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Friday, February 17, 2012

Fallen by Megan Slayer

Fallen by Megan Slayer
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (55 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Livia was cast out of heaven for the crime of falling in love with a human. So what's a fallen angel to do when she meets the man of her dreams? Falling certainly has its perks.

Ty didn't expect the angel at his party to be fallen or to have a murky past. He also didn't expect her to end up in his arms. Now he's not about to let the past stand in the way of their future.

Fallen is a hot and sweet treat and perfect for warming you up on a cold winter night.

Livia was once a watcher, a guardian angel if you will, until she fell in love with her charge. But he was just using her to gain power. Livia was cast from heaven and became a fallen angel. After centuries of walking the Earth, she meets someone who touches her heart and shows her what love can be like. Ty can’t believe this beautiful woman at the party, this angel, wants him. So what’s the problem? When Livia is presented with a second chance she'll have to decide if she wants to return home or stay with the man who stole her heart.

This is a story of second chances, love at first sight and hot chemistry between two people who want to be together forever. I love this story for its optimism and passion. Megan Slayer has created an unique world where fallen angels fall in love and find their soul mates.

Fallen is a character driven novella. Livia fell from heaven. She's resolved not to be used ever again. Her wish: to find a true love, someone who wants her for herself, not what she can do for them. She hopes, after two thousand years, she may have found that in Tyler Wilson. I love Livia for her optimism and her determination to experience everything being human has to offer.

Tyler ‘Ty’ Wilson is determined to win Livia’s heart. He is handsome, sweet and hot. The attraction he feels for Livia is instant and overpowering. Ty wants to know everything about her, and yet, he just wants her. I sighed watching as his emotions got out of control and he used one bad line after another in his attempt to be charming. I liked the man he became once he stopped trying so hard.

As I said, this is a story of second chances. True ones like Livia and Ty and false ideas of trickery and evil intent aimed at Livia. Just when things look bad for our hero and heroine, forces at work help Livia find her true calling. This is a tale for those who like a bit of fantasy with their happily-ever-after.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dare Me by Lexxie Couper

Dare Me by Lexxie Couper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (100 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Defying death is the ultimate dare. Defying love? Well, that’s just stupid.

A Red Hot Weekend story.

Back-to-back medical degrees took Emily Knox right where she planned to be: treating patients in an alternative cancer clinic. But nothing prepared her for a cocky, cheeky Aussie who strode into her life and dared her to cure him. She told herself it was his challenge she couldn’t resist—not his daredevil charm.

Eight months later, Rob’s out of danger…and Emily’s in trouble. She’s in deep, too deep. Worse, Rob has left the clinic against doctor’s orders. There’s nothing for it but to follow him across eleven thousand miles of land and sea to give him what for—as his doctor, of course.

Rob never expected to survive the brain tumor. Nor did he expect to fall head over heels for his very proper, very English oncologist. The problem? Her Hippocratic Oath hangs between them, keeping her just out of reach. Now, with “cured” on his medical chart and his duty as best man for his best mate calling, he takes off for home to start getting his old life back.

Trouble is, while the good doctor cured his cancer, she seems to have inflicted him with something else—desire he just can’t shake.

Rob Thornton can be called many things: gorgeous, adventurer, daredevil, risk taker, friend. The one name he doesn’t want is cancer survivor, although it is just as true as the rest. Diagnosed with a brain tumor, Rob goes to an alternative clinic, where Doctor Emily Knox does the impossible-she cures his cancer, but the bigger problem is that she also captures a bit of his heart.

Emily knew as long as Rob was her patient, she couldn’t act on the decidedly un-doctorly feelings Rob arouses in her, but once he is released from the clinic, she follows him to see if there is a chance for a future with him. Can Rob accept that he is a changed man? Can Emily break down Rob’s wall of denial and convince him to acknowledge what he’s been through and move on with the rest of his life? Or will Rob lose his chance at love with Emily by refusing to face his fears head on?

