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Friday, September 23, 2011

Delicious Danger by Desiree Holt

Delicious Danger by Desiree Holt
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length, (226 pages)
Other: M/F, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation

Kelly was shocked when her Caucasian Ovcharka, Xena, bonded with Rick Latrobe. The dogs are known for linking with only their owners. She’s even more shocked at the intense sexual heat that sizzles between her and Rick. When she tumbles into bed with him at the very first opportunity, experiencing a night of erotic bliss in his arms, she knows they have something special.

But Xena is very much aware when an attempt is made on Rick’s life, and the dog drives Kelly crazy with signals of danger. Rick is nearly killed and Kelly and Xena are ferried to the secret clinic where he’s recovering. As Rick heals and they race to find the mastermind behind the attempted murder, the lust between them heats to the boiling point.

Did you know that there is a breed of dog know for its psychic abilities? Kelly Monroe's dog, Xena is one of these. This confident and sweet heroine makes her living raising those unusual dogs: Caucasian Ovcharkas. When she meets Phoenix agent, Rick Latrobe- with a little gentle guidance from Xena, fireworks go off between them both.

But soon the dog is giving Kelly mental images of danger for Rick, with whom she bonded immediately. After a serious attempt on Rick's life that spins the trio into a whirlwind of danger from international criminals, they learn to depend on her for guarding security and psychic warnings and communication. Kelly and Xena are soon accepted into the agency, which values and employs those with psychic abilities. The three go into hiding and along with others from the Phoenix Agency begin a thrilling and complex mission.

This blasting-hot story is truly delicious in it's irresistible, sexy, suspenseful, thrilling way. In fact, sumptuous. I loved this book. It has the perfect blend of crime adventure, psychic interest and searing, sweet romance. The psychic theme that is a feature of all the books in the Phoenix Agency series is given an extra spin in this book which adds dimension and a fuzzy, warm bonus for pet lovers.

The attraction between Kelly and Rick brings them sweltering heat from the moment that they meet. I was so impressed with the compatible fit and the emotional power between the two. Ms. Holt really knows how to write an extremely erotic tale with believable characters that take over the pages and are poignantly memorable. I enjoy the way she develops her characters over the entire series and brings them back in every book to play an integral role. This makes every book personal, with an evolving interest.

The sex scenes are always scorching and fit elegantly into the story in a smoothly realistic manner. You will truly need a fan or AC for this one. Rick is a hot, masculine alpha male with a soft, gentle side. I couldn't help but fall in love with him right along with Kelly and Xena. A stronger hero would be hard to find.

As with the previous two books in the series, there were a few editing errors, but this one had fewer. If not for that I would have given this excellent book the highest rating. The plot was strong, but the love affair took center stage in my sensibilities. I hope Ms. Holt gifts her readers with further installments in this series. It is truly unique and special.

If you love a romance of the most exciting kind with a great suspenseful mystery, I advise you pick up a copy of Delicious Danger.

Landfall by Lori Toland

Landfall by Lori Toland
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (41 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Nymphaea

ER nurse and hospice worker Jared White is caught up in more than just high winds when a hurricane traps him with Deputy Fire Chief Mike Brown. The handsome firefighter has had Jared drooling every time he visits the ER, but as far as Jared knows, Mike is straight – until a downed bridge strands them alone in an empty firehouse. Will their passionate encounter outlast the storm?

Two hot guys, a disaster and lots of steam. Sound like a book you’d be interested in? Then grab Landfall by Lori Toland. I’m so glad I got to read this book.

Ms. Toland nabbed me from page one. I had to know what would happen next and got completely engrossed in these two men. The book might be short and have sweet parts, but let me tell you, there’s plenty of steam in those few pages, too. The writing flowed well and I couldn’t put the book down.

I totally enjoyed Jared and what he was trying to do. He leads with his heart right out in the open and though he’s got his shy moments, he’s devoted to his patients. Running out into a hurricane might be considered a little foolish, but knowing what he was there to do, I commended him.

Now I have to admit, I’m not usually a huge fan of first person narratives. That said, this book didn’t bother me. What did stick with me and I’m still on the fence about was Mike. I’d have loved to have had a little bit of the book in his point of view. There were things he did that I didn’t really understand and would’ve loved to know his motivations behind them. Still, the book is white hot and I’ve read it again and again.

I’ll be on the lookout for more books by Ms. Toland as this book introduced me to a new author I want to read more of.

Lone Wolf by Shelley Munro

Lone Wolf by Shelley Munro
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (137 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When you fall out of step, that’s when everything falls into place.

R.J. Blake begins a new session tutoring young werewolves in the old ways—before the introduction of the shift-suppressing drugs that allow their kind to live secretly among humans. He expects nothing out of the ordinary. Until sexy, smart, aggravating-as-hell Corey Wilson arrives. Older than the others, son of a powerful Los Angeles pack leader, Corey is an instant temptation he cannot afford.

The last thing Corey wants is three months stuck in the Yellowstone wilderness, followed by the stifling life his father has all mapped out for him. One glimpse of R.J., though, sparks a determination to seduce the older man before he leaves. Yet as R.J. guides him through the sometimes terrifying process of rediscovering his heritage, a deepening respect calls to his artistic soul and fuels a burst of creativity.

