To Claim His Girl by Sam Crescent


To Claim His Girl by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (109 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Eli Waters has made his way back home from military school for one thing, and that is to claim Aria Dean. She’s one of his best friends, the girl who has been by his side through thick and thin.

A year without Eli was difficult for Aria. She missed his warmth, his smile, his playfulness. But though she’s loved him for a long time, it doesn’t matter. She knows she’s not his type. She’s not blonde, or thin, or beautiful. She is just plain Aria.

But now he’s back, and he’s different.

With help from their friends, Eli is determined to finally claim Aria. Laying his feelings on the table, he makes sure Aria knows the truth. He’s not going anywhere. He loves her, and from the moment they first met when they were three years old, they belonged together.

Can two young souls fight for their love, or will outside influences tear them apart?

What a wonderful sweet romance from Sam Crescent! I really enjoyed reading it from the very first page.

To Claim His Girl is a friendship to steamy love story. I loved the main characters , Eli and Aria. These two determined young people realized that they loved each other and then had to stand up to almost everyone just to be together. They had an incredibly close bond since pre-school, not just with each other, but also their four friends. I really liked that closeness which made the story more special. They had to withstand a lot of pressures from their family, school, and secrets.

Sam Crescent’s excellent writing made this book a fluid believable read. Eli and Aria had known each other for a long time. Yet, it wasn’t until Eli got into trouble and sent to military school that he realized that Aria was meant to be more than his friend. It made it more romantic that he worked so hard just to come back for her. There was a lot of drama, from the usual high school politics, to family secrets, and self esteem issues for Aria. Luckily, it didn’t drag out and the reader gets to really relish in the close bonds of friendship and young passions.It’s actually not all that steamy for a Sam Crescent book either. This one was more sweet than sizzling but just as entertaining to this happy reader.

I both enjoyed and recommend this book for everyone.

Kiss Me, Cowboy by Carol Lynne


Kiss Me, Cowboy by Carol Lynne
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (59 pgs)
Other: M/M Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

It isn’t easy to cling to teenage promises when you become one of the forgotten.

For Eli Barron, Jesse Clooney has always been the one. From their first day of kindergarten through their high school graduation, the pair were inseparable.
So, when a situation arises that splits the two men apart, it’s up to Eli to keep the home fires burning as Jesse sets off to follow his dreams on the rodeo circuit.
But how long can a man continue to stoke the fire before the flames die out?

They say love is forever, but when you find your soulmate as a teen, it’s much harder to believe. Just ask Eli Barron who found the love of his life in kindergarten. When life happens and Eli is forced to say goodbye the only man he’s ever loved, will he be able to hold on? Or will he be forced to move on and give up on his dreams?

Eli is quite a catch. Although he’s loved Jesse since they were kids, he’s still able to allow his boyfriend the freedom to ride the circuit and try to make a living away from his abusive father. He’s so confident in Jesse’s love that no matter how difficult things get, he keeps hold of his faith and continues on. Jesse has no idea how lucky he is.

Jesse Clooney needs to get the heck out of town. Having spent his life under the scrutiny of everyone in their small town, as soon as graduation hits, he feels the need to flee. It’s not a choice he wants to make, but it’s one he feels like he has to make in order to break free of the stigma of being ‘that abused child’. Since the entire story is told through Eli’s point of view, it’s hard to know what’s really going on in Jesse’s head, although I want to believe that he thinks he’s doing the right thing, even if he really pushes Eli’s love to the limit.

Kiss Me, Cowboy is a short and intense story spanning many years. You really get to know Eli, his life, and his heartache over Jesse. That was the only thing that really bothered me about this story. Eli suffered so much waiting for Jesse to return and dealing with the disappointment as the narrative wore on. You want things to work out for him, but sometimes you also wish he said ‘enough’ and moved on to someone else. In the end, I’m happy that they managed to work it out and get their happily ever after. Jesse should be thankful, too, after the emotional roller coaster Eli took us on. All in all, a very emotional and passionate story.

Dragon King’s Prize by Angelique Voisen


Dragon King’s Prize by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Leon is an anomaly, born to a family of hunters who believe all shifters need to die. When his family goes too far and uses a young dragon shifter as bait, Leon is forced to make the greatest mistake…or best decision of his life. Saved by an Alpha dragon, Leon wonders if Rashik is his captor or the one man he’s been searching for all his life.

Dragon King Rashik has been on the search for a stolen hatchling. He never expected to find a tasty and defiant human with steel in his spine. Humans hunt his kind for sport, yet Rashik can’t deny his attraction. Leon might be different but claiming the human could shift the balance in his clan.

Regardless of the consequences, Rashik is king for a reason. Once he sets his sights on Leon, Rashik will do anything to claim him.

All his life Leon just tried to survive. Living in the shadow of his father, the mighty paranormal hunter, was not always a good thing especially when he did not believe in his father’s ideals. Leon always believed that the shifters had just as much right to be in this world as the humans did. When Leon goes against his father and the other hunters by saving a baby dragon he finds himself under the protection of the dragon king. Just what will happen to Leon now that he is among the dragons. Is he safe or has he just traded one prison for another one?

