Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre

Masked-Innocence
Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (296 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/F, F/F, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

The man was sinful. It wasn’t just the looks that made him dangerous, it was the cocky confidence that dominated every move, every touch. And the frustrating yet ecstatic fact about the whole package was that he could back it all up…

Julia Campbell never knows what to expect with win-at-all-costs Brad De Luca. And she’s starting to like it that way. She gave up safe, conventional relationships when she let the elite divorce attorney seduce her into his world. Now that he’s determined to strip her naked of every inhibition, she’s in danger of falling too deep and too fast.

But their affair begins to feel even more dangerous when a murder leaves a trail of suspicion that points straight to the mob…and Brad. Trusting a man with a bad reputation and a past full of secrets seems like a mistake. But when she’s forced to make a choice, the consequences will take her further than she could ever have imagined.

Julia and Brad’s relationship gets stripped of every inhibition. Are you ready to swing into action?

Julia Campbell is working for renowned divorce lawyer Brad De Luca. Things have gotten hot and heavy between them with some serious commitment issues fogging the mirror. Brad decides to take Julia to a swinger party to expand her horizons. With elaborate professional makeup and some serious sexual tension, the story ramps up with a lot of sizzle and pop.

Julia is pretty new to the relationship game. With only two romantic entanglements, the idea of becoming involved in the swinger lifestyle is a little bit scary. Brad assures her if she only wants to watch that is fine, but as the night progresses, the heat does too. I loved the sex scenes in the book. They were smoking hot. The one thing that did stand out to me was in the middle of the swinger party when Brad is physically involved with Julia, he is looking at a hot blond and telling her how much he wants her to be the third in their swinging adventure. Julia isn’t sure about this and as the story develops you find out that the girl is a virgin and all of a sudden she wants her first sexual encounter to be with these two strangers she meets at a party. Now, I understand the swinger lifestyle, but that seemed a little much in the suspension of disbelief department.

As the book goes on, you understand that Brad has a lot in the way of family secrets. As Julia becomes more involved with Brad there are mafia entanglements and you have a murder mystery on your hands. There are sex scenes throughout with the edge of danger woven in between the sheets. The witty back and forth between Brad and Julia is spicy, but there are points in the dialog that don’t fit or sound wrong. There is also Julia’s tendency to get mad at Brad for the strangest of reasons. She flips out when he won’t stay at her place but is okay with him in sexual situations with strangers. Go figure. The mafia part also kind of came out of nowhere for me. The story was zinging along and here is a situation where Brad offers Julia marriage to protect her from his family? What? Whoa. Again with the suspension of disbelief. Sexy yes. Swinger…okay. Mafia? Oh no.

Overall, I liked the pace of the book. The repartee was sharp and I liked the idea of the swinger scene. The saving of the virgin from the evil near-rapist was good, but lost me when the grateful young virgin sacrifices her virtue on the altar of “thank you kind sir and madam let’s have sex”. You did get to see Brad deal with his commitment issues and watch as he has some pretty tough decisions to make in regards to his family and Julia. If you like steamy sex with an edge of danger with mafia flair then you will probably enjoy this one.

For sexy spice with a swinger edge, give this book a try.

 

A Nightmare Come True by Sage Marlowe

TRUE
A Nightmare Come True by Sage Marlowe
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (103 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex, Double Penetration, Multiple Partners
Rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Dreams can come true—but sometimes nightmares are very real, too.

When Michael—Mikey—Fawkes bags himself a job as a handyman for a film production company and meets his favourite actor, gay porn star Colin Meighan, he believes his dream has come true. Colin indeed appears to be a dream turned to flesh. Handsome, young and as insatiable sexually as the roles he plays suggest, he makes his way into Mikey’s bed and introduces him to unknown carnal pleasures.

