Learning to Breathe by Roxy Harte


Learning to Breathe by Roxy Harte
Van Zant Siblings – Jessica Book 1
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (365 Pages)
Other: BDSM, toys, Anal Play, Voyeurism, M/F, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

The celebrated widowed wife of a hometown hero, Jessica leaves Boston for a fresh start in a Cape Hatteras beach house with her teen children. She never expects to fall hard for her new boss, Joe, at the fish and beer shop where she bartends. When he accidentally triggers her need for rope, she needs a quick fix for a shibari addiction she’d believed herself long cured of.

A drunk dialing moment leads to her sister’s fiancé–a man who has tied her in the past–who delivers Francisco, the man he considers to be a shibari-master and a perfect match, and Jessica has a great long weekend in and out of his rope. But then Francisco asks her to allow him to dominate her full-time.

Jessica runs scared and ends up in bed with Joe. When she shares her secret love of bondage, Joe insists she’s the victim of deviant men, and that he would offer her a normal, healthy love. Wounded by his misunderstanding, she runs again.

As if her sex life isn’t complicated enough, a case of mistaken identity catches her in the crosshairs of an assassin. While Jessica’s seeking sanctuary in Cincinnati for the holidays, her sister gifts her with a night with a shibari master who goes by the name of St. Nicholas. She quickly finds herself on the naughty list but will she also find a man willing to be the guy who makes her laugh, keeps her tied in knots, and makes no demands for more?

One intense story!

I have to mention this first and foremost; this book is not for the first-time erotic reader. The book includes some intense bondage scenes and loads of detailed sexual heat and chemistry.

Expressive and descriptive. The rope bondage scenes were highly descriptive and brought this reader right into the room for a front row seat. This is a writer who knows her shibari knots.

The book was a roller coaster. Some readers may appreciate the intensity while others may feel a little whiplashed by the back and forth. There’s a story within a story that gets revealed slowly. Add to that the fact that Jessica is attracted to three different men in the course of the book, each with certain aspects that she likes; Luc for accepting every single bad demon of hers without questioning the origin of it, Francisco for trying to make her face her demons, past & present, and Joe who is understanding and listens to her when she needed to vent about her late husband and his family.

I loved how it evolved though the one thing that surprised me was the ending. This book is a cliffhanger and I’m honestly not fond of cliffhangers. The book left a lot of questions hanging. The main one of course being who will she choose? Thankfully, the second in this series, Learning to Breathe Again is already available.

Readers who like it hot and their kink wrapped in soft ropes should give this a read for sure. It may just trigger a suppressed fantasy for you, too.

Limitless by SJD Peterson


Limitless by SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (193 pages)
Other: M/M, BDSM, spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Even within the context of the Underground BDSM Club, Joshua’s desires are dark and extreme. Hopelessly addicted to pain and the high it gives him, he has no limits. Joshua would quite literally rather die than use a safeword, and he accepts that might be his fate. As much as he depends on others, he has yet to find a man who can gain his trust, and he has little hope that he ever will.

For Nash, acquiring Joshua from another Dom at the club is only the first step in what will be a long and arduous road to lure the young man back from the brink of self-destruction. He must do the impossible and win Joshua’s trust, and he must be the one to set limits in their exploration—something he’s unaccustomed to as a Dom. But Nash knows dominance doesn’t always mean pushing a submissive’s boundaries. It’s about establishing a bond and fulfilling another man’s needs. In Joshua’s case, he’ll have to strike a balance between meeting the young man’s expectations and drawing firm lines that will save Joshua from himself.

A young man hell-bent on pain and death crosses the path of a kind and understanding Dom, and they try to make things work through a series of scenes of escalating sex, pain play, and love.

