January Erotic Book of the Month Poll

Hungry Like A Wolf by Paige Tyler

Hungry Like A Wolf by Paige Tyler
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (314 Pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

The Dallas SWAT team is hiding one helluva secret . . . they’re a pack of wolf shifters.

The team of elite sharpshooters is ultra-secretive—and also the darlings of Dallas. This doesn’t sit well with investigative journalist Mackenzie Stone. They must be hiding something . . . and she’s determined to find out what.

Keeping Mac at a distance proves impossible for SWAT team commander Gage Dixon. She’s smart, sexy, and makes him feel alive for the first time in years. But she’s getting dangerously close to the truth—and perilously close to his heart…

Do you enjoy strong alpha werewolves? If so then this book is for you. It is full of sexy shifters and packed with action. This book gives us Gage and Mackenzie’s story. Gage leads the other alphas on his team and I loved seeing how they all connected and worked together. Mackenzie is a strong female and I enjoyed seeing their relationship play out. This is a nice start to a new series by Paige Tyler and I cannot wait to see where she takes the characters and their world next.

Mackenzie is determined to break the story she knows is hiding behind the men on the Dallas SWAT team. Right from the start Mackenzie and Gage have an attraction that burns up the pages but could her snooping put Gage and his men in more danger? When Gage finds himself at a crossroads what will he do? Can he have both the one woman made for him and the safety of his pack or has that question already become null and void? I enjoyed the banter and the camaraderie between all the men. Each character is special in their own way and has so much to say. I cannot wait to see their stories play out.

Both Gage and Mackenzie must make hard and deep life changing decisions. Love and emotions war with the truth and secrets in this story. As Mackenzie and Gage try to sort through their feelings, danger lurks in the shadows. A mobster intent on revenge against Gage and his team brings more trouble to their world and pulls Mackenzie in as well. I am not a big fan of Mackenzie and the way she treated Gage and the other men after she discovers their secret. She does do right by them but the way she first handles it makes her seem cold and indifferent to the man she loves.

This is a fast paced, action packed story full of emotions. It was nice to see Gage and Mackenzie’s relationship grow from attraction to so much more. I enjoyed my first visit to this world through their story and hope that we get to see more from these men in the future.

Black, One Sugar by Jae Christopher

Black, One Sugar by Jae Christopher
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (18 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

David has a secret, a secret he has been struggling to tell his lover, Aaron, since the very beginning of their relationship. Unfortunately, David just can’t seem to find the right time or words to share that secret.

Until one morning, when he accidentally blurts it out over their coffee. Now all David has to worry about is whether or not Aaron can handle what he’s been told.

David was happy being alone, not needing or wanting the complication of a boyfriend. But after being ambushed into a blind date, Aaron is too perfect for him to pass up on. Two months down the track and after a special evening together, David finally tells Aaron the truth — that he has lycanthropy. Aaron is understandably shocked and upset, Aaron had merely asked David how he liked his coffee, and instead found his world turned upside down.

This is an emotionally charged short story. I really enjoyed how the author brought the drama and tension together so quickly. I also liked the simile between the phobias and bigotry surrounding lycanthropy in the story’s world, and AIDS and other similar diseases in ours. I was a little disappointed how there wasn’t any graphic sex or showing of passion/displays of affection between David and Aaron. Despite the new depth to their relationship there wasn’t much in the way of physical contact between them or sexual chemistry. This gave the book more of a flavor of straight-Paranormal to me, not romantic or erotic Paranormal.

The world-building is solid and well explained without feeling like a massive info-dump. It made me interested in the author’s style of werewolves and their world. I’d certainly be interested to read more stories by Jaw Christopher. Short and emotional, this would be an excellent prologue-style story for a longer series, or an introduction into an interesting new paranormal world.

Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton

Jason by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Jove Books by The Berkley Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism, Biting
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

“Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don’t. If you get it, then you don’t really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don’t get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense.”

But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she’ll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake’s best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She’s accomplished, beautiful, and she’s crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?

J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can’t meet that need, just like she can’t meet Jason’s need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn’t understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.

Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita’s life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.

If a reader is looking for an erotic short story to singe their eyebrows off, cause hot flashes and a few blushes, then Jason should do the trick.