When their time comes to an end, Corey senses hesitation behind R.J.’s insistence that theirs was simply a summer fling. Inspiring him to take a leap of faith with consequences neither of them saw coming. A dangerous plot that reaches from the heart of their love to the highest office in the land…

Werewolves falling in love when the odds are against them is always a good draw. Add secrets, lies and a conspiracy and a reader is in for a suspenseful treat.

The main focus of this latest story by the talented Ms. Munro is about two mismatched men who find each other quite by accident. What follows is a gripping and dramatic tale of heartache, revelations and hope. There’s also a lot of danger and the reason knocked my socks off. I figured out part of it towards the end but so much more was going on that neither hero had an inkling of just how far the twisted ambition would reach.

Corey, one of the heroes, does an amazing amount of growth during the course of the book. In fact, he is the one that carries the story. From city Goth boy to man, from hurt puppy to avenging wolf, Lone Wolf encompasses it all. I also liked how his dialogue changed as he did as well as his outlook and his reaction to things. He starts off passive-aggressive and ends up being a man who stands up for his beliefs, his dreams and the man he intends to be. Eventually, there’s a lot to respect in his character.

R. J. is a totally different story. He’s already a man’s man – sure in his skin, his place in life and who and what he is. What really threw him for a loop was Corey. The young hero makes R.J. sit up and take notice of all the things that lack in his life but because he’s older, he is afraid that what he wants in impossible. Plus, Corey inadvertently makes R. J. face a demon from his past. Talk about angst.

As with most romances, the protagonists tend to reason out and justify why they should succumb to their desires. They come up with all sorts of reasons to make it fly, calling it a vacation fling, scratching the itch or getting it out of their system. That never ever works and it continues to hold true for R.J. and Corey. They do fall in love and it’s tragic that they have to hide it, fight it and deny it. Oh, the torture! Made for great reading.

When Corey and R.J. get together, it’s a howling good time. Ms. Munro once again creates scenes that make the pages steam yet a reader always is provided that emotional connection that makes everything more poignant, more powerful and more relevant. That being said, there is one scene where they consummate their attraction totally in wolf form. It didn’t bother me at all because it fit and made sense. But just in case there are some readers who, no matter how well done or how much it fits with the story, will give this type of scene a wide berth, be forewarned to skip that part and read all the rest. Because the entire story has value to a romance reader due to its having heroes that have to fight for their love to survive. It’s classic.

The editing was perfect, the dialogue provided clear insight into Corey and R.J. and the antics at Yellowstone were entertaining and hot – and I’m not talking about Old Faithful. The secondary characters contributed important motivation at times for much of the plot movement. My favorite is Teague and a reader will find out why when they read the book. Hal reminded me of a retired John Wayne. As for Corey’s mom, well, I felt so bad for him. She’s not what I’d hope she be at all. So sad, so clueless. My least favorite secondary characters were Hal’s ‘cousins’. There was something about how they were written that didn’t quite fit with the flow of everything. I understood that they were necessary to the conflict. Emma’s character confused me because it seemed like she was more than just what I read. I wish I could be more specific. Probably it’s just me and other readers will have no issues. That’s the beauty of books.

Lone Wolf is a suspenseful and dramatic story of two men who fall in love even though the truth could tear them apart. It shows that opposites do attract and love doesn’t recognize werewolf-made boundaries and unnatural measures that try to stop nature. It’s a well thought out and crafted tale that balances sexy hotness for the heart with suspenseful intrigue for the mind. Paranormal romance readers are in for a great read when they pick up their own copy of Lone Wolf.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bite With Height by Lucy Felthouse

Bite With Height by Lucy Felthouse
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (22 pages)
Other: F/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Amaryllis

When Meg spots a young woman alone in the Pigalle district of Paris at night, she's intrigued. She has to know her story and find out why she looks so sad and alone. After introducing herself, Meg realizes that she and Grace have a lot in common. But when they decide to go and grab a drink together, they discover a mutual love that could bond them forever.

A lesbian vampire with romantic taste in architecture falls for a het chick on the rebound. Meg is a modern day vampire living in Paris who struts her stuff down the Boulevard de Clichy. She preys on the evil and depraved. She’s fueled by anger towards men who are mean or abusive to women. She’s a strong, no-nonsense lady with a good heart and deep sense of compassion. Grace is unsure, hurt badly by a recent break up and feeling lonely, unwanted and unfulfilled.

Meg sees Grace and decides that she likes what she sees and she goes after it. Grace seems mesmerized instantly by the sophisticated, confident Meg. Meg shares her great love of Sacré-Coeur basilica with Grace. They grow closer over coffee and girl-talk. They really click. There’s no significant interpersonal conflict between the lovers as they come together. Most of the conflict is intrapersonal for Grace. She’s feeling poorly about her break up and the fact that her boyfriend didn’t turn her on in bed. She never reached orgasm with him. She worries that she is boring. She’s so confused now.

Meg is all sympathy and Grace is a grateful sponge soaking up the attention. Once the ice is broken about Meg being a lesbian-vampire and having lesbian-vampire desires for Grace, Grace responds eagerly. She didn’t know until right this moment, but this is what she’s always wanted and waited for her whole life, sharing sex with a gorgeous female vampire. The sex is hot and sexily written. Through Meg’s protective and rather dominant lovemaking and their sharing, Grace finds her true strength. The strength to love and be loved.