A slick lover and sweet talker, Colin also finds a place in Mikey’s heart, but as Mikey lets his new lover lure him deeper and deeper into a world of decadent on- and off-screen sex, their indulgences begin to take their toll on Mikey. Curious to find out more about the strange and inexplicable effect Colin has on his sex partners, Mikey discovers that there is a terrible reason why one man alone can never be enough to satisfy Colin’s hunger and he realises that dreams can come true—but sometimes nightmares are very real, too.

Be careful what you desire, you just might get it. Mikey has been lusting over his favorite porn star Colin for years. He’s seen all of Colin’s films and is shocked when his new job is a gopher on a porn set. He’ll finally get to see Colin in action. What happens goes beyond Mikey’s wildest dreams as he not only gets to know Colin on a personal level, but they actually start dating. Just when Mikey thinks he’s gotten everything he’s always wanted, he realizes there may be a price to pay. And it’s not a matter of money.

A Nightmare Come True is book one in a new series. The blurb specifically warns that the storyline will be an on-going arc throughout all the books. I didn’t know this going into the first book but I’m not sure new readers need to be warned as the book functions very well on it’s own with a definitive happy ending and conclusion to most problems. I assume the characters and story line will be embellished in future books. For the first book, it’s a decent introduction to both Mikey and Colin and the supernatural component of what exactly Colin is. I can’t say because it’s kind of a big reveal at the end but it’s definitely integral to the whole story.

I found the story easy to read and the characters likeable but there is an awful lot of sex. Now, I love some great sex scenes so I didn’t mind really but I did want to warn readers that there tends to be more sex scenes than anything else. Mikey and Colin’s relationship develops primarily through their intense physical attraction and later through an emotional one. I do think there are a few lingering questions, such as how Mikey and Colin can stay together long term but I think these will be addressed in later books. Instead here the story sets the porn stage and backdrop that the series will no doubt revolve around rather than go into a lot of detail and complexity with any character or the plot itself.

Sometimes I found myself frustrated with the lack of emotional relationship between the men when they were too focused on having lots of sex and ignoring the consequences. I would have liked to see more of their relationship outside the bedroom. However their desire to be together is very clear and they have obvious chemistry from the beginning. As a more erotica driven story than romance, I think readers will appreciate the many hot men in various positions having lots and lots of sex. Perhaps the romance will develop in later books but I think for a first book in the series, the story is entertaining.

Women in Love by Berengaria Brown

OVE
Women in Love by Berengaria Brown
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pages)
Other: F/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Tammy has been lusting after Lydia for ages. They attend the same gym and Tammy makes sure she’s there when Lydia goes. Lydia recently turned forty and has realized that there’s more to life than a career. She’s aware of Tammy’s interest in her and decides it would be good to get to know Tammy better and see what develops.

Damaris has loved Larnie for a long time, but Larnie’s unwilling to commit to a true relationship. They end up joining the gym together, and Larnie’s very nervous about taking this step.

Will these women deny what’s in their hearts or will they find love?

Have you ever seen a stranger smile in public and wondered what he or she was thinking?

The descriptions in this short story captured my attention immediately. Ms. Brown’s ability to quickly create a realistic background and interesting characters made it easy for me to keep reading. I was especially intrigued by the quirky menu at the coffee shop where two of the characters meet for a date. Small details like this one made it easy for me to imagine exactly what was going on.

Some of the dialogue and descriptive phrases in certain scenes were a little wordy at times due to the use of multiple words with similar meanings. Other sentences used colloquial terms that never seemed to quite fit in with what I’d learned about the characters’ personalities so far. It would have been helpful for this reader to have a few more clues if these words and phrases were purposefully used in order to flesh out the characters’ personalities.

The chemistry between both couples is strong. I particularly enjoyed Tammy and Lydia’s scenes at the beginning of this tale due to the slow, steady buildup of sexual tension. While I don’t know if the author plans to write more about the characters in the future, I would be interested in revisiting them if she does.

Women in Love is good choice for anyone in the mood for something short and unique. This was my first introduction to Ms. Brown’s work, and it is something I’d recommend to anyone else who hasn’t given her a try yet either.

