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Friday, June 15, 2012

True Mates: Claiming Shayla by Zena Wynn

True Mates: Claiming Shayla by Zena Wynn
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (308 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by: Fuchsia

Six weeks ago, Shayla Morgan, geek extraordinaire, fled the tiny mountain town of Refuge, North Carolina as though the hounds of hell--or one horny werewolf--were on her tail. Now the time has come to return for her cousin’s wedding and face the piper in the form of one determined, red-haired wolf-shifter who believes she’s his mate.

After the hell of his childhood, Rory McFelan, alpha of the Sparrowhawks, determined never to mate or reproduce. That was before the Creator dropped one feisty, irritating human female with a scent his wolf wouldn’t let him ignore into his path right before a blue moon. In the few short days it took the blue moon to wane, Rory found himself mated with a pup on the way, and his mate gone.

Getting her back is the easy part. Keeping her is more difficult. He’ll have to fight demons--his and hers--his pack, her family, and an unknown enemy determined to destroy him, any way they can.

Any story that starts off with “She stood under the shower washing the musky scent of cum and sweat from her body.” can't help but grab your attention.

This type of story will make you reach for a glass of wine, and settle into your comfy chair to read. True Mates: Claiming is the sixth book in the True Mates series. It revolves around Shayla Morgan, a human who has mated a wolf shifter, Rory McFelan, during the frenzy of a blue moon. Shayla runs away from Rory leaving the town of Refuge and the only reason she comes back is for her cousin Kiesha’s wedding. Hoping she can avoid running into Rory while she’s there, Shayla plans to come into town and leave before he even knows she was there.

Now, we’re talking about an alpha wolf shifter who has found his true mate, there was no way she could come and go without his knowing. The moment he sees her and she him, she gets weak in the knees but he walks right up to her, grabs her and tosses her over his shoulder. She needs him so badly that she starts clawing at his back trying to get his shirt off so that she could touch his skin. The heat between them is palatable; you could feel it coming through the pages.

There is so much chemistry between these two characters I became completely engrossed in their story. This is a strong alpha male who mates with a strong alpha female and when these two come together there are fireworks.

The other characters in the book are from previous stories in the True Mates series. Every character in this book enhanced the story whether they were villain or hero. I loved how Shayla was expected to submit to her mate which she did but she did it on her own terms. She let him know that in some things she would submit but in others she was his equal. One of the best scenes in the book was when she shifted for the first time and her she wolf wanted her mate to prove he was worthy of her. She got him to completely lose control but also taught him that she was strong enough to be his alpha fem.

I hope Ms Wynn continues this series and that there's another book in the works, because I would love to see a continuation of their story.

Guardian’s Tales: On A Whim by Zenobia Renquist

Guardian’s Tales: On A Whim by Zenobia Renquist
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (71 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/M, Multiple Partners, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Rosaline never thought she would find a meaningful relationship at an adult party for the denizens of the preternatural community. She came to have fun and flirt with danger while hiding behind the safety of the party's rules. And then she met Sebastian, a demi-god who demands all her attention and satisfies her every need. Even though her head says it's nothing but pleasure between consenting adults with no strings attached, her heart is wondering if this fickle demi-god might actually want to be with her.

Who wouldn't want chance to party with the gods.

The story begins with the main character, Rosaline, introducing herself to the group of preternatural guests at the party given by the Guardian. The Guardian is a demi-goddess who acts as Rosaline’s protector especially at these parties which was thrown every Wednesday by the Guardian. Since this was Rosaline's first party she was allowed to set the boundaries concerning what she would and would not allow. Rosaline tells everyone at the party that she's their “server, voyeur, and touchstone” for the night and they may use their fingers, but no other parts of their bodies may touch hers. Her job, along with the other servers, is to circle the room and wait for one or more of the guests to require her services. If they required her to just watch them then that is what she was to do, she would not participate but she would allow them to use their fingers on her.

Rosaline is introduced to the Guardian’s cousin Sebastian, who she learns is the son of Zeus, and is given a warning by the Guardian to not become too involved with him. Needless to say, Rosaline is soon head over heels for Sebastian, and she can’t wait until the next party. The Guardian again warns her not to get too involved with Sebastian and again she ignores the warning. She thinks that he is the only man for her until he does the unthinkable and breaks her heart.

This story took me to another level because I had to imagine a world where a party such as this could happen. This party included vampires, gods, wolf shifters, and a dog that was given the ability to shift into a man.