I really enjoyed this short, sexy story with lots of girl-talk, coffee with a vampire twist in the shadow of Sacré-Coeur. I’d gladly recommend it to others who enjoy paranormal and F/F Romance. If you’re in the mood for an uncomplicated, quick satisfying read with F/F romance, don’t miss Bite With Height.

Plus Ones by Hank Edwards

Plus Ones by Hank Edwards
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (152 pages)
Other: M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal play/intercourse, toys
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Each time Paul and Evan meet at another friend's same-sex wedding, they're interested...but the timing is always wrong because one of them is involved with someone new. They try to make do by falling in and out of the beds of several different men as they search for their own Mr. Right, and along the way, they learn new skills, like the secrets to Tantric sex, or the moves required to succeed at lube wrestling.

Yet all through the hot summer months, they flirt and eye each other by the buffet tables and open bars of reception halls crowded with men, even though they never get a chance to take their relationship to the next level. When the summer draws to a close and their two best friends are about to marry, the stars might finally align for Paul and Evan. They might just get to be each others' forever 'plus one'.

Sometimes the perfect man is standing right in front of you and sometimes you knock him down and spill a drink on him thanks to a large, amorous, horse-of-a-dog!

Are you looking for a character that you instantly fall in love with and want to bring home with you to take care of? Let me introduce you to Evan. Bless his heart, he doesn’t have a problem getting dates, just getting the right date. He’s ready to settle down and knows what he wants in a life partner and after the summer of love and weddings that sweeps through Massachusetts he most definitely knows what (and who) he doesn’t want! Is it so hard to find someone who gets his humor, someone ready for a commitment, someone without scary issues…someone like Paul?

Mr. Edwards really did a fantastic job of character building with both Evan and Paul. The point of view in the story moves smoothly between Evan and Paul so the reader is able to see the action from both sides. The journey to their elusive HEA is often humorous and sometimes painful but worth every crazy dating adventure once they realize the amazing chemistry they feel is genuine.

If you love a soundtrack with your romance, play Peter Cetera’s 80’s ballad After All. There’s a line in the song that says “After all that we’ve been through, it all comes down to me and you. I guess it’s meant to be, Forever you and me, After all”. If Paul and Evan didn’t play this at their wedding, I would be sorely disappointed, after reading their story.

Do yourself a favor and pick a copy of Plus Ones. Mr. Edwards is a truly talented writer and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from him so far. He’s an auto buy for this reviewer and an easy recommend.

How Not to Date a Skunk by Stephanie Burke

How Not to Date a Skunk by Stephanie Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Photographer Bilana thinks she can beat the heat and her migraine by taking her meds and getting out of the sun. But she wakes up to find her whole world order being changed before her eyes.

Chaska is a powerful Dakota warrior in full regalia, defending his right to pick the mate of his choosing. But when Bilana stumbles into a centuries-old rite, he finds himself having to save the beautiful black woman's life by claiming her for his own.

Now Bilana has an insolent young warrior, a set of elders, and a shapeshifter mate all invading her peace and quiet. She has to learn to accept change as it comes, but that's what happens when you learn how not to date a skunk.

I had a riot of a good time reading this very unique and intriguing tale of a woman and her skunk. In fact, it was so novel, it ranks up there with my Yeti fascination.

I liked how Ms. Burke set the whole scene up. How Bilana, the heroine, ended up where she was, what she saw, how she responded and most importantly, how she reacted. Each scene could have spiraled down into a cliché but not so for Bilana. I liked the fact that she had her moment of shock but was open, honest and adventurous. She had respect for The People’s ways and understood on a more intricate level than most other observers. It gave what happened after a believable feeling.

The description of the fancy dancing was bizarre, unusual and really cool. I can’t imagine how anyone could have done what the hero, Chaska, did. Physically, I think it’s impossible but that’s the beauty of a paranormal romance. The author is free to imagine and explore the most amazing things and Ms. Burke certainly did that in this book.

Chaska is a total hottie. He’s actually an alpha but I didn’t know that until I got to this really intense and action packed scene. The author wove a lot of detail into a wonderful moment of description and character development. It solidified that Chaska and Bilana really were meant to be, just like the elders said. And it proved that they were completely sexually compatible and perfect for the other. What that means is that a reader is going to find the hero and heroine having some powerful loving that’s sure to leave a satisfied feeling behind for a reader. It’s certainly not tame.

Even though this story is short, it actually was well balanced. I didn’t feel too much was left out except for perhaps some more background. I would have liked to know a bit more as to why the elders acted the way they did, or didn’t. The author made them ‘stoic’, but somehow, I don’t think they were. I would have loved to have had a bit more insight as to the ritual, the actual 21st Century purpose and an answer to the question, “is this the kind of shifter story where Bilana could become an adorable feisty skunk too?” Alas, I’ll never know.

What I do know and what the author lets a reader see is the growing of Bilana and Chaska’s relationship. There is a happily ever after and it’s still happening but as to what that entails, a reader will have to grab their own copy to find out. I wouldn’t mind a follow up book to see if some of those questions are answered. I’d jump at the chance to visit more skunk shifters again. They are a lot more interesting than expected and I loved the way the author presented the culture.

