Heather in the Mist by Madelyn Hill

Heather in the Mist by Madelyn Hill
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Forced to wed to save her clan, Lady Rogan Cameron agrees to wed without love. What her father doesn’t know is Lady Rogan has plans of her own-plans to keep her from a loveless marriage. Can she save the clan before she has to say “I do?” Ian Albright abolished all ties to Scotland after his family betrayed him and he is now nursing a wounded ego due to an unfaithful fiancée. He pledges never to return to his home until the fateful day he accepts an invitation to his dear cousin’s wedding. The minute he sees his cousin’s betrothed, his heart is captured. If only she didn’t belong to another . . . Lady Rogan and Ian have known each other since they were young and bent on vexing each other. Now, the only thing they find vexing is the fact Rogan is betrothed to another. Together they fight their growing attraction while investigating the forces bedeviling the clan. Yet at every turn their foe appears and wreaks havoc. When tragedy strikes, their hopes are dashed again. Can Lady Rogan and Ian’s love win when fate seems determined to keep them apart?

Unexpectedly intriguing, Ms. Hill’s Heather in the Mist sweeps readers directly to 16th century Scotland. The old castle walls and a certain splash of brogue team with a delicate touch for scenery, to give a real sense of place.

Young Miss Rogan’s problem is all about duty, an important alliance…and meeting parental expectations. An arranged marriage is hardly an exceptional problem for the time, but the story takes unexpected turns and is simply not predictable. Explanations and backstory do slow the pace early on, but the action quickly takes over.

Rogan is both quick-witted and very capable; she rides astride like a man and oversees her family’s clan as if she’d been the eldest son, not daughter. She’s by no means the ‘marriage victim’ her plight might at first suggest. She’s such a determined character, readers find themselves rooting for her from the very first chapter.

Yet, almost at once, the challenge is less about her than about her people. She rises to the occasion…for it will mean struggle and sacrifice. Given the beginning, that an unexpected relationship develops is (no spoilers here) also a surprise! There is more than one interested party in the picture, but Rogan has her people to consider, too. The attraction between the two builds suspense throughout almost the entire tale. Fans of the historical romance will find this delightful.

Seduced by the CEO by Lexie Davis

Seduced by the CEO by Lexie Davis
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (158 Pages)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Multiple Partners, Anal Sex, Forced Seduction, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Kristin Marsh landed her dream job with Bosk Entertainment as a CPA. She had everything she could really ask for and then some. However, when her mysterious boss calls her into his office to sign a confidentiality agreement, she didn’t know what to expect.

Micah Bosk was know for his strict ways in the boardroom, but this dominant man dabbled in the kinky lifestyle associated with bondage. It lead him to purchasing The Black Rose, a hot spot fetish club in the heart of Denver. But when the smart businessman looks over the books, he discovers the numbers simply don’t add up.

Micah seeks Kristin’s help with his financials and slowly introduces the good girl into his kinky world. She’s sexy and strong, perfect for what he wants in a sub, but she has reservations about a no-strings affair with her boss. He can show her the naughty pleasures he enjoys but will her need for commitment be a deal breaker?

All the ingredients for a smoking hot kinky read: a contract, burn the cover off chemistry and a BDSM club.

While the plot of Seduced by the CEO wasn’t new, it was the characters that won me. They were different. “Draw me in and hold me captive to the story” different.

When Micah finds that the accounts for the BDSM club that he owns don’t add up, he calls on the one person who can surely find the cause. But can she handle his needs?

When Kristin gets a contract from her boss, demanding ultimate secrecy and discretion, she signs it without a second thought. What she comes to realize about her boss, and herself, is an eye-opening surprise.

The story flows well and the characters were well developed. The story kept me interested to the very end. This is a character driven story and the author kept them in the forefront with snappy dialogue and hot chemistry.

The ending indicated that there may be a second book. It wasn’t what I expected. While I’m not personally a fan of suspense and waiting, sometimes I find a series worth waiting for.

Excellent read with more than a few pleasant surprises.

Regifted by BJ McCall

Regifted by BJ McCall
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Fern has no idea the Christmas gift given to her on Christmas Eve is a regift. The perfume smells divine and unbeknownst to Fern it has an added benefit. The scent is packed with pheromones that attract werewolves.

