Claws by H. C. Brown

CLAWS
Claws by H. C. Brown
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Rohan Knight thinks all his birthdays have come at once when a sexy blond twink hits on him. He has searched for a delicious man like Cael all his life.

The problem is Nox, King of the Fae, sent Cael to discover who is using magyck unlawfully in the Nomag realm. When Cael finds Rohan is a rogue Pride shifter with ancient magyck, he must use all his powers of persuasion to lure him back to the safety of Other World.

Rohan has lived a normal life until Cael comes into his world. The Fae gives Rohan a new look on life. All that he knows has been thrown out the window. If all that Cael says is true Rohan will find a new and better life in another world that very few ever get to see. Can Rohan trust his feelings for Cael? Will the two men find what they are looking for or will fear drive them apart?

I enjoyed this visit to the world of the Fae and the Pride. Rohan finds a world full of new and exciting things. He longs to share his new life with the man who brought him to this world. If only Cael would trust him to know his own feelings. Rohan is a good and strong man who will fight for what he wants and what he truly wants is Cael. As Rohan explores his new world he also finds a way to win Cael’s trust. Soon their attraction becomes much more and love finds a way into their lives but Cael must learn to trust Rohan. I enjoyed watching their relationship take shape and turn into something more. The two make a wonderful couple and the love that they share shines through in everything that they do.

I found Rohan’s character to be an interesting twist to this story and series. He has been lost to the human world for so many years and is more powerful than many that we have seen before. I cannot wait to see where Rohan fits in both the world of the Fae and the Pride. I do hope that we get to see more of Rohan and Cael in future books.

August Erotic Book of the Month Poll

A Kiss is a Kiss is a Kiss by Destiny Moon

TKISS
A Kiss is a Kiss is a Kiss by Destiny Moon
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (49 pages)
Other: F/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

On Pride morning, bookish and reserved Rachel musters the courage to talk to her barista crush, only to discover she’s not alone in her desires.

Where does an introverted bookish dyke hang out on Pride morning? Her local LGBTQ bookstore, of course. While helping to put together the store’s annual float for the parade, Rachel reveals that she has a crush on the barista at the coffee shop next door.

The bookstore gang encourages Rachel to step out of her comfort zone and talk to the barista, even though Rachel is convinced she must have a boyfriend. Much to her surprise, the girl flirts with her and even shows up at the bookstore on her coffee break, where she introduces herself as Mavis. In spite of her shyness, Rachel lays bare that she has had a crush on Mavis for some time and Mavis—to everyone’s surprise—wants to know what Rachel is doing after the parade.

Beside herself with disbelief, Rachel skips through the parade. She is so unsure of herself and the new connection with Mavis and she’s convinced that Mavis is straight. When Mavis confesses she has never been with a woman, Rachel must face her worst fear—that she was right. But it doesn’t take long for Mavis to convince Rachel that she’s up for a new experience.

Rachel doesn’t want to be an experiment and she has a hard time trusting that Mavis wants more than just a bit of fun on Pride. Can she take the leap of faith so necessary in taking their connection to the next level?

Eventually somebody has to make the first move. Will Rachel regret being the one to do it?

The dialogue made me grin. It was written so realistically that at times I felt as though I was eavesdropping on someone else’s conversation instead of reading a book. I especially liked how smoothly Ms. Moon transitioned from the characters having a conversation to describing the settings they were in or what they were planning to do next. These sections were very nicely done.

It would have been helpful to have more details about Rachel’s personality. The way it was described in the beginning of this story didn’t always match up with how she behaved. I would have liked to know why this difference existed and whether or not Rachel realized it was there. She was a very appealing character to me. It was simply difficult to understand why she made certain decisions that seemed to conflict with her temperament.

Rachel and Mavis had an incredible amount of chemistry that didn’t waste any time showing up in the storyline. It was fun to see the first sparks fly between them so quickly! I really liked seeing how they interacted because of how well they got along with each other. They seemed to have a lot in common, too, which only made me root for them to end up together even more.

