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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Captain's Beloved by Scarlet Blackwell

The Captain’s Beloved by Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (166 pages)
Other: Anal play/sex, spanking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, masturbation, toys, BDSM, M/M, M/M/M, M/M/M/M, Multiple partners
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis

It’s four months since Josh Addison fell for Kane Kessler, the Captain of his vacation cruise liner. He never thought to set eyes on him again but Kane’s come all the way to Anchorage to see him.

For Kane this is a casual hook-up during his downtime. He wants to prevent his heart getting involved at all costs. But Josh, hopelessly in love, has different ideas…

On the very first page, Captain Kane Kessler comes at Joshua in supercharged inferno of white-hot sexual heat. And it just gets better from there.

I just love Josh. He’s such a well-crafted character. A handsome, sexy yet somewhat nerdy bookworm. He’s sweet, funny and so touchingly giddy over the captain. Yet he’s all man; there’s nothing feminine about him. Ms. Blackwell has certainly mastered the art of creating complex masculine characters.

This story has all the humor and emotion that made The Captain’s Man so enjoyable. It’s a very novel feeling to laugh so hard while at the same time feeling my heart contract over what the characters are going through. Poignantly funny is the best way to describe it.

Kane Kessler is stern, commanding, tender, and sexy all at once. In short, alpha hot. We get a deeper view into Kane in this sequel and the conflict between him and Josh deepens. Kane is not as sure of his own emotions and this along with Josh’s insecurities fuels their conflict. The Christmas they share is so touchingly romantic it made me cry a little.

The sex is…wild, unabashed, wickedly sexy. This not for the faint of heart. The conflict is entwined through the whole story. There’s so much fire and emotion between these two. They bring out such explosive reactions in each other. The midpoint presents real emotional dangers from two directions.

There’s not a single boring moment in the story. Ms. Blackwell kept me on the edge of my seat for one afternoon. It was impossible to stop reading. I had to find out what happened next. This story is wild passion, conflict, fury, tenderness, one steady, outrageous roller coaster ride for the emotions. This is erotic romance at it’s best. It’s definitely got a special spot reserved on my keeper shelf.

Obsessed by Lisa Sanchez

Obsessed by Lisa Sanchez
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (176 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Stephantois

The victim of both a brutal attempted rape and now a serial stalking, Halley Davis is broken, and desperate to glue the shattered pieces of her life back together. Tormented by a psychopath and battling a heavy dose of anxiety, sex and dating are the last things on Halley’s anxiety-ridden mind. That is, until she meets the man who rescued her from the hands of a would-be rapist. With a body made for sin, a wicked, sexy tattoo and an aura that screams “badass,” her rescuer not only calms the storm of terror raging inside her mind, he ignites a passion within her she’s never known before.

Tired of using meaningless sex to drown out the horrors of his past, Nick Ackart has sworn off women. In fact, if women were classified as meat, his ass is Vegan. Despite his determination to remain unattached, Nick is unable to stay away from the emerald-eyed beauty he rescued from a sadistic pervert. Immersed in a tangled web of sexual desire and deep emotion he was certain was long dead, he vows to protect Halley from the monster hounding her, even though he stands to lose his heart in the process.

Nick’s healing a past tragedy and doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Well, until he comes to the rescue of Halley who’s also got problems of her own.

I liked both of these characters from the beginning, especially Nick who I guessed had a very valid reason for not wanting to get involved. When Halley is attacked and he comes to her rescue, you like him even more for the knight in shining armor that he is. While the way these two seem to keep running into one another did come across as contrived at times, you do put that aside because when they’re together on the page, you can feel their attraction and the sexual tension that’s building. The author did a good job with keeping me guessing about whether they’ll make love. They came close to it a couple of times but when they did finally get to their part of their relationship, keeping us in suspense made it all the more fun.

Secondary characters are great too, very well drawn and they complement Nick and Halley really well. I also liked the subplots. Halley and her friend are about to open a bakery. Halley’s love for baking and cooking is also fun and very descriptive. My favorite subplot was suspenseful, with Halley having a stalker. You’re glad she has Nick.

I kept wondering what the tragedy in Nick’s past would be. The author kept me guessing and when you learn about what happened, you want to cheer him on because you realize what a sacrifice it’s been for him helping Halley deal with her attack and subsequent stalker/creepy neighbor.

Pacing was good and, although this seems like lots of plot and characters, the suspense element makes you want to read on so it’s a quick read too. If you’re looking for a sexy suspense novel this summer with two characters I think you’ll enjoy, this is one to try.

Storm in the City by S. Michael

Storm in the City by S. Michael
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (43 pgs)
Other: M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Nightshade

As a cat shifter and a vampire, Emerald and Armand fit together perfectly; their appetites and needs are well-matched. When they see the lonely looking man watching them from the apartment across the way, they can't help but show off for him, making love in as many delicious and kinky ways as they can to keep him intrigued.

Harry's been a little down and a lot lonely since Naomi left him. Maybe that's why he's been uncharacteristically watching the couple in the apartment across the way as they make love in their window. They're fascinating to him, and obviously aware that he's watching. Will he pick up the phone when the beautiful woman across the way writes her number on the glass?

