Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker


Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (285 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Carolyn Cotter, talented big-city ad executive, confuses the house number of her destination with that of a famous music mogul on the same street. Suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a police investigation regarding a missing platinum statue.

Simon Bergman, an accountant for the music mogul, is pleasantly surprised to meet such a charming young woman at his boss’s party. He is less pleasantly surprised when she dashes off without a farewell. Finding her again, he becomes her ally in seeking out the real culprit.

Will what they learn about themselves and about life land them in jail, or in love?

Could you mistake a farewell party for a funeral? Depends on the circumstances doesn’t it?

This is a story of people and their jobs and the ups and downs of everyday life. This is also a story about the way we all know people can act when we need them; some let us down and some support us. Sort of like life. This was a good read that really had its twists and turns and sure surprised me.

I liked this author’s characters, the closest ones were really fleshed out. I often define this kind of character development as a good “picture”. It’s important to me to have a sense of their personalities and maybe even an idea of what a few of them look like, in my mind at least. I did feel as if a few “scenes” were somewhat repetitive in this book. It seemed to bog down a little in the middle but the author’s style was clean and there was a clarity in the storyline I enjoyed. The book did keep my interest and seemed to pick up quickly.

There was a little humor in this book. The kind I always enjoy, that somewhat sarcastic making fun of oneself in a narrative sort of way. The author did it here utilizing the main character, Carolyn, and did it very well. This was a fun book to read.

Keep Her From Harm by Sam Crescent


Keep Her From Harm by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (130 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Damian Denton lost the mother of his child because he could never love her. That guilt won’t go away, and he can feel it eating away at his soul no matter what he does. His only hope is to find someone deadly enough to kill him.

Mia Banks doesn’t want to ask Ivan, the father of her child, for help, but she has no choice. If she wants to survive, she will have to beg him. But when a man crashes into Ivan’s office, her life changes forever.

The moment Damian sees the beautiful Mia, he knows without a doubt that she belongs to him. Taking Mia and her son away, Damian is determined to do everything different. He’s not going to scare Mia with who he is or who his family is.

But with the revelation of a secret brother the Dentons are no longer united. They are separated, and that makes them weak. There is someone waiting to rid the world of Dentons for good, with this fresh danger, can Damian keep Mia and their children safe?

I was captivated with this fourth book in the Denton Family Legacy. Sam Crescent did a good job in spinning this page turning story.

There was a lot happening in this romantic but lively plot that kept my attention. Damian Denton had been spiralling downward since the mother of his child took her own life in a previous book. All of that changed when he met Mia and fell in love with her on the spot. This book also found the Denton family in turmoil and facing the biggest trial of the series, so far. The story was sexy and super suspenseful with some big twists for the series. There was a lot of dialogue from Gabriel and Gideon and even Uncle Rick who turned out to be an actual bad arse. I can’t wait to see who gets the next book!

Crystal Coast Chemistry by Sierra Brave


Crystal Coast Chemistry by Sierra Brave
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (61 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

As the saying goes, one night at the Crystal Coast is all it takes to find love.

When gay school teacher, Ryan Wertman, accepts an invitation from his best friend and fellow teacher, Caroline Butler, to spend summer break waiting tables at her aunt’s bar and grill at the Crystal Coast, he jumps at the chance for some fun in the sun away from their small, conservative town. Though he boasts about filling his evenings with lots of hot studs, in truth, Ryan longs to find love and settle down.

At just twenty-two years old, military logistics specialist Tanner Tolsten isn’t open with his homosexuality, and he would be embarrassed to death if his buddy Jake Devoe found out about the crush he has on him. An evening out to celebrate Jake’s graduation from college seems to take a turn for the worse when Jake takes one look at their waitress and loses his heart. Then Tanner sees Ryan serving drinks behind the bar.

After a night of hot passion, both men are smitten, but when confronted with bigotry, Tanner must admit his true self or risk losing Ryan forever.

Ryan likes his job and enjoys his home-town, but being a gay man in a small, conservative place certainly wears after a while. He’s seriously looking forward to taking a summer break with his friend, Caroline at Crystal Coast. The beach – full of shirtless studs – is exactly the sort of therapy he needs to refresh his mind and revitalize himself. Tanner is in the Army and still mostly in the closet – but he can’t deny the strong attraction to Ryan when the two men meet. Can their chemistry turn into something more?

This is a fun, summery and sexy short story. I liked both Tanner and Ryan’s characters and the sex between them was explosively hot. I found the sex to be deliciously explicit. I was a little disappointed, however, with the “conflict” aspect of the plot. A somewhat clichéd misunderstanding, the situation – while completely serious – felt rather like it had been simply inserted into the story as the obligatory argument/conflict aspect to the plot. Add on to this, despite the seriousness of it, barely a few pages was given to Tanner and Ryan discussing it and with what felt to me like no effort or proper discussion it was forgiven and practically waved away. This resolution made the conflict feel even more derived and insubstantial to me. I really felt as though the whole situation could have been handled differently and better.

