Harper’s Place by Sheryl Winters


Harper’s Place by Sheryl Winters
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (46 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Harper Grey is fed up with over-bearing men.

Her father wants to sell the family hamburger joint to her brother because a woman could never make it successful.

Harper knows she has the same flair for business as her mother, and sexy Navy SEAL Patrick O’Brien dares her to prove it to the world.

When duty calls and Patrick must leave her side, will Harper be strong enough to make her dream a reality?

This book may be short, but it’s a lovely romance story with a touch of humor. Harper wants to take over the family burger business but her brother has talked her father into closing the place instead. An old high school friend Patrick comes into the burger joint and encourages her to follow her dream. All too soon he returns to his regiment overseas, but leaves behind the promise that he will be free of the forces in a few months.

I loved how this story did not force romance onto the reader. The main story was about Harper fighting for the right to have her own business despite her family’s opposition. Patrick believes in her and provides the support she needs, not only regarding the business but also on a personal level. Even from a distance Patrick shows his love and this makes for a very soft, sweet, but touching romance.

I like the way he often surprises her and drags her back when she’s ready to give up. Great story with lots of human interest and love.

A Piece of My Heart by Sharon Sala


A Piece of My Heart by Sharon Sala
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (280 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

She’s never had a home
Growing up in a troubled foster home, Mercy Dane knew she could never rely on anyone but herself. She’s used to giving her all to people who don’t give her a second glance, so when she races to Blessings, Georgia, to save the life of an accident victim, she’s flabbergasted when the grateful town opens its arms to her. She never dreamed she’d ever find family or friends–or a man who looks at her as if she hung the stars.

Until she finds peace in his arms
Police Chief Lon Pittman is getting restless living in sleepy little Blessings. But the day Mercy Dane roars into his life on the back of a motorcycle, practically daring him to pull her over, he’s lost. There’s something about Mercy’s tough-yet-vulnerable spirit that calls to Lon, and he will do anything in his power to make her realize that home isn’t just where the heart is–home is where their heart is.

“I don’t know how to belong to anyone.” Mercy Dane aged out of the foster care system with no memory of family. She’d learned how to survive in the system and she learned how to survive and thrive in the rough part of Savannah.

She is a Harley-riding, kind-hearted, warrior-spirited twenty-six-year-old who can take care of herself. She works hard and copes with life on her own terms. But at nineteen, when her apartment was broken into and robbed, she was almost defeated. A new, kind, and caring neighbor offered her sanctuary and more. She left before he woke, but she knew she’d left a piece of her heart with him.

How he comes back into the story made my heart happy.

The very name of the town Mercy races to hoping to save a life on Christmas Day foreshadows good things to come in her life. Blessings, a small town not too far from Savannah, has good and not-so-good people who set Mercy’s life on a new course. This makes super good reading.

Sharon Sala works magic with words as she brings characters to life on the pages of A Piece of My Heart. They bring Mercy to a place in life she never dreamed of being. Hope Talbot, the woman she gave blood to; Lon Pittman, the sheriff of Blessings; Ruby, the owner of Curl Up and Dye beauty salon, and Duke, Hope’s foot-in-mouth, old bachelor brother-in-law, are characters not to be missed. Of course there are a few antagonists that are dealt with in first class order (loved how they were all handled). Lots of others play significant parts as the plot unfolds, but the ones mentioned are the one that bring in humor, unconditional love, and shepherd Mercy into a world that promises and gives her people to belong to and with. Of course, that happy-ever-after that I’m always looking forward to, even when it seems impossible, does happen..

Excellent Reading!

Red Shift by Elsa Jade


Red Shift by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #2 ~ Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (137 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Banishing his own needs, he followed his prince into battle and—more terrifying yet—into courtship but got lost in the backwater wilds of Earth. Now this space-faring drakling dragon-shifter has forgotten everything, including his name, his beast, and the freedom of space. But even espresso-induced amnesia can’t erase the relentless urge to mate growing stronger with every night under the pale light of this one solitary moon. Who will help him find his ship…and himself?