Pace is spending the holiday weekend in the city, a lonely Christmas away from his pack. A major power outage plunges the city into darkness. Pace has a choice: spend Christmas alone or invite his new neighbor with the alluring scent for a candlelight drink…

Fern is the new girl at her work and so she’s left to close the office on Christmas Eve and then reopen it the following Monday. After Fern gives out small goodies to all her co-workers, her boss, Alison is the only one to reciprocate. Fern is thrilled, until she finds the bottle of perfume is a regift. What neither Alison nor Fern know is that the scent is actually a Mating Scent. When Fern bumps into a homesick werewolf, her Christmas plans are suddenly going to be a whole lot more intimate than she expected.

I found this to be a sweet and steamy Christmas short story. I loved how Fern and Pace got to know each other a little – chatting about their homes and upbringing, connecting emotionally – before jumping into bed with each other. I also loved the twist on the regifted pheromone perfume bottle capturing Pace’s attention and drawing him to Fern. It all just fit together so well and really appealed to me as a reader. I loved this story.

I was thrilled when – after having sex – the relationship continued to build between Fern and Pace. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them spend Christmas together, explore the city and really get to know each other. It made the romance feel so much stronger between them and also made the entire situation a lot more believable. I found the whole story realistic and fun, sexy and hot. I will happily read more stories both by this author and set in this paranormal world.

I found this to be an excellent short story, with interesting and fun characters and a solid, realistic plot. A great Christmas tale and one I will happily reread many times to come.

No Impact by Maia Dylan

No Impact by Maia Dylan
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (115 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

No impact on the target is the call that a sniper has missed, that their position is now compromised, and the firestorm it can bring could ultimately cost them their lives.

Riley Marksmen has wanted Marcel Cross from the moment they first met. He just had to convince Marcel that he wanted Riley just as bad. When his first attempt with Marcel results in no impact, he is convinced that a future with Marcel is worth the risk of trying again.

Marcel knows there is something between him and Riley. He just has to find the courage to take the gamble in the first place. When secrets are discovered, and a threat is revealed, it jeopardizes what they’ve only just started to build.

Can they find a way to the future they’ve targeted, or will their risk leave No Impact?

Marcel had been a Marine sniper and a man with no family, no partner and only a small number of friends. After mustering out though, he meets Riley, who runs a crew of construction workers. The two men are immediately drawn to one another. But can they manage to find some common ground?

I really enjoyed this story. Equal parts Army/Marine story and M/M romance I felt this book really checked quite a few boxes for me. I found the pacing really good, it moved along at a good clip – neither too fast nor too slow. And the chemistry between Marcel and Riley steamed practically off the pages – I was hooked right from the first few paragraphs.

Both Riley and Marcel are strong men – emotionally and physically, I enjoyed reading about how they each gave no quarter, sharing their bodies and hearts with strength and vigor. Reading about these two alpha men, and watching them not only fall in love with each other but also open themselves, share their vulnerabilities and hearts was really special. I totally commend the author on managing to balance the two characters so well, allowing them each to be strong and fierce, without being over-bearing or too dominating for each other. This was an excellent part of the book and something I genuinely loved to read.

Readers will also likely be pleased that there is a strong cast of secondary characters. I feel this will certainly leave options open for the author to write many more books. While this book is part of a series it’s the first I’ve read and I didn’t feel at all lost during it – it genuinely stands fine alone and can be read with no prior knowledge. I enjoyed reading the other characters almost as much as I liked Riley and Marcel, and would absolutely happily pick up any other books in this series by the author.

A sexy, fun and wonderful read full of interesting plot, strong men and great characters.

Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne

Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Just when the whole world has written off the city of Arkaic, Michigan, billionaire A. Olan puts up funds for a new university in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. There, strange engines turn human memories into electrical power. Join students Samo, Monty, Ezzie, and Dunya as they study, work, flirt, explore, and battle powers of ancient evil. Will they survive their first year of college?

Get ready for a mind-bending adventure!

Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne is one of the most unique reads that a person can read and still grasp the underlying story. The primary focus of the story is four students from various walks of life who begin their first undergraduate years at Arkaic University in the struggling town of Arkaic Michigan. The university is essentially a previously decommissioned asylum, which leads to some unique and fascinating descriptions of architecture that still haunt the school.

