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Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Swap by Susan Droney

Weekend Swap by Susan Droney
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (41 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F, M/F/F/M
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Lotus

Tyler Thornton convinces her strait-laced best friend Kay Reagan to swap husbands to add some excitement to their sex lives, or in Kay's case, to show her what she's been missing. What Tyler doesn't know is the deep dark fantasy that Kay has been harboring for years.

Ever entertain the idea of being with your best friend’s husband? What if you or your best friend falls in love with the other’s husband? Two best friends explore this scenario over a weekend in a sexy romp that could destroy their lifelong friendship.

Tyler Thornton and Kay Reagan have been best friends since they were very young. They are both experiencing boredom in their love life and are looking to spice things up. Tyler has been toying with the idea of suggesting to her husband, Will, that they go swinging. Ideally, swinging with their best friends Kay and her husband Ed. When Tyler approaches Kay about this, Kay is at first apprehensive, then intrigued. Together, the two best friends hatch a plan to work their husbands into the swinging scenario.

Will the best friends succeed in spicing up their love life without sacrificing their friendship? The answer comes during a sensual weekend at the Thornton house where the Reagans are sleeping over. This was a short, but satisfying story about two couples expanding their sexual horizons. Ms. Droney has everyone get down to business quickly so that the story does not waste time on unnecessary distractions.

While this was a really nice short story, some details in the novella made it feel dated beyond the setting. Specifically, some of the furniture described didn't seem to go the very modern idea of swapping. Also, I want the characters names, particularly the main characters, to match the period. It was distracting and temporarily pulled me from the action. While this was a problem for me, it might not be an issue for other readers. This story presents the intriguing situation of what could possibly happen when close friends who want to liven things up.

Weekend Swap is a story that lives up to its title, giving the reader a glimpse into the swinging lifestyle. If you are looking for a quick and satisfying sizzling read, Weekend Swap would fulfill your needs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tangled in Tulle by Nikki Duncan

Tangled in Tulle by Nikki Duncan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (87 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Lotus

Mission: Build a new life. Confront the past. Plan the wedding of the man she loves.

Tulle and Tulips, Book 1

Lori Mullins yearns to shake off her past and live free of shadows and fear. Yet her only shot at obtaining the capital to launch her business rests in a man she met during a lie. A man whose voice alone turned her from jaded escort to giddy schoolgirl. A man who almost died because of her.

Trevor Masters can call off his search for the woman he loves. The woman he dreamt of while comatose. The quest for her heart, however, is only beginning. The trick will be convincing her he doesn’t blame her—and that she deserves to accept herself as the woman who holds his heart.

Business negotiations land Lori in a heavenly hell. Heaven that Trevor is close enough to touch. Hell that she’s planning her first designer wedding. His. And something’s not quite right. The kind, compassionate man she fell for all those months ago, the man who’s engaged to another, seems intent on wooing her…

The past can come back to haunt a former call girl. What can be more tortuous than having to plan the wedding of the man she loves when he's marrying someone else and she can’t explain to him about her past?

Lori Mullins sets up shop to be a wedding planner, makes a business proposal to former client (who she had many passionate moments with) for funding and winds up planning his wedding. Lori is constantly trying to keep herself busy so she won’t think about the past in which the man she loves almost got killed due to her previous profession. Lori has a secret she must keep because her past was not all it seemed to be. She dreads the upcoming meeting with his fiancĂ©e since she's heartbroken he's marrying someone else.

Trevor Masters is a successful businessman who has the means to provide funding for Lori’s new venture. He was almost killed when he was involved with Lori, unwittingly becoming a pawn for Lori’s former boss. Trevor seems to still be taken with Lori, yet he's engaged to be married to someone else.

The story is very focused on the turmoil Lori goes through with trying to keep her past concealed and keeping herself out of Trevor’s reach. She keeps reminding herself that her secret almost got Trevor killed and she has to let him go. Trevor keeps up his pursuit of Lori and provides a surprising twist to the story. I loved the premise and the twist in the story even though I kind of saw it coming.

For an erotic story, this is a bit on the conservative side, not that it’s a bad thing. It’s a great story for those who usually read regular romance stories and are venturing into the erotic side. More action details in Lori’s flashbacks would have helped break up the stretches of reflecting and worrying on her part. Having Trevor be more present in the story might also have helped with getting to know him better and to break up Lori’s contemplation. Overall, this was still an enjoyable read.