Theirs to Cherish by Shayla Black

CHERISH
Theirs to Cherish by Shayla Black
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length; Full Length (400 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Menage, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The perfect place for a woman on the run to disappear…

Accused of a horrific murder she didn’t commit, former heiress Callie Ward has been a fugitive since she was sixteen—until she found the perfect hideout, Club Dominion. The only problem is she’s fallen for the club’s Master, Mitchell Thorpe, who keeps her at arm’s length. Little does she know that his reasons for not getting involved have everything to do with his wounded heart…and his consuming desire for her.

To live out her wildest fantasies…

Enter Sean Kirkpatrick, a Dom who’s recently come to Dominion and taken a pointed interest in Callie. Hoping to make Thorpe jealous, she submits to Sean one shuddering sigh at a time. It isn’t long before she realizes she’s falling for him too. But the tender lover who’s slowly seducing her body and earning her trust isn’t who he claims…

And to fall in love.

When emotions collide and truths are exposed, Sean is willing to risk all to keep Callie from slipping through his fingers. But he’s not the only man looking to stake a claim. Now Callie is torn between Sean and Thorpe, and though she’s unsure whom she can trust, she’ll have to surrender her body and soul to both—if she wants to elude a killer…

Crime, death and a lot of hot sex! Have I got your attention? Then you should read Theirs to Cherish.

This isn’t my first foray into the world of Shayla Black. I’ve read her other works, but not in this series. That didn’t detract from my enjoyment with this book. It sizzles with sexual tension and the writing crackles. I needed to know what would happen next.

Like I said, I haven’t read the others in this series, but I didn’t think that was a problem. The characters were described well enough and the story solid enough for me to keep up. That said, there were moments I skimmed through pages, needing more action. The story isn’t boring, but the pacing could’ve been ramped up a bit.

So who are the players? Thorpe is the head Dom of Club Domination. He’s a tough guy and isn’t terribly easy to understand. I got that he was uber alpha, but there were moments I wished he’d have cracked a bit. He’s got a back story I won’t divulge and it’s heady. It’s hardened him. I liked that he was crusted over, but I had a very hard time liking him. He came across, as the heroine says, like a caveman.

Then there’s Sean. He’s the Dom Callie ends up with at the end of the previous book. He’s multi-dimensional, but also hard to love. I wanted to like him earlier on and I’m glad I kept reading to find out his secrets. The one thing that drove me crazy about him and Thorpe was the drive. I liked that they had to learn to get along, but the conversation was stilted in spots and didn’t seem terribly masculine. Do guys really talk about their emotions that much?

Callie is a conundrum, too. She’s not just a bratty sub – and she’s very bratty – she’s also a on the run heiress. I get this is fiction and she’s going to be a tad larger than life, but I had a hard time connecting with her. Many times I thought she would zig and instead she zagged. Her dialogue comes across bubbly at times and whiny at others. I really wanted to like her and root for her, but I ended up putting the book down more often than not.

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t dislike this book. There were hot scenes throughout. The sex sizzles and you’ll want something cold by the time the book is over and the mystery itself was strong.

If you want a menage story with a BDSM twist and mystery to boot, then this might be the book for you.

Going Up by Amy Lane

UP
Going Up by Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Every dreary day, Zach Driscoll takes the elevator from the penthouse apartment of his father’s building to his coldly charmed life where being a union lawyer instead of a corporate lawyer is an act of rebellion. Every day, that is, until the day the elevator breaks and Sean Mallory practically runs into his arms.

Substitute teacher Sean Mallory is everything Zach is not—poor, happy, and goofily charming. With a disarming smile and a penchant for drama, Sean laughs his way into Zach’s heart one elevator ride at a time. Zach would love to get to know Sean better, but first he needs the courage to leave his ivory tower and face a relationship that doesn’t end at the “Ding!”