Dare Me is Lexxie Couper’s long awaited follow up to Triple Dare, Joseph, Rob and Anna’s story. The characters in this are just as compelling and intriguing, and the story is filled with a myriad of emotions that bring both laughter and tears in equal measure. I enjoyed watching these two people come to terms with their feelings for each other after being so closely involved with each other during Rob’s illness.

Emily Knox is smart, talented and totally dedicated to her patients. But she is afraid she might cross the line with Rob, because he makes her feel things no other man ever has. I like that she remained professional, and didn’t give in to temptation while she was Rob’s doctor. And I love that, once he is considered cured, she follows him to see if they can have a future together. It was great when she challenged Rob, telling him if he couldn’t accept his new life, they couldn’t be together.

Rob Thornton is strong, handsome and determined to get on with his life. He has plans to take up where he left off, taking risks and finding new challenges. He tries to deny that he’s changed, but inside he has doubts that his life will ever be the same. I loved watching as Rob finally began to grow up and realize that, although changed, his life could still be as full and exciting, especially with Emily by his side.

This is a story of growing up and learning to adjust to unexpected changes in your life. Rob was hesitant to face his fear, thinking it made him weak, but learned that wasn’t true. It is also a scorching hot love story, and as hot as it is, there is a sweet tenderness here as well. Lexxie Couper has managed to bring two strong characters together, creating a couple that can face anything life throws at them.

I recommend this for anyone wanting to see that love can help to overcome obstacles, especially those we erect for ourselves. But keep the fan on high, keep the ice close, and the tissues at hand.

Believe by Megan Slayer

Believe by Megan Slayer
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (32 Pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Fetish, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Raylan believed himself unworthy of love until he met Chase. Chase brought out Raylan’s natural need to control and the power to force submission. But time and distance make having a relationship hard. Can Raylan prove to Chase they have what it takes for love to last through this Christmas and every other Christmas for the rest of their lives?

Chase found the muse for his songs in Raylan. Each time they touch, kiss, make love, music fills his soul. But working odd gigs to make ends meet while Raylan photographs rock and roll royalty isn’t beneficial to Chase’s creativity. Can he convince Raylan they’re better off together than apart?

Christmas: a time for love and togetherness. That is what Chase wants with Raylan, but what he has is back to back gigs playing with the band, fending off advances from bandmate Dave, and lonely nights. Raylan is his inspiration, and Chase hasn’t written a decent song since Raylan left for New York six weeks ago.

Now, it’s Christmas Eve, Raylan is back in town, and Chase can’t wait to see him. Raylan makes plans to meet Chase for a drink before they head home, but they have things they need to discuss. The past keeps intruding on their togetherness, and when Chase arrives, one of Raylan’s exes is there. Then there are the strange and anonymous phone calls Chase has been getting, asking about their relationship. All these things are starting to create doubts in both mens' minds, doubts they need to lay to rest once and for all.

Can they get to the heart of the matter, and just have faith in each other? Can these two dismiss the past and move forward for a happy ever after?

Megan Slayer takes us back to Ohio, and to the trials and tribulations of early days and long distance relationships. I love her small town stories, and this is a wonderful visit to Kenton, Ohio for the holidays. The characters, even the secondary ones, and strong and many faceted, with emotions that run high and all over the spectrum.

Chase is the gorgeous musician, writing songs that show the world his softer side. He has a big dose of insecurity in him, and watching him on this roller coaster ride was really fantastic. He is loyal and honest, and still getting used to being in this relationship. I like Chase, with his highs and lows, and his fears all out there in the open for all to see.

Raylan is the more serious of the couple, but still has his own share of insecurity. All he knows for sure is that he wants to be with Chase and no one else.I liked that he was ready to stand up to the ghosts, and people, from his past to defend what he feels for Chase, and I loved his strength and desire for the man he loves.

Chase and Raylan are great together, but they are also major ‘drama queens’ where their emotions are involved. This is the story of a new relationship, and the pitfalls that can come between two people in love if they aren’t careful. I really enjoyed the little things these two did for each other, and there is one big surprise Raylan has for Chase that I don’t want to reveal here. But it is the high point of the story, that one perfect moment when you just know these two have something real and beautiful between them.

