Dutch by Madhuri Pavamani


Dutch by Madhuri Pavamani
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (342 pgs)
Other: M/F, F/F/M, Anal sex, Multiple Partners, Masturbation
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Rose

I’ve spent years holed up in the deepest, darkest parts of the city, fighting to keep Death and her Poochas from crossing the dead back to the living. My skill with a blade is bested only by my menace, my despair, my anguish – the strongest weapons I yield.

Then I meet Juma Landry and it all goes to hell.

She is beauty and love and sex and light, everything I am not. And she makes me want things I haven’t desired in years. But the monsters of my life, the evil lurking in the dark corners of my soul, those places craven and vile, bind me to a past I cannot shake free. As the most skilled Keeper for The Gate, nothing and no one can prevent me from excelling at a job I never wanted. I do it because it is my legacy, a fate I cannot outrun, but when Juma becomes my next assignment, each of her nine lives to be ended by my hand, I must decide: the legacy I never wanted or the love I don’t deserve.

This is an adult fantasy and while it’s not labeled as erotic, in this reviewer’s opinion it should be. Before the principles meet, both male and female lead characters in this fantasy romance have engaged in multiple episodes of sex of various types (M/F, FFM, oral, anal, etc). Even after they meet and become cognizant of the attraction between each other, their sexual activities are not limited to the other. So, it’s important that the reader be aware of this, because I would hate for someone to pick up the book and not realize how much graphic sex there was.

That being said, the storyline is very interesting. We learn about Dutch, who is a Keeper of The Gate – the gate separating life and death. It is their job to keep those people who have died from coming back, by killing Death’s Poochas. This is an incredibly dark book, and does include some descriptions of torture.

Death is not the Death we normally think of– this Death is a very sexy woman who is very hedonistic and lives only for pleasure. She allows selected dead people to return to life – aided by her Poochas.

The main conflict comes in when Dutch and Juma (one of Death’s Poochas) meet and discover themselves to be soulmates only to discover that Dutch has been assigned to kill her.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, and you see both Dutch and Juma grow and change quite a bit. Though I was a bit dismayed by the darkness here, I was very invested in these characters. I enjoyed watching their development and look forward to seeing how Dutch and Juma resolve the difficulties that surround them.

FYI, this is the first book in the series and ends on a cliffhanger.

Summer and the Alien Guard by Jessica Coulter Smith


Summer and the Alien Guard by Jessica Coulter Smith
Intergalactic Brides 11
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Urban Fantasy,
Length: Short Story (98 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When her family is evicted from their home, Summer knows things can’t get much worse. She blames herself. She should have done something sooner, but now it’s time for drastic measures. There’s only one thing left to do, even if it means tying her life to that of an alien. She drives straight to the Terran Station.

From the moment he first sees the young Human step out of her car, Vordro is mesmerized. He’s never seen anyone so vibrant, so beautiful… or so troubled. He wants to be the answer to her prayers, even if he knows he’s too old for her. The thought of her mating with anyone other than him leaves a sour taste in his mouth. But moving Summer into his home proves to be far more temptation than he’s able to withstand.

When things get off the charts hot between them and Summer ends up pregnant, Vordro knows he’ll do anything to protect her and their unborn child — even if it means defending her from her own family.

If an alien romance story can be mushy, romantic, and character based in a quasi-Sci-Fi setting enough to be a hit, then Summer and the Alien Guard is a must have. This story was so easy to read, it was a pleasure.

It might read as a little too perfect but I believe that it’s because the hero, Vordro, is from a different culture. How they treat women, especially those that are future mates, is every woman’s fantasy on Earth. Who wouldn’t want a rich guy to sweep them off of their feet, listen to everything they say, feed them anything they wanted and take them to the Smithsonian museums on a whim? Who wouldn’t want a man to stand up for their honor with the speed and ferocity of a warrior? I think that’s sexy! And Vordro is all that, plus purple. Yes, in this book, Earth has had alien contact and now has embassies, dating agencies matching up human women with the Zelthranite’s, and Hollywood and the Arts have new inspiration and talents. It’s a fascinating backdrop for a romance.