How Not to Date a Skunk is funny, adorable, completely entertaining and a fast read. I enjoyed the dialogue, loved the descriptions and definitely want more. I can tell the author took her time to do research but she didn’t hit me over the head with an info dump. The couch action is furious, delicious and well written. Readers are in for a sweet read when they get their own copy of How Not to Date a Skunk.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Riding the Storm by Delilah Hunt

Riding the Storm by Delilah Hunt
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (99 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Moonflower

For Zara Whitley, a reluctant offer from rancher Matthew Caldwell erupts into an afternoon of illicit pleasure during a thunderstorm. But her joy suddenly turns to heartache as Matthew decides to put an end to the relationship before it begins and before she has a chance to inform him of her pregnancy.

When the Montana widower learns that the woman who has been as much a friend and a temptation to him is carrying his child, his lust and desire to slake his needs inside her ripe little body escalates, but can he overcome the guilt he deals with at his wife’s death and show Zara that his heart is truly hers for the taking?

This is a passionate story of destined lovers and the turmoil and heartbreak that they endure to finally get to where they belong: together.

Matthew Caldwell and Zara Whitley became instant friends. Theirs was a friendship filled with obstacles and problems, the biggest being Matthew’s wife, Kristin. Vicious rumors and ugly innuendoes were starting to take form around them. After an unfortunate encounter, Matthew breaks off his relationship with Zara for good. He will not break his vows to his wife, even though they are heading for divorce. After a tragic accident and a year apart, Zara tries to rekindle their acquaintance. Matthew is not over the heartbreaking loss of his wife and cannot accept Zara’s kind words and friendship.

Matthew is a confused soul. He would like nothing more than for his marriage to work, but he knows it never will. Coming to the realization that his marriage is over is hard on him, but the painful decision is made and he needs to move on. There is comfort and ease in his friendship with Zara, but he feels guilty because he has romantic feelings for her. He quickly ends their relationship, but he cannot stop thinking and wanting her.

Zara has always loved Matthew. Since he was married, she was content to just be his friend. One day he almost kisses her and he immediately ends things with her even though she did nothing wrong. Devastated and sad, she moved on, never forgetting her best friend. Her pain doesn’t end there; her life is ruined by hateful lies spread by Kristin. She refuses to allow the lies to ruin her life, so she holds her head up high and carries on.

Riding the Storm takes place after they reunite during a thunderstorm. It is a chance for a new beginning, but they can’t seem to make it work. This story tells of their agonizing journey back to each other. It is gripping and well written. The emotions Ms. Hunt develops are poignant. While I was reading; I felt anger, frustration and hopelessness, but then I’d turn the page and feel joy, happiness and love. I enjoyed that Zara was able to mature from her relationship with Matthew and do what was best for her. Matthew continually frustrated me, but in the end he grabbed my heart and burrowed in.

Riding the Storm is an enjoyable read that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Hold on tight for a tantalizing ride!

Tropical Sin by Lexxie Couper

Tropical Sin by Lexxie Couper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (87 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal play/intercourse
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

It takes more than a rock star to rock your world. Sometimes you need a friend.

Bandicoot Cove, Book 3

McKenzie Wood is Australia’s star gossip mag journalist, and she’s just spied the story of a lifetime: rumor-shrouded rock star, Nick Blackthorne—who thinks he’s incognito at Bandicoot Cove resort. The word is Nick’s a sex addict about to come out of the closet, and who better to lure Nick out than her BFF, Aiden Rogers—a pulse-poundingly gorgeous firefighter who is always there when she needs him, no matter the challenge.

Aiden admits it’s pretty damned pathetic that he can rush into burning buildings, but not have the guts to tell McKenzie he’s in love with her. No way can he tell his best friend he’d like to do some seriously sinful things to her, especially since she’s never shown one iota of sexual interest.

Nick looks forward to some “unfamous” downtime in his home country. He’s surprised to find his creative muse stirred—more like brought to rigid attention—by a couple so sexy that all he can think about is the three of them. Together.

Three bodies move together as one, and the music becomes a smoldering beat that rivals the island’s heat. When the truth inevitably comes out, the heat might be enough to save three souls…or end up just another sinner’s lament.

The magic of Bandicoot Cove has one more story to tell and it’s one that made me smile with its sincerity, sweetness and unique storyline.

McKenzie Wood is ready for a serious career in journalism and has just spotted her golden goose in the form of elusive rock star, Nick Blackthorne. If Mac hadn't been so star-struck and determined, she might have noticed that her best friend, Aiden, only agrees to help because, to him, making Mac happy is worth more than gold.

Aiden is such a sweetheart! He was so easy to fall in love with and I think I would have been furious at McKenzie if she had not been immediately receptive of his attention. Considering how long they’ve been best friends and the fact that everyone around them had already figured out how perfect they were for each other, I had to wonder if anything but the most direct approach would work with McKenzie.

Nick Blackthorne has lived the rock star life for many years and while it may seem that his life is everything he could possibly want it to be, it's not. When he finally gives Mac the story she thought she wanted it’s not even remotely close to what she had heard or imagined.

Similar to Island Idyll, book 3 in the series, Tropical Sin has a ménage element but does not end with all three parties walking away together. While I’m not a big fan of a ménage that isn’t committed, this story is about more than why these three should or shouldn’t be together as a triad. These are three people who are at a point in their lives where it’s time to either make some changes or stay stuck in a rut. How they go from standing still to moving forward with their lives is a fun, steamy and touching story.

