Reluctant Revenge by Xandra James

Reluctant Revenge by Xandra James
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (62 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

Nash was bound to her completely – by a blood connection and a deep desire. An Enforcer for the Supranormal community, he was obligated to protect the sexy assignment from those who coveted her future Angelic abilities, but can he forgive the woman whose family had devastated his world?

Sienna, upon the realization she’d been betrayed by her family for keeping her birthright a secret, seeks solace in the arms of her surly and reluctant protector; a demon hybrid with a secret of his own. Can she come to terms with her destiny after discovering that she could be as dangerous as those Nash was protecting her from?

Is a vow of revenge more powerful than the lure of one’s heart?

Sienna had grown up in an emotionally cold home. Her mother gone, her father too busy, the only love she knew was that of her grandmother and brothers. She’d be the first to admit she was spoiled and never lacked for anything…material. But what good are worldly things when they’re merely given to veil dark secrets? A few hours before her birthday, Sienna’s whole life turns upside down. Suddenly, the scary things from nightmares and bad movies become real. The only person saving her from the clutches of evil is a man who is just as emotionally distant as her father, but hot as Hell. With her life in danger, her hormones in overdrive, and her mind on the brink of Crazy town, turning thirty promises to be a birthday to remember.

Nash had made a promise: revenge on the man who murdered his beloved and ripped out his heart. He’d waited a long time for the opportunity to take from the Clementis what they’d taken from him. Now that he had Sienna in his clutches, it’d be nothing to snuff out her life. And yet, he felt the stirrings of emotions he’d thought long dead in his dark heart. She evoked feelings he didn’t want, desires he shouldn’t have. Suddenly, his simple plan for vengeance became complicated. How could he kill his life-mate?

Reluctant Revenge was an exciting ride. The chemistry between the characters kept me enthralled, eager to see what happened next. Ms. James adds her own spin to the typical “vampire” character, calling them Strix. Her demons are sexy-as-hell-hot, and her creativity is refreshing and new. The book isn’t riddled with redundant sex. No, Ms. James adds enough heat to get your hormones going, but doesn’t flood the book with one sex scene after another. There were a few editing errors and point-of-view violations; but nothing distracting enough to take away from the story itself. Overall, I loved her tale and look forward to reading some more of her work. Perhaps there’s a story for Jesse or Austin? My piqued interest can only hope.

If you’re looking for an exciting book packed full of paranormal creatures, sexy heroes, and feisty damsels in distress, then look no further, Reluctant Revenge promises to fulfill your need for demons, excitement, and steamy romance.

Magic Lessons by Lex Valentine

Magic Lessons by Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (20 pgs)
Other: M/M, Toys, Voyeurism, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Wizard Club owner Drake Keating is restless and dissatisfied with his life. His friends and occasional lovers have all mated and he’s tired of casual one night hookups. His search for companionship lands him face to face with Justin Scott, the sexy human who manages his club. A year earlier, Drake hooked up with Justin only to dump him when he thought he’d found his mate. Now, he’s discovering just how wrong his previous actions were. Justin gives the wizard one shot at mending what he broke and Drake’s determined to show Justin that he’s changed. He has one night to learn the magical lessons of love and open the door to a future with Justin.

There are not many authors that I know that will pull me into the story and its characters like this author can and as usual she does not disappoint. With this newest story I was immersed in their world right from the start and hated to leave it.

In this visit to the Darkworld we’re treated to a snippet in Drake and Justin’s lives. After being tossed to the side and watching Drake play the field, Justin reaches his breaking point when Drake shows up at the same club. After Justin confronts Drake he finds himself in the last place he thought he would be: back in Drake’s arms. Will he be able to give Drake another chance or has he finally had enough?

The characters in this story are so full of depth and emotions. The relationship between Justin and Drake burns up the pages. Drake is a smart man but when it comes to love he’s been an idiot. When he finally realizes the truth, it hits him like a ton of bricks and we can see just how truly sorry he is for what he’s done to Justin. Justin loves Drake and wears his heart on his sleeve. He knows that he may regret his decision but Justin’s love for Drake prevails over his common sense and he can’t help but give Drake one more chance. As the two rekindle their relationship the feelings that they have for each other grow into so much more and we can only hope that Justin and Drake have finally found their happy ever after.

I really enjoyed this visit and cannot wait to return to this world. The characters were brought vividly to life and I felt every emotion as if it were my own. I was not only treated to a hot story in this book but got a beautiful love story as well.

