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Friday, September 14, 2012

Panther’s Prey by Leah Brooke

Panther’s Prey by Leah Brooke
Black Panthers Book 1
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Bailey Knox knew the good price she paid for her new bar came with consequences, but she didn’t count on nearly getting killed before she could even move into the place, which was also her new home.

Waking up to the two complete strangers who have saved her, she’s alarmed at her overwhelming response to both of them. Marcus Brand and James Archer are different from any men she’s ever met, but she didn’t realize how different. Shape-shifters don’t exist. Then they tell her something even more remarkable. She is their mate.

She fights the emotional pull, even while reveling in the passion that only seems to grow stronger, passion that just can’t be ignored. Neither can the attacks. When black panthers save her life once again, the trio must hide the truth from the rest of the world while struggling to come to grips with their own destiny—and overcoming the danger surrounding them.

There’s an undeniably intoxicating scent blowing in the wind that can mean only one thing to a pair of black panthers, their mate is near and she swings a mean bat!

I’ve always enjoyed a good shifter story where the hero (or heroes) find their fated mate. There’s just something infinitely sexy about the idea of knowing your true love, your destiny, by an unmistakable scent, very much like a pheromone. That mysterious and undeniable draw is the foundation of this first book in author Leah Brooke’s new series. I use the word “foundation” because, as the first book in the Black Panthers series, it sets the tone and direction for the books that will follow.

Ms. Brooke sprinkles in bits of the panther’s history throughout the book but it’s obvious she isn’t revealing her whole hand in this first story. Someone attacked the panther pride when the boys (I met nine total but there may be more) were all very young. If it hadn’t been for Ed and Alice Tremaine they would have been massacred along with their parents.

Ms. Brooke’s writing is so sharp and vivid. The story morphed from words on a page to a movie in my mind within a few pages. This book is very character driven. Bailey and Marc are both struggling with the idea of not having a choice in the matter of the “fated mate” bond. They enjoy, and I do mean thoroughly enjoy, the effects of the mating but simply can’t accept that it means more than sexual attraction.

Bailey is terrific as the female lead. Her history gives her an automatic distrust of anyone trying to bend her to their will. This is a perfect foil for two dominant men who go to great lengths to protect their mate.

James and Bailey connect on a level that she and Marc have a harder time finding. James realizes pretty quickly the difference as well as the trigger. It was one of those sweet “aww” moments when he and Bailey discuss it.

Marc is determined and stubborn to say the least. He and Bailey are constantly butting heads and those high emotions inevitably lead to a bed. I could totally empathize with his desire to have a choice in the whole mating thing but at the same time I was relieved when he finally understands the choice was his all along.

The supporting characters round out this story nicely and do their job (supporting without stealing the limelight) flawlessly. Ms. Brooke pairs off and sets up the future books in this series with the introduction of the other “brothers” in the pack. Together they offer Bailey the one thing she missed growing up and the one thing she thought never to have, a family.

If you love getting in on the beginning of a series, you won’t want to miss Panther’s Prey. Ms. Brooke is known for her world building and it’s easy to get absorbed in this book as well. The panthers are just learning the extent of the power in mating and it’s an adventure I’ll gladly join them on again and again.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Afternoon Rhapsody by Jess Dee

Afternoon Rhapsody by Jess Dee
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (119 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Dogwood

A second chance at love is worth fighting for.

Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding, Book 1

Bianca Rogers is one signature away from finalizing her divorce. And she will finalize it just as soon as she gets home. But for this weekend, she’s putting her troubles aside and enjoying the gorgeous, sunlit luxury of Bandicoot Cove, the resort where her brother is getting married. The last thing she expects is to be knocked off her feet—literally—by gorgeous Brody Evans.

The fireworks are instantaneous. Brody is just her type: sexy, warm, friendly, and in the same boat as her: in the process of getting a divorce.

Spending time together is a mutual no-brainer. Attraction quickly grows to full-blown lust. But flying sparks come with increasingly personal conversations, and soon neither of them can ignore their past mistakes or the circumstances that have led them to the island.

Now it’s time to determine whether old hurts and sudden doubts will prevent love from leading them to a whole new happily ever after.

I absolutely love Jess Dee's works and this book was a great example of why. I was engrossed from the beginning and surprised by the twist in the story. I felt for these characters and I rooted and cheered for them as well. “Afternoon Rhapsody” reminded me of why I have Jess Dee marked as a “must purchase from” author in my favorite's folder.

