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Friday, March 16, 2012

A Man, A Jersey, and a Tight End by AM Riley

A Man, A Jersey, and a Tight End by AM Riley
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (195 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, M/M/M/M, BDSM
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Since Brian and his three bears first set up house, the demands of Paul’s long distance job have put a strain on all of their relationships. Jim feels that everything is dumped on him; Scott is still unsure about being a sub; Brian's brattier than ever; and when Scott brings home a ‘stray’ in the form of a young brat named Joshua, the household is set on its ear. Of course, the brats handle the situation in their own fashion and Jim and Paul have their hands full.

They've got their plays scrambled and it's going to take a lot of hard work to find the proper balance between discipline and love.

Four men together make a happy home, but what happens when a stray is brought into the mix? Brian and his three bears have somehow made it work all living and loving together. But with Scott and Paul on the road a lot for work, Brian and Jim are left to try to keep everything together. When Scott brings home a lost twink, some of the relationships begin to change. Can this foursome keep it together or is there room to grow?

A Man, A Jersey, and a Tight-End is the sequel to Goldilocks and His Three Bears. I’d highly suggest reading the first book before tackling this sequel as the relationships are established in the first book and this one is actually much deeper and more meaningful. In Goldilocks, the two main couples are established – Paul and Brian, Jim and Scott – while the foursome regularly mix it up and have an open policy for everyone, especially Brian. Now those relationships are tested with real life. This story focuses more on the emotional bonds and how to make such unorthodox couplings really work. It still has the same light, playful touch to the sex scenes but the characters feel deeper and more real this time around.

Also the issues brought up are more intense. Not all of these issues are well handled. Most are glossed over very easily and quickly, more for the plot point of the issue than the actual resolution. The story does try to bring up more in depth issues than the last book. Additionally there are numerous sex scenes, enough to please any fan. There are almost too many but as always Ms. Riley is an excellent writer so this isn’t a bad thing. If anything it keeps the tone playful and light with a lot of rough-housing and enjoyable banter.

This is a pretty successful and entertaining sequel, though it’s not perfect. It would have been nice to see some of these issues really addressed but overall the solid writing and fun characters make for a good story. If you’ve read the first book, definitely pick this one up and if you’re new to the series start now, it’s worth your time.

Howling For Sara by Beverly Rae

Howling For Sara by Beverly Rae
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (95 Pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play, Spanking, M/F/M/M/M/M/M
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Love-starved Sara Hutchinson dreams of six men who pleasure her with nights filled with raw, wild sex. Unable to resist the pull of her nightly wet dream, she takes off—destination unknown. Yet when she almost runs down sexy Michael Matheson, she finds she may have bitten off more than she can handle.

Michael takes her to the pack’s secluded Texas home where the men seduce her into staying for good. Yet when Sara sees the six men in their werewolf forms, she runs away, only to find herself trapped in the paws of the killer werebear.

The pack must rescue her before she’s eaten alive. But will she stay? If she can open her heart to the pack, she’ll find love...and save her life.

Note: The heroine of each book will mate with the pack but will end up with one alpha hero. Each hero in the pack will take his own mate in subsequent books.

Howling for Sara is the first of a new series, with one woman destined to unite the six Night Runner wolves and make it a true pack.

Sometimes dreams are all you have.

Sara Hutchinson has the hottest dreams, dreams of six sexy men, all focused on her pleasure and delight. When she wakes up, life is just so much less than her dreams. So, one day she packs up her car and just starts driving with no clear destination in mind. What she has no way of knowing is these are not normal dreams, but the call of her mates to come to them.

The Night Runners are six hot and sexy werewolves waiting for the one woman to ground them. Sara is that woman. Their alpha-female. The one woman to unite the pack. When Sara discovers what they are, however, she panics and runs from them, into the path of a rogue werebear. Victor is determined to have her for his own. The men have to forget the trouble from town and focus on finding their woman before she's hurt or killed by the bear. Can Michael and the others find her in time? Can they stop Victor from harming their mate? Can they bring Victor to justice for all the other harm he's caused to the town?

