Without Aiden by Dianne Hartsock

Without Aiden by Dianne Hartsock
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (58 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Is a gift of love enough to open Aiden’s heart and let Tris back in?

After the car accident that killed his parents and left his sister paralyzed, Tris is left with nothing. His family is destroyed. His reputation is shot. And all he has is the guilt of knowing it was all his fault. People in town know he’d been drinking that night, and know he should never have gotten behind the wheel. And even Aiden, the man he thought he’d be with forever, blames him too much to stay.

But Tris can’t let him just disappear. After months of loneliness and isolation, Tris brings Aiden a gift on his birthday, a hawk he’s carved from a chunk of wood they’d found in the forest during an afternoon of love. A small chink seems to open in Aiden’s heart, the first sign of forgiveness. With renewed hope, Tris takes a job renovating one of the older homes in town and tries to rebuild his life. But the townspeople have long memories, and when his sister’s condition worsens, forgiveness—and Aiden—seem to slip even further out of reach…

The poor guy can’t catch a break.

I’m a sucker for Dianne Hartsock’s books. The characters are usually well-rounded and dimensional. In this book, that was the case. From page one, I was hooked. I had to know what would happen for Tris and Aiden. I’ll admit it. I wasn’t sure how this one would end. I had my suspicions, but for a few moments here and there… I just wasn’t sure.

Tris is one heck of a guy. He’s been through the wringer and still hasn’t given up. Ms. Hartsock wrote him with just enough darkness to make his depression believable, but without causing pity. I rooted for the guy. My heart broke for him and…wow. Yeah, I rooted for him. The only thing that took away from my enjoyment of the story was his constantly going back into the past in his thoughts. I needed a couple of rereads early on, but once I got the cadence of the story, I was fine. Besides, the flashbacks were important.

The whole book is from Tris’ point of view, which makes sense, but I kind of wanted to get into Aiden’s head in a few places. Still, I’m glad I read this book.

Without Aiden is a white hot story of redemption, love and never giving up.

Executive Desires by Rhonda Laurel

Executive Desires by Rhonda Laurel
Publisher: Etopia press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Bo Jamison isn’t looking forward to going home. While he does look forward to seeing his mom, he’s less than eager to see his less-than-friendly younger half brothers. And as CFO of Blake Enterprises, he’s got his hands full with a new business deal that demands his full attention. Bottom line: he doesn’t need the drama. But when the beautiful Waverly twins move into the condo across the hall, he finds the drama has just begun. Autumn Waverly is sexy and sophisticated, and definitely interested. Summer, not so much. Quieter and more down-to-earth, Summer seems as if she’d rather Bo just go away. Or is it the other way around? Between trying to figure out which twin is which, and finding reasons to spend time with both of them, Bo finds himself in the enviable position of having two beautiful women on his arm.

But when one of them knocks on his door late at night and invites herself into his bed, Bo’s not sure what came over him. Or who. The passion between them is electric, but the sisters aren’t talking. In fact, it almost seems as if they’re toying with him. The who’s-who game is fun at first—until Bo finds himself falling for his mysterious midnight visitor. If only he could figure out who she was—and why she wouldn’t tell him…

Bo Jamison, CFO of Blake Enterprises,  is happily enjoying his single life. Being around his family and friends and keeping up with his mother and father that have been divorced for quite some time seems to be efficient enough to keep him occupied. When Summer and Autumn Waverly move in next door he finds even more to keep him occupied.

Executive Desires is a cute, fun read that revolves around the love of family, friends and people of success. I enjoyed the story for the most part. The family get-togethers were heart warming and refreshing to read about. The multiple family and friend names mentioned shows that this family is one that not only multiplies but believes in keeping family first and close.

There wasn’t much of a mystery to which twin Bo would end up. The different personalities between the twins made for an interesting twist. One twin that likes the lime light and the other that enjoy being behind the scenes. I liked that the women were both strong and business minded and able to handle their own in making a proficient gaming business.

To avoid spoilers, I won’t state who Bo falls for. However, I think their relationship wasn’t really shown in detail. They started saying I love you pretty quickly in the relationship. I would have liked to have read more about how they got to know each other, how they built up to something more serious.

This family is an enjoyable one to read about. This is book 10 in the series, so I am not sure if the author will continue on with the series but if she decides to I’ll be sure to read the next installment. This is one I would recommend to a reader that enjoys a good vibe of a close net family that definitely shows a lot of love.