I recommend this to those who love happy ever after, but one warning: tissues and ice in equal measures are needed for this one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blown Down by Em Petrova

Blown Down by Em Petrova
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (136 pages)
Other: Ménage, MFM, anal sex
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Carnation

The only thing third-generation logger Abe Gardner wants more than to enjoy Chapel Caldwell—in the kitchen, on the porch, in the shower, even in bed—is to marry her. When he invites greenhorn Levi Black to share his bungalow, Abe never expects to bring him into their bed.

After a seven-year stint in prison for assault, Levi wants nothing more than to outrun his past. In Abe’s and Chapel’s loving arms he finds solace…until the family that fought to convict him unexpectedly shows up. Torn between his new makeshift family and his ghosts, he struggles to stay true to himself while Abe and Chapel race to meet a critical deadline and foster Levi’s love.

These Ax Men know how to treat their lady.

What would make up for the attention, approval and love that Chapel Caldwell never received from her father? She’s been primed to take over the family logging business and is driven to succeed, yet she still finds herself taking care of her father rather than living her life. Daddy doesn’t like her boyfriend, Abe. In fact, there’s not much he does like about her life. New hand, Levi Black moves in with Abe it’s soon evident she's about to have more love than she's ever known. Can the love and devotion of two men fill the void?

Abe loves Levi like a brother and has a passionate love for Chapel. He sees the chemistry and feelings between Chapel and Levi, and how Levi feels the same bond of brotherly love for him. Abe is determined to give her the ultimate gift of unselfish love, intimacy and passion with two men.

Chapel moves in with Abe and Levi and for a while life is bliss. Then events conspire to test their newfound happiness. The new contract in the logging company, solely won and managed by Chapel, is jeopardized. After a life threatening accident, secrets from Levi's past emerge threatening to undo the life they've built.

This story is told in a sensitive, thoughtful way that gives realism to the motives and the feelings of all the characters, even the father. I never once thought this untraditional relationship was outside of the realm of reality for these people, so well were their individual and cohesive stories painted. All elements of such a partnership were given consideration, including the pitfalls.

This is no casual tale for light entertainment. Even the erotic elements were realistically amazing. Rather, I found it to be a story with impressive significance that encouraged me to challenge my beliefs in the limits of conventional love. No party playing in this story, but realistic people in unusual circumstances that made me believe in them and in their possibilities.

Ms. Petrova has outdone herself with this conscientious love story. There are three sizzling flames that follow the reader into ever hotter and deeper territory. The telling was eloquent and compassionate. The characterization was true and compelling. I’m so happy to recommend, Blown Down and look forward to more of Ms. Petrova’s quality storytelling…it’s so much more than passing the time, it’s adventure for the mind.

Operation: Tempt Me by Christina James

Operation: Tempt Me by Christina James
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (257 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Librarian Cambrie Brasher has been given an ultimatum—win the grant for the library or lose her job. To accomplish the task, Cambrie needs a man. Not just any man, a military man willing to be her pen pal. Thanks to an old friend, Cambrie connects with Miller Daly, a sexy Navy SEAL who ignites her sensual side and promises to make her hottest dreams a reality.

Lieutenant Miller Daly has been haunted by dreams of a woman he’s never met. Thanks to the machinations of his former commander, he’s saddled with some frumpy librarian who wants to be his cyber pal. What he really needs is a cyber siren TO take his mind OFF his mission and give him the opportunity to play out some of his most erotic fantasies.

Cambrie is no frump and she shares Miller’s interest in a hot affair. Unfortunately, he’s always in another corner of the world and Cambrie is devoted to the frail aunt who raised her. They must steal every steamy moment together, but how long can the fires of their passion sustain them?

I enjoy romance fantasies about librarians; they are usually full of surprises and often toy with the stereotypes. Operation: Tempt Me didn’t disappoint.

Cambrie is an all around good woman. She lost her parents when she was young, was raised by an aunt and now she’s doing the responsible adult thing by caring for the woman while her health is precarious and is stuck in a nursing home. The heroine has a job but it’s in jeopardy. All good plot conflicts that grab a reader’s heart strings and strums them to perfection. She also has a wonderful sense of humor, sense of justice and a good heart. Sounds very vanilla, doesn’t it? Not for long.

