Saturday, October 31, 2009

Review of Private Maneuvers by Denise A. Agnew

Denise A. Agnew
Private Maneuvers (Hot Zone, #3)
Samhain Publishing, April 2008
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, Uniformly Hot: Special Forces

Heat level:

Private Maneuvers is the third installment in the Hot Zone series by Denise A. Agnew which is about soldiers. The protagonists of this third book were already introduced in the second, Unconditional Surrender. The hero, Jake, was one of the Special Forces soldiers that came to rescue when the heroine of that second novel was on a tour gone bad in Mexico. The heroine, Marisa, was part of the travelling party. The moment they met, they instantly felt attracted but didn’t act on it. Now they meet again when Jake takes a job as a temporary bouncer at Marisa’s uncle’s tavern. Marisa is working there too as an accountant and there happened to be some threats. Jake admits that he took the job to get to know Marisa better. Marisa doesn’t want to become involved with Jake because of a former bad experience with a soldier boyfriend. Piece by piece they get to know each other and their secrets and insecurities are revealed.
The plot is well dosed and contains some good elements. But the storytelling is a bit faltering at times. The dialogues are sometimes not very smooth or flashy either, but I liked it that Jake and Marisa talked a lot about serious things, their past issues and feelings, before they fell in bed with each other. What I missed, in the previous books as well: the hero and heroine having friends with whom they interact on a regular basis and in a different way than with their lovers. It can tell a lot about someone’s character. And it was good to have some suspense added although the threats never got really threatening. The physical parts of the story were a bit disappointing when it comes to quantity. And all the talking beforehand diminished the hotness a bit ;-). But the lack of quantity is made up by the high quality of the elaborate love scene. It’s sexy and sweet, as the hero and heroine of Private Maneuvers are.

Back Blurb:
A woman craves. A man wants. Their collision pitches them into the hot zone.
Hot Zone Book 3

Sometimes a woman craves what she shouldn’t want…
Marisa Clyde wants nothing to do with the soldier acting as a temporary bouncer in her uncle’s tavern, even though the stoic, six-feet-of-smoldering hunk rescued her during a tour gone bad in Mexico. While those few short moments sent their sexual tension screaming off the charts, a devastating hurt in her past now blocks her willingness to surrender to him. He’ll only be in town a month. If she can just wait it out, he’ll soon be out of her life.

Sometimes a man wants more than a woman is willing to share…
Jake Sullivan watches Marisa like a hawk, well aware his need to protect is messing with his mind and making him care way more than he should. Priding himself on clinical detachment in the game between man and woman, he figures once he’s slept with her, she’ll be out of his system for good. But that’s before he experiences her at a deeper level—and learns she just might be in danger again.

Warning: Beware of sizzling sexual tension and extreme emotional connection between hero and heroine. Sex, when it finally happens, is enough to blister

Supernatural Sneak Peek 5.08

Here's a sneak peek of next Thursday's episode (5.08 Changing Channels):

And a still of Dean from the last episode 5.07:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Reading Cowgirl Up and Ride by Lorelei James

I've got a day off today and have no other appointments or obligations. So I'm spending my time how I like it best: reading! This morning I finished Two In Hand by Mary Winters, which was a great read. I'll write a review later, after I've finished the one about Private Maneuvers by Denise A. Agnew. Now I'm enjoying one of Lorelei James' installments of the Rough Riders series: Cowgirl Up and Ride. Ms James knows how to evoke a nice wild west world of very hot cowboys and sweet girls and I just love all the secondary characters of the McKay and West clans. This is the third book in the series and it's about the oldest son Cord McKay, while we're further introduced to his brother Colt and their twin cousins Kane and Kade, who will starring in the next installments. It's my fifth Rough Riders book, because I didn't start reading in the right chronology, and it's very promising so far.
Here's a short excerpt, just to give you a little taste:

“Then c’mere. You’re gonna hafta get used to havin’ your body against mine.” Cord pulled her even closer. “Get used to feelin’ my hands on you. All over you. All the time.”
Her hormones did the happy dance.
The band segued into a slow, mournful ballad and AJ’s eyes drifted shut. She lost herself in the sensation of finally being where she’d always dreamed: in Cord McKay’s arms.
“How much experience do you have?” Cord murmured.
“You ask a lot of questions.”
“I expect an answer to every damn one.” His lips brushed her temple. “Where all’ve you been kissed besides your pretty mouth?” Cord’s free hand slipped up her waist to her ribcage. His thumb lightly stroked the bottom swell of her breast before sweeping higher, across her nipple, until it was a hot, tight point. “Here?”
Her breath hitched. “Ah. No.”
He twirled them, dancing backward, smoothly inserting his leg between hers. “Here?” He pressed up so she was riding his thigh. “You ever had a man’s mouth tastin’ your sweet spot?”
AJ softly moaned at the exquisite pressure and heat of his hard muscles rubbing her tender flesh. The thought of his tongue licking there made her throb with want.
“Yes or no?” he growled.
Dizzy, she managed, “N-no.”
“Has any man ever touched this pussy?”
“You’ve touched yourself? Made yourself come?”
Cord hissed. “You’re drivin’ me crazy, thinkin’ of all the things I’m gonna do to you. How many different ways I can make you come.”
“Show me.” AJ tightened her thighs around his. “Show me it all.”
“Remember you said that.” He blew softly in her ear and she shivered like a newborn babe. “Soon as this song ends, I’m goin’ outside. Meet me by my truck in ten minutes. This is between you and me. No one else needs to know what we’re doin’. Understand?”
The final drumbeat sounded and Cord eased away from her. AJ locked her knees to keep herself upright.
“Ten minutes. And you’d better not be wearin’ them sassy panties.”