I wonder now if Ms. Duncan will be writing a sequel with Lori’s best friend Misty as the heroine? If you are looking for a well written sexy short story about lovers with secrets from their past, be sure to look for Tangled in Tulle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hunting J.C. by Dominique Eastwick

Hunting J.C. by Dominique Eastwick
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (181 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

What JC wants JC gets, and she wants Hunter no matter what.

Hunter Brooks has spent the last decade staying as far away from the Sherman family and Jacinda Sherman as possible. No matter how much Hunter might want Jacinda, honor dictates a man doesn’t go near a best friend's baby sister. But now, she is safely married so all should be safe. Can Hunter pay J.C.'s price and still come out on top?

Her whole life, Jacinda Sherman let everyone tell her what she can and cannot have. That includes Hunter. Now she's grown up, divorced, and what J.C. wants J.C. gets. This time, Hunter won't be leaving without J.C. getting what she desires.

Can these two lovers find a way to live happily ever after? Or will life throw a wrench in their carefully laid plans?

Hunter has always appreciated Jacinda for the bookish nerd she used to be. Years have passed since he's seen her and what he sees now is a whole lot of trouble. His appreciation of her now would not be welcome by her brothers. In fact, it would cause tension in a family who took him in as one of their own. It's just too bad the new and improved “J.C.” didn't get the same memo.

In a last ditch attempt to make Hunter see her as the woman she has grown to be, Jacinda uses all the feminine wiles in her arsenal to tempt him. She knows it's a do or die seduction situation and if she can't change Hunter's mind, then her dreams of forever with him will be crushed for good. Doesn't mean she won't take him for a ride if that's all he's willing to give, but the situation turns critical when photos of them in compromising positions appear and threats against Hunter's business turn deadly.

Conflicted over how to handle their growing feelings, Hunter and J.C. are forced to make some drastic decisions that will hurt their loved ones. What they didn't anticipate was hurting each other.

Hunting J.C. is the first in a series about a meddling but loveable family, where the children are challenged in the love department. J.C., being the youngest Sherman and the only female, sheds her good girl existence and surgically enhances her appearance to appease a husband who is now her ex. Her personality is at times temperamental, but I appreciated that she is the initial aggressor in starting a relationship with Hunter. While Hunter may come across as a bit of a playboy, he's still a good-guy at heart. The Sherman family trusts him implicitly. Hunter and J.C. do have haunted pasts that have shaped the people they are in the present, but it also fuels explosions in both passion and anger.

The storyline demands attention of the reader with the couple's intense ups and downs, but the mystery portion fell a bit flat with a rushed ending. However, I was still compelled to continue Hunter and J.C.'s journey as it took on unexpected detours even at the end. The writing is visually clear and contains great combinations of humor, anger, and passion, so it should be no surprise I'm absolutely looking forward to my next Sherman family fix!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time To Live by H.C. Brown

Time To Live by H.C. Brown
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Seth Bannock is living a lie. Nothing in his life is working out. He likes women . . . he respects women . . . but when he tries to kiss a woman and she does that tongue thing, he wants to spew.

Confused by his body's reaction to the men at his gym, Seth seeks help from the only gay club he knows—Floggers. Is the man crazy? Seeking answers, the sweet, vanilla virgin marches into the BDSM club to speak to the owner Rio Knight.

Realization that he has been on the wrong team all his life comes in the form of a six-foot-seven Adonis by the name of Matt Duffey. Instantly attracted to the leather-clad alpha male, Seth must leave his old life behind and embrace his newfound sexuality.

Seth thought his life had complications before he met Matt, but nothing comes close to the rollercoaster ride in the big dom's arms.

The author managed to bring a sweet, romantic quality to a BDSM story, which is something refreshing and new. Usually BDSM stories have the trust, and plenty of kink but you do not clearly see the romantic aspect of the story. I really enjoyed the different emotions the author invoked by adding more of a romance element that fleshed out the relationship.

Seth Bannock is a sweetie any man or woman would be lucky to have. While many women have tried to claim him for their own, none of them ever fit the bill for Seth. I loved the discovery of his sexuality throughout this story. The author wrote the book in such a convincing manner it felt as if I was having the new experiences right along with the main character. His naive personality and willingness to experiment provided a really entertaining element to the storyline.