If this is your first trip to Bandicoot Cove, you’re in for a treat. You won’t have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this novella. All of the books in the series are short reads so if you find yourself wanting to learn more about the other friends you’ll run into on the island don’t hesitate to pick up those books as well. This was a clever writing project by three talented writers and well worth the read!

Autumn Healing by Cooper McKenzie

Autumn Healing by Cooper McKenzie
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, ménage, Anal sex, m/f
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Meadowsweet

Army veteran and midwife Autumn Ryan’s spirit is shattered. She just wants to find a cave to hide in. Instead, her father sends her to Sanctuary, where everyone is expectantly waiting for Spring to give birth to the next generation of Sullivan shape-shifting Irish Wolfhounds. As soon as she meets them, Autumn is drawn to Evan and Frank. For the first time in her life, she feels a contentment and peace she’s searched the world over for.

Frank and Evan envied their brothers but discounted the possibility that the last Ryan sibling would be their mate. Then Autumn walks into their furniture-making shop, and all they can think about is claiming their mate. But Autumn has painful secrets haunting her.

Can they heal their woman and find the kind of happiness their brothers have found? Will she stay long enough to help Spring have her babies? Or will she cut and run?

Autumn Healing sees the final twins mated. The Sanctuary series consists of four books and brings together a family of shifters with four sets of twins and a family of the four seasons. The twins are Irish wolfhound shifters who meet siblings Spring, Summer, and Autumn and their brother Winter. Each finds their significant other in the twin shifters who are destined to find a single mate between the two of them.

The book was well edited, plot line was solid and it flowed well if a little too quickly. The main female protagonist, Autumn, is suffering from a trauma caused during her tour in the Army. It has made her afraid of men. Her shifter mates are the perfect ones to help heal the damage but unfortunately, the story moved a little too quickly. She goes from afraid of men and wary of them right into a committed relationship in less than 24 hrs. While consistent with the rest of the series, with falling instantly in love and feeling the instant pull of destined mates, the story would have been a better read if the story had gone a little slower.

The twins however, were wonderful in the caring, compassion and empathy they showed their mate. This helped to create an engaging story. Overall, however, it’s a good book and a decent read. More, the entire series is recommended.

Obsessed by Various Authors

Obsessed by Donna George Storey, Kayla Perrin, Portia Da Costa, Logan Belle, Justine Elyot, Emerald, Jennifer Peters, Ariel Graham, Bella Andre, Adele Haze, Charlotte Stein, Kristina Wright, Garnell Wallace, Andrea Dale, Elizabeth Coldwell, K.D. Grace, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Teresa Noelle Roberts, and Louisa Harte
Publisher: Cleis Press, Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Peppermint

Experience the Heights of Passion and the Depths of Desire

We've all been there—so taken by a lover that you just can't stop thinking about him. Your imagination runs wild, fueling your fantasies. You feel hot, feverish, out of control. Your only hope of release is to possess and be possessed. In Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women, Rachel Kramer Bussel has curated a gloriously explicit collection of riveting romance with an edge. Whether just-blooming passions, rekindled sparks, or reinvented relationships, these lovers put the object of their obsession first. From the almost-divorced couple in "Aftershocks," by Bella Andre, who finally confess their deepest desires during an earthquake to a woman who tells her boyfriend just how much she lusts after another man in Emerald's "Then," these lovers push the boundaries of their trust, and are rewarded for taking those risks. Obsessed lovers don't always do what is rational; sometimes they chase their dreams, as in Kayla Perrin's "One Night in Paris," across the world and across the landscape of their lovers' bodies. Lustful and literary, Obsessed asks just how far you'll go for the man you love.

Everyone has some type of obsession in their life whether it be the pursuit of a secret fantasy, or something we experience that creates the obsession that always pulses just under the surface. An anthology about obsession is perfect for readers who need or want to feel that they're not alone in their compulsions. This book covers it.

Silent Treatment by Donna George Storey

This story makes it evident that you do not need a voice to be heard. It was a good tale to begin the anthology but the obsession wasn't altogether clear. I did enjoy the anonymity of the heroine because it added a mystery to the story. It also allowed me to interpret the heroine the way I would picture her. .Based on the writing, I wasn't restricted to how the author wanted me to view her heroine.

One Night in Paris by Kayla Perrin

This story showed and even demonstrated the theme of obsession perfectly. I was completely enthralled with the storyline from beginning to end. Not only was Vivian’s obsession with her boss explored, but the author delved into her obsession with the fantasy itself. And let's face it, we all love a good fantasy now and then.

Concubine by Portia Da Costa

Even though it got of to a slow start, this story had a very interesting ending. I liked the whole "story within a story" aspect of Concubine. Additionally, these characters connected on a deeper level than the previous tales. It created a nice little romantic feeling to it.

Love and Demotion by Logan Belle

This story was all about raw animalistic sexual urges. Cat is tame during the day, but a sex kitten at night. At this point in the anthology, Love and Demotion was my favorite story. It revisited the secret obsession of sleeping with your boss. The author added a twist to the storyline that really entertained me.

Mephisto Waltz by Justine Elyot
This installment was entertaining, especially the way the author used music to build up and develop the relationship. While I am not a classical music fan, I could appreciate the correlation between emotionally connecting a good piece of music to a good piece of man candy. In the end, Lily gets to thoroughly enjoy both.