The author takes the point of view of the various students and a couple of secondary characters to tell the tale in depth. Fascinating and strange events begin even on the first day of registration and the students will often shrug off or accept these strange events. At first, I was almost put off by the blatant strangeness, but recalling my own undergraduate years, I can see how perception is often held to be determined by the person doing the viewing.

The lives and interactions of Samo (ironically whose name changes after his roommate decides that Samo is more relevant), Ezzie, Monty and Dunya are fun and adventurous-nearly as strange and unique as their own names. Their reactions to things that happen, their perseverance and the constant strange events lead to a fascinating take of the college world and college experiences. The dialogue is structured and strong and the descriptions of strange events makes the reader feel deeply entwined within the story itself.

I must admit, that midway through the story I felt lost and I struggled to find the core root of what was happening, and I feel that this was actually an intentional twist with the way the author interacts with the readers to pull them deeper into the plot. Almost like making it through mid-term the story then picks up in believability and straps the reader back in for another roller coaster ride.

As the story moves along, the reader grasps what is in essence, one of the most colorful and unique stories written, with events that seems so strange and complex, that they could never happen. Upon finishing the book, the author explains the rational for the layout, the various events and the inspiration for the story itself. Suddenly, the events and experiences that the four students have do not seem so obscure. Then, when one takes into consideration previous academic and undergraduate years-the entire story base seems nearly plausible.

If you want to take a break from everyday life and re-experience the first year jubilation, confusion and near insanity that a freshman at a four year university experiences, this is the book to bring those feelings to life!

Don’t Shoot…I’m a Werebear by Angelique Voisen

Don’t Shoot…I’m a Werebear by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Can a lonely city bear nurse his broken heart?

Bear shifter Barry Smithson is going native. Rejected by his boss and crush of five years, Barry’s going back to his hometown. Believing he’ll win over the love of his life with his animal’s ferocious nature, Barry decides to spend some time in the woods.

But Barry is not an outdoorsy kind of bear. He’s obsessive compulsive and terrified of open spaces. Tired and lost, Barry catches wind of a delectable scent, leading him to a human fishing for salmon. Hunger of the carnal kind hits him bone-deep. Once Barry gets a taste, he’ll want more.

Can Barry convince the human not to shoot him?

Barry wasn’t good at making – or keeping – friends. As a werebear he finds himself moody and grumpy far too often. Even though Barry has had a crush on his boss for five years, he’s not quite managed to make his attraction known, and then it’s too late. Deciding to go home to try and ground himself, Barry goes for a walk in the woods and meets Zack, and both their worlds are turned upside down.

Major kudos to the author for this title. I have to admit the title is the main reason I picked up this short story and I’m so glad that I did! While I felt the start of the story moved a little slowly, once Zack and Barry finally meet up everything moves along at a lovely pace. I enjoyed getting to know Barry properly first, learning about how he’s struggled with his werebear and life in general. I love that Barry had flaws, wasn’t some perfect, alpha hero – it made him feel more real to me and indeed I enjoyed Barry far more for his imperfections. It took a bit longer to really get to know Zack – but I loved his character as much as Barry’s by the end.

The plot of this story is mostly Barry coming to the realisation that he needs to stop running from his life, and then Barry and Zack coming together and I really enjoyed this. Both Barry and Zack are interesting and complicated characters, and I didn’t find the story at all lacking for only having a few other strong secondary characters. Some readers mightn’t like how there’s no sex to speak of until the second half of the book but personally I actually preferred to really get to know Barry and his situation first. And when Barry and Zack finally come together I found it well worth the wait.

I really enjoyed this story and found the sex hot and intimate, I loved the characters and generally found this to be an excellent short story and well worth the read. Recommended.

The Pirate’s Revenge by Sarita Leone

The Pirate’s Revenge by Sarita Leone
The Lobster Cover Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (118 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Still grieving the loss of her father, Mary Sweet finds solace strolling the seashore at Quinn Beach. There she meets a handsome stranger who seems to share her sadness. He is utterly alone in the world, and praying to assuage his grief with this change of scenery.

Revenge is a strong motivator, especially for a man who’s been mistreated his whole life. The promise of pirate’s gold colors Henry Titchell’s view–yet not so much that he can’t see the beauty in Miss Mary Sweet. But while Henry is a stranger to Lobster Cove, he has not “stumbled” upon the place as he would have Mary believe. Instead he seeks retribution rather than rest

When Mary realizes the newcomer is not who he seems, will her heart be willing to forgive his sins?

