Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael


Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (204 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl—and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

Despite their love for each other Brock and Eric simply hadn’t been able to fit properly into each other’s lives. Even though it had been many years since they’d broken up when Eric called for help with the emergency of his daughter’s kidnapping, Brock dropped everything to help. Against all odds they both find themselves wanting to try once again to make it work. Can this time go better?

This is a strongly emotional story that I totally loved. I got immediately sucked into the kidnapping of Josie – Eric’s daughter – and couldn’t stop reading from there. Brock and Eric are both well-drawn characters and vibrantly jump right off the page. Even though there’s plenty of drama surrounding Josie’s kidnapping and the action that follows on from there, so much of the rest of the story is normal – kiddie pools and bedtime stories, eating cookies and regular bedtime routines. I feel the author did an amazing job of showing both the normal level of day-to-day living but also had plenty of action and family drama too. This made the pace of the story feel super fast but also helped make what could have been a completely unrealistic plot feel not just understandable, but relatable too.

The romance between Eric and Brock bloomed at what I felt was a lovely pace. Even though there was plenty of history between the two men, it was quite some ago, so I feel that the rebuilding of that relationship was critical. Instead of just jumping right back into bed, both men had plenty to re-learn about each other and I loved how this was given a lot of time and shown thoroughly. This chemistry between Eric and Brock, filling in some of the gaps and both of them understanding where they’d gone wrong in the past, this all helped me feel that the foundation of their new relationship – despite all the drama and action of other things going on in both their lives – really helped make me believe, thoroughly, in the new relationship they built together. It felt realistic and strong to me and I loved this. The chemistry between them sizzled and when they finally did become intimate together it was like the perfect culmination of all that had been brewing and growing between them. I felt it was perfect and I loved it.

While there is a lot of drama, action and the initial kidnapping of Josie, overall I found this to be a lovely, emotional and exceedingly well written story. The romance between Eric and Brock was strongly written and – despite the exceptionally dangerous circumstances – realistic. I could see both men as completely normal men in an extraordinary situation. Best of all their love and the coming together of their little family was a wonderful story and one I know I will eagerly and happily read numerous times again. Strongly recommended.

New Game, Start by C.S. Poe


New Game, Start by C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.

He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Edgar is entranced by online gamer, Walter. Even though Edgar knows it is crazy, he can’t help himself and when he finds out Walter will be at the GamerOn convention – in Edgar’s own New York City – Edgar knows he has to go and at least look at his crush. One simple tweet turns into something so much more.

I absolutely loved this short story. Told in the first person, I found it funny, realistic and extremely modern (#JingleYourBells!) and laughed aloud in numerous places. I adored Edgar’s character – I found him humble, normal and extremely sweet. I could heartily sympathize with his anonymous crush on Walter and cheered the two of them on for every page as they met up and got to know each other. I was really excited that the story gave itself time to develop, it wasn’t just Edgar met Walter and they jumped into bed, the two men played games online and got to know each other a fair bit first, which really helped sell me on their romance.

This is a fantastic short story and I loved every moment – from Edgar’s shy awkwardness to Walter’s happy joy in life and enjoyment of simple things, to them sharing the same drink and helping each other to be better versions of themselves. This is a happy and sexy story that I absolutely loved. I thought the sex scene was meaningful and hot, the misunderstanding well-handled and not too clichéd, and the happy ending made me sigh and finish the story ready to immediately go back and re-read it all over again. While there are only really Walter and Edgar as characters, they fill each page and I didn’t feel any lack from there really only being the two of them. Indeed, I didn’t really find anything negative at all throughout the story.

This will be a keeper story for me and I strongly recommend it.

Winning The Campaign Manager by Lucy Felthouse


Winning The Campaign Manager by Lucy Felthouse
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short story (44 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Cade Avery is running for a position on his local county council. He’s extremely good at what he does and is a valuable asset to his community. The trouble is, he upsets people, says the wrong things, and rides rough-shod over other people’s plans and ideas. His assistant, Mary, eager to improve Cade’s public image, hires him a campaign manager.

