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Archive for June, 2011

The Barn Dance by Camryn Rhys
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

When Mindy needs a baker’s expertise, Leo offers a trade: one day in the kitchen for one night at the Barn Dance. Either way, the heat is rising.

Mindy Edwards can’t bake to save her life, but with no where else to go, she returns to the one place she’d avoided for six years. Her boss’s son, Leo—still strictly off-limits—doesn’t help her starved libido, and what’s a girl to do when she could barely keep her job as the cook?

Leo Fortiss has never quite gotten over his first love nor did he expect her to return and pretend they didn’t have a heartbreaking past, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t save her from all the other cowboys–who definitely weren’t after her burnt buns and horrid cooking. He proposes a trade: he’ll teach her to bake bread if she’ll come to the big Barn Dance with him.

Mindy accepts, but when things heat up in the kitchen, she finds history repeating itself. Will she run or risk her heart a second time?

Mindy ran away six years ago after declaring her love to Leo after a night in the hay.  When he didn’t give her the response she wanted, she left devastated.  She lost her job and was thankful to land the job on Leo’s farm, even though she’d have to finally face him again.

Leo has never gotten over Mindy.  Six years ago he was young, foolish and scared to death when Mindy expressed her love.  He is not happy when his father hires her to work in the kitchen but he is determined not to let her get to him.

These two love each other but they have so many other feelings to work through before they can be happy together.  They are still angry with one another but the underlying sexual tension is obvious.  Each feels their anger is justified but in reality, at the root of the problem is miscommunication.

They were so young when they went their separate ways.  She was upset with him for not coming after her and he was angry because she left and never looked back.  Their youth and inexperience had a lot to do with their problems.

Mindy’s exploits in the kitchen are hilarious; I couldn’t wait to see what she was going to mess up next.  Leo’s compromise is the perfect solution to her problem.  It might actually allow her to keep her job if she can keep her hands off Leo.  In the end, these two were definitely cooking more in the kitchen than their bread and it fun to see the actual recipe at the end of the story.

I loved that Mindy’s sexy cowboy didn’t make the same mistake twice.  They have both grown up but still have some trust issues.  Rather than allowing Mindy to run away again, he is determined to show her that he loves her and she is worth fighting for.

Overall I enjoyed this story and give The Barn Dance 4 Flaming Hearts.   

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The Tantric Principle by Jennifer Probst
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Arianna Devlin is a high powered advertising executive with ambition and too much stress. Desperate for balance, she enrolls in a yoga school to teach her certain lessons. Breathe. Stay calm. Be in the moment. And ignore her sexy yoga teacher who is becoming a major distraction…

Grant Madison runs a yoga school and lives by one code: don’t get involved with the students. But when Arianna walks into his studio, his resolve begins to crumble. He offers her a deal: a secret affair while in the studio, and the practice of tantric sex in the bedroom…

But when lust turns into love, Arianna and Grant are forced to make a difficult choice. Can Arianna reject the career opportunity of a lifetime for the possibility of love? Can Grant ignore his past and take a chance on the future?

Arianna is an advertising executive that is feeling the effects of the daily stress of her job.  She is a smart, successful woman used to being in charge of all aspects of her life and doesn’t like the disconnect she is feeling.  She decides to give yoga a chance; little did she realize it would change every aspect of her life.

Grant has built his yoga school from the ground up after having to start fresh.  He made the mistake of marrying one of his students and lost everything, including his heart.  He now has one rule, “don’t date students”, that is until Arianna walks through his door.

I love these two characters.  Arianna is such a strong female lead that isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants.  She has worked hard to get to where she is and recognizes the need for something different in her life.  I love that she isn’t afraid to be herself around Grant.  The one place she doesn’t mind Grant taking control is the bedroom, where he is teaching her the art of Tantric.

Grant seems like such a calm character when you first meet him, always in control of himself and all situations.  As the story progresses you realize that he is a complex character that is scared of letting go.  Since his divorce he has relied on meditation, yoga and tantric to remain in total control.  I loved the scene in his apartment when he finally let go.

Their relationship started out as a casual affair but deepened over time.  She loved him enough to stay and he loved her enough not to ask her to.  They were faced with a difficult decision and had to decide if their relationship was worth saving. The decision Grant made at the end made me very happy, I wanted to see them work things out.

Overall I really liked this story. It was more than a love story; it was a story about finding yourself.  I give The Tantric Principle 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Sabine by Moira Rogers
* I received this book free from the author*

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart.

…and the Beast, Book 1

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine’s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord’s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son’s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse’s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Warning: This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.

Sabine was the mistress of the High Lord, Ciar before he left for war.  He left her at the castle with orders for them to not to mistreat her, instead she is cursed and no one remembers her, not even her own mother.  She is destined to live a life alone, until a wolf shows up at her doorstop.

