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Friday, June 22, 2012

Cooking With Sin by KoKo Brown

Cooking With Sin by KoKo Brown
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

From the moment Senior Chief Petty Officer Cole Rodriguez lays eyes on celebrity TV chef-turned-restaurateur Sinclair Fletcher, he realizes his celebrity crush is something more. But convincing the petite dynamo, who's harboring a secret that could ruin her career and reputation, into his bed proves more difficult than a six-hundred-meter dive for the Naval master diver.

Out of the frying pan into the fire. Sinclair Fletcher has rested her laurels on a hundred-year-old spell that makes everyone fall in love with her cooking. The only drawback? They fall in love with her as well. So it only makes sense she doesn't allow anyone to get close, not even mouth-watering SCPO Cole Rodriguez. But when she gets one taste of the sexy sailor, things start to heat up, and he leaves her hungering for more.

She's playing with fire by duping the masses but he just wants a chance to play with Sin.

Sinclair Fletcher, along with her Aunt Bernie, had an Emmy winning cooking show called ‘Cooking with Sin’. However, a year after the death of her beloved Aunt Bernie, Sinclair is faced with the cancellation of her show and a life changing decision. Even though it’s heartbreaking, Sinclair knows that the real genius behind the success of the show had been her aunt. With her gone, Sinclair doesn't know what to do. She and her aunt had always wanted to start a restaurant together after the show ended, but Sinclair knows it will take more than her limited skills to make a go at it.

The story then jumps two years and you find that she has opened her restaurant “Too Sinful to Burn", which is a success. Senior Chief Petty Officer Cole Rodriguez chooses this place to not only meet his date, Connie Dugan, but to catch a glimpse, or possibly meet his favorite food show celebrity, Sinclair Fletcher. When his date fails to show he thinks he's lost his chance to meet his idol. Sinclair doesn't want him to leave but she knew that if she went into the dining area pandemonium would ensue.

At first I didn’t think that I would get into this story but I was pleasantly surprised when I did. It was fun to see the reaction she caused when she did go into the dining area and how Cole came to her rescue. These two characters were sweet and the story put a smile on my face. It was fun to see how they did eventually come together even though he had a hard time believing her. All in all reading Cooking with Sin was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and it's a fun edition to the All Cooked Up series.

Misbegotten Gaines by Camryn Rhys

Misbegotten Gaines by Camryn Rhys
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (108 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Kyle Harris lands a job as the new chef at the Misbegotten Gaines Ranch just in time for the launch of their new Singles' Trail Ride. When his new boss, the alluring Jamie Gaines, mistakenly believes him to be married, he goes along with the ruse to keep his job. But things start to heat up between them and Kyle has to choose between losing his job and letting Jamie get away.

Kyle Harris, newly divorced and hired as cook for a dude ranch, finds that to his surprise isn't run by dudes at all.Well, there are some dudes, but one little filly that's very much a woman.

When he accepted the job at The Misbegotten Gaines ranch, in his mind, he pictured a John Wayne type movie where the men run things. Instead he finds the ranch is owned and operated by Brady Gaines, his mom Mattie, brother Paul and sister Jaime.

Everyone except Jaime welcomes him since his being there means her friend Charity won’t be coming back. Charity was the cook before Kyle was hired, but was fired when Brady and Jaime caught her having sex with their brother Paul. As a result, Brady put in a non fraternization policy and hired Kyle because he's married.

Jaime resents Kyle’s presence and decides she'll seduce him to get him fired and get Charity back. Besides some pretty obvious flaws in her plan it doesn't help that she might be a little bit attracted to Kyle. Then to throw a wrench in Kyle’s cover his ex-wife Lana is one of the guests at the ranch.

It was fun to see the dynamics between Kyle and the two women unfold, and it made you wonder when Kyle was going to come clean about not being married. Misbegotten Gaines is a clever story. The characters and situations they created made for an enjoyable read.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart by Asha King

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart by Asha King
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (49 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Joshua Lee Merrill has been a playboy for years, never content to settle and convinced there’s no such thing as “the right one”—just “the right now.” For a while, his friends thought he had the perfect woman—until she summarily dumped him and gave his ego a severe thrashing. His group of friends are there to help with his broken heart...but it’s his old pal Derica who suddenly has him hot with desire.

Derica Washington nursed a crush on her friend J.L. for years while he went through a string of girlfriends and never gave her a second look. But now he’s broken-hearted, alone, and his sights are set on her at last. She’s determined not to give in to him, though turning the love ’em and leave ’em attitude on him is tempting. And it can’t hurt to indulge this once...can it?