Henry has a choice to make.

Tales of pirate treasure draw Henry to the picturesque coastal town of Lobster Cove. In the beginning, the source of Henry’s sorrow isn’t clear, but it quickly becomes apparent that he has never known a kind or gentle word. When the truth of his upbringing is finally revealed, it is heartbreaking. After Henry’s tormenters meet a fiery fate, he is finally free to make his own way in the world, and Henry decides to seek out a fortune. However, the people of Lobster Cove aren’t what he expected, and Henry certainly never anticipated meeting Mary. Will he pursue the gold or Mary’s heart? I eagerly anticipated learning the answer.

The romance between Henry and Mary is sweet. They are both wounded and seek to find peace on the beach. Instead, they find each other. I enjoyed watching Mary and Henry get to know each other. Their talks on the beach are lovely, and it is clear they will make a great couple. The only obstacle to their happy ending is Henry’s inner turmoil and his belief that he is unworthy of love and kindness. Mary is smart, and she can tell he’s hiding something. Mary has never given Henry a reason to doubt her sincerity. As I read, I wondered if he’d ever find the courage to tell her the truth.

Lobster Cove is the perfect place for Henry to heal his battered soul. The people there are generally kind. There are a few suspicious folks, but nothing serious enough to put Henry in any real danger. As Henry began to realize he could build a life in Lobster Cove, I liked watching Henry’s eyes open to a new life filled with possibility.

Reading The Pirate’s Revenge was very enjoyable. I liked Henry and Mary very much and had fun following their budding romance. Fans of sweet historical romance should give this book a try.

Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis

Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Holiday
Length: Short Story (59 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Alex Corrigan is in love with his boss, Judge Lawson Daniels, and thinks those feelings are returned. That assumption is sorely tested two days before the court holiday party they’re organizing together, when the venue calls and cancels, followed by a snafu with the caterer. Alex could handle that, but after an intimate dinner followed by a decidedly unromantic e-mail, he’s left wondering about the future of his employment as well as his relationship with the debonair older man.

Law can’t wait to see his clerk again. But Alex is cold and distant in the light of day, and Law doesn’t understand. The party looms in the background, but Law’s excitement is turning to dread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging them, trying to get Alex fired and drive Law off the bench. If there’s any chance for a happy holiday for Alex and Law, they’ll have to find out who.

A workplace romance? Who says it can’t happen…

I haven’t read anything by Jayce Ellis, but I’m glad I remedied that. This book rocked. I loved the characters and the build-up. The author knew how to make the characters dance around each other and seem realistic. I read the author’s bio and see she’s a lawyer. This was why the courtroom portions of the book were so detailed and interesting. I felt like I was right there with Alex and Law.

These two characters were so funny in the way they couldn’t quite figure out how to say what they wanted. I rooted for them all the way. Ms. Ellis wrote with a good knowledge of law, which helped make the story better and deeper. I could feel the passion between the characters and wanted to see them find their happy ending.

If you want a book with a touch of suspense, a little mystery and lots of heat, then this might be the book for you.

Bad Way Out by Paul Carr

Bad Way Out by Paul Carr
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (324 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

In a case of corporate espionage, a Key West businessman hires Sam Mackenzie to retrieve technical information stolen from his company. He’s told that confidence man Jack Craft recommended him. Sam has been burned by Jack before but this looks like easy money.

The job turns out to be anything but easy, as a caper flush with government agents, assassins, and conspiracy ensues. Not to mention a beautiful CIA agent with questionable motives has her eye on Sam, and mob thugs are after him for fallout from a previous job.

As the fireworks fly, Sam turns to his partner and a computer expert for help. The deeper they probe, the more they risk becoming collateral damage in a secret operation worth millions.

There’s no good way out of this one.

Bad Way Out is comparable to riding a thrilling rollercoaster in the dark! Sit down, buckle up and hang on for your life because you have no idea which way the plot will turn. I didn’t want to get off this ride. When the story was over I wanted to either ride it again or read another one of Paul Carr’s books. Fortunately for me, Bad Way Out is the newest release in the latest Sam Mackenzie thrillers by Paul Carr. The novel was easily a standalone book and I, for one, can’t help but relate this book to a James Bond movie.

