Claw And Ollie by Angelique Voisen


Claw And Ollie by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Can a broken cat find redemption?

Tabby shifter Ollie can charm his way into any safe and into the pants of any eligible bachelor…once upon a time. Now Ollie’s merely a shadow of his former self, terrified of facing the outside world. Ollie craves seclusion, until his heart starts longing for a mate to make him whole again.

One glimpse is all it takes for jaguar shifter Claw to know Ollie’s the one man he’s been searching for his entire life. Knowing Ollie needs time to heal, Claw’s kept his distance. When an enemy from Ollie’s past resurfaces, it’s up to Claw to get his hands dirty. Claw doesn’t mind, as long as he gets his reward in the end. Ollie will become his, no matter what happens.

Ollie was an ex-thief and had made plenty of mistakes in the past. Having more than paid for them, he’d hidden himself away, determined not to be involved with anyone or anything ever again. Only his brother, Orange, had kept in touch, trying to not let Ollie lose touch entirely with the outside world. Eventually Orange brings Claw around to Ollie’s apartment, determined that together, Ollie might finally try to reconnect with his life again if Claw is by his side to keep Ollie out of trouble. Can the two shifters come to some kind of arrangement?

I found this to be an interesting short story. I really enjoyed the depth and complexity of Ollie’s character. There was plenty of back-story to him which I found a little difficult to follow at times, which I presume would have been far clearer had I read the previous stories. That said, I could understand enough to follow along, I was just left with questions. Ollie had been captured and tortured while performing his last job (I didn’t really ever understand why – or how that connected to Ollie’s brother, Orange) and was rescued by Orange, Orange’s mate, Mal and their friend Claw. This understandably had left Ollie with emotional and physical scars and plenty of baggage. Watching Ollie try to deal with that, and learn how to move forward again, was interesting and an excellent set-up for this book.

I found Ollie’s character to be interesting, layered and complicated, which I loved. Also because of this I could similarly appreciate Claw being a fairly simple character in contrast. I was pleased Claw tried to walk a balance between being genuinely sympathetic of Ollie’s situation and difficulties, without walking on eggshells or pandering to (a very understandable) well of self-pity. I think the author did a really good job of helping Claw negotiate between these two things and I ended up really liking and respecting Claw and feeling like he was exactly what Ollie needed to come out of his shell and start living life again. I couldn’t help but feel, though, that Ollie made some stupid decisions – going out alone at night to the enemy territory after having multiple death threats – I really felt Ollie should have known better than to act so stupidly – especially considering he’d already been kidnapped and tortured in the not too distance past.

I also found a number of grammatical/editing errors that jarred me somewhat from the flow of the narrative and this certainly lessened some of my enjoyment of the story. But I have to say that the characters were interesting and kept my attention, and most importantly I continued to want to know what happened next. A little over half way through I had to just disconnect my brain, suspend disbelief and simply go with the story, and as a bodyguard-slash-paranormal-mate style story this really was mostly enjoyable.

Readers who are sticklers against “too stupid to live” sort of moves and find even small editing errors ruin a book for them might want to give this a miss, but I genuinely feel readers who just want something fun, sexy and full of alpha-hero-shifter type characters can probably find a lot to like with this sexy paranormal story.

A Perfect Beginning by Casper Graham


A Perfect Beginning by Casper Graham
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Brandon Miller is attracted to his superior, Jacob Connors, and the man’s boyfriend, Harold Collins, but he doesn’t want to insinuate himself into another couple’s relationship. Unexpectedly, the two men ask him out on a date and invite him into their lives.

Jacob Connors is having problems with his boyfriend, but neither men is willing to end things between them. Instead of working things out in an ordinary manner, their relationship becomes more complicated when they decide to add Brandon Miller into the mix.

Will Brandon be the missing puzzle piece that completes the relationship between Jacob and Harold? Or will the three men crash and burn together?

Jacob and Harold had been together for years, their rough, aggressive sex belying just how deeply they loved each other. As good as their relationship is though, it lacked any tenderness and they both knew they needed to add some to even though both out. Jason decided adding one of his employees, Brandon, into the mix might be exactly the sort of thing they needed. Harold isn’t as sure, but is willing to try anything to help their relationship be as perfect as possible.

I found this to be an interesting take on how a committed, solid, long-term couple could include a third person and alter their relationship into becoming a ménage. Jacob and Harold were both very self-aware and honest about the issues in their relationship, and while it certainly isn’t conventional to add a carefully selected third party to balance – they were certain it would work for them. And they proved to be correct. The two strong-willed, alpha males understood themselves enough to know they couldn’t – wouldn’t – change, and Brandon acted as quite the buffer between them. I have serious doubts this would work very often (if at all) in reality, but the joy of fiction is that – for me at least – it only needs to be logical, not necessarily realistic.