I’ve been following the Anita Blake series for quite a few years. Yes, I’ve heard that a lot of early readers are uncomfortable with the turns Anita’s life has been taking when it comes to her relationships. Some felt they have become less story and more sex. I have not felt that strongly against it, probably because I do enjoy reading mild erotic romances. However, I don’t think Jason is quite as mild as I expected. Some erotic romance readers might think this is tame but since I don’t read F/F as a rule, it was an eye-opening experience for me. I don’t like F/F romance but here’s the twist. This was Anita. This was Anita facing her problems with Jade. This was Anita learning the differences between herself, Jade and Jason’s girlfriend, J.J. I found myself fascinated. I care about Anita and as such, this book had a more powerful impact for me. I actually enjoyed it because for all the sexy talk, descriptions and hot scenes with Nathan, Jason and the rest of the small crew, there was still a purpose, a goal that had to be reached and sex was the vehicle for making it happen.

Since the Anita Blake series is ongoing, I hesitate to call this a standalone read. Yet, this is focused on figuring out if Jason and J.J. could realistically make a go of their relationship. It focuses on a short span of time with a tight group of characters. It possibly could be read as a standalone if a reader is looking for a book that explores some serious multi-partner action and doesn’t demand a traditional HEA. Nothing about this series is traditional and this book is no exception. As for the conclusion, it’s as close to a happy for now as it can get because Ms. Hamilton is the queen of hooks and dangling teases. She resolves the big stuff but always leaves a reader yearning for more, in a good way. I’d say Jason fits that formula.

For avid fans of the series, this is a must add to the collection. If only because we see Jason pursuing the most ‘normal’ of all the romantic entanglements I’ve seen in this series so far, and he’s a very likable and endearing character. I’m glad that it looks like he might have found someone who sees him for the man he is and not his were-animal. It was a fun novella and will probably appeal to fans more than new readers. Then again, on its own, this is a very hot read. In any event, it’s a decent story and I’m glad I read it.

The Family Tree by John Everson

The Family Tree by John Everson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Horror
Length: Full Length (177 pgs)
Other: M/F, Multiple Partners, Forced Seduction, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Its roots are old…and twisted! The blood of the tree is its sap. It has sustained Scott Belvedere’s family for generations. It’s the secret ingredient behind the family’s intoxicating ale and bourbon, among other elixirs. But only when Scott inherits The Family Tree Inn, deep in the hills of Virginia, does he learn anything about his family, its symbiotic history, or the mammoth, ancient tree around which the inn is literally built. And after he stumbles upon the bony secrets hidden in its roots, while in the welcoming arms of the innkeeper’s daughter, he realizes that not only is blood thicker than water-it’s the only thing that might save him from the hideous fate of his ancestors…

A family that preys together stays together…

When Scott Belvedere receives a letter stating he is the heir for an inn in a remote part of Virginia, he is set on getting rid of the property and resuming his normal life. When he arrives at the Family Tree Inn, all of that changes.

The Family Tree Inn is an institution run by the Belvedere men for generations. A bloody history of land rights and property disputes, to say the locale has a shady past might be something more than an understatement. It’s nestled in an incredible back woods mountainous terrain with a strong Appalachian twang. Feeling a bit like a fish out of water, Scott gets to know the land and the people that live there. People that age much slower than the world around them. People that may be involved in something more than merely running an inn.

As he begins to wander the property he notices some odd things that don’t make sense, but lead him even further down the path of ownership of the inn. Should he stay and run the place or go back to his life in Chicago? When he is introduced to the daughter of the housekeeper, Caroline, his interest is piqued, along with his growing taste for the house brew.

The inn revolves around the tree. Would within and without, the Family Tree is all things to the people of this backward place. Tapping the tree for the mead and whiskey, the tree is life. But what Scott doesn’t realize is what the tree gives, it also must take. A member of the Belvedere family has always been the keeper of the tree and he is about to find out just how much the tree expects from him.

There is a strong erotic element to this novel. As Scott ingests more and more of the blood of the tree through the house brew, he becomes to realize one of the side effects. He is perpetually in rut and is put in the position of taking sometimes three women a night. The way the story is laid out may not entirely appeal to female readers as the women are depicted in a 2-D kind of fashion where their primary focus is getting pregnant by the heir to the tree. It was a good horror novel despite this and in some ways reminded me of The Wicker Man (the newer version). As the story progresses, the debauchery does as well. What was erotic becomes forced and Scott is taken and tapped much like the tree. There is no escaping his fate. He is the heir and the heir must provide.

Can Scott break away from the hold of the Family Tree and its devoted disciples? Is the blood of the few worth more than the many? You’ll have to read this fast paced thriller to find out.

