Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford


Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short length (96 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Wayward Wolves: Book One

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

Zach had left the city and his previous life behind him. What he hadn’t expected in the country was to be chased by a wolf into the lake. Gibson’s life pretty much consisted of taking care of his brother, Ellis, who had remained locked in his wolf-form for years. Gibson rescued Zach from the lake, but all three men’s lives were changed that fateful day. Can Zach accept Gibson and what his life entails?

I really enjoyed this story. I found it to be an emotional and (in a bizarre kind of way) romantic book. The attraction between Zach and Gibson was intense and almost instant, but I loved watching the two men circle around each other first before both giving in to the desire they each felt. Ellis broke my heart and personally I feel the author actually made Ellis the best character of all – tortured, painfully hurting and my heart just bled for him. Predominantly in wolf-form the author did a fantastic job to my mind in making Ellis both a sympathetic character and extremely interesting pretty much without Ellis himself saying a single word. I was desperate enough to learn if there was a sequel to this story – featuring Ellis’ story – that I actually looked it up online and checked out the author’s webpage (something that I almost never do…). This book is too new a release for there to be any word (that I could find, at least) on Ellis’ story – but I would purchase it in a heartbeat, which clearly indicates just how much I loved this story and just how invested I became in Ellis, Gibson and Zach.

Readers wanting a deeply emotional story with complicated, multi-layered characters should find this as enjoyable as I did. While the plot is fairly straight forward – the men being snowed in together and then a small-town mentality about “big dogs” being aggressive killers etc – it’s the characters and their own situations which really make this story shine. I personally liked the balance of plot and romance – character-driven stories with loads of chemistry and romance are just delightful. While a part of me felt like Gibson and Zach waited just a little too long to consummate their relationship the author did an excellent job of explaining why and the logic was very sound, I was just impatient for it by the time they finally indulged in some sex.

Hotly written and thoroughly romantic I absolutely loved this story. Complex and interesting characters kept me eagerly turning the pages and I sincerely hope there are more books coming down the line. This is a brilliant author and I fully plan to check out more of her books. Highly recommended.

Saved By Her Vampires by Doris O’Connor


Saved By Her Vampires by Doris O’Connor
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short story (39 pages)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Everyone knows that happily ever afters only happen in fairy tales. Real life is cruel and painful. Bianca may fantasize about the two hunks in the shadows, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever notice her. Men as sinfully sexy as the two brothers won’t want a crippled redhead like her.

The New Year has always been a painful reminder for Bianca. She helps out at the annual orphanage’s fancy dress fundraiser to help chase away her demons—until it’s time to leave.

When Sister Maria insists that Bernhard and Archie escort Bianca home, the events that follow change her life forever. The hottest sex she’s ever had cannot account for the changes Bianca sees in the mirror. Vampires aren’t real, right?

Bianca knows full well that Happily Ever After is a myth. She knew there was no handsome knight out there ready to treat her like a princess and sweep her off her feet. Men didn’t even really look at her – not once they saw the brace on her leg. It was a pity, since she had the most delicious fantasies about her co-workers, Bernhard and his brother Archie. When they escort her home through the fog on New Year’s Eve, however, they each make clear to her that they are more than interested in her – body and soul.

This is one of those short stories where you want to get a hot drink, disengage your brain, open a box of chocolates and just dive right in. Steamily hot and with two handsome, sinfully sexy vampire brothers this is the best kind of decadent paranormal fiction. I found that what might be lacking in plot and complexity is more than made up for with interesting characters and plenty of scorching threesome sex. I mean really, what more do you need other than two handsome vampires in a delicious ménage?

I could understand the promptness of Bianca, Bernhard and Archie jumping into bed – with such a short page count there really wasn’t much time to waste – and I fully understand this won’t be every reader’s cup of tea. But as a fast read with plenty of biting, intense sex it definitely lived up to my expectations. I was a little disappointed Bianca thought their entire first encounter was just a dream – but it did delay the usual freak-out over “oh my goodness vampires are real”, which normally impedes the erotic shenanigans. With this mixed blessing I was pleased that we got such a hot, erotic scene in the body of the book, but a bit dejected that it took Bianca believing it wasn’t real to get there.

I found this to be an steamy and quick read, full of delicious ménage sex and perfect for a cold and quiet evening. Disengage your brain, sit back and just enjoy the fun and fast ride for exactly what it is – a great, sexy vampire threesome story.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne


The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins by Aletta Thorne
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical
Length: Full Length (151 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Halloween, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment.

