Caught! by JL Merrow

CAUGHT
Caught! by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (240 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

It’s hard to find a man that appreciates a good bow tie. Robert left his sordid past behind and tried to make a new start as a primary school teacher in a smaller village. He’s decidedly done with love and all its failings, or so he thinks. Sean is the uncle of two of Robert’s students and seems to be everything Robert can’t resist. He’s warm, generous, caring, and has a thing for men in bow ties. Despite Robert’s hesitations he can’t help being drawn to the other man but just when things seem to be going well, Robert’s past decides to make an appearance. Now if only Robert can figure out a way to explain or hide his past from Sean.

Caught! is the first book in a new series by JL Merrow. The author is often known for light comedic romance set in the UK and this definitely fits that description. Her writing is so clean and effortless to read that the pages always fly by much faster than I even realize. Humorous and delightfully quirky characters fill the pages creating an engaging and entertaining story from the start. Robert as the first person narrator is eccentric in the best possible way. He has an upper crust bearing and background, despite his turn at humbleness in the middle of his upbringing, but he fits well with down to earth pest control technician Sean. There is some minor attempt at tension between the two being from obviously different worlds but Sean is good hearted and easy going while Robert is a bit fussy and particular but they easily fit well together.

The story doesn’t offer much plot beyond Robert’s day-to-day activities as he lives his life and attempts to foster a relationship with Sean but for me that was the charm of the story. I loved reading about Robert’s 2E class and the adorable children portrayed. Robert’s family and friends are all interesting characters that sometimes steal the scenes they’re in. I especially loved Robert’s rather cliché female best friend that offered sage advice, but she was more genuine and honest than typical females the genre produces. The very British landscape of the village was homey and lent an easy cadence and tone to the writing. There’s not a lot of action or tension but I personally loved that about the book. I didn’t want or need more than well-developed characters, obvious chemistry, good writing, and a quickly moving story. It’s the type of story you curl up with on a chilly day and enjoy.

I clearly loved Caught! so I easily and eagerly recommend it. It won’t be for everyone though, as not all readers enjoy gentle romance with very little erotic sex. Also due to the lack of any real tension, the main couple gets together with relative ease and only minor miscommunications come up, I think this will appeal to readers that like that kind of ease within relationships. There is no instant love or overwrought devotion immediately but simply two men well suited that start a relationship. There are some bumps but overall it’s an easy outing with lots of humor. Exactly what I wanted.

Swinger Style by Jayne Rylon

STYLE
Swinger Style by Jayne Rylon
Hot Rods – Book Five
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Sex/Play, Multiple Partners, Ménage, M/F/M
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

She’s running on empty…and he’s ready to fill her up.

Hot Rods, Book 5

After watching his mother crumble in the face of heartbreak, Holden believes monogamy is bull. New week, new woman, that’s just how he rolls. Too bad one taste of Sabra Harp leaves him salivating for more.

Sabra was ready for the climb from local news reporter to national anchor—before her pursuit of a story almost destroyed the Hot Rods, whose friendship she has admired from afar. Too bad they all hate her guts. That’s okay, she despises what she’s become too…enough that she’s just told her boss where to stick it.

When Holden drives a drunken Sabra home and puts her to bed, her blatant invitation almost has him following her between the sheets. She’s willing to let him take charge in bed, friends included—and he’s willing to listen to her amazing business proposition, which could rocket the Hot Rods to stardom.

Yet as his friends have paired off, Holden realizes that to participate in their polyamorous games without becoming a third wheel, he needs Sabra. And she needs him…oh, how she needs him.

Swinger Style is the latest in Jayne Rylon’s Hot Rods series, and once again it is a hot and sexy ride with these guys and gals in the garage. This world never fails to intrigue me, and I love the way Ms. Rylon makes her ‘family of the heart’ so real and compelling. Each character brings something unique to the mix, and each new addition to the ‘family’ adds to the fun and the heat. I like this world, a place where folks can be themselves, and judgment is noticeably absent.