Hurts So Good by Serge de Moliere

Hurts So Good by Serge de Moliere
Publisher: etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Sometimes, pain can lead to pleasure and delight.

Krista, an attractive, single African-American woman, is disgusted with herself when a fall from a horse, at her very first lesson, leaves her with disabling back pain. Afraid to overdo medication and determined to avoid surgery, she reluctantly decides to go for physical therapy. But when she meets the gorgeous, muscular physical therapist, she thinks maybe she’s made the right decision. Concealing her attraction proves difficult indeed, especially when the therapy involves his sensuous, powerful hands all over her body. And it becomes even more difficult when she realizes he’s as hot for her as she is for him…

Hurts So Good is a short sweet novel of love lost and found. Krista is injured during a horseback riding lesson. Severe pain has her making an appointment with a physical therapist. Could this injury be the key to her finding the man she once let go?

The writing is clear, enjoyable and all from Krista’s point of view. The characters are both physically fit and athlete, however, I really didn’t care to much for Krista’s. She was suppose to be in such pain but seemed so desperate. She reminisces about Tony a guy she once dumped. I know it’s a short story but Krista’s character just seemed kind of undeveloped. Why or what made her reminisce and want Tony now?

The physical therapist and male character, Antonio’s, description doesn’t match or even resemble the man shown on the bookcover. This maybe misleading to readers. Antonio is told to be handsome with an attractive build, this is very good eye candy for readers to imagine as they read. The attraction Krista has for Antonio is obvious, because it seems her lustful eyes over shadow the pain from her injury. I liked how the author gave a little teaser having Antonio not only committed to his job as a therapist but very knowledgeable, and he ensured that his client received the best care under the circumstances.

The author seems to be well versed about horseback riding and physical therapy techniques. The description of the process of riding is very interesting and I even learned a few things about riding. The love scene were hot and sure to make any reader blush.

Recommended to those that enjoy a quick happy ending about rekindled lovers.

The Fireman’s Ball by Bianca Alexander

The Fireman’s Ball by Bianca Alexander
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

He can’t fight the fire of their passion…

Courtney’s bakery is her only love—until one of the hot firefighters from the station across the street starts making a habit of coming in for her delicious treats. Justin’s always flirting, but she knows that’s just his way. Guys like him always seem to date the reed-thin anorexic types, instead of big beautiful women like her. Still, a girl can dream. But when her best friend Brittani comes in and begs her to go to the charity Fireman’s Auction, Courtney’s dream turns sour. The idea of Justin and his fellow firefighters strutting half-naked on stage so desperate women can spend hundred dollars to dance with them is completely demeaning. But Brittani’s her best friend. And Courtney’s nothing if not a good friend.

The auction is as horrible as Courtney imagined, but she manages to sit through the bidding. Until the last firefighter crosses the stage, and Courtney’s blown away by Justin’s good looks and gritty sex appeal. Maybe a charitable contribution wasn’t the worst idea in the world, after all…and maybe it was time Courtney showed Justin how hot a big, beautiful woman can burn…

What happens when a red hot fireman and a curvy baker get together? Sparks…

Courtney Anderson has some curves. She runs a bakery and loves watching the hot firemen in the station across from her. In particular, one certain sexy Justin Tacchini. A regular patron of the bakery, Courtney dreamed of him but didn’t have the confidence that he might actually be coming to the bakery for more than just a tray of muffins.

When her best friend Brittani begs her to help her out by going to a fireman auction, Courtney agrees reluctantly. She has nothing to wear-but then Brittani breaks out her secret weapon-a bag filled with shoes, a dress and the works. All Courtney has to do is show up and watch the show…but will she be able to handle the temptation of watching the guys she watches every day from her shop up on stage? You’ll have to read this juicy number to find out.

I enjoyed the premise of this book. The hot fireman and the curvy baker. Talk about an awesome combination. A good many of us curvy ladies have had experiences about dreaming of a man who we feel is outside of our reach. Such is the case with Courtney. She’s a beauty, but like most of us-she doesn’t recognize the sparkle in her own step. But Justin does.

Secret machinations and sexy dealings erupt in smoking hot sex scenes and an ending to make you sigh between the pages of your e-reader.

There were a few echoes in the book that could stand to be rubbed out with a good editing program (for example-page one has “best friend” used three times). At a couple of points the dialogue could be a little more realistic and Justin could have been fleshed out a little more. I wanted to feel the heat this fireman was throwing Courtney’s way a little bit more in the three dimensional range.