Bartholomew Addison Jenkins’ ghost has been invisibly watching Alma for months. When he materializes one night, Alma discovers Bart—as he likes to be called—has talents she couldn’t have imagined … and a horrifying past. Can you have a one-nighter with a ghost? And what happens if you decide one night is all you want—and end up ghosting him? Some spirits don’t like taking “no” for an answer.

First impressions definitely aren’t always accurate.

What a hilarious main character Alma was! She could find a funny spin to anything that happened to her, from surprise health inspections at work to her strange and complicated interactions with her ex-husband. Some of the things that happened to her would have seriously annoyed or even frightened a lot of people. I loved the fact that she was able to quickly shake so many of those memories off with her fabulous sense of humor.

The only criticism I have of this story has to do with how quickly the romantic relationship in it heated up. Both of the people involve in it were so cautious and meticulous in other areas of their lives that I never would have expected them to move as fast as they did. Yes, I definitely wanted to see them end up together, but it felt a little odd to me because it didn’t feel consistent with everything else I’d learned about them. With that being said, this is a minor complaint about something I enjoyed quite a lot.

The world building was really well done. I especially enjoyed figuring out what ghosts were and weren’t capable of in this universe. Since nobody was given any instructions after they died, Bartholomew had to learn what he could do and what the consequences of those actions would be on his own. Him slowly discovering his abilities and limitations as the plot moved forward made it difficult for me to stop reading. I always wanted to know more about what the afterlife was like for him.

The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins was as spooky as it was sexy. It should be read by fans of erotica and ghost stories alike.

Habitat for Human Remains by Scott A. Lerner


Habitat for Human Remains by Scott A. Lerner
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre:Contemporary, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (258 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

For the forces of evil, Sam Roberts is catnip. Even during periods of calm, Sam knows that evil is just biding its time before challenging him again. So when he is asked to defend a wealthy shut-in charged with murder, he is suspicious. Why is the largest and wealthiest law firm in town hiring an outside attorney who is a sole practitioner to represent Mr. Blake May? Sam’s client resides in the sublimely creepy Frost Home, a “haunted” mansion given a wide berth by the residents of Champaign, Illinois. The house has been engulfed in rumors of death, missing children, and mystery since before the Civil War. Blake May is accused of not only murdering his girlfriend but decimating the remains until they look like marinara. But the agoraphobic middle-aged man rarely, if ever, left his rooms. If he indeed killed Heather, why can’t the police find a murder weapon? Everyone seems to want Blake declared insane rather than acquitted. Sam and his buddy Bob Sizemore know that Heather’s grizzly fate can’t be blamed on something as mundane as murder. There is a force at work in the house, and it seems to emanate from the mirror hung in the room where the remains of the body were found. Can Sam and Bob end the Frost Home’s eerie legacy of evil?

A funny horror story? Well, it really is.

Good grief, this was a creepy-crawly story with a mystery and even a love story all mixed in together. I will tell you in advance that this is not usually a genre I would read but this was so funny I couldn’t stop. The dialog that was created between Sam, the lawyer and Bob, his friend, had me giggling out loud half the time. One funny character and one relatively serious one were great creations by Scott Lerner. Lerner also pokes a little bit of fun at his own profession here but the legal world is not the focus of his story.

This story is about an attorney being offered a big case by a big firm. He can’t let it pass because of… money, of course. Even while picking up the check he is wondering why the firm would farm it out to him. It has a huge scary haunted house in it that you can just picture. It’s about the lives of two guys still looking for love and yes, it has a little bit of horrid scary scenes. How Scott Lerner managed to put all of this together and have me reading every page, I can’t tell you. However, I can tell you that this is well-written and Sam and Bob become your friends. I have said many times that any author that can make characters your friends and/or your enemies is a talented writer. Once you are caught right up in a story with your buddies, you will never miss a word.

This one is Book 5 in his series titled “A Samuel Roberts Thriller”. Looks like Books 1 through 4 are rated really high too so they must be just as good or better. Let’s read them too and hope he’s writing Book 6.