Holden is a free spirit, never staying with one woman long. Until he meets Sabra Harp, and then he is torn, wanting her, but angry at the problems she created for the Hot Rods. Sabra is ashamed of what happened as well, and determined to make it up to the tight knit group of mechanics, and just maybe, she can also make it up to Holden, a man who intrigues her in a way no one ever has. When she brings a proposal to the Hot Rods that could change their future, is a good way, at first Holden is the lone stand out in the Hot Rods, but he can’t seem to fight the feelings he has for Sabra. When he learns that she left her job as news reporter because of her belief that those higher up at her station might have been behind the ‘leak’, he reluctantly listens to her plans for the team. He also discovers how much he really likes her, and is delighted when the feeling is mutual. Now, if he can just learn whether she will fit into the polyamorous lifestyle of the Hot Rods, or is interested in moving forward toward a relationship with him. Can Holden overcome his lifelong fear of closeness to make a life with Sabra and the Hot Rods? Is Sabra ready to embrace the wild and loving Hot Rods lifestyle, with all that it promises? Can this group find a way to outwit the station bosses and help Sabra put her show on the air for all to see?

Sabra Hart is a strong and determined woman, and when she realizes the damage that her story inadvertently caused, she wants to make things right with those she harmed. When she realizes that those in charge at the station went against the guidelines, she quit rather than condone what they did. I like her strength of character, and she has an adventurous side that is willing to accept new challenges. Especially if those challenges include spending time with Holden. She felt the connection, and hopes he will accept the apology she offers for what happened.

Holden grew up in the center that Eli’s dad and mom started, part of the Hot Rod family of troubled and abandoned children. He has always felt like part of the group, but as each of the Hot Rods found that special person, he thinks he doesn’t fit the same anymore, and hates that he has become more of an observer than a participant. When he realizes Sabra is more than just a quick fling, he slowly brings her into their world, hoping for the best. I liked watching Holden show his romantic side with her, and his ability to let go of his past to face a future filled with possibilities.

Sabra and Holden have fantastic chemistry, and the progression of their relationship is fast and furious. Sabra, with her background in yoga, brings a whole new definition to going with the flow. I enjoyed the highs and the lows in this one, and liked that the ‘big boss’ at the station was not able to keep the project down in spite of his efforts. There is a brief visit with the Crew from the Powertools series, and it was great catching up with them as well. There are some tearful moments, some giggle producing ones and there is a very suspenseful cliff hanger of an ending to this one. If you like your passion off the charts, with lots of bodies in lots of combinations, this is right up your alley. But bring ice and tissues, both will be needed.

Dark Mist: The Hidden Series by LaVerne Thompson and Tenaj

MIST
Dark Mist: The Hidden Series by LaVerne Thompson and Tenaj
Publisher: RP World Group, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (68 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

For over a thousand years, Deacon has led his vampire brethren to live in peace amongst humans. But that was before he entered the dreams of the beautiful Rose, hungering desperately for that which he could not claim because the very laws he had set forbade it. Laws that meant certain death for the Hydden should they be broken…laws that Deacon himself might just shatter for one human. But he hungered for her blood and someone knew it.

Could he take what he desired most while still protecting himself from those who sought to destroy him? Or will Rose mourn the promise of an eternal forever if Deacon brings about his own demise?

Church going vampires who don’t drink blood…human blood, anyhow. That’s what you’ll find between the pages of Dark Mist by LaVerne Thompson and Tenaj.

Deacon is not your typical brooding vampire who sits around and pines for his lost humanity whilst loathing his bloodlust. While he certainly craves human blood, he’s forbidden all vampires from drinking it. Long ago, vampires were out of control, killing humans at will and endangering their own future. He put a stop to it by banning drinking from the vein. Even though there’s been times when younger vamps have threatened his rule or challenged his decree, Deacon governs with an iron fist and doesn’t think twice about eliminating any vampires who jeopardize the safety of their kind or humans.

Building his empire around the idea of saving souls—in more ways than one—he’s capitalized on the desire of most species to congregate and fellowship by building churches. These “safe houses” for vampires allow them to come, feed, and get the support they need. The only one allowed to drink human blood is him and it’s only to bind a human to him to protect their kind. Allowing anyone else to do so is just too risky.

Rose is a young girl who has proven herself with hard work and dedication. Her advancement at Hydden Enterprises—HE for short—was something she’d strived for. She’d lost her parents at a young age, but was graced with good stepparents who instilled a strong work ethic in her. Their encouragement and love was a blessing. She’s ready to make them proud by stepping into her new role at HE, and showing the big wigs there what a little orphan girl is capable of.

Despite her excitement and anticipation at starting a new life in a new city at a growing company, she has a few moments of hesitation. For the last few months, she’s experienced strange dreams about a man who seems too perfect to be real, dreams that leave her yearning for his touch and more. She doesn’t understand why these dreams feel so real, or why these fantasies have affected her so much. But the sight of her friend quickly dispels her unease. Krystal welcomes her into her home and soon the two pick up where they’d left off….giggling over beers and discussing everything from house renovations to battery operated boyfriends.