Where Seth is all sweet and wide-eyed, Matt, the other hero, is trained, disciplined, and more than ready to use his learned tools on a sweet virgin. While Matt demands to be the alpha in the relationship at all times, he wants something more than just a submissive; he wants a partner inside and outside the scene. This is something I really appreciated in his character and made me instantly like him. There were times where it seemed he didn't quite get or understand the rules to a vanilla relationship, but he did his best to give Seth everything he needed both in and out of the bedroom. In the end because of the heroes' devotion to learning things together, and to each other, I had the distinct impression their relationship would last for a long-time.

And that's one of the best kind of happily ever afters a reader could wish for. Pick up your own copy and see.

Uncertainly Yours by Fran Lee

Uncertainly Yours by Fran Lee
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (71 pgs)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

When Jacqueline’s uncle, the man who raised her, dies unexpectedly, she returns to her childhood home to settle his affairs, hoping to pay off his debts, sell the house and head back to her normal life. Things are quickly complicated by the arrival of Lance, the object of her heated—and unrequited—teenage fantasies. He greets her with open arms, smoldering kisses and mind-blowing orgasms…but makes it clear that he wants to keep things casual.

It’s been years since he saw her, but Lance never managed to get Jack out of his head or his fantasies. He knows only too well, though, she has plenty of reason not to spare him a second thought. Despite that, it’s clear her desire for him is still alive and well—and he’s not above exploiting it. He’ll keep things casual and give her what she wants, satisfying her every need, until she begs him to give her what he’s wanted for years. Not just her body, but her love.

Can time heal all wounds or does a broken heart never heal? Jacqueline must return to her uncle’s ranch when he unexpectedly passes away. As she tries to pay off his debts she soon realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew. When her girlhood school crush comes giving her more bad news, Jacqueline has had all that she can take. She remembers just how he broke her heart one night and has never forgotten those painful words. Seeing Lance now only adds to her misery. Yet the deal he proposes may just get her out of trouble only if she can remember to keep her heart out of it.

Once again I was engrossed in a wonderful world created by this author. The characters and the world are brought vividly to life. I could feel Jacqueline’s pain and sorrow. The attraction between her and Lance was so hot that it burns up the pages. We have all been through the pain of our first rejection and Jacqueline’s haunts her still. I loved the woman she has grown into and the strength she holds. Lance is a good man and only wants what is best for Jacqueline. Even all those years before he had only wanted to do what was right by her. Yet Lance seems to keep going at things in the wrong way but hopefully love will win in the end.

The two make a wonderful couple and they are so in love. Watching the two work out all the bumps in their relationship made for a great read. I just adored Lance in the bathroom scene. Just like Jacqueline I realized just what a good and gentle man he is underneath all his bluster. That scene is a pivotal point in the book for me and really registered in me.

This is a sweet romance full of emotions that had me so enthralled I read it in one sitting. I loved Jacqueline and Lance; they prove that love can last and that when you find the right one you need to hold on to it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Night to Remember by Kristin Miller

One Night to Remember by Kristin Miller
Publisher: Kristin Miller
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (79 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

First class clothing designer Elizabeth Scott isn't all that she appears. She may be elegant and poised on the outside, dining with the richest on the ship, but she's hiding a dark secret within.

Thieves boarded the Titanic, too...

Officer Thomas McGuire is as honest as they come. Working to make a decent living on the ship of dreams, he can't believe his eyes when the most striking lady he's ever seen steals from another first class passenger. As the night goes on, Thomas must decide whether he plans to arrest or seduce Elizabeth and she's not making it easy on him--the heat sparking between them is unlike anything they've ever known.

Time is running out...

The Titanic is sinking fast. Elizabeth has finally met a true gentleman--one who gazes upon her with total adoration yet fulfills her deepest fantasies. But being a gentleman means more than playing the stuffy part. Thomas insists on helping other passengers until the very end, even if that means going down with the ship.

In the fight for their lives, they just might find a love worth dying for.

This incredible tale gave me such an emotional ride! I had a smorgasbord of goose bumps, chills and tears not to mention some surprisingly hot interludes before the big crunch.

Ms. Miller has presented readers with a jam packed story that takes them behind the bedroom doors of a woman with a secret – she steals forks. But the reason why she has this quirk is what made this heroine so unique, special and an incredible person. I could use so many allegories to describe her but they’d ruin the surprise. It’s one of the powerful moments in the book. Another amazing thing about Elizabeth is her chutzpah. I loved the chase scene and the author used her words so effectively, I could visual the action. But that’s not all. The heroine is also a woman who not only knows her own mind but goes after what she wants and isn’t afraid to let it show. On top of that, and what makes this story so fun, is her willingness to make handcuffs work in her favor. That was pure entertainment.