Joshua Lee Merrill, or J.L., was a cause for concern for his friends because he had just been dumped by his girlfriend of nearly a year. His friends Cole, Jessalyn, Derica and Kashayla practically had to drag him out of bed so that they could cheer him up.

Derica, who has had a crush on him for a while, was sad to hear he was upset but glad Lily was out of the picture. Once he got to the pizza parlor, looking sad and dejected, his friends went into cheer up mode. JL however can't take his eyes off Derica, who he also secretly liked. His brother Aiden is the only one who really knew the truth behind his breakup with Lily. Aidan was surprised by his brother's interest in Derica, because they were friends, but he supports him.

It was interesting to see how Derica and Joshua came together, and how each of their mutual friends responded to it. The story endeared me to the characters, with the only negative being that I really didn't have time to sink my teeth into it before it ended. It seemed a little rushed, but that didn't take away from the beauty of it. I liked Derica and J.L. together and there's also an attraction between J.L.’s best friend Kashayla and his brother Aiden. It was a cute story and one that I would recommend. I look forward to reading Kashayla and Aiden’s story in the next book of this series.

Acting Witchy by Thayer King

Acting Witchy by Thayer King
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal
Length: Short Story (100 pgs)
Other: M/F, forced seduction
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Actor Sean Savage can’t take his mind off of fellow movie star Mystique Gray. He won’t give up until she agrees to work with him. Sean soon realizes she’s the woman for him. Unfortunately, she hates him and he can’t understand why.

Mystique Gray is an up and coming actress. She’s never met the handsome heartthrob Sean Savage, but she knows a secret about the famous actor that no one else does: Sean Savage is a witch. She gives in to his request to do his movie, but she’s determined to keep their relationship strictly professional. Letting him close could be dangerous for her heart—and his safety.

Her name is Mystique but the real mystery is why she doesn't jump at the chance to be with Hollywood sexy man Sean Savage. Does she perhaps know the secret he keeps well hidden?

Mystique Gray was an up and coming actress who was being sought after by heart throb Sean Savage. Sean wanted Mystique to star in a movie with him but she repeatedly refused. She didn't say why she refused to do it, but people thought that it was because of his reputation as a ladies man that put her off.

Actually her reasons went far deeper than that, because Mystique knew something about Sean that even he didn’t know she knew. It’s not just that Mystique didn't like Sean, she just didn't want him to know what she knew about him. She did everything she could to avoid him but to her surprise she ran into him in the one place she least expected to find him, the ladies room.

This story was a pleasant read with characters that were interesting and had mystery surrounding them. It was fun to discover their secrets and the reason why Mystique refused to star with Sean, and what Sean did to finally get her to do the movie. It was also enjoyable to see how their relationship grew into something more than dislike.

The supporting characters added depth to the story: Her grandmother Mama Skye, who practically raised her, her cousin Nikita, Sean’s brother Keith and Mystique’s estranged mother Meadow. The interaction between the main characters and the supporting characters helped me settle into the story and lose myself in it. Readers looking for a little paranormal love story will enjoy Acting Witchy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Almost Perfect by Jenna Jaxon

Almost Perfect by Jenna Jaxon
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Pamela Kimball’s birthday present, a 1Night Stand adventure, promises to jump start her life, put a new man in her bed, and help her forget her past. Unfortunately, movie-buff Pam’s Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy takes an alarming wrong turn when she’s abandoned on a not quite deserted island—with ex-husband Roger Ware.

Forced by hunger to accept Roger’s offer of dinner, Pam realizes the geek she married has transformed into one of the most charming, sexiest men she’s ever met. His newfound confidence—and hot body—re-kindles old fires. A simple kiss leads Roger to challenge her to discover how much his lovemaking skills have improved, leaving Pam torn between self-preservation and burning desire.

With time running out before they’re rescued, Pam must decide if her heart can survive the consequences of becoming Roger’s “almost” perfect 1Night Stand.

Madam Eve’s One Night Stand is where all your fantasies can be realized, no matter what they may be.

Divorced for five years and celibate for two, Pamela wanted a pirate adventure along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean. Instead of being ravished by Captain Jack Sparrow, she wanted to have an unforgettable night with Will Turner (or maybe Orlando Bloom!).