I have to admit, the initial thing that grabbed me about this book was the male character’s name—Deacon. It’s a rare name that I’m rather partial to because I have a son named Deacon. So when I saw this, I of course had to read it. The fact that it was about vampires made it even more tempting as I love almost anything supernatural.

The storyline itself proved interesting—I’ve never considered vampires hiding their true natures behind the façade of a church—but if you’re expecting a lot of excitement or danger, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. This was more of a “get to know you” kind of story that spans about two days’ time. The main characters, Rose and Deacon, are really just laying the groundwork for what appears to be future installments in this line. There’s plenty of hot, descriptive sex, but also a little bit of background info about both of them, which helped me get a feel for their characters.

One thing that made reading difficult was the excessive use of commas. I found myself having to reread things to figure out what the author was trying to say. Many of them were simply unnecessary. Some minor word errors and point-of-view violations also distracted me, but not as much as the commas. I think with some more editing, this could have been a much easier read.

The ending left me hanging with some major happenings occurring in the last few paragraphs, but I expect it’s a lead up to future stories. I honestly feel that this story could have easily continued as it was just starting to really get interesting when it ended. This seemed more fitting of a saga or soap opera with new installments coming at frequent intervals as opposed to stand-alone book. Hopefully the authors won’t leave their readers hanging for too long.

Vampires with a new twist…it surely got me thinking. I’m always game for a story with sexy supernaturals and intelligent women. With such a blunt ending, I’ll likely be wondering what happens next for a while to come. And if Ms. Thompson or Tenaj need any name suggestions for future sexy vamps, I also have a Jacob, Jared, and Joshua they are welcome to borrow. *wink*

What to Do with a Bad Boy by Marie Harte

BOY
What to Do with a Bad Boy by Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (366 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Mike McCauley had his soul mate for a precious time before she died giving birth to their son. She left him with the best boy a guy could want, so why is everyone playing matchmaker? He’s sick of it . . . until he meets Delilah Webster.

For some reason, the foul-mouthed, tattooed mechanic sets his motor running. He sees the loving woman buried within. But the closer they get, the more the pain of past wounds throws a monkey wrench into a future he’s not sure he can handle…

After reading this novel, the hero wasn’t the only one needing a cold shower. This story has scenes so hot, I swear the pages scorched my eyebrows.

What to Do with a Bad Boy is finally giving me what I want, Mike’s story. For such a fussy and fastidious housekeeper and father of such a cute little rascal named Colin, I never dreamed he had such sexy and kinky depths hidden in that big hunky body of his. Guess it took a woman with a hint of “bad girl” to get the hero to open up which means Del is the perfect woman for him. Ms. Harte made sure of that.

The internal conflict that holds Mike back is the memory of his first wife. Yes, he loved her and still does but he needs to move on. Even he thinks so. But he’s got this ‘ideal’ that he believes he must have and having any feelings or lust for Del seems so wrong, it scares him. The interesting thing about lust is the power it can have. In this story, it slams into Mike so hard he can’t help but ponder, wonder and salivate over ‘what if?’ That is the chink in his armor that Del slips through and the fun begins.

Del is quite a mix of brash, confident, mouthy and hidden deep inside, sentimental and purely feminine. She’s definitely on the rough side but that works perfectly when she bounces that attitude of hers off of Mike. I also like the fact that she’s capable, smart and willing to step out of her comfort zone for friends. There is a lot for a reader to like about the heroine.

The basic plot is focused on Mike and Del getting over their hang-ups in order to fall in love. Mike’s path is onerous because he has to truly, finally and completely reconcile his past with his present. That pivotal moment was a gut punch. It was well written, dramatic and powerful because it was full of intense emotion and pain. What a great scene. Del has to learn to compromise and trust that for once, she has the real deal, true love, and Mike isn’t simply going to go ‘poof’. She has a hard time with that transition of expecting failure to expecting success instead.