Petersen is a good writer when it comes to the emotional and erotic sides of BDSM. I can’t attest to her expertise, per se, but her stories read well. Her fluent and effortless writing especially shines in character creation when she gives us fascinating, realistic, multi-faceted men who are flawed but still deserving of love. In this, though, the characterization is a bit odd. Namely Joshua who’s supposed to be an uneducated street kid–but who speaks using adult, educated language that often threw me and pulled me out of the story. Apart from that, no complaints.

The plot in this one is a little thin. Joshua, the sub, has a yearning for pain that’s so all-encompassing that it borders on a death wish. Nash, the Dom, falls for the man at first sight, takes him to his place, writes up a contract, and then tries to convince Joshua that there’s plenty to live for. It’s not complicated, so there’s a bit of repetition here. Some scenes, while hot, feel like area that’s already been covered. But this is a work in progress, trying to talk someone off the ledge. Also, since the blurb suggests Joshua’s problem is deeply engrained into his personality, he steps off the edge of self-destruction quite quickly. Nonetheless, a plot doesn’t have to be overly complex to be compelling, and this story, stacked full of sexual and sensual scenes, has a magnetic pull that kept me at the edge of my seat throughout.

The story begins when Nash has already seen Joshua before many times which made me feel like I’d come into the story in the middle. Plus, the story ends really abruptly, like practically in the middle of a scene. Perhaps some, including the author, might think the story is fine ending there, but I felt like there was way more story there but I didn’t get it. A matter of personal taste?

After all that you might think this isn’t worth your time. But you’d be wrong. Because this is a solid story of the darker side of BDSM. Many readers probably aren’t familiar with pain play and how it can be an outlet for people, the way it is for Joshua. BDSM offers him controlled situations where he can let go and enjoy pain. He longs to have limits but has never met anyone who’s taken him beyond that point. Nash instinctually understands Joshua, so they click well. This is a fascinating subject, and this tale opens a door into it. I rather liked it, and can’t wait for more.

This is part of a series, Underground Club, but can be read as a standalone. I recommend this to everyone who’s intrigued with BDSM, the Dom/sub relationship, the concept of pain mixed with pleasure, and flawed, realistic men who more than deserve a happy ending.

She’s Mine by Sam Crescent

mine
She’s Mine by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (107 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Drew Reynolds is a hard working man. He’s not rich, he’s not fancy, but when he finds the one, she’ll be the only one. For seven years he has only been existing—until Raven Howards finally returns to town. He’s going to own every part of her, and he’s sure to let everyone know she belongs to him.

Raven remembers Drew. He was the one guy that stood out from all of the others. However, he’s the bad boy that all the girls want…and have had. How can she even fall for a guy like that?

He’s not taking no for an answer. She’s back, and he’s taking her. There will be a happy ending, he won’t allow for anything less.

She’s the one who got away and the one who gives him a reason to a better man.

I’m not sure if it’s physically possible to hate one Sam Crescent’s books. She writes the alpha male that many women love to read about and long to find.

This is a plot that I’ve read before, however in my experience, the character who usually leaves town is the hero, not the heroine. Cheers for changing it up a little.

Drew is the epitome of a Sam Crescent alpha male. He wastes no time in making it clear to everyone, literally the whole town, when Raven returned home that she was his and he wouldn’t stand for anyone to touch her. It was a good thing Raven was very, very receptive to both his touch and his bad boy personality. Even though she’s been gone for some time, should have gained some experience, it’s Drew who has the experience in spades. Raven’s reactions to some of his suggestions were humorous at times.

This short story made me laugh, smile and sigh. It’s a quick read that isn’t short on heat or heart.

Her Temporary Boss by Mackenzie Williams


Her Temporary Boss by Mackenzie Williams
Slade, Inc. Book 1
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Other: BDSM, spanking, toys, M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Morgan White is in the middle of a rough patch in her life as she begins her new job. She has just broken things off with her fiancé after finding out about his unfaithful ways. As she starts her temporary job at Slade Incorporated, she feels unworthy of love.