The poor abused handcuffs belong to a very straitlaced and virile man by the name of Thomas. He’s a guy with authority and he knows how to use it. He’s also a man faced with the dilemma of realizing the only thing he wants to command is the heroine and it’s not to do what he should but what he shouldn’t, and in a very naughty way. That was extremely seductive and erotic and made for a wonderful reading experience. At that moment, I wished I were Elizabeth. The aspect about the hero I respected and the author was genius at making crystal clear was his sense of honor, duty, selflessness and focus. It’s those traits that made him a man worth knowing, and it brought me to tears.

When Ms. Miller brings Thomas and Elizabeth together, it’s pure sultry magic. I enjoyed it immensely and applaud the author for finding the perfect balance to fit it all in with just the right amount to be believable amidst what I knew was really happening and what was coming.

The speed with which it went from cuddle to crisis was astounding. The feeling of being wrenched away from happiness at a crucial moment was stark in its brevity. From that moment on, the tension, suspense and heart palpitations went through the roof. I knew what really happened in history. Most people who will be reading this book will as well. But the author never let me wallow in that feeling of hopelessness. This is a romance that has a future but how it would come about truly escaped me. The how of it was what kept me riveted to the pages. In the middle of the dark and frosty ocean, what Thomas did made me cry. His actions proved his is the epitome of a hero and the perfect man for Elizabeth, if he survived.

While I was reading, I was emailing one word exclamations to a friend. I couldn’t read this book alone. I needed a quasi-human connection when the book twisted my emotions like a dish rag and wrung out a few tears and sniffles. And I really did have chills race up and down my spine. Just wait until the story comes full circle. It’s very humbling and a clever bit of storytelling that provided that karmic punch that simply left me speechless. Never saw that coming.

One Night to Remember is a romance that will stay and haunt a reader long after the final page. The romance was beautiful, the characters well developed and the despair and ramifications of decisions made were soundly felt. The author was painstakingly detailed and respectful of describing the last moments of the Titanic. There is no way a reader can be unmoved by the telling. Everything Elizabeth did and said and every decision and action done by Thomas captured the essence of their characters and their moment in time during a period of maritime tragedy that lives and breathes in the annals of history. The possibilities of romance abound and Ms. Miller captured one of those dreams and shared it with effective storytelling that grabs a reader’s attention until the final teary ending. It’s hopeful, positive and very dramatic – basically, it’s the perfect ending to a perfect little story. Pick up your own copy and see for yourself.

A Long Time Comin' by Cerise Deland

A Long Time Comin’ by Cerise Deland
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pages)
Other: M/F, anal play, sex toys
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Carnation

A sex toy party with her six sassy gal pals? Caitlyn Hagerty is IN! Getting that tingly feeling just looking at the goodies, Cait buys four and screws up her courage to commit to one dynamite plan. She’ll show them to the only man in her life she gets all hot and wet for–and who has no idea he’s the one man she’s craved for too damn long. When Delta Force hunk John Ramos flies home on R&R, Cait promises herself to seduce Ram–or cut him from her life forever.

Ram spots the risque items on Cait’s bed and realizes his claim of her voluptuous body has been too long comin’. It’s time to treat her right. Fess up to what he’s wanted all these years. Take Cait into his chaotic life–for one wild night. And if she wants more?

She has to know that time is not on their side. Right?

Rockets fly through sizzling pages when this fiercely hot pair of long overdue lovers finally makes their match.

Over time, Cait has fallen hard for her childhood friend, Ram. So she decides to show him her true feelings with a planned seduction using the bag of sex toys she bought for the occasion. What she doesn’t know is his plans for their reunion closely resemble her own.

The characterization was finely and expertly done in this sweltering hot tale. Cait is a likable, gutsy heroine anyone would love to be. Ram is every woman’s dream. This big, hot bodybuilding hunk is a dominating force of masculine personal presence who dresses up real nice. Together the two make a powerfully exciting couple.

This story was written exactly as it should have been. Ms. Deland included every element necessary to make it fun, continuously interesting and fiery hot. I loved the descriptively elegant way she defined every scene, making for a high quality eloquent read that bloomed in my imagination. Reading this hotly romantic tale was a joy.

