The Perfect Duke by Dawn Ireland

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The Perfect Duke by Dawn Ireland
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Known as The Marble Duke amongst the Ton, Garret Weston, the Duke of Kendal, sets himself apart from his peers. Nothing will hinder his guilt-driven attempt to become a perfect duke. Nothing, that is, save the alluring and imaginative betrothed he’d thought dead. His intended believes-of all things-that she is a Vicar’s daughter. The “perfect” duke needs a “perfect” duchess, but how is he to discern her suitability? Employing her as a governess to his niece seems like an ideal solution. But whose “suitability” is being tested? His betrothed refuses to see he is beyond redemption. And most grievous of all, she stirs his blood, making him forget what’s important. Cara believes fairy tales really can come true, until she meets the unrelenting and arrogant Duke of Kendal. He looks like a Prince, but acts like a Beast. Why must he challenge her at every turn? Her greatest peril is her attraction to the vulnerable, seductive man behind the title. A match between them would be impossible. But can she show him, without losing her heart, that “perfect” is in the eye of the beholder?

Many elements of this book made it a 5 star. If I could give an award then I’d give The Perfect Duke an award for “unique and clever writing style”. I especially liked how the author implemented quotes from classic fairytales stories before each chapter. I’m often told to stop living in a fairy tale world. Well, I’ll take a fairy tale world over reality any day. I could tell that each quote was carefully selected to be relevant to that particular part of the story. A brilliant enrichment! Beauty and the Beast is by far one of my favorite love stories with Cinderella a close second.

Garret Weston, the hero, was known as the “The Marble Duke” amongst the Ton. He has his reasons for why he is the way he is. An empathetic reader will understand and be patient while his cold heart softens. Just consider him The Beast in this love story. Cara, the heroine, has a complex history of her own and should be considered Cinderella in this story. However, forget what you know about those tales because The Perfect Duke is its own fairy tale story. Together they are the perfect match for one another as they overcome each of their pasts, survive the present and figure out their future. The chemistry between the two is hot enough to keep me warm on a chilly night.

There are many characters that played an intricate part in this riveting plot that I quickly fell in love with. One of them was Garret’s sister, Mallory. She was a hoot when she showed up at the engagement ball. In fact I’d love to read a story with her as the heroine.

Just when you expect what will happen, the unexpected happens. This story was a quick paced story that was impossible to put down. Once again, I was up at 2am finishing the book even knowing I had to get up at 6am for work. I desperately wanted to put it down so I could go to sleep but I could not, for I knew I’d never fall asleep without knowing how in the world Garret and Cara’s love would survive all the complications.

I absolutely love stories that have an epilogue. This epilogue was worth staying up past my bedtime. I admit that I experienced a major “Book Glow”. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. As the author wrote “—as long as you believe, fairy tales really can come true.” I’m blessed that I had a wonderful work day despite my sleep deprivation because Garret and Cara lived “Happy Ever After”!

Taken by Surprise by Valerie J. Clarizio

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Taken by Surprise by Valerie J. Clarizio
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Everyone is shocked when Clare Ulster leaves her rich and handsome fiancé, chucks her well-to-do Milwaukee city life, and moves into her grandparents’ old homestead in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The quiet small town of Iron City is just what she needs to get her life in order and learn to stand on her own. No men needed!

Unfortunately, disaster follows her. Unable to let her go, her abusive, cheating ex- fiancé finds his way to the U.P. and sets out to make Clare’s life more of a living hell then he’d done in the past. Additionally, Clare’s alleged involvement with the Fire Chief, aka, town player, lands her in a world of trouble with his ring of female admirers, sending her on a dangerously chaotic adventure including murder and kidnapping. With Clare’s life in danger, irresistible Police Chief Jack Ricco will do whatever it takes to keep their newest resident safe.

Will Clare and Jack be able to survive the deceptively peaceful Iron City?

This book started off rock solid. I thought I found another winner. I was proud of Clare, the heroine, for making the brave decision to walk away from her troubled Milwaukee city life to start a new life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She’s finally going to stand on her own and achieve her dreams. I enjoyed reading her pull from her inner strength to accomplish her goals in spite of her insecurities.

Jack, the hero, was equally brave and irresistible and thankfully well equipped to keep Clare safe from the relentless danger that followed her from Milwaukee. The chemistry between Clare and Jack was “Awe” worthy. I especially loved how and why Jack came to Clare’s rescue when she was cleaning the garage. I got quite the chuckle. Jack always came through just in the nick of time, thank goodness.