All that being said, I enjoyed this short read and it made me dream of firemen and yummy muffins and for that I heartily thank author Bianca Alexander. I hope there will be more along those lines. There are never enough books about curvy girls.

A fun and sexy read!

The Firefighter’s Mate by Jayne Ripley

The Firefighter’s Mate by Jayne Ripley
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (192 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Werewolves of Cadillac Falls Book One

No protection can save this firefighter from her scorching curves…

Gabriela Acosta is on the run from her past. She’s escaping back to the last place she felt happy–the town of Cadillac Falls. She has no money left, and her car just broke down in front of Fire Station Six, home of the Rescue Company Pack. The last thing she wants is to get involved in more wolf pack politics, but the man who comes out to help her is the most gorgeous firefighter she’s ever seen. And he’s a werewolf. And she can’t seem to resist his easy charm…

Luke Taylor can’t believe his luck. The beautiful, curvaceous Latina is the kind of woman who sets his dreams afire. His wolf has found a perfect mate–now if only Gabriela will back down enough to let him help her. He’s determined to prove himself to her, protect her, and claim her. She has other ideas. When her life is endangered, he discovers he may be forced to quench that fire in her that he loves, just to keep her safe.

There’s an arsonist loose in the town of Cadillac Falls…one who is targeting members of Luke’s pack for unknown reasons. The three wolf packs in town are at each other’s throats over who is setting the fires. And Gabriela might be next on the pyromaniac’s list…

The Firefighter’s Mate was a good read for me. The story was sexy, suspenseful and entertaining from beginning to end.

Gabriela Acosta left her old life and wolf pack back in Philly, returning to her fond memories in the town of Cadillac Falls. She’d been happy living there, before the family had to run away from something. Her car breaks down right in front of the fire station and a hunky werewolf, Luke Taylor, comes to her rescue. She remembers him as the younger brother of her best friend Nicole, but Luke is all grown up now, and their attraction is immediate and mutual. Luke recognizes that Gabriela is his mate, that she’s down on her luck and that he risks scaring her away. Then the situation gets complicated by a serial arsonist, rival packs and an old mystery surrounding Gabriela’s past.

The characters in this book were vivid, intriguing and life like. Gabriela was cute, funny and stubborn. She was an optimist and a dreamer who got flustered by Luke and that endeared her to me. Of course, Luke was all sexy protective alpha wolf. He made a few mis-steps but later apologized, kissed and made it all better. So it was easy for Luke to win me over. Truthfully, even if I wasn’t already interested, I’d still read the next book just to catch up with these two. As for the world building it was fantastic. This series has more than one shifter pack and promising possibilities thrown into the mix. That setup is another refreshing aspect in itself because I saw so man interesting directions this could go.

This book had a solid plot and a story that snagged my interest easily. There was a mystery which kept me intrigued, and the possibilities for the bad guys were plentiful. The writing and development were excellent. While I enjoyed all of that and the story as a whole was put together nicely right up until the end. I had mixed feelings about the ending that seemed rushed and left some situations unresolved. I recognized that the author was setting up the next book, which I have to read now, and there will most likely be a overlapping ARC to span the series. Now, I love series books so that is fine with me. However, there were some questions that really should’ve been answered in this book. As this is Gabriela and Luke’s story then I definitely was expecting to learn the who, what or reason why her father fled the town all those years ago. So ergo something was missing for me. Despite those misgivings I still got involved in the exciting story and deliciously naughty bits.

I most definitely enjoyed reading this book and look forward to Rick and Nicole in Lycan Heat.

Yes, Sir by J. Richards

Yes, Sir by J. Richards
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (95 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Is getting everything you want worth losing everything you have?

Abby Jackson is a frustrated housewife. Her husband pays more attention to his Xbox than to her. She fills her days with erotica novels, wishing her husband would listen to her desperate pleas for more excitement in their sex lives, but he wants nothing to do with her wild fantasies.

When Abby goes out for her weekly girl’s night with her best friend Kelly, they enjoy a dangerous game of truth or dare that leads Abby to a controlling stranger who takes a shot of vodka from her breasts. The night rattles her to her core, and keeps Mr. Dark and Handsome in her mind for days after.