Immortal Death by Laurel O’Donnell

Immortal Death by Laurel O’Donnell
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Jade Smith’s supernaturally fast ability to heal has made her a freak. After years of fearful reactions from others, she stays hidden in the shadows of life. The one thing that keeps her sane is her writing–and her wonderful Demetrius, an imaginary character she created in her online stories. But when Demetrius suddenly appears in her apartment, her life changes forever.

Demetrius Mercer is a fighter vampire for the de Nouviant family who spends his days hunting a rival vampire family for killing his beloved Rosaline. When he learns Jade Smith knows his life story and is publishing it on the Internet for all to see, he must uncover who she is and how she knows so much about his past–before she exposes him and endangers his entire family.

Will Jade’s abilities be enough to heal Demetrius’s scarred soul, or will he spend eternity alone in anguish?

What if your wildest dream turned out to be true? What if it was more like a nightmare?

“You’ve been exposed.” The opening words of Ms. O’Donnell’s book grabbed my attention immediately. From that moment, I was pulled into Demetrius and Jade’s dangerous world and found myself racing alongside them as they tried to stay one step ahead of their enemies.

Jade is a very lonely woman. She interacts with other people as little as possible for fear that they’ll discover her power. Her self-imposed isolation is truly heartbreaking. She has absolutely no long term friendships and doesn’t trust anyone. Even though Jade fears how people will react to her healing power, she never hesitates to use it to help those who need. I was truly moved when she saved the life of a child she didn’t even know and would never see again. I admire her selfless and caring personality very much.

Jade’s life changes forever when Demetrius, a man she thought she’d made up, crashes into her life. While Demetrius looks like the man from her imagination, he isn’t exactly the man of her dreams. From the moment they meet, Jade’s life quickly begins to resemble a nightmare as she learns not only do vampires exist, but they’re after her and her story. Jade and Demetrius are constantly at odds with each other. Demetrius is a powerful vampire who demands to know the source of Jade’s story, but Jade is strong and refuses to be intimidated by Demetrius. I loved how she more than held her own in their heated arguments. Even though Jade and Demetrius fight, they have amazing chemistry on a physical as well as emotional level. As the bond between them grows, Jade can’t help but wonder if Demetrius truly cares for her, or if he simply wants to know the source of her story.

Demetrius really is living an “immortal death.” There’s no joy or love in his life. He exists purely to make the Malachite family pay for the death of Rosaline. He’s spent centuries blocking out emotions of any kind, until he meets Jade. Demetrius isn’t quite sure what to make of his feelings for her, and he completely makes a mess of things. Jade’s a battered soul, so I found it very hard to watch Demetrius lash out at her. There are many hills and valleys in their relationship. One moment they are embracing and the next Demetrius is storming away from her in anger. His stubborn attitude was very frustrating at times. However, Demetrius does have a softer side, and I really enjoyed it when he allowed it to come to the surface.

I would have liked to know more about the Vampire Council. Each member of the council is named after a Greek or Roman god. Like Jade, I wonder if that’s because they are the gods of legend or if they’re simply vampires who have chosen to fit themselves into those roles. I would have loved to know a bit more about their history and how they became vampires. Also, at the beginning of the book, Jupiter’s wife is referred to by the Roman name Juno, but at the end of the book, the Greek name Hera is used. This caused me a small moment of confusion, but didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

The pacing of Immortal Death is great. Every time I turned a page, the tension increased. Demetrius has always blamed the Malachite family for Rosaline’s death, but as the story progressed, it became clear that this wasn’t the case. Demetrius doesn’t know who his enemies really are. I flew through the pages and little by little the past was brought to light. I was able to fit some of the pieces of the puzzle together before Demetrius, but I must admit that I was completely shocked and horrified at how deep and far reaching the betrayal and its consequences actually went.

Immortal Death is definitely a page-turner. The closer I got to the end of the story, the faster I read. Anyone looking for an addictive paranormal romance should check out Immortal Death.

Encounters: Weylyn’s Gift by Lex Valentine

Encounters: Weylyn’s Gift by Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (22 pgs)
Other: M/F, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Werewolf Weylyn Randall is bi-sexual and happily carefree. He spends his nights fucking and playing bass in a band. His days are spent recuperating for another go-round when the sun goes down. Nothing gives Weylyn more pleasure than getting his “were” on. After years of this hedonistic lifestyle he doesn’t think there’s a mate out there for him. He’s happy having encounters with whomever strikes his fancy and hooking up with best friend and occasional lover, Drake Keating, whenever possible. Then Drake sends him a gift in a plain brown wrapper. Along with the gift comes a magical woman and between the two, they unleash the next phase in Weylyn’s wild sex life.