Quentin Rayworth is thrilled to be working with such a formidable public figure. It’ll be a challenge, but he’s confident he can help Cade to win the election, and knows that the achievement will look impressive on his CV.

It’s soon clear that the two men are set to be an excellent team. That is, until Cade’s werewolf makes its intentions known—in Quentin, it has found its mate, and it will not rest until he has claimed him. But can Cade—and his wolf—win over the campaign manager?

Cade is not impressed when his friend hires him a campaign manager. Cade knew he’d never win any popularity contests, but he also knew he was excellent at his job and genuinely the best candidate for the job. Cade just hadn’t realised how much of a popularity contest running for election was, and he reluctantly had to admit that Quentin was the manager best suited to helping him win this election.

I thought this was an interesting short story. I was a little nervous that the pace of the story would feel a bit too fast, but the author did a good job in my opinion of explaining the speed with which Quentin and Cade got together due to Cade’s wolf-shifter. Cade’s wolf wants who it wants and nothing would get in his way – it made the very sudden and firm decision that Cade wanted Quentin and no one else and made it seem understandable. I was a little disappointed though that the paranormal aspect of the story did feel rushed to me. With the short length of the story I sympathize that there really wasn’t too much room for the author to take her time with world-building or long explanations on how Cade “knew” Quentin was his mate and nor was there a huge amount of time for Cade and Quentin to really get to know each other. It just came across to me a little muddled and unrealistic. Quentin’s reaction to Cade’s coming on to him just felt like too much of an about face – in the space of one scene Quentin changed from being excited and really wanting the job to being uncertain, uncomfortable and wanting to resign. As someone whose job was PR and image meant everything he clearly hadn’t thought how lasting less than a day in a new (and outwardly appearing very important) job would have been disastrous to Quentin’s career reputation. A lot of this side of the story just didn’t seem to have been properly thought through – the characters acting on impulse, not logic.

I also would have really loved the whole werewolf thing to have been explored deeper too. Again the short page count really hampered this, but just the speed and seeming ease that Quentin accepted that Cade was a werewolf, was destined to be mated with him and agreeing they should date – it all happened in the space of two scenes. While exciting and sexy, I felt after reading it a little like I’d been running – hard to catch my breath and I needed to reread it all to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. The pace was just a little too fast for my personal preferences.

That said, the chemistry between Cade and Quentin was amazing. The two men clearly lusted deeply after each other and even though Cade was being ridden hard by his wolf, I had no problems at all believing the two men would form a solid and lasting relationship. A part of me would have enjoyed knowing how the campaign turned out (did Cade end up getting elected? Did Quentin and Cade blitz the media and win in a landslide of votes, having turned public opinion in their direction?). I completely understand the campaign itself was not the main focus of the story – Cade and Quentin were, and rightly so – but I did feel that final question of how the campaign turned out felt a bit like unfinished business to me.

With interesting characters and some deliciously steamy sex, this is a great M/M with a large bite of paranormal that is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers. A few small bumps in the pacing had me wishing for more, but overall this is a great short story and I feel sure many people will eagerly devour it in one sitting.

S.A.R.A.H. by P.C. Ryan


S.A.R.A.H. by P.C. Ryan
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (24 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/F, Anal Play, Menage
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Robert Vincent is a thirty-eight year old loner who is awkward with women. In fact, he’s never been laid. But the year is 2040 and automaton technology is reaching a new height.

Desperate, Robert orders the latest model, a companion named S.A.R.A.H. (Sexually Active Robot Artificial Human). He expects at least an exciting substitute, an escape from the endless chain of disappointments in his real life.

What he finds instead, when he opens the crate, is far more than he could ever have imagined.

Could you fall in love with a robot if you knew they were a machine from the beginning?

I liked the fact that Robert’s motivation for wanting to buy a robot were so clearly explained in the opening scene. The loneliness he felt was a serious problem, and he’d clearly spent a lot of time trying to fix that issue in any way he could. I was curious to see if Sarah would give him the companionship he desired so much.