(p. 37-38)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review of Blackmailed by Annmarie McKenna

Annmarie McKenna
Samhain Publishing, May 2006
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, Ménage a trois, D/s, Bondage

Heat level:

Blackmailed is an older novel (from 2006) by Annmarie McKenna about two men and one woman who are ‘thrown together’ by a very unusual action of the heroine’s father. If it wasn’t for Brianna’s father’s unrealistic wish that Brianna and Cole would hook up to deliver him an heir, they probably never would have met. But now Brianna is blackmailed by her father and the instance she and Cole meet they’re attracted to each other. The third person in this threesome is Cole’s best friend Tyler who falls for Brianna by only seeing a picture of her. Cole and Tyler are used to share women, so when Brianna is delivered at Cole’s doorstep, Tyler is obviously gonna be part of the party that’s getting started. No matter how scared Brianna is, hyperventilating and all, she’s gonna be taken. Sure, she’s consenting and even aroused, but I had a hard time believing her excitement given the situation she was in. Tyler only joins them the next morning, but while he’s a total stranger to Brianna she’s bound to the bed and blindfolded when he does. Not very considerate of Cole or Tyler to put her in such a helpless situation. Their relationship gets a little more equal and enjoying when the story proceeds though. And I must admit that the sex scenes are pretty hot and well written. It’s the development of the plot and the characters I’m rather negative about. They’re not realistic and the added suspense caused by the threats from Cole’s former lover, is neither. So, if you wanna read a story with a realistic plot and nice and well-developed characters, Blackmailed is not the best book for you. But if you’re looking for a hot, erotic novel with plenty of sex, written in a way that makes your juices flow, this is just the right choice!

Back Blurb:
Brianna Wyatt may be a victim of her father’s machinations, but one look is all it takes for Cole Masters and Tyler Cannon to offer her their own style of ménage a trois blackmail.
Brianna Wyatt’s father is blackmailing her into doing what he wants by threatening to send her brother to an institution. She would do anything to keep that from happening, including go along with his demented scheme of her getting pregnant by Cole Masters—a man who’s been rumored to share a woman with his best friend, and who leaves Brianna’s innocent senses in shambles.
Cole is sure he’s about to be blackmailed—why else would a man whore his daughter? But there’s something about her that neither Cole nor his best friend, Tyler Cannon, can deny. They want her, and don’t hesitate for a second on making their own offer. Her brother’s protection for her body.
When danger flirts with Brianna’s life, there is nothing they won’t do to keep her safe. Including listening to what their hearts are saying.

Warning: this title contains graphic language, hot, explicit sex, bondage, domination/submission and ménage a trois and is not for the faint of heart!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review of Caught off Guard by Tonya Ramagos

Tonya Ramagos
Caught off Guard (The Heroes of Silver Springs, #1)

Siren Publishing, October 2006
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, Uniformly Hot: Firefighter, Shared past

Heat level:

Caught off Guard is the first novel by Tonya Ramagos for me, which I purchased because of the firefighter theme of the series that the book is a part off. And I liked it a lot. The hero and heroine are great characters. Veronica is a sexy, confident, strong and kind woman who has set her mind on Dean. And he is a former bad-boy-turned-responsible, a well-proportioned, hot and very sweet guy, completely thrown of his feet by Veronica seducing him. I easily fell in love with him, because of the way the author portrayed him and gave insight in his thoughts and feelings. His attraction for Veronica goes way back and he can’t resist her. Their first encounter is amazingly hot, but at the same time cute and sort of funny because of Dean’s surprise, that is voiced well by the author. Veronica thinks she doesn’t want a relation, just to have sex with him. And the sex is sizzling, they hit it off great. But Dean wants more and has a hard time convincing Veronica, he patiently shows her by silent actions. In the mean time she has her parents to deal with and her sex shop to run. It’s enjoying to read how they interact and start to grow on each other. A nice prospect is the reappearance of some of the minor characters of Caught off Guard in the next installments in this series. The second book, Twin Games is already on my TBR pile and I’m looking forward to it!

Back Blurb:
Fire Department Captain Dean Wolcott has struggled to tame the wild boy ways of his childhood. Now an adult, he's a responsible and respected member of the Silver Springs Fire Department. But with all he has achieved, there is one thing he still longs for…Veronica Abbott. The sweet, innocent, rich girl was always been out of his league, but that never stopped her from monopolizing his dreams. Now she's back, and the woman she has become leaves Dean with his jaw touching the floor! After a life of domineering parents and becoming a widow in her mid-twenties, Veronica is finally in control of her future. And a future of excitement, surprise and spice is exactly what she wants. Her new business—a shop of sexual favors and lingerie—is sure to give her some of that, but it’s the prospect of Dean Wolcott that really lights the fire inside her.

Review of The Master's Prize by Maggie Nash

Maggie Nash
The Master’s Prize
Total E-Bound, March 2009
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary Bdsm Bondage
Heat level:

It’s been a while since I finished The Master’s Prize by Maggie Nash, but I’ll try to write a quick review. It will be short though, because of the elapsed time.
Mitch has noticed Elise when she visited Club Fetish on a dare. Mitch was training a Master and Elise was intrigued. He finds out that she is a radio show host and when he learns about the radio charity auction he is the first to claim the prize: a kiss from radio host Elise. This is a nice point of departion for a hot story. The moment the two kiss the heat is on. No matter how hard Elise tries to resist him, his touches and kisses are blowing her away. Ms Nash does a great job to render their arousal and attraction in these and later love scenes. I found this a scorching hot read, with nice characters and a little bit of bondage to increase the pleasure between the hero and heroine. Mitch is said to be a Master but I wasn’t convinced he is the real deal, or that Elise is a truly submissive. Bondage is just a nice sexual play for them, which is fine by me, by the way. It added a little more tension to the plot, which was built well. So, The Master’s Prize is a good, quick read that I can recommend.