Her friend Sue helped her set up her adventure with Madame Eve as a birthday gift to her, and off she went to the Castillo Resort in Miami. Excited beyond all reason Pamela couldn’t wait to board the boat that would start her adventure. Instead of being wrapped in the arms of Orlando, she was unceremoniously hauled off the boat, placed in a dinghy and marooned on a desert island. Furious and thinking she was alone, she turns around and is faced with none other than her ex husband Roger. Of all the people in the world why was her "Pirate" her ex husband, and why wasn’t he dressed like one?

After reading the blurb for this story I knew this would be a fun read, especially since she had divorced Roger because the sex was boring. She referred to sex with her ex as being ‘Pee-Wee’s Big Top Adventure with the good bits taken out.’ That had me chuckling which made me look forward to reading more of this delightful story.

This is a short story but it had characters that I liked and wanted to see back together. Everything to Pamela was like a movie, and all the movies mentioned I had seen so I could truly relate to what the character was describing. Personally, though, I would prefer Captain Jack to Will Turner, but that’s just me.

Lust in the Library by Amelia Fayer

Lust in the Library by Amelia Fayer
Publisher: Avon Red (imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (96 pages)
Other: M/F, Public Sex
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lotus

Some like it hot, and some like it in the reference section

Sara is having a love affair with books. But, since books can't make love to you, it means she's in the middle of a very long dry spell. Until a sexy Brit shows up. Suddenly she's learning just how stimulating a library can be—up against a bookcase, behind the card catalog, on the circulation desk . . .

Meanwhile, Veronica is incredibly frustrated. While Sara and her new man are using the library as their personal adult playground, she's stuck with only her thesis and her sexual fantasies. But Andrew, her crush, isn't above using his . . . assets to get Veronica right where he wants her: alone, in a darkened corner of the stacks.

Who knew reading could be this pleasurable?

Libraries are usually boring and quiet, right? Not in this story!!! The librarian gets some action in the stacks and elsewhere in the library. Even her assistant squeezes in some extracurricular time.

Sara Owens is the youngest assistant head librarian of special collections at the university library; she's only in her mid-twenties. She's a hard working, follow-the-rules type of person. She hasn't had a boyfriend in a while, but has been intrigued by a handsome British professor-type guy who keeps checking out books on various subjects. William Hammond has been doing research in the United States, but is stalling on his return to Europe due to his desire to become acquainted with Sara, the beautiful librarian. When Sara finally picks up on his hints, with some help from Veronica, the sparks fly between Sara and William. Sara does has moments of doubt when her sense of duty is at war with her desire for the handsome William, but he convinces her to fall for him.

Veronica’s job is not clearly stated, but she appears to work as a circulations clerk, checking books in and out. She's a college senior, working on her thesis in the library during her off-duty time. She aspires to be a librarian, hoping to go into the library sciences program as a grad student. Veronica has recently broken up with her boyfriend, Andrew, because she saw him kissing her roommate. Little did she know that it was a misunderstanding since Andrew had a very good reason for what he did. Andrew had to work hard to convince Veronica of the truth, so he used all of his manly talents to win her back.

The narrative is very descriptive and does not disappoint. Down time barely exists in this novella as we go from one sexy scene to the next. I was a bit concerned that Sara doesn’t know much about William before they get together, but this is an erotic novella after all. In real life, how many librarians would actually risk their jobs to have sex with a patron in the library while it’s open for business? This novella is in two parts, with Sara and William’s story in Part One and Veronica and Andrew’s story in Part Two. Both parts are full of hot scenes in the library, fulfilling the title of the book.

Lust in the Library is an erotic escapade sure to increase the temperature in any room you read it in. Be sure to have something or someone nearby to help you out when it gets too hot.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Invincible by Gabrielle Evans

Invincible by Gabrielle Evans
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (131 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Meadowsweet

Aslan is used to everyone considering him to be flighty, clueless, and confused. That doesn’t mean it’s true, but the constant cacophony of voices inside his head makes it kind of hard to pay attention to anything else around him.

Torren Braddock has his hands full as a new elder, trying to clean up the mess the former Council members left for him. Adding a mate to his agenda is the last thing he wants to do, but he can’t deny the way Aslan draws him in like a moth to a flame.

Torren is meant to be his champion, his protector. Aslan is sure of it. When the voices in his head grow louder and more demanding, he realizes something big is coming, something that has the potential to destroy everything—and he’ll need his new mate at his side if he hopes to survive it.

