Archive for February, 2011

Deep in the Heart of Texas by Alta Hensley, Melissa Ecker, and Amy le Blanc
* I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Los Angeles Times reporter, Maggie Wright, is assigned to do a story on the dying dude ranch industry in the south. When the newspaper offers to foot the bill for Maggie and her two friends, Payton Evans and Sophia Foster, to stay at the legendary Weston Ranch in Valentine, Texas, they jump at the opportunity. While it’s not the Caribbean cruise they wanted, how bad could it be?

Expecting a tired farm with dusty old cowpokes, the three big city friends are taken by surprise when they’re each assigned to a dashing cowboy or two for some good, old fashioned ranch training and a whole lot of rough riding. Their limits are tested in ways they never imagined, both in the bedroom and out on the range. After two weeks, will the women run back to the bright lights of Los Angeles without so much as a backward glance? Or will these skilled cowboys have them longing to stay for just a little bit more of their Texas-style heat?

Tempted in Texas by Alta Hensley is the first story in this anthology.  Sophia runs a small boutique and has problems giving up control.  Her blackberry is glued to her hand and she can’t go a day without checking email.  She doesn’t have any faith in her assistant but all of that changes when she gets to the ranch.

Deacon Weston is determined to loosen up Ms. Sophia Foster.  She is wound tighter than a clock and is not happy when he tells her his rules, no internet and no phone.  He gets her out of the cabin and out on the range.  He introduces her to fresh air and a little country loving.

They spend a lot of time getting to know each other and each day get closer and closer.  Sophia is starting to think about a future that doesn’t include her store but does include a sexy cowboy. 

Tamed in Texas by Amy le Blanc is Maggie’s story.  Maggie is one lucky lady and was granted a two for one deal at the ranch.  Maggie is a reporter and was sent to the ranch to do a vacation piece on the ranch.  She doesn’t want to be there and is determined that she will be done in two to three days tops then her and her friends can get out of there.  That is until her hosts show up at her cabin.

Dylan and Chase are best friends and have been since they were very young.  They have been known to share things in the past, will they share Maggie?  The trio heads out on the range to wrangle the herd, little does Maggie know they will not be camping outside.  She is not happy with her situation but refuses to let them know that she is not used to riding horses.  When they stop for the evening, the boys take care of her and help ease her muscles from a day in the saddle.

One thing leads to another and after too many shots of tequila, Maggie has agreed to something that will change her future forever.  The scenes with the three of them were very hot and well written.  They have a difficult road ahead of them but if anyone can make it work, the three of them can.

Taken is Texas by Melissa Ecker is the final story in this anthology, its Payton’s story.  She is the tough one of the group.  She works for the sheriff’s department and is not afraid of domineering men.  She is taken aback by Drake when she first meets him.  He is abrupt and to the point and doesn’t take no for an answer.  He makes her angry and hot at the same time, which thoroughly confuses her.

Drake has seen women like Payton before and he knows how to “tame” her.  He wants to be the one she gives up total control to.  He is amazed at her work ethic and can’t stop thinking about her.   Drake loves the ladies but he isn’t the marrying type.

Payton and Drake are very hot together.  I like that she is a strong female and he recognizes that and doesn’t try and change her.  At the same time, she is not afraid to let go and submit to him, even if it is only in the bedroom.  The banter between them had me rolling at times and I enjoyed getting to know the two of them.

All three of these stories flowed well together and were well written.  The characters were fun and I liked that each story focused on one friend and one brother.  Each story takes a different approach to their love scenes and has the ability to appeal to a wide variety of romance readers.  There are a couple different levels of heat throughout the book from sweet love scenes to a ménage. 

Overall this was a well matched trio of stories and I give Deep in the Heart of Texas 4½ Flaming Hearts. 


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Pirate Lady Holiday by Kate Richards
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Aboard the Pirate Lady, Christmas is not looking too merry. Clara tries to lift her spirits with a little holiday baking, but until tattooed rocker Hot Jack Slick, traveling incognito, arrives on the scene, it looks like Clara’s not going to find any spirit in her holidays.