Connor Slade is not your typical boss. He isn’t just looking for someone with great secretarial skills. Can Morgan be what he wants her to be? Will this man destroy her or save her?

Help wanted. Submission required. Seriously.

Connor Slade, is a workaholic to say the least. Outside of work, he has needs that far surpass the normal sexual ones. He wasn’t look for forever when the new temp hired on or the possible outcome of their chemistry.

Connor and Morgan were totally different from each other, however, passion and work brought them together, and I saw their relationship change from boss and secretary to so much more.

I loved the characters. Morgan is just out of a bad relationship and looking for work to distract her so, when she landed this one through one of her temp agencies, she never thought or had an inkling of what this job and her new boss would require of her. She certainly never thought that she would fall for her new boss.

Her Temporary Boss has plot that I’ve read many times before but what makes this books different was how it was written and the characters themselves. They grabbed my attention with their intensity and passion. Sure it’s a short read but there’s a lot to this novella.

Can’t say it was a light-hearted read, definitely an eye opener for a first time reader of erotic romance.

A good book, it wrapped up too fast. I wanted to stay in Connor and Morgan’s world a while longer to see where their relationship would take them. The author left the ending open for future stories. This is one reader who’ll be watching a chance to return to Slade, Inc real soon.

Naughty by Sam Crescent


Naughty by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (114 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Being naughty never felt so good…

Autumn Fowler has always been a good girl. A good daughter, a good sister, someone everyone could rely and depend on. When her car breaks down, it seems a horrible twist of fate that it’s outside of Carter Blue’s mechanic shop. Carter was the only guy she had ever fantasized about—and he was off-limits. He had once dated Autumn’s sister, Summer.

Carter remembers little Autumn. He has always wanted her, but for all of his bad boy image, he doesn’t cheat. Now he’s single, and Carter doesn’t just want to fix her car, he wants to fix her. He can’t deny his need, and his cock knows what it wants. One time between her thighs is never going to be enough, so he offers her a deal: they can be at each other’s beck and call.

She shouldn’t agree. It’s wrong. But she can’t say no and compromises on keeping “them” a secret.

Secrets never stay secrets, so what will happen when Summer finds out the truth? Will Autumn fight for Carter? Or will her fears drive away the only man she’s ever loved?

Naughty by Sam Crescent is a happy ever after romance. This stand alone story had the perfect blend of sexy and sweet to hold my interest beginning to end.

I loved Carter and Autumn. They were destined to be together despite the complications, secrets and self doubt. I liked Autumn’s independence and heart. I did not like that she kept giving in to her sister but it didn’t completely annoy me. The selfish sister was an altogether different story, though. I absolutely loved that Carter was so assertive and sincere with Autumn. He showed tremendous patience even though he immediately wanted to claim and protect her.

As usual, there was plenty of dirty hot sex and lots of angst thrown in to entertain the reader. One mention of note is that I wasn’t comfortable with the way the chapters continued to move ahead by the so many months later method. It was a bit jarring, but as a whole, the story had a good flow anyway and was easy to read in one sitting.

In general, I don’t like to read stand alone books, but this one was worth it to me because Sam Crescent is a favored author. I am always satisfied with her books and this one was no different. I really enjoyed reading this book !

Fury On Fire by Sophie Jordan


Fury On Fire by Sophie Jordan
Devils Rock Book 3
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (368 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

When you live next door to the big bad wolf . . .

After years in prison, North Callaghan is finally free. But the demons haunting him still make him feel like a caged beast. He loses himself in work and hard living, coming up for air only to bed any willing woman to cross his path. So when his new neighbor snares his interest, he decides to add another notch to his bedpost. The only problem? Faith Walters is a white picket fence kind of girl.

Prepare to be devoured.
Faith’s new neighbor is the rudest man alive. He’d rather grunt at her than speak and he takes her “welcome-to-the-neighborhood” scones without a thank you. She knows she should run for the hills from the ex-con. If only he weren’t so smoldering sexy…if only the sounds of him with other women didn’t drift through their shared wall and fill her with longing…and if only he didn’t look at her like they were a collision waiting to happen.