Invincible is book 5 of Gabrielle Evan's Haven series. Each book is a continuing story but can also be read as a stand story without difficulty. The story revolves around one of the elders of the paranormal creatures set in an alternative Earth. Torren is elder of Magiks. He's a witch and finds in Aslan his infinity, or soul mate. Drama ensues as they deal with coming together, discovering their past lives with each other, and dealing with Aslan's ability as a threshold of the dead.

The book is excellently written; it flows well overall, and is highly engaging. I had no trouble sympathizing with either of the main characters. There's good symmetry with powers, abilities and the rules of the world. The supporting characters are strong and there are plenty of indications of future relationships. She also does well in updating the reader on past relationships. There were a few spots where there could have been more description in action scenes and a few scenes that felt a little rushed.

This is one of my favorite series by Ms Evans. It's engaging, well written overall, well edited, long enough to satisfy and short enough to leave you wanting more. The transitions from book to book are smoothly done and because each story focuses on a particular couple while still having characters from the previous stories around you can enjoy it as a series or as a standalone read. Whether a diehard or new fan you won't be disappointed with this installment of Ms Evans' series.

Enemies by Vonna Harper

Enemies by Vonna Harper
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (156 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Forced Seduction, Toys
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Aster

Loyalty to her lord compels the Otu woman-warrior Sora to risk her life trying to find her tribe's hated enemy, the Waban. Her mission: to kill their leader. Instead, she becomes the prisoner of the enemy’s powerful war-leader, Hakan. His mission: to turn the bound woman at his feet into a sex-hungry creature worthy of the powerful man who rules the Waban. But Sora is nothing like the submissive slave-whores he’s accustomed to. Instead, he finds himself pitted against a courageous, if helpless, adversary. No matter how completely he controls her body, the warrior spirit that is part of her heart and soul remains.

As days and nights flow together during the long trek back to Hakan’s village, hatred gives way to a wild attraction neither wants but they can’t fight. Long-held secrets become confidences whispered during frenzied sex. But deeply ingrained loyalty to their leaders compels them to continue to see the other as the enemy until treachery and deceit awaiting them at journey's end threatens their survival. Will it bring them together or rip them apart?

Beautiful setting, page-turning anticipation, and compelling, strong characters you can't help but root for. Enemies has all the elements you need for a fantastic escape from day to day life!

I can't tell you how much I love these characters. Sora, a female Otu Warrior, is strong, courageous, and determined. When she's captured by a Waban war leader and sworn enemy, Hakan, she must endure his certain torture to avoid being broken and carry out her mission to get to the Waban Elder. While refusing to back down, she seemingly submits, yet never loses focus of her goal, to collect information about the Waban tribe and bring it back to the Otu.

Hakan, although fierce and threatening, is a wonderfully complex character. His inner turmoil - does he treat this captive as just another spoil of war, or give her the respect her warrior status commands - is gripping and enjoyable. From the moment they first meet in battle, Sora stabbing Hakan before Hakan renders Sora unconscious, you can feel the attraction, admiration and respect the two have for each other. They are perfect equals in a world where neither should have one.

I loved how protective Hakan was of his captive, although he knew she was very capable of taking care of herself. The undeniable pairing of these two was done gradually and with perfect intent, every step of their relationship drawing them closer together until there was no question the love they felt, despite their individual senses of duty and obligation to their respective tribes.

Ms. Harper is an expert in her setting. I know little of native culture, but was never lost in the perfect world she has created. The adversarial relationships, differences in language, and even day to day living were so wonderfully laid out that I was not only able to follow the story, I became lost in it. I felt a part of their world, and that takes a very talented writer.

The love scenes were sensual and erotic, but also served to further connect the hero and heroine. Through both points of view we are able to experience Hakan's struggle with the "spell" this irresistible captive had over him as well as the Sora's attempt to retain her distance from the man who claimed to own her. Their individual struggles were believable and served to bond them even further, since both understood the other in a way that few could.

The only piece of this wonderful story that was missing was their ultimate expression of love. They each thought it, but never spoke the words to each other. Ms. Harper has such a beautiful use of language for the natives, I was hoping to hear how they each chose to express themselves to the other. In the end, it was an assumption, but we didn't get to witness the conversation taking place. I missed it, but even without the words, their dedication was unquestionable.