Enter Miller, the hero -- a strong man doing dangerous things while serving our country as a Navy SEAL. Right there is a reason to snare my attention. That he has been dreaming of his perfect woman but hadn’t any hopes of finding her any time soon rang the romance bells in my head. He was going to find more than he imagined and everything he hoped for, but better. The plot thickens.

How does a vanilla woman entice a red hot alpha hero? By tapping into the vixen inside and letting her out to play. And that is the one thing that Ms. James delivers exceptionally well. Every kinky, naughty, deliciously experimental bed scene was well done with some interesting dialogue sprinkled in to showcase the forward movement of their relationship. For readers that really get into the erotic side of erotic romance this book should be a winner. From the toys, to the computer, from the actual meeting and the various ways the hero takes the heroine, it’s all well done and initially, exciting.

After awhile, the spanking, the verbiage, every time they’re together, they jump on each other -- it’s not a bad thing, but I got bored. At first I skimmed, and then I just plain skipped those scenes to get to where real story telling took place. Yes, there were moments where their eyes met and words were exchanged that do indicate that they were falling in love and it was beautiful, as a romance should be. But it was just too overdone and became repetitive. There’s only so many ways to say the big “O” is coming and I’d swear every one was used.

The ones that stand out are the earlier scenes where Miller discovers how unique and special Cambie is. She lets him explore and allows him ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’. His reaction was as yummy as this reader could have wished. I enjoyed the heroine’s blushes, the hero’s growls and the emotional tug of war that came from both of them realizing that where they both are in life makes the success of their relationship almost impossible.

Ms. James has an uncanny knack for writing emotion. When it came to important matters of the heart, of dealing with family and friends, the dialogue was a winner. There was no doubt in my mind just how much Cambrie was respected, how much she loved her aunt, how determined she was to make a difference in one young boy’s life or how she deeply she felt about things important to her, because it was all there in the words.

The ending was crafty, entertaining and quite delicious. I loved the big surprise and how it was orchestrated. I enjoyed how the author described the whole scene and even there, how she injected humor. I laughed at Miller’s fellow soldiers and sighed at the last sentence. This story has a great happily ever after wrap up.

Operation: Tempt Me is a really fun read. It has a lot going for it, characters that are fascinating to read about, internal conflicts that make sense, physical hijinks that could make a person’s cheeks warm and energetic dialogue that kept the story flowing. There is so much to enjoy and certainly this book is guaranteed entertainment. I think readers of erotic romance are going to have a great time when they pick up their own copy of Operation: Tempt Me. I’m glad I read it.

What The Mistress Did by Anya Delvay

What The Mistress Did by Anya Delvay
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (110 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Forced Seduction, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Sage

Oh, the delicious peril of deception…

Lady Marianne Gillingham has no intention of ending her affair with David Dunscombe, Earl Harrington, despite his pending nuptials. She craves his attentions, and he satisfies her deepest yearnings.

Yet, when his fiancée, the sweet, innocent and oh-so-very young Annabelle Frazier, appears on her doorstep to demand the end of the association, Marianne realizes she does not wish to be second in David’s affections. She also cannot resist issuing a warning. The earl will bed his wife with tedious regularity, but never reveal his more unusual desires.

To Marianne’s amusement, her prediction comes true, with a surprising twist. The countess is back with a new demand: repair the problem her prophetic words created. Taking pleasure in imagining the other woman’s fear and horror, Marianne rekindles the affair to demonstrate exactly how to fulfill David’s lascivious desires—while Annabelle secretly watches from the shadows.

She never expected Annabelle to prove so resilient and surprisingly easy—not to mention delicious—to corrupt. Or that the ensuing erotic tangle would be impossible to put right without heartbreak.

I’m not usually a fan of historical erotic romances; however, this one pleased me in many ways.