If anyone read the first book Alpha Star they would have met Honey. I liked him then but I absolutely adored him in Red Shift. He was the perfect hero. I know I liked Sin in the first book but Honey has him beat by a mile in the second. It’s when Honey revealed himself in all his glory to Tisha that I found out just how special and delightful his character really was. Tisha is a lucky heroine.

There is quite a bit more action in this novella for a reader to enjoy than the last one. Turns out those mercenaries from the first book weren’t a one-off. Oh no, there are more devious and dire shenanigans going on that escalates the plot conflict to incendiary proportions in Red Shift. It’s all good. It’s effective and I enjoyed every moment.

Sin and Zoe from Alpha Star do appear in this book too but they are strictly supporting cast members for Honey and Tisha. Their presence also provides a bit of continuity to what is a trilogy of spacemen looking for brides on Earth. They don’t have it easy and the romance between Tisha and Honey proves it.

What I found completely hilarious is what Ms. Jade does with coffee in the story. What a fun and novel twist! Not only did it cause me to giggle, later on it provided the opportunity for a very yummy scene or two between Tisha and Honey. It entertained me no end.

The personal conflicts caused by what is happening to Honey and his determination to woo and win Tisha coupled with some serious action chasing down the bad guys, rescuing damsels in distress, space ships battling, and saving the world as they know it made Red Shift a gem of a read.

I hate to say it but this sequel is even better than the original story. I have a serious crush on Honey and I’m so glad he and Tisha ended up with a wonderful and romantic happy ever after. Red Shift is a definite recommended read.

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday


The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (375 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Cowboy
One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.

This one is SO good!

Houston Legend will do whatever it takes to keep Lone Star Ranch in the family. His brothers, Sam, the former Texas Ranger, and Luke, the bastard son and outlaw-on-the-run, stand firm with him in a fight, but what Stoker, his father, asks of him will have to be done alone—not going to be easy.

The Legend men would stand out in any era, but they are magnificent in the time Linda Broday brings them to life on the pages of her memorable books about them. The late nineteenth century in Texas and on the trail to market in Dodge City, Kansas, was not an easy time to stay alive and thrive. The Legend men do it with aplomb.

However, Lara Boone is the character who slipped right into my heart. Her courage and determination to make a good life for her baby, Gracie, in spite of her nightmarish fears, makes for emotional reading. After the horror she had endured at the hands of cruel men, her trepidation almost defeats her at times, but never does—not in a house built for another woman nor on the trail is a chuck wagon with her baby and her mentally challenged young brother.

Amid chaos, Houston Legend and Lara Boone, inch by inch, create one of the sweetest loves stories I’ve read in a long time.

All the while the antagonist, Yuma Blackstone and his gang show themselves to be maddeningly cruel and glorying in it. They are antagonists one can love to hate and not even feel guilty.

Goodness me! Linda Broday does know how to create characters that elicit decided emotional responses as the plot unfolds with back-story, little-aside-stories, danger, hard-work, family love and loyalty, and the memorable humor and love baby Gracie brings to it all.

GREAT READING!

The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono


The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.
Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett – was scouring titles in his favourite bookstore. When Lady Amelia Partridge literally bumps into him Phillip feels more than the air knocked out of him. Scarred and partially deaf, Phillip has gone to great pains to avoid the confusing and bustling society whirl. Amelia is a dedicated member of the Ladies Literary Society and thus has far more important things to focus on that finding a husband and ordering her own household.

This is an incredibly sweet historical story. While quite predictable I thoroughly enjoyed the characters – both the hero and heroine as well as a strong cast of secondary characters. I appreciated the conflict Amelia’s brother, Edward, and Edward’s fiancé especially, created. I also liked the fact Amelia had modern thoughts and a strong sense of independence, though I found that slightly unrealistic given the historical setting and the strictures placed on women – especially women of rank – back in that time period. I could let go of realism long enough though to sit back and enjoy the story.

The main conflict between Amelia and Phillip – the “secret” of his not being able to hear well – seemed a little stilted to my mind, but I have to admit it did fit in well with the older setting and stiff-upper-lip mentality of historical London. Amelia is teaching a bunch of young children how to read and write down at the local church. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story – partly because it showed me that Amelia wasn’t just willing to talk about trying to help and change the lives of those more impoverished than herself, but also that she was more than happy to get down and actually help. To lead by example. It was no surprise that this generosity of time and spirit was one of the main things that appealed to Phillip.