There were many character development issues. It was especially noticeable with the two female characters. While I understood why Sarah would be programmed to agree with everything her owner wanted to do, I found it odd that the other female character behaved the same way since she was human. It would have been helpful to understand what their motivations were and what they actually wanted out of life. I never understood who they were as individuals, and that made it hard for me to empathize with them.

The science fiction elements of the book were fascinating. Early on, the main character explained that robots were so advanced in the 2040s that they could do anything a human being could do other than give birth. I was fascinated by the idea of a machine who looked and behaved exactly like the average person, and I couldn’t wait to find out more.

Robert didn’t face any conflict in this story. I was expecting him to meet resistance at some point during his adventures in order for him to have something to encourage him to be persistent. The fact that it didn’t happen made it harder for me to stay interested in what was happening to him because he seemed to get what he wanted immediately without ever having to negotiate or struggle for it.

One of the other things I appreciated about the main character was how interested he was in giving pleasure to Sarah as well as receiving it from her. Despite the issues with her character development, Robert was clearly determined to make sure she had a good time with him no matter what they were doing.

S.A.R.A.H. should be read by anyone who has ever dreamed about what it would be like to have all of their wishes come true.

Run So Far by Elizabeth Monvey


Run So Far by Elizabeth Monvey
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (78 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Kyle stumbles into a truck stop diner, he just wants a bit of time to try to remember the weekend that has changed his life. He meets trucker Delaney Vance and when the older man invites him to travel with him across the US, Kyle thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to relax and find his memories. As the two men start to get comfortable with each other, unexpected emotions start to develop on both sides.

Del is a man trying to forget the past and he’s done a pretty good job of it away from people, trucking for a living, and forgoing personal relationships. But all of that changes as Kyle worms his way into Del’s heart.

The past is about to catch up with both of them. With Kyle’s memories come a difficult and scary decision to make…ruin his family or hide the truth. Can Del help him navigate a future when he himself can’t shake the ghosts of his own past?

Kyle is running and ends up in a truck stop diner to try and decide if he really wants to go through with his half-baked idea to ruin his family. While there he meets Del and they both surprise each other by agreeing to continue along Del’s way and go together to his next trucking stop. Kyle had no idea he would run so far, nor what he’d find when he reached his destination.

I found this to be a well-plotted, interesting story. Kyle knows that he’s seen something terrible, something that can ruin his family, but the trauma has given him a sort of block to help protect him from the true depths of what he’s facing. Running seems like the only option available and so he takes it, albeit with no real planning or forethought. While it seemed incredibly convenient that he met Del at the diner (and that they were so strongly attracted to each other) they both quickly realize they can help each other. The sizzling sex doesn’t hurt, either.

I liked how we, the reader, only got to learn about the plot as Kyle remembered it in bits and pieces, but I couldn’t help and feel that this made the story seem a bit choppy. It also seemed slightly weird to me that while Kyle is recalling all these traumatic, emotional memories he’s having hot and sweaty sex with Del. I’m not sure how these two polar-opposite things could have been balanced better, but it made the whole story feel a little uneven for me, bouncing back and forth from erotic sex to intensely emotional recollections about a possible murder. It just felt quite uneven to me.

The drama was very well written and I felt incredibly connected to Kyle and his plight. I eagerly turned the pages, wanting to see what he’d recall next and how the pieces would fit together. In this respect I feel the author did an amazing job with the writing and this really made the story well worth reading to me. With interesting characters and a gripping plot I would happily try more stories by this author.

Cajun Thunder by Keely Jakes


Cajun Thunder by Keely Jakes
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (59 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Becker Baptiste is on the run and was sent to Paladin to ask for their help. Exhausted and battered, he is trying to keep his infant niece, Sabine, from being murdered. When he meets a naked man on the road into town, he worries that maybe this isn’t the place they should be hiding from Sabine’s mother.

Roane Jackson had given up on finding his mate, but when Becker arrives with a baby strapped to his chest, Roane realizes his life is about to change in more ways than he can count.

Will Becker accept that the naked man’s claims that they are mates? Will he be able to keep Sabine safe from her mother? Will Roane ever put on clothes?