Then by Emerald

This was by far the most erotic story within the anthology. Valerie may love Chris, but her body sure wants a taste of Hayden. The reality is, even while people are in a monogamous relationship, everyones eye wanders occasionally. We cannot help but appreciate an attractive man. What's worse for the heroine,Valerie, is this attractive man is constantly being thrown in her face. The sensual tension escalates because she can't touch him ...or can she?

It’s Gotta Be Fate by Jennifer Peters
This story was not only interesting but it set itself apart from the others because of its uniqueness. It encompassed a BDSM theme with an titillating twist. Occasionally, submissives need to know what it is like to dominate someone. By the same token Doms need to experience the feel of someone else’s ties around their wrists. In this story, I get exactly that. What was better, was the hint at maybe a new beginning. This was a light BDSM story, but be prepared because it's emotionally charged.

Hooked by Ariel Graham
This tale was a bit puzzling to me. One thing that really made it difficult was the characters names being Ricki and Jody. Since both names are interchangeable between males and females, I kept forgetting who the boyfriend was and who the girlfriend was. In spite of that, I really enjoyed Ricki’s obsession. Add in the hook and I had a story that truly captured the theme of obsession. However, I would have liked to have actually seen the obsession be fulfilled in the final scene of the story. Ms. Graham needs to do a sequel.

Aftershocks by Bella Andre

Some relationships need a little jolt to get back in track. The lack of communication displayed by Celeste and Darren is a trap many marriages fall in. They are so afraid of each other’s reaction they fail to realize they both want the same thing. This highly erotic BDSM story was inspirational in more than one way. Secret Places by Adele Haze Until we fully trust someone, many of us keep our secrets to ourselves. That is what this story was about. The only drawback about this tale is the author focused too much time and energy on Dan's music playing. It took away from the the relationship development. Because it is so short, the secret was discovered using a typical technique. but ultimately I did get to see Dan and Marian reach their happily ever after. Best of all for the protagonists, there were minimal secrets going forward.

Loser by Charlotte Stein

This story inspired mixed emotions, but in a good way. One moment I was completely awed by the fact that Mallory would even be attracted to Billy in the first place. The next thing that threw me was when Mallory talked about how good he was in the bedroom. I thought, "Wow,what a catch!" I am sure this is what the author was going for and she certainly succeeded in her goal. Now, I don't think I will ever again walk past an average person and think what a loser they are.

Here In Between by Kristina Wright

'Strange mysterious man finds stranded woman on the side of the road'. It certainly sounds more like the beginning of a horror movie than an erotic tale, doesn't it? Well, not only does that sentence begin this story, it also ignited something deep inside me. You know, the part that wants to be that damsel in distress who is rescued by the knight riding on a magnificent stallion? I just hope my knight is as sexy and charismatic as the hero is in this story.

Spellbound by Garnell Wallace
This story touched me on a few emotional levels. I absolutely loved that the heroine, Kia, was able to find herself but it took her going to Haiti to do it. The nice twist was she found the love of her life while she was trying to connect with a part of herself her family denied. What I liked too was the heroine was put into a situation that was different. It inspired her to really look within for answers. What really spiced up the story were the hot erotic scenes. I'm being deliberately vague because it's a story worth reading.

Raven’s Flight by Andrea Dale

Forget the girl next door when you can have the sexy Celtic next door. Ciaran is the type of neighbor we all dream of; sexy, intelligent, and likes to walk around shirtless. I also enjoyed the link the tattoos played in Ciaran and the heroine's journey through life. I appreciate symbolism because I have always felt it adds a touch of depth to a story. The author effectively illustrated that with the use of the tattoos.

Raindrops and Rooftops by Elizabeth Coldwell
This story was a bit more sexual and the focus on obsession was not as heavy as with the previous tales. I like that it added a little bit of lightness to the obsessive side of people. Another thing that intrigued me was Keeley going to New York in search of one thing and ended up finding something completely different. For a lot of people, the scenario plays out just like that in real life. We do not realize what we are looking for until we find it.

Topiary by K.D. Grace

At first, I was a bit confused on what the author of this story was talking about, but after a few chapters, I was able to figure it out. I have heard of vajazzling, but this takes pubic decorating to a completely new level. While this story did fully explore the obsession people can have regarding a woman's parts, I did not really connect with nor fully appreciate the relationship. It seemed as if Aden only cared about one part of heroine's anatomy, and not necessarily for her as a person.

I Want to Hold Your Hand by Rachel Kramer Bussel

This story was very romantic. All Shelly really wanted to do was reconnect with her husband. While it had a strong erotic element, the story left a warm and fuzzy feeling inside by the time I finished it. Ron was eventually revealed to be the perfect husband that all husbands should be.

Storm Surge by Teresa Noelle Roberts
This story was a bit difficult for me to read. While if fully captured the obsession of the character, I just felt confused because the obsession almost trumped reality. Additionally, it was another story that I felt the couple did not really connect as deeply with each other as they could have. What came across instead was their total involvement with their mutual obsession.

Undercover Kink by Louisa Harte

This final tale was a great one to end this anthology. We all have some undercover kink somewhere buried inside, and Natalie, the heroine, had to fulfill the kink she has secretly obsessed about for a long time. What was even better is that it even fulfilled a few kinks I don't think even Natalie realized she had until that moment. It's the element of discovery that made it so worth it.