The synopsis refers to a plot thread about Clare’s alleged involvement with the Fire Chief and his “ring of female admirers”. Unfortunately, this is where I felt that the book faltered. The premise was farfetched. Another thing that hit a wrong note for me was the last chapter. It was as if the author pushed the fast forward button to quickly wrap-up the book. I kind of felt cheated.

Up until the last speedy chapter, the novel was consistently filled with suspense, mystery, and developments that were unpredictable, and that kept me turning the pages. Thankfully the evolving love story between Jack and Clare was well written and kept me plugged in until I reached the happy ending.

Taken by Surprise was a well-paced read with all the threads nicely tied up with a successful satisfactory conclusion. I would recommend this book.

No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys by Wade Kelly

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No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys by Wade Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (285 pages)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

What is a sexy soccer stud supposed to do when “following family tradition” falls 180 degrees opposite his closeted ideal?

From birth, Chris Jackson has been schooled on how to land a cheerleader. After all, his father married one, and his father’s father before him. Heck, even his older brother married a stereotypical cheerleader the summer before Chris went off to college. For two years, Chris dodges invasive questions about relationships by blaming his lack of female companionship on grueling practices and heavy course loads. But his lack of interest in girls should’ve given his family a clue. It isn’t until Chris mentions meeting a boy that his father’s synapses short-circuit.

Alonzo Martin is anything but a buxom blond. From his black hair, combat boots, and trench coat to his nail polish and guyliner, the mysterious introvert isn’t easily persuaded to date. Alonzo’s insecurities keep Chris at arm’s length, but Alonzo’s painful past might meet its match in the charismatic jock’s winning smile and sense of humor.

When opposites attract, only cheerleaders and gummy bears can help overcome fear and family tradition.

An outgoing jock who’s still in the closet meets a hurt, withdrawn emo guy he just has to have. Here’s what happens next…

The story starts right away, which is good. Slow beginnings annoy me. Both main characters, Chris and Alonzo, are wonderful guys, so freaking adorable and amiable. Loved them. Their dialogue is witty banter, partly small talk and partly in-depth conversations. I liked the realistic balance of their interaction.

This is a slow-build romance. Alonzo, who’s been traumatized in the past, has pretty legit reasons for shying away from physical relationships. So there’s a lot of kissing and making out, tantalizing little scenes that whet a reader’s appetite for more. Delicious approach in my honest opinion.

The characterization is pretty well done. We get Chris’s first person POV and then Alonzo’s third person POV. I personally wouldn’t have minded if both were in first person, since the two guys are so different in personalities and outlooks. Nonetheless, both men are shown as three-dimensional men coming into their true selves. Chris with his ever-present smile and Alonzo with his habit of avoiding direct eye contact, one optimistic and assertive, the other reticent and melancholy. These portrayals felt sweet and honest.

The writing is easy to follow, the pacing fluid. There was some sports stuff I happily skated over but beyond that I didn’t want to miss a thing. Sometimes the people talk a bit funny, as in too formal or mature for their ages, but these are smart people, so it makes sense. The sensual scenes, of which there are plenty, never cease to titillate and make me go “aww.”

One of the side characters, Doug, Chris’s best friend, has POV scenes too. He’s confused about his own sexuality but also shows homophobic attitudes. I was intrigued by these insights into Doug’s mindset, his bafflement about gayness, at once seeing it as disgusting but also as normal. His frame of mind could easily have become hatred and/or violence but he grows to see that love is love. I was surprised and pleased with how Doug’s situation was handled. His story’s next, I believe.

It was nice to see Ellis and Cole from the first book in the series too. These books are great, and they hold a special place in my heart.

All in all, Kelly is a great writer who has a knack for reaching the mindset of people who are kind at heart but going through angsty times and serious learning curves. There’s humor, fun and games amid the more heartbreaking stuff, which balances the storytelling well. The ending sure left me with a perma-grin and a few happy tears.

I highly recommend this series to all those who love jocks-and-nerds and coming out themes, and relatively low angst levels with plenty of sweet love mixed with spicy sex scenes.

Plus, there are gummy bears.

