One Night in Minneapolis by Margie Church


One Night in Minneapolis by Margie Church
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Marine Major Skylar Landis doesn’t resemble the demure Catholic high school girl Vince Andersen once knew. They’d dated briefly until she’d patch things up with his nemesis, Ethan Standfeld. After school, she joined the Marines and they’d lost touch.

Their ten year class year reunion in Minneapolis brings Skylar face-to-face with Vince, awakening her memories of the past. She asks him to plan a hot, no-strings-attached hook-up to sustain her sexual fantasies while her intelligence unit is deployed to the Middle East. As their adventure unfolds, and he gives her exactly what she needs, Skylar wonders whether she can forget the man who put her desires first and asked for nothing in return.

This is an erotic little nugget that presents to a reader the start of something wonderful. Its basis is two people coming together for a high school reunion and getting the chance to do something they’d never really had a chance to do when they were in school – not only be with each other but to explore all that that might entail. At this stage in their lives, it’s not for dating as immature kids but coming together as adults with adult needs, expectations and fantasies.

Although the very beginning starts of slow with more telling than showing, it’s not long before the author finds her stride and the interest, spice and character dynamics take hold to provide a very entertaining read.

For fans of erotic romance, all their hot buttons should be satisfied because Ms. Church knows how to blast open the bedroom door so wide that all the sexy and passionate details are there for readers to enjoy. The word ‘shy’ isn’t in Vince or Skylar’s vocabulary.

What I enjoyed was seeing hints and references that this 24 hour marathon of uninhibited sex isn’t as shallow as the beginning led me to believe. The two have a history and it provides a good base to start with. I liked how Vince treated Skylar – his sense of humor, his willingness to try whatever she wanted and his caring for her. Yes, he has a hard time keeping his emotional distance as the hours go on, because that’s what the heroine wanted, but his slipping up here and there is what makes this little story work. I saw that Skylar wasn’t immune no matter how much she wanted to be. Through the course of all their sheet gymnastics, the interaction at the reunion and the visit to Vince’s home, Skylar is faced with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Vince is worth taking a chance on. I got the impression that a little seed of wonder and hope might have been planted. It’s how the author chose to wrap up One Night in Minneapolis that made reading this short story worth it. The ending left me feeling happy, optimistic and assured that a romance is born. Because of that, this is an easy recommend of One Night in Minneapolis to other erotic romance readers.

How Hard Can It Be? by Robyn Peterman


How Hard Can It Be? by Robyn Peterman
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspsense
Length: Full Length (278 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

One happy ending coming right up…

What happens when an accountant decides to grab life by the horns and try something new? Apparently a pirate named Dave, a lot of pastel fleece, and blackmail—just to start with…

Visualize and succeed, Oprah said. I was sure as hell trying, even if my campaign to score a job as the local weather girl had ended in a restraining order. Okay, TV was not my strength. But a lack of talent has never stopped me before. Which is why I’ve embarked on a writing career. I mean, how hard can it be to come up with a sexy romance?

Leave it to me to wind up in a group of grandmotherly porno writers who discuss sex toys and apple cobbler in the same breath. Also leave it to me to leak an outlandish plot idea to a bestselling author with the morals of a rabid squirrel. And only I could get arrested for a jewelry heist I didn’t commit—by a hunky cop whose handcuffs just might tempt me to sign up for a life of crime. Maybe I’ve found my calling after all…

I had a hard time starting off writing this review because I just didn’t know quite where to start. Do I mention the cringe-worthy giggles, the bust-a-gut laughter, the blushing snickers, the eye-popping ‘I Can’t Believe I Just Read That!’ shock or I need a tray of ice cubes because the sex is so hot while alternating to giggling at the ridiculous snafus the heroine gets herself into? My emotions were all over the place while reading How Hard Can It Be?. I can say with all confidence that I have never, ever, in all my years of reading come across a villain as … colorful, creepy, coarse, corrupt and comical as the one in this novel. I could not believe my eyes. The villain also inspires awesome alliteration.

Seriously though, I can’t be serious. Yes there is the mystery of what kind of information the villain has on Rena’s new writer friends that they’ve been blackmailed for almost twenty years; yes there is the fact the heroine has to be arrested for violating a restraining order; yes there are mysteries that abound that though different in nature are the binding that holds the book together and allows for all the hijinks and hilarity to have reason to exist. Even with all those potentially heavy and dire conflicts, Ms. Peterman kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense. Not for something bad to happen, but for the next madcap adventure, over-the-top description or comment, or Rena’s internal dialogue as she tries to make sense of the alien world of writers that she’s stumbled upon. Don’t EVEN get me started on the book, Pirate Dave and His Randy Adventures I’d fall off of my chair and never get up.