This entire anthology really displayed the many forms obsession can take. Though voluminous, this book has stories to match anyone’s needs or curiosity about obsession. Because there are so many different tales, surly everyone who reads this book will find something they love. I did.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chocolate Damsel by A.C. Mason

Chocolate Damsel by A.C. Mason
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (77 pgs)
Other: Ménage, m/f/m/f, m/f
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Freesia

Will her love break through his armor so he can be whole again?

In June of 1940, Nazis march into Paris, France. Brutality haunts the streets.

Engel VanWolf, the Alpha of a Shunu pack - immortals, who shift into wolf-spirit - has a painful past and the patch on his eyes serves as a reminder of human cruelty. No stranger to injustice, he poses as a Nazi officer to smuggle Jewish orphans from the city. Drawn to a seductive fragrance, chocolate skin, and velvet voice, VanWolf comes upon a human beauty, Alexia, in danger. A hunger long forgotten burns anew inside him.

Alexia Pane is taken in by the shunu pack, and finds communal living isn’t the only thing they share. When danger comes knocking, she’s sent to warn VanWolf, who has been discovered but needs rescuing of her own. As he whisks her to safety, he awakens her dormant passion. It’s not the flames of the city she fears, but the fire he invokes inside her. The closer she gets, the more he pushes her away. And then, she falls into enemy hands.

Can VanWolf save the woman he loves from a ruthless enemy and mend the pain he has caused?

A damsel in distress, really nasty bad guys, and a hero who is haunted by his past... sure you've seen this combination before, but the way A. C. Mason stirs the pot, it’s a whole new world full of unexpected turns, poignant characters, and just enough sex to satisfy but keep you wanting more. I have to say, I’m not usually a big fan of paranormal romance, but I didn’t want this book to end. The story is exciting, the characters compelling, and the sex — c'est, oooh la la!

Set in Paris in 1940, the novella uses the threat of Nazi brutality to provide intense confrontations that keep the reader on edge throughout. The fast pace creates an urgency in the reader to reach the end of the story, to make sure the bad guys don’t win. In the end, it’s near thing.

Alexia Pane is the quintessential ‘40s heroine, courageous yet soft and vulnerable. Her plight is bound up with the fate of the leader of a pack of shapeshifter wolves who befriend her. Engle VanWolf is the flawed but sexy hot hero of the tale. Hurt by past tragedies, maimed and aloof, Engle is a hero you root for to get his happily ever after. Though he constantly rebuffs Alexia, he is drawn to her beauty and the allure of the chocolate damsel always in need of rescue. Their chemistry sizzles as their attraction escalates.

Did I mention the sex in this book is HOT? The smoking hot ménage a quatre scene (F/M/F/M) between various pack members is brief but sensual. And the scenes between Alexia and VanWolf smolder during stolen moments, fanning the flames of their attraction toward an elusive white-hot fire bolt of passion.

From the action filled plot to the charmingly vulnerable characters to the strange but fascinating world of the shapeshifting wolf pack, A. C. Mason’s book is a great introduction to her Wolf-Spirit series. And if you don’t like paranormal romance, just read Chocolate Damsel. It’ll change your mind.

Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf! by Dakota Cassidy

Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf! by Dakota Cassidy
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (112 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

“I’m a what?”

“A werewolf.”

“A werewolf who can’t remember he’s a werewolf because he has amnesia.”

That pretty much sums it up. The timing couldn’t be worse, too. Just when the pain of booting her asshat of a husband to the curb has started to lessen, Ella gets stuck babysitting his hairy amnesiac ass. Well…she is a psychiatric nurse, after all. In exchange for helping Crosby rediscover his inner werewolf, Ella has the pack’s word she’ll be granted a divorce. She’ll be free to move on. Maybe continue the Twitter flirtation she’s got going with @Hairofthedog. Hey, it’s a start.

But Crosby isn’t playing fair. No longer the Grand Poobah of Douchebaggery, with his memories gone, he’s more the charming, fun-loving man Ella fell in love with. How’s she supposed to hate him when he keeps smiling and charming and, oh yeah, screwing her six ways to Sunday? Though Ella’s body is game for more physical therapy, her mind hasn’t forgotten his betrayal. Crosby will need a damn fine excuse for what he’s done.

As it turns out, he has one—and it’s a doozy.

Get ready for ear to ear grins and giggles because this story has so many clever quips, one-liners and sparky dialogue, that I was hard pressed to put it down. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading because the heroine was incredibly funny, and her comments so surprising and snarky, my curiosity would not let me.

As soon as I saw the title, I had to check out the blurb. It was that combination that helped me choose this book to read. What kept me reading was the back and forth dialogue between Ella, the heroine and Nash, the hero, in the first chapter. It reminded me a bit of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn which is classic. It also triggered my ‘fun-o-meter’ and I settled in for what I hoped to be a good story. I assure readers, it was. I had a ball and laughed out loud many times.

Ella is a shrink and she’s tasked with helping her soon-to-be ex-husband get his memory back. One of the absolutely adorable things she does with him and to him is making him watch T.V. Seems Nash was a whole different man when he had his memories and the story read like Ella was making him do things she always wanted him to do with her but he never had the time or made the time to do them. In a way, it was sad. They’re simple and small things but when we’re talking relationships, those little things can carry a lot of weight.

