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Friday, August 12, 2011

Lines in the Sand by Lyn Gala

Lines in the Sand by Lyn Gala
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Three years ago, Carl Ragar turned on the mob. His conscience couldn’t handle the murder of an innocent bystander, and he had to turn his back on his mentor, Petroc “Pete” Barbu, a man he’d admired and lusted after. Pete made no apologies for his job as an enforcer, but he’d never planned to get himself or Carl involved in the murder of a reporter. When Carl turned state’s evidence, Pete couldn’t even pretend to be surprised.

Now Pete’s still on the run, and Carl is unceremoniously dumped out of witness protection. Two men tangled in their own pasts, they will have to face the shifting moral lines in the sand that drove them to make disastrous choices. Once Pete and Carl were partners who trusted each other with their lives—now they’re struggling to save their souls.

Is it wrong to kill if you only kill bad guys? That’s the moral dilemma ex-mob driver Carl and ex-mob hit man Pete grapple with south of the border. Carl thinks Pete is there to kill him after ratting out the mob, including Pete, yet Pete has a few other ideas in store. Carl goes to work for Pete in his car repair shop in Mexico but the sexual tension between the two doesn’t die down. If anything after three years apart the sparks are flying quick and heavy. The two men must come to terms with their past before they can have a chance at a future.

Lines in the Sand deals with the moral gray area of flawed characters. As former criminals both Carl and Pete have a different set of morals and guidelines. They each have reasons for their crimes, some good and some not so good but they evaluate just what their limits really are in this story. For example Pete feels no guilt over killing men he sees as bad men, while Carl accepts that he got into the mob because he wanted the money and the recognition. He wanted to be someone while Pete felt he was choosing the best of the worst options. Due to the focus on such internal and private dilemmas, much of the story takes place within thoughts. Both men spend most of their time silently debating their past and present and where it stands on their sliding moral scale.

The characterization is the key to making this a successful story and I think both men are three dimensional and very real. They’re definitely not average heroes but their personalities are vibrant and interesting and the overarching question of morality keeps the story moving. There is very little to the story outside of the question of both men and how they will handle their past and future since the story is set in an isolated garage in Mexico. Both Pete and Carl share narrating duties and it’s nice to see how each responds, usually differently, to the same memory or event. Both change and grow over the course of the story, becoming perhaps different men or different shades of the same men.

Fans of this author are likely to be the main audience but those new to her writing may appreciate the unique qualities afforded here. The story is interesting and deals with characters and situations not often tackled in romance, which is enough to draw some readers. Others may like the clean writing and descriptive, yet not verbose, prose. Overall, Lines in the Sand is a very enjoyable story that tackles some of the lesser used themes in romance.

Manning Up by J.T. Steele

Manning Up by J.T. Steele
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Fisting, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Elijah Kerrigan is gay with two big strikes against him: his father is a preacher and he himself is a professional baseball player. Divorced from a sexless marriage, he feels that coming out of the closet would destroy his life and, worse, hurt his parents whom he deeply loves. He plans on being alone for the rest of his life, but he doesn’t count on meeting Wesley Grayson.

Wesley Grayson is a tall, handsome young artist and the son of a famous rock star. The moment he lays eyes on Elijah, he knows the two of them are destined to be together. Wesley's developing psychic powers leave him so drawn to the handsome ballplayer that he is certain he’s found his eternal soulmate. Out of the closet and comfortable in his skin, Wesley introduces Elijah to hot, kinky gay sex and a leather club that melts his boy in his arms. But that doesn't make the relationship easy; Elijah's still deeply in the closet.

Two homophobic thugs team up with a female tabloid writer and threaten to expose Elijah's secret. Will he have to abandon the best thing he’s ever had to keep his family and his career? Wesley has no intention of letting go of him, but, in the end, unless Elijah mans up, it may not be his choice.

Elijah can never let anyone know his true nature because it would devastate his family and end his career. Yet one look at Wesley and Elijah knows he is the perfect man to dominate him.

Wesley is so comfortable with who he is anyone would be drawn to him. It is not often a character knows who they are and what they want so completely. I really loved Wesley! Too bad he's gay because if I thought I could, I would steal him away from Elijah and lock him in my closet to keep all to myself.