The novella is definitely character based with the bulk of the conflict stemming not so much from their specie difference as from the disparity in their ages. Summer has no such qualms, but Vordro does. I like how it was resolved. Seems alien men are just as susceptible as regular guys to acts of chivalry, and hormones.

The external conflict comes from Summer’s family and the possibility that the council might not approve of their mating. I honestly was shocked when it was revealed who was involved in threatening Summer. I mean, I did expect it to a degree, but never anticipated it would include a certain person. I was just as shocked as the heroine!

This was a very quick read for me and I was surprised when the book reached its happily ever after ending. I wasn’t ready for it to end. I liked Vordro’s personality. Sure Summer wasn’t as strong as a character, but she was growing, spreading her wings and the author made that quite clear. Under the unfailing support from the hero, Summer’s freedom to choose, to explore and to experience new things and people, and attempting things she never had a chance to before, all contribute to becoming the woman Summer was always meant to be. It’s a beautiful thing to see and the author made sure I knew it.

Summer and the Alien Guard was cute. It’s an easy read, had just the right amount of sexiness to get those juices flowing, and the pace was steady and solid. I just liked it. I hope other readers will give it a try too because there’s a lot to enjoy within its pages.

Runaway Rock Star by CJ Anthony


Runaway Rock Star by CJ Anthony
States of Love
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (87 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Just hours before Brandon Harris is supposed to head home to Cincinnati for a Labor Day family picnic, his boss at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame forces him into giving a private tour to bratty British pop-rock star Lucas Black. Before he knows it, he finds himself swept up in a whirlwind road trip through Ohio with Lucas riding shotgun.

Lucas grabs hold of this wild opportunity to run away—even for a few precious days—from the gilded cage that is his carefully managed life. He’s just looking for a little fun and freedom as a normal person. From roller coasters to a college football game, Brandon begins to see the real Lucas Black buried under the famous persona. But by the time he and Lucas discover their mutual attraction, they only have one night left before both of them have to go back to their real lives. The fun is over…unless Lucas can run away for real this time and keep their adventure going.

He just wants a weekend on his own…while he travels through Ohio?

I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and while I know it’s exciting, I never thought about the state through the eyes of someone who’s never been here. It’s actually more interesting than I’d ever thought.

CJ Anthony does a great job at writing a road trip through Ohio. I felt like I was right there with Lucas and Brandon through the trip. I also liked how the author allowed Lucas to grow. This isn’t a long story, but both Brandon and Lucas certainly change. I felt a connection to Brandon and rooted for him to finally get what he wanted. The plot raced along well, with emotions as the driving force. The sex scenes came along after a slow burn and were a great payoff. The story is short, but it’s worth the read.

If you’re looking for a book that’s equal parts Ohio’s greatest hits and sexy rock star with nerdy-ish business guy, then this might be the book for you.

Her Dangerous Mistake by Erin M. Leaf


Her Dangerous Mistake by Erin M. Leaf
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (138 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Moira is on the run—her apartment has been trashed, her bank account hacked, and someone is stalking her. Only one man is dangerous enough to keep her safe … that is, if she can convince him to help her. Neil Deven used to be her father’s best friend until betrayal turned him violent. Neil disappeared, and finding him might be the biggest mistake of her life, but Moira won’t survive alone.

Neil remembers Moira as a sweet little girl caught in the middle of her father’s criminal life. The gorgeous woman who shows up at his door is anything but a child, but he’s already got problems. Dragon shifters are a dying race with no way to change form, yet Neil’s powers keep growing. And Moira stirs long lost instincts—he can’t deny her need. He must protect the woman who will be his mate, or die trying.

It’s hard to find a good dragon romance that doesn’t fall into a cliché but I’m sure glad I took a chance on Her Dangerous Mistake. I really liked the little bit of world building Ms. Leaf tucked into a contemporary timeline. In the course of the novelette I discovered where the dragons came from, what they used to be capable of and what had been lost. As with any hierarchy, there’s politics, dirty dealings, power plays and twisted agendas. All of those played well with the plot conflict.