Lady Annabelle was the opposite of Marianne. She was warm, and passionate, and not afraid to show what she was thinking or feeling. She never hid behind masks. Where Marianne needed to dominate and to cause pain in order to feel pleasure, Annabelle was tender and submissive. As a couple, they were perfect for each other. Their love scenes ranged from sensual to hot, and always left this reader satisfied.

Although it was expressed that both women loved the same man, I felt there was also a truly deep emotional connection between the women. At the heart of the novella, this was a love story between two women, and the man was there mainly to supply his manly body parts.

I enjoyed this story very much and didn’t want it to end. It was an emotional read with great character development, a good plot, and amazing sex. The book carried me on a sensual and amazing journey right up to the last chapter. Without giving away the ending I'll simply say it wasn't what I expected or desired. After I finished the book, I actually checked out the author's website and blog just to see if there was any mention of a sequel for "What the Mistress Did". Sadly, I didn't find any plans for a second book. I really wish there would be a followup, as I'm dying to know what happens next.

All in all, this book contained out of this world sexiness, two heroines that were both very fun reads, a love story that came alive through the pages, and a rather realistic ending. This unique story was memorable and I recommend it to other historical erotic romance fans.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Forever in One Second by Finn Marlowe

Forever in One Second by Finn Marlowe
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full length (375 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Cheating death is easy—the hard part is knowing when not to.

From the moment an anonymous rescuer pulled him back from the brink of death, Dane Harper has vowed to live every second of his life to the fullest. Nothing would please him more than to share those stolen moments with the man who, literally, held his life in his hands. First, though, he has to find him. Then convince him it’s safe to come out of his self-imposed shadows.

Even if it means playing dirty.

Court has no regrets about manipulating that one second of fate to save Dane’s life, but having this accursed power to cheat death isn’t the only thing darkening his lonely existence. The last thing he needs is an eternal optimist shining a cheery light on the dark, tortured corners of his past. Except now that Dane has found him, there’s no shaking him...and the longer Court basks in Dane’s relentless warmth, the more he begins to believe that maybe, just maybe, happiness can at last be his.

Distracted by the devilish sparkle in Dane’s eyes, Court begins to forget that there are those who would kill to control his stunning power. And that Dane is the perfect bait…

Court saved Dane’s life. As an EMT, Courtenay has seen a lot of suffering and death in his line of work. When he comes across a dying Dane, Court just wants to stop his suffering. Dane’s near miraculous recovery compels him to search out Court and immediately the sparks fly. Dane is determined to get through Court’s many emotional walls but when he does, a threat from Court’s past shows why he had good reason to be nervous.

Forever in One Second is part romance and part suspense novel. The first half deals with Dane’s brush with death and his connection to Court. The two have a push/pull relationship with Dane unapologetic in his determined pursuit. He has charm and is a good complement to Court’s more reserved personality. The sparks are immediate and the sex scenes that follow are deliciously long and involved. The second part of the story deals with Court’s ability to fix things, people specifically. Certain individuals to want to kill to have his ability.

The premise of the story is interesting, though it does run a little long and is sometimes repetitive. The author utilized numerous flashbacks to show important elements but not all of these are explained in the story. Readers may feel the need to re-read parts of the book where the flashbacks seemed to overpower the main plot. The ideas are good and the characters are three-dimensional.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked how the author incorporated intriguing concepts. When the threat from Court's past literally pops up I knew I had to continue to read and finish the story to see how it played out. The perfect villain created the ongoing tension needed in the story and kept the pages turning. There is more than enough sex to satisfy erotica fans and the dialogue has some great one liners. If you enjoy a bit of the paranormal with your romance, Forever in One Second may be the novel the novel for you.

Wild Things: Fanged by Jocelyn Michel

Wild Things: Fanged by Jocelyn Michel
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (36 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Cassidy's searching for mythical monsters in Romania, but she has no clue Andrei, her guide, is just what she's hunting!

Cassidy Kerrigan has reluctantly left her computer to assume the role of host for a brand new prime-time monster hunt called Wild Things. Relying heavily on her hunky guide/cameraman, Andrei Dinu, she crosses the ocean to explore the mountains of Romania.