One Night in Edinburgh by Charlotte Howard


One Night in Edinburgh by Charlotte Howard
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/F, toys
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by Poppy

Chloe Shade has traveled to Edinburgh to meet up with a potential client, and has just twenty-four hours to convince them to sign her contract. But when she meets the delicious Ethan, he proves to be so much more than an enticing distraction. It’s not long before Chloe has some life changing decisions to make, and less than a day to make them.

Definitely hot, and technically clean, One Night in Edinburgh is a perfect read to get your motor revving.

This is my first book by the author, and I was very impressed by her skill. Her prose is well-constructed, descriptive (::: fans self :::) and easy to read. We get an immediate feel for both characters and I loved that we start with Chloe’s fear of flying. It was a great way to get to know her!

Ethan is hot, hot, hot as any good hero in an erotic romance should be. He certainly knows how to satisfy his woman and takes many opportunities to do so, in many varied and titillating places. I’m surprised Chloe could walk by the next morning (and wouldn’t have minded changing places with her a time or two, or three).

The only thing that I wasn’t fond of in the story was the ending. They’ve known each other for a day…hardly time enough to make significant, life-altering decisions based on your feelings for another person. I was crazy about the plot up until then, but just couldn’t stretch my ability to believe far enough to find the ending completely credible.

That said, I have no other complaints. Writing was both technically and aesthetically pleasing, editing was solid, plot was strong, and there was no shortage of heat. So if you’re looking for a book that will make you reach for a fan, a cold glass of water or an Ethan of your own, grab a copy.

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Untamed Heat by Tarah Scott

Untamed Heat by Tarah Scott
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (119 pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

He thinks she’s a high-priced call girl. She thinks he’s a womanizer.

Liz Williams intends to put a stop to her daughter’s affair with archeology professor, Anthony Hawkins. But she’s unprepared for the sexy as hell, thirty-two year old Native American, who denies any involvement with her daughter and makes her pulse race.

Hawk is sure the beautiful brunette in the back of his class isn’t there to hear his lecture. Mature, confident, and looking at him with those bedroom eyes, she’s just his type. Too late he realizes she’s trouble. And he’s got more than his share of that.

But when a crooked land developer’s threats include Liz, the protector in Hawk takes over and together they face danger and a night of untamed heat in the desert.

A worried young mother meets a hot archaeology teacher, and they end up getting chased through the desert by assassins trying to gun them down.

The first meeting between Liz and Hawk got me very confused and annoyed. I didn’t get it. No normal person would do what they did. Liz is worried about her teenage daughter getting in bed with her teacher, and yet she cowers from confronting him face-to-face, and then feels all lusty ’cause he’s such a hunk. Um, what? Hawk, on the other hand, expects her to be a call girl (the reason for that assumption comes clear later) hired by his enemy, and therefore he treats her horribly, with disdain and violence, plus sexually assaults her. Yeah, not real life or real people in any sense of the word.

I almost couldn’t get past that scene to the rest of the book. That would have been a shame because despite the terrible beginning this story does pick up toward the end, growing more realistic and simply better. The plot evolves into a suspenseful tale of land developers trying to get richer through any means necessary versus archaeologists trying to preserve the past.

Against that background, Liz and Hawk start to get to know each other once they realize their erroneous assumptions about one another. Plus, the notion of big time industrialists trying to scare or even kill the little people standing up against them rang true for me at least. Money and political connections ensure that even law enforcement people’s hands are tied, while assassins take care of anyone opposing their employers.

About the characters. The annoying cliche in M/F romance novels, where a man’s masculinity is accentuated by a woman’s helplessness, does rear its ugly head here too. But thankfully not much. Once put on the spot, Liz exhibits her own strength and smarts. Sure, there’s a single hysterical moment, but we can attribute that to shock. While I wasn’t all that impressed with Hawk’s continuous “sweetheart” remarks, he’s still strong, smart, and hot, as befitting the hero. His age is never really given, nor the reason why he’s suddenly so drawn to Liz. His moral fortitude and physical strength do come through several times, but he still felt a bit lacking.

The attraction, as you might have guessed, is instantaneous. Thankfully, though, the two don’t hop into bed immediately. In fact, in the whole story, there isn’t a single “bed” scene. The two do have sex, oh yes, but always outdoors. And yes indeed, the sex is super hot! That alone made this worth a read. The suspense angle gave the story a different kind of tension, and thus a definite boost to the pace and the way the heroine and the hero were forced to interact and defend themselves.