Beverly Rae does hot and steamy better than anyone I’ve read, and this book has plenty of heat to it. I liked the dream sequences. The men prepare Sara for the reality to come by giving her more love and passion than she's ever known. Ms. Rae has built a world filled with imagination and reality combined. A world where dreams can come to pass, and men become wolves and bears. Where a woman finds her true desires.

Sara has been dreaming of her men since she hit puberty. She's strong but lonely, with nothing to tie her to any one place. She's courageous enough to head off in search of her dream lovers, but suffers a moment of panic when she realizes these men, her mates, are more than mere men. When danger finds her, she is determined to fight to her last breath. I like her sarcasm and her will to fight for her life and return to her men.

The six Night Runner wolves are as close as brothers, and as different as men can be.

Michael is the leader, the Alpha, strong and able to take charge and get results. Max is the artist of the group. Nick is filled with nervous energy, and William, although the oldest, defers to Michael for the lead. Ranlon is the roughneck, the rancher of the group, and Jimmy, at twenty-one, is the youngster of the group. All six men are hotter than sin, and all of them want Sara to be their alpha-female, to help the pack grow and become so much more. I like each of these men, with their honesty and passion, and their desire to do whatever is needed to help Sara adjust. I like that they are willing to leave her alone when she asks, even though they want nothing but to be with her.

There is danger in this world, in the form of Victor, the rogue werebear. He's a threat to the pack, because he takes the one person they value above all else. This is the first of many stories in this world, with a woman in each Night Runner’s future, but I like that Sara will always be the alpha-female for them all.

I look forward to each new story, and hope the happy ever afters just keep coming. This is one for those who like their romance in multiples, and with a bit of danger on the side.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home Cookies by Vic Winter

Home Cookies by Vic Winter
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (13 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Anemone

Drey's friend Ruby has set him up on yet another blind date. Drey's not fond of blind dates -- they're awkward and have a huge potential for embarrassment. When he meets Milton, though, he begins to wonder if Ruby didn't get it right this time: the man is hot and they seem to be avoiding all the usual blind date pitfalls. Could this be the start of something good?

Blind dates too often go horribly wrong but this time Drey and Milton have gotten it right with each other. Drey’s friend Ruby fixes him up on a blind date and after all this time, he's finally found someone he can mesh with.

This sweet short story is a quick, hot and sweet. Drey and Milton’s date goes by so quickly and what happens after the date is what both characters are really looking forward to. For such a short story, the pace was languid, like a warm bubble bath or a cup of hot chocolate.

While the story was fun, there were some awkward sentences here and there that had me reading again to catch their meaning but overall the story was delightful. The beginning made sense by the end and made for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

This story is recommended for readers who want a cute and fun read, with lots of sugar on top. Perfect for a quick subway ride or for a coffee stop, these characters will worm their way into your heart and leave you with a taste for Home Cookies.

A Lie I Can Live With by Eden Winters

A Lie I Can Live With by Eden Winters
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

With a few extra pounds and a geek reputation, Otis Tucker despairs of ever finding someone to share his life with. When the GLBT dating service matches him with handsome hunk Garret, he thinks it's some kind of joke. But the more he learns of Garret, the more he realizes that even gorgeous people can be taken at face value and that Mr. Perfects come in many different sizes.

Otis never thought he could catch a man by being himself but hunk Garrett proves him wrong. Otis is a computer specialist by day and a gamer geek by night. He’s trying to find love on an online dating site but Otis thinks he can only catch a man with a fake profile. When a friend eliminates Otis’ made up profile and replaces it with a real one, sexy Garrett is quick to notice. Although Garrett seems too good to be true, Otis soon realizes they just may be made for each other.

A Lie I Can Live With is the third in a series of short stories focused around an online dating site. However you don’t have to read the previous books in the series as each couple is unique to their story. So new readers can pick this up with no problems. It’s a worthwhile read too as cutie Garrett is nearly perfect and even more perfect for Otis. The couple is nice together with some good chemistry. The writing is clean and although the pace is a little tepid, the story moves along very nicely. There are numerous touches that make this story fun: from the video game Otis is crazy about to Garrett’s very welcoming family.