Sometimes an elevator malfunction can lead to the love of your life. Zach Driscoll is used to a life of luxury. Growing up the only child of extremely wealthy parents has given Zach all the advantages he could ever want and left him yearning for companionship. Hiding the fact that he’s gay, Zach has always longed for a relationship but never found one. A chance meeting in an elevator gives Zach a glimpse at the man that just may be perfect for him. However, coming out to his parents and changing his life may be too scary a step for Zach to take. He wants to experience more of the world but only if he can find the courage.

Going Up is a very cute story reminiscent of fairytales. Zach is the privileged prince kept locked away in a tower at the behest of his parents. He’s not necessarily unhappy with his life but he yearns for more. He wants a relationship with a real man, not one he has to pay. Zach is a well-drawn character and his eagerness to create real friendships and relationships is very endearing. He clearly wants companionship on a number of different levels but lacks the social skills to make this happen. Fortunately he has a plucky secretary and an adorable neighbor that will fill both social and romantic needs.

Sean is a teacher that happens to live in the same building as Zach, albeit in an apartment with five other people to afford the rent. Sean and Zach have some entertaining elevator rides together and their chemistry practically leaps off the page from the first time they meet. Sean’s various outfits really steal the scenes and I liked how they got to know each other gradually over time and as their individual lives went on. It made the relationship understandable once they finally did get together.

Overall I was surprised how quickly I read this novella and enjoyed the humor in the writing. It’s very light and breezy, the kind of feel good story that mixes laughter and romance. It’s nothing particularly new or different but the clean writing and cute characters make it worth reading. Especially those readers looking for something classic and easy with some fun dialogue.

In the Den by Sierra Cartwright

DEN
In the Den by Sierra Cartwright
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (183 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, masturbation, flogging, spanking, bondage, anal sex, toys
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Bittersweet

What could be headier than the surrender of a powerfully dominant woman?

Dom Damien Lowell has always respected Domme Catrina Davidson. He likes the way she interacts with her subs, confident, kind, firm. And for years he’s fantasised about her submitting to him. What could be hotter than having the sexy Domme squirming beneath his lash?

One evening, Damien challenges her, saying she’d be a much better Domme if she experienced submission…to him.
Catrina doesn’t have a single submissive tendency. But she’s oh-so turned on when she watches a sub respond to Damien. A secret part of her is intrigued, and she asks herself, what harm can come from giving him two weeks?

Over the next fortnight, she is introduced to the pleasures and perils of servitude. She has to admit that he’s right—her understanding of submission is deeper, more profound, than it would have been otherwise. But the private experiences they share in the Den leave her emotionally shattered, making her question everything she thought she knew.

In her unique way, Catrina too, challenges Damien, forcing him to grow as a Dom, and he wonders how the hell he’ll ever be able to let her go.

Sometimes, after several books an author’s writing quality starts to decrease. That’s not the case with In the Den, by Sierra Cartwright. In this novel, book 6 of the Mastered series, Ms. Cartwright delivers a fascinating story that sucked me right in from page one.

Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to read the rest of the series before this one, but I highly recommend it as it’s nice to recognize some old characters and to get to know the mysterious owner of the Den, Damien Lowell, from the start.

The overall plot might not be innovative, but Cartwright’s writing is wonderful. The words flow easily, and as with earlier books I was seduced into the world she creates. Also, as I’ve mentioned in other reviews, she has a knack of teaching about the BDSM lifestyle through her books without detracting from the erotic, without making it seem like an actual lesson. Everything seems natural and the story rolls effortlessly.

Though In the Den is erotic beyond any words I could write here, what really makes it a great read is the love story between the characters. It was emotional, heady, full of unexpected little paths that left me wondering if they’d make in the end. After all, Damien was not falling for any girl. The woman to whom he had decided to dedicate all his affections was none other than the respected Domme Catrina Davidson.

Initially I was a bit hesitant about Catrina becoming a submissive. After all, she was a Domme, had been since forever and that made her awesome to my eyes. Nevertheless, this was also precisely why I was intrigued: How the hell was Damien going to bend her to his will? It would have definitely been very interesting to read if it had been done the other way, Catrina dominating Damien, but Ms. Cartwright still caught me up in the intricate romance that bloomed between these two.

