Full Contact by Cassie Cole


Full Contact by Cassie Cole
Publisher: Juicy Gems Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

I never had a thing for football players.
That is, until I met the three of them.

I normally don’t like college parties.
I only went that night to keep my roommate company.
Yet when the sexiest, most muscular man I’ve ever met started flirting with me?
Well, let’s just say I didn’t go back to my dorm room that night.

But the devilish rogue who took me home isn’t just another student.
He’s Danny Armstrong, the star quarterback of the football team.
And getting into my pants isn’t the only thing on his mind.

He and two of his teammates need a physical trainer for the season.
Someone to monitor their workouts and help them avoid injury.
And as a kinesiology student, I desperately need the work credits that come with the job.

Danny Armstrong, the clean all-American with a steel jawline and sexy blue gaze.
Lance Overmire, a goofball wide receiver with washboard abs and an “I just thought of a dirty joke” grin.
Fernando Martinez, the dark-and-handsome place kicker from Chile who pronounces my name like it’s an exotic meal.

I’ll be working with them every day for the fall semester.
Watching them lift weights in the morning, monitoring football practice in the afternoon.
And giving them far more specialized physical therapy in the evenings.
Can I be the physical trainer that helps them go to the playoffs?
Or will they end up falling for me along the way?

Ever since I got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, Cassie Cole has always been one of my favorite indie authors. Her reverse harem romance books are great choices for when you want to curl up under a warm blanket with a book you can finish in one sitting. Normally, I’m more of a fan of her TV drama-esque romances (featuring firefighters, military members, office romances, etc.). I finished her tennis themed book Match Point and loved it. One of her other sports romance releases is Full Contact, which I picked up even though I’ve admittedly never been a big fan of football. While it had her trademark steamy scenes and was entertaining and well researched, it lacked the same ‘oomph’ and awe factor that some of her other books had for me.

Like many of Cassie Cole’s other books, Full Contact was well researched. Even though I’m not a football fan (I really only watch the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl), it was easy to understand how Fena, Danny and Lance fit into the team and what their roles were. It was also easy to follow the various kinesiology terms Roberta used, and get a sense of how those exercises had a tendency to develop into more spontaneous and fun activities. I always appreciate the details that help craft the world and the images the author is trying to paint in the reader’s heads, and there are a lot of them in this book. Overall, I was entertained enough and hooked to the point that I kept reading.

The part of the book where I struggled was the plot. While the writing was there and it flowed well, there was no balance between the actual storyline and the smuttier scenes. Football was either at the forefront of what was going on or a minor note in the background. While reverse harems are known for jumping into smut fairly quickly (and it was very entertaining once we did hit those scenes), I would have enjoyed a bit more build up or foreplay. There were also some missed opportunities with some of the side characters, as I would have loved to learn more about the rival teams the guys were facing (especially Nicky vs Danny) as well as their backgrounds. It was very surface level stuff that was being gone through – Fena’s family sounds super cool, and I would have loved to see more scenes with Lance’s grandma, Babs.

Despite the minor hiccups, Full Contact was an entertaining book. I just don’t think it was the book for me. I needed more from the story to fully enjoy the read. To be clear, I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future. I just think I’ll take a step back from sports romances for the time being.

Knot Real by M.C. Roth


Knot Real by M.C. Roth
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Vale will never have to worry about a mating contract, right?

Vale considers himself lucky that he’s exempt from having a mating contract. Why would any omega want thousands of alphas to bid on them and try to prove themselves worthy?

From his best friend Zyke to the cute omega he met at a house party—everyone’s lives seem to revolve around the search for a single mate. It’s simple… The alphas bid and the omegas make their choice, while protective instincts take care of the rest.

But the barbaric practice has its own beauty that will always be just out of reach for Vale. Maybe if he had a contract, he would find someone who would love him wholly and completely and he wouldn’t have to spend his time cherishing the last few days with his best friend before Zyke inevitably finds a mate of his own. Maybe he wouldn’t be so lonely…

Knot Real is a standalone as far as I can see, but I would love to return to this world and see further into how it works!