Elijah’s faith in Wesley is astonishing. While Wesley’s personality would make me want to follow him like a lost puppy dog, I still don't know if I would submit to him so quickly and willingly as Elijah did. This really speaks a lot about who Elijah is as a man, and about his past. I think it worked well because it gave me some insight on his personality and how his past has molded whom he is, without having to be told directly. Even better? He is also delicious, and Wesley’s roommate Arial gets to be in a apartment with these two together. She is one lucky woman.

The conflicts keep the pages turning until the very end. I was amazed how the author was able to create a strong plot line along with strong characterization. The conflicts really held the story together in a nice bundle. The author even managed to tie everything together in a way that left me wanting more. I hope that this is only the beginning of the characters' stories, and that the author will allow me to continue to watch the main and supporting characters grow, because they will be on my mind for a long time.

Vamps In The City by Chrissy Smith

Vamps In The City by Chrissy Smith
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (106 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Verbena

One moment in time will bring two people together and change the destiny of a city.

Vampires are running wild and it is Grant’s job to keep his own kind in check. The warrior of choice, Grant quietly works with his team to keep the streets safe while his heart breaks over his own past. When Grant is about ready to give up the search for his missing sister, he runs into a woman who will make him question everything he thought he knew and sets off events that will rock the city he calls home.

Paige has been on the run too long and is at the end of her rope when she meets the handsome and intriguing Grant. Surrendering to her passion for the vampire is one thing, giving him her heart… that’s another story. Especially when she’s not sure whether Grant wants her for himself or for the connection to his sister.

Miscommunication, betrayal, and pure evil work to keep these two soul mates apart. Will they have a chance to learn that love can conquer all? Or is it already too late?

Love at first…bite? Or perhaps lust that develops into something more…

Since her brutal turning and subsequent torture, Paige wants nothing more to do with vampires, despite being one herself. She hunts when necessary and keeps to herself. Problem is, other vamps seem to have a knack for finding her. You see, vampires need blood to survive, but drinking the essence of another vampire gives them more strength so Paige isn’t even safe with her own kind. Having never learned to tap in to the full nature of her powers, she’s weaker and an easy target for other vamps just looking for a fix. They take what they want and leave her behind. That is, until she comes face to face with the one vampire who wants more than just her blood.

Grant knows the moment he senses the female vamp walking toward him that she is more than just a meal; she’s meant to be his. Having always been one to take what he wants, he wastes no time staking his claim. But Paige has a thing about being held against her will; she’s had enough of that to last a lifetime, thank you very much. And while Grant may be wonderful in bed, she has no desire to be an outlet for his sexual prowess unless he’s willing to offer his heart as well. Despite her growing affection, there are some secrets about Grant’s past that may prove too much for Paige to handle.

Vamps In The City was one of those stories that had a lot of potential but seemed to fall just a little short of reaching it. It was certainly interesting enough to keep me reading and I made it through to the end to find out what happened, but it could have been a great story if the author had done things like expanded the conflicts a little more. It felt like there was one drama after another, but each was solved so quickly that it gave me the feeling of a deflated balloon.

Ms. Smith does offer some interesting and unique twists to her vampires with their powers and abilities, and I wish she’d have drawn on those a little more. The attraction between Grant and Paige is exciting and the intimacy between them certainly heats things up. I believe this author has the potential for some great writing with a little tweaking and practice at plot development. Being a vampire lover, I would read something by Ms. Smith again, as her vampire creativity certainly caught my attention. It’s always nice to see something fresh and new.

Do sexy vampires spark your interest? How about a little excitement to whet your appetite as well? Then grab a copy of Crissy Smith’s Vamps In The City, her unique characters are sure to make you hungry for more.

Pirate’s Woman by Paige Tyler

Pirate’s Woman by Paige Tyler
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

To honor the debt her family owes Slayter Cardona, beautiful Teyla Dunai agrees to let him sell her as a sex slave in the markets of Arkhon. Determined to bring as much value as she can on the auction block, but inexperienced where men are concerned, she asks the handsome pirate if he’ll teach her how to pleasure a man. Intrigued, and more than a little attracted to the lavender-eyed beauty, Slayter agrees. As he initiates her into the world of bondage, spanking and out-of-this-galaxy sex, though, both Teyla and Slayter find themselves falling for each other.

