The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday


The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (375 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Cowboy
One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.

This one is SO good!

Houston Legend will do whatever it takes to keep Lone Star Ranch in the family. His brothers, Sam, the former Texas Ranger, and Luke, the bastard son and outlaw-on-the-run, stand firm with him in a fight, but what Stoker, his father, asks of him will have to be done alone—not going to be easy.

The Legend men would stand out in any era, but they are magnificent in the time Linda Broday brings them to life on the pages of her memorable books about them. The late nineteenth century in Texas and on the trail to market in Dodge City, Kansas, was not an easy time to stay alive and thrive. The Legend men do it with aplomb.

However, Lara Boone is the character who slipped right into my heart. Her courage and determination to make a good life for her baby, Gracie, in spite of her nightmarish fears, makes for emotional reading. After the horror she had endured at the hands of cruel men, her trepidation almost defeats her at times, but never does—not in a house built for another woman nor on the trail is a chuck wagon with her baby and her mentally challenged young brother.

Amid chaos, Houston Legend and Lara Boone, inch by inch, create one of the sweetest loves stories I’ve read in a long time.

All the while the antagonist, Yuma Blackstone and his gang show themselves to be maddeningly cruel and glorying in it. They are antagonists one can love to hate and not even feel guilty.

Goodness me! Linda Broday does know how to create characters that elicit decided emotional responses as the plot unfolds with back-story, little-aside-stories, danger, hard-work, family love and loyalty, and the memorable humor and love baby Gracie brings to it all.

GREAT READING!

The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono


The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.
Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett – was scouring titles in his favourite bookstore. When Lady Amelia Partridge literally bumps into him Phillip feels more than the air knocked out of him. Scarred and partially deaf, Phillip has gone to great pains to avoid the confusing and bustling society whirl. Amelia is a dedicated member of the Ladies Literary Society and thus has far more important things to focus on that finding a husband and ordering her own household.

This is an incredibly sweet historical story. While quite predictable I thoroughly enjoyed the characters – both the hero and heroine as well as a strong cast of secondary characters. I appreciated the conflict Amelia’s brother, Edward, and Edward’s fiancé especially, created. I also liked the fact Amelia had modern thoughts and a strong sense of independence, though I found that slightly unrealistic given the historical setting and the strictures placed on women – especially women of rank – back in that time period. I could let go of realism long enough though to sit back and enjoy the story.

The main conflict between Amelia and Phillip – the “secret” of his not being able to hear well – seemed a little stilted to my mind, but I have to admit it did fit in well with the older setting and stiff-upper-lip mentality of historical London. Amelia is teaching a bunch of young children how to read and write down at the local church. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story – partly because it showed me that Amelia wasn’t just willing to talk about trying to help and change the lives of those more impoverished than herself, but also that she was more than happy to get down and actually help. To lead by example. It was no surprise that this generosity of time and spirit was one of the main things that appealed to Phillip.

For a refreshingly sweet historical story – with just a simple kiss to seal the deal at the end – I found this to be an interesting and character-driven short story. I thoroughly enjoyed Phillip and Amelia as well as all the secondary characters. While the plot was not unique, I truly enjoyed it and the writing style of the author. I will certainly be searching for further stories by this author.

Alpha Star by Elsa Jade


Alpha Star by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #1 ~Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (134 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

He will be lord of his own solar system, but he can’t claim the homeworld until he takes a bride. He needs the right mate to win his mating rings, but choosing one female from among the neighboring systems while slighting the others could start an interstellar incident—and this ex-mercenary starship captain has finally had enough of war. Where in the universe can a runaway cyborg prince find a naïve female willing to risk her life on the dangerous frontiers of space?

How about a little off-world world building on planet Dirt, no, Mud! Oh wait – Earth! That’s right, this is a romance about heroes from outer space that come to Earth to find brides and have a little trouble remembering what we call things around here. But that’s not the only trouble in store for the hapless hero looking to find a female to call his own. There’s a mix-up, there are secrets that must be kept, there’s an unexpected villain and a stubborn heroine. It’s a concept that has been done before, but Ms. Jade added her own unique spin making this quite the entertaining read.