Emissary by Michael Leon


Emissary by Michael Leon
Publisher: self published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (283 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Rose

Emissary tells the tale of Vincent, a scientist plagued with strange nightmares since childhood. He has successfully treated his mental illness with drugs and kept it hidden from his colleagues, particularly Ella, the beautiful and intelligent scientist from whom he also struggles to hide his affection. But what if his experiences were real and the dark energy that crawls inside him now threatens the existence of the universe?

As his nightmares return, Vincent unravels the secrets of his past, with the help of Ella and ever-guarded Constantine. Revealing their other-world origins, they need his help to destroy the Entity that was created when Ella created a portal to Vincent’s universe. As Vincent grapples with his love for Ella, he traverses Europe in pursuit of answers, learns how to travel at the speed of light and confronts his perception of what is real. But can he trust his friends? Could he ever truly be with Ella, and what is his scientific destiny so revered by his colleagues.

Emissary is a science-fiction adventure novel that travels at the speed of light, where multiverse theory collides with quantum mechanics on the dark side of Saturn’s moon.

What an exciting book! From the very first the reader is dropped into the action, and the mystery surrounding Vincent. This is science fiction like it is meant to be and I could so see this on the big screen (some of the special effects would be awesome).

The characters are wonderfully drawn. I really enjoyed them and their interactions, all the while rooting for the developing relationship between Vincent and Ella. There are some sad moments, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

The book is vibrant and is full of surprises. The author takes the reader on a whirlwind of new discoveries and forever changes the lives of the characters in it. Kudos, Mr. Leon. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

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Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (234 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

IN THE ARMS OF DANGER

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this story because I just knew it was going to be great. I’m pretty sure this could be read as a standalone read but it’s even better for fans of the series. Why? Because of Alf, of course. After a while we all figured out who, or better yet, what Alf was but to have that character get a happy ever after is a real treat. The fact that the hero is Hugh, who I met in a previous story, is another hook that I’m all too happy not to resist. He is a man with depths.

I can happily say that I’m thrilled with this novel. I liked how Alf was such a strong heroine; she was spunky, mischievous, and skilled with a sword. I enjoyed watching her slowly change from a survivor to a woman in love. There was so much to admire about her character that I think she’s become one of my favorite leading ladies. Her soft heart was in evidence whenever she dealt with the young children in the story. Alf truly touched my heart.

Hugh is a complicated man. His lineage is intriguing, his job is fascinating and for all the power he holds, he is powerless to help his own kids. He doesn’t stop trying, he doesn’t stop loving and the author’s choice of words to describe some of the scenes between them were all heartbreaking and tender.

Duke of Pleasure is an emotionally rich story and is a credit to Ms. Hoyt’s skill as a storyteller. I was wowed.

A word to the wise, this book can also steam your glasses, if you wear them. I chose spicy as the heat level but it was a toss-up. There were a couple of scenes that were quite possibly hotter than a habanero pepper, but it might have seemed that way because I really liked the dynamics between Alf and Hugh; she was innocent, he was not, but, she wasn’t demure and shy, oh no, Alf was pragmatic and a quick learner to the point of enthusiasm. Hugh didn’t stand a chance.

The overall story arc had an exciting and tightly written conclusion and I was so happy that the worst was over … until I read the sneak peek for the next book in the series. Oh my! That one should be very interesting indeed. Guess what I can’t wait for!!

Duke of Pleasure has a perfect happy ever after for two wonderful people and I’m a very satisfied reader. It’s no hardship to recommend this novel to any and all historical romance readers because it’s such an entertaining and engaging read. Once started, I couldn’t it put it down so please leave enough time to enjoy to get the full effect. It’s worth it.

Cuff Me by Erica Lynn

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Cuff Me by Erica Lynn
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (71 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Lynette Montgomery’s older sister dies from breast cancer, she quickly steps in to take care of her two young nephews. The boys are sweet, caring, and Lynette has no idea what she’s doing. Terrified of failing her sister, she does everything she can to present herself as the parental figure she feels the boys need, even swearing off the sexy-as-can-be cop she just so happened to have a one-night stand with outside of her best friend’s house.

Robert Barletta is a decorated and respected cop with the San Antonio PD. After having just played a key role in bringing down Houston and San Antonio’s largest drug operation, he should be on top of the world. Unfortunately for him, he can’t get that one night with a smoking hot blonde temptress out of his head.

When he’s forced to take some time off, and the two come face to face, will they be able to keep their attraction on the back burner? Or has this game of cat and mouse just started?