Vale and Zyke are best friends who everyone thinks are a couple. Vale is one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to have a mating contract, but he’s not looking forward to when Zyke has one in case it impacts their friends. Well, Zyke gets a contract, and it does have an impact, but maybe not in the way Vale was expecting!

This was a great story with plenty of emotion. It was pretty clear what the lay of the land was, but I enjoyed staying with Vale as he discovered the truth about the situation, Zyke’s feelings, and his own.

A quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed and have no hesitation in recommending.

Bewitched By The Bear by Jessica Coulter Smith


Bewitched By The Bear by Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Discover the power of true love in this spellbinding tale of magic and adventure.

All Amara wants is to live a life of adventure, without being tied down. With the dark fae relentlessly pursuing her, she needs a place to hide. Her gram’s cottage seems like the perfect spot, but the old witch’s words leave Amara unsettled — What you seek is in Cutter’s Creek.

Alpha bear shifter Hale is determined to safeguard those closest to him. His life takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with a captivating witch. Enchanted by her very presence, he’s unable to banish her from his thoughts.

As destiny ties them together, not even the dark fae will destroy their newfound happiness.

Uncover the magic in this fast-paced, insta-love story that’s sure to warm your heart.

Amara wants to be free and have adventures, but with Dark Fae pursuing her she need to hide out and her gram’s quiet cottage seems like the perfect place. Only her path crosses alpha bear Hale and they both discover their destiny is something neither of them can outrun.

I really enjoyed this short story. With Hale being a cranky old bear who was clearly ready to turn a corner and start fresh I found him to be a wonderful and believable hero – with issues and not being perfect. I also found Amara to be a strong and enjoyable character, with plenty of magical powers of her own and not one to just swoon and give herself easily over to Hale. I thought they were very well matched and deliciously modern.

Readers who don’t like insta-love (or insta-lust) stories might not find this story suits their tastes. While I completely understand Hale as a were-bear recognized Amara as his true mate and couldn’t help his physical and chemical reaction to her it was rather amusing that he did seem to pretty much lose control and his mind over the whole situation. I was pleased Amara seemed to take it in stride – and with a bit of humour herself – but it was a little disappointing that it meant the sexiness was fast-tracked and they didn’t have much time initially to get to know each other.

There was a really intriguing sub-plotline around another werewolf – Sage – part of Hale’s pack and the dark fae prince that I found interesting. I suspect this leads off into a different book and I found the whole plotline interesting enough I may very well search that book out. This also helped the story feel like it wasn’t simply about Amara and Hale and their mating but helped the story feel like it was part of a much larger paranormal world and I really enjoyed that.

With interesting characters and plenty of steamy intimacy this was a good book and one I enjoyed reading.

Scorned by Angela Addams


Scorned by Angela Addams
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Hell hath no fury like a werewolf scorned.

All I’d ever wanted was to blend in among the humans, but my stepbrothers had other plans. When one of them sent a thug to abduct me, I had to let my true self out, claws and all.

That was the thing… The men in my world were always underestimating me.

Being the hothead that I was, I went straight to the source of the problem—the new alpha of my family’s clan, my stepbrother Sal. He had a surprise of his own, though, and when he hit me with a magically infused pure silver collar, I crumbled like I didn’t have A-plus DNA in my blood.

That was when the Duke brothers entered my life. Heroes in their own minds, they worked a deal with Sal to buy me… as if I were a commodity. To the males in my species, that was what I was, but to the Duke brothers I was the final piece in a prophecy puzzle. They wanted me to rule their clan, be alpha to their pack, which meant they wanted me to take the bites of all three of them.

To that I said, not on your life, boys. But, damn, they were hot, and I was willing to give cohabitation a try. I’d explore their old-world scrolls and prints and listen to their fairy tales about a superpowered queen alpha. I could even get behind training with their pack, but I wasn’t ever going to let a werewolf take a bite out of me.

At least that was what I kept telling myself. The beast inside me had other plans, and I’d never truly known how to stop her from getting what she wanted, no matter who she might have to destroy to achieve her goals.