But Slayter has a responsibility to his crew, and Teyla knows it is her duty to pay off her family’s debt. With the deal already agreed upon, there doesn’t seem to be any way for their story to have a happy ending. Until Teyla is kidnapped…and they reach the slave auction house…and Slayter has to find a way to reclaim his own “sex slave”.

Everybody dreams of finding their prince, even a woman like Teyla who was brought up understanding that woman are second class citizens. In her world daughters are frequently used to pay off their family debts. So she never blinks an eye when her father gives her to the pirate named Slayter to sell as a sex slave to pay off his debts. Teyla never dreamed that her prince would come in the form of a pirate, especially one who is taking her to be sold and Slayter never dreamed he would find his heart.

Right from the start I found myself falling for Slayter. He may be a pirate but he is an honest man who lives by a code of conduct and truly cares for his men. When Teyla asks for lessons he is more than ready to help her out, what he’s not ready for is his growing feelings for her. Teyla is such a strong woman; she takes on so much and never thinks twice about helping those that she cares about. Watching their relationship bloom was a great read. The sparks ignite between the two from their first meeting and continue until they grow into the flames that burn up the pages of this story. I loved watching both Teyla and Slayter recognize their feelings and finally come to terms with them.

This author does a wonderful job of bringing the characters in this story to life and making me feel their emotions so strongly. If you enjoy stories with not only great characters but also an engaging plot than this is the book for you. I enjoyed the romance that developed throughout the story, it had me rooting for Slayter and Teyla to find their happily ever after.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Black Jack by Mari Carr

Black Jack by Mari Carr
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (122 Pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Anal Sex, Spanking, Fetish (wax play)
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Foxglove

When pirate Black Jack captures a ship at sea, he considers the territorial governor’s haughty daughter part of the spoils of war. Tying the fiery beauty to his bed, Jack claims Emma as his…over and over again.

Jack has a secret. One he’s kept hidden from his best friend Emma…

When she calls in a favor, asking Jack to perform in a pirate fetish fantasy at the nightclub she manages, Emma inadvertently opens Pandora’s box—for both of them. As portraying a dominant pirate forces more of Jack’s secret desires to light, Emma finds herself enmeshed in sensual explorations of BDSM, wax play, bondage and sex in public that leave her questioning her vanilla existence.

When a second heated interlude on the stage finds her submitting to Jack, Emma suspects she’ll never find her way back to her simple missionary lifestyle. But with Jack in control…she’s not sure she wants to.

Mari Carr has always written hot and sexy romance stories, with delightful characters and wonderful settings. With Black Jack, however, she has taken the heat level to stratospheric new levels.

Scoundrels is the most popular club of its kind. The people of Los Angeles come to experience the fetish shows, and the club regularly sells out each performance. When the male lead in the pirate fantasy calls in sick for the last performance, Emma convinces long time friend Jack to fill in for the night. As manager, Emma knows Jack will be perfect in the role. When the female lead begs off at the last minute, it’s too late to find a replacement, so with some trepidation, Emma is forced to assume the role of the captive of the pirate. What happens next shocks Emma and Jack, and life for the two of them will never be the same. Jack has always known he was a dominant, and has always longed for the perfect submissive to love. He and Emma and Travis have been friends since first grade, but Jack is shocked to discover that his friend Emma has been hiding a secret, one she wasn’t even aware of-she is perfect for Jack’s desires. When their performance at the fetish club awakens Emma’s submissive side, Jack discovers just how perfect they are together. Can Emma accept all of Jack’s desires? How can she show Jack what she wants, when he won’t take the time to listen? Will these two ever find out how Travis engineered their first performance?

With the combination of the pirate fantasy intermingled with the romance burgeoning between Jack and Emma in real life, things go past the boiling point quickly. There was one confusing spot in this, when Ms. Carr changes the club name, but it wasn’t enough to make me stop reading.

Emma Potter is a strong and independent woman, confident in her abilities and used to being in charge of her life. She has been best friends with Jack and Travis since they were all in grade school together. She manages the fetish club owned by her reclusive friend Travis with skill and success, making it the in place to be. A part of her has been fighting her attraction to Jack for most of her adult life, knowing she would never live up to his fantasies with her very vanilla love life. I enjoyed watching as Emma opened up to the possibilities before her.