Nonstop sizzle is the only way to describe Storm in the City. From the opening scene to the very last word the reader is swept up in the erotic antics of Emerald and Armand as they tease and taunt their voyeur neighbor Harry. To add spice to the scene, Emerald, a cat shifter, and Armand, a vampire, decide to invite their new friend over to play. When Harry joins the game, the heat level goes up exponentially as he experiences being with a man for the first time. This new experience sends him over the edge and begging for more from the sexy duo, which they are more than happy to provide.

The combination of innocent exploration and the ultimate threesome makes for a mouthwatering read. There were very few editing hiccups but the characters were so sexy that the reader can’t wait to find a twosome like this of their own. This story is the perfect length, any longer and it would be complete sensory overload for the reader.

White hot from beginning to end describes this short story. There is very little that can be improved upon when it comes to Storm in the City. Perfect character development, perfect tempo, and imaginative sex scenes overshadow the lack of real plot. Considering all of the story’s other attributes this one snag is easily overlooked. This is one of the summer’s naughty reads and I can’t wait to encounter this author again.

Honor Bound by Stormy Glenn

Honor Bound by Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (171 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

Jarl Radulfr is a warrior, the chieftain of his people. It is his duty to protect and fight for them. But duty comes at a price. Radulfr has no one to call his own. When his clan is attacked, he accepts a bride in a peace-pledge to avoid war with a neighboring clan. He doesn't know until he arrives that the bride he has come to claim is a man.

His betrothed is not what he expected, but Radulfr has sworn upon his honor to accept the peace-pledge. It doesn't hurt that Ein is pretty damn cute. Radulfr decides to accept things as they are and begins to take Ein home. But there are those that don't want them to reach home—gods, mercenaries, and the man who started the war in the first place. Radulfr and Ein will have to use all of their wits, and the growing bond between them, to keep themselves alive because gifts from the gods come at a price.

This is a tale that takes place in time long since passed. A time of Viking lords, the existence of mythical gods, and shape shifters. This is a story that will take readers on a trip into the past and it was a journey I enjoyed going on through the pages of Honor Bound.

With every great love story comes an undesirable conflict that throws a wrench into the plans of the main characters, and this is true for Radulfr and Ein. Radulfr is a fierce Viking warrior who, in return for the attack on his clansmen and village, accepts a marriage between him and the attacker’s half sibling in an attempt to created peace between the feuding clans. Ein is a quiet, peaceful man just happy to live his secluded life amongst the priest who have raised him. For Radulfr deception has never been so good and for Ein the chance at a normal life never looked so attractive. This coupling was built on a house of lies but instead of crumbling at the first sign of trouble both Ein and Radulfr set the foundation for a loving marriage between two men.

Both of these men have not had easy lives to live. Radulfr lost his mother at a young age and had to deal with an abusive father. Ein’s mother was murdered after his birth and his father is the god of fertility who ignores him. They have a lot in common when it comes to lose and heartache and together they can help mend each-others broken hearts.

While under attack from the enemy, Radulfr discovers something new about himself that is a surprise I never saw coming. But Radulfr isn’t the only one with a surprise that pops up out of the blue. Ein’s surprise both shocked and had me overwhelmed with joy for the heroes. This story kept me intrigued with everything that was going on to and around these men. When danger hits, Radulfr full fills his duty as husband and leader and moves heaven and earth to keep what he holds dear safe.

The characters' dialogue was entertaining. It reads as it would have been spoken ages ago when Vikings ruled the land. Though a little confusing at times, Ms. Glenn made sure to give little explanations to the different usage of words throughout the story.

Ms. Glenn wrote a beautiful story of how a person can find love when they least expect it. Ein and Radulfr are a couple I found myself rooting for them to get their happy ending and I look forward to reading about where their relationship goes after this story ends. Seeds were planted for future characters, which is always a plus and I look forward to reading more from the Viking Lore series.

This story had it all: death, violence, deception, mythical gods, shifters and ghost. If you like historical romances that stretch the realm of imagination Honor Bound is a must read.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Freya’s Mates by Stacey Espino

Freya’s Mates by Stacey Espino
Pack Seduction, 2
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (76 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Freya's on her own, lost in a new city. Being of royal blood, every male shifter would kill to have her as a mate. Staying in hiding is her number one priority.

When hunger leads her to the rear of a night club in search of food, she comes across a human who arouses a new desire within her.

Once inside the club, she's caught skipping out on her bill and forced to deal with the club owner and bartender, both sexier-than-sin shifters. Will she be able to submit to the three men? Can there be a future with a human mate?

I was hoping to find a book that combined some of my favorite paranormal elements with some hot and sexy shifter action and I was thrilled with what I found within the pages of this short story.

Sometimes, I just want fun. Not a lot of heavy bad buys chasing good guys and escaping diabolical deeds. I look for entertainment mixed with a romance hot enough to give competition to the A/C. Freya’s Mates met my need.