Quite simply, Ms Dee's books are exciting, hot, and entertaining. She provides much fuel to keep the fantasy lamp burning for many hours.

Bianca Rogers is at a resort on an island called Bandicoot Cove for her brother's wedding. She is soon going to be among the group called recently-divorced. While she is at the luxury, tropical resort why not have a little fun with a fling on the side? After all, she has only ever been with one man, her soon to be former husband and now she is ready to try and move on with her life. Since literally running into sexy and gorgeous Brody Evans, she finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance that takes her breath away. Brody is everything you could want in a lover; sexy, scrumptious, witty and charming. As their chemistry explodes into full-blown explosive lust, the couple soon cannot keep their hands off of each other.

Brody Evans is completely blown away by the lovely Bianca Rogers, especially since she literally falls all over him. She is sexy, warm and beautiful. He finds he has a lot in common with Bianca as he too is on the verge of finalizing a divorce. Soon their romance turns into more personal territory and the couple finds themselves facing their issues with love and marriage, and whether they are ready to move on pass the hurts of the past. Can this couple find a lasting connection again and do they proceed with a second chance at love?

Not only was this book hot nough to burn the pages, but Ms. Dee made the characters believable and entertaining. This smooth flowing story completely grabbed my interest from the very first paragraph. I was enthralled by the immediate chemistry of the two main characters and I thoroughly enjoyed the sizzling and sexy love scenes. I thought the story was well written and thought provoking as these characters find themselves having to face life's issues, many of which have been left unresolved. This romance was emotionally turbulent thus making the reader feel as though it was a real scenario instead of fiction. As always, it is a privilege to read the wonderful works of fiction that this erotic romance author has created. Ms. Dee is extremely talented and I find myself anxiously anticipating her next book.

If you are looking for a great erotic romance story to read this week...well look no further than “Afternoon Rhapsody”. Let a little island romance take you away!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Twister by Lexxie Couper

Twister by Lexxie Couper
Party Games, Book 3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (126 pages)
Other: M/F, Public Exhibition
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewd by Lotus

Getting the upper hand—and foot—was never this naughty.

Party Games, Book 3

As the man who snared the reins of his father’s global media empire and propelled it to new heights, Lachlan McDermott is accustomed to people jumping to obey his every command. He knows he is painted as handsome, arrogant and influential with the power of information at his control. But no one knows he’s got a weakness. Only one. And now, that weakness is in his house. Braless.

Über successful fashion photographer Cameron Winters used to be the super-model known only as Kole. But Kole dropped out of sight a long time ago. Only one thing can bring Cameron out of her self-imposed exile from public life: a man who doesn’t know she exists.

The trouble is, when Cameron comes face to face with Lachlan at an exclusive Sydney party, he immediately brings out the “Kole” in her. And Kole doesn’t bow down to anyone. Not even the one man who monopolizes her fantasies.

When they’re pitted against each other on the Twister mat, surrender isn’t part of the deal, and getting tangled up is only the beginning. Especially when their secrets keep getting in the way.

When the fantasy girl of his teenage dreams shows up at his house, how could any hot-blooded male resist a game of Twister with her?

Lachlan McDermott definitely couldn’t resist former model Kole, also known as Cameron Winters, when she challenged him in a game of Twister. The prize was irresistible to both the winner and the loser. After the game is over, Lachlan decides to take advantage of his win. Their escapade takes them outdoors and into the trap of the paparazzi, throwing both of them into a tailspin. Will their tenuous relationship be able to hang on?

Lachlan McDermott is a very hardworking media corporation owner, who took over for his model-besotted father. Lachlan is determined to never follow his father’s mistakes, so he has sworn off dating models. He also has a very uncomfortable family secret that has him cringing whenever a certain family member is around. Cam, however, confounds him and he is drawn to her by their powerful chemistry together. Cam has been trying to leave her modeling past behind her to focus on her life as an exclusive photographer. She is hiding a horrific event that caused her to quit her modeling career and live a reclusive life.

The baggage that the two main characters bring to this story is the main conflict that both keeps them apart, but their chemistry together turns their life into an emotional tug of war. Due to the past histories of the hero and heroine, we do hear a lot of their thoughts, pondering, and debating with themselves. This caused the story to go a bit more slowly than I tend to like. Still, Twister is an enjoyable story, with plenty of interesting, hot scenes.