Lynette has organized a surprise divorce party for her best friend, Lexie. About to take on full time responsibility of her two young nephews, Lynette decides to let loose one last time and have a quick skinnydip in the stream behind Lexie’s house. Only Robert had come outside for a breath of fresh air and can’t help his attraction to Lynette. A drug lord’s son and the cop who helped jail Lexie’s now ex-husband, Robert has plenty to overcome and prove to himself. Can he and Lynette find some middle ground and indulge in their instant lust for one another?

I found this to be a fun, quick read. The beginning was a little sluggish for my tastes, the author spent quite a few pages explaining how Lynette was connected to Lexie, and all the background between the ex-husband, the new fiancé and how Robert fit in to everything. It was quite clear to me that this is the second book in a series and initially at least catching the reader up on all that back-story – even though the author kept it fairly brief – really did make the start feel clunky to me. A part of me wondered if it was really necessary, since the rest of the story is Lynette and Robert and the relationship they forge together, I’m not convinced that the history of the previous book is relevant to anything except for linking the world and a few of the characters. I would have greatly preferred this to have been trimmed down a little more so it could have been read completely alone with only a sentence or two to indicate there was a previous story behind Lexie and her new fiancé. Readers who have started with the first story and are eager for more, however, probably would feel completely different to myself – so it’s definitely a matter of personal taste, to my mind.

Once the plot between Lynette and Robert really started moving though I found this to be a fast-paced, fantastic read. I loved how much plot there was, Robert and his history, demons and all, Lynette’s grief over the loss of her sister and taking on her two small nephews, there was a huge number of plots all weaving together and I really enjoyed the magic the author injected into the story handling it all so well. Part of me wondered if this could have been made into a longer length story, certainly I felt there was plenty going on as well as the steamy sex between Lynette and Robert, but other than wishing there’d been more it was hard for me to put this book down.

The sex was explicit and well written to my mind. There was nothing earth-shattering or too over the top, so I feel most erotica readers will find themselves satisfied with both the heat level and the amount of sexiness in the story. I really loved how the author used the sex to deepen the emotional connection between Lynette and Robert, I felt it really added another layer to their blossoming relationship. The fact Robert was a hot-ass cop with a mile-wide streak of protectiveness and a man who could cook – just made it that much more appealing to my mind.

I found this to be a fun and short story with great characters, heaps of plot and a delicious amount of spicy sex. Recommended.

Choices by Em Woods

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Choices by Em Woods
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

When a rodeo clown, a small town veterinarian and his assistant form a complicated trio, they find it’s their choices that determine who finds love.

When rodeo clown Brandt Collins is forced into retirement by an injury in the arena, he heads to long-time friend Kaden Slater’s hometown to settle down. As far as he’s concerned, if that old flame ignites into a wildfire, then all the better.

Kaden is glad to see Brandt, but a little complication in the form of Kaden’s new assistant, Mike, throws a wrench in all their plans. Sexy, smart and young, Mike wants Kaden more than he wants his next breath.

Soon, misunderstandings and the past conspire to tear the trio apart before they’ve even begun. And now it’s their choices that will determine who finds love—and who doesn’t.

At thirty five Brandt was no longer agile enough to be a rodeo clown. Kaden is a vet and has been one of Brandt’s best friends for many years. After they made their choices to remain close friends and not more, each had scrupulously kept their emotional distance from the other. Mike was Kaden’s vet assistant and while Kaden waited for his cowboy to come home, chemistry sizzled between Mike and Kaden. Can the three men come together and make choices that they can all live with?

This is a really sweet, warm-hearted short story. I loved the three characters of Kaden, Brandt and Mike and was pleased to watch these friends finally act on their feelings and become a threesome. There were some great secondary characters too. I found this to be quite a slow paced, steamy read. There is a delicious amount of chemistry between all three men – Kaden/Brandt and Kaden/Mike in particular – and watching this triangle become a menage was a lovely story. I loved the threesome scene when it finally came about – readers who enjoy a lot of buildup, chemistry and tension in their stories should not be at all disappointed.

I was impressed by the way the author kept the attraction and sexy desire between the three men simmering, with a few hot kisses and I felt the simmering sexual tension was a wonderful way to keep the eroticism of the story high without having endless, meaningless sex scenes padding the story out. This also made that final menage scene well worth the wait and hotter for all the buildup.

I really enjoyed this story and would happily recommend it to readers looking for a steamy, chemistry-strong threesome story.