If you like a story that takes you to another time and place, and a love story that leaves you breathlessly rooting for the hero and the heroine both, THIS is definitely a title to pick up!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Suck and Blow by Lexxie Couper

Suck and Blow by Lexxie Couper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (140 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

Let the games begin…

Party Games, Book 1

Talent agent Frankie Winchester is a hellion. Her motto is all a girl needs is a fun time, a fast car and an awesome masseur on speed dial. There’s only one person who could beat her at anything. Alec. Bane of her high-school existence, a kid whose parents were as working class and loving as hers were rich and distant.

When celebrity landscape architect Alec Harris spots Frankie at an exclusive Sydney house party, everything comes rushing back. The memory of being the “cheap-money” kid, trying and failing to prove himself—and impress his dream girl, Frankie Winchester.

Unexpectedly partnered in a wildly sexy game, the delicious friction ignites a scorching sexual tension. But there’s more than a playing card trapped between them. Frankie refuses to admit that kiss shook her to the core. Alec wants nothing less than her full surrender.

Francesca “The Gun” Winchester isn't used to not getting what she wants. Growing up the only child of well-to-do parents has its advantages and led her to a sense of entitlement. That is until a kid from the wrong side of the tracks disrupts her academic achievements streak and gives her a run for her money. His arrival in her young life heralded a deep-seated frustration and a feeling of unworthiness that has now lasted ten years. Despite her cool and collected facade at the reunion party, the last person she expects to see is the “visual Viagra” that is Alec “Alley Cat” Harris.

Alec only ever thought to impress Frankie with his academic prowess. Instead it only garnered him a nickname and a hard-on for the girl who would forever be out of his league. Ten years have passed since he saw her last, but time hasn't lessened his desire and only served to enhance it upon seeing her again at a party. This time, however, all bets are off.

The story takes off right away during a night of old school party games where two people reconnect in a completely new way. Their insanely hot encounters eventually lead to an understanding of who the other really is and how much their school yard bouts deeply effected them as adults. For the most part, the focus is on Alec and Frankie with minor detours to a few other characters who definitely have stories of their own. The quick pacing and the Aussie tone in the dialogue only served to further my reading enjoyment. Fun and spontaneous, this story will absolutely appeal to erotic romance readers looking for a sexy good time.

Heart of Flame by Janine Ashbless

Heart of Flame by Janine Ashbless
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (296 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Iris

And on the One-Thousand-and-Second night, Scheherazade told this story…

By day, Taqla uses her forbidden sorcery to move freely about the city of Damascus in the guise of an old sage. Her true identity known only by her faithful servant woman, Taqla is content with the comfortable, if restrictive, life that keeps her safe from the control of any man. Until she lays eyes on a handsome merchant-traveler. Suddenly her magical disguise doesn’t rest so easily on her shoulders.

When long-time widower, Rafiq, hears that the Amir’s beautiful daughter has been kidnapped by a scheming djinni—and that she will be given in marriage to her rescuer—he seeks the help of “Umar the Wise” to ensure he will be that man. Yet as he and the disguised Taqla set off, he senses that his prickly male companion is hiding something.

In a moment of dire peril, all of Taqla’s secrets are stripped bare—her fears, her sorcery and, worst of all, her love for Rafiq. Yet the princess’s life hangs in the balance, and there is no running away or turning back. Even though passion may yet betray them all...

I was about to lose my admiration for Scherezade. Then it got interesting.  What started out as a book that I had to force myself to read became the story I couldn’t put down!

While reading the early chapters of this tale, I found it very easy to become confused by the constant introduction of characters and their apparent disassociation from one another. It was a bit frustrating and seemingly pointless. Am I glad that I kept “plugging” away!
This is definitely written as though told in the era of Scherezade. The names and terms and magic were a bit hard to wrap my head around, and made this even more difficult for this reader to immerse herself into the story. Once again, there's good news – context makes the meaning of any unknown words clear to me, and as long as you are not reading it out loud to anyone – pronunciation does not matter!

Due to the nature of the story, and the length of the quest, there are a fair number of characters and “personalities” encountered. I felt that they were each created with love and depth and richness born from intense research, familiarity since childhood, or a very fertile imagination. Perhaps a combination of all three.

The quest ensures constant conflict throughout the book. The conflict between Rafiq and Taqla added several more layers of tension. There are descriptions of consummation of physical relationships, but they are well into the book, and appropriate to their position in the plot. By the time you finish your lengthy escapade into the mind of Ms. Ashbless and the lives of her characters, you will find that her characters, major or minor, “good” or “evil”, all remain with you to some extent.

Whether you enjoy a fantasy novel or a romance, this book has qualities of both. It is not an easy read, but it is certainly an enjoyable one.