Ciar has returned from war to find his mistress gone from his home.  When he finds her, he is shocked at the conditions he finds her in.  He isn’t surprised at what his mother has done but he is determined to make it right and make Sabine his.

Ciar and Sabine are mates but he didn’t mate her before he left because of her social status.  Thoughts of her kept him going all through war and he is distressed when she isn’t there waiting on him when he comes home.  He is determined to find her and mate her once and for all.  He is sure that the mating bond will override the spell and that he will not forget her.

Sabine has been so lonely since the spell was cast.  Everyone that meets her forgets her once they go to sleep or touch her.  She craves human touch but knows that she can’t risk touching anyone.  Even her mother doesn’t know who she is.  She can’t bear the thought of Ciar forgetting her but she has decided to take a chance on loved.

These two are good together and their love was obvious.  The twist with the spell was interesting and I enjoyed how it all played out.  It added something extra to the story that was different from other shifter stories I’ve read.

Overall I enjoyed Sabine and give it 4 Flaming Hearts. 

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Chantilly’s Cowboy by Debra Kayn
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

All Chantilly McDougal wants is to run her daddy’s ranch. The only one of five sisters content to stay on the McDougal spread, Chantilly loves the land and knows the workings of the ranch better than anyone. So when Stuart McDougal hires Jack Grady as his new foreman without even consulting her, Chantilly is furious. She doesn’t need the help of any cowboy, no matter what feelings the man arouses in her!

Jack Grady can understand Tilly’s frustrations over working with him, but he needs the job to put his nephew through law school. Besides, he’s made a promise to Stuart, and everyone knows a cowboy never goes back on his word. But when he finds himself falling for the boss’s daughter, Jack is torn between being honest with Tilly, and keeping her father’s secret.

Chantilly’s Cowboy really hit home with me and really touched my heart.  My grandfather was someone that was always larger than life and we watched him battle Lymphoma for about six months.

Chantilly has always known that she wants to be there on the ranch working beside her father.  She is truly pissed off when he hires a foreman to run the ranch for him.  She thinks that Jack is trying to take her place but in reality, he’s there at the request of her father.

Jack has his own ranch, it’s not as big as the McDougal spread but it’s his.  When he accepted the job as foreman at the ranch, he never expected to fall for the boss’s daughter.

Jack is good for Chantilly.  Having him around has shown her that it’s ok to take a break and enjoy life.  She is madder than a hornet at him but she can’t help being drawn to him.  He is the ultimate cowboy but he still has to pass the test of the McDougal woman.  Chantilly’s sisters are a whole different story.

I loved everything about this story.  It’s so much more than just a love story with a happily ever after.  The relationships are complex but you feel like are a part of the story.  The main story focuses around Chantilly and Jack but then you also have the relationship between Jack and Stuart, as well as Stuart and his daughters.

This story is warm and touching and had me drying my eyes at the end of it.  I can’t wait to read the next story in this series.  Overall I really enjoyed Chantilly’s Cowboy and give it 4 Flaming Hearts.  

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Heart Stealer by Tiphanie Thomas
*I received this ARC free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

After years of disapproval for his fast lifestyle, movie star Randall Rowe returns home to Summerdale to rebuild his life and asks Kayla Denton, the runaway he’d once helped, to decorate his new home. Kayla reluctantly accepts, but soon finds herself struggling to keep her guard up with the handsome charmer, as Randall makes it clear he wants more than a platonic relationship. As she starts to realize underneath Randall’s bad reputation lies more than she could’ve imagined, Hollywood threatens to tear them apart, and they’re forced to resolve their past–no matter how painful. Or lose a love that will only come once in a lifetime.

Kayla has been in love with Randall for as long as she can remember, she just doesn’t like him very much right now.  She lives in a small Midwestern town and is content with her life as a school teacher.  She was raised by Randall’s parents and brought up in a loving home.

Randall is a movie star that lives the movie star life with the women, liquor and parties.  He seems to have forgotten where he came from and has snubbed his home town.  His movies have not been doing well and he is not happy with his life or his relationship with his dad.  He has decided to return to his home town to try and make some sense out of his life; he never expected to fall in love with Kayla.

The love story between Kayla and Randall was touching; you could feel not only their love and pain but their happiness too.  It was nice to see Randall as a real person like everyone else, even though he is a famous movie star.  He has issues with self confidence and trusting in his abilities.  He and his father have not seen eye to eye since he left home at eighteen and this has been the root of a lot of his problems.

Kayla’s father walked away from her when she was a young child after her mother died.  She ended up at the Rowe’s thanks to Randall but she still has her own issues with relationship commitments.  She is afraid to get too close to Randall because she is afraid he will leave her like her father did so she runs away every time something happens between them.

