Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart


Gone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart
3rd book in the Honor bound series
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A childhood terror rears its ugly head in USA TODAY bestselling author Anna J. Stewart’s latest Honor Bound romance. Psychologist Allie Hollister is still haunted by the unsolved death of her childhood best friend. She never expects her past to meet her present when a young patient is abducted and the cold case is reopened. Allie knows she shouldn’t get involved, but the child’s uncle, firefighter Max Kellan, needs her as much as she needs him. Once, Max simply wanted to put his past to rest; now he demands nothing short of justice. As he and secretive, sexy Allie track a lethal criminal, their chemistry is an undeniable adrenaline rush. Their attraction will be put to the test when they confront their most dangerous threat yet: the truth.

Aaaaaaaaah!! Thank you Anna J. Stewart for writing yet another spectacular book! I was combusting with excitement as I read Gone in the Night. It was so awesome!!

Gone in the Night is the third book in the Honor bound series written by Anna J. Stewart. The first was More than a Lawman and the second was Reunited with the P.I. All three can be read as standalones however it is much more fun to read them all in consecutive order. I was fortunate to be able to do just that.

Anna J. Stewart is a consistent writer. All three books are riveting! I’m talking about the kind of book that is impossible to put down once you start. Since I knew this I didn’t even start reading Gone in the Night until I had a rainy day so I could just sit and read it all in one sitting. I was not disappointed at all. Reading Gone in the Night was just as unpredictable and complex as the other books in the Honor bound series. Suspense that was thrilling! Romance that was passionate!

More Than a Lawman ended with one case solved and one unresolved. The unresolved one continues to be threaded through out Reunited with the P.I. along with a new case. The new case gets resolved but left the unresolved still unresolved. Gone in the Night finally resolves the unresolved case! Yahoo!! It was worth the wait!!

Aden, Simone and Allie are three best friends that share a childhood trauma that unites them in an unbreakable bond of friendship that has lasted into their adult lives. More Than a Lawman was Aden’s story. Reunited with the P.I. was Simone’s story and Gone in the Night is Allie’s story.

I couldn’t wait to read Allie’s story. All three leading ladies were relatable and I loved all three but Allie was my favorite. I was able to relate to her difficult childhood. I found Allie to be intelligent, strong and witty. She was perfect for Max, the hero. Oh my Gosh, Max. I loved the banter they had going with each other throughout the book. They had this ongoing guessing game that was so much fun to read. I loved Allie and Max! Max was my dream guy and I definitely have a book glow going on.

The final culmination of the unresolved case was epic! I did not see that ending coming. What a lovely final twist. I was left feeling completely satisfied. I am so happy for Allie that she found a happily ever after with Max. I loved how all the plot threads were tied this time. I would encourage anyone who loves suspense/mystery romance to pick up all three books in the Honor Bound series. Heck, I just might read them all again, they were that good!

The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley


The Shore Thing by A.R. Barley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (104 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sunburned Delaware native Dale Seward spends his summers wrangling lifeguards and cracking crabs. His winters are a whole lot colder.

Nico Travelli’s never even seen the ocean, but when his family’s plans for him get derailed, he realizes his future in their upscale Italian restaurants might be over, and it’s time for something new. He’s hypnotized by his first look at the Atlantic—until a wave takes him out. Luckily, Dale’s there to pull him to safety.

Dale knows better than to fall for a summer person, but that doesn’t mean he can’t show Nico a good time. Between the ice cream cones and the put-put golf, these two lonely hearts soon find themselves in over their heads.

But when Nico is tempted by a second chance at the life he always thought he wanted, will he be brave enough to give it up for the possibility of true love with Dale? And what does the sexy lifeguard do during the winter? In a state as small as Delaware, secrets are bound to come out.

In the middle of a heat wave, lifeguard Dale is incredibly busy – and feeling incredibly old as the new recruits appear younger and younger to him. Nico feels as though his comfortable, stable, utterly fake life is over after a spur-of-the-moment decision to up stakes and leave his native Chicago. When he decides to paddle in the Delaware ocean and is caught unawares by a rip, Dale rescues him and life as each man knows it changes irrevocably. Dale usually doesn’t connect more than a one night stand with the tourists, but there’s something different about Nico.

I enjoyed this light and summery romance. While Nico and Dale come from vastly different worlds, each of them are hiding and trying to cope with their own problems as best they can. They both also realize that they’re merely treading water – not actually moving on with their lives. Watching them come together in a slow, sweet romance was really enjoyable.

