Three New Wishes by Sean Michael


Three New Wishes by Sean Michael
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Fisting, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Come to Rainbow Island, where all your sexual fantasies will come true.

James, Guard and Damien continue to grant the sexual fantasies of their clients, but so far have been unable to make Rainbow Island work for their own relationship. Damien misses being home more often with his lovers, though, and Guard has been working on breaking down James’ defences. As the men move from one week to three week stays for their guests, can they finally make their own fantasies come true, too?

As always, three different fantasies are granted through Rainbow Island.

Tim is rich and bored now that he’s sold all his companies. A sometimes sub for the occasional evening, he’s searching for something more. He’s seen ‘lifestyle’ subs who indulge 24/7 and he’s curious to see if it really works. Full time Dom Rainier is brought in to give Tim the experience he’s been looking for. But Rainier has a secret – he’s been watching Tim in the club for years, just waiting for Tim to get serious before making his move. Can these two men find what they need in each other?

Mike has been hired to be a submissive for three weeks. He doesn’t know that much about the lifestyle, but has been assured that he won’t be damaged and that he can stop the proceedings at any time. He figures he can handle it, besides, the payday is too good to give up and will keep him off the street and fed for a long time. Dom Brendan is handsome and confident and the things he shows Mike have Mike more than a little turned on; in fact, they speak to something deep inside him. Could he have found something more than just another job in Brendan?

Angus and Robbie are a committed Dom/sub pair who want to spice things up a little and see if Puppy Play is for them. They’re excited and nervous to learn this new aspect from Sam, the puppy master that Rainbow Island has brought in to show them the ropes. They discover there’s more to puppy play than they’d imagined and not all of it is for them. Can they separate what they need from what they want and come out stronger than ever in the end?

Don’t miss out on these three new fantasies come true.

James, Guard and Damien are a trio who run Rainbow Island and help fulfill their clients’ deepest fantasies. Timothy was utterly bored. He had dabbled in being a submissive and after a very long time was ready to at least try out entering the lifestyle fulltime. Master Rain had been watching Tim, wanting far more than Tim’s usual “single scene and move on” style. So when Rain finds that Tim is willing to have the fantasy of something more lasting, Rain can hardly believe his luck. Mike was dirt poor, so when he was offered the opportunity of three weeks “working” on a private island and to be paid for it, he had no qualms about accepting the job. Mike had zero experience as a sub – barely even knowing what BDSM even really meant – but for three weeks on a sandy beach plus a generous wage, he was willing to take some risks. Brendan’s fantasy is to play with someone completely new to the lifestyle – no artifice, no mind-games, no preconceived notions. Can Brendan entice Mike into the lifestyle? Angus and Robbie had been together for a decade and were blissfully happy. They’ve decided to try out the fantasy of puppy play in the safety of the island. Can they both find satisfaction from this?

While this is the third book in the Rainbow Island series almost all the book is focused on the three different fantasies being fulfilled. In that sense this story is very nearly a stand-alone book and can be read without any prior knowledge of anything. Only the very first few pages – and last few – give some much awaited (by me, at least!) closure for James, Guard and Damien’s ménage. I found it utterly wonderful to finally see the three men work things out. For these few pages readers who haven’t read the previous two books will still be able to understand what is happening – but these scenes will certainly mean a whole lot more to those who have been following the relationship between James, Guard and Damien. I must strongly emphasize though, that this trio – and the story arc over the three Rainbow Island books – is a handful of pages. The vast majority of this story are three stand-alone fantasy-fulfillment stories and can certainly be read without prior knowledge – so I feel readers absolutely shouldn’t be put off by the fact this is “book 3”.

I really loved how while Tim deep down was a submissive, he was a strong willed and deeply intelligent man. At a few points initially Tim didn’t even seem completely certain he was a “real” sub as many of his instincts were to analyse everything, to be in control and to be very intellectual in his approach to things. I felt that Rain was the perfect match for him – willing to be tender and slow – but hot and firm where needed. I felt Tim and Rain were both well matched and not the traditional stereotypes of a Dom and sub pairing. I thought this story was fresh and interesting and a lovely look on how diverse people in the lifestyle can be.

I loved the slow build-up of chemistry between Mike and Brendan. I enjoyed how Mike really only had a lay-person sort of understanding about the BDSM lifestyle, but he wasn’t body-shy or virginal in his reactions to sex. It actually read to me like a refreshing change – Mike was open minded about new experiences and Brendan was happy and eager to teach him new things. Mike and Brendan exploring each other – and learning together sexually – was quite delightful to read.