Just as she returns to her boring, routine life, she gets a mysterious text message from an unknown number to come spend the night exploring her most secret desires. She knows she shouldn’t go, but how can she not? Arriving at the hotel and unsure what will happen, Abby finds a box with a skimpy panty set, a blindfold, and a riding crop inside. There are also instructions to wear only what the box contains and to be ready for when the stranger arrives. Abby’s first lesson in the Dominate/submissive world has just begun. The only frightening thing is how much she gets off on it. But will it fulfill her secret fantasies…or endanger everything she has?

Ladies night out has never been so hot…

When Abby goes out for her girl’s night at a local bar, things go from hot to bothered in moments. Her friend dares her into a naughty drinking game and she has to decide whether or not to accept. The man in question is a tall, dark and handsome stranger sitting at the bar. The mission? Drink a shot from between her well-endowed chest. What Abby decides next will land her from the frying pan and into an inferno of temptation and desire. Abby goes home to her husband but can’t stop thinking about the sexy stranger. When events transpire giving her a chance to meet him again she has a choice to make.

This book is hot, hot, hot. The interaction between Abby and the sexy stranger is a scorcher and there is a certain mix of trepidation due to the fact she is married. You don’t usually find married women in romance novels where they go off with another man while they are married but in this case it serves to act as a page turner. There are some interesting developments toward the end of the story and I can’t decide if I wanted it to go that way or just outright have her do something different. (I can’t say more or I’ll spoil it for you!)

The dialog, the action, the characters all were well done and I wanted the story to go on and on. Especially certain parts, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out just what those parts might be. Abby is a woman on the cusp of realizing her wants include things that go beyond being a wife and mother. She wants a hint of naughty in her life and she is fast finding out just how to find it.

As a married woman, I could identify with the situation she finds herself in. Do the dare or not. Go the extra step or not. Go home to her husband or explore the needs that have found their way into her life. It’s a tricky little pickle but the author handles it very well.

If you’re looking for a short hot read this summer, then you have to give this book a try. Just remember to have a glass of ice water nearby for the heat wave that’s coming.

Bewitching The Vampire by Selena Illyria

Bewitching The Vampire by Selena Illyria
Book One of the Flushed and Fevered Series
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (183 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

A stubborn witch vs a vampire king…who will win on Halloween?

Bridget is a witch who has been given a sweet deal nab a rogue vampire and score a big payday, but she must deliver him within twenty-four hours. She’ll need help from Joe, the local vampire liege, to find the rogue vampire fast. Joe agrees to give her the information…if she agrees to play a few hands of poker with him. For each hand, she must reveal a bit about herself. And for each hand she wins, he’ll answer any question she asks. But Bridget isn’t sure she can keep things objective—not when Joe gives her that seductive grin.

Joe has always had an interest in the little witch. She defies his expectations and surprises at every turn. But despite his natural inclination to help her, he decides to make her work for the information she needs in the most delicious ways. With a little bit of seduction and a little bit of bondage, he tests her resolve to play the game…and tests his own self-control to contain the blood beast inside him. The stakes are sky-high, for both of them. But on Halloween, the most powerful night of the year, which one will be the winner?

Bridget and Joe seem to have a magnetic pull towards each other, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is a witch and he is a vampire. Hopefully, they can still manage to get some work done, since their lives may depend on it.

Bridget is a strong and capable women which is clear to me from the beginning. She has her things together, and has avoided Joe cause he can distract her in ways no man ever could. I absolutely adore this inner strength of hers, and so does Joe. This latest job however leaves her spinning in more ways than one, and she needs to keep it together if she wants to protect herself and the ones she love.

Joe comes off as your typical cocky vampire, yet there is more than what meets the eye with him. He seems to really have soft spot for Bridget which I like. I would have loved to have seen a bit more of a protective vampire instinct in him however. He clearly cares for those around him, and as the leader in the vampire community for that area I just felt he should have been more furious. He certainly seemed to have the ability to take control of Bridget in the bedroom, and care for her once they were done which left me smiling.

All-in-all I enjoyed the story. The plotline keep the story going. I did not even realize it was as long as it was, since it read so easily. I would definitely recommend it to someone, especially if the witch and vampire relationship intrigues you the way it did me. Not often you see these two unlikely creatures to get involved with each other which I appreciated. Add to it the antagonistic conflict and you got yourself a winner. I look forward to reaching a future installment of the Flush and Fevered Series.