Their relationship has developed and grown over the years following a natural progression.  They are good for each other and bring out the best in each other, they just have problems opening up and being honest with each other.

This was a really good book and I enjoyed it, my only thought is the writer included some filler scenes that were not needed at all.  The story of Kayla and Randall was more than enough to fill the pages.  The secondary characters were interesting but some of them didn’t need to make as big an appearance that they did.  I loved the Rowe’s and I had a bad feeling about Randall’s dad.  I love how things have a way of working themselves out.

Overall I enjoyed this book and the characters.  They are so compelling that you can’t help but feel for them. I give Heart Stealer 3½ Flaming Hearts. 

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The Strength to Submit By Holden Granger

Caitlyn is a professional on her way to the top when she meets Cade at a business conference. Sparks fly, and Caitlyn gains a new outlook on life, lust, and love.

Caitlyn is a professional on her way to the top, confident in every part of her life but one. She has accepted a life without passion as the price of success. When she meets Cade at a business conference, the attraction between them brings a new challenge to her carefully ordered life. Sparks fly, and Caitlyn gains a new outlook on life, lust, and love.

Why I Write Erotica

I love writing about sex for the pure challenge of it. I look at writing as a means of transporting the reader into another life, and using that vantage point to allow them to look back at their own. As such, I believe the foundation of any story needs to be a universal experience. The best stories allow us to identify with the characters though one of these experiences.  Thrillers do this with fear; a very strong and primitive emotion. I write about lust, an emotion perhaps as strong as fear and just as primitive. A love story may require a full novel to explore its depths, while lust can be delightfully simple.

While lust can be simple, writing about sex is not. There are only a few experiences we almost all face. Death is one, but returning eye-witnesses are rare. Sex, on the other hand, impacts virtually every life.  Even the celibate are reacting to this powerful, instinctive drive. In writing about sex, the author walks a narrow wire. On the one hand, it must be exciting and arousing (no one wants a boring sex scene). On the other, even as a fantasy it has to approximate realism. The reader must be able to “buy in” to the moment and any wildly unrealistic details will distract the reader.

I thought writing erotica would be easy. Instead it has consistently challenged me as a writer.  Taking an experience universally experienced and fantasized about, while introducing strong characters and plots, has been a tremendous opportunity.  I am deeply grateful to Breathless Press for giving me that chance, and I hope that my readers enjoy my efforts!The Strength to

Submit – The Author’s View

One of the first lessons I learned in researching Bondage and Discipline was that it is the “submissive” or “sub” that needs to have the greater strength of character in many ways. Think for a moment of the strength required to strip away every instinctive desire for power in a relationship.  At the same time there seems to be a great freedom that comes with letting go and placing oneself completely into the power of another.

I was also intrigued with the fact that it is often those who are very powerful individuals in their public lives that crave the release of control involved in placing themselves under the power of another.  This gave me the launching point for my story, The Strength to Submit.  For me, stories come from answering a “What if?” question. In this case the question was; what
if a powerful woman executive opened herself up to experiencing discipline from a competitor?

I wanted to explore how that might happen, especially if she had to overcome her own fears and doubts along the way. The motives and internal struggles are what made this story interesting to write, and I hope, interesting to read.  The steamy conclusion had to spring from triumphs over these obstacles, as well as providing satisfying growth for the character.  The
Strength to Submit is my attempt to explore light bondage and discipline from the point of view of a strong  heroine. I hope you all enjoy it!

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His Five Favorite Lines by Gina Gordon
* I received a copy of this book from Breathless Press in exchange for an honest review*

How many pick-up lines will it take for Jordan to get the woman his heart desires?

Jordan hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Becca since their steamy encounter in the elevator. He’s determined to have her again, but when she shoots down his proposition, Jordan decides to get creative. Armed with his best pick-up lines, he sets out to make Becca change her mind. But over the course of the week, Jordan realizes it isn’t only sex that holds his interest and with every pick-up line the stakes get higher. This time, Jordan is playing for keeps.

Jordan is determined to persuade Becca to give him another chance, even if he has to resort to cheesy pick up lines.  He knows her schedule and what kind of coffee she drinks; now he just has to get her talk to him.

Becca is embarrassed and hasn’t been able to face Jordan after their elevator escapades, she even changed her routine.  Jordan intrigues her and she is tired of avoiding him.  She enjoys the banter between them, even his cheesy pick up lines.

Jordan has been watching her for awhile and he has her routine down pat.  Their elevator encounter has left him wanting more but as the week progresses, he realizes that he wants more than another one night stand.  The chemistry between Jordan and Becca was off the charts.

I loved this short story; it was a fun, sexy read.  I kept reading to see what he would com e up with next.  My favorite scene was the scene in his office.  It was very HOT, voyeurism at its best.

Overall I enjoyed His Five Favorite Lines and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts.  

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