If I had to point out any problems it would be that Garrett is almost too good to be true. Since the story is told from Otis’ perspective, Garrett remains a very two-dimensional character. He seems perfect in almost every way from accepting Otis’ overweight and bearish appearance to his love of all things geeky. It would have been nice if Garrett had been more developed and came across as more realistic but I’m not sure any readers will have a problem with a geeky guy finding the love of his life with a hot, sexy guy.

A Lie I Can Live With is a cute short story that gives a nice fantasy. It’s a little light on actual depth but is an enjoyable read anyway.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Priceless by Lena Mathews

Priceless by Lena Mathews
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (101 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Anemone

All she wants for Christmas is him. All he wants is everything…for her.

Urban Fairytales, Book 3

As Christmas bears down on Eric Athers’s empty wallet, one question plagues him: What to get the love of his life when he has less than nothing?

It doesn’t help that his wife, Nia, who works extra shifts to support him through his medical residency, practically glows with holiday spirit. Her determination to put the “Merry” in Merry Christmas only serves as a painful reminder of everything he’s unable to provide for her.

Nia loves her husband to distraction, and she can’t for the life of her figure out how someone so smart can be so dumb when it comes to something as simple as a little holiday. Christmas is so much more than presents and shopping malls.

All she has to do is show her own personal Scrooge the best gifts come from the heart.

Nia and Eric are living on love and Christmas is right around the corner. Although they are surviving paycheck to paycheck while paying off Eric’s med school loans, their love burns brightly, keeping the fiery passion alive. When it comes time to give each other their gifts, Nia and Eric want this year to matter.

This story is a very sexy retelling of Gift of The Magi. From the first words of the book, the characters demanded my attention with their super hot chemistry. Nia and Eric were cute, funny and adorable but the secondary characters nearly stole the show.

Priceless is fun and fast paced with witty dialogue that kept me riveted until the very end. While I enjoyed this book thoroughly, I got caught up in the end of the book where it abruptly ended. Although the blurb mentions Eric being a Scrooge, I didn’t really get that vibe. Instead, he warmed my heart with how much he loved Nia. This gorgeous interracial couple had enough sexual tension to make me want to re-read it again.

Wrap this book up in a bow and give it to your favorite friend for Christmas! I can’t wait to see what is up next for the secondary characters. This book is recommended for readers who love hot, steamy romance to keep them warm on winter’s nights with a dash of holiday flair.

Honored Vow by Mary Calmes

Honored Vow by Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Full Length (285 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Sex in shifted form
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Jin Rayne is still growing into his frightening new powers as a nekhene cat and his place as reah of Logan Church’s tribe when he learns that a sepat, an honor challenge, has been called. Logan, who has never wanted to do anything but lead his small-town tribe, must travel around the world to Mongolia and fight to become the most powerful leader in the werepanther world.

Logan won’t be the only one making the journey. As his mate, Jin must fight with him to honor his commitment to Logan, his culture, and his tribe. But the trial is long, involving a prolonged separation between the two men, and Logan’s humanity is at stake. In order to make it through the nightmarish sepat, Jin and Logan must accept their fates, trust each other, and honor the vows between them no matter the cost.

Jin and Logan are back but their love is about to be tested in ways they never could have imagined. Jin and Logan are a rare true-mated pair of werepanthers. Their bond is extremely unique, as is their love. After going through so much already in the two years they’ve been together, Jin and Logan deserve some peace and quiet. Unfortunately they don’t get that yet as someone has kidnapped Jin’s best friend which leads to a deadly and incredibly vicious ancient ritual among the werepanthers. Logan, Jin, and their people are about to be tested in so many ways with only their bonds of love, friendship, and loyalty to see them through.

Honored Vow is the third book in the Jin/Logan relationship. You technically don’t need to read the previous two books as there is so much background thrown into this one the average reader will be able to pick up the plot without much trouble. I wouldn’t suggest it though as the world building is chaotic and very confusing. There are so many random terms and concepts thrown in at a breakneck speed it’s easy to become confused by the werepanther world. There’s a lack of cohesive logic to this fantasy world that would likely bother sticklers for detail. However the action happens along the same speed so those readers who enjoy a lot of lightening fast action may be able to overlook any world building issues.