Back Blurb:
What happens when a conservative girl sneaks in to a BDSM club for a look and makes an impression on the Master trainer? He pulls out all stops to claim her for himself.
A radio charity auction gives Mitch Collins just the opportunity he was looking for. When he claims his prize, a mind-blowing kiss confirms all his fantasies and leaves him determined to win her trust.
Elise Blake can't believe she has to kiss a stranger for charity. To make things worse, the man who claims her kiss is the training Master from Club Fetish, the club she'd visited on a dare. Her secret fantasy scared her to death so why did his masterful ways prove so irresistible?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of bondage and submission but is not meant to be a complete depiction of the lifestyle.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review of Male Call by Denise A. Agnew

MalecallDenise A. Agnew
Male Call (Hot Zone, #1)
Samhain Publishing, May 2007
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, Uniformly Hot: Iraq, Love Letters
Heat level: ¹¹

This is the second book by Denise Agnew I’ve read. My first one (Unconditional Surrender) happened to be the second novel in the Hot Zone series. Male Call is the first one in this series. I wasn’t very positive about Unconditional Surrender but I’m glad to tell I liked Male Call a lot better. The background stories of the protagonists are simple and clear, and therefore plausible and not interceding or disrupting the storyline. Again the hero is a hot, well-built military guy, but now he’s actually being a soldier from the start of the story. The pen pal thing with actual letters is, in this era of email, a bit far-fetched but sweet and well-written. The H/H falling in love through their letters is completely believable and makes you anxious to read about them finally meeting each other. And when they do, it’s great.
Their attraction is tangible and goes from sweet to hot in a short time. Sometimes I wondered about the language, for example what to think of a sentence like this: “Sean’s body moved like poetry until the distance between them collapsed.” (p. 37). I’m not a native English speaker so it could just be me, but it seems weird and it’s hard to picture what’s meant by this. But the important thing is that the story is developed well and the characters are portrayed nicely and the plot flows naturally to a satisfying end!
I’ve got books 3 and 4 in this series to look forward to and another two books by Denise Agnew on my TBR pile, Under His Protection and In Her Defense, about SWAT guys. I’ve bought these books partly because of the beautiful book covers. I also discovered that there’s a third SWAT-book, and that Ms. Agnew has written a series about firefighters (Meltdown and Combustion). So a lot of hot heroes that I’m gonna add to my wish list. In the meantime I will also try a few free stories from the authors website that I recently learned about,
look here>>> if you wanna check it out for yourself.

Back Blurb:

Her sexy letters are his only lifeline in his dangerous world…
Successful computer software engineer Eve Carmichael melts under yet another hotter than hot letter written by Reserve army soldier Sean O’Callahan. Yet Eve can’t take the thought of his life in danger overseas, and she resolves to get a sex life—and a life period. That means forgetting Sean before anything bad can happen to him. To celebrate her thirty-fifth birthday, Eve plans a trip to Male Call, a male review club. Still, she worries about Sean. She hasn’t received a letter from him in too many weeks. And oh, how she longs for those flirtatious, hot letters.
Sean finds Eve’s letters to be the only lifeline in his increasingly chaotic world. As their feelings grow hot and heavy, he can’t wait to return home and kindle that pure firepower.
When Eve receives a letter from Sean saying he’s been wounded, her fears are realized. But fate and a little mischievous planning by her friends will serve up the greatest surprise of all.

Review of Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

Club_shadowlands Cherise Sinclair
Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands, #1)
Loose Id, January 2009
Genre & Keywords: Bdsm Full-figured Heroine

Heat level:

This first novel in the Masters of the Shadowlands series tells a very erotic story that’s sweet, scorching, sexy and romantic. The hero of Club Shadowlands, Zachary, is a very kind and perceptive dominant hottie who is just right for the heroine Jessica. She’s never been in a club like his and has never heard of the D/s lifestyle, but she’s curious and aroused by the scenes she sees in the club. Zachary, Master Z, is not only attracted to her but also mesmerized by her contradictions and her spirit. He’s very gentle and tender with her, even when he has to punish her because she broke the club rules (which she signed only didn’t read well). Because the story is told from both point of views it’s easy to fall in love with both characters. It’s done really well by Cherise Sinclair, their thoughts, feelings, insecurities and behavior are all so likeable and genuine. This makes that you can relate easily to them.
The love scenes are blazing hot, not only the ones inside the club, but also those outside that setting, when bondage isn’t part of the sex. And the romance is sweet, even in this setting of pain and obedience, thanks to the insight in the characters’ thoughts and feelings.
There is a second and third book in this series (Dark Citadel and Breaking Free) that feature some of the secondary characters of this first book. And hopefully they also show a little bit of Jessica and Zachary’s continuing story, because I love to learn more about this lovely heroine and hero.

Back Blurb:

Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a submissive . . . is she?
Master Z hasn't been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She's intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can't resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism.