Freya is a woman on the run. She’s looking for something that’s missing in her life and she’s getting to the point of feeling it’ll never happen. She’s down in the dumps, sad, afraid and very lonely. The author did a nice job of getting me to care for the young princess. I thought it a cute touch with the French fry frenzy and the results that came after. I got to understand her confusion and her yearning and how difficult it must have been to let go and to finally trust in another person. The treasures that come from her giving her trust are sweet but don’t come without a few scratches and claw marks to make it interesting. I liked her independent spirit and spunky nature. What worked well for this tale was the fact that she didn’t fight herself. Once she accepted that the guys were truly interested in her, herself, she jumped in with tail wagging.

Gideon, Vincent and Darius are three guys who, as a whole, fill the dark and empty places within Freya’s heart. But individually, these hunky heroes have enough depth of character to take their places by the heroine’s side. Their stories are very interesting and the guys are worth getting to know. Vincent looks perfect to the outside world but has a disability. So I had that warm and fuzzy feeling when he was accepted. Gideon had me snickering. He wasn’t a comedic foil by any means but he’s the first one in the know and yet Freya put him last. I have to hand it to the heroine – she knew who needed putting in his place. After all, she was royalty. Darius also found a place in my heart because he too doesn’t want to fit into a mold. His running away was different but I think Freya and Darius have the most in common – kindred spirits if you will. However, he sure knows his way around a woman’s body, much to my delight.

I am also thrilled that this story is very much a standalone read. I hadn’t read the first book in the series, but I didn’t need to. Ms. Espino has told a tale that is about Freya, Darius, Gideon and Vincent, and no one else. The other secondary characters bring extra zing and interest to the story and enhanced my reading experience. The editing is well done, the dialogue brisk and personable and the descriptions of them all of together, absolutely delicious in its heat and passion.

Freya’s Mates: Pack Seduction, 2 hit my happy buttons and completely entertained me. It’s a romantic and fun story that made the clock disappear. I liked reading about Freya and, because of this book, I am going to be checking out her sister’s story that had come first. If that tale is as good as this one, I’m in for another treat.

Soul Bound by Luxie Ryder

Soul Bound by Luxie Ryder
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (46 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

It's been years since Seattle cop Jessica Hammond thought of the boy who broke her heart in high school. So when she is caught in a hail of bullets and facing certain death, she has no idea why it's Nathan's face that flashes into her mind as she prepares to die. Jessica survives unharmed and is deeply unsettled by the experience. Desperate to escape her thoughts, she jumps on a plane to Vegas.

The intrigue deepens when she discovers that Nathan is also there, performing his New Age magic act in a large casino. Drawn to the show, she is mesmerized by him. When Nathan takes her to his bed and unleashes a different kind of magic, Jessica knows that the fates brought them together. But Nathan can't protect her from the curse of his heritage and Jessica soon learns that loving him could take her life.

Do you wish that your partner could hear your every thought and experience your every feeling and sensation during lovemaking, creating a perfectly symbiotic erotic event driven ever higher by the hunger and responses of one other? This unusual love story contains that and other exciting and surprising details of mythical and fantasy fare. This riveting tale grabbed me instantly and sent me on a breathtaking and sometimes astounding journey with its unique ideas and suspenseful romantic tension.

Jessica has just had a mysterious, life altering experience that she can't explain. This grounded, conventional police woman just escaped the reality of her own death. At the moment of the miracle, she heard the voice in her head of her high school friend and crush, Nathan, saying, “Open your eyes. You're safe.”

Nathan Cain is a man of power. He has known since high school that he was in love with Jes. In the next month events seemingly conspire to bring the two together in Vegas, where Nathan has big hotel magic act. From there Jes tumbles head first into a whirlwind of wildly magical and unbelievable revelations and incredible, raging hot sexual episodes. She comes to the realization that she is no longer in control of her life and that she is in love with the dark, compellingly handsome and sexy man that Nathan has become.

This is a well-told, superbly written contemporary myth that is so original in its plot and scenario that I was completely captivated. The dialog, the pace, the eloquence was all everything I hope for in good writing... especially considering the fact that the story is told in first person. And expertly told at that, with a strong, flowing voice. The only reason I didn't rate it higher was that there were a few slight editing errors. I loved the story and sincerely hope that Ms. Ryder will continue it in a series. (please?)

This believable and entertaining tale has magic, mythic and rare quality romance, mystery and a perfect dose of sex so sensually hot that I was transported magically into the story itself! I couldn't get the whole reading experience out of my head, and was moved to ask Ms. Ryder, 'Why, oh why did it have to end so soon?'

My advice to everyone is, go get a copy of, Soul Bound. I'm sure you will be glad you did.

Me and Mr. Jones by Cerise DeLand

Me and Mr. Jones by Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (52 pages)
Other: M/F, anal play, menage, voyeurism, sex toys, m/f/m/f/m
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

What woman wouldn’t crave an annual erotic, exotic rendezvous? With a demanding lover who’s proven he’s as scintillating and devoted in bed as out?

Corin Campbell tears open the instructions for her yearly tryst with her insatiable Mr. Jones, eager to experience what heart-pounding excitements he’s created for them this year in Paris. Corin knows the Chinese love balls, her leather outfit, the masseur, the caviar and the five exhibitionists are only the prelude to hours of intoxicating delight in Jones’ arms. What can he teach her this year about the enduring charm of his loving and the delights only he can summon?

