First Time by Lynn Burke


First Time by Lynn Burke
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (90 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Toys, Spanking/Flogging/Caning
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Daniel Cooney loves to tie women up and is nicely compensated for his services as an Elite escort. He’s no sadist, however, but a gentle dominate who longs for a woman of his own, one who won’t be intimidated by his size and ropes.

Becky Eaton bends over backwards to help her boyfriend work through his mental problems, but her submissive nature enables his sick desires to turn vicious. His plans to exploit her for his pleasure backfires … Becky experiences desire—and a climax—for the first time beneath another man’s command. Master Cooney’s tender touch awakens her in ways she never expected.

Beaten and broken, Becky’s tattered heart yearns for what could be, and while Daniel’s strength proves a pillar of support, she must find the courage within to escape a murderous monster—before it’s too late.

Daniel was paid very well at Elite Escorts to tie willing women up and fulfill their bondage fantasies, but deep down he yearns for more. Daniel wishes there was a willing woman, a sub, who wasn’t put off and scared by his large body and dominant demeanor. Someone willing to get to know him and even love him. Becky is in an abusive relationship but is too cowed to do anything about it, until she meets Daniel and he takes the time to show her how special she truly is.

I struggled to really get into this story. Becky is very clearly being physically, sexually and emotionally abused and trodden-down by her partner, Stephen. This abusive relationship honestly made most of this story difficult for me to read. In one respect that’s a huge compliment to the realism and extensive emotion the author has put in the story and characters, but I’m personally the sort of reader who likes to escape the nasties of life when I’m reading. I could easily believe that a number of the scenes – particularly at the start and end of the story might be a trigger for some readers. Stephen at a number of stages is outright abusive to Becky and while there’s no pretense of caring or love in the abuse (it’s not written to be enticing or titillating, but just as a part of the plot) that didn’t make it any more palatable to me. Personally I found everything related to the Becky/Stephen plot exceedingly difficult to read. That said; I found this story to have a huge depth of emotion to it. Daniel through his bondage, and particularly his rope-play, opens up a whole new vista of emotions and feelings inside Becky, things she had secretly yearned for but never experienced for herself.

At times I found Becky’s character quite frustrating for naïve and “too stupid to live” style of behaviors, but I have to admit that it seemed a genuine part of her character as an abused and downtrodden woman. Abused women frequently return time and time again to their abusers, thinking they will change, that it’s their (the woman’s) fault that the abuser had lashed out particularly harshly. While I can appreciate the realism of all this – I just can’t say with honesty that I enjoyed this aspect of the storyline. I think to be honest it was just a little too gritty and realistic for me, personally. A little too confronting. The author has done an amazing job writing the story – but it was all just was real and detailed enough that I ended up feeling more uncomfortable than anything else while reading it.

Overall I truly think this is the style of story readers will either love or hate – I can’t imagine anyone reading this and being ambivalent. With realistic and excellent characters this is a vastly different story to the kind I usually read. I feel this would be a great story for readers looking to expand their horizons or read a truly different kind of tale. Gritty, almost too realistic and definitely not for the faint of heart, this is an emotional and confronting story.

The Rancher’s Nanny by Sam Crescent


The Rancher’s Nanny by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (106 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Caleb Pole has sworn off women. After his completely selfish wife, who wanted nothing to do with his ranch or their daughter, divorced him, he truly believes there is no woman out there for him. But his little girl is getting older, and he can’t keep relying on his mother. There’s only one solution … a nanny.

After her fiancé left her at the alter in favor of her sister, Madeline Lennox has sworn off men and romance. The books are all lies. There is no man out there for her. Still, working at the Pole Ranch as a nanny is a dream come true. She adores the little girl, and of course, Caleb looks like one of the heroes has stepped right out of the books she loves so much.

The chemistry between her and Caleb is intense, but neither of them expect to fall in love. Nor do they expect to plan a future with both of them in the starring roles.

It’s time for Caleb to prove to Maddie—and himself—that not only does love exist, but he’s her leading man.