The character of Sebastian came off as self centered and egotistical. Not surprising since most gods especially, the Greek ones, are typically depicted that way, and he is thh son of Zeus. However, after he broke Rosaline’s heart, I saw another side of Sebastian. I got to see what made him tick and why he did what he did to Rosaline. I also got to see the other side of Rosaline; I saw that she was much more than that soft girl I met in the beginning of the story.

This story had a little bit of everything in it, the sex scenes were spicy and the characters had me rooting for them. Overall this story was good and definitely different.

Back Road: Haven 4 by Gabrielle Evans

Back Road by Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (130 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

It’s not that he isn’t insanely attracted to Bannon Murphy, but when the man starts talking about mates, Galen balks. He’s been burned by a lying, manipulating shifter before, and he isn’t convinced that he can trust the sexy Irishman.

After months of trying to convince Galen they’re fated to be together, Bannon is at the end of his rope. Not only does Galen refuse to accept that they’re mates, but he stubbornly clings to the idea that he’s nothing more than human. No matter how hard Galen tries to push him away, Bannon isn’t going anywhere without a fight.

When The Council convinces him to take Galen on his next assignment, Bannon decides to use the time to woo his obstinate mate. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that keeping them safe from their enemies will be easier than convincing his mate to stop running from the truth.

With shifters, vampires, witches and more, this story really kept me on the edge of my seat.

Bannon exudes self-confidence, now if he can just give some of that confidence to his mate, Galen, he may be able to capture the forever after he's always dreamed of. Bannon is a sexy Irishman I would love to have covering my back. His character just made me feel protected even as a reader. I could tell he would do anything to keep those he cared for safe, including his reluctant mate. I also love a man with an accent so this story was perfectly written to show his Irish heritage and made me want more.

In the beginning of the story, I was a bit confused by the secondary characters. There seemed to be so many of them populating the scenes I had a hard time differentiating between them. I think this is partially because I have not read previous stories in this series. Had I been more familiar with the series I am sure I would have appreciated these cameos.

The subplot of the story was as entertaining as the romantic development. I enjoyed learning about Bannon and Galen’s individual abilities and how they helped protect those they loved. I would have liked to have seen Galen’s “shifter” blood play a bit more of a role, however. The conflict added a bit of edge to help push the characters along nicely. While danger was lurking at every corner, Bannon and Galen also found time to just have fun and enjoy one another. The good times mixed in with the danger made me appreciate the main characters more. It also gave me an indication that their relationship would last throughout the ages.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For the Love of Chocolat by Sienna Mynx

For the Love of Chocolat by Sienna Mynx
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (106 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Michelle Dixon is caught in a web of deceit, spun by the only people she should be able to trust: her sister, whose treachery has thrown her in the viper pit of mobster and jewel thieves, and Leith Sullivan, a notorious jewel thief and ruthless businessman.

Lee believes their dark past is the justification for their uncertain future. Michelle knows differently. Her father had taught her well. In order to survive the chase of a madman hell-bent on revenge and a lover her body craves but her heart fears, she has only one option. She must find the Golden Chalice and end the war her father started in the black market.

Her plan to break into one of the world’s most secure banks is not without risks. But for Michelle, this heist is the only key to freedom.

Michelle Dixon has been betrayed by the people in her life, her sister Sasha, her Pops and the man she loves, Lee. Sasha and Lee used her by convincing her to give up her dream of becoming a doctor so that she could get back into being the jewel thief she was groomed to be. Michelle and her sister Sasha were taught the intricacies of being a thief by their father. Pops taught his Chocolat, his nickname for Michelle, and Sasha everything they needed to know, and they were the best at what they did. However, after he died Michelle wanted out of that life.

Her sister, knowing that Michelle wanted out, betrayed her by making her believe that Lee had kidnapped Sasha, and that her life hung in the balance. Believing this, Michelle did all she could to accomplish the jewel heist that Lee told her she needed to do in order to free her sister. Now they have people looking for them trying to kill them because of the ‘Jesus Stones’ Michelle stole in the first book of the series called ‘The Heist’.
Over the last few months I had debated with myself whether or not to get the first book in this series, and I always opted not to. Now I'm so upset that I didn't. I loved this story and even though I didn't read the first book there were enough references made to the first one that I did not feel lost. This book grabs you right from the start with the love/hate relationships she had with her sister and Lee. The sex was hot and you knew that Lee loved his Chocolat beyond reason and he was so very afraid of losing her. Michelle craved her freedom, she loved Lee too, but she wanted to have her choices back again. She wanted to be the one to decide if she stayed with Lee, not have him tell her that she was. This story flowed so smoothly, you always knew who all the players were and the storyline kept me involved.