A yearly weekend tryst with a passionate, sexy lover takes on new meaning for this eager lady when her generous, hot masculine hunk has six new and exciting surprises for her.... One for each year of their affair. The first one I'll tell: a pair of Chinese love balls that the sizzling woman is to wear until the minute of their rendezvous oversea. Not that she isn't past ready for her long awaited meeting already... she definitely is!

I don't want to give away the surprise ending, and this is a short, short story, so I'll summarize by saying that there is plenty of heat and erotic fantasy in this little tale. Every time Corin gets one of her six surprises, revealed by six sealed notes from Mr. Jones, the sexual temperature rises. Mr. Jones is a very devoted and creative lover. I enjoyed the way the author revealed their sexy romance by degrees as the story progressed.

I did have some problems with the dialogue and grammatical wording in the story in several places. Also, the length of the story may have contributed to a hurried feeling where the dialogue was concerned. I did enjoy the tale itself and the erotic descriptions were a success. The story did not lack for creativity and had a sweet ending, if not tons of plot.

For those who would enjoy a quick little uplifting tale that doesn't demand more than your enjoyment, I recommend Me and Mr. Jones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fang and Fur by Stormy Glenn

Fang and Fur by Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (143 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Coreopsis

The Gathering is called. The spell is cast. There is no escaping the Midnight Matings.

Sterling Roane has a job to perform. He is the personal bodyguard of a vampire coven leader. When the council of elders decrees that everyone needs to find a mate, Sterling isn't interested, but he can't deny the mating heat sweeping through his body.

Still, he has a mission to complete and a coven leader to protect. When a wolf shifter interferes with that duty, the fight is on. Before Sterling knows it, he's accidentally mated to the Alpha of the Pacific Northwest Region. It's just too bad that his new mate swears he isn't gay. It gets even worse when Sterling finds out that Beau is engaged to be married.

Heartbroken, Sterling drops Beau off in the middle of nowhere and flees back to New York only to find out that the hell waiting for him there is worse than what he left in a Wyoming airport. Someone is trying to claim him, and it's not his mate.

With every new addition to the Midnight Matings series we meet character who are forced together when in their regular lives would never have met. The whole concept of forcing individuals of different species to mate makes for some very entertaining reading and for some of the sweetest love stories I have ever read.

Sterling and Beau are victims like all the other paranormals attending the council meeting and are accidently mated to one another. This relationship starts off rocky and full of misunderstandings and misgivings. Sterling is a vampire who found himself mated to an alpha werewolf. Sterling may be a small man but he is a strong force to be reckoned with. I really liked this character. His small size gives people the impression that he isn’t a threat but he is the biggest threat anyone could come against. He also has a quick witted personality and he pushes the buttons of others around him and especially his mate.

Beau is the alpha of the Pacific Northwest region and being gay had never entered his mind until he meets Sterling. Beau is a man who goes through his own self-discoveries to become the mate that Sterling needs. Yes, at first this two hundred year old werewolf tries to ignore the attraction and pull to Sterling but he cannot deny what is in his heart. This character is a different spin on how an alpha should act. He’s sensitive and caring and willing to share control when it comes to his and Sterling’s bedroom activities. For me Beau came off as a very likable man who is doing his best to feel his way through all these new emotions he is experiencing.

Conflicts come in pairs where this couple is concerned. Sterling’s ex-coven leader has lost his marbles and thinks Sterling is his and his alone. Then Beau’s fiancé of convenience is not taking the broken engagement well. Both these men are strong and capable of taking care of themselves and each other; it’s just allowing the other to face unknown danger that seems to be their main problem. And with scorned individuals from their past they will need all the help they can get to have good over come evil.

There was a character by the name of Micah that made an impact in this story. His role within the story was small but memorable and I would like to see him get his own story.

Ms. Glenn paired together two men who butt heads yet complement each other so well. Their love is one of struggles at first but worth it in the end. Besides being a love story it was also very funny at times. The dialogue between Sterling and Beau was realistic and gave me a good chuckle. This author has the ability to bring a tear to my eye and make me laugh out loud and I look forward to reading more from this complicated world of forced matings.

Tempting Mr. Parker by Delilah Hunt

Tempting Mr. Parker by Delilah Hunt
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (106 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by: Dogwood

Thirty-nine year old CEO and architect Caden Parker is in love with Shakara James. For years he’s kept his attraction to the alluring stripper a secret, masking his guilty desire with disdain and contempt. When his hunger for the twenty-one year old becomes too hot to handle, he reveals his feelings, even though he’s afraid she’ll be disgusted and reject him.

Shakara yearns for the day when Caden, her best friend’s brother, will look beyond her poverty and the choices she was forced to make as a teenage runaway. As Cade’s feelings come to light, Shakara is stunned and overjoyed, but will there be consequences for their love?

Sex so hot I had to get my laptop a fire extinguisher! SIZZLE!!!!