I was a little disappointed that the conflict was both predictable and only a very minor part of the storyline. Readers looking for a deep or complicated plot mightn’t find this aspect of the story very satisfying. I also felt like the ending wrapped up just a little too quickly. Considering how lovely and slow-paced the entire rest of the story came across, the fact everything wrapped up in a matter of pages, it felt jarring and sudden to me. I’d have loved if just a little more time and space had been dedicated to really round out the story and feel it would have given the entirety of the story a bit of better balance. I did, however, really love how much time was spent getting to know both Dale and Nico. I found the pacing of learning about them – and watching as they came to know each other – was deliciously slow and dealt with really well to my mind.

I was also pleased that the romance itself wasn’t rushed. I enjoyed how both Dale and Nico took their time and neither were in a hurry either to jump into a deep relationship or become intimate. While I can believe some readers might feel this progress is a little too slow for an erotic romance, I felt the story and timing was all the more believable for having it wait as long as they did.

This story really felt like a happy, light, summer romance read – something that would be perfect with a cool drink and could be a great way to enjoy a hot and lazy afternoon. With interesting and enjoyable characters and a lovely slow romance this story was a delight to read.

The Weekend by Alan Winnikoff


The Weekend by Alan Winnikoff
Publisher: Books To Go Now
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (127 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Over a single weekend two people try to figure out if they are right for each other. In the process, they learn more than they might want to know – about each other and themselves.

Sometimes you just need a break from life, The Weekend is designed to give you that break.

Carolyn and Jeff meet up for a weekend in a luxurious Manhattan apartment on Friday night. Although things don’t go initially as planned, the weekend moves forward and the two work out subtle differences and learn much about each other over the next few days. The story is a smooth look at how life outside of the concerns and confines of work progresses for two individuals who wish to disappear into the city.

Although the story only spans Friday evening, Saturday and part of Sunday; we get a deep glimpse into the lives and motivations of both Jeff and Carolyn. While work is discussed sparingly, we begin to see and understand their true passions and desires. Both individuals are in a time of transition in their lives, both professionally and personally and both individuals lean on each other in their quest to discover who they are as a person.

Deep reflective conversation flows smoothly, laying out the deeper plot. While there is some sex and more sexual tension, there is a stronger focus on the individuality of two people coming together as one in an undecided world. Not to give away any details, the story itself looks at more of the psychological understanding and fulfillment of two people taking time away from a world of deadlines, goals to be met and expectations. The Weekend ends as weekends often do, with a desire for more but still a satisfaction and sense of renewal. Again, just like weekends do, there is a longing for another weekend in the future but a sense that one must work and strive for that weekend if the weekend is to be enjoyed to the fullest.

I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Weekend for your own weekend reflection!

Invisible Love by Amanda Steiger


Invisible Love by Amanda Steiger
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Gregory, an ambitious sorcerer, tried to become immortal…but the spell went wrong and transformed him into a bodiless spirit. For five hundred years, he’s roamed the world trapped between life and death, cut off from all human contact. Then he meets Linda, a young psychic who can feel his presence.

Shy, lonely Linda hasn’t felt a man’s touch for a long time. Then one night, a gorgeous man appears to her in a vivid, erotic dream…and the next day, she hears his voice in her mind. At first, Linda thinks she’s going crazy, but she can’t ignore the man’s desperation, his hunger for human contact. When he asks her to open her mind to him, she can’t refuse.

By inhabiting Linda’s body, Gregory discovers, he is able to feel again. After five hundred years without pleasure, he is overwhelmed by the sensations. Linda, meanwhile, discovers that having Gregory’s spirit inside her is surprisingly erotic. Though she can’t see him, she can sense his essence moving through her, even feel his hands on her body. Before long, she finds herself falling in love with this strange, lonely, passionate man. As her feelings grow, Linda vows to help Gregory escape the empty half-life of a wandering soul and become human again…but to save him, she must make a terrible sacrifice.

How many centuries could you wait to meet your soulmate?

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this story were its vivid descriptions of Linda’s ordinary daily routines. She wasn’t at all happy with the way she was living when she first met Gregory, and her frustration shone through brightly in the beginning. Seeing those scenes in such detail made the rest of their adventures even more appealing than it would have otherwise been.

The chemistry between Gregory and Linda never felt quite right to me. Their relationship heated up so incredibly fast that I wasn’t quite sure what they saw in each other or why they were suddenly all over each other. While I liked both of these characters as individuals and thought they had real potential as a couple, I would have liked to see more examples of what they found attractive about each other in the beginning since they didn’t know each other at all when the sparks first began to fly.