This is the second book in The Nannies series by the fabulous as ever Sam Crescent.

I really enjoyed the heartwarming part of this plot. I loved Maddie and couldn’t have been any happier that she found a new family and home with Caleb and his daughter Paige. That was the sweetest aspect of what was a sexy as sin romance. Sam Crescent always creates the most alpha male heroes and she didn’t let me down with Caleb. He was awesome and stood by Maddie the whole way concerning her really nasty sister. I always love the way Sam Crescent is able to pull me into her stories and get me so invested in the characters. In my mind I’m watching it all unfold and cheering my favorite characters on instead of just reading along with a story.

This book was a pleasure to read because of the great characters, sweet romance, and the scorching sex. The story flowed by with ease and had me wishing for more, and as usual, there was a happy ever after epilogue for Maddie and Caleb and their family. I would recommend this lovely short romance to anyone.

March Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks


Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (320 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

TRUTH―OR DARE?

Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it―a valuable asset to her people. But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons, she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic―one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?

Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before. But how can he trust a sworn enemy. . .and how can he live without her, in Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Coywolf by Gale Stanley


Coywolf by Gale Stanley
Published by Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (34 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

In a world where reproduction is the number one priority, a gay wolf shifter could never be an alpha. So Logan hides his secret from the pack and resigns himself to a life without love.

Then one night, he finds his true mate and he’s forced to make a choice that will change his life forever.

Action-packed and quick, this story satisfies.

I’ve read other books by Gale Stanley and haven’t been steered wrong yet. This book was no exception. The writing flowed well and drew me in from the first page. I had to know what would happen. It’s a short story, but the characters are well-rounded. I rooted for them to get together.

Rory is a coywolf – part coyote, part wolf. Interesting. I hadn’t read a coywolf story, so this was new and good for me. He’s shy, rough around the edges and a little beaten down. I liked his determination and growth through the story.

Logan, the alpha, hasn’t come out. He loves being the alpha, but has reservations. I understood him. He’s been thrust into a job he’s not sure he can handle. His growth was nice, too. ort

There is an instalove component to the story, but it worked. The steamy scenes are just that, steamy. The chemistry was great, too.

If you’re looking for a short read that will singe the screen, then this is the story you’ve been looking for.

Convict by Sam Crescent


Convict by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (56 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ryker’s escaped prison to prove his innocence, but before he can do that, he needs a safe place to hide. When a curvy woman makes her way toward her car in a secluded section of a parking lot, he sees the perfect opportunity. Holding her at gunpoint, he forces this woman to take her to his home.

This isn’t the first time Scarlett has been held at gunpoint, and she’s not actually afraid of Ryker. There’s something in his eyes that makes her realize he’s not going to hurt her, which is crazy—and that is what scares her.

He’s the first man she’s ever wanted, but she has to resist him. There’s no place for love in Scarlett’s life.

Ryker wants Scarlett more than anything else in the world, and he’s going to have her. Learning about the abuse she suffered in the past doesn’t make him see her any differently. He just knows that she deserves a man without a black cloud hanging over his head.

He’s going to clear his name, but what will happen after? Will he go back and claim Scarlett as his, or will he let her go?

Ryker had been framed and sent to jail. Desperate, he managed to escape and just needed a bit of time – and luck – to prove his innocence. Hijacking Scarlett as she took some groceries to her car, Ryker finds this strange, curvy woman full of surprises. Most shocking of all was the growing realization that she could prove to be his saving grace, and not the freedom Ryker had so desperately dreamed of all this time.

After the first few pages I realised this was one of those “disengage your brain, sit back and enjoy the ride” style of stories. I found it rather unfathomable that Scarlett could treat being kidnapped at gunpoint by an escaped convict with not just aplomb but a hint of confidence and keep her self-assurance intact. It just didn’t feel at all realistic to me. Once I simply enjoyed the story as a fun, sexy tale, however, I really started to get into it. Scarlett had quite a sad history and I was really pleased she hadn’t let it ruin her character. While I definitely felt she was in a sort of limbo, I was equally glad that the author didn’t short-change Scarlett from the effect her trauma would have had on her life, personality and outlook. I thought this was balanced quite well, Scarlett not being a shut-in, but similarly not having ignored it and been a glittering happy-go-lucky kind of woman.