Sam, the main character, was courageous, clever and gave me a case of hero worship. I wouldn’t classify this as a romance book by any means. However, Sam does show interest in a woman named Simone but there isn’t any developing romance relationship like you’d expect in a romance story.

There are other characters that made an impression on me that were pivotal to the plot of the story that I’d like to read more about in another Sam Mackenzie thriller.

If you’re interested in the other Sam Mackenzie thrillers after you read Bad Way Out then here they are, Long Way Down, The Cayman Switch, and The Black Palmetto. I am definitely going to look into reading another Sam Mackenzie thriller!

Bad Way Out was fast paced, unpredictable and highly entertaining! Paul Carr has just become my new favorite thriller/suspense author! I appreciate reading an intriguing story by a skilled writer! Well done!

Lord Logic and the Wedding Wish by Melynda Beth Skinner

Lord Logic and the Wedding Wish by Melynda Beth Skinner
Publisher: Pedestal Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (222 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Oil and Water…

Born on the same day, best friends and fiercest rivals Orion Chase and Artemis Rose are separated when they’re eight. When they come together once more as adults, nothing has changed. Still best friends, still oil and water.

When Artemis arrives on foot at his country estate, the ultra-logical, ultra-fashionable Orion Chase, the Earl of Lindenshire, is happy to welcome her–at first. Rejected by her mother’s family, Artemis, the granddaughter of an Earl, has been living as a Gypsy for the past 16 years and lives her life guided by signs and portents. But Artemis’s outlandish Gypsy ways can’t bother Orion, who hides his scientific bent with a facade of fashionability. After all, Artemis won’t be around long–or will she?

Orion’s not happy when his mother hires Artemis as her companion. And he’s even less happy when the ton mistakes Artemis for his mistress. A sham betrothal to save both of their reputations is in order–but it turns out that Orion is the only one who believes the wedding won’t happen!

This is such an adorable story. If you think the title is cute, just wait until you delve into this novel’s pages. The theme is ‘friends to lovers’ except a lot goes on between when they knew each other as kids, and when they meet as adults. Their mutual and fond background gives Miss Artemis Rose and Orion Chase a solid base to work with but their experiences in the ensuing years between kids and well- mannered adults creates a challenge to overcome. You see, Orion deals in facts, in theories he can prove with touch, observation and the use of his brain and technical tools of the time. Artemis on the other hand, has had an unconventional upbringing. The main influence in her life has been the beliefs of the Romany people and the heroine believes in signs, tea leaves and portents, basically obscure things based on conviction of her beliefs, not science. To say that this drives Orion barmy is an understatement. That dichotomy between the two protagonists is why I enjoyed this story very much.

What made this book especially delightful were the other ladies in Orion’s life; his mom, Lady Lindenshire and his really good friend, Mrs. Robertson. Between their conniving antics and belief in what Artemis believed, truly the hero didn’t stand a chance at resisting his falling in love with the heroine. Oh, he tried. Yes, indeed he tried, but the very last chapter proved to me that Orion’s path was forged many years before. Love has a way of making the impossible, possible. The most romantic part in the whole book which provided a definite ‘awww’ moment was that one scene that brought Artemis and Orion full circle to when they were kids. It left me in no doubt whatsoever that their happy ever after was guaranteed and they lived happily ever after.

The only element that hindered this story from being a higher rating was Orion himself. He resisted a bit too much, too long, and then there was Artemis for whom things just seemed to work out so perfectly. For every dip there was an immediate high, for every negative, something would happen to make the sweetest of lemonades from the profuse lemons that seem to be thrown at the heroine. Reading about the plot conflicts in this book was like eating Sour Patch Kids – it’s sour for just that little bit, then Bam! it shifts to the sweetest, yummiest flavor to enjoy. I think that’s why they are addicting, and why I couldn’t stop reading about Orion and Artemis.

Lord Logic and the Wedding Wish delivers a solid, enjoyable romance story. The heroine is quirky and adorable and the hero is a handsome geek who becomes his own man. In the end, he accepts himself for the person he is and ceased chasing a dream that was never his own. His personal growth was another of the strong elements that made this novel worth reading. For fans of historical romance that focuses on the relationship and romance, and not the bedroom, this is a recommended read.