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Archive for July, 2010

Lovely by Kris Starr

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

They call me Lovely. But I know I am not.

Once I had another name. Now, as Angelique, I do what I can to please les messieurs. What would they say if they knew I felt no pleasure? To them I am wanton, insatiable. I alone know the truth.

So I am mystified by my reaction to my latest caller, Alexandre. Handsome, well-bred, with an air of innocence that intrigues me. And true pain in his eyes. A mere kiss on the hand inflames me as never before. In moments this man disconcerts me like no other, and soon I can think of nothing, no one else. And yet, he barely touches me.

I know my true purpose is to mend his wounds, but I wonder what lustful appetites are buried deep within him. I will do what I can to his secrets…

Lovely is a novella about a young woman that is a courtesan in high demand.  She was taken in as a young child and sent to school.  The mistress of the house took her under her wing and gave her a new name.  She was taught all the ways to please les messieurs and quickly became one of the most popular ladies in the establishment.

Angelique may be good at what she does but no one knows the truth, she remains unfulfilled after her encounters.  She hasn’t been called by her true name in so long she has forgotten who she truly is.  The only thing that gives her peace and enjoyment is her painting, until Alexandre enters her life.

Alexandre is lost, his wife died in childbirth and he has stopped living.  During his visits with Angelique he slowly comes back to life.  They spend a lot of time getting to know one another and Angelique is slowly falling in love with him.  Her growing love for him makes her question her current life and wish for more.  She shares a secret with him, she tells him her real name is Marie-Claire.

During a night on the town, Alexandre meets a man that changes his future.  He and Angelique have a night she will never forget.  In the end, she gets her chance at a new life.

Angelique/Marie-Claire knows that the men desire her and call her lovely but she doesn’t feel lovely.  Through her visits with Alexandre, she realizes that there truly is more to her than just being a courtesan.  By the end, she has gained confidence in herself and her abilities. she has grown as a person.

Even though this is a novella, the story is well developed and flows smoothly.  The characters are complex and well developed.  I was drawn in from the first with this book and couldn’t put it down.  I read it in one sitting.  I give Lovely 3 1/2 Flaming Hearts. 

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The Devilin Fey by Jess C Scott
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

 A paranormal romance novella of two stories, featuring an incubus and succubus.

Story #1 features a demure young woman unleashing the “devil in” her, through the intimacy with an incubus.

Story #2 features a voyeuristic succubus driven by jealousy and a dangerous fixation.

Story 1, The Devlin Fey centers around a female college student Caitlin who has been having dreams of a strange man coming to her at night.  Through her relationship with him, she takes on succubus qualities at night, while remaining human. 

The incubus, Lucius is tired of a life of meaningless fornication and is looking for someone to share his world with him.  He hand picks Caitlin because he sees her devilish side inside and thinks she will be a good companion.  What he didn’t expect was for her to object to being forced into his world.

The story is about discovering oneself and finding out what your truest wants and desires are.   After a night about town as a succubus, her encounters lead her to believe that she can be both, human during the day and a succubus by night.

At times the story was hard to follow for me but the further I got into the story the better it got.  At one point I almost put the book down when it looked like Lucius was going to become violent with her because she was turning him down.  I am glad that I kept reading because that was not the case, and she handled the situation well.  I like Caitlin’s character, she has been this pure soul for so long but the devil has been hiding inside waiting to come out.

The second story, Tongue-Tied is about a succubus that comes across a female that she becomes obsessed with.   As she watches Adriana she is drawn to her.  They have an encounter at Adriana’s apartment that leaves the succubus shaken.  She ends up following her around the next day to determine the things that will turn her on.  She wants to learn everything about her.  Throughout the day Adrianna has meetings with an internet friend, a counselor, and dinner with another friend, asking each one what is love and trying to figure out her own sexuality.

In the end the succubus goes to her and it is sweet and touching.  Adrianna shares her notebook of private thoughts with her and both start to wonder if they can find love and companionship with each other.