Her assignment? Prove or debunk once and for all the werewolf myth. But the weather doesn't cooperate, and when rain drives them into a cave, Cass begins to suspect that Andrei is more than he seems. Can mutual passion overcome her fears? And what will happen when the werewolf of myth proves to be much, much more?

The premise of a glitzy city girl in the wilds of Romania with a hunky guide appealed to the curious kitty inside. How would she survive and what would she really discover about herself and the creatures she’s hunting? And, will the show go on without her?

All these questions get explored and the answers are quite entertaining. It’s true the heroine, Cassidy Kerrigan isn’t an outdoors kind of gal. Not at all. The fact she’s even on this assignment has less to do with qualifications and more to do with spite. The story has to be read for a reader of this review to get the full effect. Families in spiraling dysfunction are capable of less than honorable things, or great efforts of sacrifice.

Cassidy is fighting her own sexual drives when she meets up with Andrei Dinu, her guide through the wilderness. If a healthy and available female ever meets up with a guy described as Andrei is in this tale, they’d be hard pressed to do anything else but stare, drool and dream of being the focus of his intentions. As it is, the heroine fights it with professionalism - until it starts to rain. All the best things happen when it rains. You know, plants grow, leaves are washed clean of dust and pollen, and opportunities to explore caves in clingy wet clothes that simply have to come off before they catch their death of cold - those kinds of best things. Yes, there is enough heat and lust to cook up a serious recipe for fast and furious coupling and Ms. Michel certainly knows how to write scenes that should make erotica romance readers happy.

However, Andrei is not what he appears. My favorite part of this story was the surprise that is Andrei. The author had me so convinced I knew what was what. When the truth was revealed, I was impressed. I had no idea. It took me completely by surprise and I enjoyed that. Sure, the author hinted but I was so wrapped up in reading about other things, I missed its significance. Very clever.

The interaction between Andrei and the surprise guest was interesting, although a bit choppy. I’m not sure if it was the pacing, the dialogue or how fast things switched but it didn’t read well for me. I liked the fact of it, just not the delivery. That was short lived fortunately because once it was back to just Andrei and Cassidy, the fun factor kicked in again. I got a charge out of the hero’s handling of the heroine in a sleeping bag. It was cute and fun.

I’d say this was a happily for now versus a happily ever after. The story ends where both the hero and heroine are just coming to grips with the thought that what they feel for the other is truly love. I believe they need a little more time to finalize things. I may get to see it solidify more if the Amazon River gig actually gets written. It would be very interesting especially if what Cassidy is expected to hunt turns up real. If she still has a job. That could be fun or very scary stuff. I’m hoping for fun because, judging by this story, Ms. Michel seems to have a great sense of humor.

Wild Things: Fanged is a rollicking good time for readers who want a sexy paranormal romance that delivers spice, surprises and fun. Cassidy and Andrei are good together and their chemistry is sizzling. I laughed at the part where the hero discussed Cassidy’s photography and her penchant for focusing on other subjects. This story made me smile and entertained me and that’s the best recommendation there is.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield

Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Rafe Colman likes his life. He has a nice home, a good job, and a wonderful dog. But he's exhausted by living a lie. When his home is vandalized because of his perceived German ancestry, he can't even share the irony with friends.

Officer Ben Morgan falls for Rafe's dog first, but it isn't long before he's giving her owner the eye. He thinks they have more in common than the search for Rafe's vandals, and he's willing to take a chance and find out.

If life in 1955 is tough on a cop in the closet, it's even tougher on a refugee who's desperate to hide his roots and fit in. Rafe knows from tragic experience how vicious prejudice can be. Every second with Ben is stolen, every kiss fraught with danger.

When Ben's partner threatens to ruin everything, Rafe and Ben have to fight to protect what they have but they're tired of hiding their secret light.

Rafe’s been hiding the truth for so long he’s worried he may have lost himself in the process. Life is tough for an Austrian living in the US in 1955. Although he lost his family as they fled from the Nazis, Rafe is often seen as German. After losing everyone he’s ever cared about due to their heritage and life style, Rafe is afraid to show any part of himself. He’s cultivated an image of an all American ladies man living a quintessential bachelor life that he clings to religiously. Only when officer Ben gets a glimpse into the lonely reality, is Rafe’s carefully cultivated world rocked.