Jack is about to find out that this is one lady pirate who isn’t impressed by fame and fortune and never dates guys in bands. It’s going to take Santa Claus and all his helpers to help Jack break the ice that surrounds this very lovely lady’s heart. And even then, it will be a stretch to make it to her bedroom before Christmas morning dawns.

Pirate Lady Holiday takes us aboard the ship the Pirate Lady.  Clara agreed to stay and watch the ship while everyone else made Christmas plans.  She is alone and not looking forward to the holiday season.  She is determined to uphold her family Christmas traditions so she heads to town for supplies.

Jack is tired of his current lifestyle.  He gives up his flight and ends up on the Pirate Lady for the night.  He is surprised when Clara shows up and accuses him of trespassing.  She doesn’t recognize him and takes pity on him and agrees to let him stay about the ship.

Clara and Jack are two lonely souls that don’t even realize they are searching for something, until that night.  They have an easy companionship and seem to enjoy each other’s company.  Clara feels comfortable enough with him that she reveals more about herself than she admits to most people.  Jack is enjoying being treated like a regular guy without everyone fawning over him. 

I enjoyed the interactions between the two and the party was a lot of fun.  It was the beginning of Clara coming out of her shell.  The gingerbread house construction was a lot of fun and acted as foreplay for them.  In the story, we learn a lot more about Clara and her past.  I would like to have learned a little more about Jacks but we were provided with a minimal amount.

Overall I enjoyed Pirate Lady Holiday and give it 3½ flaming hearts.

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Blood of the Rose by Kate Pearce
2nd Book in the Tudor Vampire Chronicles
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

When Rosalind Llewellyn had to join forces with her enemy Christopher Ellis to defeat a rogue Vampire threatening Henry VIII, their alliance led to a surprising passion.  Reunited after a year’s separation, they face a new threat that could destroy their last chance at happiness.

Christopher is delighted by the spectacular rise a court his friends George and Anne Boleyn.  But Rosalind suspects Lady Anne is up to no good – she may even be a Vampire who’s bewitched the king.  Now Rosalind must fight to keep Christopher from falling under the woman’s mysterious spell.  It isn’t until Anne reveals a dark secret that Christopher awakens to where the true danger lies – and he begins to play a desperate game in order to save the woman he loves…… 

Blood the Rose takes us back to King Henry VIII’s court where he is facing a new threat.  Rosalind is called back to court to aid her cousin in his task of protecting the King.  She is reluctant to go because she doesn’t want to face her betrothed Lord Christopher Ellis.

Christopher is not any happier to see Rosalind than she is to see him.  They are angry at each other because of the lack of communication over the last year but discover the reason or person behind it.  Both families have decided not to break the betrothal and use it (them) to their advantage.

Rosalind is upset to see that Anne Boleyn has worked her way into the King Henry’s heart and taken the place of Queen Katherine.  She suspects that Anne is a Vampire and is concerned about who else is involved.  She can’t share her concerns with the King so she warns him to be careful and trust no one.

Anne seems to be interested in Christopher too and this doesn’t sit well with Rosalind.  She becomes part of Lady Anne’s court so she can keep an eye on her and at night goes Vampire hunting with Rhys.  She is determined to find a way to stop Anne from turing the King and keeping both him and Christopher safe from the Boleyns.

I loved the setting for this story and wanted to be there.  The descriptions used to set the scenery were perfect and allowed you to see Rosalind getting lost in the hedge maze or them strolling through the rose garden.  We were not overloaded with back story but instead treated to bits and pieces as they were needed, like Christopher’s history with the Boleyns.

The chemistry between Christopher and Rosalind is obvious from the beginning.  The sexual tension between them has built over the last year,  they are both on edge and ready to explode.  They manage to find time together but have to be careful and not let Anne find out.  I love the banter back and forth between them, Rosalind is not afraid to give as good as she gets.  They argue and fight like an old married couple, it’s plain to see they care about each other.

The secondary characters are interesting and add just the right touch to the story.  I like that Rhys’ love for Rosalind wasn’t just glossed over.  He still cares for her and is very protective but is starting to move on.  New characters are introduced that are important to the story and I hope to see in future books.