City of Endless Night by Emma Holly


City of Endless Night by Emma Holly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (184 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Masturbation, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When your boyfriend is a real live angel other men can’t compete. Amateur magician Georgie swears this is true . . . until she and Connor leave everything they know to save the genie world. That’s where she discovers angels don’t have a monopoly on sex appeal. Sultan Iksander would rather lose his smoke than fall for Georgie, no matter how smart and brave she is. The human race are rivals to genie kind—and angels are just traitors! Rescuing his people is what’s important, not getting tangled up in love triangles. Only Connor believes in their chances for happiness. This angel knows love is worth fighting for, whatever form it takes.

Fans of erotic romance and of Emma Holly are in for a royal treat. This novel follows the adventures of His Majesty, Iksander, Sultan of the Djinn, Georgie and Connor. My wait is over. This is the story that ties up almost all of the threads created in the first book in the Tales of the Djinn series and I enjoyed every exciting moment.

There is so much to choose from that I’m not sure what to talk about first. There’s the stolen magic, the realization that something big and dangerous is threatening Luna’s people and it has Georgie in its sights, there is are explorations with gruesome discoveries and more than one courageous escape attempt that kept me on the edge of my seat. When Ms. Holly focuses on creating an environment of suspense, and drama with nail-biting heart thumping action, it’s practically impossible to put down.

When the two heroes and heroine finally come to the realization that they have sexual feelings for each other, and get past the tentative exploration that seduces them with all the possibilities of a ménage à trois, Ms. Holly lets her imagination fly. I like how Iksander, Connor and Georgie took turns being unsure, cautious yet excited to explore how each of them tastes, feels and what each of them enjoys. I liked seeing their reactions while experimenting with things they had never done before. No holds barred. Erotic romance readers will find what they look for within the pages of City of Endless Night.

A heads up about Connor’s role for readers who might not be comfortable with angels having carnal relations, Connor’s not shy. Ms. Holly mixed things up with classic beliefs and there were quite a few times I cringed but mostly I kind of forgot what Connor was because the story, action and plot twists were incredible page turners. By keeping in mind this is fiction and utilizing willing suspension of disbelief, I enjoyed a really awesome read. The imaginative idea of split energies, both good and evil, and how light defeats dark, is incredibly appealing.

The last ditch effort to escape and return home was quite the thrill ride. The author painted the scene in vivid detail – the tunnel with the scales was a cool concept. What they discover inside was a colossal surprise and pretty weird. But, hey, this is the world of the Djinn – anything is possible.

When I said earlier that almost all the threads are tied up, that’s because there is the matter of Phillip. He’s still out there, somewhere and I hope he’s okay. Only Ms. Holly knows for sure and I look forward to finding out that the reason he can’t be found because he’s in the middle of his own HEA. One can only hope.

City of Endless Night is simply amazing. The HEA and wrap up was everything I could wish. All my favorite people were gathered together to celebrate and it made me feel good that Cade, Arcadius and Elyse are still living their happy ever after too. I guess a reader could read this book out of sequence but understanding how everyone came to be split in the first place would be much clearer if they started with The Guardian.Tales of the Djinn is a great series and if erotic readers haven’t discovered it yet, they’re missing out.

The Raven Flies at Night by Janine R. Pestel


The Raven Flies at Night by Janine R. Pestel
Publisher: Creativia Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (154 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In the second book of the series, Father Gunter and his friend, Robert Durling travel to the town of Mountainview.

A demon’s presence in the town has the townfolk depressed, with suicides being a daily occurrence. After the duo meets Father Nelson, they receive an amulet that will aid them in their battle against the Mountainview demon.

But after a meeting with TV reporter Belinda Carstone, they learn of her mysterious dream, and a demon that abducted her many years ago. Soon, their adventure takes a completely new, terrifying direction.

Demon hunting is a messy and dangerous job, but someone has to do it.

One of my favorite things about Robert Durling and Father Gunter in this tale was how level-headed they remained in even the most volatile situations. No matter how violent their supernatural encounters became they never panicked or made reckless decisions while they were trying to figure out the best way to excommunicate the demons they keep running into in this series.

There were many punctuation errors. By far the most common errors were the overuse and misuse of commas. While I deeply enjoyed the plot itself, it was distracting to be interrupted by so many sentences that I had to reread a few times in order to understand. I would have given this book a much higher rating if this hadn’t been the case.

The demon’s method of killing people was creative. Most of the other horror novels about demons I’ve read have taken a completely different approach to the harm they cause, so I was fascinated by the idea of one of these creatures causing so many grisly deaths without actually touching any of their victims. The original twists on this genre like this one are a big part of what keeps me so interested in what will happen next to these characters.