The story had lots of action, love, sex and the strong will of one woman determined to win it all. This is only the second book in this series and I know the next book ‘The Chalice’ will be as excellent as this one.

One Wicked Night by Kelly Jamieson

One Wicked Night by Kelly Jamieson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M/F, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

The boys are back in town…

Ten years ago, Kaelin Daume spent a steamy summer home from college secretly hanging out with town bad boy Tyler Wirth and his best friend Nick Kernsted. The connection was warm, complicated, and came to a crashing end when she walked in on her two forbidden friends with another woman. The shocking scene of sex and bondage has haunted her boring, oh-so-vanilla life ever since.

The fallout from that night tore Tyler’s life apart. He left Mapleglen, disowned and disgraced, to build a successful advertising career and a unique relationship with Nick. Nothing could bring him back except his sister’s wedding, and he plans to hightail it back to Chicago as soon as it’s over. At least one good thing hasn’t changed: Kaelin is as sweet as ever. Except she doesn’t seem too thrilled to hear it.

As tensions run high, Kaelin can’t resist the temptation to commit one crazy act of rebellion. Once the web of secrets, sins and lies starts to unravel, though, their lives will never be the same…

Kaelin needs just one night to let all of her inhibitions go away and do the wicked things with Tyler and Nick that she has been dreaming about for ten years.

This story had some truly memorable characters, to the point that I just do not know where to begin. Nick was the character that I think my heart went out to the most. It seemed as though everyone focused on Tyler’s antics and bad boy image, and Nick just kind of got lost in the mix on many occasions. Even when Tyler, Kaelin and Nick sleep together, the emotional attachment and fulfillment seemed to be mainly focused on Tyler and Kaelin. This forgotten perception really made me sympathize with Nick and made me want to give him a giant hug.

Tyler is everything anyone can want in a bad boy. The author really did a great job portraying him as the person girls want, and men (including his father) do not like. As is the case with many bad boys, things are not always what they seem. While he creates his fair share of trouble, he also protects those he cares about even if it's from himself and his antics. Tyler’s personality reminded me of so many bad boys I know. When you look beneath the surface, you see someone trying to live up to unrealistic expectations, and hiding who they really are.

Kaelin may be a good girl around town, but she is one naughty woman behind closed doors. Kaelin reminds me of the phrase “I want a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed.” She has some hidden desires that I do not believe anyone including her even knew existed. She has given of herself to so many people throughout her entire life, all she asked for was one night to have two men focus on her alone, to give her everything that she's been waiting and yearning for way too long.

The plot in this story was just as extraordinary as the characters. From the wedding of Tyler’s sister, to the romance between the main characters, to a family torn - the author really incorporated everything. It made this story a very easy read, which seemed to make time fly. I was so enthralled by the storyline I quickly found myself at the end of the story and still wanting more.

It has been a while since I have found a story to truly entrance me and for that, I have to rate this story a 5 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great romance novel with a little kink.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Darkling by Em Petrova

Darkling by Em Petrova
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Sci/Fi-Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Other: M/F, voyeurism, masturbation
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Carnation

Niles Walker, a social worker in the ’hood, stumbles across what appears to be a gorgeous homeless woman heaped in rags in the middle of a heat wave. Drawn to her beauty, he struggles to keep from peeling the layers off and taking the tantalizing curves beneath. Finally he gives in to his urges and offers his apartment as refuge, though it puts his job on the line. And too late, he realizes he can’t keep her from his bed.

Vega is a fallen star looking for the magical object used to light newborn stars. She can’t believe the human who gives her shelter can also inspire such need in her strange new human form. She’s so hungry for his kisses and the fire he kindles inside her, she nearly forgets her purpose for coming to Earth—retrieving the starscale, or risking her future and those of her fellow celestial beings.

When a celestial being takes human form for the first time, she's besieged with unexpected sensations and emotions. The experiences of smiling, tears and thirst are small surprises compared with the overwhelming desire that suddenly comes over her when she is kissed by the handsome, passionate man who has decided to take care of her.