Three French Inns by Patricia Kiyono

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Three French Inns by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: esKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

When in France Peter Brown goes by the name of Pierre le Brun. Born in France of a french Mother and English father, he had grown up in England and fought for that country in the Napoleonic wars.

Caroline Bouchard Duval cooked for the guests in her father’s inn which was near the castle Pierre’s grandfather had owned, but been forced to sell. The two met toward the end of the wars and then went their separate ways.

Years later, on his way to Geneva Pierre had fallen from his horse and been taken to the inn where Caroline worked. They recognised each other, but Caroline concentrated on to helping her father while Pierre had business in Geneva. His journey was delayed by the injuries he sustained in the fall from his horse. This forced him to remain in the area for a few weeks.

Caroline and Pierre are two well rounded characters who are gradually drawn to one another. Neither wants to force their attentions on the other. A well written book which kept my interest throughout the pages. As I read, it was difficult to tell what the outcome would be, so I was pleasantly surprised by the events that took place.

Although short, this book had attraction, conflict and an undercurrent of a puzzle to be solved. A sweet romance set in the rural area of France so that the after effects of the Napoleonic wars did not trouble the population of the town. Good story.

Skunk Chronicles by Dallas M. Collet

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Skunk Chronicles by Dallas M. Collet
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Holiday, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (380 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

A hit-and-run pickup truck driver severely injures twelve-year-old Trent Stone and kills his best friend. He is left shattered, alone, and struggling with the reality of permanent loss.

As Trent tries to put his life back together and uncover who was driving the truck that fateful day, he is met with an onslaught of ever-mounting problems. He attacks his challenges with the naïve and playful honesty of youth, while at the same time experiencing the overwhelming miracle of a first love.

When Lindsey, the subject of that love, disappears, Trent is not only implicated in her disappearance but accused of her murder. How can he prove his innocence when she made him promise not to tell what he knows?

One amazing read that keeps you guessing!

The Skunk Chronicles follows the world from the view of Trent Stone. Trent is a small town boy with very adventurous friends. In a hit and run accident, Trent is severely injured while his friend Seth is killed. Trent’s life is turned upside down from this event forward and the following events make his life almost unbearable.

The author does a wonderful job at bringing the reader to see the world from Trent’s eyes. The reader feels the concern, anxiety and stress that Trent feels. When Trent befriends Lindsey, the world becomes so much lighter. Yet when the malicious teacher, Usher Riggins, becomes involved, Trent’s life becomes much more difficult.

The author keeps the reader guessing, from the aggression of Usher Riggins to the second guesses as to what happened to Lindsey, there is so much going in the story line to keep the reader stuck to the book. I found myself unable to put the book down even for a short time as I wanted to know what happened next or what trouble Trent would find himself involved.

The author has an amazing way of making Trent’s internal monologue come alive and avoid the tedious narration that some books have. The lively interactions and conversations as well as the in-depth description make this a real-world experience for the reader.

The Skunk Chronicles is a fantastic read that brings life in the 1950’s to the forefront and even transports the reader back into the adventurous times of youth! Be sure not to miss this amazing read!

Bite Me by Jenika Snow

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Bite Me by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (83 Pages)
Other: M/F/M, M/F/M/M, Anal Play, Menage
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

With no idea where she comes from, or who she is really is, Ruby has gone through life focusing on her passion for science. But for the last seven years she’s dreamed of the same three men.

It isn’t until she’s drawn to barren and icy Alaska for her research that she comes face to face with the men from her dreams…men who are also shifters. They tell her she’s their mate, and the three of them will share her. They’re dominating and possessive, and want her to be their first and only. When they mate it’s for life.

She knows she can run, but Ruby also knows they’ll chase her. What she doesn’t know is if she’s ready to accept everything they want, and everything she finds out.

This was a sweet sexy shifter story. It was short but interesting and I enjoyed reading it.

The plot of this story was interesting and the characters were likeable but I was expecting more than the bit of low suspense. Ruby stood out to me as a very strong heroine who was willing to stand up for the right thing for everyone. She took the situation in stride at discovering her origins and that she would have three shifter mates. Get ready for some hot mating sex in this one. I was fine with that part but felt that the conflict ended a bit too suddenly. I liked the story, but it was missing something for me. To sum up my opinion, it was nicely written but not very exciting. A good read for a couple hours, anyway, and onward to the next book by this author.

I recommend this short sexy book as a quick and satisfying read for those who enjoy hot shifter romance.