Secret Light is a moving story about loss and fear set in the 1050's. This post-war era shows bigotry and fear running rampant and how two men try to circumvent the pitfalls of a taboo relationship. Ben is a cop hiding the fact that he’s gay. Living with an elderly mother gives Ben a good cover but it may not be enough when he falls for Rafe. Behind Rafe’s careful image is a desperately lonely and scared man. He’s been taught all his life that being honest will lead to prejudice and loss. He wants to fight his connection with Ben but their need is too great.

The story is well written, as are all books by this author, but it has a distinctively different tone and pace. The seriousness of the topics and issues brought up lend a weighty feel to the story. The pace helps with this as the pages fly by with language that helps alleviate the otherwise dark tone. Instead the romance feels real and so genuine that you can’t help but be moved. Both men are wonderfully realistic with honest issues and flaws. Rafe’s fear is not something to be overcome but worked with. He has real reasons not to be open and the story works with that instead of seeing it as an obstacle to overcome. This happens with most issues so the end result is a very authentic feel to the relationship and outcome.

Secret Light is not necessarily a feel good story but it’s wonderfully written and highlights a more realistic look at gay men in that time. It offers a hopeful ending with men deeply in love trying to etch out a future the best way they can. There are a few quibbles here and there but honestly this stands out in the genre and makes it easy to recommend and like. It’s different but more so moving without being heartbreaking or too intense.

Away by Allyson Young

Away by Allyson Young
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (192 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Shy, reserved Alex has been content and absorbed in her work at the University. With no family and no close friends, she is self-sufficient and not interested in relationships until she meets Jeff and Devon, two cops who are investigating an assault on campus.

Jeff and Devon are taken with Alex and think she might be their one. They set out to win her, introducing her to the pleasures of ménage and their dominance in the bedroom, unlocking her sexuality. Their relationship is intense and inspiring, and Alex falls in love with both of them, believing she has found her future until a terrible manipulation compounded by a lack of communication tears them apart.

Can Alex make her way back into the world on her own, away from Devon and Jeff, or will they find her and convince her to forgive them?

Two hot detectives are ready to arrest the object of their desire. If she wants to stay out of jail, she better submit to them quietly and obediently!

Alex Desjarlais has lived a sheltered life. Orphaned at a young age, Alex grew up in a religious foster home and attended a convent school. She knows she has limited sexual experience, but nothing could prepare her for the likes of Detectives Staples and Rust.

Devan Rust and Jeff Staples spent most of their lives together and are inseparable. Their lives are intertwined and together they plan to have a loving fulfilled life with one woman. From the moment they both set eyes on Alex they knew that she could be the one. So they invite Alex for a life altering weekend, never expecting what they would find.

Just when you think they found their life long menage HEA, fear, doubt and the outside world throw a wrench into "happy". Don't worry, this is romance, so the real journey has only just begun.

Devon and Jeff mean business when they finally get Alex where they want her. I understand that a dominant relationship is not for everyone, but I wasn't prepared for how overpowering and demanding they were at times. Knowing how sheltered Alex was, it made me want to throttle the two men. I appreciate a book that brings out strong emotions in the reader.
There was an underlining message in the story which I found fascinating: practice open communication. To preach communication and then to fail so stupendously in practice was almost poetic justice. The circumstances that eventually felled this happy family was heartbreaking. Having Alex find her inner strength was wonderful, but then she seemed to lose it at the worst moment. I thought for sure Ms. Young was going to make her a stronger character.

Ms. Young did a fabulous job rendering me dizzy with anticipation. When the expectation of the great revelation was building, my heart nearly pounded out of my chest. I did find a few editorial errors, but they were minor and mostly an annoyance.

I enjoyed this story and became invested in the lives of the characters. I love ménage stories and Ms. Young wrote clever tale. The BDSM element is at times shocking, but not too shocking. A bonus for me, I discovered some creative and interesting toys.