With that being said, the sex scenes were nicely written. I was intrigued by what it might be like for someone to sleep with a spirit when I first read the blurb, and I couldn’t wait to see how everything from foreplay to afterplay and everything in-between would work when only one of the characters actually had a body. Ms. Steiger’s take on the topic was fresh and well done.

Invisible Love was a short, satisfying tale that I’d recommend to anyone who is in the mood for something steamy.

A Measure of Murder by Leslie Karst


A Measure of Murder by Leslie Karst
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (336 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Sally Solari is busy juggling work at her family’s Italian restaurant, Solari’s, and helping Javier plan the autumn menu for the restaurant she’s just inherited, Gauguin. Complicating this already hectic schedule, Sally joins her ex-boyfriend Eric’s chorus, which is performing a newly discovered version of her favorite composition: the Mozart Requiem. But then, at the first rehearsal, a tenor falls to his death on the church courtyard–and his soprano girlfriend is sure it wasn’t an accident.

Now Sally’s back on another murder case mixed in with a dash of revenge, a pinch of peril, and a suspicious stack of sheet music. And while tensions in the chorus heat up, so does the kitchen at Gauguin–set aflame right as Sally starts getting too close to the truth. Can Sally catch the killer before she’s burnt to a crisp, or will the case grow as cold as yesterday’s leftovers?

In a stew of suspects and restaurateurs, trouble boils over in the second in Leslie Karst’s tasty and tantalizing Sally Solari mystery series, A Measure of Murder.

I grew up reading cozy mysteries and jump at any chance to read one. A Measure of Murder has everything that’s fun to read about in this genre. It’s peppered with characters, any of which could have committed the crime, an easy to like sleuth, and clues that have you guessing about which one should I follow and which one’s a red herring.

This was a new to me author but I knew this is the second book in the Sally Solari mystery series which is centered around cooking and restaurants. And who doesn’t enjoy a good culinary mystery? This one also focuses on music, classical music to be exact. When a tenor falls to his death and no, it wasn’t by accident, it sets in motion a determined lead character to find out who did it and why.

This is a fast paced story with enjoyable characters and has me wanting to go and seek out the first book to learn more about sleuth Sally Solari. I don’t think you need to read the first one before this installment because I had no trouble figuring how who she was or what she did for a living.

If you like quick paced mysteries with some humor thrown in, and of course a recipe or two, then this might be one to add to your end of summer reading.

Leaf & James by Sean Michael


Leaf & James by Sean Michael
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When River calls his twin Leaf and says “Brother, I’m in trouble,” Leaf does what he’s always done — comes to River’s rescue. Leaf’s twin is thrilled he shows up, and quickly takes off, leaving Leaf to be auctioned off at the Shibari Auction House in his place.

Not quite sure what River has gotten him into this time, Leaf is stunned to find himself auctioned off to James, the man who just bought a week of his time. Can what started as a transaction turn into a happily ever after for James and Leaf?

Leaf is used to rescuing his twin, River, from all sorts of trouble. This time, however, Leaf is in for far more than he bargained for. When James made his bids during the auction he was looking for something new and different. After purchasing Leaf he quickly finds out that it could have been the best money he’s spent in his life.

I really enjoyed Leaf’s story. While twins swapping places isn’t that unusual of a plotline, this one had me laughing. I’d do a lot for my siblings, but I’m not sure I’d let myself be auctioned off for a week of kinky sex to take the place of one of them. And this is what Leaf finds himself in the middle of. I was pleased that James was able to adjust his expectations of the auction once he realised he’d purchased Leaf, not River. I also found the pacing of the whole story really lovely – fast enough that I didn’t feel like skimming on to a “good” part, but also slow enough to allow Leaf to relax and feel more comfortable with the BDSM lifestyle and the crazy circumstances he found himself dropped into.

The chemistry between Leaf and James was amazing. I loved that they quickly formed an emotional connection, not just jumped straight into the kinky sex and fell in insta-love. I also enjoyed how there was almost no time-jump between Leaf’s story and James’ – it really felt like the one story split into two parts instead and I personally thought that it flowed beautifully.