While this is book number three in the series, it can be read as a stand alone story. I did not feel as though I was missing out on anything relevant to this story, but I am considering checking out the rest of the books for stories about others who were at the party. One couple that I am very interested in is Mackenzie Harris and Lillian McDermott (Lachlan’s younger half-sister), whose possible relationship is touched on in Twister.

Looking for a sizzling story about a former model and a hunky media mogul? Twister could be just the ticket to fulfill your needs. Lexxie Couper is a talented writer who gives us a vivid imaginary insight into the lives of wealthy and famous people at play.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kissin' Tell by Lorelei James

Kissin' Tell by Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (420 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Dogwood

She once led him around by a string. Now he's the one holding the reins.

Rough Riders, Book 13

Georgia Hotchkiss swore wild horses couldn’t drag her back to Sundance, Wyoming. So it’s ironic she’s forced to take a rodeo PR job in her former hometown—right before her ten-year class reunion. The only thing worse than facing her cheating ex-husband and his pregnant wife? Showing up to the reunion without a date. Fate smiles on her when she runs into her former classmate and current cowboy hottie Tell McKay. With his infectious smile and fun-loving ways—not to mention his banging body—he’s the perfect solution to her problem.

Tell McKay had it so bad for Hot Lips Hotchkiss during high school that he let her run roughshod over him. But he is no longer that easily manipulated boy—these days he’s earned a reputation with the ladies that lives up to the McKay last name. He agrees to escort her to the reunion with one stipulation; that Georgia proves she has left behind the goody-goody cheerleader of the past—by sharing his bed.

Their sexual chemistry flashes so bright, they barely notice that the reunion has come and gone, and now they’re tangled up in another dreaded “R” word—relationship. But if Tell wants to get the girl this go-around, he’ll have to come up with a whole new set of knots to tie up her heartstrings.

Lorelei James has heated up the pages yet again with this thirteenth book in the Rough Riders series. Hot flashes took on a whole new meaning while reading this sexy cowboy tale. Ms. James' books are so sizzling that one might need to call the fire department before reading, just to stand by in case of spontaneous combustion. Even though I have loved every one of these cowboy fantasies in the “Rough Rider” series, I have to say “Kissin' Tell” definitely did not disappoint. Every fantasy needs a scrumptious cowboy like Tell McKay to spice it up.

Georgia Hotchkiss was Tell McKay’s secret high school crush once upon a time. A gorgeous cheerleader, Georgia took advantage of Tell's friendship in high school never realizing that Tell secretly drooled over her. Georgia eventually ignored Tell's interest and married the jerk who was also the most popular guy in school, only to catch him cheating on her during their brief marriage.

Now ten years later, Georgia lives in another town away from Sundance and the bad memories that her hometown carries for her. Georgia has no reason to ever go back to Sundance until her boss tells her to promote a rodeo event there. Naturally with Georgia’s luck as of late, she lands back home right before her ten year high school class reunion. Can Georgia handle facing her ex-husband and the woman he cheated on her with and their baby on the way?

Maybe it won't be as bad as she imagines especially when she runs into “hottie” Tell McKay again, after-all Tell is the sexiest man she has seen in a long, long time and the chemistry between them is absolutely combustible. Georgia finds herself stepping out of her shell and living a little when she agrees to be fun-loving Tell's girlfriend during the her stay in Sundance.

Tell is not the naive kid he was in high school, so it isn't a big surprise that he plans to take Georgia to his bed now that they are adults and show her all the fantasies he had about her in true living-color. After all, a bargain is a bargain, and he agrees to escort her to the reunion, but she has to fulfill her end of the bargain by being his girlfriend in every way. What Tell does not realize is that chemistry can sometimes turn into deeper feelings when you least expect them to.

Two important statements can sum up my review: this book was very well written and I found myself reading it non-stop.  As with all of Lorelei James' books, I found myself completely hooked from the beginning and pulled right into the story.

What is not to love about a “sweet-talkin', smokin-hot” cowboy with the body of a rodeo-god?