The book opens with the heroine running for her life. She’s heading for someone who she instinctually believes will save her, someone from her past. The initial hook is solid and gripping. The author doesn’t waste any time in getting the hero and heroine together and then having them continue to run from the bad guys. Except for a few spots, the book keeps up the fast pace because the bad guys never stop hunting for Moira. Neil does his darndest to protect her but he messes up here and there leading to more trials and tribulations to overcome.

At one point I was rather miffed with Moira, until I saw what she wrote on the note. Her noble intentions propelled the conflict onto a new path that provided some unique revelations that shocked both the protagonists and antagonists alike whereas it thoroughly delighted me. Ha! That’d show that arrogant Council member – or so I thought. Imagine my surprise at what he actually had the audacity to say and do. He really didn’t know Neil too well and that blindness and refusal to relinquish his imagined hold on him came at a very interesting cost. Neil is his own man/dragon and no one, man or woman is going to harm what is his. Oh yes, I really liked how the hero was written – strong, loyal, fierce, passionate and honorable, and with those cool glowing eyes. I’d love to see that for real.

Moira has not had an easy life. Her father was a first class immoral criminal who made her growing up miserable. The poor heroine has a hard time trusting people and when she tries, sometimes it bites her in the you-know-where. A few things I liked about her were her determination, her intelligence and how she reacted to Neil. She was a good match for him. Even when she had no idea who or why someone wanted to kill her, she never broke.

There are quite a few steamy explicit, door-wide-open-let’s-get-on-the-bed-too kinds of detailed scenes that should appeal to erotic romance readers. What makes Her Dangerous Mistake so appealing is the plot conflict and the romance. The suspense, action and drama are so solid that the sex is just a spicy sweet topping that enhances the mix. The two of them are hot stuff, literally and figuratively.

As far as the happy ever after, there’s a wonderfully detailed epilogue that tied up their romance with complete happiness. Their future is going to be filled with a lot of challenges – the writing assured me of that – but together Neil and Moira have a bright future and the ending was as romantic and life affirming as I could wish.

Her Dangerous Mistake was a fantastic dragon shifter romance with a lot of action, spice and loving to make a reader happy and satisfied. I’m so very glad I read this story.

The Kaiser Account by Louise Blaydon


The Kaiser Account by Louise Blaydon
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Recent Historical (1960s)
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The life of an ad man in 1960s New York is all about risk-taking, but not until Evan Jones meets the man from Kaiser, Mark O’Brien, does he fully understand what that means…

It’s 1965. Evan Jones is an account manager for a major advertising company in New York City, engaged to the boss’s daughter in a halfhearted sort of way, gradually making his way up into the highest ranks of the company, and into the boss’s favor. The Kaiser Motors account is one they’ve been angling at for years, and Evan has absolutely no intention of letting it slip through his fingers.

But the man from Kaiser, Mark O’Brien, is not what Evan is used to dealing with and, moreover, is someone who hits him right where it hurts—in the long-repressed part of him that prefers men and is ashamed to admit it. When it comes to O’Brien, ‘going to any length’ has a whole new meaning, because O’Brien wants Evan—and worse still, Evan wants him back. O’Brien, in the space of a night, shows him something more than the staid life is possible. Can Evan take the risk and close the deal?

A closeted man and one he can’t quite figure out. Things can only get better, right?

Things certainly get better. I loved this book. I did. I liked the build-up between Evan and Mark. It was like watching a dance. The tension ratcheted up with each page. Ms Blaydon wrote well and I wanted to know what would happen next. I raced through this story.

Evan is very closeted and thinks he wants one thing, but when Mark shows up…he’s confused. I liked that things weren’t so perfectly mapped out. I had an idea the two would get together, but the how was intriguing. I’m glad I got to read the book.

My one quibble really isn’t much. I wish the book were longer. I liked the play between Mark and Evan and wanted to see where things would go. They’re great characters and I hope the author continues their story. I’ll happily read it.