And romance it was.

Damien is not only old-world manners, good looking, intelligent and wealthy. He’s seduction on two feet and he snuggles! He knows what he wants and he goes after it without hesitating, but when it comes to love, it was interesting to see a different side of Damien. I knew he was in love long before he figured it out.

Catrina is Damien’s equal in everything. More than once I found myself wondering what it would be like to be under her scrutinizing wide-eyed gaze. The path that Damien leads her into, was not easy to watch. More than once I found myself holding back tears with her, struggling with every step of wanting to submit but not quite getting there yet.

There is little more I can say about the sex: it is amazing, scorching, sizzling. The chemistry between the characters is off the charts (I’m still reliving that first kiss in my mind or the coffee table scene).

All in all, In The Den is a great novel, which I’ve already read twice and I know I will read again and again.

Firelit Magic by Wendi Zwaduk

MAGIC
Firelit Magic by Wendi Zwaduk
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (74 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Fire-red magic and white-hot nights make up the best witch’s brew…

Young witch Cian is coming into her own—and her magic. She’s happy rescuing the black cats that society doesn’t want, but she’s lonely. A sexy man to warm her nights would be perfect. Too bad the man in question isn’t interested—or is he?

Officer Tommy Barnes noticed red-haired beauty Cian the first time he stepped into her store, but a witch and a cop shouldn’t mix—should they? And what’s with her seemingly sinister interest in black cats? He can’t deny his attraction to her, so while his sixth sense says she’s harmless, a little investigative work between the sheets never hurt…

Can Tommy withstand the red-hot fire or will this witch get the best of him?

After her partner at Miss Scarlett’s Potions finds true love, witch Cian Roston wonders if she will ever find someone of her own to love. When black cats start disappearing, the police come to call, in the person of Tommy Barnes. After deciding that Cian is innocent of things she has been accused of, Tommy discovers he is attracted to Cian. Both Cian and Tommy have been hurt before, so they decide to take things slowly. When it becomes clear someone is targeting Cian and trying to run her out of town, Tommy decides to do what he can to keep her safe. As things heat up between Cian and Tommy, so does the campaign to ruin Cian’s reputation. Can Tommy find out who is behind the cult that has targeted Cian before someone gets hurt? Can Cian accept the love that Tommy offers her? Can two wounded souls find happiness and healing in each other’s arms for a forever love?

Firelit Magic is Wendi Zwaduk’s second visit to this world of romance and magic she has so skillfully crafted. It is a world where witches are part of the world at large, and mostly accepted by society. The characters are well defined and very likable, and the world is one I would like to continue to visit. I like the interplay between the lead characters, and like that the secondary characters are people I’ve met before and also liked.

Cian Roston is a witch. She is strong and independent, and caring and sensitive to all living things. She rescues black cats, because she believes they have gotten a ‘bad rap’ over the years. She watched as her best friend found her soul mate, and wants to find one of her own. I like that she was not intimidated by those who want to cast her in a bad light, and like her spunky attitude in protecting her charges. I enjoyed watching as she tried not to fall for Tommy, and was happy to see her decide to take a chance on him.

Tommy Barnes is strong, honest and determined. He likes being a cop, and is determined to get to the bottom of what is happening with Cian. After all, just because she is a witch doesn’t mean she is stealing or killing the black cats as she is accused of doing. Even though he is attracted to her, he still doesn’t believe a witch and a cop should be together. I liked that Tommy was open minded enough to decide to ask for a date with Cian, to get to know her better. I enjoyed watching as Tommy discovered that there was much more to Cian than just being a witch, and that he was willing to give a relationship a try after all. His surprise at her powers was such fun to watch.