Overall, an above average tale of outdoor sex and suspense in running from the bad guys, with two interesting main characters and a continuous sensual tone. I’m looking forward to seeing what the author can do with a longer piece, as she handles both sensuality and suspense rather well.

Cherished by Jessica Coulter Smith

Cherished by Jessica Coulter Smith
Intergalactic Loyalties
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (72 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

Prince Drexyl of Tourmalane is intent on collecting the bounty on the four Keshpan males on board the Lynten 12. What he doesn’t expect is to come face to face with his destined mate – a woman he’d thought didn’t exist. Having come from a world where women are extinct, Drexyl is completely enthralled with the tiny human female, and willing to do anything to keep her by his side. Even take on an entire ship of Tarnans by himself.

They say that love is blind, but in Lucie’s case, it’s literal. Blinded after an accident at the auction house, Lucie is fortunate to have a decent man purchase her anyway. Cael always made sure her basic needs are met. She had food, clothes, and shelter. Even though she knows he uses some of the other girls for carnal pleasure, he never attempts to touch her in any way that makes her feel uncomfortable. But her world is suddenly about to change when he agrees to give up ownership of her in exchange for passage on a spacecraft to a new planet and a new life for him.

It’s a time when females are scarce and several alien species are on the verge of extinction if they don’t find a way to replenish their numbers, human females have become a hot commodity. Only able to see vague shadows and forms, Lucie has a very limited ability to care for herself. Dependent upon the mercy of men seemingly desperate to have a woman in their bed, she can only hope none take advantage of her vulnerability.

To her surprise, it seems many of the males aboard the spacecraft have an interest in having her as their mate. She doesn’t understand why. Who could possibly want a woman who can’t see? One who can’t cook, sew, care for children, or do anything most mated women would do? Though many tell her she’s beautiful, she really can’t understand why they feel that way, unless they’re so desperate to have a woman they’re willing to take a blind one.

Not being one to wallow in self-pity, Lucie carries herself with as much pride and courage as she can muster. Feeling her way around the ship, she does what she can to limit the burden upon her fellow travelers. As a few of the men begin to make their interest in her more clear, Lucie starts to wonder if maybe she shouldn’t choose one of them to be her protector, among other things. Would that be so bad?

A Tourmalane warrior and son of the king, Dryxel is desperate to find a mate. Like other races, his is destined for extinction. But when it came to Tourmalane reproduction, he couldn’t just settle on any woman, only a true mate would produce children. From the moment he invades the Tarnan ship and finds Lucie stumbling down the hall, he knows she’s the one.

Like any warrior, Dryxel is headstrong and determined to get what he wants. He would have gladly fought off the Tarnan men, even on their ship and sorely outnumbered, but he wouldn’t risk Lucie’s safety. When he hears how they refer to her as being ill, and then watches as they recklessly shove her aside in an effort to get to him, he nearly goes crazy with rage. But there’s nothing he can do but let them capture him and hope for a way to escape back to his ship with Lucie in tow. Even if it causes a war between the Tarnan and Tourmalane races, he refuses to go without her.

Ms. Coulter Smith has penned an interesting world where it seems human females are on everyone’s must have list. While some races, like the Keshpans, use them for personal slaves and outlets for pleasure, there are others who would gladly fall to the ground and kiss the dirt from their feet. I really enjoyed Lucie’s character. While described by others in the story as beautiful, she’s certainly not perfect. She knows her limitations but doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself. Dryxel is like most warriors—big, strong, handsome, bull-headed—he’s a typical alpha male. It’s the way he treats Lucie as an equal, despite her restricted vision, that really boosts his appeal. I found the level of Lucie’s experience when it came to sex, compared to Dryxel’s lack of experience, a nice change. She wasn’t some scared little virgin. Blind or not, she knew what she wanted and proceeded to show Dryxel exactly what to do. As with any Science fiction/fantasy novel, there were some odd characteristics about Tourmalane men and procreation. In any other story, it would have seemed too far out there, but given the setting, it’s acceptable.

Probably one of the things that hindered my enthrallment of this story was the speed in which Lucie and Dryxel were decidedly in love with each other. I believe in lust at first sight, like at first sight, definite interest at first sight, and can even accept some pretty strong feelings toward someone within a short time span, but I just can’t swallow being “in love” within a day. Maybe I just take the word too literal, but true love only comes after a bit of time getting to know each other.