There’s goes the neighborhood.

North and Faith, two very different people and yet they actually have more in common than just the wall between their apartments. It’ll take Faith living up to her name and North embracing the hero he didn’t think he could be for these two opposites to attract.

Faith is a sweet, intelligent and sexy woman who has just moved to her new apartment. That is how this starts. In my country, when we see new neighbors we greet them and chat and get to know them. Here, every step Faith took towards being neighborly went haywire or were flat out rejected. I got the impression that North was trying to push her away for her own good but lucky for him, Faith didn’t scare away so easily.

North is a protector…stuck between a haunting past and a possible future. He knows there isn’t a lot of chance of him getting any kind of future with Faith but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming even if it may end in his heart getting broken.

There are several mini plots going on in this book but the one this I would have liked to have seen more is the relationship development between Faith and North. They have great chemistry and I was cheering for them, I simply would have liked to have seen more of their growth together.

Love, action and romance. One of the things I appreciated about this book is that it is stand alone. I didn’t need to have read the first couple of books to understand this one.

Overall, I found Ms. Jordan’s characters to be interesting and the story was sexy and exciting.

Mercenary Crush by Frey Ortega


Mercenary Crush by Frey Ortega
Unit Alpha book 2
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Thad Langham’s life has been a series of unfortunate events—from being blackmailed to being coerced into working with his father on his shady business deals. When the opportunity presents itself to turn his entire life around, he takes it.

Caleb Lockhart, the resident sniper of Unit Alpha, can’t quite get Thad out of his mind. Moody, serious, and practiced at hiding his emotions, Thad is a complete work in progress. He isn’t quite ready to date just yet, but that doesn’t stop impulsive, brash Caleb from acting on his baser urges. One kiss is all it takes, and now they can’t get each other out of their minds.

Six months later, a chance encounter leads Thad and Caleb down the road to an actual relationship. But when Thad’s past comes back to rear its ugly head, how can a brash and headstrong sniper and a damaged, slightly neurotic businessman make things work? Will their mutual attraction survive the test of time or will their relationship just remain a mercenary’s crush?

Thad’s life had been miserable these past few years, a mere pawn in his father’s games. After being rescued by Unit Alpha, Thad realised he’d merely exchanged once cell for another, the bounty on Thad’s head meaning he still had practically no freedom at all. Thad is finding it difficult to adjust, but making the best of it. When Caleb kisses him though, the feelings of hope and the possibilities the small tenderness arouses blows open Thad’s life and shows him maybe there really is something more out there for him.

I enjoyed this story. Despite being the second in a series I didn’t at all feel like I was missing something – this book stands really well by itself. I was a little puzzled how the author jumped over the murder of Thad’s father. Initially, the way the book starts led me to believe this would be a big plot device. Thad’s father is a clear bad guy and the reason Thad’s life is in shambles and the one who is trying to kill Thad himself. I was really surprised, therefore, when the story jumps six months into the future and skips almost entirely over the killing and death of this man and Thad’s subsequence freedom and ability to live his own life on his own terms. I’m not sure if this was cut from the story due to a word-limit or some other necessary reason, or if the author merely wanted to focus on Thad’s recovery and life out from under his father’s thumb, but I couldn’t help but feel the jump forward in time past all that was odd and a real lost potential for a great plot.

Also because of the time-jump in the story I felt a little like the chemistry between Thad and Caleb was a bit rushed. While the reader only experiences a chapter of time between the two men, more than six months passes in the story. So intellectually I know there is more than enough time for both Thad and Caleb to get to know each other, for their attraction and crush to deepen and really flourish. But as a reader I didn’t get to see or experience any of that. Merely being told this is what happened didn’t leave me with that same burning feeling of wanting to see them act on this long, drawn out feeling and be really eager for the culmination of their desires. Even though I know they’d spent a long time pining for each other, not experiencing it for myself meant the time from their first meeting to actually coming together felt a bit rushed and I wasn’t as invested in them as I would have hoped.