Ryker is the classic “bad boy been framed” and we as readers are assured he’s good deep down. Scarlett is a strong, independent, curvy and utterly capable woman and I’d love to have her calmness under pressure and gunpoint. The chemistry between these two quickly sparked out of control and I loved the sizzling sex scenes exploding between them. Again a fair amount of suspension of disbelief was needed, but the fun and joy I got from reading the sexy story far outweighed my desire for a believable plotline. Hot and sexy – these two characters certainly burned up the pages and made the short story quite enjoyable for me.

Readers wanting a realistic, logical and relatable story might not find this book suits their needs. But for a fun, sexy and dangerously (but not) bad boy tale could find this as enjoyable as a readers-escape as I did. Sit back with a glass of bubbly, grab a handful of cookies and enjoy the ride. This was a fun and pleasurable way to pass an evening and I enjoyed it.

The Fashionista And Her Lumberjack by Larissa Vine


The Fashionista And Her Lumberjack by Larissa Vine
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (51 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

April knows that it’s going to be the holiday from hell. She’s facing a whole week of camping in the wilderness with her best friend, her best friend’s new boyfriend, and with Rory—a lumberjack. April knows that she and Rory won’t get along. He’s too rugged and muscular to ever be her type—even if his sinful blue eyes do have an unsettling effect on her.

A corset. Rory couldn’t believe it. The fashion girl from London shows up for a camping trip wearing a God damn corset. He can’t believe that he’s going to have spend his vacation with such a pouting princess.

But over the next few days—to the backdrop of pounding surf and old growth forest—April and Rory’s feelings toward one another change. But can their passion overcome their prejudice enough to find romance—and maybe even love?

April is excited when her best friend, Miranda, finally falls for a guy. Only he lives in Canada, and after a few too many Mai Tai’s April agrees to fly out there to go on a camping holiday with Miranda’s new man and his best friend. Only April and camping don’t mix very well and she and Rory get off to a rocky start. April is determined to try and enjoy the experience – for Miranda’s sake if nothing else – but against all odds she finds herself becoming more and more attracted to Rory.

I found this to be a fun and lighthearted story. I worried a lot at the start that April was a bit too focused on external appearances and her very typical yuppie lifestyle. It was clear to me that she wasn’t malicious or vapid, but just like Carrie from Sex and the City annoys me after a while so too did April feel a little two-dimensional to me. Thankfully though, April’s character did an awful lot of growing and exploring and I really started to get on board with her little journey of self-discovery with Rory. My only other slight disappointment was the conflict between Miranda and Dan felt rather over-blown to me, though I definitely understood the plot-related purpose it served.

Overall though I found this to be a fresh, fun and different story and feel readers who enjoy chick-lit style stories should really love this. I also appreciated how April and Rory had a slow-burn to their romance, giving them (and me) time to grow into the blossoming relationship. The sex was hot and lovely – but was only one small aspect to the story so readers who like more plot and characterization to the stories should definitely find this appealing.

A fun and happy sort of book, this was a lovely quick read and one I enjoyed.

In His Arms by Lexie Davis


In His Arms by Lexie Davis
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (41 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jessica Miller ran away from New York after a boyfriend humiliated her. Giving up her prestigious job, she finds herself in Paradise, Texas, her hometown. Taking a pay cut and learning to live a different life, she landed a job at the only diner. All seemed well enough until she spotted Alex Grey.

Alex is an advertising agent in LA and only came back to Paradise to help a friend develop his woodcarving business. He didn’t expect to see Jessica, nor did he expect to feel an attraction to his best friend from high school.

But they weren’t in high school anymore. Jessica knew that once they crossed the friendship line, there was no going back. Will Alex be worth risking her heart for? Or will she cower back and let him slip through her grasp again?