With a strong cast of secondary characters the absolute high point of this story for me was all the different people. Ryan and Tanner both came across to me as vibrant, complex and interesting characters and each of them had a small number of equally impressive secondary characters in their lives. Add in some very hot and well written sex and this is a fun, summery short story that is sure to appeal to a lot of readers wanting a quick and spicy read.

Mask Of Desire by P.L. Harris


Mask Of Desire by P.L. Harris
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Tash Redman came to Brekin River to start anew. She thought that if she kept her head down and worked hard, she wouldn’t have to face any more of the pain of her past. That all changes when she attends a Halloween costume party and meets Kayden’s electric gaze.

He’s exactly what she should avoid.

Detective Kayden Langford was bewitched by the ruby-red lips of the mysterious beauty he met on Halloween. When tragedy strikes, he is reminded that life is too short not to go after what he wants—and he wants her.

But maybe he’s also what she needs.

A dark past, filled with regret and treachery haunts Tash, but she can’t fight the desire she feels each time her eyes lock with Kayden’s. When she gets the chance to anonymously sample him, she hopes that one masked taste will be enough to satisfy her…but the single-minded detective has other plans.

New in town, Tash let herself get talked into attending the Halloween masquerade party. There, she found herself seriously attracted to one Detective Kayden Langford. Saved when his phone rang, Tash managed to avoid Kayden until she found herself reluctantly going to his New Year’s Eve party. This time, Kayden won’t allow anything to distract him.

This is a fun short story. While I admit I was a little puzzled as to how strongly Tash thought her back-tattoo would cause her an insurmountable social stigma (it’s set in Australia and I don’t believe the country is *that* backwards – tons of Aussie’s have tattoos after all). Even so, I could sort-of understand the whole “small town mentality” thing. I also found Tash’s frequent musings on her past and particularly her ex, Connor, a little mood-breaking. I felt a lot of sympathy for Tash and how much Connor had hurt her, but I struggled to understand why she still thought of him so very much when I felt it was clear Tash was trying really hard to move on and start her life afresh – these two things seemed contradictory to me and I found myself slightly impatient that Tash couldn’t seem to let her ex go, mentally.

I have to admit though, once Tash and Kayden finally get into gear together the story really lifted and I enjoyed it a lot. I giggled when the plot veered into a modern-day-twist to Cinderella and I honestly am always a sucker for a masquerade ball plotline. I enjoyed the second half of this story a lot more than the first half and I feel readers should stick with it to reap the rewards.

Overall I found this a quick, easy to read story. Apart from a few bumps with Tash’s character and some puzzling moments about the plot I found this to be a fun, sexy story and I was thrilled when Kayden and Tash got together and decided to give their romance a real go. With a lovely happy ending this had a great finish and I was pleased I had kept reading along.

A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James


A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Fairy tale for just one night?

Cruelly mistreated by her stepfamily, Ellen Mountford retreated to the shadows of her father’s home, feeling unworthy and unloved. But when powerful tycoon Max Vasilikos wants to buy the glorious English country estate, Ellen can hide no longer…

Under the scrutiny of the Greek’s arrogant stare, Ellen fights the urge to retreat further and stands up to him, yet Max is relentless. He tempts her out to a glamorous charity gala, where Ellen is transformed from dowdy recluse to belle of the ball. Now there is a new glint in Max’s eye that is even more devastating…seduction!

The title gave me a hint of the theme of the story but in no way could it prepare me for the fun between the covers of A Cinderella for the Greek by Ms. James.

Unlike the fairy tale, Ellen chooses to dress and act the way she does as a form of armor. Unfortunately her choice of armor arose by being emotionally abused; the scars are inside her mind and it’s going to take a force of nature to undo years of intimidation. That force comes in the form of a very sexy, wealthy and determined Max Vasilikos who won’t take no for an answer and Ellen is in the way of something he wants, badly. The first chapter set the stage with all the players and it hooked me so thoroughly, laundry and dishes were forgotten. This was going to be good.

Basically, the ‘mouse’, Ellen, butts heads with the lion leaving Max the ‘lion’ surprised, bemused and intrigued. Ellen poses a greater challenge than Max bargained for and the sparks fly as he tries all kinds of ways to not only get his way but to figure out what makes Ellen tick. Naturally there are assumptions and preconceived ideas that get in the way and half the fun is watching how Ms. James has her characters knock each one of them down.