Jack Carlysle is everything a woman could want: handsome, strong and loyal to his friends. He has been a bit in love with Emma for most of his life, but never thought she could accept his dominance in the bedroom. When that secret surfaces, Jack is torn between desire and fear-desire for the strong and feisty woman he has loved for years, and fear that his desires could push her away. I love that Jack was willing to curb some of his stronger desires to keep the woman he loves in his arms and in his bed, and loved his delight at discovering her hidden depths.

There is only one secondary character here, the reclusive third friend Travis, and he is a mystery man. I enjoyed watching him manipulate his two best friends into getting their hearts desire in each other, and I hope Ms. Carr will revisit the club to give us a look into the secrets he is guarding so closely. This is an intriguing look into fetish clubs and the BDSM lifestyle, told as only Mari Carr does, with lots of hot sex and passion flowing off the pages. One warning, this should be read with the air conditioner on high and plenty of ice at hand-and you might even save some ice for drinks.

The Ghost on My Couch by L.A. Gilbert

The Ghost on My Couch by L.A. Gilbert
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Alex Tanner is a male nurse who divides his time between his job and his television schedule. His idea of the perfect partner, like so many other people’s, is a tall, dark, and handsome man. Preferably alive and breathing. Surely that’s not asking too much? Then an uninvited guest—a ghost, of all things—forces Alex to question what he’s always looked for in a lover and his definition of what makes a person so beautiful.

Is it possible to fall in love with a ghost? That’s the question Alex is asking himself after a lonely ghost shows up late one evening. Though they may share a taste for certain TV shows, Alex is torn between thinking he’s crazy and wanting to comfort the sad apparition. As feelings and a sense of closeness grow between the two, Alex starts to wonder just how he’s going to handle being in love with a ghost. As always, it’s never as easy as it seems.

The Ghost on My Couch is a very cute and delightful story. Despite the fact that one of the main characters is a ghost, the tone is very light and easy. There are a few touching moments of quiet sadness but these are definitely offset by the entertaining banter and great humor. The story is simply incredibly fun to read and very adorable. The characters are well rounded and interesting with Alex as a slightly neurotic but well meaning nurse and Sid as a desperately lonely ghost. The two men are sweet and show how love can develop despite unusual circumstances.

The writing has a good deal of whimsy to it with odd quirks and adorable moments. It’s hard to list them all but from Sid’s behavior to Alex’s best friend, the story has too many great quotes to name them all. Each character has a set of quirks and “geeky” type traits that are very endearing and likable. While neither of these men would normally have gone for the other, they show how love can transcend all stereotypes and preconceived notions.

Even though this is a love story about a live person and a ghost, there is a definite happy ending and an unexpected twist. I kind of saw the ending coming but it may also surprise a few people in the best way. For those wanting a sweet and lovely romance between two endearing and wonderful characters I easily recommend this book and think it’ll be quite a hit.

Shelter Me by Michelle Cary

Shelter Me by Michelle Cary
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemp
Length: Short Story (107 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, anal sex, voyeurism, menage
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Stephantois

As head of the Werner Dairy Farm empire, Teagan Werner has no time for nonsense in his life and even less time for love. When a sexy sable-haired vixen shows up demanding he sell some of his land to her non-profit organization, he's both incensed and intrigued by her display of strength and determination. Quickly it becomes apparent that ignoring his attraction to her won't work, but does he really know enough about the woman to trust her with his heart?

A former victim of domestic abuse, Kyrie Hart has seen her share of hardship and she's determined to give others the same opportunity for escape she had. Leery of men but stern in her convictions, she wants not only the property Teagan Werner owns, but the handsome millionaire too. When her resolve to help abused women collides with her need to follow her heart, Kyrie is forced to choose between her cause and her love. Her decision isn't easy and in the end might very well prove to be the biggest mistake of her life.

Teagan Werner shares a house with his twin brother, Talon and Talon’s new bride, Abby. The three of them have enjoyed many a ménage but Teagan knows that is coming to an end now that Talon and Abby are husband and wife. Will he find a love of his own?