Except for his team-mates whom Roane saw as family, he pretty much hated all other people. Normal people, those who had no idea the way life truly was, annoyed him no end. So when he catches scent of his mate while roaming around in his mountain lion form, Roane is surprised and quite curious. What he finds is a man with an enormous back-pack, two suitcases and a carry-all close to his chest. The fact his mate already had a baby in tow was enough to shock Roane more than he could believe. His world is instantly turned upside down.

Becker, Sabine and Roane are not your usual family dynamic, and personally I adored them all the more for being a little outside the box. The pace of the story felt a little too fast for me personally. Becker and Roane meet and although I can understand Roane wanting to move fast on his mate after waiting so long it really felt like they just jumped straight into bed, fell instantly in love and it all happened in the blink of an eye. I thought the plot itself (as to why Becker and Sabine had come to Team Paladin) was quite interesting and fresh, but with so much uncertainty and fear it made Becker falling so quickly in love even less realistic to me. How he could leave Sabine with the other Team members mere hours after meeting them—particularly considering the danger he and Sabine were in—just didn’t make sense to me. It seemed silly and risky and I really struggled to understand how Becker could place so much faith in virtual strangers.

After that, I just disconnected my brain, sat back and enjoyed the ride. And to be honest I enjoyed the story an awful lot more once I stopped thinking about what was logical and realistic, and just rolled with it all. Once I’d put my brain in this gear I thoroughly enjoyed the fast, almost maniacally crazy pace and the sequence of events that unfolded. I loved catching up with a number of the other couples from previous stories and seeing how the town itself was going. I also enjoyed how both Roane and Becker’s characters were interesting and Becker in particular had multiple layers to him.

Readers looking for a logical, relatable story might not find this book gives them the sort of read they want. Readers, however, looking for a fast paced, interestingly plotted piece of escapism fiction should definitely give this a try. I enjoyed the plot, liked the characters and found myself at the end happily satisfied with the light read.

Winning His Man by Angelique Voisen


Winning His Man by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (71 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Taking care of his younger brother had been werewolf Steve Doyle’s number one priority for most of his life. Now that his brother’s mated, Steve doesn’t know where he fits in the River West wolf pack. He’s average and mediocre. The last thing he expects is to catch the interest of Leon Mercer, the gorgeous pack beta. Steve doesn’t believe they have anything in common, that once Leon gets his fill of him, Leon will move on to someone else. After all, Steve knows he’s not mate material and when it comes to love, he’s always second choice.

Scarred by his mother’s suicide, Leon doesn’t believe in mates until he spots Steve in a wedding. One drunken kiss leads to a tumble in bed, then several. Leon wants to claim Steve for his own, even if convincing Steve means fighting off old demons from the past who threaten to destroy what they’d found.

Steve had always known exactly what his job was – to protect his little brother, Tommy. But with Tommy now happily mated and married Steve feels at a loss. How will he fit into their new pack? What would he do with himself? Leon, the pack’s Beta knows from the moment he meets Steve that the two of them are mates. Convincing Steve, however, might be more difficult than he’d planned on.

I enjoyed this story and found it a slightly different take on the usual “wolf meets wolf and they fall into insta-love” tale. Far from falling at Leon’s feet, Steve quite strongly resists the notion that the two are destined mates, and I really enjoyed the novelty in that. My only real disappointment was in how low Steve’s self-confidence was and some of the reasons behind it. I understand this was part of his character and experiences, but it was difficult for me to read just how little Steve thought of himself and how he doubted anything good could possibly happen to him. It took an awful lot of effort on Leon’s part to help bolster Steve even just a bit and while this was fantastic for the plot and character development, it really made my heart bleed for Steve. It made this otherwise fun and sexy story difficult for me to read.