Angus and Robbie were a wonderful and committed BDSM-lifestyle couple. I’ve not read much about puppy play really, so I was extremely pleased that the scene was moved through slowly. Since Angus and Robbie are new and learning the ropes this made it much easier for me – a novice – to follow along and understand both what puppy play is and how it’s conducted. While I feel certain this type of fantasy and role-play won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I strongly feel that it was written in a consensual, loving and kind manner. So I think most readers who are either curious – or simply have an open mind – shouldn’t find anything offensive or too strange in here.

There were a few typo’s through the story (a “Rand” instead of a “Rain” and “warm” instead of “warn” etc) and while I did find that a little jarring it wasn’t bad – or frequent – enough to actually drag me out of the story.

Overall this was an excellent read, with three short stories and a lovely bit of closure for Guard, James and Damien. A lovely book and one I will happily reread again in the future.

Bringing Nicky Home by Sean Michael


Bringing Nicky Home by Sean Michael
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (190 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Can the magic Whip and Nicky found at the Gay Riders’ Carnivale continue when they return to their regular lives?

With the Gay Riders’ Carnivale over, Whip brings Nicky home with him to his converted warehouse condo in Ottawa with the hopes that what they started at the Carnivale will grow into something they can both live with forever.

All is going well, the two of them learning more about each other and playing hard between Whip’s returning to work as an EMT and Nicky finding a job at a coffee shop.

When Nicky’s former master, the abusive Dirk, steps back into Nicky’s life, it threatens their very lives.

Can Whip and Nicky survive both real life and Dirk?

Whip and Nicky had met at the Gay Riders Carnival. Now Whip is bringing Nicky home with him, but all too soon Nicky’s past finds them and catches up to Nicky. Can the two men hold onto their newly formed relationship together?

While this story follows on immediately from the end of “The Biker’s Pup” I was really pleased that both Whip and Nicky were introduced properly. This book can easily be picked up and read first – or as a stand alone story. Even though Nicky and Whip are together from the start of the book I really loved how deeply the author delved into their characters. After a few chapters I really felt like I knew each man – and not just about their sexuality. These were deep, layered characters with interesting backgrounds and a love for each other that really just shone through everything.

Although most of the story is filled with happiness and the “getting back to normal routine” sort of detail, there is conflict in the form of Nicky’s ex-lover returning. I was actually quite pleased this was a smaller aspect of the story and towards the end of the book. Watching Nicky settle happily into a new life with Whip and watching their fresh relationship blossom as the two men learned about each other and meshed their lives together was a far happier – and more interesting to my mind – read than the conflict of Nicky’s ex turning back up. I have to admit though – that each aspect of the story really added together and the end product is a story that I feel will appeal to a wide range of people.

A loving, happy and interesting tale of two men starting a life together, I found this to be a great read and one I can happily recommend.

Ribbons And Bows by Marteeka Karland


Ribbons And Bows by Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (52 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Samson Redding has everything he could want — everything money can buy. But for all that, he’s alone. He’s been pursuing the lovely Jerrica in an online relationship, and he’s ready to take it to the next level, but she’s not ready.

Samson’s thought of the perfect way to change her mind. He convinces Jerrica to meet in person — at a BDSM club he knows she’ll love, once she wraps her mind around it.

It may take more than ribbons and bows to tie his woman to his side, but Samson’s up for the challenge. The rest? That’s up to Jerrica.

Samson somehow let his sister talk him into dressing up as Santa Clause for poverty-stricken children. What his sister didn’t know was her attempt – yet again – to set him up fell directly into his plans for Jerrica. Samson and Jerrica had been emailing online for a while now and Samson is more than ready to take steps to the next level. Will Jerrica be on board with that?

This is a fun, Christmassy short story. I found Samson a bit arrogant to start with – having done extensive background research on Jerrica before they’d really met and just assuming he knew what was best for her. It also rubbed me a bit wrong how Samson needed to control pretty much every aspect of the day and evening when he and Jerrica met. From manipulating the situation with his sister “meeting” Jerrica all the way through to the “coincidence” of their date at the BDSM club Samson was literally in control of pretty much every aspect. I found it a little creepy and hugely control-freakish, not really sexy or masterful as I expect it was meant to come across. Aside from this and a few other – far smaller – niggles I really enjoyed how much lead-up there was to both Jerrica’s and Samson’s characters. It was a pleasure to read a very short story where the hero and heroine didn’t just meet, fall in insta-lust and hop right into bed. Readers who enjoy a much slower pace to their steamy stories should find this one suits them well.