A Kiss is a Kiss is a Kiss is a good choice for anyone who is in the mood for something sexy and romantic.

Mashing by Sean Michael

TMASHING
Mashing by Sean Michael
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (111 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Life is good for Toby and Damon—maybe too good. What happens when someone seems intent on destroying their happiness?

Toby and Damon are growing closer every day, with Toby recovering from the shot to his shoulder and Damon trying to keep him from pushing too hard too fast. Things are good between them.

They’re even better in the bedroom, where Toby is learning all sorts of new things and Damon is happily pushing his limits.

They’ve almost forgotten that someone doesn’t seem as happy with their closeness as they are, when Toby walks into his studio to find it trashed and his little apartment ransacked. Are the authorities going to be able to apprehend the culprit before Toby decides the best course of action is to remove himself from the equation?

Toby is recovering from a shot shoulder. As an artist, a sculptor, the thought he mightn’t be able to work had driven him crazy. So he’s rushed back to his art, pushing himself hard but is really pleased to find he’d not lost the edge of his talent. Toby is desperately in love with Damon and grateful for the man’s presence, Damon keeps him from pushing himself too hard. But the threat from an unknown hater is weighing on them both. Can they work through this bump in their lives?

This is the third book in the Beer and Clay series, and while I feel it can be read as a stand alone book, I definitely think readers will get more out of it if they’ve read the first two stories first (“Malting” is book 1, and “Milling” is book 2). This book had a lot more detail about Damon’s friend Pete, and Pete’s lover, Christian. I was really excited about this, as we were somewhat introduced to Christian in Milling and it’s clear the man has quite the background and story to tell. There’s also quite a bit more mystery in this book than the previous two. Toby and Damon’s “stalker” is a far more prominent plot point and I really enjoyed seeing this aspect of their story come more into the foreground.

I felt this book had something for everyone – a really solid, sexy hot M/M relationship, good friends and strong secondary characters coming into their own, and a mystery plot really blossoming and coming into fruition. While not all the plots were wrapped up neatly – clearly there is at least another story in the series – I felt there was definite progression in the overall story arc and I enjoyed the strong steps forward both Toby and Damon (and Peter and Christian) made.

This is a hot, sexy read with a fair bit of kink and a well-established, loving couple as the main protagonists. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next installment. Recommended.

Dinner for Three by Camille Anthony

THREE
Dinner for Three by Camille Anthony
(Agency of Extraordinary Mates)
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Locked out of her office by her business partners, an overworked and rundown Michelle Rios accepts a vacation to Chimera Island to escape unwanted mothering. She’s not looking for love, though she’d love a taste of the two hunky chefs she used to watch on the gourmet channel. Rumor has it they’ve retired to the mysterious island.

Twin brothers Jonathan and Jason Corelli run Chimera Island’s best restaurant. Naturally, they’re not human. One a Vampire, the other a Werewolf, they’ve been cursed by a meddlesome Sorcerer. According to the Sorcerer, the woman who completes them is soon to arrive on Chimera. She alone can help them break the sorcerer’s curse.

The Corelli twins come as a package deal. For some women, that might be a problem, but Michelle’s up to the challenge. She’s willing to let them wine and dine her for two weeks, tempting her with a sensual feast of prime loin, and whetting her hunger for a double-decker sandwich ala Corelli, but is this workaholic ready to give up the “Real World” she left behind for two extraordinary men?

In this tale things are not as they appear and not as believed which made for some interesting reading. Jonathan is the vampire and Jason is the werewolf, or are they? Ms. Anthony presented an interesting twist on twins and I found it fascinating.