Review of By Chance by Cat Grant

By_chance Cat Grant
By Chance (The Courtland Chronicles, #1)
Lyrical Press, February 2009
Genre & Keywords: Gay Coming Out Friends become Lovers Students Roommates

Heat level:

By Chance is a totally sweet story about two very young men, who have to share a dorm room because of unexpected circumstances. Rich lone wolf Eric isn’t too happy about that. But quarterback Nick is a nice and easy guy and Eric’s attitude doesn’t scare him away, the two men become friends despite of Eric’s defenses. Eric is gay and has the hots for Nick from the beginning, but doesn’t act on it, because Nick is straight and Eric never gets involved with men for more than one night. However when Nick crawls into Eric’s bed one night to keep him warm, because he’d suffered a shock, things start to change.
It’s been described well how Nick and Eric become more than friends. Their sexual feelings are tangible and it’s believable how they become lovers. Their relationship isn’t going to be easy, thanks to Eric’s issues (with his family, especially his father) and Nick’s inability to openly admit he’s gay, a back and forth of attraction and rejection starts. Cat Grant knows very well how to make all the emotional layers insightful. Their behavior and feelings are very genuine, stirring, and sometimes raw. It’s hard to really like Eric, though you learn to know where his actions are coming from. On the other hand, it’s very, very easy to love Nick. He’s such a cutie and very warm-hearted. The love scenes are sweet and sexy but not very memorable, I’m afraid. Because I’ve read the story just last week and I can hardly remember any of the sex scenes, but that’s fine: their feelings and understanding of each other are the centre of gravity in this novel, for me. And I consider the erotic scenes a nice bonus.
By Chance isn’t a standalone book; it’s the third installment in Cat Grants bestselling Courtland Chronicles series, but in chronological order it’s the first. Together with Strictly Business and Complications it’s a prequel to the novel The Arrangement. And in December there will be released a fifth novel in the series: Triad. And I’m definitely willing to try some more of the stories in this series, after reading By Chance.

Back Blurb:

For Eric and Nick, it's irritation at first sight. Wealthy, arrogant Eric Courtland is an island unto himself...and content to stay that way until chance brings quarterback Nick Thompson into his life. Nick's warm and easy nature pierce straight through Eric's well-fortified defenses and coax him out of his shell. It doesn't take long for their friendship to deepen into love. Eric's fear of commitment and Nick's inability to come to terms with his own sexuality threaten to tear them apart. By Chance is the third installment in Cat Grants bestselling Courtland Chronicles Series.


The light was still on in the living room when he came out. Eric lay on his bed with his eyes closed and the covers yanked up to his chin. He was shivering so hard the bedsprings creaked.

Nick snagged his own blanket and pillow from the couch, then padded back to Eric's side of the room. "Scoot over," he said softly, already sliding under the covers.

Eric's eyes flew open. "What the hell are you--"

"No arguments." He smoothed his own blanket out on top of the two Eric already had over him, then reached for the lamp on Eric's desk and flicked it off. "You're having a delayed stress reaction. After what you've been through, I'm not surprised."

"Y-You don't have to do this."

"Yeah, I do. Now shut up." Rolling over behind Eric so they spooned, Nick rubbed his hands up and down his roommate's arms, trying to warm him up. Instead, Eric's entire body went as rigid as the proverbial board. "This won't work if you don't relax."

"How do you expect me to do that, with you lying right next to me?"

This seemed to be his night for one shock after another. So Eric was attracted to him. He'd suspected it from the day he'd moved in, but having it confirmed was still a bit disconcerting. Well, it didn't matter now. He had to do something to keep Eric from ending up in the emergency room again.

"C'mon, lean back against me," Nick whispered. "You need to get warm."

With a shaky breath, Eric sank back into Nick's arms. Nick pressed close, chin hooked over Eric's shoulder, rubbing his roommate's arms and chest with both hands. Within a few minutes, Eric's shivering began to subside.

Unfortunately, that couldn't be said for a certain part of Nick's anatomy. He breathed a silent prayer of gratitude for the doused lights; having Eric see his fire-engine blush would put the final capper on his embarrassment.

"It's not very sporting to be teasing me at a time like this," Eric chided gently. His hand closed over Nick's, giving it a comforting squeeze. "But for the record, I'm flattered."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to--"

"Don't be sorry." He turned his head until his mouth was so close to Nick's, they could feel the soft puff of each other's breath.

Nick hesitated a split-second before pressing his lips to Eric's, darting his tongue inside. He whimpered at the taste of him--hot, wet and unbearably sweet. Eric's tongue entwined with his for a moment, sending Nick's pulse spiraling, blood roaring between his ears like a caged lion. He felt Eric's hand cup his cheek, fingers threading briefly through his hair. Then, with a tiny broken moan, Eric drew back, his warm breath still wafting over Nick's skin.

"I-I don't think this is such a good idea," he murmured.

Nick squeezed his eyes shut, trying to quell the sharp pain sailing through his heart. "You're right. We shouldn't ... complicate things." He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, reaching for his blanket. "You should be warm enough now."

"I didn't mean that ... You don't have to go."

Was that pity in Eric's voice? As if Nick wasn't mortified enough already. "Yeah," he whispered sadly, "I do."