Vega is a star in the galaxy who has fallen to earth to find the magical Starscale she dropped here by mistake. When she arrives in the city she's overcome by the heat of the sun and wraps herself in rags she finds in the park. When social worker, Niles finds her under some bushes in a sleep induced haze, he assumes she's a homeless woman. When she proves unable to communicate well he believes her to be an illegal and the only way to shelter her legally is to take her home with him.

Niles hasn’t counted on her sweet charms or beauty and soon falls hard for her with a heat that matches her own. Unfortunately Vega only has two weeks to find the precious Starscale and return it to her kind in order to give light to the newborn stars soon to appear. She's unable to tell Niles of her dilemma and is swept into a raging hot affair with him that overshadows anything she has ever experienced as a Celestial.

Will Vega choose her duty to her own kind or the irresistible, exquisite love and passion she has found while in her new body? The decision is sure to leave her broken in spirit, either way.

Ms. Petrova has written this beautiful fable with sensitive prose and realistic force. I was swept through this magical tale in captivated delight. The problem posed seems impossible to resolve, but leave it to the creative imagination of Em Petrova to find a believable and touching solution.

The story was written with the precision and capability I have come to expect from this author. This fanciful tale succeeded in every way, including in delivering a singeing-hot erotic romance. Here's an example of the way Ms. Petrova reveals the tender love that bursts between Vega and Niles: “‘Vega, my rare beauty. Who are you?’ ‘Yours,’ she whispered.”

I recommend, Darkling to all lovers of fantasy and romance.

Phoenix Kiss by Lyric James

Phoenix Kiss by Lyric James
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (87 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Layla Martin makes her living exposing all the wicked little secrets of the rich and famous. Exposing Jordan Gaines, the mysterious millionaire, is exactly the break she needs.

Jordan has spent his entire life protecting a dark secret—he’s a phoenix shapeshifter, one of the last of his kind. When he finds Layla hiding in his home after he shifts, he offers her a deal—he won’t call the police if she spends one night in his bed.

Layla believes she’s stumbled onto the story of a lifetime. Jordan thinks sleeping with Layla will discredit any exposé she plans to write. Neither expects the hours of unrelenting, primitive passion, the fast bond that forms between them or their fierce desire to keep the night from coming to an end.

Layla Martin is going after the story of a lifetime; she is trying to get the dirt on millionaire Jordan Gaines.

No one has been able to get an interview with him but she has come up with a sure fire way to get the information she needs. This will help her keep her job at the rag newspaper she works for and put her name out there. So, she breaks into his house but soon finds more than she bargained for.

Jordan Gaines is not what he appears to be. The question is will Layla tell his story? Jordan makes a deal with Layla, if she spends the night with him she can write her story. She agrees to this but along the way she gets to know the real Jordan.

The background of each of the characters helped me understand why or how they ended up where they were. I saw the reasons why Layla worked for the Tattler and why Jordan was such a private person. Even though they had only known each other a few hours I knew that they were meant to be.

The author makes the characters strong yet vulnerable so that the reader becomes invested in them. The sex scenes, and there were quite a few, were hot and explosive. The only negative I have about this story is that I wanted more! It would have been nicer if it had a few more chapters to it. I wanted to see the love between them develop and not get the feeling that it was rushed. That being said, it was still a good read and maybe there will be a follow up story to this one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Vol 2. By Various Authors

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Vol 2. By Various Authors
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (191 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Fatman and Robyn
Jaid Black

Jake Chamberlin, star quarterback of the New York Bloods, has a not-so-little secret—he’s into chubby chicks. He does all he can to resist temptation, but when Jake bumps into the gorgeous Robyn DiMarco at a bistro in Little Italy, all bets are off.

Scarred and Kilt
Laurann Dohner

Matty has a new neighbor, and she strongly suspects the kilt-wearing hottie is a vampire—he only goes out at night, has weird visitors and the blood bank is making regular deliveries. But he doesn’t seem to hurt anyone, so “live and let live” is Matty’s motto. Until she sees a guy armed with crosses and wooden stakes breaking into the neighbor’s house. Matty charges to the rescue—and ends up in Mr. Hottie’s bed…and on his desk…and…

Regina Carlysle

Set in the same world as Jaguar Hunger.