If you want a book with heat and intrigue, but will work when you don’t have a lot of time to read, then you’ll want to pick up this book.

Handcuffed by H.C. Brown​


​​Handcuffed by H.C. Brown​​​
Cops ‘n’ Floggers Book 1
​Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story​ (50 pages)
Other: M/M, Bondage, BDSM, Spanking (Flogging), Masturbation, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Bad boys, bad boys.

Rent boy, Maverick Slone, Ricky to his friends, finds himself in big trouble with an unsatisfied client in the back alley of Leathers BDSM Club. Little does he know the Nordic god stepping in to save him, is an undercover vice cop.

When Detective Tyler Speed offers him the chance to leave the streets behind, it sounds too good to be true, especially when the man making the offer is the Dom of his very naughty dreams.

Reader Advisory: This Erotic Gay Romance series contains scenes of BDSM and hot sexy undercover vice cops out to find their perfect subs.

Cops, heat and a rent boy with an attitude…what can go wrong?

I love the work of HC Brown, so when I saw this book, I had to snap it up. I’m glad I did. I wanted to catch up with the characters from the Cops and Floggers series – I read book 2 first. Now, reading these out of order isn’t a bad thing. The characters stand alone well and I loved it.

I had to know what would happen next because the characters intrigued me. Tyler wants to save world, one rent boy at a time. He’s strong, tough and endearing. I liked him right away. Then there’s Maverick. He’s a piece of work–which the author wrote him well, I have to say. I could see him and could hear him talk. He was that vivid. His attitude was a trip.

The one quibble I had with the book was the alternating points of view. When the story was told from Tyler’s POV, the story took place in third person. But when Maverick was telling his side, it was all in first person. While that might not be a problem from some readers, I had a hard time with it.

Still, I’m glad I read this book and can’t wait for the next one!! If you want a book that sizzles, then this might be the one for you.

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.

Without Aiden by Dianne Hartsock


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

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

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

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

The poor guy can’t catch a break.

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

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

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

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

The Angel by Emma Holly


The Angel by Emma Holly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (196 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation, BDSM
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

What if an evil genie stole the life you were meant to live?

What if she’d done you a favor?

Is a dusty junk shop any place to hide the doppelganger of a djinn ruler’s murdered wife? Red-haired rebel Georgie can’t answer that. She thinks her life is perfect. She’s got an angel for a boyfriend, a library imp to teach her magic, and a mysterious wealthy guardian who funded a childhood most girls only dream about.

When sexy Sultan Iksander pops up in her world and claims this life isn’t hers, she tells him to screw himself. When he proves it—then asks her to help the endangered citizens of his home, she discovers she has a choice to make . . .

The djinni world that Ms. Holly has created is always full of surprises and this latest novel, The Angel is no different. The concept of rearranging time isn’t new but what the author did and why contributed to the drama and made this novel worth investigating.

Georgie is the heroine but she’s not typical. What intrigued me was her innate goodness that somehow survived the impossible. I enjoyed how Ms. Holly explored the nurture vs. nature premise. What she came up with initially had me worried but it all worked out, eventually. I actually liked her ‘nurture’ persona more than her initial one. The second one seemed to have more personality and chutzpah, a more lively character. Despite all the influences her guardian threw her way, Georgie had certain elements that were inviolate, though not for lack of trying on Luna’s part.

As for the hero, Iksander, well, I liked him in the beginning and I knew about him from the previous two books but he wasn’t on stage, so to speak, for long. No, the little ball of light named Connor took center stage with Georgie and I liked his character. He was so sweet and earnest yet wise beyond what I expected. He was a refreshing secondary hero and I liked him. As far as I’m concerned, there are two heroes that eventually care a great deal about Georgie and I’m happy with that.

For erotic romance readers, there are many interludes of seduction and delight to behold. The ones described with Georgie were wonderful and well done. The ones described with Luna were used to paint a very clear picture of the wonder that is Georgie amidst the self-serving hedonist that is Luna. Some of the secondary characters that have to deal with Luna aren’t so lucky and I felt bad for a couple of them.