As I mentioned above, this is the second story in a series. It can be read out of order or as a standalone work.

I’d recommend The Raven Flies at Night to anyone who loves modern horror.

Dragons Hoard by M A Church


Dragons Hoard by M A Church
Dreamspun Beyond Book 5
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (183 pages)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

To be loved by a dragon is to be treasured.

A hundred years ago, werewolf Alpha Montgomery took a risk driven by desperation—he borrowed money from the ancient dragon Warwick Ehecatl, putting up the pack lands as collateral. Now the debt is due, and dragons don’t forget—or forgive. Warwick demands Montgomery’s son, Avery, and three businesses as compensation. As an Omega, Avery knows he is basically useless to his pack, so he might as well agree. He soon has second thoughts, though. Warwick is fearsome, and he’s free to do as he likes with Avery.

Warwick knows his race’s reputation, and he even admits some of it is deserved. But he’d rather cut off his tail than let his innocent mate’s light go out. It won’t be easy, but buried deep, there’s something between them worth safeguarding.

Beware of Dragons loaning money. They always expect to be repaid.

Avery is a wolf shifter, only son of the Alpha and yet he fulfils the role of an Omega. Ms. Church goes in to detail to explain exactly what that means. It should define who Avery is but he comes across as trying his best to not be a typical Omega. At one hundred years old, he has street smarts but he still has plenty to learn.

Warwick has come to collect a debt and dragons aren’t known for their philanthropy. They are possessive and shrewd and rich for a reason. When Avery’s father can’t repay in cash Warwick’s dragon comes up with an alternative tender. He wants his mate. He wants Avery. What a dragon wants, a dragon gets.

This is an insta-love story about two men who find each other under awkward circumstances. But maybe that was fate. As with most fated mate type stories, Avery and Warwick know they’re meant for each other as soon as they catch each other’s scents.

I personally enjoy a good insta-love but I still want there to be sexual tension. I didn’t get a lot of that here. There are some minor conflicts that are resolved quickly. I did like that Ms. Church has the men communicate pretty easily considering their age difference.

The kissing and touching are both hot. The Chase scene and eventual mating were a bit predictable but I still enjoyed watching Avery and Warwick get to know more about each other and each other’s culture. While there isn’t a lot of tension there is plenty of anticipation once the Chase is over and the men drive off to their HEA. I liked clever way the author resolved the issue of ‘the bite’.

Readers who enjoy a good paranormal where it’s more than just werewolves as shifters, should give this one a read. There’s growth, maturing and love. A good read on a cold night.

#iHunt Mayhem in Movieland by David A Hill Jr.


#iHunt Mayhem in Movieland by David A Hill Jr.
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (74 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Lana hunts monsters for a living. She absolutely hates hunting ghosts. So, of course, a friend is calling in a favor and having her hunt a ghost. Not just any ghost, but Old Anne, an urban legend at Movieland, a theme park inspired by the golden age of Hollywood. Worse off, Lana used to work at Movieland, and was fired after she had a… little incident killing three vampires on park property. So in addition to hunting ghosts—which she doesn’t want to do—she has to sneak around and not get noticed by her former coworkers. This is Book 3 of #iHunt. But it’s a completely standalone story—you don’t need to have read the others to get this. Content Warning: Drug use, violence, minor gore, descriptions of anxiety attacks.

Monster hunting is never as easy as it looks in the movies.

There’s nothing quite like trying to catch a bad guy that doesn’t play by the rules. The more I learned about this creature, the more curious I became to discover what it really was and why Lana was having so much trouble figuring out how to fight it. It was one of the most creative parts of the plot, and it kept me guessing until the end.

The pacing would have worked well in a full-length novel, but it felt uneven for a short story because of how much time it took for Lana to discover any clues at all about who or what was killing people at the amusement park. As much as I enjoyed seeing what she was up to again, there was a lot of room here to include more conflict in the storyline.

The fight scenes were exciting. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about this series so far is how vulnerable Lana is when she’s fighting something that has supernatural strength. She’s not a superhero, and she has sustained serious injuries from her battles in the past. There is always the very real danger that one of her opponents will kill or severely injure her. While I never like the thought of her being hurt, the genuine tension of not knowing for sure that she’ll be okay keeps me coming back for more.