I liked reading the notes in the journal, they are private thoughts but they speak of the emotional turmoil that Adrianna has been going through all  these years.  I liked the second story better than the first.  To me, it flowed a little better.

Overall they are both good short stories with a different take on paranormal with some erotic elements thrown in.  I give The Devlin Fey 3 flaming hearts. 

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Tidal Wave by Vivian Arend

 Slippery when wet…
Forces of Nature, Book 1

From her first kiss to her first sight of dolphins dancing on the waves, Alexia Colten has always held a special place in her heart for Jaffrey’s Cove. Now that she’s back to help her grandmother settle into a home, she discovers this place has lost none of its remembered magic. In fact, it seems more magical than before—and more erotic.

After she’s gifted with a beautiful, dolphin-etched medallion, she finds herself surrounded by the golden boys of summers past. Her body is filled with longings she can’t explain and dreams of blue lights that turn into lovers.

Joshua Marley and his cousin Anthony are merfolk, a people capable of living beneath the waves as either dolphin or human. Alexia holds the medallion that marks her as the next in line to lead their people—if she can prove she can transform. Working in tandem, they’re sure they can arouse her passion and protect her from those who would use her simply to gain power.

But their strength alone may not be enough to help her face the challenge of her new position…

Tidal Wave is set in the small seaside town of Jaffrey’s Cove where the majority of the residents are merfolk. Alexia’s grandmother is the leader of the pod but she’s tired and ready to pass the task on to Alexia.  She gives her a beautiful necklace but doesn’t reveal the medallion’s secrets to Alexia.

Alexia has spent her summers in Jaffrey’s cove for years and has always felt connected to it.  Now she is back to help her grandmother get settled into a new home.  She is drawn to the sea but doesn’t understand its call.  She has been having dreams for years of a young boy she met her first summer there, Joshua but now he’s all grown up.

Joshua has been in love with Alexia since she agreed to let him kiss her.  After that summer, he was sent away when she would come to visit.  Now he is grown up and determined to make Alexia his. 

One night during a storm, Alexia is drawn to the ocean and a chain of events is set off that can’t be stopped. 

Alexia is confused and hurt when she finds out the secret of the necklace and what her role in the future of Jaffrey’s Cove will be.  She can’t believe her gram has kept this secret from her all these years.  She is shocked by her behavior with Joshua and Anthony.  She is drawn to them and can’t walk away from either one.    

Joshua knows what he wants and intends to go after it.  Everyone discounted him because he kept to himself but what they didn’t realize was he was biding his time until Alexia returned.  Anthony is the quite one, the peace maker.  He had no plans of helping rule the pod, until he met Alexia and all plans changed.

I love the interaction between the main characters.  I am proud of Alexia for handling Michael when he forced himself on her.  Gram is one of my favorite characters.  She has a lot of spunk and doesn’t take no for an answer.  She is proud of Alexia and doesn’t want her to feel embarrassed or ashamed for the way she is feeling.

Tidal Wave pulled me in from the moment I picked it up.  The story flowed effortlessly with a great plot and smoking hot sex scenes.  I read it in one sitting and can’t wait for Whirlpool to come out.  I give Tidal Wave 4 flaming hearts. 

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Liberty Starr by Rebecca E. Grant
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

 Rafe had never met a truly irresistible woman, until he met Liberty.

Libby has the kind of beauty that comes on slow-strikes a guy the longer he looks. And Rafe sure is having a fine time looking, and touching, and loving Liberty Starr.

The only problem is that Rafe is pretending to be just another cowboy down on his luck. Working for the FBI, he’s come to Stone Hill, Colorado, to investigate the man Libby loves like a father.

He was just another cowboy.

Free-spirited Libby offers him a job and a place to stay. Together they spark like wildfire, their intense passion filling their days and nights. But Rafe is only in town for the summer, and while Liberty is willing to risk her heart, secrets threaten any possibility of a future together…

There’s a new stranger in town, is he just a cowboy down on his luck or is he hiding something.  Libby stops to help a stranger stranded on the side of the road, a cowboy looking for work.  She offers him a summer job helping around her inn. 