The lovely Shakara James is best friends with heiress Julie Parker, but despite the attraction she feels for Julie's brother Cade, Cade has made it clear he does not like Shakara hanging out with his little sister, as he is certain Shakara is a bad influence.

Shakara is determined to make it on her own. She will not to be homeless and on the streets again, even if it means she has to take every legitimate job she can get to prevent that from happening.

Well respected and wealthy businessman, Cade Parker feels that the much younger Shakara should not come to visit his sister -- after all, Shakara is a stripper who has been raised on the streets and has no family and a questionable background. Even though Cade has always been half in love with the dark-skinned beauty, he feels protective of Julie and feels it's his place to steer her into a better direction. And what if Shakara is really after their money?

Julie is tired of her older brother dictating her life. She's twenty-one now, old enough to choose her own friends. She feels her brother is being unreasonable because he places too much importance on what the social snobs of Rhode Island think.

When these two opposites finally find themselves ensnared by Cupid's arrow, can Cade convince Shakara that they actually have a shot at a “happily ever-after” even when the odds are stacked against them?

Delilah Hunt did a good job at writing a story full of controversy and stumbling blocks. Main characters, Cade and Shakara, had so much to overcome that many times it seemed as though they could never work it out.

I couldn't help but cheer and pull for them while I was reading this story. The sex scenes were extremely hot and sizzled the edges right off the pages. This book provided a lot of emotional turmoil as well; one minute I was extremely happy for the characters, the next I was crying with them for their heartbreak. The secondary characters were well thought-out and very unique. This story flowed so well I had a hard time putting it down. I would have no problem recommending this story to a friend and have added it to my list of keepers.

Can total opposites make a Happily Ever After? Find out in this story! As you may see, with an open-mind all things are possible.

The Wilder Brother by Suz deMello

The Wilder Brother by Suz deMello
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

For Colton Wilder, the invitation to his brother’s wedding is an invitation to trouble because Colt, having had sex with the bride, knows what she’s really like. He doesn’t want his brother Max marrying selfish, manipulative Nicole Newcombe, a famous supermodel. In his view, Nicole stole the groom from her sister Dana.

For staid scientist Dana Newcombe, the invitation to her identical twin’s wedding is an invitation to humiliation. While Nicole was conniving to steal Max, Dana had wild monkey sex in a glass-walled elevator with his brother Colt.

When they meet again at the wedding, she doesn’t want to want Colt, but she can’t help remembering and re-enacting their earlier sexy tryst in oh so many different ways.

Do opposites really attract or do they just repel each other enough that eventually they will find their way back to each other? What happens when opposite twins meet and fall for other opposite twins? The universe may never recover. Get out a score card and hang on because here we go!!

Dana Newcombe is an intelligent, successful woman who happens to be the twin sister of world famous model Nicole Newcombe. When Nicole asks Dana to switch places as a little test to see if Max Wilder is really the man for her to marry, Dana agrees. During their standard date of movies and popcorn, Max miserably fails his test. In the meantime, in walks rancher Colt Wilder, Max’s lookalike brother to try and rekindle a past spark that was interrupted between Dana and himself in an elevator.

As fate would have it, Max and Nicole find in each other what has been missing in all their relationships and Colt and Dana try very hard to ignore what is happening between them. What follows are parties, rehearsal dinners, wedding frenzy, intimate moments in the swimming pool, not to mention a train crash.

Dana and Colt are the ideal romantic couple fighting it all the way to the bedroom. Their moments together are comfortable and sizzling, sexy and romantic, heartwarming and heart-achy all at the same time.

Max and Nicole’s relationship takes some time to understand because of the opposite personalities. But that is what works to pull them together. Nicole is difficult to like in the beginning with her selfishness and scheming which is in direct opposition to Max’s caring, comforting personality. For me, Max was the one person you actually wanted to see successful. For a while you hope he will see the error of his ways but in the end you root for their happily ever after.

The pairing of Dana and Colt is just too good to ignore. Sometimes they are their own worst enemy and may cause their own undoing, but all the time there is that light of love in both their eyes. Colts relentlessness and Dana’s moment of stubbornness keep you turning the pages.

Suz deMello manages to keep the names straight and the action going throughout the book while making sure you choose your favorites and root them on. The balancing act is preserved throughout the story and there is never any confusion to what is what and who is who. Like I said grab a score card, keep track and enjoy a few hours with twins, hot men, steamy sex and lots of good fun.

A Gentleman's Harlot by Natalie Dae

A Gentleman’s Harlot by Natalie Dae
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (149 pages)
Other: M/F, voyeurism, spanking
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis

Pearl longs for something more from her staid life. When her friend Frances suggests they become a gentleman’s harlot for the evening, Pearl’s life changes forever.

Pearl feels trapped by society’s rules and longs to let out the wanton woman inside her. Her friend, Frances, secures them a night of work in a gentleman’s club in Whitechapel, London, where Pearl must act like a harlot and wait tables. With the threat of Jack the Ripper too close for comfort, Pearl meets Seth, who makes her feel all kinds of sexual longings.