That said, the sex between Thad and Caleb was truly sizzling and exceptionally well written. I really enjoyed the scene of them coming together and found it not only hot, but also good with the detail and I really felt the strong emotions from both men. I eventually became attached to both their characters and invested in them as a couple. I found the chemistry and camaraderie between them believable and sexy once the story really got moving. I also thoroughly enjoyed the plot – Thad and the rest of Unit Alpha needing to clean up the loose ends from when Thad’s father ran the company.

An exciting and steamy M/M romance with a good, solid plot I enjoyed this story.

Andre In Flight by Laura Lascarso


Andre In Flight by Laura Lascarso
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (116 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When up-and-coming Miami painter Martin Fonseca encounters youthful pretty boy Andre Bellamy washing dishes in the kitchen of La Candela, he swears he’s known him before, intimately. But Andre only arrived in Miami weeks ago, after running away from small-town Alabama and his abusive father. When Martin discovers Andre trading sexual favors for a place to stay, he offers him a room in his studio apartment. As roommates only.

What starts as a playful friendship turns into something more as Andre begins posing for Martin, whose true passion is painting fantastical portraits. Martin’s obsession with Andre grows until they are sharing more than just flirtatious conversation. But when an eccentric art collector buys one of Martin’s paintings, Martin’s past jealousies resurface and threaten to destroy what he and Andre have so lovingly built.

When Andre starts working as a dishwasher Martin is drawn to him, unable to put the handsome young man out of his mind. Andre left a bad situation in Alabama and is slow to open up to Martin. Can the two men work things out?

I found this to be a really interesting, complicated erotic romance. I really enjoyed how Martin and Andre took the time to get to know each other, and the slower pace made their friendship and eventual relationship felt far more realistic to me than the quicker “meet and fall into bed” style erotic romances that are out in the market lately. I enjoyed the complexity of both Andre and Martin’s characters. There’s a small supporting cast and toward the end a big twist in the plot. While this twist takes quite a leap of faith (and has a very slight paranormal-ish bend to it) I found it extremely interesting – keeping my attention firmly embedded in Andre and Martin’s story.

While initially there is only a small hint of underlying sadness, I couldn’t help but feel as the story progresses that what started out as a lovely, almost romantic M/M romance became quite a lot darker. Martin and Andre have a somewhat rocky relationship and especially toward the end I felt the cracks in their romance are really starting to show. I found it impossible for most of the story to work out whether Andre or Martin was in the wrong – or indeed if either of them were – as the story really is quite complex. The two men have what I feel are real problems – Andre has been abused and in some ways is very young and naïve, Martin is temperamental and I felt he had difficulty communicating his true worries and feelings to Andre clearly. Far from a criticism, I felt these flaws really made Andre and Martin both appear far more realistic and understandable to me.

Readers who like plot-twists and unusual storylines shouldn’t be disappointed in this story. I feel that readers looking for a light, happy, fluffy read probably won’t find this a suitable story as it is quite complicated and especially toward the end I found it a little dark. With a happy ending, interesting and multi-layered characters and a whole bunch of twisty plot, this is a good story that I feel should appeal to many readers.

That’s One Cross Vamp by Bailey Bradford


That’s One Cross Vamp by Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Life, taxes and vampires—the three certainties in Erin’s life.

Erin Meyers knows all about the existence of vampires. He’s the guy who helped his twin brother Andrew find true love with the kilt-wearing Radney.

Erin’s used sex as a way to run from his emotions for a long time. It’s become a habit that he’s finally caught on to, and he’s growing tired of it. In fact, he’s growing tired too easily in general.