Weylyn’s new gift from Drake has him more than a little intrigued and when you add in a beautiful woman like Keir, Weylyn’s libido comes along for the ride. I enjoyed this quick and fast paced read. Weylyn is a great man. He loves everyone, man or woman, he has no preference. He enjoys them all and is ready to try almost anything. It seems that Weylyn may have met his match in Keir. She is more than ready to help him enjoy his new gift and the two seem made for each other.

The author has done a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life. As quick as the read was I still felt like I got to know Weylyn and Keir. I loved getting to see how the two met and found each other. Watching the sparks turn into fireworks between Keir and Weylyn was a great read. As hot as this book is we still get a nice romance between the two characters. It is more than just a story about the two having sex, it shows us the beginning of their relationship and had me wondering just where it would go from here. This may not be long but it is still a wonderful story to be told. I cannot wait to see more from Weylyn and Keir and what they will be up to in the future.

These short stories about the characters in the Dark World are a nice look into their lives and I love getting finding out more about the inhabitants of this world.

The Trinket Seller’s Daughter by Nicole Hurley‐Moore

The Trinket Seller’s Daughter by Nicole Hurley‐Moore
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (33 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Fennel

Lost in the forest, Emelin runs for her life after her traveling party is massacred by outlaws. Sir Allard de Gerril is in pursuit of the ruthless Archer and his band when he finds Emelin. Bound by vengeance the pair seek out Archer, but as they journey through the dark woods revenge gives way to passion. With each passing day, Emelin dares to dream that there is a place for a lowly trinket seller’s daughter by the knight’s side. Yet as Archer begins to hunt the couple, Emelin fears that she and Allard will not have a future together as they may never escape the tangled wood alive.

From the first line, The Trinket Seller’s Daughter grabs your attention and holds onto it throughout the story with its fast pace and tension-packed pages. The author makes every word count, and in doing so ratchets up the tension, conflict and motivation right to the final word and full-stop.

When the hero, Sir Allard de Gerril, survives an attempt on his life he swears to hunt down his attackers. Allard is every woman’s fantasy hero: strong, tough and determined, and rarely side tracked… Until he meets Emelin after everyone in her travelling party has been massacred, including her adored father.

Shared ambitions to find and punish the perpetrators, still isn’t enough to overcome Emelin’s trust. In her heroine, the author takes a trusting young woman and sets her in situations that challenge every belief she holds dear. And Nicole Hurley‐Moore does not give her heroine the luxury of time to decide. Nor is Emelin, with her caring actions, beyond making basic mistakes that put her and Allard in immediate and critical danger.

Every character in this short story plays their part to the hilt and with full impact upon their scene. Every emotion is stirred by the skillful penmanship of this author. From the base to the beautiful, every conflict, motivation and goal, grasped this reader’s attention from the first word to the last.

The writing is powerful and vivid, the content awesome, the story is believable in almost every moment, as is the sense of place and era. Finally, the writing is fluent and punchy throughout.

The quality of her first novella makes Ms Nicole Hurley‐Moore an author to watch because her writing is enthralling.

I am delighted to rate The Trinket Seller’s Daughter a ‘five’.

A Knight In Cowboy Boots by Suzie Quint

A Knight In Cowboy Boots by Suzie Quint
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (189 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Myrtle

When Zach McKnight, an irresistible oil rig worker with a thick-as-honey Texan drawl, first pokes into the secrets surrounding the mysterious Maddie Wells, he has no idea that the chance encounter will change his life forever. Maddie Wells is on the run with Jesse, the infant son of her murdered sister. The boy’s father isn’t far behind. He wants his son and is willing to kill to get him. Zach is intrigued from the first moment he sees the dark haired beauty in a hotel, but getting his hard working hands on her delectable body is more easily dreamt than achieved. He gets shot for his trouble, by Maddie no less, and sucked into the web of lies and fear that are her constant companions.

Everything is bigger in Texas, even the cockroaches.

Hooked from the first chapter, I could not put the book down. I kept wondering what Maddie was afraid of and why she and her nephew, Jesse, were on the run. I always love to get my hands on a book like this one that is full of mystery and suspense. There is nothing like sitting on the edge of your seat eager to find out what will be revealed on the next page. This book did a beautiful job in keeping the action going and the suspense high.

When Maddie meets Zachariah, Zach for short, at a hotel bar in Galveston, she agrees to follow him to his room where things get hot and heavy fast. It was sweet and funny watching the electricity spark between the two, then die quickly after she overhears a phone call and thinks he is married Later, she ends up accidently shooting him when his sister knocks on his hotel door.