Rafe couldn’t believe his luck when Libby stopped to help him.  He’s there to investigate Caleb Hamilton, the richest man in the area.  The FBI suspect Caleb of wrong doing and Rafe is hired because he is the best at what he does.

Rafe and Libby have instant chemistry between them and the sex scenes are HOT!  Let me say, I will never look at swimming lessons or waterfalls the same way  again.  I also love the playful banter between them it adds depth to the characters and story.

The story between Libby, Rafe and Caleb is also very compelling.  I love how Rafe came in with one mindset but as the story progresses, he is able to step back and re-evaluate the situation.  He is able to admit he is wrong, which shows a vulnerable side to him.  There are a lot of tender moments between the three and a couple of surprises along the way. 

The story is told well and contained enough descriptions that I had no trouble envisioning the scenery, again the waterfall.  The characters are well developed with a lot of depth to them.

I loved Liberty Starr and definitely recommend it if you are looking for a strong story and Smoking love scenes to go with it.  I give this book 4 flaming hearts.

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Coin Operated by Ginny Glass

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Elijah Elliot and Beatrix London’s fledgling ad agency is under siege. Not from outside competition but by Eli and Bea’s unspoken lust for each other. As their unsatisfied cravings to dominate and submit bloom into vivid daydreams, the office becomes a minefield of frustrated needs and dangerous desires. Now something’s gotta give or their partnership is going to self-destruct.

When Bea unveils a racy new light bondage ad campaign for their key client, she pushes Eli to cross the line he’s drawn between them—the one that keeps him from doing all the hot, sinful things she imagines he’s capable of…

One ad campaign was all it took to push Eli over the edge he’s barely been hanging onto.  He has had daydreams and fantasies about Bea for awhile but he is afraid that his sex games will scare her away.

Bea has been in lust with her partner since she first set eyes on him.  He doesn’t see her as anything but the competent business partner that takes care of everything.  She secretly desires for him to dominate her.

The story is full of sexual tension between the two.  They want each other but both are afraid of rejection.  Eli has already scared off one lover with his sexual behavior and is afraid Bea will think he is a pervert too.  Over the course of time Bea has fallen in love with him and she is afraid he will never feel the same way about her. 

It turns out all it took was their latest client and a smoking ad campaign for them to give in to their desire.  I think the ad campaign, especially the red scarf was a nice touch and a great tie in to their fantasies. I think the characters are well developed and the story flows nicely.

This novella from Carina Press is an enjoyable read that I would recommend.  I give Coin Operated 3 flaming hearts. 

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Talk Dirty to Me by Ginny Glass & Inez Kelley
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

“Tell me what you want. Talk dirty to me.”

Biologist Nora MacGregor is frantic when she loses her dissertation notes on female sexuality—and some very personal fantasies. Then a sinful stranger calls with a wicked proposition: if she talks dirty to him, he’ll return her notes, page by page. “James” allows Nora to explore her deepest desires and challenges her clinical ideas about sex. But James can’t give her the loving touches she finds in her budding relationship with Dr. Jarod Reed.

Jarod seized an opportune moment to fulfill his desire for Nora by becoming the mysterious James. While the anonymous, erotic phone sessions are unforgettable, Jarod longs to tell Nora he wants more than just talk. But how can he confess his deception without it costing him the chance to make their fantasies a reality?

Can you imagine losing notes that reveal your deepest, darkest desires?  That’s what happened to Nora MacGregor.  She is working on her dissertation and she loses not only her research but personal notes that reveal some of her own desires.  She is frantic to find them.  She is shocked one night when she receives a phone call from an anonymous male who claims to have her notes.  He will give them back to her one page at time for every question she answers.