Private investigators Nate and Daniel don’t expect to find their mate while working a case. But they recognize Olivia as theirs the second they catch the missing woman’s scent—the scent of a female jaguar shifter in heat. Nate and Daniel’s task? Find then claim Livvy in every raw, animalistic way possible…and release her inner beast.

Katalina Leon

Betrayed by her village chief, Larisa is brought to a mysterious island and left bound in a subterranean labyrinth, where drops of her blood summon the mythical Minotaur. She expects the man-beast to take her life…but it’s her body that’s sacrificed. Darron, a shapeshifting being, ravishes Larisa, and she gives herself freely to the pleasure—a decision that will change both their worlds forever.

Decadent Dance
Aubrey Ross

Surely the dress Zoe purchased did not transport her to an alien ship, right? No. Hallucinations. Must be. Though…the gorgeous alien who greets her seems real enough. And the sex? Out of this world.

Vaden has waited years for his Decadent Dancer, and though Zoe swears she didn’t know what the dress could do, Vaden has been lonely too long to be easily thwarted. He’ll use every sensual trick he knows to convince Zoe she’s right where she belongs.

Sahara Heat
Diana Hunter

As a favor to a friend, author Carla Braun agrees to meet with archaeologist Josef Anderson to discuss his recent desert find. To her dismay, the man’s infuriating…as well as tall, blond, gorgeous—and into BDSM. If she can look beyond Dr. Anderson’s cool exterior, Carla just might discover some scorching Sahara Heat…


By Laurann Dohner – is a clever little story with a heroine who is both brave and wary, not to mention inquisitive and a tiny bit aggressive. Matty’s had some hard knocks in her life and what I liked about her character is that she epitomizes the phrase, “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. The author presented me with a woman who no longer bows to bullies yet somehow has kept a part of her innocence and trust intact. I believe that is what allows the heroine to do what she does and with whom. The man that has fascinated her for months, Blaron, is a pretty decent guy, for a vampire. He’s the typical take charge, male-blown-away-by-a-sexy-woman kind of guy who doesn’t expect to find what he finds. His surprise was entertaining, their coming together was hot and frantic and their dialogue snappy and well paced. Even though their “I love you” comes a bit too soon, this is a short paranormal romance and he’s a vampire. And since we all know that vampires move really really fast, this fits just fine. Not only that but the author threw in a sentence that made it a tad more realistic – their relationship won’t be all roses and moonlight and it’s that willingness to work it out that made this tale feel rounded and grounded.


By Regina Carlysle – is loaded with explosive hotness and thrilling consummation scenes as Livvy finds her inner animal with two dedicated gorgeous men. This installment is about fulfilling a dream when all hope seems lost. It’s about a flash-fire romance where the paranormal rules are fast, furious and violent and undeniable. The author knows her way around a physical love scene and proves it again and again throughout the chapters. With the help of the mystical aspect of their kind, love is gone about differently but no less effectively. Certainly, if readers like a good romp, Tinderbox is going to deliver. Also, it ends with a nice hook that grabbed my imagination and set me up for wanting more about a certain secondary character and that’s why I enjoy anthologies so much – it opens the door for new authors, new adventures and new experiences. This one succeeded.


By Katalina Leon – is a mild mannered story with great descriptions, an unusual and imaginative take on the legend of the Minotaur and a hero unlike any other. Although there were some aspects of the story that sound more modern than the Middle Bronze Age, it’s a fantasy that is meant to entertain without taxing the brain. It’s a story about a woman, who, for the time period, was outspoken and strong. Since men think they’re the cat’s meow, even when they are more like dirty piglets, Larisa’s brains are not appreciated. Figures that it takes a man from a myth to appreciate her fine attributes, and Darron does a great job at “appreciating”. I enjoyed his early antics where he’s more puppy than bull and I liked the growth of his character. The ending was along the lines of a grand fairy tale flavored with spice and although it was a bit unbelievable it was nonetheless fun, cute and delivers the requisite happily ever after.


By Aubrey Ross – is a fantastical science fiction romance that starts off contemporary and jets off into the unknown by means of wearing a simple sexy dress. Somebody else’s greed ends up sending this poor unsuspecting woman on the adventure of her life. Just in time too, because the story opens up with her at a crossroads in her career and her trepidation and uncertainty of her future was causing her no end of worry. What happens next makes her initial problems pale in comparison. I think being faced with a handsome man of gigantic proportions, speaking an unknown language and wearing odd clothes certainly spun Zoe’s world into the Twilight Zone.