Zach soon realizes that Maddie is scared of something or someone and I found that angle only added to the mystery and was very entertaining. More so when Zach has his sisters and brothers check into her past and then lets his imagination run wild when he learns she is not who she says she is. The more time he spends with her, the harder he falls but fears that she will run if he starts asking questions.

I think every girl needs a knight in cowboy boots like Zach, a man who knows how to treat a lady; one that has a mama who can put the fear of God in all her kids no matter how old they get. Definitely a delicious tale with heat, humor, and devilish excitement to keep you enthralled until the end. Ms. Quint’s did a brilliant job in bringing the characters to life and keeping this reader’s attention all the way through the story.

Deck The Halls by Shashauna P. Thomas

Deck The Halls by Shashauna P. Thomas
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (57 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

Jake and Jason are identical twins who’ve known for a long time that there would only be one woman for the both of them. One who loved each of them equally and could handle both the pros and cons of being shared by two men on a daily basis. As soon as they laid eyes on the beautiful new file clerk Gloria they knew deep in their heart that she was the one meant to be theirs. They thought their only obstacle was to convince her that their feelings were genuine. Quickly they learn they’re mistaken when they find out the lovely Gloria’s been keeping a major secret. One that not only jeopardizes the future they planned to share with her, but also places her very life in danger.

Gloria found it hard not to have a positive outlook when she got to see the delicious Jason and delectable Jake every day. On top of that the merriment of the season all around her was infectious. It was the first Christmas in a long time that Gloria was actually looking forward to. That is until she learns the mistakes of her past, ones she tried very hard to put behind her and bury, were now back. Back with a vengeance and determined to destroy her. Now all she hoped for Christmas was that the people she’d grown to love wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire.

This holiday season is looking a whole lot merrier for Gloria and the sexy twin officers who’ve been tailing her for the last six months. After spending three years in hell with her psycho ex-boyfriend, Gloria has decided it’s time to let go of the past and embrace her new identity and future, starting with finding out just how serious the flirtatious Jake and Jason are.

Their plan was simple. A slow seduction of the mind before a complete and total claiming of her body. They just needed her to love them separately first before approaching her with the idea of forever with the two of them. Jake and Jason have known that there would only be one woman for them and all signals point to Gloria being the one.

Before any of them can finalize their holiday plans, a maniac from Gloria’s past comes back to silence her for good.

Deck the Halls is a short and erotically sweet story with just enough lustiness to satisfy without being overwhelming. I was surprised at how the moments of intimacy between the characters unfolded and Ms. Thomas definitely knows how to write them. However, I would have enjoyed this story that much more had there been additionaly length to the story, which would have further developed the characters, their relationship, and the plotline. Nevertheless, I have a newfound appreciation for men-in-uniform and perhaps more importantly what can be done with one (or two) in a file room.

Erotic romance fans will definitely get into the holiday spirit just a tad early this year after reading this story.

Encounters: Blood Play by Lex Valentine

Encounters: Blood Play by Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (29 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Vampire Aiden Swann has a tough job, infiltrate Paris’s most notorious BDSM club Perdition. While he’s all Alpha, Aiden’s no Dom, yet he finds his time in Perdition no hardship due to a mysterious female vampire. Cadence O’Connor intrigues him and makes him hard as stone. He knows there’s no reason that a pure blood vampire like him couldn’t play with a mixed blood vampire like her, but Cade disagrees. She’s got a chip on her shoulder about her heritage and refuses to see Aiden as a sexual partner. All Aiden needs to do is convince Cade that she’s no abomination and that everything she is, is everything he wants.

Most of us have had that feeling of not belonging. Cade knows she does not belong. She is half vampire and half demon, a combination that should not exist. Since her birth, she has endured the hatred of other vampires because of her demon heritage. Yet when she sees Aiden she cannot help but lust after the pure blood vampire. Knowing that she can never have him she distances herself from him but Aiden has other plans and those plans include loving Cade.

Having met Aiden in a previous book I knew what a good man he was and enjoyed seeing him in this book. Cade, on the other hand, was new to me. She is such a strong woman to have dealt with being an outcast all her life and still find it possible to love someone. I loved seeing Aiden and Cade find each other. The lust that they share grows into love quickly but Cade still thinks she is unworthy.