Red’s Wolf by Arianna Archer

Red’s Wolf by Arianna Archer
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Holiday
Length: Full Length (261 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Arden Wilde is at the top of her game. She’s got a gorgeous, attentive boyfriend on the fast track to a promising medical career, she attends the best culinary school in the nation—the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and is nearly finished with her externship with an eminent chocolatier. But when she’s called home to Grimm Lake, California to help care for her ailing grandmother, Arden agrees without hesitation.

Running through the woods becomes one of her passions, and she runs every day on her way to help care for her grandmother. Until she meets the enigmatic Tate Foster, the darkly handsome, tattooed manager of the Little Bear Brewing Co., sunbathing nude by the path to the lakeshore. He invites her to swim with him, but Arden declines—she has a boyfriend, after all. But it isn’t long before thoughts of Tate become more than she can ignore.

When she mentions him to her grandmother, she’s given a stern warning. The Fosters are “old Grimms,” from one of the original founding families in the town, who keep mostly to themselves. There are legends, ugly stories, about the old families and their Germanic roots, and about the Grimm wolves—shapeshifters who lived double lives as wolves and humans. Arden doesn’t believe a word of her grandmother’s fairy tales, until a night of Tate’s fierce, skilled sexuality drives all rational thought from Arden’s mind.

When a tourist is found murdered in the woods, savaged by animals, Arden isn’t sure what to believe. She knows she can never go back to her old boyfriend in New York. And the brazen, feral Tate has no intention of letting her go anywhere…

When Arden goes to live in Grimm Woods what secrets will she find?

Arden is training in New York to be a chocolatier. She has a hunky boyfriend and a bright future in the culinary arts. But when her grandmother ends up in the hospital, Arden must make some hard choices. She goes to Northern California to be with her family in Grimm Lake and work with her mother at The Wicker Basket to finish her credits for school. But when she arrives, Arden finds herself more at home in this new small town than she ever felt with Chase in New York. Things are about to change…

Tate and Tala run the local bar. Brother and sister, they have a unique relationship. They and a good portion of the older residents in town are shifters. Tala befriends Arden and introduces her to Tate. He takes one look at the gorgeous red head and his libido takes off into overdrive. He and Arden connect and nearly take things one step too far. It is time for her to make a call and it won’t be an easy one.

When a would be rapist turns up dead, things take a sinister turn, making the Grimm Woods just a little bit more mysterious. Arden isn’t shaken by the event and if anything else, she is drawn more deeply into her new life. She must decide whether to embrace the now or to keep Chase. Whatever decision she makes will impact her life in a very large way.

The sex scenes were smoking hot and well…I don’t want to give too much away but that Tate…wooo. He could be my big bad wolf any day of the week.

I loved this book. Everything stopped while I was reading it and I haven’t been able to say that in a while. The recipes interspersed within the story made it pop as did Arden’s personality. She is a girl just like the rest of us trying to find her place. It’s hard moving to a new home and having your world split down the middle. One or the other usually wins.

The wolf shifter aspect and the Red Riding Hood references were awesome. The Grimm Woods, the Wicker Basket bakery and Arden’s feisty grandmother…they all spin together to make this a tale I couldn’t get enough of. Oh-the recipes too. A tangible connection to an author that is on my must read list and a series I’m chomping at the bit to read more of. Kudos Arianna Archer! A great mix of fairy tale and sexy wolf shifters that kept my interest until long after the last page was done.

Goal: A Mate by Selena Illyria

Goal: A Mate by Selena Illyria
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (162 Pages)
Other: M/F, Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

When you meet your true mate, you’ve got to take the shot…

Werewolf Pack Princess Kelly is overwhelmed with her new business, trouble with the rival cat shifters, and trying to ignore the attraction to her best friend’s younger brother. By bidding on Brandon in the Bachelor Auction, she thought she was just doing him a favor, saving him from the craziness. But now that she’s won him, her wolf wants to mark him as her mate, and she’s starting to lose control. So when he whisks her away for his birthday weekend, how can she refuse? Every kiss distracts her. Each caress sets her on fire. And every whiff of his scent makes her wolf want to take him where he stands.

As a former hockey player and werewolf, Brandon knows all about being pulled in different directions. And he knows exactly what he’s asking for when he pursues a relationship with the already overwhelmed Kelly. She may be five years older than he is, and the daughter of his pack’s Alpha, and his sister’s best friend and business partner, but none of that matters. There’s only one person he wants to spend his birthday with, and he’s not going to let her refuse. And when Brandon has his eye on the goal, there’s nothing that can stop him…

Brandon is a wolf shifter who has always known that Kelly was his mate, however since she was his sister Reenie’s best friend and older than him he chose to make her his friend as well. He wanted her in his life and he didn’t think that she saw him as mate material, so if he had to settle for friendship that’s what he would do. However, due to a series of events Brandon had to let Kelly know that he wanted her as a mate or risk losing her for good.