Seth has heard rumours of Pearl hating him, but he vows to make her love him. He tells her his name is James, and when she arrives at his club to begin work, he knows he will make her his. As he teaches her the act of lovemaking, he’s also hiding two secrets. One, that he is the man she is supposed to hate, and two, that he knows who Jack the Ripper is…

This story seems to be trying to imitate a real Victorian epistolary novel more than patterning itself after historical romances published today. Much of the story is told in diary entries that come across as flashbacks. So even though the letters are told in first person, there’s a distance between reader and character’s direct experience in these diary parts that most historical romance novels published now do not have. The emotional tone in these diary portions is mawkishly sentimental in the manner of the Victorians rather than a strong and deep emotional aspect as most modern literature favors. I am not saying that is good or bad, that’s just the way the style comes across.

The heroine, Pearl is easy to relate to. She’s repressed but plucky. It’s impossible not to root for her to find a life of her own and stop living the walled off existence that her aunt wants her to live.

The hero, James/Seth, is also easy to relate to, just not as accessible as the heroine because the style of storytelling denies us his real time experience. At the start, there’s an extended sexual scene between Seth/James and a prostitute who is not the heroine. It’s a very mechanical sexual scene without emotional involvement on the part of the hero, to the point he doesn’t even display a lot of sexual passion here. Lots of introspection during this scene that is not connected to what is going on. Presumably this is to illustrate the hero’s disconnection from his emotions. Certainly it is more of a literary erotica feeling here than erotic romance novel feeling. Again, that’s not a criticism, it’s just an observation.

The hero and heroine do not interact in real story time until a third of the way through story. But after they meet, there’s lots of sexual chemistry. Tons. Heaps. Bushels and bushels full. One has to love the juxtaposition of repression and sexual fire when it’s done well and it is done well here. When we’re in Pearl’s real time perspective, the sexual tension is tight. Distance comes in with the use of James/Seth’s diary entries to tell those parts. It can’t be helped, that’s just the nature of the style of telling something in a diary as opposed to showing it in the character’s immediate experience. In Pearl’s perspective, the sex is hot and intense and definitely that of erotic romance. Lots of sex. Lots of emotion. In the sex scenes as in all the scenes, the characters behave, think and feel in ways that are believable for people living in those times. Nothing anachronistic here.

Most of the conflict between hero and heroine centers around them coming to grips with their sexual desires in the face of the times they live in. James/Seth is also holding back some sinister secrets from Pearl. It’s more than enough to keep their interactions tense and filled with understated conflict. External forces pressure them too. A controlling relative and a murderer lurking in the shadows. So lots of conflict, both overt and in subtext. Nothing lukewarm or boring about the conflict.

So in summation, this an erotic epistolary novel that is more Victorian-like, more sentimental than a historical romance novel typically published today. It’s different and entertaining. I enjoyed its difference and I also appreciated the author’s unique perspective.

The Tub by Gail Smith

The Tub by Gail Smith
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, horror
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Stephantois

Amanda Storey was sent by her company to a tiny rural town to convince the community that having a chain mega-supermarket built there would be a boon to their economy and job market.

She never showed up for the town hall meeting, even though the company insists she was scheduled to be there. The motor inn where she had reservations claimed she never checked in, and police have not found any trace of her body or her car.

This is what happened.

Amanda Storey has been sent to Itsy to convince the town a Ritecost store is just what they need.

I have to admit this was my first time reading erotic horror and after finishing this story I’ll definitely be looking for more and more stories by this author.

This story opens quickly and the author does a great job at offering the ‘something’s creepy’ about Itsy that all good horror stories require. You know something bad will befall Amanda, and you feel more uneasy as the story progresses. By the time she arrives at the bed and breakfast you know she’s not checking out, but what exactly will happen to her? The author made it so entertaining that I wanted to read on. Her demise is the erotic part of this story, and there’s no man involved so it might not be for die hard romance fans. The dialogue is natural sounding, sometimes witty and the characters well drawn.

If, like me, you want to try reading erotic horror, this is a good pick.

Bad Medicine: Moon Bitten by Alice Gaines

Bad Medicine: Moon Bitten by Alice Gaines
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

After years of besting opponents in business, Jared Scott decides he wants a more powerful competitor. A creature with the strength and speed of a wolf and the cleverness of a human being fits the bill. He contracts with WishLabz to help him hunt a werewolf.

Jared's consultant at WishLabz, a werewolf named Amanda, has a history with hunters that goes back to when some men killed her parents. She doesn't like them, and so she doesn't like Jared much, either. She plans a surprise for Jared -- but it turns around and bites her, too.

Watch the fur fly as a lonely wolf-woman and a cynical and bored human man collide in a clash of beliefs, strong wills and misplaced revenge.

This is actually a pretty cool story. I liked the heroine Amanda’s mystical baby sitter and foster father. It was a nice touch because it imbued this tale with caring, love and tenderness. Despite her tragic start in life, she’s survived and thrived – well financially and in life skills. Her heart is a different matter. She has that walled up behind an impressive fortress and she has no intention of anyone ever making her that vulnerable again. Which a reader knows is the perfect type of person to be set up for a fall, and fall she does, much to my reading pleasure.