Even though this is a small taste into Aiden and Cade’s world it is still an emotional and sexy read. I enjoyed watching Cade and Aiden’s feelings unravel. Each of them loves the other but the world that they live in will not let them be happy. Aiden’s fight for love was a wonderful thing to see and it had me hoping that Cade would grab that lifeline and hang on tight. The love that these two share burns up the pages and had me glued to my seat, turning the pages to find out what more Cade and Aiden would do.

I enjoyed this fast paced story and eagerly await my next visit to the Darkworld. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Aiden and Cade.

Falling Hard and Fast by Rita Sawyer

Falling Hard and Fast by Rita Sawyer
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (30 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Nightshade

Suzie Ricker has been fighting her attraction to Tim Elknit for months. He’s constantly popping into the office where she works and watching her with those dreamy brown eyes of his, but she’s been able to resist his charms…so far. Then she runs into him in the market, knocking them both to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. Embarrassed Suzie runs out of the store.

When Tim shows up at her house with her groceries, he’s determined to explore their mutual attraction. After all, he couldn’t mistake the way her body had reacted to his when they’d literally fallen for each other.

Suzie knows she’s falling hard and fast for Tim, but he’s the one worried about being left alone on this Valentine’s Day.

Who would have thought running into your boss’s best friend in the supermarket could be so hot? Tim and Suzie show you just how steamy it can be in the novella Falling Hard and Fast. Stopping at the grocery store on her way home from work, Suzie ends up literally colliding with Tim, her boss’s sexy and single friend. After their rather sticky meeting at the store, things really heat up as they explore the best ways to “apologize” for their clumsiness.

Sensual and tantalizing, this little tease is just enough to get the blood pumping. Playing on the fantasy of the hot customer/boss’s friend, this little number shows you that this little taboo can be fun. There were a few hiccups in the editing, but nothing to take away from the overall story. This sweet little story catches the attention so thoroughly because it seems relatively real. This is a very believable situation, which adds just a little more spice. Add to that well rounded characters and it gives this novella that extra something that puts it over the top.

While not as hot as I think a book in this genre needs to be, it is a sweet and sensual tease. I loved the light touches of humor and wit; it adds a comfort level to the story that is usually missing in erotica. The characters come to life with a realism that almost makes you feel like a naughty little voyeur. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to seeing more works from this author.

Breathe Me In by Lex Valentine

Breathe Me In by Lex Valentine
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (83 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 5 cherries
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Life is good for vampire Wilson North. His family left him well off. His job as an estate attorney is prestigious, well paying, and non-demanding. He’s gay and out and never had any issues being either. In fact, until the day he ended up beneath his car, bleeding out and only a few pints of blood from a sure trip to the Afterworld, life had never been a challenge.

When Will meets his destiny in the form of an enigmatic Magia named Garrick Forrester he finds the challenge of his life. Garrick’s gay but doesn’t live an openly gay life. Instead, he hides his nature behind his ownership of a BDSM club. The two men instantly know they are mates, but that doesn’t smooth the path to their bonding. Garrick wants Will but threats from his past convince him that the only way to protect his lover is to leave him. Shocked by Garrick’s ability to walk away, Will struggles to understand why his mate doesn’t want him. For the first time in Will’s life, something isn’t easy and he must fight for what he needs or give up his chance for happiness.

Drawn together by destiny. Torn apart by self-doubts and fear. Two men on the cusp of a dream must set aside the lives they’ve always lived for a chance at a new and brilliant future.

How can someone live after finding their mate and abruptly losing him, all within a short period of time? Would you fight for your love or would you let it slip through your fingers? After a near death experience Wilson North realizes that he cannot continue to live his life as he has been doing. When he meets his mate his world is turned upside down. Garrick and Wilson are wonderful together but Garrick has fears and secrets that pull the two apart. After a great week of being together things make a turn in the wrong direction. Out of the blue Garrick announces that he is leaving and that Wilson must go on without him but Wilson is not ready to give up on his mate and follows Garrick to find his secrets.

Breathe Me In is another great installment to the Darkworld series. Wilson North is a great character and I am happy to see that he finds a mate and gets his story told. Garrick and Wilson make a wonderful couple. Always there for one another and so full of love for each other. I loved seeing Wilson come into himself and fight for Garrick. Garrick may love Wilson but he is afraid and thinks the best way to protect Wilson is to leave him. Garrick is a strong man who finds his life and emotions in upheaval win he meets Wilson. Their story is a great romance that kept me enthralled and turning those pages all the way to the end.

Full of great characters and strong emotions this book takes you on an emotional roller coaster. I loved the ride that this author takes the reader on in this book and cannot wait for the next book to come out.