The real highlight of the book is Jin, as always. He’s a bit of a perfect character – the most rare, most powerful, most caring – but in this book he actually learns just how much his inflated ego can harm those around him. It’s nice to see him actually grow and mature from the spoiled brat he is to understanding the ramifications of his actions. One note of caution is that there is a lot of violence in this book. The werepanther world is incredibly brutal and vicious and death/maiming/torture is pretty common. Most of it happens off page and considering they are panthers, most can heal any major damage. No character seems permanently harmed by their torture or maiming. Combined with the high-speed action, all the violence isn’t necessarily something that would turn readers off.

Honored Vow is a very quick and mostly entertaining read. It has some questionable plot points due to the messy world building but the characters are adorable and fun to read. Overall this was a fun read. The characters and situations are over the top but the quiet moments of connection and real bonding are what make up the heart of the story. Anyone who’s read the series so far will want to continue and although this is Jin and Logan’s final book, there are numerous secondary characters who are set up and shine, obviously on the road to their own books.

Taunting Krell by Laurann Dohner

Taunting Krell by Laurann Dohner
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (242 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Dogwood

Krell hates humans. They left him scarred and undesirable to females. He’s lived a lonely existence in his home world because of their brutality. So he’s angry when he’s ordered to interrogate the captured human. She’s the enemy, a soldier from Earth. He’ll show her the same mercy they showed him. None.

Cyan didn’t expect to survive her mission against the Markus Models but she’s stunned and elated to be confronted by cyborgs. The past and present collide, however, when she sees Krell. He’s part of a dangerous secret from another life—and he’s also completely irresistible.

Krell is certain Cyan can’t be trusted. He’s determined to keep her at a distance…but Cyan is just as determined to get the big, sexy cyborg into her bed.

Taunting Krell is “Cyborg Seduction” book seven, and Laurann Dohner just continues to get better and better! This is my favorite book so far in this futuristic erotic/sci-fi series.

Earth scientist have created cyborgs, human clones with cybernetic enhancements. These cyborgs are to be Earth's ultimate soldiers, but soon humans realize they're hard to control. Humans decide they must destroy all cyborgs, however these new creations escape earth to try and find a new world where they can live in peace away from the danger of destruction. Female cyborgs are in short supply and must enter a breeding contract to insure the future of all cyborgs. Recently, though, some cyborgs have found themselves falling in love with human females thus shaking up the family pact breeding structure.

Our alpha hero in this story is Krell, a cyborg interrogator who was severally abused by humans when he lived on earth and is now left physically and mentally scarred. Krell is a brooding bad-ass fighter who is extremely sexy and dangerous. He finds himself assigned to interrogate Cyan, a fierce-fighting human with many secrets of her own. Can these two unlikely candidates find love in a cataclysmic world?

Laurann Dohner is truly a queen of great sci-fi romances. Ms. Dohner has been able to place a different slant on each epilogue that keeps her fans coming back for more. I love how this book gives us more historical background into the cyborg's pre-existence on earth and how the bulk of the drama takes place in different backgrounds than her previous episodes. Her concepts are truly imaginary. She's built a fictional world with detailed graphic descriptions that enthralls the mind and attaches our hearts.

Ms Dohner's books are refreshing and they do not seem to rehash the same plot line of previous works the way so many other authors tend to do. Her descriptive narrative creates a vivid movie that plays in the reader's mind, making her stories come to life in 3D cinema.

I love how her heroes, though enhanced with strength and superpowers, still face the same struggles and insecurities as humans do. Krell feels himself completely unworthy of female attention due to his physical scars. Because of Cyan's past life, she sees beyond the surface to the man Krell truly is. Soon you cannot help but fall in love with these two characters as they struggle, fight and love together. This action-packed saga engaged my interest from the beginning and stretched my imagination to the limit. As I previously stated, this series just keeps getting better and better!