One thing about this book is the hotness of it. Once Mike realizes that Del can take anything he can dish out, he taps into sexual yearnings he’s always had but buried deep. With Del, he can be himself and once he realizes that, readers are in for some heat inducing scenes. Seems he has this thing for tying Del up and giving her orders and even spanking her when she’s ‘bad’. For Del, a tough and suffers-no-fools kind of gal, giving Mike that kind of power over her is a heady trip and one that shocks her because she had no clue she wouldn’t mind a take charge kind of guy to that extent. Throughout all the amazing sex scenes, Ms. Harte did something fascinating. She incorporated dialogue, both internal and external, throughout their mating. The author wrote them in such a way that a reader can’t simply skim over them thinking, ‘oh, it’s just another sex scene’. If they do skim, they’ll miss the growth of Mike and Del’s relationship. It’s interwoven so tightly it gives meaning to the sex and makes every single moment thoroughly readable. No mistake though; have the ice handy for a few of them.

The one character I could have done without was Grace. I understood why she was included in this story, she was a conflict foil. Still, she annoyed me. The fact that Mike’s mom acted the way she did annoyed me too. I expected better from her for some reason and the fact she kept on her stubborn blinders about Del just got my goat.

Colin was his usually rascally self. I enjoyed how the author got into his head and allowed me to follow his reasoning as to why Del would be the perfect mom for him. What he did to try to orchestrate it was adorable. All through the series, he was a lovable character and Ms. Harte made him shine in this novel.

I think this book could be read as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend it only because I believe that the reading of it is more powerful after reading the previous three. Ms. Harte has been slowly seducing readers about Mike and Del for quite some time. If a reader wants the full effect, read at least the previous two novels. They’ll be glad they did.

Reading What to Do with a Bad Boy is like the perfect summer vacation – everything that could make the experience the best it could be, a reader gets. Mike and Del’s story is a home run and closes the series with a winner of a story. The romance is wonderful, the sex is deliciously wicked and all the characters provide that family feeling of continuity and connection. I definitely recommend this book to romance readers, especially those that like their books extra sizzling.

The Queen’s Guard by Emma Jane

GUARD
The Queen’s Guard by Emma Jane
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (13 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Fetish (Guard’s Uniform)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jonathan visits Windsor Castle every weekend to watch one particular member of the Queen’s Guard, and when he spots the man at the local gay bar he knows he might just be in with a chance. As he watches the changing of the guard, he imagines just what he could get up to with his soldier.

Jonathan had a slight obsession with one of the Queen’s Guard from Windsor Castle ever since spotting him in a local gay bar. Every Saturday Jonathan goes to watch the changing of the guard, his harmless little obsession and the ritual that’s growing around it. Trying to go cold turkey, Jonathan decides to skip his Saturday ritual and instead goes out clubbing that evening. Bumping into Isaac, his soldier, quickly puts all his good intentions right out of mind.

Written in the first person perspective in Jonathan’s voice, I thought this short story had the air of a confessional. While I’m usually not a fan of first person writing, and it was a little difficult to feel a connection to Isaac as there was nothing about his thoughts/views, this was still an intriguing story. I enjoyed the different tone the author gave Jonathan and also found the story itself fresh and different. I also found myself a little disappointed with how speedily the sex was dealt with. While the build up and chemistry was fantastic, the actual event itself was quickly – almost dismissively – written. It’s possible that this was due to a word limit, or other constraint, but personally I’d have enjoyed this book far more thoroughly if there had been more description and time devoted to the scene when Jonathan and Isaac finally get together with Isaac’s Queen’s Guard uniform.

This is a short, sexy story filled with chemistry and charmingly written. I enjoyed the fresh perspective and novel concept of the story itself. An enjoyable, quick story.

Seven Steps To Heaven by Emily Moreton

HEAVEN
Seven Steps To Heaven by Emily Moreton
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (24 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Fetish (role-playing police officer)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Steve’s night at Heaven starts badly, what with finding a dead body behind the club where he strips and all that, but rapidly improves with the introduction of older, attractive Officer Monroe, the first cop on scene. That’s Step One. Steve’s problem is negotiating the steps that come after that. Like lunch dates, small talk and, oh yeah, his own massive uniform kink.

Steve was already having a crappy morning when he steps outside for a smoke – only to discover a dead body. The only upside was when the cops arrive one of them is like a walking wet-dream. Officer Monroe has a sense of humour, kind eyes and a few mysteries of his own. Steve finds himself hooked before he knows what’s happening and all too soon he’s realizing that maybe he has a thing for uniforms after all.

This is a character driven story – and Monroe and Steve didn’t disappoint me. With the guessing game of what Monroe’s Christian name is, and the ribald fun between the two men as Steve flirted with Monroe this book moves at a fast pace. I enjoyed the different spin on “the cop and the stripper”, and felt Ms Moreton did an excellent job of keeping the situation lighthearted.