This book combines some of my favorite things, the story of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII time period and vampires how could it go wrong?  It didn’t, I loved this book even more than the first one and can’t wait for the next one to come out.

I give Blood of the Rose 4½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Summon the Wind #3 – Abby Wood
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Mature and wise, Alexis takes her job as the eldest Jacobson triplet seriously. When Lance, the ten-year-old boy from Camp Enchantment, shows up fifteen years later claiming he’d asked the Goddess to let him know if Alexis ever cast a spell for love…that is playing with too much magic!

Unwilling to believe a witch is her true love, she raises the wind to get rid of him. Little does she know that Lance has a secret of his own that will change all of their lives on All Hallows Eve. 

Summon the Wind is the final installment of the Within the Circle Trilogy.  The sisters have completed the ritual and it has literally come full circle with the addition of Alexis’ true love.

Alexis wants to find her true love but she wants a human like her sisters have both found; she doesn’t want a witch.  She is stunned when Luke shows up at the library and tells her he has been waiting years for her.

Luke has been in love with Alexis since that summer at camp.  He also asked the Goddesses for help but his request involved Alexis.

After Alexis decides to trust that the Goddess would deliver her the right man, these two come together and ignite the page. They have great chemistry and an established connection from the past.

The extra that Luke adds to their magic just solidifies that he is the perfect person for Alexis.

Summon the Wind provides the perfect ending to this trilogy.  I give it 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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Truth of Fire by Abby Wood
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

One week before All Hallows Eve, the Jacobson sisters cast a circle and ask the Goddesses to bless them each with a man who will love them forever. Shy and often doubtful, Carly wants to find love but wonders how she’ll do that when she can’t even talk to a good-looking man, much less look him in the eyes.

The morning after performing the spell, the mysterious owner of the floral shop where Carly works shows up and attempts to sweep her off her feet. Not understanding her out-of-control attraction to him and scared the Goddesses have made a huge mistake, she runs out of the shop and away from Max.

With the help of her sisters, Carly performs a truth ceremony. Will she trust what she views in the fire, or lose the one man the Goddesses have chosen for her?

Truth of Fire is book 1 in the Within the Circle Trilogy by Abby Wood.  Three sisters set out to find true love by All Hallows Eve.  The triplets are witches and draw their powers from the elements.  The spell is set and now all they have to do is wait for their prince charming to show up.

Carly Jacobson works at the florist down the street from their house.  She is wiz working with the flowers and has made a name for herself in town.  She has a big order to get out before Halloween and wouldn’t you know it, the day she comes in late, the store owner shows up at the store.

Max is too good looking to be true.  He wants to “work” with Carly to see how they are running his florist.  He is immediately drawn to Carly and says all the right things but she is afraid that he is drawn by lust not love.  Her sister’s convince her to trust the Goddess and who she sent her.  Max proves to her that he wants to love her.

Truth of Fire sets up this trilogy of short stories well and I enjoyed it.

From the Water #2 – Abby Wood
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

 Once the Jacobson triplets cast the spell for true love, Bonnie grows even more excited to meet the man who will make her life complete. Gifted with the element of water, she has no idea that meeting Dirk will send her powers out of whack and threaten to flood the house.

Dirk comes into Bonnie’s life on the way to meeting his brother for a fishing trip, and he captures her heart. Can she gain control of her element before Dirk leaves to go out to sea, or will she have to watch the love of her life sail away?

From the Water is book 2 in trilogy.  Bonnie is so excited for her sister and can’t wait until it’s her turn.  It seems like she has been waiting for this day forever and now it’s finally here. 

The spell is done; prince charming should show up at anytime.  Little did she realize it would be in the form of long sexy legs sticking out from under a car.  Bonnie can’t believe her eyes when Dirk scoots out from under his car and stands up. 

They are both instantly attracted to each other but seem to fight the effect.  She invites him to the house for lunch and while there, things get out of hand.  Pipes are bursting, the kitchen is flooded and Dirk is gone.