For a refreshingly sweet historical story – with just a simple kiss to seal the deal at the end – I found this to be an interesting and character-driven short story. I thoroughly enjoyed Phillip and Amelia as well as all the secondary characters. While the plot was not unique, I truly enjoyed it and the writing style of the author. I will certainly be searching for further stories by this author.

Alpha Star by Elsa Jade


Alpha Star by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #1 ~Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (134 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

He will be lord of his own solar system, but he can’t claim the homeworld until he takes a bride. He needs the right mate to win his mating rings, but choosing one female from among the neighboring systems while slighting the others could start an interstellar incident—and this ex-mercenary starship captain has finally had enough of war. Where in the universe can a runaway cyborg prince find a naïve female willing to risk her life on the dangerous frontiers of space?

How about a little off-world world building on planet Dirt, no, Mud! Oh wait – Earth! That’s right, this is a romance about heroes from outer space that come to Earth to find brides and have a little trouble remembering what we call things around here. But that’s not the only trouble in store for the hapless hero looking to find a female to call his own. There’s a mix-up, there are secrets that must be kept, there’s an unexpected villain and a stubborn heroine. It’s a concept that has been done before, but Ms. Jade added her own unique spin making this quite the entertaining read.

I liked the hero, Sin. He possesses amazing willpower when it comes to respecting Zoe’s moratorium against her becoming his mate. A reader knows just how much he really would like her to change her mind but she’s adamant that it’s a no-go. What the heroine did not count on was their amazing sexual chemistry. What Sin didn’t expect was the effect that amazing chemistry had on his body. Something has to give and the outside conflict certainly played a role in shaking things up.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a sci-fi romance and I think it’s because of the very thing I encountered in this book – the strange names given to objects and people. I realize that with sci-fi an author can really create their own worlds and rules within that world building however there is a challenge to keep a reader invested in the people of the story without getting lost in the ‘special effects’. For the most part Ms. Jade does a solid job at accomplishing that, but every now and again the unfamiliarity threw me out of the story. Good thing Zoe and Sin are so fascinating – their budding romance drew me right back in.

Another reason to like a sci-fi romance is the inventive and intriguing ways having sex with an alien can come about. They’re not like us and those differences pose all kinds of delicious opportunities. What happens to Sin truly made me grin.

Secondary characters are Zoe’s sister in law and a couple of Sin’s crew members, Honey and Ivan. I like Honey a lot because of his sassy dialogue. I think all of their personalities contributed to the robustness of the tale.

Alpha Star sure was interesting. The happy ever after was as romantic as I could wish and I was so happy when Zoe finally came to her senses. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll blame her reticence on that fateful brick. For fans of sci-fi romance, I’d say give Alpha Star a shot. I did and I enjoyed it.

Abducted by H.C. Brown


Abducted by H.C. Brown
Cops and Floggers book 3
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M/M, Anal Play, Spanking, Toys, Menage
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After stripping at Safeword, Thorn is abducted by Master Riley, the tall, blond and sexy Dom he noticed in the audience. Taken to a private dungeon, the last thing he expects to find is three sex-starved Doms waiting to punish him.

During a weekend of incredibly erotic multiple partner scenes, Thorn discovers his idea of BDSM was well off base.

Disillusioned with men after his previous Dom betrayed him, he wonders if Master Riley—Mr. Tall, Blond and Sexy, is the one man to make him fly.

Thorn is a stripper at Safeword – a private BDSM club. Plenty of Masters desire him, but after being betrayed and blackmailed, Thorn has some serious trust issues. When Riley Jacob is introduced to Thorn, he knows he is exactly the sort of Master who can tame Thorn. Riley knows Thorn is into group scenes, so Riley gets two of his good friends – Casey and Dale – to give him a hand. Riley sets out to prove to Thorn that he has what it takes to be the man’s Dom.