Review of Able-Bodied by Karen Foley

Ablebodied Karen Foley
Harlequin Blaze, February 2009
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary | Uniformly Hot: Delta Forces | Injured Hero | Reiki Heroine | Opposites attract

Heat level:

I like Karen Foley’s former Blaze books a lot. And Able-Bodied didn’t disappoint me either. The author invests a lot in character development. In Able-Bodied the hero is a bad ass military hunk, who is in pain. The heroine is a fragile looking but brave practitioner of Reiki and she happens to be able to take away people’s pain. So he needs her and it turns out that she also needs his protection when someone from her past comes after her. They make a nice couple and them hooking up together is plausible. Both are scared for commitment but enjoy the hot sex they’re finally having, very much. Only when it comes to admitting their feelings for each other I feel like Karen Foley rushed the story a bit. Still, I enjoyed this Blaze, but not as much as her other books. Maybe it’s because I’m not that fond of unbelievably large and hulky guys, especially not when they hook up with tiny little women. So, I didn’t fall in love with the protagonist, though I normally like reading about men in uniform (of any kind!). Because Ms. Foley knows how to tell a story and put some excitement and steamy love scenes in it, Able-Bodied was still a great read!

Back Blurb:
Uniformly Hot-series. Subject: Ransom Bennett, Delta Force Operator Current status: Injured but still hot-blooded! Mission: Regain crack military reflexes. Prove he's ready for active duty. Obstacle: Hannah Hartwell. Fascinating. Tantalizing. His new neighbor. All Ransom wants is to get healthy enough to return to the field. But sexy Hannah is testing his composure. The woman is under his skin…but she's also fleeing a shady past. Damn! Hasn't he learned not to play with fire? Still, Ransom can't help exposing her secrets…and a lot more! Then it's on to his post-injury mission. The highly clandestine operation will involve delicate negotiations, complex maneuvers and fiery explosions. And that's just in Hannah's bed!

Review of Hidden Force by Shayla Kersten

Hidden_forceShayla Kersten
Hidden Force
Ellora’s Cave Publishing, November 2007
Genre & Keywords: Gay | M/M | Coming out | Cops | Suspense
Heat level:

This is the fourth book I’ve read by Shayla Kersten and she definitely is one of my favorite authors! Hidden Force didn’t disappoint me either. Not at all! Again it’s one hot and exciting story! Not only does she never fail to portray her characters very well and make me sympathize with them very easily, she also knows how to build a solid layer of suspense and add a lot of hotness to the mix. There’s just nothing to dislike in her stories, unless you’re not into gay love I guess. I for one am becoming a big fan of gay romances, and Shayla Kersten is one of the authors responsible for that J.

Hidden Force is part of a series of three books about hot gay policemen. The other two titles are A Helping Hand (look for my review here >>>) and Hidden Hands.
Tony and Ryan are friends with benefits. Ryan would like to be it more than that, but Tony wants to hide their relationship and his sexual preference. But then a serial killer is drawing their attention and things start to get dangerous. Feelings are changing and they might lose what they’ve got.
My stomach fluttered a few times reading some of the love scenes between Tony and Ryan. They were scorching and arousing as well as compassionate. The feelings of excitement and love of the characters did come alive because of the way the author wrote these scenes. It’s hard not to love these two guys with all their comprehensible feelings, doubts, fears and thoughts - and I liked the way the secondary characters were portrayed as well. The sub story about the serial killer is very believable and adds a lot of suspense, which increases the reading pleasure. But it doesn’t overshadow the main story at any time, it only complements it. Shayla Kersten truly does know how to write great books and I’m looking forward to read Hidden Hands (and some more of her books I’ve purchased at Ellora’s Cave’s eBook shop ;-))!

Back Blurb:
Cold-blooded murder and hot-blooded passion…
Memphis homicide detective Tony Costa's life is twisted with both. A killer is stalking prey in the bitter winter nights leaving a trail of victims with hauntingly familiar features. The blond-haired, blue-eyed young men resemble the vice cop whose bed he secretly shares. Afraid of revealing his secret to the world, he may be too late to tell the one person who matters.
Ryan Nilsson wants more than a friend with benefits. Out about his sexuality since high school, Ryan doesn't like hiding his relationship with Tony, but he's not willing to end it. Asked to work with Tony on a series of murders, things heat up and not always in a good way. When an old lover resurfaces during the investigation, Ryan makes a decision that may be his last.

Review of Unconditional Surrender by Denise A. Agnew

Unconditional_surrender Denise A. Agnew
Unconditional Surrender (Hot Zone, #2)
Samhain Publishing, October 2007
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary | Uniformly Hot: Special Forces | Reunion
Heat level:

The ingredients of Unconditional Surrender were promising, but, gosh, this book is poorly written! The hero is a muscular Special Forces soldier, the heroine a sweet but insecure archaeologist and they haven’t seen each other for years (twenty to be exact, which is in my opinion a little bit too long to make it convincing that they still want each other). Now they are back in town for their high school reunion and their attraction revives. But another girl from their past intervenes and the heroine’s dangerous vacation becomes the subject of discussion and causes problems in their newfound relationship. Only these issues are not convincingly causing a problem at all. They seem to be written into the story with the single purpose to add friction to the relationship but don’t appear genuine at all, because the author hasn’t worked them out very well. This book in general lacks believability; I didn’t buy any of it, not their love, not their attraction, not their concern, not their dialogues, not any of their feelings. I really hope this will get better in the other stories in the series, since I already bought some other books by Denise A. Agnew.

Back Blurb:
She wants the adventure of a lifetime and isn’t willing to sacrifice it for any man… All he wants is to keep the girl he loved and lost safe, even if she hates him for it…
Archaeologist Fredricka “Freddie” Bodine returns to her hometown for her twentieth high school reunion, unaware that her old crush, Keith Wallace, has blown back into town. One memory is etched deeply on her brain—the high school prom where she shared a single, emotionally revealing dance with him. They’d both left town after graduation, feelings unresolved and teen angst firmly in place.
Keith doesn’t want her to travel to Los Diablos, a lawless area he’s visited during Special Forces ops, and the place where his sister was killed years ago.
As they grapple with family pressures and the exploding passion between them, their battle of wills may just lead them to the truth living in both their hearts.