Scorned is the first book in the Hell Hath No Fury series, and we start with Charlie trying to live as a human after being exiled from her pack. After something happens, she returns ‘home’ to give her stepbrother, Sal, what for. Things don’t turn out the way Charlie was expecting though – including her being sold to a different pack!

The three brothers are all unique, with their own very differing personalities. They want Charlie to lead their pack and they’re not too bothered about how they go about that, being as they say she has been calling to them for years. I loved the aspect of Charlie learning about her beast and abilities with the brothers.

I was thoroughly enjoying this book, right up until the last scene. And it’s not because I don’t like BDSM scenes because I do. What I didn’t like was how this took place in the dreamscape with no consent or talks about limits. Yes, that may take the sexy out of it, but it is needed!

I look forward to reading more in this series and seeing how the story continues.

Brielle and the Alien Geek by Jessica Coulter Smith


Brielle and the Alien Geek by Jessica Coulter Smith
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

The moment Syl sees Brielle, he realizes the sassy Earth woman is exactly what he needs in his life.

Brielle has waited faithfully for her fiancé to return from Terran Prime, only to discover she’s been engaged to a lying, cheating bastard, who tosses her out on her rear the moment he’s back on Earth. Not one to go down without a fight, Brielle will do anything to ensure her survival — even sign up for a bride exchange on another world.

Syl has lived his life in his lab, always preoccupied with his experiments. But the moment he sees Brielle, he realizes that perhaps his life has been missing something after all. Wanting and having are two different things. What would an exotic-looking female like Brielle want with an alien geek like him?

Brielle and the Alien Geek is the first book in the Intergalactic Brides series and follows Brielle as she deals with a cheating ex-fiancé and a helpful Terran.

This was a quick and easy read, detailing the set-up of the world and introducing (I think) characters who will be in later books. I loved that Syl was a scientist and not as bulked up as some of the others. Plus, Brielle wanted to be wanted for herself, not just because she was an available woman. I loved the scene in the restaurant and the reaction of the waitress.

It is a novella so the pacing is fast with insta-love, so prepare yourself for that. I found this to be a great start to a series and look forward to reading more.

Love Rains by Kira Stone


Love Rains by Kira Stone
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

He’s loved her since they were children, before he even knew what real love is. As an adult he loves her even more, but she doesn’t belong to him. Yet. Maybe she never will.

She always felt he needs to be a part of her life, but exactly how remains uncertain. She loves him, but is it a forever kind of love?

When love rains down, these two meet to see what’s possible between them when the past is washed away.

They’ve always been a part of each other’s lives and he’s always loved her – but she can’t belong to him. She loves him but remains unsure if it’s a forever kind of love. Can these two meet each other’s needs when love rains down?

I enjoyed this very short story and found it refreshingly different to so many out there. Written in a slightly different way to most stories I come across – no names are used, just the “she” and “he” style of descriptors. At first I thought this would really detract from my being able to enjoy the characters and feel attached to them but I quickly found that this wasn’t true. Indeed just be reading “she/he” I found it sort of helped my own imagination fill in the blanks and almost create or embellish the written story already there. I’m honestly not sure this would have worked for me personally on a longer story – with too much vagueness the bubble might have burst – but for such a short story this really worked well for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’m also deeply curious as to whether another re-read in a few weeks or months might prove that I actually come away with a slightly different context or image of the story and am intrigued enough to really want to reread it soon and discover this.

This story felt to me very much like a vignette – a snapshot of a scene in the middle of a much larger story. A lot of things were left unanswered which I do understand might annoy some readers, but equally I really feel as if there is a lot of hope in this ending. Readers who need a Happy Ever After ending won’t find this satisfying I don’t feel, and while I’m not certain this is even a Happy For Now style of ending it does feel as if both parties are happy and satisfied with the way things between them are left.

A refreshingly different story this was a great quick read and an author I will be keeping an eye out for more of.

Smoke and Mirrors by Pelaam


Smoke and Mirrors by Pelaam
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Two may be company, but four is pure magic.

Leo thinks he’s scored the scoop of a journalist’s lifetime when he secures an all-expenses paid trip to write in-depth articles on the magic act Three of Wands.