I found this to be a super-spicy story. Riley and Thorn are the main pairing for this short story. Casey and Dale are good friends of Rileys and in a committed – but open – relationship. A lot of the book is the four men enjoying themselves together. While Riley “kidnaps” Thorn to start with, there was discussion during the abduction scene, and while Thorn doesn’t know exactly what’s going on initially, I don’t feel the scene was written harshly enough to be a true “Forced Seduction” type of scene – it certainly wasn’t one to my mind. Riley also introduces himself properly fairly promptly and I didn’t feel anything in the story was written to lend itself to be misconstrued as rape. I feel this shouldn’t be a trigger for most people, but the fact there is an abduction-ish scene should be taken into account when considering reading this story. The fact the whole story is written in the first person perspective (jumping back and forth from Riley’s to Thorn’s head) also helped keep any worry of Forced Seduction or true rape/abduction pretty much out of the question – at least from my opinion.

For such a short length I feel the author did a good job establishing the characters. Sadly, though, Riley and Thorn felt a lot more developed to my mind. I feel this was again because we jump a lot between both their heads in the first-person narrative. While I didn’t mind the head-hopping or the first person perspective, I felt this meant I really didn’t know much at all about Casey and Dale. What are their preferences? What were they like as men and not just as extras in the foursome scenes? I didn’t get a very solid understanding of either man and I couldn’t help but feel this was an opportunity the author missed. I really would have enjoyed getting to know them a little better, even though the main relationship was between Riley and Thorn.

I was also a little surprised that neither Riley nor Thorn were more deeply into the various BDSM games. While they both were unquestionably into group sex and exhibitionism, aside from a little flogging there wasn’t a lot of kink involved for either of them. On the one hand I found this refreshing – after all, not all BDSM is about whips, chains and pain – but I think from the blurb and set-up of the story I’d been expecting a story with a lot more kink in it. I still thoroughly enjoyed the BDSM elements here, and the writing was very well done to my mind, but this really felt more like a Foursome erotic romance story, not quite what I’m used to from a story heavy on the BDSM elements. I feel readers looking for a heavy, kink filled BDSM story might not find exactly what they’re looking for here.

With interesting and different characters and a fast-paced, good storyline I greatly enjoyed this short story. I will certainly be looking for more both in this series and by this author.

Warrior by Elsa Jade


Warrior by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest #4

Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

After the mating moon sets, the trouble is only beginning…

Thunder Cole may be the last of his kind. He’ll help his distant shapeshifter kindred with their werewolf hunter problem, but then he’s moving on — alone. Until he meets Elizabeth Rowan.

Bets became “Auntie Fate”, a fake psychic tarot reader, to support her orphaned niece, but she doesn’t believe in the woo-woo magical world. Until she meets Thunder Cole.

Both of them think their second chances are long gone. They couldn’t be more wrong. But a bitter enemy on a quest for vengeance against the wolves of Angels Rest may destroy everything they love.

A doubter will believe, a warrior will rise, and passion will rule the day.

Every now and again a book’s character surprises me. This is one of them. Most of the paranormal beings so far have been wolves but in Warrior there’s a new one in town and he’s a first. I’ve never read about his kind before in romance books and I am duly impressed.

Unfortunately for them but not for me, the external conflict continues from the Kingdom Guard. I didn’t expect the way in which it manifested and it was very suspenseful with lots of drama. I liked when the ‘troops’, the werewolves of Angels Rest, come together to try to rescue the heroine. Especially since the heroine is Elizabeth, the hippie, tarot-reading, sweet aunt of Darling from Rogue. She’s not a fighter but that doesn’t mean she’s not brave. She is.

Thunder is truly a yummy hero. It might have a lot to do with how Ms. Jade created his character. I enjoyed all the scenes with his motorcycle because of how they were written. I also felt for the guy because he is so alone. He has honor, loyalty and crazy skills but he’s a loner, a drifter that goes around helping people when they need it without belonging anywhere. I was so pleased that he found an anchor in the community of Angels Rest. That, of course, has a lot to do with the heroine.

Like the previous three in the series, when Thunder and Bets, as he likes to call her, get together physically, it’s detailed, sexy, steamy hot and well written. What I appreciate about the sexy scenes is that the story is not thin as an excuse for sex. Nope, it’s to showcase just how combustible the hero and heroine are together, and to show just how vested they both are to each other’s safety because they are falling in love. It’s a solid romance with a wonderful conflict and challenge to overcome. At one point the emotions inspired by the conflict was intense. I was glued to the pages.