The sex between Steve and Leon was hot and spicily written. Even though their connection and consummation happens quite quickly I liked the emotional bond the two men shared and how it deepened between them as they came to understand each other better. I thought some of the plot (Steve’s ex boyfriend) was a little clichéd, but it did add a fair bit of conflict and drama to the story. The various characters and the pack dynamics was really the highlight of this story for me. I feel the author did a great job of showing a number of different characters and giving them all life, making them individuals and not just cookie-cutter people. I was particularly invested in Steve and Leon, both together as a couple and as individuals.

An interesting and emotional story I found this to be a good paranormal romance.

Silver Fox by Julia Talbot


Silver Fox by Julia Talbot
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Spanking, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Were-cougar Noah is bored out of his mind. He retired young after selling his start-up business, and now he has no idea what to do with himself. As a self-made man, he likes to be in control, but even his favorite pastimes have lost their luster these days.

Were-fox Toland meets Noah at Faster Bobcat, where his cousin works as a bartender. Experienced and dominant, Toland sets out to turn Noah’s world upside down, convince Noah he doesn’t always need to be the one on top. Can Noah be what Toland needs, or will he run from the one thing he can’t seem to turn down?

Noah could hardly believe it, but he was dead bored – even with all the delicious, scantily clad eye-candy surrounding him. Despite the fact there were plenty of men just his type around, Noah couldn’t raise any interest. Until his attention was captivated by Toland. Completely not his type, something about the tanned, silver haired man had Noah completely riveted. Could this be exactly what he needed?

I found this to be a super hot, really lovely short story. I’ve enjoyed some of the previous Faster Bobcat books in this series but strongly believe this can be read as a stand-alone book. Noah and Toland are front-and-centre of the entire book and aside from a mention of previous characters in the epilogue there’s no back-story or feeling that readers need to catch up on anything. I feel this can definitely be read without any previous experience in the series. I love the author’s style of writing and found myself almost immediately drawn in by Noah’s voice and I was eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. I loved how Noah was used to being in control and had never really wanted to bottom but how he felt the desire to explore new things with Toland. This was a slightly different outlook on the “reluctant submissive” style of story I’ve read before and it felt fresh, real and interesting to me.

The only very slight criticism I could put forward was that I didn’t get to see much inside Toland’s head. While I enjoyed his character and definitely felt a connection with Toland, the story is told mostly from Noah’s perspective (third person, which I greatly enjoyed) but this had me feeling like while I understood where Noah was coming from Toland was a little bit more of a mystery to me. The sex was deliciously hot and I thoroughly enjoyed how both men clearly felt a connection with each other from the start. This wasn’t just sex for the sake of it – or fucking added in to make the story steamy – this was two sensual, grown men starting a lovely relationship together and the sex deepened the connection and acted out on the attraction they each felt. There were light elements of BDSM in here – nothing that I found too harsh or envelope pushing, but readers should certainly take note if they like less spice in their romance stories.

A delightfully written and sensual M/M with a hint of BDSM spice that I greatly enjoyed. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

His by Choice by Angelique Voisen


His by Choice by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (73 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Werewolves mate for life, and although Omega wolf Walker Fuller had been in an arranged marriage, his wolf still feels incomplete after his husband’s death. Walker has his fill of dominant male shifters so he moves into a new town, wanting a fresh start. There’s just one hitch in his plan. His infuriating, sexy-as-hell next door neighbor happens to be the Alpha of the West River pack. Walker can’t stop thinking about Butch, but would anyone want second-hand goods?

Alpha werewolf Butch has a problem—a gorgeous and tempting golden-haired, blue-eyed Omega named Walker. Butch never thought there was a submissive wolf capable of tying him down, but Walker proves him wrong on all accounts. An Alpha’s not willing to take no for an answer and Butch is not backing down. Walker will be his mate and it’s time he show the Omega happily-ever-after is in the cards for both of them.

Walker has lived his life at the whims of his pack. Never able to do as he wanted or even to find love. He counted himself lucky that the man he was married to was understanding and modern enough to let him have a little bit of a life but when his husband dies all Walker can think of is getting away. He is nothing to his pack now and being a failure has been drilled into his head. Somehow, He finds the courage to leave and stretch his wings which brings him to a new town and a new alpha. Butch is ready to catch up on some much-needed rest, but it seems that his new neighbor has other ideas. As soon as Butch lays eyes on Walker he knows that he will do anything for this man. A twist of fate has brought him his mate and he will stop at nothing to secure their happiness.