However, American billionaire and recluse, Paul, who commissioned the articles, isn’t all he seems, and soon Leo is plunged into a situation where things are not what they appear to be.

Leo falls in love with all three men of Three of Wands—Lucien, Xanto and Ahad—and they are equally keen to take him as their fourth.

When evil strikes Leo and Xanto, will even the combined powers of Lucien, Ahad and their familiar, Salem, be enough to save them?

When Leo sets out to interview the renown magic group Three of Wands, he thinks it’s going to be his big journalistic break. After all, who’d fly him all the way from New Zealand to the US if they didn’t think he could handle the job? However, he’s about to discover that the Three of Wands have more than his career in mind – like possibly the rest of his life? But when danger strikes, it’ll take all four of them working together to make it out alive.

Of all four, Leo was by far my favorite character. His attachment to his grandmother was sweet, and I enjoyed how he approached everything he was faced with. Even when he was nervous or afraid, he put himself out there, ready to face it head on. The way the Three of Wands took to him was fun as well, each welcoming him almost immediately into their group. Each magician is different from the other and their wildly varying personalities make their little group a joy. Leo fits right in, too.

However, there were a lot of things going on for such a short novella. At times, it made it hard for me to follow and keep track of who was doing what. There was also the issue of the tentacles. Which simply isn’t my thing, even if it did add an air of exoticness to the story.

Overall, Smoke and Mirrors was fast paced and exciting. The moments between the boys were smoking hot as well, making you eager for the next time they have a minute to be alone. Also, the addition of the mythological aspects was intriguing. I’d love to read more about where the four of them are now and what they’re doing with the magic show and, of course, each other.

Hard as a Rock by Sara Jay


Hard as a Rock by Sara Jay
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Canna, a flirty, impish fairy, loves to service just about any client who enters The Pleasure Club, a futuristic sex club. But although the clientele is satisfied, Canna aches for the impossible — a sexy, larger-than-life gargoyle statue that happens to be a simple décor item… or is it?

Basalt has spent centuries wanting Canna all to himself. Though her nightly visits train her to be his perfect lover, will she still want him when she finds out who he really is?

The impish fairy Canna loves to service almost anyone who enters The Pleasure Club – a futuristic sex club. But even though her clients are satisfied, Canna years for the impossible – a sexy, enormous gargoyle statue that’s part of the Club’s décor. But is this statue really made of rock?

This very quick read was a lovely and fun short story – perfect for when you haven’t got a lot of time or just want something super-fast to make you smile. I enjoyed the fact that as a fairy Canna could make herself invisible – I really felt this was an excellent addition to the plotline of her flitting around the sex club and added a hint of impish mischievousness to the whole story.

While there was plenty of sexy shenanigans throughout the story, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of sentient sex between Canna and her gargoyle. I didn’t feel this impacted the overall steaminess of the story at all, but the romantic in me would have enjoyed a scene or two between the main pair. That said, this is indeed a very short story so I can understand if the low word count hampered this effect.

Readers looking for a cheeky and fun short story with plenty of steam should find this an interesting and strong read.

Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert


Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Aphrodite has never flinched at getting her perfectly manicured hands dirty, and she’s not about to start now—even if that means marrying Olympus’s enemy number one, the new Hephaestus. She has a wicked plan to keep her deadly new husband off-balance, seducing the one person he seems to care about most in this world: Pandora, a woman as beautiful as she is sweet.

Two can play the seduction game, however, and Hephaestus is all too happy to put his new wife in her place. Her ex, Adonis, seems like he’ll do the trick. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous in the way of fallen angels, either.

The only problem with using seduction as a weapon? Hearts are all too quick to get involved. With Hephaestus and Aphrodite trading venomous strikes that feel a whole lot like foreplay, lines become blurred and emotions entangled. But a broken heart may be the least of their worries. With unrest in Olympus reaching new heights, these bedroom games may have deadly consequences for themselves, their city, and everyone they’ve come to love.

As someone who enjoys anything related to Greek mythology, I’ve been a big fan of Katee Robert’s ongoing Dark Olympus series. One of the latest releases, Cruel Seduction, centers on the Aphrodite and Hephaestus myth. A very loose re-imagining of the original story, the author does a great job honoring the tone and heart of the source material while still weaving in their own trademark spiciness and complexities.