Away is very sexually charged and not for the shy or sexually timid. If you're the adventurous type, you'll want to read this book. It was definitely a learning experience for this reviewer, one I won’t soon forget!

Protect and Serve: Shifting Forces by Cassidy McKay

Protect and Serve: Shifting Forces by Cassidy McKay
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Aurora Monroe has detailed plans for her life -- and not one of them includes being barefoot, pregnant and under the thumbs of two decidedly alpha males. But what's a girl to do when she has two sexy shifters both trying to claim mating rights?

When two paranormals on opposite sides of the war save an injured human, they unintentionally mark her as their wife. Bonded by blood, fire and passion, the gryphon and phoenix shifters do everything they can to keep their new human mate safe.

Getting her to go along with the plan is a different matter. She has no intention of following their orders. Found in defiance of both human laws and paranormal traditions, the battle for their rights turns into a fight for their lives.

Sex between a human and her two shifters can be spectacular, but is it worth risking everything for a chance at forever?

Reading this short story is like watching a sexy action show while pressing the fast forward button. I got to have it all, romance, aggressive action and drama with a great fight sequence, and sizzling energetic bed aerobics all within one afternoon’s sitting. It certainly was a fun way to pass the time.

The tale takes place during a time where the government was passing sneaky laws piggybacked onto legitimate pieces of legislation in order to justify their paranoia. What is making them hoodwink the citizens? Fear from finding out that shifters really exist, have been co-existing for a very long time and most times they look human, but aren’t. Instead of creating an organized and law abiding atmosphere, the “laws” allowed for vigilantism, prejudice and acts of atrocity to occur thereby turning a peaceful society against itself. Innocents are killed along with the bad guys, which of course feeds their fears and justifies it even more. It’s during one of those unfortunate encounters that I met the first main character, the heroine, Aurora.

Aurora is spunky, definitely opinionated, stubborn and a natural born activist with a surprising talent for beaning people on the head when they threaten her. She puts up a token fight in the beginning of the relationship because who would ever believe that two really gorgeous guys would not only want her but really do intend to be loyal and true? She doesn’t fight for long thanks to those mysterious paranormal plot techniques that really get a woman ready for her men. What made it palatable was Aurora’s sense of humor. She’s cheeky, flirtatious and quite fun and if anyone can pull off living with two alpha men, it’s her.

The men in question are Varick and Kender. Varick is the phoenix and Kender is the gryphon. Both fly, which is cool, both are Aurora’s mates and both come with some interesting emotional baggage. Only one makes an impressive sacrifice and the other owns up to being who he’s always been meant to be. It’s an interesting journey.

Of course, no story in the Protect and Serve series would be complete without some serious sheet action. Thing is, scorching sheets this time around could be literal. The scenes were well written and highly descriptive so the erotic expectations of a reader should be thoroughly fulfilled.

The scene with Kender’s family, specifically his dad, seemed a bit rushed. I realize in a short story, the author doesn’t have the luxury of delving deep into family dynamics. Absolutely Ms. McKay was able to put some very significant revelations in, and I liked them. However, the flip his father makes from being a hardheaded, unreasonable and aloof man into one who suddenly agrees, shows manly affection for his son and races off to defend at his side, was a bit of a stretch in believability. I’m glad it happened but it came off as a little too pat.

I enjoyed the dialogue between the three main protagonists. For sure, I laughed, giggled and snickered at some of their banter. Even though there was that big climactic ending with all that gunfire, violence and quick thinking action, the dialogue never let it get dark or depressing. There was a determined optimism about the whole thing. Nothing embraced that feeling of hope of a future than the happily ever after. I liked that.

Protect and Serve: Shifting Forces is fun, sexy and surprisingly action packed. The chapters that take turns in each of the main character’s point of view were very helpful in understanding some of their motivation. It also helped me understand how Aurora gets into the pickle she does. A woman in emotional turmoil and in a snit, will be consumed by her own inner demons and will truly not be as observant as she should be. I got a kick out of the ending, especially the tree part - very adorable and cute. There is a lot to recommend to readers about this story but the best thing is that it entertains. I enjoyed myself and if anyone has been following this series, I think they’ll agree.