A reader will find a plethora of paranormal surprises as the mystery of the curse that plagues the two heroes is eventually resolved. The dilemma that the heroine, Chelle, faces isn’t solely about being able to love the two men at the same time. No, the author has another more dire decision for her to make and it becomes clear upon meeting her mysterious potential mother-in-law. Personally, I didn’t like the heroes’ mom at all. At first she seemed alright, until she started with her story – then I found her rather selfish. I’m glad Chelle had a few choice words for her; I felt the same.
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The editing was fine in this tale and the descriptions of the island’s environs sounded beautiful and a place I’d love to visit. Dialogue kept the pace of the story going smoothly and it got quite heated when Chelle, Jon and Jason finally commit to the physical tango. Erotic romance readers should find enough to enjoy because the author provided a lot of threesome action. Perhaps the author waxed a bit poetic with some of the descriptions, and was a bit enthusiastic with all the dialogue during the sex or loving which felt a bit overdone but they were still fun to read.

The one area that I should perhaps give a heads up about is only a few paragraphs but some readers might appreciate knowing. Chelle has to accept both men in all their facets and that includes time spent with a furry Jason – wolf and woman. Ms. Anthony made sure to inject emotion and sympathy for Jason’s plight so when the reality of them coming together happened it was more erotic than it otherwise would have been. Here too, the author was creatively and enthusiastically descriptive.

As with any good romance, there’s a happy ever after, but the author was clever and kept me dangling for a bit. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen so I was especially intrigued and fascinated. I’m happy with the outcome and thought the last sentence cute and clever. Dinner for Three was an entertaining short story, and a nice way to relax for an afternoon especially with an ice cold beverage, extra on the ice.

Uncovering Ray by Edie Danford

RAY
Uncovering Ray by Edie Danford
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (309 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Other: Gender Queer, M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

When the right love uncovers the wrong secrets…

Hey, man–you a chick or a dude? Dealing with the same old boring question is a downer for college drop-out Ray Fayette, especially when it’s asked by the low-tipping, over-privileged students at the Ellery Diner.

When six-foot-five, muscle-bound straight arrow Wyatt Kelly publicly smacks down a fellow frat bother for caveman behavior, Ray’s interest is sparked. Wyatt’s not-so-subtle attraction sparks a few other things too.

But getting to know Wyatt proves dangerous. His sexy smiles and smart questions slide under even Ray’s prickliest defenses. Worse, his academic mentor happens to be Ray’s ex-stepfather, the dictatorial jerk who just kicked Ray out of his house. Again.

Wyatt suggests a housing arrangement that has surprising appeal—there’s space available at his frat house—but he’s unaware just how complicated Ray’s “identity issues” are. Ellery College kicked out Ray for a reason—a reason that could deep-six Wyatt’s academic career and Ray’s newly hopeful heart.

Two young guys meet and fall in love. Only… one of them isn’t quite as he seems.

Ray is gender queer. He’s also the son of some pretty rich folks who disapprove of his androgyny, so he’s left them behind to work at a greasy diner. There he meets Wyatt, a popular fratboy with a stellar academic career. They hit it off. But Wyatt’s adviser is Ray’s bigoted, tyrannical step-father, and Ray’s got issues with biological and sexual identity and sex itself.

This entire story really hangs on two things, and if you don’t like either, then you’re not gonna like this story. Both things can be summed in one word: Ray. Firstly, he identifies as gender queer or androgynous, but he has a surprise tucked in his jeans. Secondly, Ray’s personality is at the focal point of storytelling, and if his snarky, rebellious, even whiny character doesn’t appeal to you, this’ll end your interest pretty quickly.

Because everything revolves around Ray, his sex and his personality, the story doesn’t exactly deepen a lot. In fact, despite the romance between Ray and Wyatt, overall this is pretty depressing, with homophobia, harassment, and threats of violence. I also liked Wyatt better than Ray, who felt awfully immature at times, speaking of hardships he’d endured when to me he hadn’t really had those kinds of experiences. His only (melodramatic) issues seemed to be with his so-called daddy, other people not getting his sexual identity, and Ray’s refusal to even really talk about any of it.

