the tabloids caught her throwing a drink in the face of her two-timing lover.

Daniel "Hutch" Hutchins is a spoiled, rich-womanizing hunk who oozes sex-appeal. but he is also Mattie's previous lover and the younger brother to her late fiance. Mattie expects friendship from Hutch however Hutch is in love with Mattie and wants much more.

Since Mattie is trying to avoid the press, Hutch talks her into an off season visit to the NC coast in hopes of reminding Mattie of what they once shared. Oh what love can drive one to do!

At the Coast, there have been terrible storms causing much erosion, debris and damage. If this is not enough of a headache for Sheriff Wyatt Reed, well let's just say his problems are about to increase tremendously.

Sexy Wyatt Reed has been hurt by love and has no intentions to ever date again until he falls “head-over heels” for the beautiful and charming Mattie James. What should be a beginning of a beautiful new love relationship for them is soon interrupted by the small resort-town's first murders. Funny how these murders seem to center around the unsuspecting Mattie.

Mrs. Ballance did a great job of painting the scenes. I found myself surrounded by angry tides and dark scenarios wondering what might happen next. Even though I found the plot to be a bit predictable, I like that she planted the idea that more than one character might be the murderer. The secondary characters were interesting and added flavor to the story. I had trouble connecting to the heroine's character as I felt she had a lot of growing up to do, but she manages to do just that as the story progresses.

I loved the character of Wyatt, a quiet, yet loyal sheriff and friend, who has a broken heart and feels love just is not in the cards for him. Wyatt is a perfect wounded hero and cheering for him was a given.

Though I did feel the story was a little choppy at times like the waves of the coastal storms, I have to say the turbulence brewing in the story was intriguing and adventurous. As I stated before, Mrs. Ballance did a good job of making us feel that we were there with the characters in that moment.

I did find this puzzling that this was published as an erotic romance. I did not find that to be the case at all. The love story was nice and maybe a tad-bit spicy, but I'm not certain it falls into "erotic" territory.

I also like that the love story brought together two characters from completely different backgrounds thus reminding us “opposites” can attract.

So if you want to travel to a stormy coast where murder abounds and romance is blooming, then run right out and get Run to You! You'll be glad you did!

Mistaken Identity by Vanessa Devereaux

Mistaken Identity by Vanessa Devereaux
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Myrtle

Hannah Benson lost all confidence in herself when she found her fiancé with another woman.

When she agrees to a fantasy night with a complete stranger, she doesn't bargain on Andy Bayes stepping in for his baby brother and stealing her heart. Andy's hot, gorgeous but Hannah is reluctant to risk falling in love again.

However, Andy has other plans for Hannah.

Boy! Talk about moving into the hot sex scenes from the get go -- this book will heat your blood up quick and make you wiggle in your seat for sure. Ms. Devereaux wasted no time in diving into the sex via a one-night stand with the wrong guy in the first chapter, which made me think this story would be hot erotica with no romance. However, I was wrong; there was plenty of romance between the two characters even if it moved fast. Thank goodness, I had the fan nearby and was able to turn it on while reading and trying to figure out just where the author was going with the plot.

Because this was a short story I knew things had to move along a little faster than a full length novel and I was enthralled enough to keep reading. The story line was inventive and sufficient enough to keep me wondering what was going to happen from one scene to the next. As the plot progressed, I was surprised at how enjoyable the story line was and found myself smiling at the secrets hidden and the banter between the two main characters, and was eager to see what would happen next. With all the hot sex, it was hard to put the book down because of the need to see just how Hannah’s fantasy night would turn out.

There were a number of cute sentences but the one I liked the most was: “You’re a criminal. You stole my heart.” which is especially romantic when the hero is a cop trying to get his girl to admit that she loved him to.

“Mistaken Identity” is a very enjoyable short story that will be great on those days when you want a short, smoking hot romance that you can finish in a few hours. Believe me, there are a lot of twists and turns that will pull you in and make you fall in love with the hero and heroine.

Singing Up the Sun by Adera Orfanelli

Singing Up the Sun by Adera Orfanelli
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

For discharged soldier Dougaln, the Winter Holidays are simply a time of little work and no prospects. But when he hears a beautiful tenor voice during a stroll in the Reclamation Gardens, Dougaln’s dark days suddenly brighten.

Exiled from his people, Reynau travels from world to world sharing his people’s spiritual traditions and learning new ones. For him, the Longest Night is a time to celebrate joy, ensuring that the new year brings happiness and light.

