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.

Restaurant Wars by Shawn Lane

WARS
Restaurant Wars by Shawn Lane
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Thomas MaCaffrey never expected to see his high school crush, Noah Petrie, again let alone have him start working at the same restaurant as Thomas. Noah is hotter than ever and just as annoying, ingratiating himself with the staff and patrons alike. But when Noah becomes the restaurant’s new darling, the war is on.

Opposites can attract, especially when there’s history involved.

I love a friends to lovers story and this one fit the bill. I liked the characters and zipped right through the book. Noah and Thomas were interesting and I would love to see them in a longer book. I liked them as a couple and since this was a shorter story, a little more would definitely make this reader happy. I want to spend more time with them and got emotionally involved.

There were a couple of minor point of view slips and quite a bit of telling versus showing me the story, though. A few times I wasn’t sure whose point of view I was in. Also, the author intrusions took away from the plot, but I was able to keep going. Another run-through by the editor for typos and repeated words would make this gem really shine, too.

The characters are great and interesting. Thomas is relatable because he’s so guarded. He’s been through a lot and came out on the other side in one piece. I liked him. Then there’s Noah. The guy could be clueless, but it was oddly endearing. I liked seeing him grow through the short tale.

If you want a hot story and are short on time, then this might be the right book for you.

Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

IMMORTALS
Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (190 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

SEVEN DAYS TO GO FROM LETHAL IMMORTAL ASSASSIN TO PRINCE CHARMING. DOES HE STAND A CHANCE?

Demigod Andrus Gray may look like every woman’s dream, but when it comes to charm, he sees no point in pretending: He has none and makes no apologies for it. Behaving nicely hasn’t made him the deadly assassin he is today. But is that really the reason he’s still single?

The Goddess Cimil—owner of Immortal Matchmakers, Inc.—thinks yes. So when she foresees a mate in Andrus’s near future, she’s determined to make the match happen. That means hiring aspiring actress Sadie Townsend to help the barbarian “act” a little more civilized.

But are seven days really enough? And why does he suddenly have the urge to throw away an eternity of love for just one night with Sadie?

This is a quirky, fun and bizarre romance story and that means it’s quite entertaining. The delivery starts off with Cimil sort of setting up the scenario of the company, its goals and the players. Each person, like Zac, is over the top, loud and larger than life. There’s not a boring character in the bunch.

Andrus and Sadie are quite the couple. He’s a horndog and she’s a hardworking struggling girl who wants to make it in Hollywood. The two are thrown together in what has to be the most convoluted and peculiar matchmaking scheme ever.

Andrus is not shy with his body (he’s not afraid of a little exhibitionism) or his language. He’s rough, rude and as hot as fresh lava. Sadie has these internal dialogue monologues and quips that are quite amusing especially when she’s trying to not notice Andrus’s fine physical qualities even though she very clearly notices, a lot. And, Andrus notices her noticing. The primal dance between them is quite witty and sexy.

The funniest part was Sadie telling Andrus what she liked in the bedroom department, in detail, and the hero’s very choked response. I was greatly amused.

The conflict is a bit elaborate and manipulative. I could never figure out what the threat was, or if the deadline was as critical as depicted, or if Cimil was playing head games because let’s face it, she’s like a demented Energizer Bunny who majored in Machiavellianism. I had a love/hate opinion about Cimil – at times I was annoyed with her and the way her character was written, and other times, the conflict she imparted was genius. Readers have to decide for themselves which side of the fence Cimil falls on for them.

The biggest surprise was Sadie. I never even suspected the role she played in the novel. What was finally revealed made it even more apparent that Andrus was the most perfect choice for her as a mate. I strongly suspect other readers will agree.

All in all, the first book in The Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. series is a fun launching pad for romantic hijinks in the future. The characters are creative, unique and provide a fresh batch of zany romantic entanglements for readers to enjoy. The next book will be about Tommaso and from the sounds of it, his romantic journey is going to be as madcap as this one.

Best Friends by Cat Blaine

FRIENDS
Best Friends by Cat Blaine
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (55 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Carrick and Malcolm have been best friends since they were kids. They do everything together. One night, after they’ve had a little too much to drink, they share a hot, sensual kiss that ends up going a lot further than either man expected.