Review of Out of Bounds and High Line by T.A. Chase

Outofbounds T.A. Chase
Out of Bounds (The Love of Sports, #1)
Samhain Publishing, April 2008
Genre: Gay | Sports | Coming Out

Heat level:

Out of Bounds is the first of two books about being gay in the macho, heterosexual world of sports. The books are connected by the protagonists, the twin brothers Kasey and Garrett Johnson. Kasey is the hero in this first story, Garrett in the second. Kasey is a professional basketball player and not publicly open about his homosexuality, unlike Garrett. Nightclub owner Gram is hot for Kasey for a long while but he’s not sure about Kasey’s sexual preference. When he decides to make a move on him, he discovers Kasey finds him attractive as well and they end up having passionate sex. In a very short period of time they become emotionally involved while they are having a lot of sex.
I think that maybe the many sex scenes elbowed out the emotional stuff a little bit. Things went a bit too fast for me: it seemed that one moment Kasey didn’t want to go public at all and the next he impulsively did just do that. The buildup of the pathos wasn’t well enough dosed. But I did like the characters; especially Kasey was portrayed as a hot and sweet guy, whose actions did match up with his kind and tender nature. He bottomed in all the love scenes, while he was the larger and taller of the two guys. Gram is a likable character as well but his feelings don’t change much and he doesn’t have issues to figure out, as Kasey does. So his role is of minor importance.
Kasey’s brother Garrett is introduced in Out of Bounds, which is nice because he’s the protagonist of the second book, High Line (look after the Back Blurb for more about that story).

Back Blurb:
Can a sexy nightclub owner convince an all star basketball player to risk it all?
Love of Sports Book 1

Professional basketball player Kasey Johnson makes a point of keeping his sexual preference under guard and out of the public eye. Empty, off-season flings are all he can look forward to until he retires. He figures his secret is safe—until he meets Ingram Fletcher, a nightclub owner who ignites a passionate inferno in his body.
Gram has lusted after Kasey ever since the long, tall basketball player was traded to Phoenix a year ago. But with Kasey’s twin brother running interference, up until now Gram’s been unsure if it’s safe to make a play. Then some incidental contact in the crowded club leads to a kiss that starts Gram wondering if a relationship is possible—now, and beyond March Madness.
A romantic weekend together answers that question. Now the only one remaining is if Kasey is ready make a fast break out of his comfort zone.

Warning: This title contains explicit sex, graphic language, nekkid man love, creative usage of chocolate, whipped cream and strawberries.


Highline T.A. Chase
High Line (The Love of Sports, #2)
Samhain Publishing, February 2009
Genre: Gay | Sports | Coming Out

Heat level:

After Kasey’s story in Out of Bounds, High Line tells his twin’s Garrett’s. He is the gay twin who is out of the closet since he was 15 years old. As an actor he leads a rather public life. When he meets racecar driver CJ Lamont doing research for a new film, it’s lust at first sight. But CJ is married and Garrett has a boyfriend. Both have problems in their current relationships and after a month of spending time together they share a passionate kiss after which they each go their separate ways. Only after almost one year they meet again. CJ is divorced and Garrett broke up with his cheating lover. Plus CJ’s ex-wife outed him as gay. This can ruin his racing career and when CJ meets Garrett he’s not prepared to admit his sexual preference yet. But the attraction for Garrett is still there. And with small steps at the time the two men explore their feelings for each other. This is done in a nice and slow pace. Where Out of Bounds went to fast in the pathos department, High Line was much better paced. Both CJ and Garrett have each their own issues to deal with, which make them more equal heroes than Gram and Kasey were in the first book. Garrett is sweet and tender and CJ is adorable with his insecurities about his life but confidence about his attraction for Garrett. Their sex scenes are hot and tender. And their growing feelings of love are believable. T.A. Chase did a better job in this second book, which has twice as much pages as the first, in portraying the heroes, showing their feelings, dosing the sex and the love moments and building the anticipation.

Back Blurb:
Will giving him the green flag lead to love…or heartache?
The Love of Sports Series, Book 2

CJ Lamont is at the top of the racing world but his winning record is based on a carefully constructed lie. His world falls apart when his ex-wife reveals the truth. As he hits rock bottom, rescue comes from an unexpected source—Garrett Johnson, Hollywood’s hottest leading man.
Garrett’s acting career is taking off, bringing him accolades he’d never imagined. Good friends and family keep his days hopping, but watching his twin brother fall in love exposes the emptiness in Garrett’s life created by the betrayal of his ex-lover.
Garrett offers CJ a place to heal and a shoulder to lean on, telling himself it’s only to keep CJ from taking a more destructive path. But as time passes, the two men grow closer and CJ realizes he has a decision to make—whether to rebuild his fictitious life, or admit to loving a man who shines brighter than the Hollywood stars.
Will he reach for the star or sink back into his old life?

Warning: This title contains hot man love, sticky situations with honey, fast cars and faster men.