There is a dark side to this story, as the leader of the cult tries to incriminate Cian in order to force her to leave town. And the surprise of who that leader was, is something I will not reveal here; if you want to know who was behind much of the evil doing and treachery, I recommend you read this one. The chemistry between Cian and Tommy builds exponentially, and I enjoyed Tommy’s shock when Cian actually glows during their romantic and hot interludes. This is for those who like their romances magical and hot, and be sure to keep tissues and ice water nearby.

Sail to the Moon by Lynne Connolly

MOON
Sail to the Moon by Lynne Connolly
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (139 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Zinnia

With a wild appearance as untamed as his personality, Zazz is the perfect front man for Murder City Ravens. When the tour takes him home to Manchester, England, he finds his father in trouble and a social worker desperately trying to help.

Laura is nothing like the proper, older social worker Zazz assumed he’d been communicating with via email for months. She’s young and sexy. One look at her and he’s lost. One night in her arms and he knows this is more than a road romance. But Laura has a life she loves and won’t give it up for a rock star.

Zazz’s father needs Laura’s care, so how could Zazz even consider taking her away?

Except they can’t keep their hands off each other and when they’re not heating up the sheets they’re connecting on a deeper level. But their way of life must change if they are to have a shot at forever.

British Rock Star meets Regular Jane and has loads of naughty sex. I bet those words captured your attention and while Sail to the Moon has these elements it also has so much more.

Zazz is very similar to the typical rock star. He is arrogant, gorgeous, super in the bedroom and has the voice of an angel. However in Sail to the Moon, Zazz also has issues with his father. Issue that are actually realistic and go beyond the stereotypical abuse a lot of NA authors use to make their characters emotional zombies. What sets this rock star apart from the many others I’ve read is his language. I feel in love with the verbiage Zazz used in this story that showed the author had actually done her music research. While Zazz hadn’t earned his levels, he was articulate, thoughtful and intelligent. When he acted like a complete jackass to Laura early on in the story, he was genuine in his apology and worked to get back in her good graces.

While Zazz certainly stole the show, Laura was a respectable character. She was bright, regularly attractive and displayed real emotion. Even though there was an instant connection between her and Zazz, it was believable. My intelligence wasn’t insulted.

They story is told from both Zazz and Laura’s viewpoints. It was well done. I understood the anger, loneliness and pain both characters experienced as their relationship progressed and parental issues worsened. In many stories hardships push the characters apart, in Sail to the Moon, it was refreshing to see hardships bringing couples closer-as that does happen in real life.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story and give it 3 stars. The British dialogue was overly thick at times but there was enough hot sex, emotional connections and good dialogue for this reviewer to over look it. I also would have liked a more concrete ending. While it wasn’t a cliffhanger, it left me wanting to know Zazz and Laura’s future.

Haleigh’s Ink by Jennifer Kacey

INK
Haleigh’s Ink by Jennifer Kacey
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (144 pages)
Other: M/F, M/M, M/M/F, M/F/M, BDSM, Spanking, Exhibitionism, Menage
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Ink.

A word that means different things to many people. Pictures and words that might stand as a reminder of love, loss, rebellion or camaraderie. For Haleigh Grace, it means freedom.

Walking through the doors of the tattoo parlor Inkfluence marks the start of taking her life back. Making it what she wanted it to be. No one is going to tell her she couldn’t. Not ever again.

Little did she know that behind those doors stood Kyle Muse. He was her best friend, but he’d walked away years ago without a backward glance. The one man she fantasized would someday be her knight in shining armor, the one she saved herself for.

But he has a knight of his own. Tall, dark and dangerously sexy Scott Preston. The owner of the very shop Haleigh has an appointment with at midnight.

Feelings long buried rise to the surface and the three find themselves bound by more than just ink.

Haleigh Grace has been through a lot but is ready to move her life forward and become who she always wanted to be. One sexy tattoo artist, who also happens to be her childhood best friend and crush, along with his broody talented Dom and partner will help guide her down the path to rediscovering her inner beauty and strength.