This short story also appealed to me as it showed and explained quite a few of the structural changes that need to occur when two become three. Jacob and Harold were both very open to each other of what sort of fantasies they were having when they decided to include Brandon, which I found helped greatly open their lines of communication – which is critical in a ménage. Also, they didn’t rush to immediately include Brandon in every aspect of their life. I was pleased to see that they took a more careful and realistic pace to the whole matter.

With a nice slow pace, I enjoyed watching Jacob, Harold and Brandon integrate their lives together and become a threesome. With plenty of steamy, descriptive sex and plenty of alpha like passion I feel this is sure to appeal to a large audience of M/M readers.

The Enemy’s Daughter by Sam Crescent


The Enemy’s Daughter by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (115 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Alaric Patterson is a powerful man, but he has just lost the most important deal of his life to his long term rival. Alaric is tired of fighting, so he comes up with a plan. His enemy has a daughter, a very plain woman. Alaric is going to find her, make her fall in love with him, and then he’s going to break her.

Bella Reed works at a veterinary practice, and when an older man brings in a cute pup, she does whatever she can to help. Still, she’s a little taken aback when that same man wants to take her out on a date.

Before long she has accepted a date, and then another, and another. Little by little, Alaric gets to know the woman he intended to hurt, and he can’t do it. He’s falling in love with her, and Bella is falling for him.

But—he has lied to her. She doesn’t know his real name or the truth, and there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s stuck.

The moment Bella discovers the truth, she is heartbroken. The first man she truly loved has betrayed her. It takes an unlikely source to show her that sometimes love is about second chances, about forgiving, and about never living a moment filled with regret.

This book was another great page turner from Sam Crescent. I loved that this one had loads of hot sex, but at the same time it was simply an old fashioned romantic love story. That gets to me every single time. Sam Crescent had captured my interest from the first page until the last.

Alaric Patterson was a powerful man who couldn’t stand losing a deal to a business rival. He hatched a revenge plan to seduce the man’s daughter and then break her heart. He didn’t count on falling in love and then seeking his lover’s forgiveness but that was exactly what happened. Now, I loved both of these characters even though Alaric started out as a cold hearted player. Bella followed the usual playbook for this author. To use her own words she was chunky, but Bella was happy with herself. She was sweet, funny, and actually had some attitude. She didn’t let Alaric get away with anything. On Alaric’s behalf he hated lying to her almost immediately. He was just afraid to tell her about his deception and then Bella inevitably figured it out anyway.

Sam Crescent definitely knows how to write an emotional story and make it sizzling hot as an extra bonus. This book was a fantastic short romance that I was able to read in one sitting. It was fast paced and well written. It even introduced Alaric’s partner who was having some woman troubles of his own, so he’s probably getting his own book. I’m always happy to get more books from this amazing author.

His Dirty Girl by Winter Sloane


His Dirty Girl by Winter Sloane
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (43 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Rob: We see each other on the eight o’clock train from Mondays to Fridays. Rush hour means there’s no room to maneuver or breathe. I first touch her by accident, not expecting her to lean towards me. No other woman has ever driven me insane with lust. A taste isn’t enough. I want more—her name for a start and eventually her heart.

Maddie: No names. We don’t even utter a single word. All we need is the language of pants and gritted teeth. We’re two lonely souls on the daily grind, strangers who meet at the crossroads. I tell myself I’ll stop eventually, but I keep coming back. He wants more, says he’s ready to give his name. I think I know where this is heading, but I’m certain this is one train wreck waiting to happen.

Three weeks ago Rob started doing his morning commute on the train. In the fourth carriage is a gorgeous woman, one whose name he still doesn’t know, but who manages to start his day on a serious high note. Grinding against each other in the packed rush-hour carriage, the two of them manage a number of intimate encounters with no one around them the wiser. But finally Rob decides he wants more, and when Maddie tells him her name, they can finally uncover what might really be between them both.

I found this to be an interesting short story. I liked how Rob and Maddie met on the train together – giving a definite zing to their morning commute to work. I also appreciated how their very public setting gave them both time to get to know each other a little before they indulged in the hot sex and chemistry blazing between them. I enjoyed getting to know both Rob and Maddie a little before seeing them try and take their relationship further.