Returning home to Texas hadn’t been Jessica’s plan when she’d moved to New York but life has a way of turning everything around. And when Jessica’s old high school crush, Alex, comes to town for a visit she doesn’t expect him to suddenly see her with new eyes. Jessica finds more than she’d ever dreamed of in Alex’s arms – but what will happen when his quick visit is over and he returns to his normal life in LA?

I found this to be a steamy short story – full of delicious sex and sizzling lust. I thoroughly enjoyed the chemistry between Jessica and Alex and found the speed of their hooking up believable due to their long childhood friendship. Readers looking for a heavily plotted book might not find this story as satisfying as others – most of the storyline revolves around Jessica and Alex reconnecting and exploring their new, sexual relationship. There is a small amount of family-based plot/conflict but it’s fairly brief and I didn’t really feel like it added much to the story.

I did, however, really enjoy both Jessica and Alex’s characters. Each were different and interesting in their own ways – strong and capable and more than willing to hold their own ground. I found them both modern and believable and enjoyed watching them try to both renew their childhood friendship while simultaneously deepening it to add a very adult, sexual aspect to their relationship. I also had a bit of a chuckle about the small-town-ness of the secondary characters around them, which added another good element to the story and I felt this also gave it some depth.

For a fun and very sexy short story this was a good read.

Her Beast by Sam Crescent


Her Beast by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (106 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

He’s never been a good man…

Hope Miller has been through a lot. After being trapped in a basement, witnessing her mother’s murder by her father, then being shot, too, before her father killed himself, she’s not the most normal girl. But she has a plan—she’ll graduate high school, move out of town, and leave the memories behind. Part of this plan means tutoring other students, which brings her to the Carsons’ home.

Beast Carson has tortured, maimed, and killed, all in the name of business. But seeing the curvy woman in his library, he’s instantly intrigued. She’s his nephew’s tutor, and way too young for him. Determined to give Hope a new life, Beast promises her a future that she can’t say no to. There’s no denying they want each other, and when Hope asks him to teach her, he can’t refuse.

Lessons soon turn into something more, and Hope knows she can’t walk away from this man, even though her plans say otherwise. But Beast holds a secret that could tear Hope away from him. When she learns the truth will she stay? He’s her Beast, and he’ll fight to keep what’s his.

I enjoyed this steamy romance from Sam Crescent.

The author did such a wonderful job on the characters in this one. Beast Carson was a force to be reckoned with but he fell for Hope right from the beginning. He knew all about her painful past, and the secret part he had unwittingly played, yet he was hopelessly drawn to the much younger woman. Hope was so much more than she seemed at first. She was sassy and brave. I do believe that Hope might be my favorite Sam Crescent heroine yet.

This book had a strong plot that engaged this reader with the characters and all that they had withstood. The story had a liquid pace and the other central characters, Caleb and Dwayne, were enigmatic. I was very intrigued by Caleb and can’t wait to read his book.

I would read anything that Sam Crescent writes but this book really was one of her best.

A Swing And A Dare by Kasey Belle


A Swing And A Dare by Kasey Belle
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (135 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Navy SEAL Jack Claiborne and Veterinarian Abby Sutter have been best friends since the day they met on a school playground at the age of seven. Both have been secretly in love with each other since the opposite sex magically no longer had cooties. Both too scared of losing the other and their lifelong friendship to admit it. When Abby is attacked, Jack is forced to face reality and admit, by allowing fear and what-if’s influence his decisions, he’d failed them both. He realized whether he made it “official” or not, losing Abby meant losing his heart. It meant a lifetime of never knowing the deep, unbending, and unconditional love reserved for soulmates and that was unacceptable. With the help of his teammates, Jack launches the most important operation of his life. The objective: To acquire Abby and a happily ever after for both of them. Failure is not an option, neither is death.

When Annabeth’s dad moved them both she hated being the new kid at school, but meeting Jack and becoming friends with him helped shape her from the small, scared little girl she was into the strong and capable young lady she became. Abby and Jack had an almost life-long friendship and while they both loved each other dearly, neither wanted to take the step from friends to lovers in case their closeness couldn’t survive the change. But when Abby survives a dangerous ordeal, Jack feels compelled to take the plunge. Can they shift their relationship from being just friends to being everything to one another?