Looking for a sci-fi adventure filled with dynamite love scenes and even more explosive drama? Well perhaps I should taunt you with “Taunting Krell”! It might just be the cyborg tale for you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taming The Fire by Mechele Armstrong

Taming The Fire by Mechele Armstrong
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (102 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Against the backdrop of a war over land where battles rage every night, Byron and Callum came together in an inferno of lust and they've been happy together. One problem, though; Byron is a dragon rider who is nearing the age when his fire build up will be too much and he’ll be in danger of combusting. It doesn’t help that Callum is a dragon rider too and raises Byron’s fire instead of lowering it. Only one thing will ease the fires within Byron.

A human.

Mira has been just existing, trying to stay out of everyone’s notice. Only she finds herself fascinated by two dragon riders who don’t act like the others. It’s a dangerous interest, and she should know. Her parents died as a result of dragon rider actions. But she hasn’t escaped Byron’s and Callum’s attention.

When Byron and Callum decide she’s the answer to their problems, will she rise above her problems and prejudices and step into the dragon’s lair to tame Byron’s fire?

Love can be all consuming like a raging fire, but in Bryon and Callum’s case they need love to tame the fire within.

What originally made me pick up this book was because it featured dragon shifters, Who doesn’t love a dragon shifter? The author not only met my expectations with her dragons but she exceeded them. This story fully included Bryon and Callum’s dragon side, even when they were in human form. I adored the way their dragon nature played a role in everything about their lives, from the way they scented others to the dynamic of their relationship. There wasn’t a moment in this story when I forgot what these men truly were and how dangerous dealing with a dragon can be.

Mira’s a human I really grew to love in this story. I particularly liked the way past affected her ability to accept Bryon and Callum as her mates. It brought a sense of honesty to the story because many of our pasts play such a vital role in who we are and the decisions we make in life. Another enduring quality I liked about Mira was her ability to rationalize her reality instead of relying in preconceived notions to make decisions. These qualities really made her a likable and sympathetic character.

While the story was good there weren’t any real surprises that would have made the story more memorable for me. I would have liked to have seen one or two scenes that really just blew me away. Instead, I got a consistently decent story. While that is in no way a bad thing, Ms. Armstrong wrote such a well developed story there was opportunity to really expand on who these dragon shifters are and possibly throw in an additional exterior conflict.

With comprehensive and catchy characters and an ability to stay true to the dragon shifter theme, the author was able to create a story I definitely recommend to others.

Acting Out by Julia Talbot

Acting Out by Julia Talbot
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Short Story (15 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Coreopsis

Bullrider and adrenaline junkie Colby is mid-jump in his ATV when his old rooming buddy Sean drives back into his life, sending him flying off his vehicle. Sean wants Colby to come to Hawaii for a charity event. Colby agrees to attend, but only if he and Sean can share a room again, just like in the old days.

Can these two rough-riding cowboys recapture a piece of the past, or can they do even better this go-round?

Colby knows what he wants and is bound and determined to get. A bull rider, he’s used to getting bumps and bruises, but a broken heart is not something he wishes to suffer through. He pulls out all the stops in trying to get Sean back.

Colby was written as a sweet fun loving character and all his efforts make it hard for Sean to deny him for long.

Sean is a retired rodeo star that isn’t quite out of the closet. He’s conflicted because he wants Colby but not sure if he is ready to risk their careers on that desire. I really liked Sean. He was the more adult of the two and always wanting to put Colby’s best interest first.

The chemistry truly leapt off the pages between these two men. The story is only fifteen pages long but enough to whet your appetite for strong and rough cowboys, trying to find love on the neverending road of rodeo life.

Ms. Talbot wrote realistic characters that fed my imagination. Her descriptive writing drew me in and I became invested in these men. The ending was sweet and tugged at my heartstrings. My only wish was that this story was longer, just so I could see what happens after the rodeo. Where do Colby and Sean go from there?

Acting Out was a light-hearted story well worth a read. A perfect treat when you’re short on time and need a daily dose of romance!