Kelly is the daughter of the Alpha and she knew that Brandon was her mate, but she didn’t think he saw her that way. She wanted him and needed him but did not want to ruin their friendship by taking that step then having it all go to pot. She would rather fantasize about being with him instead of risking it all by telling him she wanted him. Her father took that decision out of her hands which forced her to take action.

Goal: A Mate is the second book in the Bachelor Auction series by author Selena Illyria, the first one being Mate Not Wanted. Each book is a standalone however in my opinion the first book should be read simply because the characters are referenced in the second book. I enjoyed this book and the characters of Brandon and Kelly, but I must say that my favorite character was Reenie, Brandon’s older sister. She was quick with the comebacks, was no nonsense and cracked jokes when she was nervous which had me chuckling.

There were a few typos which was a distraction because I had to reread the line again to understand what the character was saying. Other than that the story was entertaining and I look forward to reading the third installment in the Bachelor Auction series. Hopefully it will be Reenie and Alberto’s story.

Valentine’s Heat I by Ally Shields, Nessie Strange, Keith Melton, C.L. Bledsoe

Valentine’s Heat I by Ally Shields, Nessie Strange, Keith Melton, C.L. Bledsoe
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

“Heart’s Pride” by Ally Shields

The Guardian Witch Series

When their wedding is ruined by a werepanther attack, Katrina is left hospitalized and Blane is just…gone. But when he finally finds his way back to Riverdale, he learns he’s not the only one who’s been tracking Katrina…

“Lost Soul, Lost Love” by Nessie Strange

The Living Dead World Series

It’s Jen MacLellan’s first trip back to earth as a new reaper, and Mardi Gras is in full swing. When she happens upon Chip, a partier stuck in a perpetual 1983, Jen decides to help him find the woman he loves so he can move on. Assuming all goes well when he finds her…

“Red Dogs” by Keith Melton

The Zero Dog Mission Series

Mercenary pyromancer Andrea Walker has just saved the world from bloodthirsty hagworms and is late for her Valentine’s date with Jake. Until she hears that Jake has already left her house…with her…

“V-Day” by CL Bledsoe

The Necro-Files Series

Daisy and her friends think going to a frat party on Valentine’s Day will be a fun, not-at-all-desperate Girls Night Out. What they don’t expect is to have Delilah’s succubus pheromones accidentally set off the apocalypse…

Valentine’s Day is for suckers…

At least that’s what the majority of the stories in this anthology relate to. In the first story, “Heart’s Pride” by Ally Shields, we meet a cat shifter with a few unwanted beaus that turn from rowdy drunks to kidnapping slavers. Katrina is searching for her lost mate and is derailed from her mission, only to find hope in the darkest places. Great tension, strong characters and I was sad when this story was over.

In the second story “Lost Soul, Lost Love” we meet a new Reaper getting her education about the other side of the proverbial fence. She meets a lost soul who won’t give up the ghost of his former life and has to decide if tangling with her mentor Sam or Death is worth the education. Great story. It made me want to read the rest. The telepathic link from Sam to the new reaper was fun and awkward all at the same time.

The third piece “Red Dogs” by Keith Melton was more militaristic than some of the other stories. An unpleasant surprise awaits a team of elite fighters when their mission to contain a disturbance at an antique shop goes horribly wrong. Mistaken identities, spiritual warfare and a sexy dinner out might be just the thing to get this Valentine’s Day heated up.

The last story is “The Necro-Files: V-Day” by C.L. Bledsoe. I love this series and this story was a fun addition. It lends itself to a common problem at frat parties. What do you do when someone spikes the punch and if a succubus with insane lusty powers drinks it, how many men do you think will still be standing? This was a hilarious car humping story that had me snorting through my nose more than once.

All of these stories had a unique view on Valentine’s Day foibles and just how much of a trial it can be. From outdated ghostly love to a doppelganger style manifestation to lusty punch and kitty shifters, this was a blast to read and I am going to go back and check out the authors I haven’t read before. Fans of the Anita Blake books, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris will love these authors.

If you want some short reads that are urban fantasy style romance with snark, these are for you.