There’s a theme in this book about butterflies that aptly represents Haleigh’s journey from who her parents want her to be and who she wants to be. Ms. Kacey does a really nice job of showing Haleigh’s growth from the beginning to the vixen with a stronger will at the end. She has good motivation for going into Inkfluence in the first place and why she wants to alter certain parts of her body.

Scott and Kyle were a good combination for each other and as Haleigh’s heroes. Scott is a Dom with a penchant for the darker side of BDSM. Haleigh comes to realize she’s a bit of a pain slut and that works well with Scott’s love of playing a little rough. Even so, it was interesting to see that this alpha was completely confident in his position.

I liked Kyle. He grew of with Haleigh in an influential family who, like Haleigh’s parents, made plans for him and didn’t appreciate it when he went a different direction. Finding Haleigh after so many years gives him the courage to come out of cocoon right along with Haleigh.

For me, for this story to be a home run I think it needed a little more connection to Haleigh and Kyle’s past together. The author does give some details and some memories discussed but I didn’t feel a connection with their past. I think if there could have been a flashback to see how they had chemistry back then, even though they didn’t act on it, I could buy all the instant sparks and nervousness when they see each other again. Scott and Haleigh have a pretty heated moment on her first visit to the shop. As far as hot scenes go, it was smoking! But it also seemed out of character for Haleigh at that point in her metamorphosis. I think it could have been a little more believable if it had happened on her second visit. There are things that happen in that scene that do move the story forward so maybe that’s why the author wrote it that way.

This author shows a lot of potential. Readers who enjoy M/M/F groupings will find plenty to get overheated about with this little novella. This story leans more toward the SM side of BDSM and that was different for me but also good. I’ll be watching for more books by this author. Readers looking for new authors to follow should check her out as well.

Dear Stranger by Suzanna Medeiros

DEAR
Dear Stranger by Suzanna Medeiros
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

At a masked ball, where no one is what they seem, a jaded rake is surprised by his reaction to the one woman he should not pursue.

During a masked ball, Sophie Crandle’s mask gives her the courage she needs to follow the man she expects to propose to her into the gardens, where she brazenly asks him for the one thing that will tell her if she can accept him—a kiss. And what a kiss it is! Her elation turns to horror, however, when she realises she is kissing the wrong man. The man who has awakened her desire is not the man who is courting her, but his brother, the Earl of Dearbourne. A notorious rake, he is more likely to ruin Sophie than provide her with the social acceptance she needs.

Richard Hearst, the Earl of Dearbourne, receives the shock of his life when he discovers the beautiful woman falling apart in his arms thinks she is kissing someone else. He is determined to claim her for himself…even if the man she is meant for is his brother.

A compact, complete story that touched my heart and steamed up my ereader!

Dear Stranger was a sweet romance with a heroine, Sophie Crandall, who was determined to both follow her heart and to do what is right. At first, it seems this will be an easy task, as she discovers she is very much attracted to the man she plans to marry when she kisses him in a dark garden one night. Only as it turns out, the man she kissed is not who she believed and all her best laid plans go awry.

I loved following Sophie as she struggled with difficult decisions. She has an aunt who is utterly unsympathetic, and an almost fiancé, Henry, who isn’t really any more interested in her than she is in him. But duty is duty, and they both try to do the right thing.

However, Henry’s brother Richard is equally determined to lead Sophie astray. This isn’t such a difficult task as Sophie is desperately attracted to him, and they embark on a secret affair.

Ms. Medeiros makes this quite believable, despite the stifling traditions of the times, as Sophie is not entirely respectable and Richard certainly isn’t. The sex scenes are well written, detailed and certainly get the blood flowing – woo hoo! – but don’t expect much beyond the vanilla. If you’re looking for kink, you won’t find it here, but if you want an adorable couple, who fall sweetly in love and manage to really heat up the sheets while they do and if you enjoy a hard fought happy ending, then Dear Stranger is a good choice. Despite its few pages, it’s a very complete story with heat and heart.