While there was a bit of kink shown in the BDSM club, I found it interesting that it was other people (strangers) participating and neither Samson nor Jerrica indulged. I was of two minds about the lack of strong kink in the sex with Samson and Jerrica. On the one hand Jerrica was a complete BDSM novice and had only hinted at her curiosity and interest to Samson – so a part of me understood why they only dipped their toes into the kinkier side of sex. On the other hand I feel the storyline (and the erotic-ness of the sex) could have been really strengthened by some stronger elementrs. For a BDSM story I really felt Samson and Jerrica only dabbled in the shallows of their kink – it would have been a real pleasure, and made the sexy side of the story stronger to my mind, had Samson led Jerrica deeper into the world of BDSM sexually. I feel this was a huge missed opportunity by the author and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed neither of them really went there. Jerrica and Samson weren’t straight vanilla, but considering how far – and explicit – erotic stories have come in recent years I couldn’t help but feel readers looking for a kinky, strongly sexual story might be disappointed with this.

I thought the premise of the story was excellent and I really enjoyed the author’s story-telling voice. I’d happily read more by this author and would even enjoy reading a sequel or story that explored what happened next between Jerrica and Samson. A fun short story.

Candy Caned by Kiernan Kelly


Candy Caned by Kiernan Kelly
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

For Elves, life at the North Pole is busy but satisfying. Daniel is no exception. He finds great pride in his work as a toy train painter. As the holidays approach, however, the pressures of doing his job push him to the edge. When Santa adds to Daniel’s already overburdened workload by ordering him to plan the annual Workshop Holiday Party, Daniel feels a panic attack coming on and turns to his partner Stephen for help.

Stephen, a Dom who knows Daniel better than anyone else, understands exactly what Daniel needs. In Stephen’s playroom, he blisters Daniel’s ass and balms his soul with the help of a bright, cheery, holiday candy cane.

Now better able to deal with the pressures of the holidays, Daniel plans a party to end all parties for all the Elves at the Workshop. One in which every Elf, including Santa, will be able to get off and let off a little sexy steam.

Christmas time is crazy for the elves, and Daniel hated the hectic stress of it all. His mood only fell further when Santa put him in charge of the annual holiday bash. When Daniel’s lover, Stephen, discovers how stressed Daniel is, he knows exactly the cure to help relieve Daniel’s tension. A good session in their playroom together and they can both enjoy a very Merry Christmas.

This sizzling short story is delightful. I loved both the steamy kink between Stephen and Daniel, but also really enjoyed how well the Dom clearly knew his lover. The familiarity, chemistry and connection between Stephen and Daniel meant I didn’t mind at all when they got intimate very quickly into the story – it was clear they were in a committed and loving relationship, and this made their kinky sex even more delightful to me. I also really enjoyed how the sex – hot as it was – wasn’t the only aspect to the story. I thought it excellent how the author hadn’t just added Daniel organizing the Christmas party as a token or throw-away plot. This got properly followed-through on and I thought it was a hoot. While completely unlike any other North Pole party I’ve heard or read about – the author managed to convince me it was not only suitable, but a heck of a lot of fun to boot.

Definitely not for the faint of heart, get a delicious cocktail or glass of bubbly, turn off your phone, sit back and enjoy this naughty tale. With something that I feel will appeal to everyone this is a fun, frantic and deliciously wicked Christmas story.

Two Tutor Doves by Patricia Kiyono


Two Tutor Doves by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (67 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Robert Townley prides himself as an efficient and indispensible valet to Phillip, Duke of Bartlett. But when Robert is coerced into teaching the poor children at the duchess’ chapel school, he’s out of his element. Thankfully, he has assistance from some of the other servants, including the prickly Miss Brown.

Jeanne Brown is lady’s maid to the Duchess of Bartlett. She loves working with the children but can’t abide Robert’s lofty attitude toward them. She’d love to put him in his place — but she needs her job.
When the duchess decides to hold the school’s Christmas party in her home, Robert and Jeanne must put aside their differences and work together to ensure that the holiday celebration goes off without a hitch. Will they be able to endure the partnership, or will their sparks ignite something more?