As any good romance plots go, there’s the requisite mix-up of intentions, emotional explosions and heartfelt anguish that the hero and heroine have to battle in order to achieve their happy ever after.

There is actually quite a bit of internal dialogue that applies to both Max and Ellen so a reader can get a sense that the hero and heroine are both falling in love with the other but are fighting it too.

What I appreciated about Max is his ability to teach Ellen some important life lessons. They were hard learned and of course it caused doubt as to whether or not their budding love could mature enough to overcome the truths Ellen had to face. Since this is a romance story with a happy ever after, it’s a safe bet that all will turn out okay. It’s the journey of going from pain to passion, enemies to lovers and sad to happy that kept me flipping the pages.

For readers who need that lovey-dovey wrap-it-all-up in an epilogue moment, rest assured A Cinderella for the Greek delivers it in classic romantic fashion. If a reader enjoys Cinderella rescue stories, then this book is worth checking out.

Wolf Hunger by Paige Tyler


Wolf Hunger by Paige Tyler
SWAT BOOK 7
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (211 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Wolf shifter and SWAT Officer Max Lowry falls hard for she-wolf Lana Mason, but things spiral out of control when wolf hunters track her down, and Max realizes Lana has no idea who–or what–she really is.

The One! Everyone has a soul mate. This group of werewolf SWAT officers each have one, but they have to find them first.

Wolf Hunger is a love at first sight type of romance with a mix of action as well as some suspense. I am not normally a fan of love at first sight romances since they tend to move too fast and the essence of the romance disappears. I can not say that about this book. The romance lacked a little for me, but the attraction and chemistry between Max and Lana was off the charts and made the story better. It took some time for me to get into the book, but when it did I could not stop until the end.

The idea of everyone having their one mate and the importance of that one got a tad repetitive. At times, this repetition put me off the story. I have read one of the books in the series some time ago and one thing that I found is that the series revolves around a bigger arcing plot. That said, this story can be read as a stand alone. The book is action packed!

At first I struggled some with the romance between Max and Lana. But with every page and chapter I read, more of the plot and the pasts of the main characters were revealed. Seeing the layers unfold made the story a lot more interesting.  Their relationship may have been instantaneous, but it was fully developed half way through the book and that made the ending satisfying.

The climax was off the charts. I would read this book for the action if for nothing else. The climax was emotional, packed to the brim, and it flowed. I will read the next book because I want to know what happens next.

If you love your action with a hint of romance, then this is a great book to try.

The Ghost of January by Mysti Parker


The Ghost of January by Mysti Parker
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (79 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Against her father’s wishes, twenty-year-old January Cooper elopes with her high school sweetheart and leaves for a fairytale honeymoon in Europe.

Two weeks later, she’s a widow, abandoned by her husband’s family and too ashamed to contact hers. She works her way across the continent, scared but determined to make it on her own.

Renowned food and travel blogger Diederik DeVries arrives in his native Amsterdam and hears rumors of a Ghost Lover who has supposedly left a trail of broken hearts all over Europe. A chance encounter with an American girl named Jan leaves him wondering if she could be this elusive legend.

Despite her fears of falling in love again, January is just as intrigued with the charming and handsome Diederik. Though he is determined to discover her true identity, she refuses to tell him anything about her past. All he wants is to break down the walls of her hidden heartache to find the real woman within. But will the ghosts of January’s past take her away from him before he ever gets that chance?

After the death of her husband on her honeymoon, January roams Europe, afraid to go home to hear her father say ‘I told you so’.

In Amsterdam she finds a job and meets Diederik who has returned to his home town for a short period. They become friends but Diederik becomes cautious when he learns she could be the Ghost Lover who slips away from lovers without any explanation.

This book may be short but it is well written and a compelling read. January’s nervousness of committing herself has taken over her life and the way the author introduced her emotions brought me into the heart of the story. Her desire to get closer to Diederik wavered with indecision and I fully sympathized with the way January swung from one decision to the opposite side.

Good book to read on a wet and windy afternoon as it took me into January’s world and fully engaged my mind.

Yes, Sir by Paige Warren


Yes, Sir by Paige Warren
Southern Submission Book 1
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (109 Pages)
Other: M/F, Toys, Spanking, BDSM
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Zoe: If someone had told me one sexy biker would change my life, I’d have laughed. Men had come and gone in my twenty-one years, but I’d never found one worth keeping. Until the sexy Dom strolled into my place of work with the most outrageous offer I’d ever heard. Or maybe I was the crazy one since I agreed to his proposal.

Beau: There’s only one thing I love more than my Harley or my shop… my daughter. I’d do anything for Allie, even something as crazy as finding a fake fiancée. But if that’s what it takes to get full custody, I’ll do it. I never counted on falling for the temptress I dragged into this mess though. The way Zoe surrendered to me was beautiful and addicting. The more I had of her, the more I wanted.