A doctor’s visit leaves him fearing for his life. When he encounters a friendly vamp he knows out at the club. Erin breaks his no-vamps rule and takes Jude home with him. Together, they burn up the sheets, and Erin finds himself willing to spend more than one night with Jude. Soon, a relationship blooms, but the bad news Erin gets might put an end to any dreams he had for the future.

Erin was dangerously close to forty and finding himself dissatisfied with much of his life. Erin had known for years that vampires were real – his twin brother Andrew was in a serious, long-term relationship with one for starters – but Erin tried hard to just enjoy his life and not get too involved with any one man. Out clubbing Erin bumps into Jude, a vampire he’s known for years. Erin is surprised when Jude comes onto him but can’t resist. Will they both regret it later?

Whew! Keep a cold drink handy and make sure you turn off your phone. This is a steamy hot read that jumps pretty much straight into the sexy stuff. Erin and Jude have been friends for ages, and when Jude finally decides it’s time for Erin to stop his playboy ways the two men certainly know how to set fire to the bedroom. I really enjoyed how carefully and slowly Jude led Erin into their relationship. The small steps they each took bringing their friendship to be friends-with-benefits, then more than just friends, it was a great progress and one I thoroughly enjoyed following. I also really enjoyed how the story wasn’t simply loads of sex and not much character growth, Erin was at a real turning-point in his life, even though he was only partially aware of it, and having Jude there to support him and help fulfil him was a lovely thing to see.

The plot was very character-based. Erin has a very big, life-altering event happen and watching him, Jude and their friends deal with the consequences was heart-wrenching and kept me engrossed in the storyline. I could strongly sympathize with Erin and the choices he was determined to follow through on.

The plot, the interesting characters and the wonderful sex scenes all worked together to make this an excellent story and one I will happily read again in the future. Recommended.

Baker by Sam Crescent


Baker by Sam Crescent
The Skulls, #14
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

When Baker first saw Millie, he truly believed he was ready to start afresh. The death of his wife and child had left him hollow. It was time to start over and leave his old life behind, without looking back.

Millie was used to coming last in everything, forever second best. There was no way she’d be able to compete with a ghost, so she let Baker go. But years have passed, and Baker is no longer a lost soul. He intends to show Millie the real man he has become. He’s determined to have a future with Millie. With the help of his family, The Skulls, he knows he’ll claim her as his old lady, and his wife in the end. With The Skulls at his back, there’s no chance of failing.

Everything seems to fall into place. Baker has Millie right where he wants her, in his heart, and in his bed. When her sister turns up, trouble comes with her. Can Baker convince Millie that he’ll stick by her? Will Bethany come between them? It’s time for Millie to find out what it’s like to have The Skulls at her back. No one attacks a Skull and gets away with it, and Millie is a Skull, Baker’s old lady, and part of the family.

This book was another great chapter in The Skulls series. I felt it was a fairly sweet story that involved most of the Skulls family. It was lower on the suspense than I’ve come to expect from Sam Crescent, but more than made up for it with the romance aspect.

The plot was strong, multi layered, and well written. The main story begins with Baker finally letting go of his past and ready to move on with Millie. At last. The moment was a long time coming and nearly too late since he has been pushing Millie away for so long. That’s where the romance came in because alpha Baker had to convince a past burnt Millie that she wasn’t going to be his second place. I really liked Millie for standing up and making her feelings clear. She had her own sould searching to do about her past, her family and her feelings about the club. I loved the dramatics. Also, I loved how the author caught the readers up with our other favorite Skulls couples. Especially Lash and Angel, and setting up more of a relationship between Sally and Steven. It’s still looking good for The Skulls future books.

As usual, I loved the main couple, Baker and Millie. The characters in this series have all taken on a life of their own and I have adored them all. The writing was clean and concise with a super fast flow to the story. To top it all off there was some trouble that came up near the end of the story. All in all it was a sexy and sweet and suspenseful combination that worked perfectly. I definitely can’t wait to see what happens next in the series.