Review of The Initiation of Isabella by Jenna Ives

Initiationisabella_4 Jenna Ives
The Initiation of Isabella
Samhain Publishing, September 2009
Genre: Bdsm | Bondage
Heat level:

Wow! This short story is hot! I almost burned my fingers reading it ;-) The heroine, Isabella, is picked up by the hero, Logan, by accident - and they end up having a very passionate night doing things they’ve never done before, neither she nor he. And that’s what makes this story so sweet, that he’s a ‘virgin’ to all the hot (bondage) stuff as much as she is. Jenna Ives writes from Logan’s point of view as well as Isabella’s, which warrants that the events don’t repulse at all, while they easily could have since it’s sort of a kidnapping and abuse situation. But Isabella is consenting once she realizes that there’s a misunderstanding and she’s in no danger. And Logan is so tuned in on her feelings and her pleasure that it’s totally sweet how he acts. I think that the author has done a great job portraying her characters the way she did and giving the reader insight in their feelings and thoughts. Because of that, their romantic feelings are as believable as their erotic feelings. The latter are so well described! It makes The Initiation of Isabella a great, completely arousing and scorching hot story, which I can really recommend!

Back Blurb:

Given the chance, would you dare to indulge your wildest sexual fantasies? 
A Binding Ties story.
Isabella Tallin, a brand-spanking new Sigma Iomega Nu sorority pledge, thought she was waiting at the corner of Elm and Main for her initiation rite to begin. She knows these things are notoriously secret affairs, but surely the initiation doesn’t involve a gorgeous guy in a hot red convertible and being bound, gagged, and blindfolded…does it? Only one way to find out… Logan Sommers can’t believe the innocent-looking girl waiting for him is his mysterious client—a sexually jaded woman who paid his company, Fantasies Fulfilled, to indulge her most outrageous sexual fantasies. But the pickup instructions were clear. He’s never forced himself on anyone in his life, but if she insists on playing the innocent schoolgirl…well, it’s her party. Then his planned night of seduction takes a turn he never expected…  Warning: You’ll be hot to join this sorority by the end of the story!

Review of Hold by Zannie Adams

Hold Zannie Adams
Ellora’s Cave Publishing, November 2007
Genre: Futuristic | SciFi
Heat level:

I’m not a regular reader of futuristic or scifi romances, so reading Hold was a rare experience for me. I let a few blogreviews seduce me to try this book and I must admit that it wasn’t a bad read, really not bad at all! The story is situated on a prison planet, were Riana is sentenced to because of a minor crime. Prisoners are always sentenced for life in this futuristic world and life on the prison planet is very primitive where only the fittest can survive. Life is especially hard on women and the only way Riana can survive is to give herself to one of the strongest man in return for protection. She chooses the silent, good-looking loner Cain. He watched her with mild interest when she was dropped into the Hold. And although he is a loner, he likes her spirit and drive, so he stakes his claim on her. Having been a prisoner for more than a year and completely alone, he decides she would satisfy his physical needs at the very least.

In this unusual world of violence and danger Riana and Cain start to live together and end up liking each other, at first only physically but in the end their feelings involve love. It immediately clicks physically between them: when they’re having sex many orgasms are involved. These scenes are pretty hot and sweet at the same time. And they do have sex a lot, because what else can they do during these endless days of imprisonment. But Cain is also working on some sort of device with which he plans to escape the Hold. Zannie Adams put a little bit of extra suspense in the story with that. But the attraction of this story was mostly in the way these two kind people evolved in their relationship that started out with total dependency on Riana’s part and cold-heartiness on Cain’s part. With the growing of their feelings of love, their insecurities grow as well, because of the situation they are in. A situation that’s hardly suitable for romance, of course.

Zannie Adams knows how to dose the elements of her story. The plot is exciting and perfectly paced, not too slow, not too fast, just right. And her characters are portrayed well, so it’s impossible not to feel for them or fall in love with them. She tells the story solely through Riana’s eyes. I would have liked to read from Cain’s perspective once or twice, but I understand that that would have killed a little bit of the suspense of the story. Ms. Adams wrote a few contemporary erotic romances and I’m definitely gonna give them a try, because Hold was really a great first acquaintance with her work!

Back Blurb:

Convicted by the Coalition of a minor crime, Riana is sentenced to life on a prison planet — no order, no safety, just a primitive hold filled with criminals vying for dominance. The only way Riana can survive is to give herself to the strongest man there in return for protection. By desperate instinct, she chooses a mysterious, handsome loner named Cain. She offers him her body and can only hope he'll be able to protect her from the other inmates who circle her like beasts.
She never dreams she will come to take pleasure in Cain. Or want to offer him her heart as well as her body.

Review of Take Me & Take Me Again by Mackenzie McKade

Takeme72sm Mackenzie McKade
Take Me
Samhain Publishing, June 2007

Genre: Cowboy | Ménage
Heat level:

Take Me is the first of two stories about the sexy cousins Cord and Dolan. Take Me is only 50 pages and is Cord and Cait’s love story. The second one is Take Me Again, which is almost 200 pages and tells us of Dolan and Tracy. I’ve read the books after one another. It was nice to read a little bit more about Cord and Cait in Take Me Again, so I can recommend this, but both can perfectly be read as standalones.

In Take Me cowboy Cord has set his eyes on Caitlyn who is back in town after two years. Her rich and influential father warned Cord to keep away from his daughter or else he would ruin him. But now Cord has something Cait’s father wants: a special racehorse. Meanwhile Cait is determined to finally go after the man she needs - Cord - even though she knows of his taste for ménages. To get him interested she ties him up in her barn and leaves him after kissing him senseless. This scene is very hot and little does she know that Cord was already very interested in her! When they finally get together Cord’s cousin Dolan is part of the game and they have a blazing hot encounter. It’s sweet how both Cord and Cait don’t know how much the other one wants him or her. So there’s a little misunderstanding when Cait’s father turns up and Cord thinks their night together was all about the racehorse. But that little problem is solved very quickly and Cord makes good work of seducing Cait and convincing her that she has to stay in town and be his woman. I liked it that we learned about the thoughts and feelings of both characters, because Mackenzie McKade changed the point of view several times. That makes Take Me, even though it’s a short story, a very good read.