This was a very satisfying read for me. I always like books with children in it and I love to read about adults falling in love.

It has been some time since I read a fake fiance romance novel. What made this different was the relationship and interactions between the main characters. This could be counted as ‘lust at first sight’ type of book. The first meeting of the main characters gave me an idea of how their chemistry and attraction would be and I liked it.

The hero is a biker turned entrepreneur/owner of the Garage/Bike Shop. He has a daughter he is trying to get back. The fast pacing of the book kept me in my seat and I had to know what would happen next!

Through this fake fiance agreement, Zoe and Beau get to know each other more and learn their likes and dislikes. A good story comes with baggage and both of them have it. They balance each other out and make a great couple with a chemistry so hot that it made me want to dunk myself in a bucket of water. Did I mention there is a box of toys involved? I don’t mean kid toys! If you’re a reader just venturing into the BDSM genre, then this book might be what you want.

My only quibble? I wanted more of the story! I got so engrossed, I didn’t want it to end. I really liked this book.

Shrouded Memory by Krista Wagner


Shrouded Memory by Krista Wagner
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (249 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

What You Don’t Remember Can Hurt You

After surviving a shark attack, Marine Biologist Rian Field becomes haunted by disturbing memories of a past traumatic incident and begins to suspect that the assailants may be those closest to her. But more chilling is her fear that they are somehow connected to the shark attack and want her dead. Rian must overcome her fear of sharks and uncover the truth before the past drags her into its shadows.

Can a large whale be dangerous in an estuary?

Estuaries are places where the salt water meets the fresh water. A place that holds all sorts of weird species. Why would Rian Field get her PhD in Marine Estuarine & Aquatic Life Studies in a place like this? She was even a little afraid of water. For that matter, why would she want to see and study the Great White shark? But…many of us have seen the movie Jaws and thoughts of such a movie have stayed with us for years. Rian Field had been fascinated with sharks ever since she saw the movie.

Just like I seem to know Rian and her thoughts, the author also did a good job with development of many of the characters. While I enjoyed reading this book, it does have a lot of flashbacks in the form of dreams, “bad guy thoughts” and memories. Sometimes that can be hard to follow or throw off the flow of reading. It was handled pretty well by this author. One thing that helped ease the flow of reading was that dreams, thoughts of the “bad guy” and regular prose were all done in different fonts. This made Shrouded Memory much easier to read than many books of its type.

This is a book full of relationships, good friends, and intrigue. I read it very quickly but not because it was easy. It was because I didn’t want to put it down.

Breakfast At Midnight by Kim Dias


Breakfast At Midnight by Kim Dias
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (66 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Hope can be found in unexpected places.

Lonely, still struggling with his divorce, and suffering from writer’s block, successful thriller author Fred spends much more time in an all-night Denny’s than is healthy for any man. It’s the last place he thought he’d meet someone like Callum, who has literally run away from the internationally famous boy band Leos.

Despite their age difference, the two become friends, and their long nights of soul-searching might help them find the courage to face their problems: Fred’s deteriorating relationship with his daughter and Callum’s career issues. It’s easy for their lives to tangle together, and each might provide the other the means to move beyond the past—even if it’s not a journey they can take together.

After a bad break-up, Fred found he preferred to go to Denny’s at two in the morning instead of simply lying in bed, unable to sleep. Callum was far too young and for Fred, he knew that, but when the two men began talking Fred just couldn’t help himself – the attraction instant and fierce.

I enjoyed this short story. A number of the twists in the plot took me by surprise and overall I found the entire story refreshingly different. Both Fred and Callum were interesting and vibrant characters. I really liked them both and found myself invested in them pretty much immediately. Despite the plot actually being quite serious and deep – I still managed to laugh in quite a few places and found lightness and happiness in amongst all the depth. I really feel the author has done an amazing job of balancing interesting and complex characters with a strong plot and enough romance and lightness to keep me as a reader smiling and happily turning the pages.

The sex – which actually happens further along in the book than one would expect at first guess – was more smoldering than erotic. Personally, I was so deeply invested in Callum and Fred’s character and the plot that was slowly unwinding that I didn’t mind the sex wasn’t overly descriptive. The romance and relationship being built between Callum and Fred took centre stage and while the sex was there – the emotion and connection between the men was far more important. I loved how they both progressed and finished the story impressed and with a deep, happy sigh. Readers wanting graphic, hot and heavy sex might find this aspect of the story slightly disappointing, but personally I just couldn’t fault it.

With vibrant characters, a delightful plot and quite a few surprises I greatly enjoyed this story and can strongly recommend it. I will absolutely be checking out more of this author’s work in the future.