I liked the hero, Sin. He possesses amazing willpower when it comes to respecting Zoe’s moratorium against her becoming his mate. A reader knows just how much he really would like her to change her mind but she’s adamant that it’s a no-go. What the heroine did not count on was their amazing sexual chemistry. What Sin didn’t expect was the effect that amazing chemistry had on his body. Something has to give and the outside conflict certainly played a role in shaking things up.

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a sci-fi romance and I think it’s because of the very thing I encountered in this book – the strange names given to objects and people. I realize that with sci-fi an author can really create their own worlds and rules within that world building however there is a challenge to keep a reader invested in the people of the story without getting lost in the ‘special effects’. For the most part Ms. Jade does a solid job at accomplishing that, but every now and again the unfamiliarity threw me out of the story. Good thing Zoe and Sin are so fascinating – their budding romance drew me right back in.

Another reason to like a sci-fi romance is the inventive and intriguing ways having sex with an alien can come about. They’re not like us and those differences pose all kinds of delicious opportunities. What happens to Sin truly made me grin.

Secondary characters are Zoe’s sister in law and a couple of Sin’s crew members, Honey and Ivan. I like Honey a lot because of his sassy dialogue. I think all of their personalities contributed to the robustness of the tale.

Alpha Star sure was interesting. The happy ever after was as romantic as I could wish and I was so happy when Zoe finally came to her senses. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll blame her reticence on that fateful brick. For fans of sci-fi romance, I’d say give Alpha Star a shot. I did and I enjoyed it.

Warrior by Elsa Jade


Warrior by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest #4

Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

After the mating moon sets, the trouble is only beginning…

Thunder Cole may be the last of his kind. He’ll help his distant shapeshifter kindred with their werewolf hunter problem, but then he’s moving on — alone. Until he meets Elizabeth Rowan.

Bets became “Auntie Fate”, a fake psychic tarot reader, to support her orphaned niece, but she doesn’t believe in the woo-woo magical world. Until she meets Thunder Cole.

Both of them think their second chances are long gone. They couldn’t be more wrong. But a bitter enemy on a quest for vengeance against the wolves of Angels Rest may destroy everything they love.

A doubter will believe, a warrior will rise, and passion will rule the day.

Every now and again a book’s character surprises me. This is one of them. Most of the paranormal beings so far have been wolves but in Warrior there’s a new one in town and he’s a first. I’ve never read about his kind before in romance books and I am duly impressed.

Unfortunately for them but not for me, the external conflict continues from the Kingdom Guard. I didn’t expect the way in which it manifested and it was very suspenseful with lots of drama. I liked when the ‘troops’, the werewolves of Angels Rest, come together to try to rescue the heroine. Especially since the heroine is Elizabeth, the hippie, tarot-reading, sweet aunt of Darling from Rogue. She’s not a fighter but that doesn’t mean she’s not brave. She is.

Thunder is truly a yummy hero. It might have a lot to do with how Ms. Jade created his character. I enjoyed all the scenes with his motorcycle because of how they were written. I also felt for the guy because he is so alone. He has honor, loyalty and crazy skills but he’s a loner, a drifter that goes around helping people when they need it without belonging anywhere. I was so pleased that he found an anchor in the community of Angels Rest. That, of course, has a lot to do with the heroine.

Like the previous three in the series, when Thunder and Bets, as he likes to call her, get together physically, it’s detailed, sexy, steamy hot and well written. What I appreciate about the sexy scenes is that the story is not thin as an excuse for sex. Nope, it’s to showcase just how combustible the hero and heroine are together, and to show just how vested they both are to each other’s safety because they are falling in love. It’s a solid romance with a wonderful conflict and challenge to overcome. At one point the emotions inspired by the conflict was intense. I was glued to the pages.

Even though this is a novella, Ms. Jade continues the series with the skill of a master by delivering a full-bodied, thoroughly satisfying solid romance story that reads like a full-sized novel. There are gems of dialogue and descriptions sprinkled all through the tale and many are pure word magic.