Wyatt, on the other hand, is a typical charmer, the college guy everyone wants to date and have on their side in a crunch. Beyond that, though, he didn’t have a lot of depth.

The romance consists of sweet closeness. About halfway through the book Ray’s secret is kept pretty close to home. Then the revelation comes, and it’s hard to see a need for the plot to continue past that point, especially since the topic is not really discussed in any meaningful way. Wyatt is accepting and loving of Ray, so that part of the crisis is resolved midway through the book. The plot focus is on the romance, so when the issues between the two are dealt with, the rest feels like needless filler. Also, the sensual scenes, though sweet and steamy at times, are not as fulfilling as they could have been.

Nonetheless, when it comes to figuring out one’s gender identity and sexual orientation, these guys have that part down. They discuss matters almost dispassionately–at least until Ray’s quirky character gets on a soapbox. Snarky Ray does a bad job of shooting Wyatt down whenever Wyatt starts asking questions about Ray and how he sees himself. That unfortunately makes the big revelation about Ray seem almost a non-issue, when it should be at the heart of the story, so that readers can actually think about what these things mean for real people in realistic terms. Wyatt kind of represents the enlightened modern teenager who understands not everyone is the same and can accept true diversity and embrace differences. That’s a worthwhile, important message to send, not just to the young, but to the old as well. This aspect brought some gravity to the matters shown here but much of that was left hanging in the air.

The best parts of this story are the messages of accepting differences. The romance is less about sex and what gender bits people have under their clothes, and more about two people falling in love, their personalities gravitating toward and attracting one another. Sometimes romances and matters of the heart ascend the physical, and that’s the unexplored expanse where this story lies. For a first book, this could have packed a punch, and sort of succeeds in the end.

Yes, Sir by J. Richards

SIR
Yes, Sir by J. Richards
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Is getting everything you want worth losing everything you have?

Abby Jackson is a frustrated housewife. Her husband pays more attention to his Xbox than to her. She fills her days with erotica novels, wishing her husband would listen to her desperate pleas for more excitement in their sex lives, but he wants nothing to do with her wild fantasies.

When Abby goes out for her weekly girl’s night with her best friend Kelly, they enjoy a dangerous game of truth or dare that leads Abby to a controlling stranger who takes a shot of vodka from her breasts. The night rattles her to her core, and keeps Mr. Dark and Handsome in her mind for days after.

Just as she returns to her boring, routine life, she gets a mysterious text message from an unknown number to come spend the night exploring her most secret desires. She knows she shouldn’t go, but how can she not? Arriving at the hotel and unsure what will happen, Abby finds a box with a skimpy panty set, a blindfold, and a riding crop inside. There are also instructions to wear only what the box contains and to be ready for when the stranger arrives. Abby’s first lesson in the Dominate/submissive world has just begun. The only frightening thing is how much she gets off on it. But will it fulfill her secret fantasies…or endanger everything she has?

Ladies night out has never been so hot…

When Abby goes out for her girl’s night at a local bar, things go from hot to bothered in moments. Her friend dares her into a naughty drinking game and she has to decide whether or not to accept. The man in question is a tall, dark and handsome stranger sitting at the bar. The mission? Drink a shot from between her well-endowed chest. What Abby decides next will land her from the frying pan and into an inferno of temptation and desire. Abby goes home to her husband but can’t stop thinking about the sexy stranger. When events transpire giving her a chance to meet him again she has a choice to make.

This book is hot, hot, hot. The interaction between Abby and the sexy stranger is a scorcher and there is a certain mix of trepidation due to the fact she is married. You don’t usually find married women in romance novels where they go off with another man while they are married but in this case it serves to act as a page turner. There are some interesting developments toward the end of the story and I can’t decide if I wanted it to go that way or just outright have her do something different. (I can’t say more or I’ll spoil it for you!)