The sub-plot of the murder and serial killer got lost a bit in amongst the sex and budding relationship between Steve and Monroe. Although it was light and there was a brief mention about them making progress, a part of me would have enjoyed it if there’d been a more firm resolution. This would have left it not feeling like a loose end for me. But the real aim of the story was the steps bringing Steve and Monroe together and in this I found the author masterful. There was an excellent blend of sex, fun and banter. Steve and Monroe didn’t just fall together and instantly work, there were boundaries and steps and I enjoyed watching them both navigate their new relationship.

I found this to be a fun, interesting read and I’d definitely look up more titles by this author.

Nurse Levi by L.J Hamlin

MEN
Nurse Levi by L.J Hamlin
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (20 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Levi is a nurse, and his days are pretty much the same, always working hard. His day changes when another nurse asks him to take over looking after one of her patients. Levi finds himself tending to Ash, an injured fireman and the sparks are there from the start.

Levi leaves work that day still thinking about Ash, but thinking he’ll never see him again. Fate, and maybe some sneakiness on Ash’s part, bring the men together again and the heat between them quickly grows.

Levi’s parents might have been okay with him being gay, but they struggled to understand why a man would want to be a nurse, not a doctor. Still, Levi enjoys helping people and is satisfied with his career. When Levi takes over a patient from another nurse who has to leave early, he decides it’s his lucky night. Ash is one smoking hot fireman, injured rescuing a kitten. Levi wants to do far more than patch Ash up, and soon the two men are both on fire for each other.

Despite a few snickers from the clichés, I found this to be a really fun romp of a short story. Leave your brain behind, grab an icy cold drink and settle in for this fun ride. Filled with double entendres and witty repertoire this book had be laughing aloud and eagerly turning the pages. Levi and Ash are humorous characters and I enjoyed watching them come together. Really sweet without being sappy, I found both Ash and Levi to be softer, gentler kinds of characters. There isn’t much plot to speak of, but the characters and the building of their newfound relationship takes front and center stage.

A short, happy, fun story, this is an excellent introduction to M/M. With a sweet and almost tender sex scene and plenty of getting-to-know-you time before the big event I would strongly recommend this for readers who want to dabble in M/M but want something gentler to help ease them in. Like a good, summery drink I found this a frothy and happy story to read.

Dirty Little Secret by Ella Sheridan

SECRET
Dirty Little Secret by Ella Sheridan
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (164 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Cailin Gray transfers to the new Atlanta branch of her company to work for the senior vice president, Alex Brannigan. But before her job begins, she allows the anonymity of the big city to lure her into a night of dancing–and the arms of a mystery lover hotter than anything this country girl could imagine. When she wakes alone, his absence hurts more than she thought it would, but not nearly as much as walking into the office Monday morning and discovering her lover is her new, married boss.

Alex has one goal: help his best friend, Sara Beth, keep her inheritance. Their plan included a marriage of convenience–check–taking over the vice president’s position–check–and keeping the platonic state of their relationship secret until their position of power is solidified. That last takes time, but the resulting solitude weighs heavily. Until Cailin. He told himself a single night would have to be enough, but fate had other plans. Now he must choose between keeping his dirty little secret and fulfilling his promise to Sara Beth, or finding the strength to free them all from the secrets that bind them.

This story completely captured me from the very beginning and kept my attention until the very end. Cailin has a naughty side that no one but Alex ever got to experience, and once he got a taste, he did not want to give her up. I can honestly say that the relationship between those two was something out of my fantasies.

Alex is everything I want in man: sexy, strong, reliable and knows what he wants in life. Both his strength and reliability makes him endearing but they can also lead to his downfall especially as he puts others ahead of his own happiness. This is evident throughout the story as he continues to keep secrets. The secrets he keeps will not only effect his life, but can destroy others, so he must sacrifice his happiness and possibly Cailin’s to protect those he loves.

Cailin is a sweetheart who deserves the world. I cannot help but feel for her position. She finally left her husband and was looking for a fresh start to only get thrown into more drama. She clearly wants Alex for more than just a quick one night fling but she knows that her lust is misplaced. She may have been a bad girl that one night, but she refuses to be a person who destroys other’s lives for her own personal needs.

This story plot line is intriguing to say the least. Both Alex and Cailin as well as the supporting characters really do have a unique situation on their hands that requires them to be delicate and try to do what is best for everyone. The secrets in this story are so deep and juicy it is a bit difficult to review as I do not want to spoil it for the readers. This story is one I will hold near and dear to my heart and is well worth reading. I fully intend to read it again.