At the end of the book there is a tidbit about the next book in the series and I simply have to have it. Why? Because it’s about one of the victims of the Kingdom Guard. What they did to him was heinous. So how and who can heal him is the a very effective hook. Consider the book bought.

Warrior is another winner and a must read. I am loving this series so hard it’s awesome. The quality of the writing remains solid, even in this fourth installment. So far this series has rocked my world and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford


Nothing Like a Duke by Jane Ashford
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (335 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

A Georgette Heyer-esque tale of high society in the glittering Regency

Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about Flora, but his plans are thwarted when she suddenly arrives.

Their attraction flares, but their romance becomes complicated when the sinister Anthony Durand shows up and threatens Flora. Every bone in Robert’s body says to save her…but he’ll have to learn that some damsels in distress can save themselves if he truly wants to win her heart.

Jane Ashford creates a memorable story, full of conflicts, about a brilliant young woman who wants respect for her accomplishments and wants to fight her own battle, yet longs for love. Woven into the story is a hero who finally comes to recognize the wisdom of his father’s words: “restraint and knowing when to exercise it is a far more arduous discipline than unconsidered action.” While the setting of the story may seem more-of-the-usual, the mystery, suspense, humor, revelations, and LOVE keeps one turning pages.

Flora Jennings, daughter of a scholar and trained to be acute, observant, active, to use her intelligence, does not fit into haut ton society. However, she is at a house party at the country home of the Earl and Countess of Salbridge. Harriet Runyon, a distant relative and her chaperone, tells her a smile is a tool to be used to pry information out of people, to smooth things over, and can be a wonderful substitute when one does not wish to answer a question.

Lord Robert Gresham, the son of a Duke, not the heir or the spare, but the son who is the “Pink of the ton” knows Flora from their intellectual discussions and argues, but was not expecting to see her at a house party at his friend’s country estate—a house party loaded with men who are wellborn, well-heeled, well-behaved; men, one of whom, might be a suitable husband for the Earl’s sister, Lady Victoria.

However, Victoria has her mind made up. She wants Robert and feels she has a right to him because of a childhood promise. She has no idea he is more stimulated by a fine mind than he is by a low cut neckline.

Add to that the arrival of two unwanted guests who remind Flora of one of the most terrifying experiences of her life an Flore becomes unsure of her ability to the world of the ton the way Robert had adapted to her intellectual world on Russell Street.

Probably the most interesting of all the arrivals is the little dog Robert rescued on his way to the party. He is a philosophical, wise little fellow, Robert names him Plato. I was always delighted to see him appear, because he was always in the know before anyone else.

Jane Ashford sweeps the reader into the story at once. She makes the story sparkle with love scenes that send the senses soaring, with lovers that have unfailing respect for each other, and with an altogether satisfactory tying up loose ends—a story that lets the reader sigh with pleasure at the end—delighted about how well everything turned out.

Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo


Watchmakers Heart by Juli D Revezzo
Publisher: Raven Queen Publications
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.

London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.

Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Phoebe is the daughter of a well to do lawyer, Mort is a watchmaker. While she had engineered an animated statue to enhance love making, Mort is hiding a past that would threaten his life and friends from his childhood. If he allows Phoebe into his world it will also threaten her reputation and life.

When Phoebe’s father tries to force her into marrying the objectionable Sir Dugard, she resists and Mort comes to her aid.

This is a fascinating Victorian era love story. It travels from the affluent house of Phoebe’s family to the slums of Whitechapel. In the background is the mysterious Doggett who holds Mort’s life and future in his hands. A lot of the story is shrouded in mystery and the couple find their budding romance is fraught with problems, and even Phoebe’s best friend turns against her.

Murder, theft, blackmail all these are present at one stage or other of the story. It also shows a view of the stews of the east end of London. This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. I read it in one day as I wanted to know what happened.