But Reynau refuses to be anyone’s “secret,” and Dougaln has too much to hide. Can a retired soldier open up and let a young man sing the light back into his life?

This story starts out slow but once the two main characters get together if picks up steam pretty quick.

Dougaln is a man living a life of destitution. He is a soldier forced to retire because he stood up for his beliefs and is left to wander around a space station he now calls home. When he left the army he was given very few resources to start a new life and has resolved to never be happy. He's not even sure if he knows how to be happy. As he wanders through what we would consider a park, he hears the voice of an angel, and a spark of hope lights up in him.

Reynau has been banished from his home planet and living on the same cold space station as Dougaln. While out one night singing for the sun to rise as done in his spiritual beliefs he meets the very handsome Dougaln. Reynau is celebrating the Longest Day by singing and thinks, as believed in his religion, that he is blessed in meeting Dougaln.

Both these men are flawed and think just because they aren't not following the expectations of their families or friends, that they are worthless. As we discover what ails these men, we realize all they really need is to accept who they are in order to find happiness.

Reading about two men from completely different backgrounds coming together to seek the love they so desperately need is beautiful. Misunderstandings arise for these men and their own stubbornness gets in the way of what they want. Dougaln is ashamed of his station in life and Reynau is just not familiar with the different customs around him. It’s truly touching to how these men work together to try and come to the same end goal.

I’m not usually a fan of futuristic stories but this story was a good read. The author painted a vivid picture of this space station these men call home. And also, no matter what time and place you find yourself in the world, the matters of the heart are all the same. Adera Orfanelli put together present day issues in a futuristic setting to make a worthwhile read.

Camwolf by J.L. Merrow

Camwolf by J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemp
Length: Full Length (150 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

To save his lover, he must become his own worst nightmare.

Dr. Nick Sewell. Non-conformist. Werewolf. The first puts him at odds with his colleagues’ idea of how an All Saints College lecturer should behave. The second, bestowed upon him by an ex-boyfriend, puts him at odds with himself.

There’s his tendency to change into a wolf on the full moon. And his visceral attraction to Julian Lauder, a troubled young German student. Despite his determination not to act on his desire, Nick’s brutal response to seeing Julian with another man frightens them both. At first.

Then Nick learns that Julian is not only a naturally submissive werewolf, but one who has learned better how to deal with just being a werewolf. That explains the attraction, but it doesn’t make it any easier when the tables are turned, and Julian—once the student—is now teaching Nick…who still isn’t happy about conforming to the “werewolf way”.

Meanwhile, reports of a strange wolf stalking the town barely register on Nick’s radar—until Julian disappears. Accusing eyes—both wolf and human—are turned toward Nick. Even with the help of friends, hope is growing as cold as the kidnapper’s trail. Unless Nick gives free rein to the wolf’s inhuman power…

Grad student teachers are never supposed to have a crush on their students, even if the cute boy isn’t technically *his* student. That’s the dilemma haunting Nick. Not only is he a werewolf, which cuts down on potential boyfriends to begin with, but he’s got a terrible crush on freshman Julian. Knowing that Julian is too young and likely not interested Nick tries to put his feelings behind him. But when Julian reveals he’s also a werewolf but with a dangerous past, Nick is torn between wanting to protect the young man and walk away. The choice may be the hardest Nick has ever had to make.

Camwolf is an intense and interesting werewolf tale that definitely stands out from the pack. The story is somewhat familiar – two werewolves get together but are haunted by abuse from an earlier pack. The difference is of course the writing and the characters. Both men feel real and genuine as they struggle with their past and present. Julian is quirky, flawed, interesting, and definitely an easy scene stealer while Nick’s more gradual change is subtle but as important. Together they make a compelling couple with good chemistry and a lot of romance. The sex scenes especially are well handled and hot enough to make you squirm.

The story moves along quickly with good characters all around. The solid supporting players definitely add a lot to the story, so much in fact one of the secondary characters, Julian’s best friend, shares narrating duty with Nick. Julian never actually has a narrative voice, though he definitely has a lot to say in the story. Instead he’s seen through others’ eyes, which makes for a different kind of story. I think it mostly works and works well here but may not be to all readers’ tastes.

For those shapeshifter fans this is a must read. It’s intense, engaging, and never lets your attention waiver. Even those romance fans that are not always big on werewolves will appreciate the great writing, smooth style and interesting story. It’s an easy one to recommend.