This was not how she envisioned finding her true love.  Things start to look up for her when Dirk invites her fishing with his brother.  How can she refuse her two favorite things, Dirk and being on the water?

Good second story for the trilogy.  I enjoyed the scene in the kitchen and found the situation very funny, even though I’m sure Bonnie didn’t.

Overall I enjoyed both of these books and I give them 3½  Flaming Hearts. 

Be sure and check out the conclusion to this trilogy, Summon the Wind.  Will Alexis find her true love or will she be thrown a curve?

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Demon Heart by Nicole Dennis
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

Can a fire demon bound to a ruby necklace find a way to love?

Running errands before Halloween, Constance Morelli passes a window display and is drawn to a dazzling ruby necklace. Not quite believing the story behind the piece, but intrigued by the possibilities, Constance takes the jewel home, only to find herself in possession of a naked demon-hunk, bound as a sex slave.

After four thousand years of dealing with various mistresses in one sexual way or another, Aramir knows what to expect when he appears in the moonlight. Only this mistress is different. He’s fed, clothed, and treated like a real man. Not a slave. What is a bound demon to do with such a lady?

Content Warning graphic m/f sexual content

Demon Heart is a short story about a demon imprisoned in a heart shaped necklace that finds love and a future in his new mistress. 

Aramir is a sex demon and used to being regulated to the bedroom to service his mistress.  He doesn’t know how to take Connie.  She doesn’t want him to feel like a slave.  She gives him freedom to do what he wants and doesn’t keep him tied to the bedroom. 

The owner of the necklace calls Aramir to her and keeps him as long as she retains possession of the necklace.  Once the necklace comes off, he is called back to the stone.  Connie finds a way to keep both Aramir and the necklace forever.

This is a short story that packs a punch.  Your heart goes out to Aramir for all that he is suffered, while at the same time, you want him for yourself.  Who wouldn’t want a sexy fire demon as a sex slave?  We are given a look inside of Connie’s world but I would’ve liked a little more background on her.  The characters are likeable and in the end you are pulling for Aramir and Connie to get their Happily Ever After.

Overall I enjoyed Demon Heart and give it 3 Flaming Hearts. 

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Demon’s Fall by Karalynn Lee
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

She was an angel at the gates of Hell.

When Kenan, an incubus, finds a caged angel for sale in the Hellsgate marketplace, he sees her as a challenge. Certain that his skills in seduction will work as well on a heavenly creature as they do on mortal women, he buys Jahel, intent on having her soul as a novelty in his collection.

Knowing he must gain Jahel’s trust if she is to come to his bed willingly, Kenan treats her more as his guest than as his slave. When she reveals what brought her to the mouth of Hell in the first place—retrieving the soul of a young girl she was guarding—he even offers to help her complete her mission.

Though he has promised Jahel freedom, Kenan soon realizes she has captured his heart instead. And as their passion for one another grows, they find themselves caught in a struggle between Heaven and Hell, one that will lead them to the very edge of the apocalypse…

Demon’s Fall is a story about love and redemption.  It also has a modern twist on Snow White.  Jahel follows the soul of a young girl she was watching to Hellsgate and ends up captured herself.  She is bought at market by Kenan, who sees the angel as a challenge.

Kenan is used to woman falling all over him because he is an incubus.  He seduces women for their souls and those coins are used as payment in Hellsgate.  He is intrigued by Jahel and believes her soul would be a nice additional to his collection.  The only catch is that she has to voluntarily give him her soul.

Jahel can’t believe that Kenan is treating her kindly and even offered to help her find the lost soul she is seeking.  His actions are completely out of character for a demon and she doesn’t know what to make of him.  She is grateful for his help and realizes it’s the only way she will be able to help the girl.  She can’t cause harm to others or do anything that goes again her Angel principles, but Kenan isn’t bound to the same principles she is.

As the angel and incubus search for the lost soul, they realize that other things are in play that could be cataclysmic if not stopped.  They have their hands full but still manage to fall in love through it all. 

I enjoyed Demon’s Fall and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts.

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