I enjoyed the setting of this story. The author did a wonderful job describing it and giving us a sense of place and what Teagan does for a living. He comes across as very likable but then in walks Kyrie Hart who wants to buy the property adjacent to his ranch. When he refuses, your sympathy switches over to her especially when you learn she wants it so she can build a spa/sanctuary for battered women. You get a sense that these two are very attracted to one another but that this is the very thing that will keep them apart. And neither seem to budge on what they want.

Kyrie just so happens to walk into a store owned by Abby and gets invited to stay at the ranch. I thought this a little contrived but from this point on the story flows so nicely that you begin to overlook it.

I thought the dialogue between Kyrie and Teagan was very realistic sounding. You can feel the tension building between them as the story progresses. The author did a top notch job making us wait until half way through the story for them to finally make love…although there is a hot ménage scene with Teagan, Talon and Abby prior to this.

Secondary characters like Talon and Abby are well developed but don’t appear too much to actually takeover the story. It’s fast paced and there are some nice twists to Kyrie’s story. One is that she’s a battered woman herself, the second I won’t give away.

The ending surprised me as it contained one of the hottest scenes of the story. If you’re looking for a little of everything, nice romance, ménage, unique setting, this is one you probably will enjoy.

Good Horses, Fast Cars and Real Men by Kaliana Cole

Good Horses, Fast Cars and Real Men by Kaliana Cole
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (286 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/M/M, Ménage, Spanking, Voyeurism, toys, anal sex, fetish
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Myrtle

Nate, Brett and Matt Kelly desired one girl and one girl only until she disappeared from their lives, leaving a wake of shattered dreams.

Fourteen years later, Jade Douglas returns a broken shell of a woman, hiding from the past, struggling to build a future on the dilapidated horse stud her father left her. The Kelly brothers see her return as the answer to their dreams. Jade sees them as a threat to the brittle, protective walls she has built around her.

Nate is overbearing and protective but always her safe harbor. Darkly sensual Brett holds the key to her submission. Big Matty has a body to die for and a heart to live by.

But are they enough to heal her?

After false starts, emotional breakdowns, torrid erotic experiences, and a journey of sensual self-discovery, Jade finds her place in life amid good horses, fast cars, and real men.

Chasing after things you can’t catch is for fools and dogs.

A fool is one thing Jade Douglas is not. She had given up on catching one of the Kelly boys a long time ago. Returning home after being gone for years to salvage what was left of her father’s horse ranch, the last thing she needs is to have to deal with is Nate, Brett, and Matt Kelly.

When Nate shows up at the ranch to help the vet check the horses, the embers of heat that have been smoking for fourteen years soon turn to flames and the teasing begins. When Nate heats up Jade’s blood, he leaves her high and dry -- basically telling her that if she wants one, she gets them all. Either singly or en masse, that it was up to her. However, the three brothers are not going to leave things to chance and the game of seduction begins.

As a horse lover and a lover of real men in my reading selections, the title of this book was the first thing that called to me. I just could not pass up the opportunity to find out what was between the cover of the book. Good horses, fast cars, and a green machine called Kermit were nothing compared to the "real men" Nate, Brett, and Matt had become, or the lengths they would go to, to show Jade just how deep their love for her went. The sexual heat in this story is enough to burn the motor up in a fan. However, what really made the book was the differences in the three brothers’ personalities and how they brought a different style to the sex scenes and the interaction between themselves and Jade.

This book was a hoot and full of laughter. I just love the play on words and the banter between the characters throughout the story. It was so good that just as soon as I got to the end I had to turn around and read it again. The characters’ personalities and feelings added fire to the heat between the heroine and the heroes. I was surprised that I didn’t see smoke come off the pages. For a debut novel it was full of mystery, action, and heat in a beautiful laid out plot, and I am eagerly waiting for the next tale by Ms. Cole.

Time to Pretend by Michele Zurlo

Time to Pretend by Michele Zurlo
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (316 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Clematis

One glimpse of Daniel DiMarco sets Alaina Miles’s hormones into overdrive, but she cannot act on her feelings. Not only is he ten years younger than her, he’s a notorious womanizer. When the tension between them escalates into one night of passion, Alaina takes it in stride. It’s a dream come true, but it’s only one night.

When a leak in her roof forces her to hire a contractor, Evan Carrico, Daniel’s best friend and secret lover, is the man for the job. It doesn’t take long for Alaina to realize that her attraction to Evan is much more serious than it should be.