Rogue by Elsa Jade


Rogue by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest #3

Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The mating moon is full…

Rafael Villalobos is a werewolf without his wolf. The beast is rogue, gone hunting without him, making Rafe even more of a menace to his pack than the wolf hunters who hate them. He doesn’t know what the wolf wants…until it leads him straight to the sassy, luscious Darling Rowan.
Bitten by a rogue wolf that may or may not have been the sexiest Villalobos boy, Dare knows her quiet days as the county librarian are coming to an end. She’ll be coming too, if she can just get a certain stubborn man to admit that the simmering heat between them is more than the mating moon.

How can I be so lucky? Rogue is Bas’s brother’s story. Rafael, or Rafe as he’s commonly referred as, is the hero in this novella and I finally find out what was making him ornery in the previous book, Joker.

Can a heart break for a book hero? If so it would for Rafe. What happened to him as a child is so sad and tragic, but something worse is happening to him now and no one seems to know what to do or how to help him. He’s a hero in crisis and he’s close to accepting his dire fate. Thing is, after ‘meeting’ him in Hero & Rogue I know he’s not a bad guy. He’s loyal and the best brother and cousin Bas and Kane could have but they can’t stop what is happening. That was an effective hook that I could not resist, nor could I put the book down once I started reading.

Darling, or Dare as she likes to be called, is a secondary character from the beginning but this time she’s front and center as the heroine. This little librarian is about to have the adventure of a lifetime. She had hints that something was different about her best friend, and the man she secretly had the hots for, Rafe. The reality and facts were violently revealed, dumping Dare into a possible future like nothing she ever imagined. Will she embrace it? She’d better because if she doesn’t Rafe is lost – lost to everyone including himself. Yes, my emotions were definitely engaged with Dare and Rafe’s story. This was a one sitting read. Powerful and fascinating.

There’s a new villain in town and the scope of their revolting agenda become apparent in this tale. It’s effective and well written. Once again, Ms. Jade’s choice of vocabulary is succinct, evocative and created a sense of being there with Rafe and Dare fighting for their lives. There’s not a slow scene in the entire book. In fact everything single thing in this novella worked for me – including their romance.

Rogue is once again another gem in this series. I love the writing style, the voice and the personalities every character has – unique, special and memorable. It’s another must read, a keeper like the first two in the series and I’m loving every moment visiting Angels Rest. At this point I think reading in order is helpful because every book seems to start in the previous one, creating a continuity of community and an intense story arc from the external conflict. I am one very satisfied fan. I can’t wait to see who is next!

Fool For You by Rina Gray


Fool For You by Rina Gray
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (126 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Sports journalist Melanie Foster has achieved most of her goals: Bomb.com job—check. Tomboy-to-smoking-hottie makeover—check. Convince her best friend, Damien Richards, to slide a ring on her finger and father her two-point-five kids—not so much. When she activates Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, she never imagines her BFF already has plans to stroll down the wedding aisle with another woman.

Damien’s in the middle of crisis mode. The non-profit for young athletes at which he volunteers is in financial trouble. He’ll pull out all the stops to rescue the organization that saved his life after his career-ending injury—even if it means sacrificing his personal happiness.

But when he finally wakes up to love and the very non-brotherly feelings he’s long held for Mel, it just might be too late. Damien must convince her that he’s worth the risk and turn the tables to show her he’s the one ready to be a fool for love.

Operation: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is in full effect, but will it really bring Melanie the love she seeks?

I thought it was weird that Melanie Foster waited all these years to confess her love to her long time friend Damien Richards. The timing couldn’t be more off since Damien is in a serious relationship and just recently got engaged. Melanie is all in when it comes to getting Damien to love her. With his fiance Vanessa in the way it may not be as easy as Melanie thought.

Melanie is a smart and career minded woman that knows a lot about sports. From tomboy to heels and lady-like attire, Melanie came off as self centered in her timing to reveal her feelings to Damien. She tried once back in college to tell Damien how she felt but to no avail. Damien is a caring and likable guy that has his hands full. Refurbished Dreams, a mentor organization that helped Damien from a troubled path when he was younger, is now being closed down. Damien, a volunteer at the center, offers his help to keep the center open along with being pressured to marry his girlfriend Vanessa. With secrets, jilted love and friends that have your back and others that do the stabbing this makes for a interesting read.