While I found Rob and Maddie meeting and playing on the morning train refreshingly different, the other two main plotlines of Rob’s crazy ex-wife and Maddie’s harassing boss were a little clichéd. Thankfully both were minor plotlines and didn’t detract at all from the blossoming romance between Maddie and Rob. I felt the pacing of the relationship between Maddie and Rob was realistic and I enjoyed it, ending certainly with an air of positivity. Apart from slight exhibitionist tendencies, there wasn’t really any kink to their sex – so readers thinking there might be edgier sex might be a little disappointed. I felt that the overall romantic nature of their sexy relationship made up for the lack of “dirtiness” that’s alluded to in the title.

A fun and very sexy story, I enjoyed reading about Rob and Maddie finding each other and coming together.

A Mate For The Sheriff by April Zyon


A Mate For The Sheriff by April Zyon
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (105 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Jessica Morris has a secret that could get her killed. Hiding in plain sight, pretending to be normal, is all she’s ever known. And even though she’s been lucky so far, she knows that she can’t hide in Shifter Falls forever. Getting involved with the town sheriff is the last thing she needs, but lately it’s all she can think about.

Novak Porter has watched Jessica since the first day she came into town. He suspects that, like everyone else in Shifter Falls, she’s got a skeleton or two in her closet. She’s nervous around him, and for years he’s forced himself to give her time. But when a chance encounter throws them together for more than five minutes, Novak decides he’s tired of waiting. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her around. Convincing her to work for him is easy, but getting her to believe in happily ever after might be a little more difficult.

This is fourth book in the Shifters-Match.com series by April Zyon. It’s a short but a very hot and delightful read. I enjoyed every page of this paranormal story.

Jessica Morris is a witch with a big secret to hide. Sheriff Novak Porter is a shifter who is hiding a secret of his own. Jess believes that Novak is totally unaware that they are mates. She’s been avoiding him because she’s trying to protect Sheriff Hotty McHot. Novak has known all along and now he’s decided to make his claim. These two were both keeping secrets but it’s time for the truth to be revealed. They had to trust in each other as the climactic surprises and twists reved up the action and deepened the romance part.

This was a short book with a very hot lively plot. It was well written with a super fast flow. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more books from April Zyon.

Teddy’s Bear by Keely Jakes


Teddy’s Bear by Keely Jakes
Team Paladin Book 4
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (52 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Teddy’s in shock after being kidnapped. Even more so when the shifter side that’s been dormant his entire life comes to life. At least his attraction to Dallas now makes perfect sense.

Dallas knows immediately that Teddy is his mate, but he doesn’t push himself on the other man. Being a soldier who barely finished high school, he doesn’t think he’s much of a catch, but he’s the only one who can teach Teddy how to deal with his shifter side. A side Teddy never knew he had. But Teddy’s also determined to return to his life in Chicago.

Can Teddy get a handle on being a shifter? Will Dallas and his bear be able to live in Chicago? Will Teddy change his mind about returning to Paladin?

Teddy has been kidnapped by the sadistic killer, Doctor Pain, and Dallas is determined to rescue him as quickly as possible. Dallas and Teddy’s half brother – Roane – are in hot pursuit, though Dallas is terrified they’ll be too late to save his mate. Teddy has quite a secret, one he’s kept all his life. The mountain lion hidden deep inside him – content for all these years to stay quiet and still – suddenly roars forward when Teddy’s life is in critical danger. And Teddy must face the consequences of his life altering forever.

I was pleased – though a little surprised – that the plotline of Doctor Pain (carried over from the previous Team Paladin book, “Jack and the Ginger with a Twist”) was dealt with quite promptly at the very beginning of this story. I felt really divided over this. On the one hand I completely understood it being dealt with immediately, as it was a thread left hanging in the previous book. But on the other hand, having it finished so quickly and early left me feeling a little like it was skimmed over. I felt like such a large plotline as the whole Doctor Pain thing settled so easily and quickly felt a little unsatisfying.

I was very pleased though that there was plenty of other new plot brought in. I thought watching Teddy learn about his mountain lion shifter – and learning pretty much from scratch how to control and use it – was extremely interesting. This clearly showed a lot of the world-building which I felt was somewhat lacking in previous books in the series, and it helped to give me as a reader a really clear idea of how this particular paranormal world worked. I also loved seeing Dallas and Teddy build on their relationship and find their groove on together. It was also refreshing to get out of Butte and the countryside for a little bit – when Teddy wanted to go home to Chicago and have Dallas help him get his life back in order.