Vaden is the confused but determined hero. The heroine may not know what’s going on but he does and it’s causing him no end of frustration on many levels because he believes Zoe should know. The fact that she doesn’t slowly dawns on him and for the first time, this uber-macho warrior is at a loss. So what does a man do in that situation? What any red blooded, horny and single-minded man does -- seduces her into compliance. I enjoyed that he ended up being seduced as much as Zoe was. The author wrote the passionate scenes filled with fervor and desperation. It was truly a dance but of the emotional kind. For every step forward, there were steps back, and for every twirl there was a dip and twist that brought the couple together, set them apart and drew them in again. Ultimately, what Zoe discovers about herself and what Vaden discovers about his physical relationship with Zoe made this story work. It’s hot, entertaining and an interesting flip to the often used plot of a contemporary woman finding herself in another time and place.


by Diana Hunter – is a story that explores the value of friendship. In short, good friends never give up on matchmaking when they’re sure they are right. And the smart ones never let you see it coming. That’s the fun aspect of this story. Because the heroine didn’t have performance pressures like those other blind dates that her friend, Angie, had arranged in the past, she was free to be herself. Carla has attitude and she’s not afraid to use it. However, Josef is a man who has a secret. He’s the dominant one and the heroine’s attitude has only thrown down a gauntlet he’s only too happy to take on. Watching this relationship unfold was better than a tennis match. Ultimately, the BDSM element is explored with enough emotional and sexual detail, fans of that romance lifestyle will get a treat. I enjoyed the dialogue and the sharing of themselves to the point that I am confident that Carla and Josef really are perfect for the other; mostly because there is enough relationship growth to make it believable. It was a good read.


by Jaid Black – The opening salvo to this short story is intensely humorous and is so off the wall, it’s an immediate attention grabber. From there it’s a wonderfully warm and delightful romance that's like a whipped cream topping on a very rich and decadent hot fudge sundae. Ms. Black’s contribution to this anthology is the one most filled with heart, home and happiness. It’s a gentle sigh of satisfaction after the sexual roller coaster of the previous tales. Don’t get me wrong, when Jake and Robyn finally wear each other out, it is after a lot of well written active bed scenes that met all my expectations. I enjoyed the family aspect of Robyn’s life and how Jake fit in. I liked how the author built up the sensual suspense and how the relationship grew. I even liked the little quirks of the language flipping – so real and likeable. The dialogue was cool and the characters had personality; pretty much everything in this story worked. It was the best happily ever after of the lot. Ms. Black has a winner with this one.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Vol 2 is a credit to the authors who contributed to its existence. There's something for everyone to enjoy. Even if a reader isn’t into BDSM or Sci-Fi, there's a romantic commonality that binds them together. I found the choices of plot, venue, dialogue and character made all the difference. And since they all have happily ever afters or happily for now with a strong element of anticipated future happiness, every story met my expectations. They’re true pleasers on many levels and is a book that should not be missed.

Nerds Are Freaks Too by KoKo Brown

Nerds Are Freaks Too by KoKo Brown
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (118 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Roxanne is stunned when her best friend, Leo, admits his feelings for her—she’s so not going there. Lovers may come and go, but true friends are hard to find. Instead, she enlists his help to sign her up for an online fetish dating site. She immediately meets a man who can help her explore her kinky side, starting with a chat session that leads to the best orgasm of her life. While her body’s satisfied, her mind can’t forget Leo’s confession…

Leo, meanwhile, isn’t giving up so easily. He knows Roxanne like the back of his hand, knows what she needs, and he’s more than equipped to give it to her. Subtle touches, a sexy spanking, the most erotic dessert-eating session ever… Leo is successfully proving that computer nerds can be sexual freaks too—until Roxanne discovers his secret. One that could kill not only a potential relationship, but their longtime friendship as well.

Leo and Roxanne have been best friends for over ten years. Leo is a geek who has had a crush on her but realizes that Roxie does not think of him that way. Roxie decides that her sex life is ‘vanilla’ or boring and she needs something different. Roxie wants to spice up her sex life and she tells this to Leo. Leo shows Roxie this online dating service called '', and suggests she sign up. Roxie was excited and nervous but agrees to sign up with Leo’s help.

Leo offers to introduce her to this lifestyle which confirmed for me that Leo felt more than just friendship for Roxie. She of course declined because she didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize their ten year friendship.