I know I found myself day-dreaming about Kissin' Tell more than once. I love the fact that Ms. James gives her characters depth by showing us their family life as well as giving us a glimpse into her previous books leading characters as well as future story leaders. You feel as though you know the McKay family personally. This story not only gives us detailed descriptions of Sundance Wyoming but we also find ourselves seeing the “cowboy” life and discovering that despite the fact this is a work of fiction, we can relate to the dramatics of their troubles. Good story, great reading and hot scenes! I had to give this book my official A+.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spy Games: Trained For Seduction by Mia Downing

Spy Games: Trained For Seduction by Mia Downing
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery Length: Full Length (326 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Aster

Emma Walters didn't choose to be a spy, but when her crazy father was caught selling bombs to the wrong people, she was given a choice--become a spy or rot in jail. Her exciting new life as agent Kate Wells becomes more so when she discovers her new boss is the agent--undercover and investigating her father at the time--who took her to third base. Emma is already half in love with the dark and dangerous Chase Sanders. Kate wants nothing more than for him to finish what he started, but he's the devil incarnate. And one doesn't make deals or fall in love with the devil.

If someone had told Chase he'd fall in love with a certain virgin when he was on his last mission, he would have shot them dead, sniper style. She was nothing more than collateral damage, damn it. But watching the sexy new spy morph into a bombshell killing machine is too much to bear. So when the powers that be command him to train her in the art of seduction for her first--and possibly last--mission, he's scared witless. Making love to Kate means preparing her for sex with another man.

Somehow, Chase has to find a way to get Kate in--and out--of her mission without dying. And without falling in love.

Strong, powerful characters, dramatic intrigue, and a captivating love connection. Spy Games: Trained for Seduction has most all of the elements needed for a fantastic story!

Katelyn Wells, once known as Emma Walters, is a wonderfully mysterious character. Raised in a less than loving home, her natural brilliance developed over time, leaving her far less vulnerable than she may have appeared. After being rescued from a near fatal plane crash, Kate finds herself involved with a ring of spies, and is given a choice between working in espionage and a prison term. Initially intended as expendable, the abilities she may have lacked were well made up by others, making Kate a very capable, strong person, much to the surprise to those who have to train her.

Jake Anderson is Kate's partner, and main trainer. When he isn't making passes at her, he's determined to make her the best agent he can. Despite being turned down sexually at every turn, Jake and Kate develop a close friendship, and in the midst of a turbulent time, Kate is able to rely on Jake as her partner and confident. That is, until she meets Jake's best friend and their mutual boss, Chase Sanders.

Chase, who Kate knew once as Alexander Bishop, is a devilishly handsome, though outwardly cold, man. He's learned over the years to very carefully hide his emotions and never lose his control. Having been through a multitude of conflicts and battles, there is little in life that unnerves him. The only exceptions are his General uncle, who acts as a surrogate father to him, and now, Katelyn Wells. A brief encounter, ending in Kate bettering Chase, overshadows their reintroduction, but the mission Chase is forced to send Kate on threatens everything - including her life.

There was much I liked about this book. The writing was very good, and although it did take me a little longer to get into the story, I was glad I stuck with it because the interaction between the characters was very enjoyable. There was enough of an air of mystery to keep me constantly wondering what the big secrets were, and the plot, after the initial chapters, unfolded at a pace that helped keep me involved and turning the pages to find out what happens next.

The shifts in point of view were a bit jarring, but nothing too distracting to make me stop reading. I did have to go back in a few areas to realize we'd shifted, and perhaps that could have been cleaned up a little, but it wasn't very often. The dialogue was easy to follow and each person was consistent in their characterizations.

The only negatives I found were in the very beginning and towards the end. The first chapter, the initial meeting between Chase and Kate was a bit sudden. Kate was supposed to be a fairly young virgin, yet within seconds of meeting what she thought was a businessman, she was involved in a sexual escapade that she seemed to have no control to stop. If there had been a little more reason as to why, it perhaps wouldn't feel as forced, and in any other point in the story it may not have been as noticeable, but since this was the first introduction to the heroine, it initially affected the way she was seen. Kate was more than redeemed later, however.

I will say I was disappointed in the final third of the book. One of the main issues with the relationship between Chase and Kate revolved around jealousy and trust. There had been wonderful development as they learned to lean on each other and eventually open up to each other - not an easy thing in a world filled with spies, no doubt. When talk of a threesome began, I was hoping very strongly this wouldn't happen, as I couldn't see the issues they'd resolved surviving a third party - especially someone as close as Jake. I was hoping the two saw enough in each other, and their love was strong enough not to go to that place, but apparently they were willing and it was consensual for all three.

The positives in this story were far more than the negatives, and I did enjoy reading about the spy world for a short time. Depending on what the author has planned for Jake's story, I may consider reading another of her tales.  Trained for Seduction was a good, sensual, action filled page turner. If you like spy games, this is a good one to pick up!