For readers who have a certain deity belief, I want to give a heads up that Ms. Holly borrowed some of the theological elements and manipulated them into this fantasy. As much as I liked Connor, I had a bit of trouble being comfortable with his ‘sexy’ side. It’s not that it isn’t well done, it is. It’s just that those who have a bit of knowledge know that such a thing would not really be possible. The things he did wouldn’t be ‘okay’ if you know what I mean. Once he became more Connor and less ‘other’, it was easier to accept his human side. Yet through it all, he was special, different, and I felt his character contributed a significant amount of heart to the novel.

The paradox that Ms. Holly created demanded a tight hold on all the plot threads and the author did a bang-up job in writing the scenes so they made sense and came together at the right point. I liked the dialogue, many of the secondary characters and the plot conflict. I also appreciated how Georgie resisted perfect vengeance, but she did choose an action and I thought it apropos. Ultimately, the story has an HFN (happy for now) ending. Georgie is happy, Connor is happy and Iksander is hopeful.

The Angel has all the best elements that Ms. Holly is known for. It’s seductive, sexy and hard to put down. The plot has depth, substance and intrigue. I don’t think a new reader will be terribly lost if they read The Angel before the other two books. This one focuses directly on Georgie, what happens to her, and who she falls for. For a certainty, this book is entertaining, is worth checking out and absolutely hooked me into wanting to read the next novel. I simply have to know what’s going to happen next. Knowing Ms. Holly’s writing, it’s sure to be another winner.

Werewolves of London by Isabella Jordan

london
Werewolves of London by Isabella Jordan
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Masturbation, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Meet Grace Cho, snow leopard — In London on a mission for the coveted Thoth Agency. Born and raised in the Agency, Grace discreetly observes the happenings of the paranormal world and there’s one recent happening that brings her face to face with Carter Annis — A potential murderer.

A hunk of a potential murderer indeed, but still, a prime suspect in the killing of an old and respected Agency member. One of three werewolves vying for the Alpha role in a pack of notorious werewolves in London, Carter meets Grace via a prophecy his pack elders have spoken of since he was a child and with the help of ParanormalMatesSociety.com. Carter’s burning desire to find “a woman from the East” and perform the traditional mating ritual motivates him to pursue Grace with a vengeance. Carter wants the beautiful Grace for his very own and he’ll do almost anything to achieve that goal.

Unbeknownst to Carter, Grace has placed a profile at the online paranormal dating site to capture a killer. One way or another, Grace is going to take Carter down.

Mating rituals, prophecies and murder, oh, my…

I enjoyed Werewolves of London because there was quite a bit of plot development before the hero and heroine jumped between the sheets. I liked the murder mystery that Grace had to solve, and I like that Carter’s being her mate was not a given. He had to work at it a bit and that hint of uncertainty gave the story a bit of depth it otherwise would not have had.

The conflict is twofold – win the girl and make sure she stays alive. Sounds like a good plan except Grace and Carter have no idea who the killer is. Turns out it’s an age old motive but Ms. Jordan still put it to effective use.

The author put her characters through their sexual paces with effective writing that can cause hot flashes for some readers. Grace had a very fun time with the mating but I liked that when all is kissed and done, Carter remains a hero. I also appreciated the fact that although Carter was a playboy, Grace wasn’t all that experienced. The reason why was fascinating and also a little sad.

There is one niggle that bothered me and that was how the info about Grace got where it did. I have some guesses but I would have preferred it to be spelled out in a more dramatic fashion. In fact a couple of the possible drama points were conveniently explained away with just a few short sentences. I think they deserved a bit more attention, but the author concentrated solely on the romance. Overall, I guess that’s a good thing.

Werewolves of London is a cute sexy romp with just the right dusting of suspense and drama to keep the pages flipping. I liked the relationship between Grace and Carter. It wasn’t a courtship fraught with unnecessary resistance but Grace wasn’t a pushover either. I liked that about her – pragmatic, honest about her own feelings, and not afraid to go after a good thing. I had fun reading this book and recommend it for a quick, happy and sexy read.