The dialog, the action, the characters all were well done and I wanted the story to go on and on. Especially certain parts, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out just what those parts might be. Abby is a woman on the cusp of realizing her wants include things that go beyond being a wife and mother. She wants a hint of naughty in her life and she is fast finding out just how to find it.

As a married woman, I could identify with the situation she finds herself in. Do the dare or not. Go the extra step or not. Go home to her husband or explore the needs that have found their way into her life. It’s a tricky little pickle but the author handles it very well.

If you’re looking for a short hot read this summer, then you have to give this book a try. Just remember to have a glass of ice water nearby for the heat wave that’s coming.

Adore by Mischa Tryst

ADORE
Adore by Mischa Tryst
Publisher: MoodyWriter Publishing, LLC.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Other: F/F, Toys
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Neveah was just ending a bad relationship when she met Chloe a newly out lesbian. The two of them hit it off, but decided to take it slow. Their slow and steady pace has lead them to a relationship that both confirm is one of the best they’ve ever been in.

Now, they are on the precipice of a major step in their relationship. Not only will it be their first time making love, it will be Chloe’s first time – period.

Through this erotica short, we follow Neveah as she set out to execute the perfect sexy weekend for Chloe and for them.

There’s something incredibly special about the first time one has sex.

At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the first few scenes because of how slowly they built up the tension. They weren’t exactly what I was expecting to find in erotica. Once I figured out what the author was doing, I completely understood why these scenes were written that way. I quickly grew to appreciate seeing the world from Neveah’s perspective for a little while before she met up with her girlfriend. They provided insight into her personality that definitely came in handy later.

While I really enjoyed the plot itself, this story contained many grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Some of them were difficult to figure out. Had I not needed to stop and reread sentences so often to figure out what the narrator was actually trying to say, I would have given this tale a much higher rating. The only thing holding it back were all of the typos. There were simply too many of them to overlook.

The chemistry between Chloe and Neveah was sizzling hot. I liked seeing how the author struck a balance between describing the sexual and emotional portions of the relationship between these characters. Including both elements only made the sex scenes even steamier than they would have been otherwise! It was a very smart choice. I don’t know if there will ever be a sequel, but I’d be interested in reading it if it is ever written.

I’d recommend Adore to anyone in the mood for something short and sexy.

Armored Hearts by Angela Knight

HEARTS
Armored Hearts by Angela Knight
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Anal Sex, Forced Seduction, Fetish, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Captivity makes the heart grow kinkier…

When interstellar mercenary Captain Nick Rand rescues a beautiful enemy from his own men, he thinks she’s the answer to his vampire prayers. On the verge of starvation thanks to the destruction of his hemosynther, he’s in desperate need of a female blood donor.

Lieutenant Zara Tahir needs Nick Rand as badly as he needs her. Without Nick’s blood, Zara’s overactive immune system will kill her.

But Zara has no intention of embracing captivity. While she’s willing to exchange blood for blood, maybe even play a kinky game or two with the handsome vampire dominant, he’s still the enemy. She can’t allow herself to see him as anything more.

Then Rand’s enemies make things a lot more complicated…

I give high marks for the stunningly imaginative sex scene that Ms. Knight created in Armored Hearts. Because this is science fiction, the author was able to let her imagination run wild and what she came up with was sexy, titillating, exciting and completely unique. If I could have an experience like that just once, I’m pretty sure I’d probably end up speaking gibberish because the afterglow would be so overwhelming, if I could speak at all. The description was mind blowing. The story is really good but this scene is the brightest gem in the treasure chest.