Back Blurb:

One tempting heiress. Two sexy cowboys. Three means fun beyond her wildest dreams—until her Cord starts to unravel.

A Midsummer Night’s Steam story

Thoroughbred rancher’s daughter Caitlyn Culver has always wanted playboy Cord Daily, even after her daddy threatened to bankrupt him. But winning a racehorse in a poker game means Cord is no longer just a cattle rancher. He’s come back wealthier and more wicked than ever.

Snaring this cowboy won’t be easy for Cait, and keeping him will be even harder. Still, his sexual antics and taste for ménages won’t scare her off. She knows the best way to snag a man like Cord is to pretend indifference. So when he comes onto her in the barn, she plays along—only to leave him tied to a ladder, aroused and unfulfilled.

It’s payback time.

Cord seeks out Cait and brings along his playboy cousin, Dolan Crane. The two cowboys are enough to set her body afire. She’s bound and determined to resist their sexual allure, but ends up experiencing a night beyond her wildest fantasies. Now Dolan wants Cait for himself. Cait’s father wants Cord’s racehorse. And Cord wants Caitlyn to choose—her father’s money or her cowboy’s love.

Take20me20again207220small Mackenzie McKade
Take Me Again
Samhain Publishing, January 2009
Genre: Cowboy | Ménage
Heat level:

Take Me Again is even better than Take Me. The romance part of the story is more touching and has more layers. As a veterinarian Dolan doesn’t want Tracy around, because she’s working on his territory and she could become serious competition. But as a man he definitely wants this beautiful redheaded woman around. He feels very attracted and connected to her. When his friend arranges a threesome with her he takes his chance to be at least this one night with her. But one night isn’t enough and in a short period of time the two become very attached to each other. They don’t take much time to talk, they tend to get physical all the time, so secrets and issues start to become a problem.

I think this part of the story was very well written about. Because of the changes of point of view between Dolan and Tracy, their feelings and thoughts came alive and this made the events and the doubts and insecurities of the protagonists very believable. Besides that, Dolan is easy to love: his caring and sensitive side, his jealousy, his way with the little boy and his hotness make him very adorable and attractive. Tracy is also a woman of my heart: fun, independent, sweet, caring and straight forward about what she wants. The both of them are a perfect match. What was also great about this novel was the presence of a nice network of family and friends. Mackenzie McKade did a great job with spinning a good setting and background for this steamy hot romance!

Back Blurb:

Marking one’s territory was never so naughty…

Wild Oats, Book 2

Dolan Crane would love to hate the beautiful new veterinarian who’s horning in on his territory. It’s tough when the flame-haired fantasy come true makes his body burn with just a smile. The smart thing to do is forget about her, so perhaps a threesome arranged by his old college buddy is just what he needs to get her out of his head.

Divorcee Tracy Marx has followed her restless feet to Santa Ysabel to start a new practice—and maybe find someone to take her outside the boundaries of vanilla sex. Instead she finds trouble in the form of a cowboy whose dark, sexy gaze lights her up—and could also destroy any chance of success. The best thing to do is stay far, far away from him.

When Dolan shows up for the promised night of fantasy, he’s shocked to find Tracy has traded her medical bag for a leather bustier and bondage gear. Tracy would like nothing better than to slap that smirk right off Dolan’s face, but the prospect of being sandwiched between two men is impossible to resist—even if one of them is her adversary.

Besides…no one calls her chicken.

Review of One on One by Cathryn Fox

One_on_one Cathryn Fox
One on One
Samhain Publishing, February 2009

Genre: Contemporary | Best Friends Turn Lovers | Firefighter
Heat level:

One on One is a lovely short story about two best friends becoming lovers. Taylor is lusting after firefighter Christian for a long time now, but all they do together is watching movies and sharing ice cream. Her friend helps her to form an idea how to seduce him, namely playing the best friends card. She’s going to ask his advice on getting men to notice her. With the result that he can’t resist her.
I like best-friends-turning-lovers stories and the fact that the hero is a sexy firefighter is a big bonus. But even without these elements Cathryn Fox writes a hot story. The sex scenes are steamy and the protagonists are very likeable. We learn about both their feelings because the point of view changes continually between Taylor and Christian. Their perspectives on the events are sometimes funny and add to the hotness of the attraction between the two of them. One on One is a quick but fun and hot read!

Back Blurb: It was just a sexy game. Then things went south…

Taylor Dayton has been holding back a secret from her best friend, firefighter Christian Bain: he’s the only man who can douse the flames inside her. It’s time he noticed her as more than an ice cream and movie pal. What better way to melt the blinders from his eyes than propose an irresistibly sexy grooming session?

Christian can hardly believe the woman from his erotic dreams has just issued a siren call no red-blooded male can resist. He’ll give her what she wants, and when he’s done with her, she’ll need more than a fire hose to cool her down.

When their little game leads them to discover their secret fetishes and fantasies, they realize that this sexy seduction is no longer just a game.

This time, it’s for keeps.

Product Warnings: Hot sex in creative places, may leave reader salivating for more…

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