This is the sequel to iHunt: Killing Monsters in the Gig Economy. It should be read in order.

I’d recommend #iHunt Mayhem in Movieland to anyone who loves gritty books about killing monsters.

Dante’s Circle by Dorien Grey


Dante’s Circle by Dorien Grey
An Elliott Smith Mystery, #4
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (132 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Dante Benevetti is the darling of the music world…and why not? He’s handsome, talented—and arrogant as only a man convinced of his own brilliance can be. As far as he’s concerned, the rest of the world exists for his benefit.

So, when he hears Dante is dead, a victim of murder, Elliott isn’t really surprised. Nor is he surprised when Dante comes for a post-mortem visit, demanding Elliott find out who killed him. Was it the well-known lyricist who was the only one in the house at the time? The talented young musician whose work Dante plagiarized? Or some unknown the great pianist had mortally offended?

Being famous is never a guarantee that everyone will like you.

One of the things I appreciate the most about this series is how much attention Mr. Grey always pays to his characters. No one is ever one hundred percent virtuous or villainous in this universe. The good guys have their fair share of faults, and even the most devious potential murderers have admirable character traits, too. This pattern continued in this tale. In fact, it was stronger than it’s ever been before, and that made it impossible for me to wander away from these characters until I knew how everything had been resolved and if Elliott would figure out who killed Dante.

I had some trouble keeping track of all of the secondary characters. While I wasn’t as confused by all of the new faces as I was in the third instalment in this series, I still would have liked to see a bit more time spent explaining how they all knew each other. This would have been especially helpful for the characters who only showed up a handful of times in the entire plot. With that being said, this is a minor criticism of a book that I otherwise enjoyed a lot.

The mystery of Dante’s death kept me guessing until the very end. There were enough clues to pique my interests, but they were also shared so sparingly that it wasn’t easy to figure out how they all fit together. I liked the fact that I needed to think so much about who may have killed this musician and what motive they might have had.

This is the fourth story in this series. While the storyline itself could be read as a standalone work, I’d recommend reading them in order to anyone who is interested in seeing how the main characters have evolved over time.

Dante’s Circle should be read by anyone who is in the mood for a thought-provoking mystery.

Frost & Claus by Matilda Janes


Frost & Claus by Matilda Janes
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (49 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

She loves to frost cookies. Now he’s going to frost hers.

Santa’s eldest daughter Chrystal Claus is curvy, cute, and loves to bake. Opening her bakery has been a dream come true, she loves to watch her customers smile after they’ve eaten one of her treats. It’s her gift and she’s never been happier. That is until Jack Frost comes back into town, seemingly intent on disrupting her life with his scowling eyes, grumpy growls, and all his bulging muscles, she can’t help but notice! After he embarrasses and hurts her feelings she decides she can’t stand the handsome jerk. But when she’s kidnapped, Chrystal discovers not all is as it seems.

Jack Frost has been waiting for Chrystal Claus for an eternity, and when she comes of age Jack wants to claim his mate. But it isn’t to be; bound by a promise, Jack reluctantly leaves Christmas Town. When he returns years later he can barely contain himself. He wants nothing more than to claim his mate and no one will stand in his way. Or so he thinks.

Can Chrystal accept being Mrs. Frost? Will Jack convince Chrystal that being naughty can be nice?

Chrystal and her sisters have all been good this year. Only time will tell how they’re rewarded for that.

Ms. Janes had a descriptive and playful writing style that worked well for her subject matter. From the opening scene in Chrystal’s bakery to the steamy experiences she shared with Jack in private later on, I was always able to easily picture what was going on. The author did a good job at showing the audience what was happening in her story at every step along the way.

I would have liked to see way more time spent developing the chemistry between the Claus sisters and the men who wanted to be with them. This was something I noticed especially between Jack Frost and Chrystal Claus. He had a strong desire for her from the very first scene, but at the same time he barely knew anything about her at all. Due to this, the chemistry between them never felt right to me.

The dialogue often made me smile. I liked discovering how many Christmas and folklore references the characters made throughout the plot. Not only did the mixture of all of these references give the storyline a creative spin, it made Christmas town come alive in my imagination. It felt like a real place to me, and that’s not something that’s easy to accomplish in a story of this length.

Frost & Claus should be read by anyone who is in the mood for a sultry version of life at the North Pole.