Zara and Rand are on opposite sides of a conflict. The author created the sense of otherworldliness by word usage and references to objects that are common place to her characters but are pure science fiction fantasy and it was a lot of fun seeing what Ms. Knight came up with. Yet, the war that Zara is fighting in and the villains she’s fighting against parallel our own earthly struggles. It was easy to connect and relate to the heroine’s devotion to fight. Rand, on the other hand, isn’t on the villain’s side because he believes in the cause, but because he’s a paid fighter. He has a brain and a stronger moral fiber than the minions around him. As such, the hero comes to the decision that money isn’t everything. Sometimes a person has to take a stand against injustice and vicious tyranny but it becomes even easier when you have something beyond yourself to fight for. In this case, love. Tara’s ‘it’ for him, but they’re surrounded by the bad guys, so how is he going to get them both out alive? The hero has a plan. That was fun reading.

Except for a few missing word blips in the editing, this short story is flawless. Ms. Knight manages to give a reader a meaty plot, a noble cause, exciting shoot ‘em ups and examples of vampire fighting prowess. The author also gives erotic romance readers plenty of eroticism to enjoy and be entertained by, and they were placed within the story where they played a role in developing the relationship between Rand and Zara. Whenever I read a book written by Ms. Knight, I am always satisfied on so many levels. She gives her characters heart, she gives readers a reason to care, and love is always the greatest reward.

If a reader is seeking a short story that has the taste and feel of a full novel, but takes a fraction of the time to read and enjoy, then pick up a copy of Armored Hearts. It’s a sure pleaser.

Bring Me to Life by Scarlett Parrish

BRING
Bring Me to Life by Scarlett Parrish
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Nathan Stephenson died seventy years ago and he’d like the world—or at least one person—to think he stayed that way.

In 1940s London, Sergeant Nathan Stephenson ignored his rank and the expectation that he’d wait for the war to be over and find a nice girl to settle down with, and took a lover. Not only was Cian Ambrose unashamed of his bisexuality, he was also proud to be a vampire. Back then, he was certain that his and Nathan’s relationship would last forever, refusing to take no for an answer.

One evening, Cian went too far in his attempts to persuade Nathan to become a vampire and left a mutual acquaintance, Jonathan Cutler, to deal with the aftermath. What Cian doesn’t know is that Nathan didn’t die—Jonathan brought him back to life, agreeing to keep Nathan’s continued existence a secret.

It’s now the twenty-first century and Jonathan’s back to call in the favor. Nathan’s an honorable man and can’t say no, but the trouble is, wherever Jonathan goes, Cian Ambrose can’t be far behind…

There is no line between love and hate…

Nathan Stephenson died seventy years ago at the hands of his lover, Cian Ambrose. In a flash, his friend Jonathan brought him back from the dead by sharing his vampire blood. He has remained hidden, never telling his former flame that he is still among the living-or more accurately, undead. He goes about his nights with little purpose until Jonathan calls on him with a favor he would very much like to refuse. But you don’t turn your back on the man who saved your life. Even if it was against your will.

Cian Ambrose is a haunted vampire living with the ghosts of his past. He very much reminded me of a melancholy Vampire Lestat or perhaps, Louis. Content with his existence, he regrets the death of the man he loved and punishes himself every day. When he gets the chance to see him again, it may be his salvation or the final nail in the coffin.

Jonathan asks Nathan to help turn his lover and despite all of his misgivings and ennui, makes a multifaceted decision. He will find the man who nearly killed him if only to put history to rest. But intentions are never what they seem and the lines between love and hate are often blurred till you can’t tell the difference.

This book was beautifully written. I fell into it and never wanted to come out. It has the grace of Anne Rice’s characters without the whining aspect. It also has the intimate relationships between the men you were looking for but didn’t find. Cian and Nathan are perfect for each other and watching Cian coax Nathan into what he will become was like watching a well-orchestrated chess game. The past, present and past again aspect led the reader into understanding the dynamics in play. The grasp of each character’s action, voice and the time in which the story took place were mesmerizing.

The sex scenes were understated but there was some heat-just the way I prefer to read a m/m romance. Tension was the most potent tool and Scarlett Parrish wielded it well.

I highly recommend this book and will be putting this author on my must read list.