Aside from my own personal opinions and preferences, it was a decent story that certainly didn’t feel like a waste of my time. I don’t think I’ve read anything thus far that portrayed one of the characters as having a disability that would impact their life the way Lucie’s blindness does, and so the saving grace for this book was the author’s choice of characteristics for her characters. There’s a fine line for reviewers between being objective and nit-picking. Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty of a story when you’re too busy fussing about things that you would have written differently. All in all, I enjoyed Cherished, and am glad to have read it.

Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan

Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (192 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lisianthus

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Small town romance at its best. It had meddling townspeople, disapproving townspeople, a bit of Christmas magic and a good snow storm to meld everything together. Ms. Cullinan writes amazing characters who are very lifelike and real to me, they have the ability to feel like the man down the street that I could be best friends with.

I adored that Gabriel and Arthur were not interested in each other when they first met but they slowly find small things in common, and not just their volcanic chemistry. They definitely have chemistry once they find some alone time. Gabriel thinks Arthur is too loud and not book smart, while Arthur thinks Gabriel is too skinny and way too into books.

I related to both of them, Gabriel because he understands that books and knowledge can allow anyone to escape their world into more perfect worlds created by authors. I also related with Arthur because everyone just assumes he’s this horn dog who’s a bit slow and not the kind of man for a real relationship. His meddling mother is determined to find him a man, and even though she means well, I understand how that could become a bit tiring.

While being both an emotional story and lighthearted at the same time, it also touches on some serious issues. I loved the parts where Gabriel teaches about little boys wanting dolls and how boys can have and play with baby dolls too.

I definitely recommend this story, I enjoyed every last bit of it, and even though it’s the second of a series, it is easily read by itself. It’s a great story for fans of small town romance who want that M/M twist.

Soul Temptation by Nichelle Gregory


Soul Temptation by Nichelle Gregory
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (188 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism, Exhibitionism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Unexpected passions will tempt two lovers—body, heart and soul…

The beauty of Tahiti mesmerises Serene Ryan who has travelled to the island to be the maid of honour in her sister’s destination wedding. She soon finds herself distracted by the undeniable pull she’s determined to ignore towards Oliver Banner, the best man. When her good intentions are cast away in a moment of sizzling passion, Serene’s resolute on not letting things go further than one night.

Oliver Banner isn’t looking for anything more than a fun, sun-soaked time in Tahiti but the longer he interacts with Serene, the more convinced and determined he is to get past her cool persona to the fire he senses burns below the surface. He isn’t prepared for the connection he feels towards Serene or her refusal to explore things between them further.

Oliver opens up Serene’s world to erotic possibilities she’d never dreamt possible, but she’s not about to get involved with a younger man—a playboy who is now her brother-in-law—no matter how good the chemistry is between them. Serene thinks it would be best for them to just forget about their hot island tryst, but Oliver intends to keep tempting her body, heart and soul…

Serene Ryan is in Tahiti for her sister Misha’s wedding to Cameron Banner. As she steps out on the lanai to take in the beautiful view, she looks over and is shocked to see Cameron’s brother Oliver having sex with his date Shannon. She should run back inside but she can’t seem to take her eyes off of Oliver and the way he controls Shannon’s body. She should not be affected by this because sex should be private but she just can’t seem to tear her eyes away.

Oliver Ryan knows that Serene can see him having sex with Shannon, he takes delight in it and is determined to open Serene up to new experiences. All he has to do is find a way to get her to see him as a sexual partner instead of her soon to be brother-in-law’s younger brother. Being younger than her could also be a problem.

Soul Temptation is a tale of the sexual awakening of a woman who has never experienced sexual fulfillment. She thinks that something is wrong with her and Oliver sets out to prove her wrong. He exposes her to another side of sex that she was afraid to delve into. I really enjoyed the characters of Oliver and Serene.  I wanted her to let Oliver take her on this journey, and the interaction between the two is fresh and enjoyable. No matter how hard she tries to ignore him, Oliver still manages to get under her skin.

Soul Temptation is the second book in the Souls Entwined series and its not just about Serene’s awakening, but it also deals with Oliver’s interaction with his father and the family business. It is also a love story and despite the fact that they are now related by marriage, Oliver and Serene want to take their relationship to the next level. I enjoyed Soul Temptation because of the many layers the story has. It is a good story, somewhat slow in some areas and it could use better proofing, but all in all it was a very good read.