While I feel this book probably could be just picked up and read without the previous installments, I really do feel as it’s the fourth book in the series that a lot of other stuff has happened. Particularly the Doctor Pain thing might not make a lot of sense (and seem completely superfluous) without having read the previous book. That said, while I genuinely don’t think a reader picking this book up cold will find the same enjoyment out of it, it certainly can be read and understood fairly well.

There is an epilogue that clearly leads into the next book – a fiendishly clever marketing plot, especially when it shows you exactly who the next book will be written about and setting up a hook to drag the readers in. I enjoyed this story and was pleased to see Teddy and Dallas get their happy ending. I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next book in this series.

Something Sweet by Sam Crescent


Something Sweet by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (51 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Camden has sworn off women. After having his heart broken, and his dreams crushed, he’d rather focus on his work, and not women. However, his closest friends won’t let him hide. They have a woman for him, and they intend to set him up.

Alyssa doesn’t need men. She has her friends, and her cooking, and her work. Children, men, and a future are just dreams she no longer believes she will ever need.

The moment they meet, sparks fly. Neither of them had anticipated finding love but now their future looked possible together.

Romance is in the air, and even as their friends worry about how fast they are moving, there is no way they’re going to stop. Will Alyssa say yes to his proposal? What will Camden think when he discovers she is pregnant.

Camden had been seriously burned by his ex-lover. For most of the last year a bunch of his good friends had all tried – with no success – to set him up with their friend, Alyssa. Finally Camden concedes defeat and decides to come along to dinner with Alyssa and two of their friends. Alyssa had also had her heart broken – left by her previous boyfriend broke and abandoned in a foreign country – and had zero interest in starting a new relationship. When Camden and Alyssa finally meet though, sparks fly and they both wonder if maybe they gave up on love a little too soon.

I really enjoyed this short story. I was a little skeptical to start with – both Camden and Alyssa had experienced really horrid previous relationships, and both were absolutely determined not to repeat their mistakes or be pressured into dating anyone when they were perfectly satisfied being single and alone. It struck me as odd, therefore, when they both so easily accepted their friends setting them up together. I wasn’t sure how the author could write that massive change and make it believable. I can’t even honestly put my finger on exactly how the author made it work, but it really, truly did – at least for me. I believed Camden and Alyssa’s chemistry and interest in each other – it was certainly cautious at first and they both expressed nerves and doubt. Neither jumped right in, or even acted like they were struck by lightning and just made an immediate about-face on all their long-held beliefs. But through some clever talking and being honest with each other, they both did decide to give the other a chance and they started dating. I found it believable and I could understand their interest and this really helped sell the book to me.

I found it refreshing that Alyssa was a curvy, rounded heroine. While it was completely understandable that she felt a bit shy and wasn’t confidant in her body-image, a part of me wished Alyssa could have owned her curves and been really proud of her body. I can’t criticize the author though, because Alyssa was a soft, sweet character and so it made a lot of sense for her to be shy and have those personal issues. I do hope, though, that in future books if we see snapshots of Alyssa and Camden her confidence will grow, because Camden certainly loved every inch of those curves and found her totally sexy. Hopefully some of his confidence and love will help bolster Alyssa’s self-esteem and self-image.

A fun and sexy short story, I enjoyed this book and particularly liked the realistic and interesting characters of both Alyssa and Camden. There’s a strong cast of secondary characters in their mutual friends and I’d happily read more stories both in this series and in general by this author.

Ashamed by Sam Crescent


Ashamed by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (144 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Luiz has a secret. Seven years ago he got a girl pregnant, and they had a beautiful baby girl together. But his father sent men to kill Luiz’s only tie to anything outside The Family. Too late to save his baby’s mother, Luiz got there just in time to save his daughter, Christie, and her fifteen year old aunt, Raine. Putting Raine and Christie in the protection of a guy he trusted, Luiz knew he had to keep them safe. No one else knows they exist.

Raine has put her life on hold to help protect her niece. In seven years, she hasn’t gotten close to anyone, but with Christie growing older, Raine needs more.

Luiz never expected to be jealous, but he doesn’t want Raine giving any guy the time of day. He wants her for himself, and that is the way it’s going to stay.

When his girls are attacked, Luiz knows it’s time to let his secret out. Will his friends accept his family? Luiz can’t let Raine go. He loves her. Seven years he’s been running and hiding, and the time to stop is now.

But there is still the attack on his girls to deal with, ordered by a mysterious figure from the past. Does he even have time for love? Nothing is ever simple in the mafia, or in The Family.

Sam Crescent returns to The Family with a gut-wrenching third book. This story captured my attention from the first page.