Robert Townley is the valet to Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett. In his profession Robert has always risen to any challenge presented to him, but his current post might be the one to topple his perfect record. Instructing a classroom of ragtag ruffians how to read and write might be beyond even his vast capabilities. Worse was the fact Robert wasn’t in this endeavor alone, Jeanne, the duchess’ lady’s maid was also there and should Robert cut the lessons short he was certain Jeanne would inform the duchess. Can Jeanne and Robert find some common ground and work together?

The characters in this story were complicated and I found them interesting. Jeanne has a very different and complicated history. The duke and duchess were more cameo’s than main characters, and both clearly very excited and happy with their impending child. An assortment of other servants of the household all were shown to work together like well-oiled cogs in a wheel. I was particularly pleased with Robert’s character. While he preferred things neat and orderly he was open to hearing the genuine thoughts from those around him and I found his mind was usually open to opinions other than his own.

I found this to be quite a thoughtful and interesting historical story. Robert is a good man, but I thought he made an exceptional, if flawed, hero. I really enjoyed the realism of Robert’s character, particularly for this historical time period. Robert genuinely wants to do his best to teach the poor and rough children he’s been told to educate, but he has pretty much zero experience with children and almost no exposure at all to young, poor and not-well-mannered kids. The students aren’t rambunctious or wild – just young children. So having Jeanne point out his failings as a teacher – no matter how kindly – really flummoxes Robert.

While certainly not a perfect man I grew to really respect him and genuinely wanted him to end up happy. Indeed, my only real criticism of the book was even until almost half way through Jeanne thought negative and mean thoughts of Robert and only paid attention to his pompousness and different views of the classes. The main reason this irritated me so much is while Robert could appreciate other people’s perspectives and tried to look at things from more than his own point of view, I felt that Jeanne just watched Robert’s actions and made judgments on it. She didn’t try and learn anything about his past, or try and view the matter from Robert’s perspective – that society expects servants to respect and show manners to their betters. It doesn’t matter that this might not be morally correct – it was what society was back in those days. And teaching the children these things were important. The children needed job, work and education, and I felt that the reality was that teaching them these notions and manners would help them progress. Jeanne’s thinking poorly of Robert for doing this made me really annoyed. Initially at least I really disliked her character for it. I was pleased when Jeanne’s history was explained and it helped me understand her intense dislike of Robert’s need for keeping a proper distance and distinguishing between the upper class and the working class. While I could understand Jeanne’s thoughts, it still struck me as a little odd – particularly for the historical setting where Robert’s views were not just normal, but expected and frequently enforced.

At no stage were the character clashes between Jeanne and Robert mean or particularly angry. I think the author did a good job of balancing their conflict while still leaving room for there to be a common meeting ground and for a light romance to flourish. Readers looking for a deep romance though – with long looks and heartfelt feelings – might not find this as satisfying. I found the story was strongly focused on the education of the children, the historical setting and the characters. The romance was definitely a side-issue and not the main focus to my mind. I didn’t mind this and found the story quite rich in details and characterization, I’m just not certain I would classify it strictly as a romance. Personally I found it to be more of a historical story with a small element of romance towards the end. Either way, I found the story interesting and the characters engrossing and complicated. A satisfying read.

The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono


The Partridge And The Peartree by Patricia Kiyono
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.
Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

Phillip Peartree – Duke of Bartlett – was scouring titles in his favourite bookstore. When Lady Amelia Partridge literally bumps into him Phillip feels more than the air knocked out of him. Scarred and partially deaf, Phillip has gone to great pains to avoid the confusing and bustling society whirl. Amelia is a dedicated member of the Ladies Literary Society and thus has far more important things to focus on that finding a husband and ordering her own household.

This is an incredibly sweet historical story. While quite predictable I thoroughly enjoyed the characters – both the hero and heroine as well as a strong cast of secondary characters. I appreciated the conflict Amelia’s brother, Edward, and Edward’s fiancé especially, created. I also liked the fact Amelia had modern thoughts and a strong sense of independence, though I found that slightly unrealistic given the historical setting and the strictures placed on women – especially women of rank – back in that time period. I could let go of realism long enough though to sit back and enjoy the story.

The main conflict between Amelia and Phillip – the “secret” of his not being able to hear well – seemed a little stilted to my mind, but I have to admit it did fit in well with the older setting and stiff-upper-lip mentality of historical London. Amelia is teaching a bunch of young children how to read and write down at the local church. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story – partly because it showed me that Amelia wasn’t just willing to talk about trying to help and change the lives of those more impoverished than herself, but also that she was more than happy to get down and actually help. To lead by example. It was no surprise that this generosity of time and spirit was one of the main things that appealed to Phillip.