A Long Time Comin' is fun and fulfilling. It is also a sensitively told, well-rounded tale with depth and complex emotional elements. I was impressed with how she incorporated the toys into the story in an original and poignant way. Here are a couple of examples of Ms. Deland’s superb skill and artistry: “Her hope ran like a river of joy.” “She was grinning like a cat in a kid’s cartoon.”

I have everything good to say about A Long Time Comin’ and highly recommend it to all.

Rayne's Wild Ride by Jambrea Jo Jones

Rayne's Wild Ride by Jambrea Jo Jones
Publisher: Total E-Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (63 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Cross Dressing
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Kennedia

It gets better.

Rayne Carr was riding his bike, minding his own business when his life was forever changed. Driving over State Boulevard Bridge he sees a woman about to jump and intervenes. Appearances can be deceiving.

Charles Sylvester Piper, III wants to end it all. No one understands him. His father is abusive and his mother hides in a bottle. When his younger brother finds Piper in his favourite dress he is kicked out of his basement apartment. With nowhere to turn he leaves his life to fates hands. When a big scary biker asks for a kiss on the worst night of his life, who is he to refuse.

Is love really all you need?

Brace yourself! Rayne’s Wild Ride is a journey that's like no other! You will experience almost every emotion in a short time and still be left reeling when you finish. This unique story of two opposites that attract one another had me hooked after only the first chapter and kept me spellbound throughout.

Rayne’s Wild Ride by Jambrea Jo Jones is a modern day fairy tale where the hero rides in on his motorcycle and saves the languishing prince from death. However Ms. Jones has put an extraordinary twist on this premise. This story is about two men, who are like night and day from each other in almost every possible way. Ms. Jones has created a romance between two unlikely characters that expresses two major themes, acceptance and the importance of family.

Rayne Carr, AKA Ray, is a big burly biker complete with tattoos, piercings and a beard. He's a big bear of a man and yet readers are given the impression he's a teddy bear. I couldn't help but love Ray with his kind and giving heart and his healthy attitude on life and love. Ray wants nothing more than to be everything for his large family and ensure they're loved and cared for, in doing so, he puts everyone's needs before his own. Ray is the alpha male hero who discovers the love of his life one fateful night and is determined enough to reach out and hang on to his heart’s desire.

Charles Sylvester Piper III, AKA Piper, is a troubled and confused young man who's struggling with his identity. Piper is gay and likes to wear women's clothes sometimes, especially women's underwear. They make him feel sexy and somehow complete but his fetish is a secret no one else knows about. Until one fateful night when his little brother discovers him dressed like a woman and the chain of events that occur will change Piper's life forever. Piper is at a major turning point in his life and with the arrival of Ray at this pivotal point he discovers happiness and love is possible.

This story was very emotional and pulled at my heartstrings right from the get go. Piper is dealing with the issues of discovering who he really is and what wants his life to be or not to be. Ms. Jones managed to send me on an emotional roller coaster ride, I felt sadness, extreme anger and outrage, happiness and above all, the love shared between two people who seemed destined to be together. An unusual set of circumstances bring Rayne and Piper together but their feelings for each other will cement the bond they share with one another.

Rayne’s Wild Ride is a fast paced story with a great deal of attention to the dialogue and thoughts of the two main characters that kept me engaged throughout this thought provoking story. I would have liked to have had a little more description to the settings so I wasn’t given as much free reign with my imagination, but ultimately I think this technique kept me even more involved in the unfolding events. The relationship between Ray and Piper developed very quickly. The action leading up to the extreme climax moved like lightning with the finale like a giant clap of thunder that left me breathless with its intensity and shocking revelation.

It was a very exciting story, but with that, there were some quickly resolved issues with some of the secondary characters that were not quite believable. My hope is that this author will go back and expand on this story or follow up this story with another that will tie-up those loose ends to satisfy her readers. Overall this story was about Ray and Piper and Ms. Jones penned a romantic fairy tale for them that I really enjoyed. Her style of writing is unique and appealing for someone who reads a lot and would like something just a little different from the norm.

I recommend Rayne’s Wild Ride to readers who like a romance that doesn’t follow a set of rules or boundaries like that of so many other stories and who enjoy a fantastic happily ever after. Rayne’s Wild Ride is definitely a wild ride and story that will have readers looking for more by Ms. Jones. I cannot wait to see what she will think of next.