Walker and Butch make a great pair. I loved watching the two find their way. Walker is stronger than he believes and without even knowing it he shows his strength. Standing up to the new alpha and his enforcers is not something to be taken lightly yet Walker does not see his worth and strength in what he does. I enjoyed seeing Walker find his own way and grow with the encouragement of Butch. This new pack is nothing like what Walker grew up with. Butch is strong, but he is also fair and loving. He is a good man that had to work hard to take care of his pack and is more than willing to fight for those that he cares for which now includes Walker. The banter between Butch and Walker is nice to see. The two work hard to make their relationship work. It was nice to see Walker begin to be able to stand on his own in a well-adjusted pack. As we watched Butch and Walker’s story unfold we also got to see the comradery of the wolves in the West River Pack. It was nice to see the friendship and loyalty between everyone. Butch and Walker’s story has just begun, and I cannot wait to see what more is in store for them.

Grizzly Affair by Dulce Dennison


Grizzly Affair by Dulce Dennison
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short (50 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Ménage, M/M/M, Toys
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

With a rogue shifter on the loose leaving a trail of bodies, it isn’t the best time for bear shifter, Roarke Hilliard to have his heat cycle. Especially since he’s the lead Special Agent on the case. But nature must take its course. When his partner, agent Spencer Malloy, places himself in Roarke’s path during his greatest time of need, the bear is worried he might break the human. But Spencer wants Roarke badly… bad enough to call in a paranormal escort.

Grigore Gabor may be a male escort, but he’s never slept with any of his clients… until now. The moment the wolf shifter gets a whiff of the bear who hired him, and his human companion, he knows he’s found his mates. But getting the surly ursa to agree is another matter.

With a killer on the loose, now isn’t the time for finding true love. With Roarke handicapped by his heat cycle, there’s only so much the agents can do against the rogue shifter. They can only hope to bring the man to justice before another body is found.

Roarke Hilliard worked for the Bureau of Paranormal Affairs. Chasing down a crazed killer, who was murdering male prostitutes, Roarke is determined to finish this hunt, even if he is going into heat and his bear wants to break free. Roarke’s Bureau partner, Spencer, has made no secret of the fact he wants Roarke, badly. And much as Roarke returns his partner’s regard, Roarke knows they’ll need help to deal with his heat. Can they ride out the shifter-bear’s heat and still catch the killer?

I found this to be an interesting and short paranormal story. Set slightly in the future (after 2023 some time) this felt to me much like a normal contemporary/paranormal story. Aside from shifters being “out” there was not much really to differentiate this from a regular, contemporary setting to my mind. I was interested in some of the dynamics and world-building that the author added in – like a shifter escort company designed to help shifters get through their heat phases – and overall found the plotting and pacing to be really good.

I liked Roarke, Spencer and Grigore’s characters. I was pleased that they all seemed to work well together though a part of me wished the author had let us see a bit more of their personal side, not just their working side. For example, did the men have any hobbies? Did they like to cook, or play a sport, did they have hopes or plans for the future? I liked knowing what Spencer and Roarke in particular were like at work (dedicated and intelligent) but I really felt like there was a lot more to their characters that we didn’t have time to explore. The sex was steamy hot and I loved every moment of it. While they all jumped into bed very quickly I can’t fault the author for that considering the short length to the story. I also was impressed that the balance between plot and sex was kept very even and I felt neither part of the story suffered – both sides being well treated. Some readers mightn’t like that part of the plot was left deliberately hanging and not tied up neatly in a bow, but the romance and threesome was absolutely settled happily and this story was clearly marked as the first in a series, so I wasn’t too upset at the plot not being fully rounded out.

For a sexy paranormal story with a good plot and a fast pace, this is a great story. While I might have preferred a bit more depth to the three characters I felt this was an excellent first book in the series and I’d happily read more by this author.