Brawn by Laurann Dohner

Brawn by Laurann Dohner
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length Full Length (212 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Dogwood

One look at Brawn, and Becca is wondering how he’d look without his clothes. He’s also instantly attracted to her, but has sworn never to touch a human female. They just aren’t sturdy enough for the type of rough sex Brawn enjoys most. When he learns he’ll be living under the same roof with Becca, Brawn simply sees it as a chance to broaden his knowledge of humans. Hopefully he can do so while keeping his hands off her…

His good intentions go astray when they’re both kidnapped and locked together in a cage. Brawn finds himself reliving a nightmare when he’s once again subjected to breeding experiments at the hands of New Species’ enemies—who will use Becca to get what they want. Brawn and Becca will have to depend on each other if they hope to survive.

This is New Species, book five...and the “Brilliance” continues!
This is one of my favorite series right now!

Laurann Dohner continues to “outshine” all other stars in the galaxy of sci-fi/romance novelist. One of my favorite writers, Ms. Dohner does not disappoint her followers but continues to grace the world with wonderful tales of steamy yet dramatic fiction!

When Brawn is added to the task-force who helps rescue lost New Species still being held prisoner, he becomes the first New Species to live outside of the confines of Homeland or Reservation. With the continual threat of hot-headed bigots and extremist protesting outside the gates demanding the New Species should be destroyed, I knew this scenario couldn't possibly lead to anything good.

Brawn finds himself sharing a house with Becca, the daughter of the leader of the task-force. Immediately there was an electrical attraction between these two, despite the fact Brawn has promised himself he wouldn't become involved with a human female. Before the two can even get a chance to get to know one another they are thrown into a horrific drama that forces them to rely on each other for survival. Brawn, being the strong, protective type, decides to protect Becca the best he can, while finding himself falling deeply for the fragile human. This saga gives us a glimpse into some of the abuse the New Species had to endure before they were set free from Mercile's prisons.

Laurann Dohner has struck gold with her New Species series! I've been following this series from the beginning and I recommend if you possibly can, read the series from the beginning. You'll receive a richer understanding and overall enjoyment. The characters are extremely well written and I couldn't help but be pulled into this compelling fictional reality. Ms Dohner paints for us a colorful picture of heated romance among conflict and struggle.

Brawn's story is extremely emotional and suspenseful! He's the ultimate sexy alpha male whom no one can help but love. His sense of courage, loyalty, protectiveness and compassion made this reader want to snatch up a New Species mate for herself. I love the fact that even though they are part animal DNA and part human, they have insecurities and flaws. The scenarios created in these stories definitely have the heat level of a fiery furnace. The secondary characters are wonderful and I found myself pulled into their lives as well.

I cannot say enough about this book and this series. If you have not experienced any of Laurann Dohner's works of written art yet, than I recommend rushing out and reading this series. You might just find yourself fantasizing about your own New Species mate!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Protect and Serve: The Big Blue by Anne Kane

Protect and Serve: The Big Blue by Anne Kane
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (39 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Polar bear shifters are rare these days, and most of them keep a low profile. Tundra knows the rules, but tonight she needs to get laid and it will take a strong man to satisfy her.

Alec's buddies call him the Big Blue, and they're closer to the truth than most of them know. Trolls have a nasty reputation in this brave new world.

The very first time Tundra sees Blue, she knows she has to have him. What she doesn't realize is that she'll never want to let him go. When Alex goes to confront the head of a vicious Cabal, Tundra follows to make sure he doesn't get hurt. After all, even a troll's hide isn't as thick as a polar bear's.

A blue troll and a big growly gal of a polar bear have got to be the most unlikely and imaginative love combination ever invented. The great thing is, it works, it’s fun and it's a great story to spend an afternoon with.

Ms. Kane has given readers a woman who is very direct and unabashedly sexual in the very best sense. She's free with her opinions, discerning as to whose favor she wishes to incur and knows she looks good. Tundra is a heroine who lives life on her own terms and isn’t apologetic about it. That sense of self and her complete confidence in her decision making ability is actually what gets her involved with the hero – and in trouble.

The hero, Blue, is totally cool. He’s big, he’s mean and isn’t afraid to get his fists bloodied. He’s just as ferocious in the bedroom, much to readers and Tundra’s delight. Actually, with her, the hero has a soft spot and it becomes clear early on there's something more to their bedroom games than simple lust.