The only bright spot at the university where Jarod is teaching is the girl he watches twice a week doing laundry.  He doesn’t know who she is and finally gathers the courage to meet her.  After a disastrous meeting, he finds her notes and research lying on the ground and decides to use them to his advantage.

Through “James” both Nora and Jarod are able to live out their fantasies they are too scared to acknowledge they have.  By day they are meeting for coffee and getting to know each other.   At night they are having hot, steamy phone sex.

I love the connection between the two.  Jarod is truly interested in Nora and wants to learn more about her.  They make each other laugh and enjoy being together.   James allows them to have the sexual chemistry and play their fantasies out.  They can say and do what they want because it’s anonymous and they won’t be judged for their actions.

Once she knows the truth, I love how Jarod gets Nora to tell him the rest of her secret fantasy.  He is determined to be the one she is dreaming about, not James.   The ending is great and it was definitely worth the wait for these two to actually hook up.

Another great Carina Press release, I give Talk Dirty to me 3 Flaming Hearts.

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A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*
 
A bootlegger will save her life. A debutante will steal his heart.

Building Sanctuary, Book 1

Joan Fuller enjoyed a privileged life-until her wealth and connections garnered her the wrong sort of attention. Her rejection of a textile heir’s proposal comes back to bite her when he turns out to be a werewolf on the prowl for a mate.

She may have been turned against her will, but now that she’s part of his pack she sets out to protect all its women. Even if that means joining forces with a witch and a vampire-and leaving the comfort of Boston.

Former bootlegger Seamus Whelan has cleaned up his act, but when his old partner Gavin comes to him for help, he can’t say no-no matter how deadly the threat. Escorting some female wolves to safety should have been easy, except their leader is a prim ex-debutante with enough power to challenge Seamus himself.

Her courage captures his interest, and her first hesitant kiss ensnares his heart. But before they can build a haven for their kind, they must free themselves of the past-and the powerful man who’s out to teach her a lesson she may not survive-

Warning: This novella contains a rakish werewolf bootlegger forced to join forces with a teetotaling ex-debutante as they fight epic battles, engage in criminal activities and eventually give in to inappropriate passion on a kitchen counter.

A Safe Harbor is the first book in the Building Sanctuary series.  We are introduced to Seamus and Joan, the backbone of their combined pack.  Joan is a strong alpha and capable of taking care of herself but is ready to let someone else call the shots for awhile.  Seamus is a former bootlegger that is determined to be there for his buddy Gavin, even if it means playing taxi to a pack of female wolves.

Joan was turned against her will and has been taking care of the women that escaped their former pack.  She couldn’t do it alone so she formed a bond with a vampire and a witch.   Adam is their pack leader and all of the wolves are magically tied to him until something goes wrong. 

Gavin calls in his former buddy Seamus to help get the women to safety while he and Adam rescue the rest of their pack.  Seamus and his group are not used to having to deal with scared females but they agree to get the pack to safety.

I have to say I am all about the lumberjack vampire in Sanctuary Unbound (Adam) but I have to say Seamus, the Bootlegging Wolf is growing on me.  He is definitely an alpha male with all of the usual alpha characteristics but he is not afraid to step back and allow Joan to fight her own fight.  That says a lot for his character and his faith in his mate.  He is also not afraid to compromise when needed.  He is strong and provides a shoulder for Joan to lean on when she needs it.

Joan is a very strong female character, who has had to toughen up since she was turned into a werewolf.  She has fought to protect those under her care and is determined to get them to safety.  She is an alpha female that has been taking care of everyone for so long, she has forgotten how to take care of herself.

I love the fact that their wolves recognize each other as mate but the human self is reluctant to act on it.   I also love the tenderness and time that Seamus takes with Joan their first time together. 

The story flows well and progresses nicely.  Bree and Donna do an excellent job of not only telling the story but also showing us.  Overall I give A Safe Harbor 3 1/2 flaming hearts. 

You can also check out their Red Rock Pass series and find a couple of free stories at http://www.moirarogers.com/red-rock-freebies

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