After signing up Roxie meets Constantine on the website, and is introduced to the Dom/submissive lifestyle. The characters of Leo and Roxie were engaging, and you really felt a connection to them. The introduction of Constantine made me wonder if this could be the one that she fell for especially since he had such an affect on her, or would he help her see that it was Leo she wanted all along.

The author had me from the first paragraph and did not let me go until the very end. The story was filled with humor and at times I found myself smiling. I rooted for Leo to finally convince Roxie he was the man for her. Overall, this book was a fun read and I look forward to reading more by this author.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Infected: Shift by Andrea Speed

Infected: Shift by Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (364 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

Between his mutating virus and his rocky relationship with his artist boyfriend, Dylan, Roan has enough problems to solve without taking on other people’s, but that’s the nature of his work. Someone has to look into the case of the murdered trans woman, and if the perp is the dirty cop Roan suspects it is, the police are not the right people for the job.

But now Roan has a new obstacle to overcome: someone caught part of his transformation on video, and the media frenzy is making it hard to do his job. One case nets him a hockey team full of new friends. Another leads to an attempt on his life. And Roan’s hustler sidekick drags him on a quest for revenge. With his world and his body both in turmoil, Roan is finding it harder and harder to see the line between justice and vigilantism.

My long nails are toast. Infected: Shift had so many edge-of-your-seat scenes and action sequences paired with emotional suspense and drama, that I needed an outlet. I was out of chocolate so my nails paid the price from reading chapter after chapter of intelligent, gripping and sharp as a blade storytelling. Ms. Speed has cemented my continued fascination with Roan and his life’s challenges with this clever and well written tale full of mystery, murder and mayhem.

With the first mystery, I was treated to new characters that stirred the pot of romance and curiosity. The author put me on a see-saw of “will he or won’t he” which applies to three different potential aspects of Roan’s life. All of them were compelling and hands down the most emotional elements. As for the action, a reader gets walloped with lion action, hoodlum violence and police activity. It was an incredible ride.

Another reason to smile and giggle in appreciation is Ms. Speed’s use of movie and actor references. I adored the one about Judi Dench. After reading this tale, I might just take up watching hockey. The author created a wonderful slapstick moment, pun intended, for readers of this book. Scott and Tank and Grey Williams were delightful secondary characters and I enjoyed watching Roan meeting them and all the fun those boys got into. In fact, I had the best reading experience whenever Roan and the guys were together. It almost seemed as if the author had as much fun writing those chapters as I had reading them; there was something vibrant and alive that seemed to hum from the words.

Readers of the series know how hard it’s been for Roan since his husband, Paris, died. In this first installment, it gets a bit worse. I ached for the hero but at the same time felt he needed a swift kick. I enjoyed those weird dream sequences the author uses to help that along. It’s a pretty unique technique and it works incredibly well. Combine real life with his subconscious and Roan is forced to open his eyes and share a bit of his heart. That was an emotionally dramatic scene and well written.

The fun continued with the next story. It started off with an intense scene that means business and then it back tracked in time. I really enjoyed those hockey players and Ms. Speed has the best sense of how to maximize their effect on the plot and story line, providing pure entertainment. The bathroom scene could have been incredibly intense but the author inserted some action with great dialogue so that I giggled when the officer took the moron away. It was so well done with clear and vivid writing I could almost see the activity in my mind’s eye.

And Tank…what a brilliantly written character. Whenever he was on stage I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe. Readers are going to get the biggest kick out him. He was interesting in the first story but in this one? He’s a scream. It’s a good thing that his character brought levity to the table because the second mystery was much more serious, gruesome and sad.

Once again, Roan is called in to investigate a person’s disappearance. This time the client has money, power and arrogance and the writing makes that clear. What also is made clear is the fact that money cannot buy happiness, peace, or a personality. Nor can it teach a person how to be a parent or a decent human being and in this case, I’m sure the client wishes it did. It also explores the old adage, ‘you reap what you sow’ in a very graphic and poignant manner.

Holden was a bit more in the background in the first installment although he certainly had his moment of stress and drama. It was a big moment, to be sure but the best/worst was yet to come. After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that Holden and Roan are very similar in a lot of ways. Both feel deeply about those they care for, and both are jaded and cynical enough to get the job done no matter how messy, violent or questionable it might be. Both men have secrets on secrets and although a reader has the benefit of seeing through Roan’s point of view, I never feel like I come close to pinning Holden down. It makes his character all the more interesting and intriguing. They make a good team but I don’t believe we’ll be seeing them as a couple. They’re too messed up. Thank goodness for Dylan.