I had to classify this book under the erotic genre only because it overwhelmed me with sexual weirdness. How does a person use a garden gnome or garden tools for sex? BDSM references and jokes bounded off my eyeballs like ping pong balls. And please don’t ever mention silly putty to me – I’ll never look at it the same way ever again. But handcuffs are definitely all right, even more than alright if Jack is the one wielding them because he is so sexy and hot and he knows what he’s doing. Oh my!

If a reader is uncomfortable with the F-bomb being used as a verb, noun and adjective, then be warned. The F-bomb practically does calisthenics in this story.

There are a ton of surprises in store for readers because most every character in the novel isn’t quite what they seem. Nothing is as they believed and the truth is just as bizarre. But not as bizarre as the villain’s decorating taste. That has to be read to be believed.

How Hard Can It Be? is a solid romance because there is a happy ever after that is as grin inducing as the rest of the novel. Ms. Peterman has a wild imagination that is stunning. I guess this is book one of a trilogy; the other two involve Rena’s friend and Kristy’s eventual love’s sister. I’d read the second book first so it’s a safe bet that the three novels can be read in any order. However, now that I’ve read all of them, the little innuendos and subtext in the other two books make so much more sense that I feel like I should read them all in order to get the full effect. That would not be a hardship. I just need to make sure that I leave myself plenty of time for my reading pleasure. If readers are in the mood for hilarious kinkiness woven through a fun romance, then this is the book to try. Just watch out for the aliens in Aunt Phyllis’ toaster.

The Enemy’s Daughter by Sam Crescent


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His Dirty Girl by Winter Sloane


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Mate For The Sheriff by April Zyon


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

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

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

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

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

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

Something Sweet by Sam Crescent


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashamed by Sam Crescent


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visions of Sugarplum by Sara Jay


Visions of Sugarplum by Sara Jay
Yule Tied
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (35 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Ice fairy Sugarplum has wanted Santa’s only Cyclops in employ, Heath, for years. She knows he returns her interest, but why won’t he give in to his feelings for her? With a little nudge from her best friend, Ice Queen Erika, she is bound and determined to get what she wants this Christmas.

Heath has secrets that he knows would damage his chances with the curvaceous fairy. He would much rather protect both their hearts than risk something that could hurt them both forever. Will he take a chance once Sugarplum brings him a pretty Christmas present that he can’t resist?

How do you tell the difference between a crush and something that’s much deeper than that?

This story was quite the tease. Every time I thought that Sugarplum and Heath might finally do something about their feelings about each other, something got in their way. The more they were delayed, though, the more impatient I became to see them finally fall into each other’s arms and beds. The sexual tension between them was exquisite. As much as I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next, I really liked living in the moment as they swerved past one interruption after the next.

There was a little too much time spent on the subplots. As fascinated as I was by the politics of living and working at the North Pole, I would have preferred to spend some of those scenes focused on what was happening with the main characters. With this being said, it’s a minor criticism of a book that I otherwise really enjoyed reading.

Sugarplum was exactly what I’d think a fairy would be like. She was cheerful, sweet, kind, and also fiercely persistent when she set her mind to accomplishing something. There was also a slightly mischievous side to her personality that didn’t show itself right away. I liked her as soon as I met her and sure hoped that she’d find her happy ending.

Visions of Sugarplum made me smile. If you’re in the mood for a saucy Christmas tale, I’d strongly recommend jumping into this one.

The Perfect Christmas by Gayle Cranfield


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santa’s Reject by Lily Vega


Santa’s Reject by Lily Vega
Yule Tied
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (55 pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Banished from the North Pole for bad behavior, Beryl is shipped off to Fairyville. A scratch from Cupid’s arrow infuses her with Christmas spirit and saddles her with a mad crush on her new boss, Killian — a.k.a. the Tooth Fairy.

Killian despises love and the entire notion of Yuletide celebrations. The last thing he needs is a beautiful Elf spreading holiday cheer and trying to drag him into the sack. After all, Beryl’s love could sour like rotten eggnog once she discovers his secret.

Banishment doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

There were so many creative touches in this tale. Everything from the names of certain characters to the economic value of the teeth that Killian collected had clearly been thought out carefully. I grinned every time the protagonist drew my attention to yet another funny pop culture reference that had been tucked away in a description or conversation These little surprises made it so much fun to read.

The dialogue was awkward. Both of the main characters often said things they should have expressed through their body language or jumped right into doing instead. This was especially noticeable during their most intimate moments. Those exchanges pulled me out of what was otherwise an entertaining and enjoyable story. If not for this problem, I would have had no problem selecting a much higher rating as I really liked everything else about it.

Killian and Beryl were perfect for each other. I loved watching them spend time together because of how good both of them were at flirting with their body language. They knew exactly which buttons to push to get each other revved up and ready for action. My favorite scenes were the ones where they danced around their attraction for each other for this reason. It was so much fun to see them gradually move closer and closer to revealing their true desires, and I couldn’t wait to see how things would pan out between them.

I’d recommend Santa’s Reject to anyone who is in the mood for some witty erotica.