I found this to be a funny, romantic and very sexy friends-turn-into-lovers style of story. I enjoyed both Jack and Abby’s characters, finding them multi-layered, interesting and believable. I also am quite a sucker for a friends-to-lovers story and this one didn’t disappoint.

There is a near-rape scene at the start of the story that I found a little shocking and which took me by surprise. The prologue was very sweet and a little funny and so jumping directly from that into the almost-rape was quite jarring. While certainly not lurid or overly-graphic, it’s a serious scene along with the after-effects (hospital, doctor and police questions etc) and considering the prologue is quite light and happy I really felt that a little more time blending the story from that idyllic “childhood first meeting and becoming friends” scene into Abby being assaulted by a co-worker would have made the transition far less jarring. I have to admit though, after the shock of the opening scenes I felt that the story settled back down into a happy, mostly light-hearted friends-to-lovers style of story like what I was expecting. I enjoyed the banter and camaraderie between Abby and Jack and felt they had a good connection and when they started to admit their feelings for each other I thought there was good chemistry between them.

I also enjoyed how there were small snippets of flash-backs to Abby and Jack’s childhood growing up together. I could understand how this time-jumping back and forth might not be every reader’s cup of tea – some will love it as I did and others I can believe will find it jarring and annoying. Personally though I felt the flashbacks helped make the story better and showed me more depth to the solid and life-long friendship between Abby and Jack.

There are plenty of other wonderful characters – Jack’s SEAL buddies in particular – and I’d happily read more stories about these other delicious men. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s happy, slightly snarky/sassy writing style and overall I really loved this book. A solid read with plenty of action, conflict and tension and just enough delicious heat to spice the romance up this is a well rounded book and an author I plan to keep an eye out for.

Unconventional by Lucy Felthouse


Unconventional by Lucy Felthouse
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (39 pgs)
Other: M/F, Sensation Play, Figging, BDSM
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Penny’s being punished for doing something stupid. But will her punishment turn out to be the best-ever reward?

Penny was caught out in the wrong place, at the wrong time. As a recently graduated law student, the brush with the law could put an end to her career before it’s even begun. But thanks to her lawyer daddy’s contacts, she’s been given a second chance. A chance to redeem herself and make her stupid behavior go away.

Which is how she ends up working in a soup kitchen, preparing and serving meals to those who are having a rough time of it. She’s not keen on the idea, and when she meets Maddox, the guy in charge, she’s even less keen. A tall, skinny, mad-haired, tattooed guy, Maddox is the sort of person Penny would normally cross the road to avoid. But once she gets to know him, she starts to see things differently. He’s had a checkered past himself, and has now put it behind him and enjoys a glittering, prosperous career as a top chef.

Maddox may have unconventional looks, but Penny quickly grows to like him, and, much to her surprise, finds herself attracted to him. He’s a lot older than her, and their lives are at completely different stages, but in spite of this, there’s an undeniable connection between them.

When Maddox makes Penny an unconventional offer, will she have the courage to take him up on it? And if she does, where will it lead?

For a short read, this one packs a lot of heat.

I love the work of Lucy Felthouse. I’ve never been steered wrong by her books. This one is short, but it’s high on heat. The characters aren’t together long—it’s only 39 pages—but the connection is there.

Penny got herself into trouble by trusting the wrong person. I could relate to her. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to trust. To atone for getting into this trouble (I won’t give away spoilers), she ends up at a soup kitchen for community service. She’s her own person, but she does have trust issues. I liked her, but thought the relationship to Maddox, the hero, ended up being a tad rushed. Still, this is a short story. I knew going in it would be quick.

Maddox isn’t who he seems. He looks like he’s a rough character and has some rough edges, but he’s a gem down inside. I didn’t get to know much about him, but I liked him.

This is a short, but hot story that’s great for a lunchtime read. If you want something guaranteed to singe the screen, then this might be the book for you.