Even though this is a novella, Ms. Jade continues the series with the skill of a master by delivering a full-bodied, thoroughly satisfying solid romance story that reads like a full-sized novel. There are gems of dialogue and descriptions sprinkled all through the tale and many are pure word magic.

At the end of the book there is a tidbit about the next book in the series and I simply have to have it. Why? Because it’s about one of the victims of the Kingdom Guard. What they did to him was heinous. So how and who can heal him is the a very effective hook. Consider the book bought.

Warrior is another winner and a must read. I am loving this series so hard it’s awesome. The quality of the writing remains solid, even in this fourth installment. So far this series has rocked my world and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford


Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (335 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

A Georgette Heyer-esque tale of high society in the glittering Regency

Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about Flora, but his plans are thwarted when she suddenly arrives.

Their attraction flares, but their romance becomes complicated when the sinister Anthony Durand shows up and threatens Flora. Every bone in Robert’s body says to save her…but he’ll have to learn that some damsels in distress can save themselves if he truly wants to win her heart.

Jane Ashford creates a memorable story, full of conflicts, about a brilliant young woman who wants respect for her accomplishments and wants to fight her own battle, yet longs for love. Woven into the story is a hero who finally comes to recognize the wisdom of his father’s words: “restraint and knowing when to exercise it is a far more arduous discipline than unconsidered action.” While the setting of the story may seem more-of-the-usual, the mystery, suspense, humor, revelations, and LOVE keeps one turning pages.

Flora Jennings, daughter of a scholar and trained to be acute, observant, active, to use her intelligence, does not fit into haut ton society. However, she is at a house party at the country home of the Earl and Countess of Salbridge. Harriet Runyon, a distant relative and her chaperone, tells her a smile is a tool to be used to pry information out of people, to smooth things over, and can be a wonderful substitute when one does not wish to answer a question.

Lord Robert Gresham, the son of a Duke, not the heir or the spare, but the son who is the “Pink of the ton” knows Flora from their intellectual discussions and argues, but was not expecting to see her at a house party at his friend’s country estate—a house party loaded with men who are wellborn, well-heeled, well-behaved; men, one of whom, might be a suitable husband for the Earl’s sister, Lady Victoria.

However, Victoria has her mind made up. She wants Robert and feels she has a right to him because of a childhood promise. She has no idea he is more stimulated by a fine mind than he is by a low cut neckline.

Add to that the arrival of two unwanted guests who remind Flora of one of the most terrifying experiences of her life an Flore becomes unsure of her ability to the world of the ton the way Robert had adapted to her intellectual world on Russell Street.

Probably the most interesting of all the arrivals is the little dog Robert rescued on his way to the party. He is a philosophical, wise little fellow, Robert names him Plato. I was always delighted to see him appear, because he was always in the know before anyone else.

Jane Ashford sweeps the reader into the story at once. She makes the story sparkle with love scenes that send the senses soaring, with lovers that have unfailing respect for each other, and with an altogether satisfactory tying up loose ends—a story that lets the reader sigh with pleasure at the end—delighted about how well everything turned out.

Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo


Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo
Publisher: Raven Queen Publications
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.

London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.

Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Phoebe is the daughter of a well to do lawyer, Mort is a watchmaker. While she had engineered an animated statue to enhance love making, Mort is hiding a past that would threaten his life and friends from his childhood. If he allows Phoebe into his world it will also threaten her reputation and life.

When Phoebe’s father tries to force her into marrying the objectionable Sir Dugard, she resists and Mort comes to her aid.

This is a fascinating Victorian era love story. It travels from the affluent house of Phoebe’s family to the slums of Whitechapel. In the background is the mysterious Doggett who holds Mort’s life and future in his hands. A lot of the story is shrouded in mystery and the couple find their budding romance is fraught with problems, and even Phoebe’s best friend turns against her.

Murder, theft, blackmail all these are present at one stage or other of the story. It also shows a view of the stews of the east end of London. This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. I read it in one day as I wanted to know what happened.