The author has a good writing style with humor and up to date jargon. The plot is interesting, but has a few slow parts. At first I thought it was a little predictable but I was glad to see there are a few surprises at the end. A recommendation to readers that enjoy a quick read that delivers a happy ending to a woman set on getting her man.

Joker by Elsa Jade


Joker by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest #2

Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A ‘Mating Season’ novella.

Leela Jones had a mission: kill a werewolf. Instead, she was captured by one. Now Bastian Villalobos, bad boy of the Mesa Diablo pack, has a werewolf hunter on his hands. Wolf shifters and hunters have always been mortal enemies. But under the hungry light of the mating moon, they might be lovers too.

I hoped that this next story in the series after Hero was going to be good and all my hopes were realized. This novella is just as powerful, well written and entertaining as the first book. Joker picks up where the first book left off – with the captured assassin. The suspense and drama is more prevalent in this one and I enjoyed every surprise, shock and revelation.

Once again, there is a strong hero, Bastien, and a heroine worthy of him, Leela. In this story the emotional factor is through the roof. I guess I refer to the brave stand towards the end that had unexpected consequences. My heart was in my throat. Everything that happened in the novella built up to that final climactic and intense chapter that had me biting a nail, or two.

Before the serious wrap up there was all the turmoil of a werewolf falling in love with the hunter that had set out to kill him and his kind. I enjoyed how Ms. Jade made it all work out. Once again there is the mysticism of Mesa Diablo that enhances the believability factor that love can happen that fast if it’s meant to be. The romance is strong and wonderful.

Ms. Jade continues to wow me with her choice of descriptives. They provide a flavor and presence unique to the main characters and their romance. I enjoyed their dialogue, their interaction between family members and townsfolk and their pack. It all worked for me.

Joker is a wonderful romance. This short story is rich in substance and brilliant in its ability to embrace all the aspects a reader seeks in a great romance story. Yes, the sexual build up between Bas and Leela was hot, their coming together was hotter, but what I found incredibly sexy was what the hero revealed to Leela. Joker is delightful and not to be missed.

Max and Rosie by Arnold Greenberg


Max and Rosie by Arnold Greenberg
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (49 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Max has been in love with his wife Rosie ever since she sat next to him in their Chaucer class nearly forty years ago. Now she is dying of Alzheimer’s. He devotes himself to taking care of her, bringing her tea and toast each afternoon, going to the park to feed the ducks, and reminiscing.

When he can no longer care for her alone, he hires Robin as Rosie’s live-in nurse. As time passes his attraction to Robin grows. They share meals, movies, and confidences while Rosie fades further away. He dreams of kissing Robin and telling her how he feels—but wonders could she ever feel the same about him. When Rosie dies, Max dreads the day Robin will move out. What will he do without her vibrant ways, her sweet smile? What will he do without her?

Some people say age is just a number. Does this rule also apply to falling in love with an adult who is much younger than you?

Max was such a likeable guy. His devotion to his wife was plain to see, especially as he adjusted to how quickly Rosie was losing all of her memories. Watching him grieve the loss of their relationship as she forget who he was and all of the happy years they’d had together made me blink back tears. I wanted more than anything for him to somehow find a happy ending for himself.

There were pacing issues when it came to the development of the relationship between Robin and Max. Nothing happened between them for a long time, so I was surprised by how quickly things started moving once they began to explore the possibility of becoming more than friends. This didn’t seem like something either one of these characters would do because of how thoughtful and methodical they were in the rest of their lives. I would have really liked to have more hints about their shifting feelings earlier on so that the later development of their relationship wasn’t so sudden.

I liked the fact that the main characters in this tale all had well-rounded backstories. Knowing how Max and Rosie had spent the last thirty-seven years together was just as important as hearing about Robin’s childhood and learning why she decided to become a nurse. I felt like I got to know all three of them incredibly well because of how much time the author spent tying their pasts to the lives they were currently living.

Max and Rosie should be read by anyone who is in the mood for something bittersweet.