Jared has tackled every challenge in his life and conquered. He’s great at materialistic goals and considers himself a connoisseur of pleasing the ladies and leaving them satisfied while he continues onto the next agenda. It’s a pretty shallow life and he really didn’t realize anything was missing, nothing important anyway, until he met the heroine. I found it humorous at how he thought another orchestrated challenge could sate his restlessness. It never dawns on him that it’s his heart that has needs, not his brain.

Amanda’s objective isn’t as clear to her as it is to her pixie-cat secretary, whom I adored. What a terrific and fun secondary character. The heroine is purposely blinded to what her actions truthfully mean because it’s colored by her needs – of revenge, of not feeling helpless like she was all those years ago. For some reason, she fixated on Jared and I got the impression it’s because deep down, where there’s a crack in her defenses, she realizes he’s the man strong enough to save her from herself.

I admit that Amanda was a bit too blood thirsty for my personal tastes but it worked for the story. What I mean by that is that what she does to Jared she did it a little too enthusiastically and I got that impression from the author’s word choice during the scene.

One thing I guess I should mention is the parts where Jared and Amanda express furry wolf lust with gusto. If a reader isn’t comfortable with imagining haunches and paws, then they need to be aware that it’s in here. The human mind is present but it’s … distracted a bit by their powerful mating bond. The love is clear and the words are expressed so for me, I had no problems. I actually liked the fact that they both never lost sight of their feelings, no matter what form they were in.

The epilogue wrapped up everything in a passionate and optimistic tone that satisfied the romantic in me. It was sweet and true to their healed relationship. Did I mention what Jared had to do to get Amanda to open up to him? Oh, that was a good part. A reader is going to have to take a chance on reading this book to find out. It sure made me appreciate his character even more.

Bad Medicine: Moon Bitten is a nice twist on the werewolf tale with more than your average emotional hook to connect a reader to the story. I was entertained and fascinated at some of the creative and unique paths Ms. Gaines set up for her characters despite its short length. I found the tale exciting and couldn’t put it down. Now I have to wonder, just what is Gloria’s background story? I can’t think of a more distinctive secondary character that deserves her own account as this gal. How in the world did Ms. Gaines come up with her? I’m captivated.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Their Majesties’ Knight by Sunny Day

Their Majesties’ Knight by Sunny Day
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (87 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Voyeurism, Spanking, anal sex, toys
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Myrtle

Arin chose Galena as his queen, which is an honor she could have done without. Unfortunately, besides being an arrogant, overbearing jerk, he is also a fabulous lover, and no matter how often Galena leaves him, she always comes back. She has only one way out: Arin can't claim her officially until they find their third.

Lan of the Lions is one of the most dangerous and famous knights, and he prefers sleeping with men. He is rarely attracted to women, but when he visits Hearthstone he is drawn to both Arin and Galena.

Each of them is attractive on their own.

Together, they are irresistible.

But Lan isn't used to staying anywhere for long. Will he stay when danger threatens his lovers? Someone wants Arin dead. And with Galena and Lan captured, Arin must make an important decision.

A fairy tale of a king, queen, and a gallant knight—a magical sword called Axen and mages that will draw you into a time long gone. Real or not the tale of Their Majesties’ Knight brought a new twist in my reading enjoyment. When I started reading the plot, it made me think of King Author and the Knights of the Round Table only a lot hotter in the sex department.

Lan, also known as the White Lion, is looking for somewhere to hang his sword for a little while and finds himself at Hearthstone, a kingdom ruled by a strong but fair king. Now the plot changes from the fairy tale and things get wild and hot when Lan finds himself in the king' bed. When you add in Galena the soon to be queen--a high spirited wild cat who is demanding and set on conquering both King Arin and Lan--you have a force to be reckoned with.

I will say that I like contemporary stories most of the time but after reading the excerpt for this short story I was excited to take a step off the beaten path and give it a try. I found the first part of the story a little slow but by the middle of the book things really started to pick up and the action became enthralling and brought me to the edge of my seat; I was able to get to know the characters' personalities before getting entwined in too deeply in the plot and started biting my nails. There was enough entertainment that I could over look the few editing errors and still enjoy the story.

I really like the enchanted plot, sex scenes and spice that went along with it and would love to see the king's sister Moira get a book of her own. I will be adding Ms. Day to my list of authors just so I can keep track and see if Moira's story shows up in the future. Definitely a good read for a summer afternoon by the pool, but be warned, you may need a dip after all the heat in this fairy tale.

Heated Restraints by Yvette Hines

Heated Restraints by Yvette Hines
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (53 pages)
Other: M/F, bdsm
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Dogwood

Brad "Thor" Zeller is getting out of the military and he's looking for a little peace and quiet.

When he becomes an officer in the county of Claremont a hellion named Liza Wright begins to disturb his peace of mind. She's sexy, sassy and a distraction that he can't resist.

One night at the bar turns heated when they find themselves in a game of pool that goes against all the rules and neither of them can walk away from. When a serious accident lays him up for weeks, he comes to discover that there's more to this princess than he first imagined.