As she falls in love with them and they fall for her, Alaina discovers their secret, but she wants to wait for them to build enough trust in their relationship to tell her themselves. When she stumbles upon them locked in a passionate embrace only hours after a tragic event, will the explosion destroy everything they’ve built?

Whoever it was, who said “variety is the spice of life” might just have been lucky enough to experience as hot a Ménage à trois, as the one in this book…

When I started reading about Alaina who finds herself passionately enjoying the sexual attentions of not one but two gorgeous, younger men, who are best friends and secretly in love with each other I just knew I was in for a treat! What starts out as tempting, lustful fun quickly escalates to love and then just like in the “real world,” life has a habit of intruding and each of the lovers has to deal with their own issues and personal demons. I couldn’t help but relate to each of these three and found myself empathizing at different stages in the story, with them all. So much so, that I felt dragged from one end of the emotional gamut to the other, yet still came out smiling by the end of it and more than a little envious of lucky Alaina!

Michele Zurlo is wonderfully adept at “fleshing out” her characters, even her secondary characters, bringing them all and the story to vibrant life. She is remarkably gifted at making it all seem so real, that it is both absorbing and memorable. The erotism throughout is divine. From super hot and frenetic, to loving and deliciously sensual, especially when all three finally let down all their guards and participate fully.

This story is so much more than just a quick immersion into the lusty cravings and socially frowned upon excesses of an older woman with her eager young studs. It’s a love story with an edginess to it that combines several hot themes (cougar with younger man, cougar in a Ménage à trois with two younger men, bisexuality) into a plot that’s completely riveting from start to finish. I absolutely loved it! This is the fourth book in highly acclaimed Awakenings series and another superb tale of love, lust and life that make her novels, such a delightful fascination to read.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lust Undone by Desiree Holt

Lust Undone by Desiree Holt
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length, (169 pages)
Other: M/F, anal sex, sex toys
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

Returning to her home state of Maine to investigate a possible Chupacabra killing, Sophia Black meets Clint Beaudine, lean, dark and sexy. The heat between them is incendiary, the sex erotic and the pleasure beyond her imagination. Clint fulfills all her fantasies and teaches her ways to please him. The Maine air might be cold but in Sophia’s motel room, it’s beyond boiling.

Clint helps her with the case, using his knowledge of the area in which he lived. As they learn each other’s secrets, it’s obvious to both of them they’re meant to be together. Mated. But the Chupacabra is out in the snow, hunting human prey.

The chill factor is high in this energetic thriller with a shape shifting monster who massacres its victims in a horrifying way, having the elusive nature of a shifter and the canny mind of a human. What's worse, it seems that there may be more than one.

The heat factor is equally high between Sophia and Clint who along with the team Night Seekers, join together to track and kill the devil beast, Chupacabra. The sudden electrifying passion the two possess for each other is played out in blazing, urgent sexual encounters during the course of their hunt for the beast. The scorching affair turns out to be more than either is willing to let go of.

There is plenty of excitement in this 'edge of your seat' drama. It has the elements of a good horror story combined with a 'knock your socks off' erotic romance. There is action in every page, especially the hottest pages. Sophia is a heroine I could really like. She's strong, confident and willing to experience what comes her way with an open mind. Including the sudden powerful attraction between her and the sexy bartender Clint, who has more than a few surprises up his sleeve.

I was swept up in the flow and suspense of this story. The plot is absorbing and convincing. One problem I had was that the ending was concluded with a 'happy ever after' between the main characters without any real conversation about their feelings for each other. I needed to see a deeper connection between the two played out in emotional terms. The 'Love' word wasn't spoken, nor was their future discussed... just announced. But that wasn't enough to mar my enjoyment of the book as a whole. In fact, it was a great read all the same.

Lust Undone is a stand-alone book in the Night Seekers series. If you like multiple elements to your romance, this one certainly delivers. I enjoyed the mystery and adventure as well as the hot, direct passion this story offered. Desiree Holt's writing here is quality work as usual. I highly recommend this fast-paced story to everyone who likes engrossing thrillers and fiery-hot erotica.