Best Laid Plans by M. Durango

LAID
Best Laid Plans by M. Durango
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (22 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Craig is happy with his life, even if running his own business and negotiating bank loans can be stressful. The closest thing he’s had to a serious relationship was with Ryan in college. After Ryan moved away, Craig hardly gave him a second thought. When Ryan shows up with Craig’s weekly liquor order, Craig’s thrown off his game and finds himself a little in lust.

Craig and Ryan had messed around together in college, but they’d both moved on. Now Ryan is back from New York and working as a delivery guy. Both have secrets about what they’ve done in the past ten years, but neither can deny the intensity of the attraction that still burns between them.

For a super short story I was delighted by how much plot and character growth was squashed into these brief pages. The author does an excellent job of short, snappy paragraphs that paint vivid scenes for the reader. I found myself catching up quickly on the history simmering between Ryan and Craig, and appreciating how neither man pounced immediately on the other – a very common way for authors to get the story moving. I enjoyed the tease about what had led Ryan back from New York, but would have liked a bit more meat to the snippets of explanation about this. The story of how he’d gone from financial whiz to truck driver was quite interesting and I feel could have been fleshed out just a little more.

Although simple and short, this story had an intriguing complexity to it and I found myself eagerly devouring it all.

Readers who are looking for a plot and character driven, quick read should be pleasantly surprised. While there is plenty of steamy chemistry and sizzling attraction, just the one sex scene means this book isn’t as raunchy as many and is a good way to ease newbie readers – or those who usually are skittish about M/M – and keeps it quite well rounded to my mind. An excellent, fast read and one I found deeply satisfying.

The Viper by Kele Moon

VIPER
The Viper by Kele Moon
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (261 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Marcos Rivera is a fighter. A gang member. Someone who has seen the dark side of humankind and survived. He has lost family and gained enemies. He has stolen cars and destroyed hearts, stripping one for money and the other for pleasure. His past is haunted and his future is bleak.

Until her.

Katie Foster is a high school history teacher. Smart, strong, and sexy. She is a woman Marcos shouldn’t want. Shouldn’t touch. Shouldn’t love. He met her in Garnet, a backwards, hick town that’s the last place in the world he wants to be, but he finds himself going back for a taste of the forbidden.

Katie represents all that is good in the world, and Marcos knows he’s nothing but trouble for her perfect life. He fights and he screws. He commits crimes and he breaks the rules. He will never change and he will never escape his gang lifestyle.

Or can he?

What happens when two different people from two very different walks of life risk it all by giving into the passion that threatens to consume both of them? Can a woman who only knows how to play it safe give her heart to a man who lives hard and loves harder?

Will she survive The Viper?

This is the kind of book that I love to read! I’ve been a huge Kele Moon fan. I loved her Battered Hearts Series. It was the first time I’d ever read a MMA themed romance and I found myself hopelessly hooked. I enjoyed the series, and Moon’s writing, so much. This book begins a new spin-off series called Untamed Hearts. It lived up to all my expectations and then some.

Fate brings Marcos Rivera crashing into Katie Foster’s life. There is an immediate attraction that neither one of them can deny, even though Marcus tries to shut it down. Of course, Katie is determined so eventually she gets her chance. That part was so romantic.

It’s the typical good girl / bad boy trope that I tend to get into easily. I will say that this one had a great back story for Marcus and his cousin Chuito. Then throw in the angst and the drama of how hard it is for Marcos to catch a break …. anywhere. Yet, what stood out here for me wasn’t so much that as it was the romantic relationship itself and how Katie and Marcos accepted each other without needing to change the fundamentals of who they were. She knew Marcos was a bad boy capable of doing bad things. She still wanted him just the way he was. Now, Marcos does end up being a little reckless in a way; there was that bit of melodrama. But mostly he ended up giving her strength to stand up for herself and to take a chance on them. Oh and less I forget, the sex was hot!

That’s about all I can say without giving anything away. So let me just say that it had a good plot. The writing was smooth and flawless. The book flew by way too fast for me, and I will be going back for another read soon. Lastly, the characters were vibrant, capturing my interest and pulling me into their story. It was easy to have some real feelings for them. Katie was strong, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Marcos. It was easy to love him.

On a side note, the series continues with Chuito’s book up next. He does have a dark side. I can’t wait. If you liked Moon’s Battered Hearts Series then you’re going to love this one just as much. If not then it can work great as a stand alone book too. It gets a big recommendation from me.