The only disappointment that I felt was that the ending left on a slight cliff-hanger. While there is clearly another story following directly on from this (presumably River’s story?), a quick search didn’t reveal anything in either the author’s or publishers “coming soon” pages. This abrupt ending had me feeling a little as if James and Leaf’s story was left hanging and I hate finishing a story only to feel like I’m left dangling, not knowing exactly how things end up and are resolved. I have no question that Leaf and James are definitely committed to each other and happy, but as a reader I vastly prefer stories to be wrapped up and self-contained.

I did like how there was no conflict in the traditional sense – but I found there was plenty of plot and exploration as Leaf and James not only discovered each other and started their relationship, but also learned what they both liked, where their limits were and how to satisfy each other. I found this to be one of those great stories where the plot really was the relationship and it was interesting, new and written so well that I found it engrossing and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

A sexy, emotional and very well written BDSM-centric M/M that I really enjoyed. Equal parts fun and serious this is sure to be a winner for a wide range of erotica readers.

Trust in Axion by Bruce Meyer


Trust in Axion by Bruce Meyer
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (79 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Aidan Scelestus never meant to change reality. But when he, together with his girlfriend Emma Drommel, focused too much energy on too small a physical space, that’s what they did. Together, they hijacked the stellar laboratory of Atraville College for a glimpse of another dimension. In this science fantasy novella, the multiple containment walls and magnetic protection of the lab can’t contain the damage to the fabric of space. The worst wasn’t what it did to themselves. The worst wasn’t even that it spread and nobody knew how to stop it; or that it affected people and buildings and landscaping alike. No, the worst was the fix devised by the professor of physics, Aubrey Probo.

This is what happens when science goes terribly wrong.

The scientific explanation for what was happening in this story was explained perfectly. The author went into just enough detail to show what was happening and why it was happening without slowing down the pacing of the plot. I don’t know very much about physics, but I didn’t have any trouble at all understanding what went wrong with Aidan and Emma’s experiment or why they were so concerned about the dark energy spreading.

I would have liked to see more time spent developing Aidan and Emma’s personalities. While the plot itself was really well done, I finished it without ever getting a strong impression of what Aidan and Emma were like as individuals. Were they shy or outgoing? Did they generally have a serious or lighthearted approach to life? Had I known more about them, I would have given this book a much higher rating as I enjoyed everything else about it.

The pacing was strong. Every scene had something interesting happening in it, and many of them had more than one discovery, battle, or action sequence that made it impossible for me to stop reading. I also appreciated the fact that the author included so many different subplots. They brought a lot of depth to this universe and made the question of what was going to happen to the characters even more pressing than it already was.

Trust in Axion is a great choice for anyone who likes hard science fiction.

Claimed by the Vampire, Seduced by the Werewolf by Kryssie Fortune


Claimed by the Vampire, Seduced by the Werewolf by Kryssie Fortune
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (187 Pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

After seven centuries, Elias, a former Spartan turned vampire, finds his eternal bride. Seth, Elias’s werewolf half-brother, scents his mate.

Vampire and werewolf loathe each other. The only thing they agree on is that Tempest is their mate–and they’re not sharing.

A prophecy will force Tempest, a twenty-first-century witch, to choose between them. As the half-brothers vie to win her heart, they teach her about spanking, the way pain heightens pleasure, and the ecstasy of multiple orgasms.

A vampire can’t survive without his fated bride. A werewolf dies if he loses his mate. Their future rests in Tempest’s hands. Which one will she choose?

I loved this great paranormal menage book!

I’ve recently become a devoted reader of Kryssie Fortune’s books. This one is is a stand alone story although it is connected to the Scattered Siblings series. I loved the idea of half brothers Elias and Seth being mated to the same female and their love for their witch helping to heal a bond that had been torn apart by betrayal. Tempest was feisty enough to take on both of her supernatural mates but first she had to find her hidden strength. Of course, there was the trouble with a prophecy that was seemingly insurmountable and a formidable enemy added into the mix.

The characters in this book endeared themselves to me because fate had not been kind to any of them. It was Elias who tugged at my heart the most though. I loved the sexy menage sex scenes too. This was one very hot story! It was fast paced and loaded with action, as well.

Kryssie Fortune did a fabulous job on this book. Her writing was amazing and the dynamics of this supernatural world promise many exciting books to come for my future reading bliss. Meanwhile, Hades has more redeeming to do so that I can get my hands on the next book soon.

Prude by Jordan S. Gray


Prude by Jordan S. Gray
Labeled: Book One
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Rebecca Washington is a girl in control. Well, at least when it comes to acing her college classes. The rest of the time, she seems to be at the mercy of everyone else. Like when she’s dumped in front of her peers, hit on right afterwards by a jerk for some stupid bet, and then paired up with the same jerk for a lit project.