The conflict that pushes both to that realization comes from a quarter Tundra had completely discounted. She’s a modern woman so she felt safe from shifter politics. It was a major oversight on her part but then again, bad mojo happens so good karma can burn bright and powerful. The author utilized the “cavalry to the rescue” ploy to good effect. I knew that Tundra knew it would happen, eventually. The question was how and when and I’m really happy with the results. In fact, I believe Blue has a bit of a vindictive streak in him. If the hero intends to get a message across to certain lunkheads, then he’s the troll to do it. Excellent paybacks.

As with all the books in this series, expect some shredded clothes, naughty talk and lots of frisky loving. There's nothing tame or gentle about Tundra and Blue and that’s why I had a ball watching their relationship develop.

Protect and Serve: The Big Blue is another great standalone read in this series readers shouldn’t pass up. It’s fun, has excitement and action, and the drama is light enough to grab your attention without being dark or convoluted. I actually read the story twice because I enjoyed the unusualness of the couple. I also found this tale, told in Tundra’s point of view, has fascinating words and phrases that really gave me a sense of the heroine’s attitude about herself and life in general. I enjoyed those insights and they made the reading experience all the more interesting. If all blue trolls are as yummy as Blue, then count me in for reading more. It was so thrilling!

Whiz Bang by Regina Carlysle

Whiz Bang by Regina Carlysle
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pages)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, F/M/M/M, Ménage, Sex toys
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Carnation

Hannah West needs some whiz bang, baby. And after attending a raucous sex-toys party with her best buds, the Sassy Seven, she aims to fulfill that urge. If it means hunting down a man or two to experiment with battery-operated pleasure, then so be it.

Tired of boring, ho-hum, and downright pitiful, she plans her escape to an exotic and highly erotic locale. But nothing eases her desire for the one man she can never have, her off-limits best friend.

Hannah wants a little whiz bang? With a complete stranger? Or strangers? The thought makes Sean want to cuss. Oh hell no! He’s wanted sexy Hannah for years. No way is he letting some stranger put his hands on the lush brunette. If she wants excitement and plastic pleasure, he’ll deliver the goods…and more. On the bed, against the wall, in the shower. Sean aims to show Hannah that best friends can make the very best lovers.

Now she's gone and done it. Has Hannah ruined one of the best friendships she ever had? Sean sure hopes so...

Can Hannah settle for a 'friends with benefits' arrangement with long time best friend turned lover, Sean, after an incident of hot phone sex interrupts their tidy, platonic friendship? Slightly drunken Hannah indulges in the decadent interlude following an all-girls sex toy party, sharing the details of the shopping spree with Sean over the phone as he takes total erotic control. Afterward, she fears she may have jeopardized their valued friendship.

Tired of her boring celibate life, Travel Agent Hannah decides she wants an adventure, too. So she books a singles trip to Mexico with her bag of 'toys' in tow, hoping to find Mr. Hot Sexy Fun to jazz up her sex life. Sean, who can't tolerate the idea of Hannah sharing herself with a stranger after their amazing phone sex experience, follows her to the resort. Hannah is then forced to face the secret craving she's always had for her best friend.

After ten days of the hottest, most exciting lovemaking she's ever had, Hannah admits to herself that she's been in love with Sean for years. Her insecurity over how Sean truly feels for her sends her running emotionally when their vacation ends. A panicked Hannah convinces herself he wants a 'friends with benefits' relationship rather than being the love of her life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ms. Carlysle made this tale a delightful 'bag of tricks'. The creative way she integrated the toys into the story turned this sweet and serious romance into a lighthearted fantasy romp as well. I enjoyed how Hannah's awakening was both sexual and emotional. The toys acted as the key to the revelation that everything she wanted and needed was right in front of her.

I was a little impatient with a 'misunderstanding' scene in the story that followed the couples' rendezvous, feeling it was unnecessary. Other than that, I found everything to love about this satisfying and scorching hot tale. I recommend, Whiz Bang to everyone who enjoys a hot, adventurous romance that delivers big time. Whiz Bang is part of the self-published, Toys 4 Us collection of seven playful short stories by seven fun loving authors.