If you had to sum up Aphrodite and Hephaestus’ relationship in one word, it would be complicated. In almost every version of the myth, Aphrodite was not exactly thrilled about getting married to her husband. That holds true in this book as Aphrodite (formerly known as Eris) is forced to marry the new Hephaestus in order to secure his cooperation in working with the other members of the Thirteen for the good of Olympus. Those who have read the previous books in the series know that both are very talented when it comes to manipulation and politics. Since they can’t physically hurt their spouse, they choose to go for the emotional jugular and seduce their spouses’ former lovers (Adonis and Pandora, respectively). Romance readers who pick their books by trope will be pleased to know that the ‘marriage of convenience’ and ‘second chance romance’ feature very heavily in this book. The whole situation between Hephaestus and Aphrodite gets very complicated very quickly (turning into what the author terms as a ‘polyamorous knot’) and it was quite entertaining as a reader to follow along.

The worldbuilding of each book in the series works off of the foundation that previous books have laid. I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn more about how the city works, and what forces are working against it. While the plots of each book are constructed such that they can be read in any order and independently of each other, I do recommend reading it in order for the best experience. If you read this and subsequently start reading more of Katee Robert’s books, you will also notice that her different series are interconnected. I highly recommend checking out their graphics on Instagram to see the different connections. As a side note, for those who might be going into this as your first Katee Robert read, I do want to warn you that the spiciness rating is very high; multiple explicit and intimate lovemaking scenes are scattered throughout the book.

Overall, this was an excellent read that’s left me excited for more. Audiobook narrators Alex Moorcock and Zara Hampton-Brown did an excellent job bringing multiple perspectives to life with their performances in the audiobook version of the story. I’m super excited for the next installment in the series (due out January 2024), which features Charon, Eurydice, and Orpheus.

Candy Magic by M. C. Roth


Candy Magic by M. C. Roth
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Holiday, LGBTQ, Paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Sweeter than candy—hotter than magic.

Crean is trying to leave it all behind—the closet, his overbearing family and, of course, his magic. In a world where vampires and shifters are hidden among humans, Crean is the odd one out. Born as a human to a family of shifters, he’s been hiding his orientation and his magic for his entire life.

In search of a new start, he sets out on a journey to a different province. The only condition is he has to live with his brother and his three roommates.

Living with a vampire, a werewolf and a faerie is bound to be a disaster, and Crean does his best to avoid the strangers. But everything he’s been told about others is wrong, and his life is about to change forever.

What would you do in order to be free? To stop having to hide all that you are? For Crean, that means leaving home and moving in with his younger brother, Rian, and his roommates. What starts out as a risky and possibly disastrous situation turns into more than any of them could have ever imagined.

Crean is a fun character. I enjoyed watching him grow into his sexuality and really own it. His interactions with his brother are fun and very realistic. He also has very different relationships with the other roommates, too, which I appreciated.

Rian’s roommates were a crazy bunch. A vampire, a wolf shifter, and a faery. Even more amusing is that Rian’s a panther shifter himself, so a dog, a cat, a biter, and a fae all in the same house. This diversity of paranormals makes for an enjoyable bit of banter throughout the story, as well as different experiences for Crean as he bonds with each man. It’s hard to choose a favorite, too, because each had a fun or quirky personality trait that endeared them to me.

One small thing that bothered me with the story is that Crean’s magic wasn’t really addressed. He hid it from everyone, but even his lovers don’t know about it. While reading, I assumed that the reason why Nate could feed off him and be sated for a long period of time was due to the magic. The same goes for what transpired with Tristan as well. But it’s a small thing and didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the story overall.

Candy Magic is a super steamy, funny, and magical romance. Mixing an awkward, inexperienced ‘human’ in with a house full of more experienced paranormal beings is indeed a recipe for disaster, but it can also be a recipe for love, passion, and joy. I’d love to know more about their lives after this story ends, I just couldn’t get enough of Crean and his boys.