I squeezed out a few tears reading this one. I liked the turmoil and much darker edge that the author gave to an emotional story though. I tend to love the usual Sam Crescent characters but found myself having mixed feelings about Luiz. He made a bad decision by continuing to lead a double life for too long. I loved Raine ! She didn’t fit the usual model for this author. She stood up for her self. That’s the great thing about Sam Crescent’s books. They make an impression on the reader. The feelings might be love or hate, but I always remember them, and that’s not something that can be said about every book that I read.

This book was a well written, fast paced, and had lots of emotions. It’s also very hot, but not as kinky as I’ve come to expect from this author. Another great aspect is the lead into the next book with Jake and Emily. I’m eager for their book just from what I’ve read at the end of this one. So all in all, I was happy with this book and can’t wait for the next one.

Ready for Love by Jules Dixon


Ready for Love by Jules Dixon
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (52 pages)
Other: F/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Advertising account executive Jace Zelensky has a lover that won’t ever have a heart beat.

Personal trainer and former soldier Kai Thomas worries that when it comes to love her heart may have been permanently broken at a young age.

When Jace’s blind commitment to her job interferes with Kai’s attempts to make a true connection and leaves Kai searching for her neurotic dog, Waffles, can Jace come to the rescue? Will a night with a no-strings-attached promise be the release they both need to satisfy their curiosity, or will those few minutes lead to something they’re willing to risk their hearts for?

One night of pleasure is all either one of them is looking for. What a night it will be!

I appreciated having the chance to jump between Kai and Jace’s minds as I read this tale. They both had incredibly unique voices, so it was always easy to remember exactly who was narrating a specific scene. I also liked being able to see both characters through each other’s eyes. How someone sees themselves isn’t always how other people see them. That happened to be even more true than normal for both of these ladies, so it was nice to see the differences between their perspectives.

There were a few too many characters in this story. I especially had trouble keeping track of all of Jace and Kai’s friends. Some of them were friends with only one of the main characters while others were close to both. It was hard to remember how everyone knew each other, though, because of how many different names were being mentioned.

The chemistry between Kai and Jace was perfect. Their personalities played off of each other beautifully, especially when they were flirting. They had a lot in common, and both of them had similar communication styles as well. All of these things made me hope they’d end up together even though they said they were only looking for a casual fling.

Ready for Love was a short, sexy tale that should be read by anyone who is in the market for a seriously hot romance.

The Perfect Christmas by Gayle Cranfield


The Perfect Christmas by Gayle Cranfield
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (30 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Gabrielle Sullivan is in a panic to finish her shopping on Christmas Eve when she literally bumps into an old friend from university, Justin Law. She’s knocked to the ground, bruising her ankle. The two friends decide to catch up on the ten years since graduation over coffee.

Too naive to admit they had a strong attraction in the past, they spend the night together awakening a spark neither realized was dormant.

Will they walk away from each other in the morning, or will they have The Perfect Christmas?

After working some nightmarish hours Gabrielle finds herself doing her family’s Christmas shopping at the very last minute on Christmas Eve. Rushing to catch her train home, Gaby bumps literally into an old friend from university – Justin. Having missed her train, Gabrielle agrees to have coffee with Justin and the two begin to reconnect. Can this be the perfect Christmas for them both?

This is a lovely, but super short, story. The plotline is quite predictable, but I found that I didn’t mind too much as both Justin and Gabrielle’s characters were quite interesting. Add Gabrielle’s slightly crazy sister and all the hustle and bustle of Christmas madness and I generally found this to be a fun, lighthearted Christmas story.

There were only two short sex scenes – but I found them very sexy and steamily written. I couldn’t help but feel that with a little more ruthless editing there could have been more room left for a deeper exploration – emotionally or sexually – between Justin and Gabrielle. There was quite a bit of story spent with Gabrielle analyzing her current client and work situation, as well as her sleazy ex-boss and details around that. Had any of that linked in to the bigger story between Gabrielle and Justin I could understand the time and words spent on it, but I didn’t feel like that really lead anywhere. I feel this could easily have been cut down to a few sentences of explanation and left quite a bit of room for the relationship between Gaby and Justin to have been given more details. I didn’t feel Gaby and Justin were short-changed, but I would have far preferred to read more on the two of them together – rather than a lot of details about Gaby’s work and ex boss when it didn’t seem to really lead anywhere much.

That said, I loved the happy ending, I greatly enjoyed the characters in this story and overall this felt to me like a good, enjoyable Christmas short story. Fast moving and sweetly sexy, this has great characters and is a story that I feel should leave readers feeling all warm and fuzzy.