For a refreshingly sweet historical story – with just a simple kiss to seal the deal at the end – I found this to be an interesting and character-driven short story. I thoroughly enjoyed Phillip and Amelia as well as all the secondary characters. While the plot was not unique, I truly enjoyed it and the writing style of the author. I will certainly be searching for further stories by this author.

Abducted by H.C. Brown


Abducted by H.C. Brown
Cops and Floggers book 3
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M/M, Anal Play, Spanking, Toys, Menage
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After stripping at Safeword, Thorn is abducted by Master Riley, the tall, blond and sexy Dom he noticed in the audience. Taken to a private dungeon, the last thing he expects to find is three sex-starved Doms waiting to punish him.

During a weekend of incredibly erotic multiple partner scenes, Thorn discovers his idea of BDSM was well off base.

Disillusioned with men after his previous Dom betrayed him, he wonders if Master Riley—Mr. Tall, Blond and Sexy, is the one man to make him fly.

Thorn is a stripper at Safeword – a private BDSM club. Plenty of Masters desire him, but after being betrayed and blackmailed, Thorn has some serious trust issues. When Riley Jacob is introduced to Thorn, he knows he is exactly the sort of Master who can tame Thorn. Riley knows Thorn is into group scenes, so Riley gets two of his good friends – Casey and Dale – to give him a hand. Riley sets out to prove to Thorn that he has what it takes to be the man’s Dom.

I found this to be a super-spicy story. Riley and Thorn are the main pairing for this short story. Casey and Dale are good friends of Rileys and in a committed – but open – relationship. A lot of the book is the four men enjoying themselves together. While Riley “kidnaps” Thorn to start with, there was discussion during the abduction scene, and while Thorn doesn’t know exactly what’s going on initially, I don’t feel the scene was written harshly enough to be a true “Forced Seduction” type of scene – it certainly wasn’t one to my mind. Riley also introduces himself properly fairly promptly and I didn’t feel anything in the story was written to lend itself to be misconstrued as rape. I feel this shouldn’t be a trigger for most people, but the fact there is an abduction-ish scene should be taken into account when considering reading this story. The fact the whole story is written in the first person perspective (jumping back and forth from Riley’s to Thorn’s head) also helped keep any worry of Forced Seduction or true rape/abduction pretty much out of the question – at least from my opinion.

For such a short length I feel the author did a good job establishing the characters. Sadly, though, Riley and Thorn felt a lot more developed to my mind. I feel this was again because we jump a lot between both their heads in the first-person narrative. While I didn’t mind the head-hopping or the first person perspective, I felt this meant I really didn’t know much at all about Casey and Dale. What are their preferences? What were they like as men and not just as extras in the foursome scenes? I didn’t get a very solid understanding of either man and I couldn’t help but feel this was an opportunity the author missed. I really would have enjoyed getting to know them a little better, even though the main relationship was between Riley and Thorn.

I was also a little surprised that neither Riley nor Thorn were more deeply into the various BDSM games. While they both were unquestionably into group sex and exhibitionism, aside from a little flogging there wasn’t a lot of kink involved for either of them. On the one hand I found this refreshing – after all, not all BDSM is about whips, chains and pain – but I think from the blurb and set-up of the story I’d been expecting a story with a lot more kink in it. I still thoroughly enjoyed the BDSM elements here, and the writing was very well done to my mind, but this really felt more like a Foursome erotic romance story, not quite what I’m used to from a story heavy on the BDSM elements. I feel readers looking for a heavy, kink filled BDSM story might not find exactly what they’re looking for here.

With interesting and different characters and a fast-paced, good storyline I greatly enjoyed this short story. I will certainly be looking for more both in this series and by this author.

Sweet Inspiration by Linda Carroll-Bradd


Sweet Inspiration by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (50 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Dependable Cadence Wills yearns for excitement. The owner of a yarn business, she is pulled in every direction by her demanding family. Haunting dulcimer notes draw her to a practice for the musical festival, and she spies an intriguing stranger.

Musician Rafe Frasco is a rover, bouncing from one competition to the next. Interest ignites at his first glance at the woman who is enthralled by his music. He is drawn to Cadence whose heart seems big enough to encompass everyone within her reach.