After that night both men struggle with lusty feelings for one another. Malcolm tells Carrick he wants to try and have a real relationship with him. Carrick panics, terrified of other people’s opinions and the two friends have a falling out. Alone and missing his best buddy, Carrick must decide if being without Malcolm is more painful than anything his peers might say.

They never knew what they could have until one night changed everything.

This is a cute story. Friends to lovers is a popular trope, but I liked the way the author handled it this time around. The characters are flawed and drew me in. I wanted to see them have a happy ending and I’m glad I read the book. Not only are these guys finding their way towards a relationship–if it’s even possible–but they admit they’re both interested in girls, too. Now there’s a real twist.

That said, there were a few things about the book that…made it a little hard to stay interested. Carrick and his partner both have C names. He’s referred to as C often. While that may not pull most out of the book, it tripped me up a few times. Also a few lines in the book were a tad hard to follow. With a little more editing, this book could be great. I would’ve liked to have seen the guys explore each other a little more, especially with the ending, but I understand some books do have a word count limitation. I do hope the author gives these characters a chance to do more exploring. I’ll definitely read it.

If you want something hot and sweet as a good introduction to MM Romance, then this might be the book for you.

Star Crossed: The Billionaires by Emma Holly

CROSSED
Star Crossed: The Billionaires by Emma Holly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (244 pgs)
Other: M/F, Masturbation
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

A.J. Hoyt is as cynical as she is badass, a former cop turned bodyguard. A lifetime of hard knocks taught her not to trust—a handy trait in her line of work. Given the right motivation, she knows anyone will betray their near and dear. Rather than let them betray her, A.J. keeps her shields nailed up.

On the surface, Luke Channing’s life seems charmed. He’s a Hollywood action hero whose looks inspire fantasies. Known for being easygoing and kind to fans, his latest film made him a billionaire producer. Problem is his high profile has attracted a dangerous admirer.

Threats like the one Luke faces aren’t new. A.J. saved his life once already. Now he doesn’t trust anyone but her to guard him. With a deadly enemy lurking in the shadows, this star-crossed pair better pray A.J.’s skills are sharp!

If stimulating and erotic romantic suspense is your thing, prepare to combust. Star Crossed is not only hot but has a solid romance story that fans of the movie,The Bodyguard can’t help but appreciate. In this novel however, the bodyguard is played by a very capable woman and she’s awesome.

Star Crossed has a multilayered emotional plot which includes an assassination attempt, emotional quagmires, personality conflicts, family dynamics and a mystery that needs to be solved sooner rather than later or someone else is going to die. The clock is ticking, plans are in place and Ms. Holly’s writing creates the suspense effectively.

A reader knows pretty much from the beginning just who A.J. (Alexandra) and Luke are to each other because of what happens early in the book. The thing is, neither A.J. nor Luke has any idea just how momentous and devastating that moment in time affected them into the present. I like how Ms. Holly weaves their fates together at points in their lives. A.J. and Luke grow, mature and become what each will need later in life. Then, the author creates the perfect storm that brings them together again and the rest is romance magic.

The mystery of who the shooter was, the motivation and why the criminal was so determined made for some fascinating reading; I couldn’t put the book down. The best thing is that I never guessed who the culprit was. I thought I had a clue or two but I really didn’t. I liked the surprise. The villain was certainly a few cards short of a full deck, that’s for sure.

The most heartbreaking revelation was Luke’s finally telling the full story to A.J. of what happened to him that lead up to that fateful day. That was powerful writing and it affected me. The sad part is, stuff like that really can happen. I wish there were more A.J.s around; people compelled to help someone else in need even when it’s against the odds.

There were a lot of dialogue moments that made me pause and re-read them again just to appreciate just how profound and effective they were. Ms. Holly certainly had moments of pure genius when working with her characters in this novel. I was very invested in A.J.’s and Luke’s safety and happiness.

Fans of Ms. Holly’s erotic works are given a lot of opportunities to experience what the author writes best when it comes to those scenes. What I enjoyed this time around was that all the spice and heat were between the main protagonists. The excitement and titillation helped foster their budding love and romance and I liked that all that sexy passion proved fruitful.

Star Crossed is a very sexy romantic suspense that delivers on the promise of suspense, excitement and love. It’s a great read and an easy recommend.