Convincing Leopold by Ava March

Convincing Leopold by Ava March
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (110 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Mr. Leopold Thornton finally has the man he’s loved for a decade, yet he can’t believe his good fortune. A reformed rake and a conservative solicitor? Can it possibly last? To add to Leopold’s worries, Arthur’s spending more time at the office...with a handsome new secretary. Desperate not to lose Arthur, Leopold does the only thing he can think of -- use pleasure to keep him.

Mr. Arthur Barrington truly wants their relationship to work. Sinfully beautiful and devoted to him, Leopold’s the opposite of Arthur’s staid ex-lover. And Leopold’s given up his old vices, putting those concerns to rest. Yet lately, all Leopold wants is sex -- in the study, in the carriage, and at Arthur’s office, no less. The sex is amazing, but juggling demanding clients and a demanding lover leaves Arthur exhausted and worried perhaps he and Leopold aren’t suited after all.

It takes one disastrous night for Arthur to realize how much Leopold means to him. But convincing Leopold he loves him, all of him and not just his body, proves difficult. For Leopold’s disappeared and Arthur hasn’t a clue where to find him.

Life has a way of getting in the way of love. At least it seems that way to Arthur. His soliciting business is booming and he’s busier than ever, which means he has less time to devote to his lover, Thorn. Since Thorn stopped all his vices at Arthur’s request, he’s been craving more and more time with Arthur. Yet Arthur’s business seems to constantly be in their way despite Arthur’s promise not to let it. When small misunderstandings pile up and come to a head, the two men may need to reevaluate exactly what they want out of life and each other.

Convincing Leopold is a fitting sequel and interesting story. You should read the first book, Convincing Arthur, before reading this one to understand the history of the two main characters and their relationship. This story picks up a few months after the abrupt ending of the previous book and small life issues are starting to take their toll on Arthur and Thorn’s relationship. Thorn is feeling restless and insecure about his appeal while Arthur is increasing exhausted from his work. Despite promises to put Thorn first, Arthur has lapsed into previous behavior of focusing on his business first and Thorn a distant second, at best. The third person narrative shows how Thorn and Arthur grow increasingly distant due to conflicting impressions of the other’s behavior.

The writing is once again very good and shows how the couple let small issues gradually build up until they become much bigger. It’s a very realistic and nice touch (rather than the big misunderstanding trope) and helps keep the story moving quickly. The characters continue much in the same vein as they did in the previous book with Thorn very open and giving about his love for Arthur, while the latter is much more reserved and withholding. Some of this creates an issue since Arthur doesn’t seem to appreciate Thorn as much as Thorn loves and appreciates Arthur. Though thankfully this does change by the end of the novella, I still spent much of the story not understanding why Thorn is so desperate to love someone as cold as Arthur which affects my enjoyment of the story some.

Overall, this is a good sequel and one that is very similar to the first book. Fans of this author or the series will easily want to continue and the steamy erotica and quick pace make this a fun story to read. It’s one that you don’t need to put down but be sure to have read the previous book in the series first. Then pick up this one and enjoy.

Damaged Goods by Lauren Gallagher

Damaged Goods by Lauren Gallagher
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (152 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Stephantois

Jocelyn Rhodes is a single mother with a demanding career and a long-neglected libido. Frustrated with the dating scene and way overdue for some satisfying sex, she takes a friend’s advice and hires Sabian, a deliciously sexy escort. He’s well worth the money, and the sheets haven’t even cooled off before she’s ready to call him again.

The more time she spends with him, the more she realizes she and Sabian have important things in common. For starters, she’s a single mom, he’s a prostitute, so when it comes to dating, they’re both damaged goods. To most potential mates, Jocelyn and Sabian are in a category akin to dented soup cans, but if the two of them can look past each other’s respective dents, they just might find something they’ve both been missing.

But even if they do find that something, how on earth can she make a relationship work with a man who sleeps with other women for a living?

Jocelyn is a single mom tired of the dating scene so enlists the services of a male escort.

The story is told in the first person from Jocelyn’s point of view which I thought worked perfectly for this story.

We’re immediately immersed in her world of the single mom who wants to try something new but at the same time experiences guilt over what’s she’s finally resorted to. The opening scenes are very descriptive so you feel her nervousness as she waits for the escort to arrive.