A fantastic opportunity for Rafe presents Cadence with a major problem—is she strong enough to negotiate the business deal that will take him away…maybe forever?

Cadence is getting very tired of being the reliable person in her family. If one of her sisters isn’t asking for her to organise the theme and menu for one of their parties, someone in her extended family is making some other request that gnaws away at her day. Determined to be spontaneous, she leaves her small shop for a quick walk in the sunshine. When a haunting melody captures her attention she follows the sound of the music, intrigued. She meets Rafe, a tall, dark and mysterious man who instantly steals her affections. Can this man be part of her future?

This is a lovely, sweet romance story with plenty of steamy chemistry. I loved how Cadence was a sweet, small-town girl. I felt a bit bad that she’d managed to allow herself to be used a bit (in a nice and kindly sort of way) by family and friends around her. Cadence sits on a bunch of committees, babysits at the drop of a hat for her sisters and acts as a counselor and go-between for far too many people. All to the extent where her own dreams and desires are stifled. I loved how when Rafe finally walks into her life Cadence’s own desires suddenly come into the fore and she gets the courage to finally go after some of the romance and adventure she secretly yearns for.

While the storyline is mostly very sweet and slow, there are a few steamy kisses and a passionate clinch. Rafe and Cadence spend the night together (completely platonically) too so I’m not certain it would be appropriate for teenaged readers – but all other age groups should find this a wholesome, character-driven and excellent romance story. Overall I found this story to be very wholesome and in some ways empowering. Sometimes very good people can find it difficult to say “no” when friends and family ask for favours or help and shelving their own dreams and needs in the process. I loved how Cadence decided to follow her heart with Rafe and start their adventures together. I found it to be a powerful, loving and very happy storyline and I really enjoyed it.

Readers who like a bit of steam and spicy kisses with their romance, but nothing too physical or sexy should find this a good balance with an interesting storyline and some memorable characters.

Petals by Reina M. Williams


Petals by Reina M. Williams
A Rancho Valle short story
Publisher: Rickrack Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Visit a small town with a heart as gold as the California hills! Settle in a cozy seat and enjoy these sweet, Austen-inspired stories of pride and prejudice, persuasion, and matchmaking in this modern “country village.”

Bennet Ray is home. She loves her grandma, their toy shop, and their cobbled-together family in the small Sonoma County town of Rancho Valle. But restless wanderer Bennet is afraid she can’t settle down, or be open to the love she wants. When her former high school nemesis Ryan Stone threatens her family’s business, and her feelings, can she face her past and find and way to remain in Rancho Valle?

After the death of her Grandpa and her Grandma’s stroke, Bennet decided it was past time to move back home and help her Grandma run the toy store. Even though her heart yearned to continue her music and travels, Bennet couldn’t turn her back on her the woman who raised her in a loving home. To help welcome her back, Bennet’s Grandma invites a number of the locals around for dinner, people Bennet grew up with and a few of her childhood friends – including Ryan. Can this be their second chance together?

This is a very sweet short story. I was a little surprised at some of the tension and conflict that was initially between Ryan and Bennet. While Ryan wasn’t exactly a prince charming, I didn’t feel as if he was quite the rude villain that Bennet initially made him out to be. Ryan seemed to me to be one of those men who doesn’t always understand how blunt his comments come across as – which while certainly not comfortable, is nothing too disastrous in my mind. What surprised me was that Bennet slanted a number of things Ryan said to her as if he were criticizing her and putting her down. Because of this I really didn’t understand why he appealed to her at all. In the beginning I felt like Bennet was a little over-sensitive and biased when it came to Ryan.

I was extremely pleased when this stopped still fairly early on in the story. It was quite a relief when Bennet began to see Ryan as he truly was – not the best communicator, but not rude or mean either. From here their romance blossomed wonderfully and by half way through the story I was feeling quite comfortable and invested in both Ryan and Bennet.

Readers who like small-town stories should really enjoy this. There is a strong cast of a number of secondary characters and plenty of that lovely small town/old fashioned feel to this story. Add in that it’s exceedingly sweet – one small, non-descriptive kiss at the very end to seal the happy ending – and I feel this is a good story for readers of all ages. This is the sort of story I would happily recommend to my mum or grandma, or even a teenage reader.

With great characters, an interesting plot revolving around Bennet coming home after quite a few years away and the beginning of a beautiful romance between Bennet and Ryan, I feel this is a good book with a number of things to appeal to a wide range of readers.

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.