In order to maintain her perfect GPA, Rebecca will need to give a stellar presentation while ignoring the prodding eyes that will be staring at her. When her partner, Derek, starts to ease her fears of public speaking with his laid back attitude, she’s forced to confront her new feelings about him and his charming smile. Rebecca knows falling for a guy who teases her for being a prudish nerd can only end badly, but what if it’s just another thing out of her control?

Rebecca Washington is your “typical” smart girl, good grades, attention to detail and a love life that fits neatly into an organized schedule. In fact, the schedule is so neat that her boyfriend decides that old married couples have more spontaneity and publicly breaks up with Rebecca, drawing her much unwanted attention. This includes attention from a strikingly handsome man in her British Literature class. With her life in chaos, Rebecca’s friends try to help her see there is more to life than just class and good grades.

Prude is a look at life from a controlled perspective, that is, until life becomes uncontrolled. Rebecca finds herself drawn to Derek, who happens to embody the exact opposite of everything that Rebecca is interested in. As the story unfolds, we see the many different layers of Derek and this lines out much more in Rebecca’s true search for herself.

While I enjoyed the psychological complexities of Derek; Rebecca had some subtleties of her own that come out throughout the book. Shayler and Ansley, Rebecca’s best friends since high school, make many appearances throughout the book, but I feel that we only get to know them on a superficial level. Even with Rebecca’s point of view throughout the story, we only get a glimpse of what makes up her persona. I felt that by the end of the book, I knew more about the backstory behind Derek and his character development than I did even with Rebecca being placed as the main character.

Some scenes of the book felt strained and rushed, almost as though there was a race to get to a more interesting part coming up. There were several stereotypical occurrences and some stilted dialogue which disrupted the flow of the story from time to time. The story development and plot twists did fit well, but still felt a bit forced.

Overall the story had a general easy to read flow. While I felt the overall character development and backstories could have been stronger, the core plot and twists throughout the story did make for an interesting read romance.

If you are looking for a fun story to give you a glimpse into the world of a prude, then be sure not to miss Prude!

Joel & Brent by Sean Michael


Joel & Brent by Sean Michael
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking/Flogging, Fisting
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Untried and virginal, Joel still knows he’s looking to be pushed. He wants to give up control, but he wants to fight, as well. Auctioning himself off for six months of no-holds-barred subbing is the only solution he can come up with to getting what he wants.

Master Brent believes he’s the only man for the job of giving Joel the experience of a lifetime. He can give Joel what he really need. But once the contract is up, will Brent and Joel go their separate ways? Or have they found something together

Joel has decided to auction himself off, not just for the cash – though that’s a nice bonus – but to finally explore the submissive fantasies he’d never had the courage to ask for. Master Brent knew he wanted Joel and the auction was the perfect time to make his move. For six months they’ll test all their limits – but will that be enough?

I found this to be an intense and emotional story. I loved how Joel was new and scared, but equally determined to learn and throw himself into each and every experience he had with Brent. While I didn’t feel any of the BDSM scenes between them were too envelope-pushing, this is not a story where the BDSM was merely a light spanking and a bit of vulgar dirty-talk – this is a full-blown, lifestyle, Master/sub relationship that grows from scratch and readers should be mindful that there are a number of elements in the story that mightn’t suit everyone’s tastes. Personally I found the emotional connection and the clear respect and desire between Brent and Joel was lovely and added a lot of depth to the BDSM elements explored between them.

I particularly loved how even though Joel was brand-new to the lifestyle, he wasn’t weak or shy, wasn’t clumsy or “virginal” in an old-school sense. Joel was nervous and unsure, but he knew what he wanted and was eager to learn and explore. I felt this was handled in a deliciously modern sense (Joel owned his inexperience and Brent was eager to teach Joel) and overall I felt the whole situation was handled fantastically. There was quite a time-jump between two different sections of the story – Part One and Part Two – (almost a six-month period) and while I understand why the author did this, it would have been nice to have seen a few scenes between when Brent and Joel’s relationship was brand-new, to where their contract was coming near its end.

I found both these short stories strongly emotional and excellently written; I thoroughly enjoyed this lifestyle BDSM erotic romance. Joel and Brent were interesting and vibrant characters who quickly stole my attention and I found myself eagerly reading wanting to know what would happen next. A passionate and intense read.