His name is Sabian and at first he seems all business but as the story progresses the author does a good job delving deeper into his character and revealing why he’s chosen to be an escort. That isn’t always easy when the stories told from another person’s point of view but the author does a great job with this.

When these two get together for a dinner date we learn they have more in common than first thought. They soon move from client and escort to a real couple and that’s when your uneasiness begins. They belong together but how can this relationship possibly work? It had me turning the pages just to find out how the author was going to deal with this.

The dialogue is natural sounding. Secondary characters minimal but well developed, and pacing is fast. As you can imagine there are plenty of hot sex scenes. The thing I enjoyed most was the way the author handled the ending. It was believable and a definite HEA. If you’re looking for an erotic romance that’s a little different, I’d say check this title out.

Undeniable by Delilah Devlin

Undeniable by Delilah Devlin
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (52 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Gladiolus

The best defense is no match for desire this hot…

Dark Frontier, Book 1

Kate McKinnon’s Sanctuary is an island of refuge in a western frontier shrouded in post-apocalyptic chaos. Her only escape from her crushing responsibilities is occasional radio contact with other pockets of survivors. Especially one man whose deep, raspy voice cuts through her exhaustion, straight to her heart. A man whose face she has only imagined.

When she and her ranch hands are surrounded by renegades, she doesn’t recognize the leader of the militaristic band that rescues them, but knows that voice.

Ty Bennett is already half in love with the human woman whose voice haunts his dreams. His impulsive offer to add muscle to the Sanctuary’s defenses is dangerous to them both. Helping her may redeem some of his sins, but proximity only increases his hunger to possess her—body, soul…and blood.

Without hesitation, she welcomes Ty and his men into the Sanctuary…only to discover the reason why they only ride at night. Yet the survival instinct that screams at her to drive them off is no match for Ty’s seductive powers. Or the need for protection from the threat that howls at Sanctuary’s gates.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. In Delilah Devlin’s newest novella, Undeniable, darkness has taken over. Humans fight to survive; standing against werewolves waiting at their doors. Food is scarce and trust is something that has to be earned.

Kate McKinnon knows this all too well. Her ranch, Sanctuary, is exactly as the name implies; a haven for those who need protection from the werewolves that kill without hesitation. Unfortunately, supplies are dwindling and it won’t be long before all of those who turn to her are starving. Assistance is offered by Ty Bennett, a man she’s maintained radio contact with for years. After she’s placed into danger, she has no choice but to accept the bargain he offers. He’ll transport her people to safety, but he demands one thing in return – her.

Ty Bennett isn’t entirely human, and he knows eventually he’ll have to tell Kate his secret. Despite his promise to see the people under her care to safety, he also knows he can’t keep his hands off the woman he’s dreamed about for years. Although she welcomes his touch, his embrace, and everything he has to offer physically, it’s her blood he yearns for most.

Undeniable has an interesting premise involving werewolves, vampires, and the western frontier. The beginning of the story sets the tone. The heroine, Kate, is strong-willed and determined to protect those under her care. The threat is very real, with werewolves devouring livestock she protects and keeping the people under her roof on the brink of starvation. When Ty arrives to rescue her from an attack by renegades, their chemistry is off the charts. He wants her, she wants him, and it’s obvious. Usually this is a good thing in erotic romance, as a hero and heroine who don’t deny their attraction to each other heighten anticipation. In this case, however, the lack of character development causes the story to become less about romance, more about sex, and leaves a lot to be desired.

Due to the length of the work, the reader is left to question how Ty was made, where he truly comes from, how things work at his compound, and what will happen when he takes Kate to a better, safer place. The reader is quite literally dropped into the story, forced to accept the situation, and is left with a cliffhanger ending that leaves everything open to chance. That being said there are positive aspects to Undeniable. The heat between Kate and Ty is scorching. The intimate scenes between the two sizzle, and the flame doesn’t stop burning until the last page is turned. The world Ms. Devlin has created is fascinating and pulls the reader into the story quickly. With witty dialogue and a fast pace, erotic romance enthusiasts will soar through Undeniable in one sitting.

Fans of paranormal romance with a western flair and a lot of sexual intensity are sure to enjoy Undeniable. Although many things are not clarified in the first story, perhaps they will be revealed later in the series.