Nash was fun. It was awesome to finally find a guy with amnesia who really didn’t stress or have tons of emotional angst about his loss of name or memory. The author put that burden on some of the other characters. The hero was a treat in that he kicked back and enjoyed the freedom he felt. And part of that enjoyment was getting in on with Ella. He couldn’t get enough of her and was quite inexhaustible. The ‘how’ of losing his memory was funny but the ‘why’ of it was part of the drama and suspense that simmered underneath all the fun and spunky frolic.

I enjoyed Ella’s being a sexual waffle. By that I mean that she wanted to resist Nash but she couldn’t. She wanted to hate him, but she couldn’t. Instead, she wants to eat him up like ice cream and starts to fall in love with him all over again. How is she ever going to get on with her life and let him go when he’s so delicious and wonderful and everything she wanted? Especially because the man she’s falling for doesn’t remember her … or does he? I got a kick out of the things the author chose to trigger Nash’s memories. They were sweet, hot and oh, so romantic.

The ultimate conflict is fascinating. Turns out the author sets up a few red herrings early on with a few ambiguous remarks by some of the secondary characters and they kept me riveted. I didn’t suspect the truth until the author wanted me to. And there was no way I’d ever figure out the final revelation in a million years. It was powerful and made for an awesome wrap up and heightened happily ever after.

The editing was great, the story was intriguing and the dialogue totally engaging. The only thing that confused me was the explanation about Marina. I’m not sure if that character needed more development, or at least a better history or sense about her…something didn’t go with the flow of the rest of the story. It wasn’t a huge deal but I know it left me feeling like I didn’t have all the pieces. As for the rest of the story, everyone else played their roles brilliantly. And the addition of the Twitter references cracked me up, especially since they weren’t just silly fodder but actually played a role in the plot. It was a great idea.

Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf is a fresh, unique and completely entertaining paranormal romance that will leave readers smiling. It’s a delightful tale about a husband and wife who really never stopped loving each other; they were victims of duty and pack manipulation. The book showcased a wonderful example of love needing true communication to keep things running smoothly no matter how it’s done. And it showed that when two people are as loving as Nash and Ella, their relationship is worth fighting for, even when one of them can’t remember. I was extremely satisfied with the happily ever after and thrilled that I got the chance to read this in the first place. It’s a book well worth spending time with.

Protect and Serve: Legal Beagle by Cynthia Sax

Protect and Serve: Legal Beagle by Cynthia Sax
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Fetish, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

My name is Officer Wright. I'm genetically enhanced as one of the city's finest, and a normal day for me involves plugging liquid sunshine into rogue vamps, tagging and bagging renegade werewolves, and putting the fear of the badge into all criminals.

But these are not normal days. While my partner takes a leave of absence to bang his bunny, I'm stuck on babysitting duty. Yeah, stop laughing. It would be more humorous except the chick I'm tailing is a hot little beagle-shifting judge, and when she takes the bench, believe me, my whole body comes to order.

It’s another odd shifter combination with cute puppy-isms and some fascinating role playing to keep a reader entertained and interested.

Overall, my favorite thing about this story is the author’s reference to the heroine being a dog. I laughed out loud about the affects a ball has on her, I got a kick out of the fact that when the heroine shifted, her inner puppy takes over and she’s all sorts of cute. I also enjoyed the visuals the author painted when Sadie was defending herself in puppy form. In spite of the fact that it was a scene with light drama, I giggled. I also appreciated the fact that the author created a strong female lead that didn’t bow down to pressure from the bad guys. She’s quite the woman.

Wright is the hero in more ways than one. He’s Sadie’s personal hero but he’s a man with a badge, so his very nature is about protecting the community at large from some very bad characters. He’s an enhanced being so everything thing about him is larger than life – bad for the bad guys and extremely sexy for the heroine. His dialogue is a bit gritty and rough, which fits his personality, right up until the last line in the story.

I’ve used a gavel a time or two when I was president of a club for a few years. Never in my wildest and most kinky dreams would I have thought to do what Wright did. Readers are in for an eyeful. Not only that but the role playing I mentioned before took on a whole new level because both parties are in the legal profession and the double plays on words brought smiles and chuckles.

There is mild suspense and drama to spice things up and it propels their relationship to the next level – that of being a serious and committed couple.

Because this is another short story in the Serve and Protect series, I’ve come to expect the first person point of views in each chapter. I have always thought it was an interesting touch because then readers know what is going on for both the hero and heroine and it’s always fun to see how different the guys are from gals.

That being said, and because the villain had so much potential to be nastier, more of a real threat, I felt disconnected from the seriousness of it. The author initially tried to build up the tension so a reader would know that there was some hefty weight behind Sadie’s job, but it never pulled me in. That’s the quandary of a story of less than fifty pages – a reader gets teased with something that the author truly showed a talent for exploring but because of space constraints, can’t expound on it. As it is, Ms. Sax zeroed in on the relationship and how Sadie and Wright investigated it to their lustful satisfaction, many times and for one scene, in a unique way. For readers who are looking for the erotic element, it’s there and Ms. Sax delivered. For those that are looking for a deeper connection with the plot, they won’t find it here. The book focuses on pure entertainment.

Protect and Serve: Legal Beagle is adorable, funny and sexy. It’s a great length for readers who want a story that serves as an appetizer. You know the kind - enough to tide you over, satisfies the taste buds and makes a reader feel romantically refreshed - with a kick. It’s a fast yet good read.