A reader finally has a bit more clarity about the status of Roan and Dylan’s relationship after reading Infected: Shift. I am glad to finally have more insight. The hockey guys were a nice touch to the event so it doesn’t spiral down into anything mushy. Which is good because Roan doesn’t do mushy anything. At least, not willingly.

I also enjoyed having Dee, Dropkick, Fiona and the other secondary characters from past novels pop in and out throughout this story. It gave a sense of community, continuity and connection and is one of the reasons why these books read so well. It allowed me to immerse myself in a world that has enough detail, dialogue and descriptions to inspire a bonding feeling with the imaginary world thatMs. Speed has created. Sometimes, the story is so gripping and twisted, I don’t want it to end. Roan and company are endlessly fascinating and never, ever boring.

Infected: Shift proves that Ms. Speed has an extraordinary talent for writing drama, suspense and tortured heroes with a level of skill that delivers quality stories again and again. This time around, the points of view shifts were not jarring but instead flowed well, were logical and well balanced, and the author kept a tight rein on them. There was an impressive balance of darkness, humor, self-depreciation and hope. There were also some shocking revelations and stunning new questions raised about being a virus child. I’m also happy about the continued relationship with Roan and Dylan. I enjoyed their repartee, and the growth shown throughout the chapters as well as how Roan is slowly opening up to the man he loves. He’s doing it at a snail’s pace, that’s for sure, but that’s our hero – stubborn. Anyone who is looking for an action filled mystery story can’t go wrong with Infected: Shift. There is nothing I didn’t like and no scene that came across as lame or ineffectual. It might be considered a standalone read as the mysteries are not carryovers from previous books but reading the previous stories it might help to understand the emotional drama and self-flagellation that Roan tends to excel at. In any event, this is a powerhouse type book and it’s one for my keeper shelves. Andrea Speed rocks!

Anything Goes by Lynn LaFleur

Anything Goes by Lynn LaFleur
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (60 pages)
Other: M/M/F, M/F, ménage, voyeurism, anal sex, sex toys
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Carnation

After fifteen years in an unhappy marriage, Catania Wylde is now free to live her life the way she wants. She believes the best way to start her new life is to celebrate her fortieth birthday at the sex club, Anything Goes.

Brother to Cat's best friend Lisa, Alex Cline spends his days developing applications for smartphones. His nights are spent at his sex club, Anything Goes. He had no idea the club would be so successful when he started it three years ago. Celebrities, politicians, and royalty all come to his club outside of Dallas for a taste of the forbidden.

When Alex finds out the woman he's lusted after for years wants to visit his club, he decides to make Cat's visit the most sensual, most fulfilling evening of her evening that he plans to be the start of many nights in his arms.

When recently divorced Cat gets a complimentary visit to a posh sex club from her best friend for her birthday, she soon learns that ‘anything goes’ means no-limits-fun.

After Cat’s marriage ends, she allows her feelings for her friend, Lisa’s brother, Alex to blossom into a shy, sensual love. What she doesn’t know is that Alex has been in love with her for ages. She also doesn’t realize that Alex and Lisa secretly own, Anything Goes, the sex club she's visiting the night of her birthday.

Cat is having the time of her life with two sexy men in a private room at the club unaware that Alex has plans of his own for her. He has secretly arranged for a switch between him and the men who are with Cat, so he can take their place while she's distracted.

When a playful blindfold is removed from her eyes, Cat is suddenly face to face and alone with Alex. Both of them are naked and in each other’s arms. Her immediate reaction is shock and a feeling of betrayal. To Cat, Alex’s kisses and touch while she was blindfolded were not consensual. Crushed, she jumps up to run.

Will love provide the solution to this awkward experience? How far is too far when ‘Anything Goes’?

Ms. LaFleur has written this blazing hot sensual fantasy with an interesting twist of romantic complexity. From every angle this is a story of increasingly intense erotic adventure for the main characters. The upsetting problem the romantic couple faces adds an emotional bonus of unusual dimension to this already absorbing tale.

I enjoyed every minute of this firmly packed, well written tale. I recommend Anything Goes to anyone in the mood for a quick, entertaining and potent read.