As they grow closer, his world is tilted on its axle when he discovers that Liza's life is in danger. Once he rescues her, Thor realizes Liza has stolen his heart and there's nothing left for him to do, but apprehend her.

Here comes trouble, but trouble never looked so good!

Hunky Brad “Thor” Zeller, ex-Air Force turned deputy police, knows trouble when he sees it, and looking at the Major General Michael Wright’s gorgeous daughter, Liza Wright, jet around town in her little red convertible, Thor just knows she is Trouble with a capital T.

Liza is tired of being judged by her “upbringing!” She has just finished an all day study session at Florida State, preparing for her Master's graduation in Childhood counseling, so that she can work with troubled children in her hometown in Claremont County Florida. Liza loves her hometown but is feeling the stress of putting everything including dating on hold for so many years to concentrate on her studies.

Now at age 27, Liza is wondering if the time has come to concentrate somewhat on her non-existent love-life.

After several encounters with each other, Liza and Thor finally hook-up one night and WOW! The chemistry between these two lovebirds is highly combustible! Who knew?

Soon tragedy strikes in the middle of this love affair, when Thor is injured on the job. But Liza is there to help him mend. If that is not enough excitement for you, well hang on as our Liza gets kidnapped when she gets pulled into the case Thor is working on. Major suspense comes into play making this mystery a 'toe-curling” drama as well as a cute and sexy love story.

Yvette Hines did a great job of combining romance and suspense into one good short story. I found myself easily pulled into the characters anticipating there next move. The love scenes were very HOT and I could not help but read this story from beginning to end non-stop. This short-story could have been even better if it had been a bit longer platform so the readers could really experience the thrill of the action. I would have loved to have seen the back story of the drug runners more detailed, so we could grow to hate our villains. I would also have loved to see Liza’s kidnapping drawn out a bit more, giving the readers a chance to really fear for her life.

But as I have said before in my reviews, some of these short-stories would make excellent novels if the writer had so desired to elaborate.

I cannot fault the story for what it was though, a cute, short, love story with a mystery thrown in. I found no grammar or spelling errors, and the story flowed well, making me glad I picked this story to review. I will be keeping it as a favorite, and possibly reread it again in the future.

Do you like a little mystery and suspense thrown into your hot love story? Well this story is for you!

Panther Moon by Regina Carlysle

Panther Moon by Regina Carlysle
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (134 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, menage, anal sex, sex toys
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

Running for her life, Chantrea Morgan, unmated and approaching her time of change, stumbles through the night only to be rescued by a gorgeous yet dangerous male. Blinded by instant recognition of her mate, she clings to him, her only means of salvation. Her body burns for him. Her heart aches with the need to be claimed by this wild Texas panther.

Hudson Cates, warrior of the Turquoise Moon tribe of shifters, saves his grieving mate and brings her home to claim her in the only way he can…with orgasmic pleasure, savage possession and a raw sensuality that is bred into their species. In a ritual as old as time, only he, aided by another male from their tribe, can help Trea embrace her panther beast.

How does a traumatized young panther shifter woman deal with the horror of being hunted by the drunken rednecks who have just shot and killed her parents? Especially when one look into the eyes of the magnificent man who happens to be there to save her reveals with sudden and shattering clarity that he is the one who will be her mate for life? The added shock of that recognition along with his irresistible scent overwhelms the desperate woman with a stunning surge of wildly thrilling sexual power that is natural when one of their species first meets their mates. Only the gentle nurturing and care of the gorgeous, sexy man can calm and heal the emotionally tortured young woman. He is everything she needs.

Ms. Carlysle has created a sweetly complex heroine in Chantrea Morgan. She is a study in contrasts, both feisty and open-hearted, strong young woman who captured my interest and admiration. Trea is about to complete the dangerous and exciting change from woman to panther that all young ones of her species face. The lovely female shifter is brave, trusting and eager.

This change brings on violent episodes of elevated sexual heat which can go on for days or even weeks and is potentially fatal. Fortunately, she is in the capable, experienced and devoted arms and home of her newly found mate, Hudson Cates. Hudson, as is the custom of his kind, has chosen his best friend to be his second in the sexual transition of his long awaited and beloved mate. After Trea has completed the change to panther for the first time, the two will remain bound to each other alone for life.

Trea is also in the panther shifter tribe's territory among supportive friends and protectors. These shifters are committed to finding and bringing to justice the murderers of her parents, who continue to hunt her. I was fully engrossed and captivated by the community and lives of the panther tribe and the world that the author so skillfully and eloquently created. The love story was beautifully written and consuming in both it's tenderness and passion. I was also absorbed by the suspenseful plot which involved the violent, disgusting men they had to deal with.

This was one of the hottest books I've read in ages. I was really impressed with the intensity and passion between the characters, both sexually and romantically. Reading the unfolding of this sensitive and erotically powerful love story was truly a joy. If not for a few editing mistakes, I would have rated it higher. The quality of writing was excellent in every way... the story engrossing, the characters delicious, the sex scorching and wild. I was so drawn in by the characters' experiences that it was like living it myself.

I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you love a good paranormal romance. Panther Moon is the second in the series, Savage Sanctuary.