Leon’s story grabs you right from the start. He leads a hard life living amongst the hunters and believing that the shifters have a right to live. Being beaten and ostracized, Leon takes one last chance to do one thing right in his life and that decision leads him to Rashik and his dragons. From the very beginning the two feel something going on between them and they must figure out just where they each stand. I enjoyed watching the two find their way to each other and their happy ever after. They live in a world that is divided yet the two men find a way to come together and fight for what is right. Not only do we get to see Rashik and Leon’s relationship build but we also get to see Leon grow and find himself as he fights to protect the baby dragon. There are those that are full of hate in every race and Leon finds that he must be on guard at all times. Love and trust are key to Leon and Rashik’s relationship and the two must realize when to let their guard down and let that love and trust in.

The author weaves and intriguing story full of adventure and emotions. I quickly found myself engrossed in their story and as with any good book it left me wanting to return and see more from this world and its characters.

Just a Cowboy by Julia Talbot


Just a Cowboy by Julia Talbot
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Can an old-fashioned cowboy and a young man on the run from his dark past find a future together?

Herschel is a simple rancher who believes everybody deserves a second chance, which is why he tends to hire underdogs—like Dalton, a young cowboy who needs all the support and TLC Herschel can offer.

Dalton doesn’t think anyone can forgive him for what he did, but Herschel seems willing to try. In fact, he might be the best thing that has ever happened to Dalton. He might even be the one to help Dalton trust in the future again. Just when he’s about to tell Herschel everything, all hell breaks loose. Herschel must help Dalton break free from everything that’s haunting him, or they’ll both end up alone.

Everyone deserves a second chance… or do they? If you ask Dalton, you might be surprised by his answer. What Dalton doesn’t expect is to run into the one cowboy that can change it all for him if he’ll only put forth a little effort and communicate. Can two very stubborn cowboys from different worlds find a way to make it work? Time – and a little love – will tell.

I loved Herschel from the very beginning. He’s your typical cowboy who only wants a simple life doing what he loves. Herschel can waver between big brother and father figure to everyone he knows and it’s quite endearing to see how he is with other cowboys. Watching him move from boss to lover with Dalton was a real treat.

Dalton has a habit of acting like an irrational child. While he’s young, he’s been on his own for a bit and should have a better handle on his reactions. That said, he’s a sweet kid and an excellent match for Herschel as he brings a bit of levity to Hersch’s stubborn ways. The older cowboy does a lot to help Dalton overcome his fears and grow into the boots he’s wearing in return.

Once Dalton is forced to face his past, things get hairy, mostly because the entire situation is a little dramatic. Dalton’s pregnant sister, his parents, and half the town where Dalton grew up only add to the chaos. This is one of those times where being a bit stubborn is both good and bad. Good because it gives you the drive to do what needs to be done, but bad as well because it keeps you from admitting to being wrong. In the end, Just a Cowboy, was a sweet and enjoyable story full of hot cowboys and a lot of craziness.

BEARly Resisting by Jenika Snow


BEARly Resisting by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Killian knew his mate was out there. Being celibate in hopes he’ll find his female hasn’t been a hardship, but he’s growing impatient.

And then he sees her. She’s human, gorgeous, and will be his. He doesn’t even know her name, but her smell is sugary and tells his possessive inner bear she’s supposed to be his in all ways.

Alice planned a weekend of relaxation, but instead, she found herself mated to a bear shifter. Alice doesn’t fight the attraction she has for Killian, not when she wants to be between the sheets with him in the worst possible way. Alice is single one day and mated to a growly bear shifter the next, but can it last forever?

I enjoyed this sizzling hot paranormal romance.

The steamy plot easily captured my interest. It had a strong heroine, a sexy alpha male, and crazy hot sex. Alice wasn’t looking for excitement but she sure didn’t run away from it either. I liked that about her. She had a naughty fantasy about having wild sex with a shifter. She was drawn to the right place at the right time and met Killian. He was a sexy bear shifter looking for his mate.These two had a wild night of hot shifter loving, scratching, biting and mating. Yes, they were true mates. This short story was a quick read. For the most part the only drama was Alice understanding that Killian meant business when he said he was keeping her as his mate.

This was a short book that seemed to fly by at a super fast pace. I liked the characters and the story. So looking forward to more books from Jenika Snow.

C1PHER by Monica E. Spence


C1PHER by Monica E. Spence
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (100 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Revolutionary War re-enactor Mary Banvard must travel to West Point during a thunder storm to authenticate papers concerning Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of West Point. Poor visibility causes a terrible car accident​, and she blacks out. When a masculine voice awakens her, she discovers everyone around her is wearing Colonial clothes. Odd. Who is this guy with the queue and the glasses who looks so worried?

Robert Townsend looks like a Quaker shopkeeper, but he is Culper, Jr., General George Washington’s most important spy. When Lady Mary Banvard, his fiancée, awakens following a carriage accident, she begins ranting about missing papers and traveling through Time.

Together Mary and Robert stumble upon a threat to their lives, their happiness, and the security of American generations to come.

Studying the past is one thing. Suddenly waking up in it is quite another.

The dialogue was fantastic. There were several times when I chuckled out loud at the things Mary said after she mysteriously found herself living back during the time of the Revolutionary War. She has a sharp wit, and it shone through the conversations she had with Robert and other characters during her adventures. The only thing better than this part of the plot was how funny it was to see how everyone responded to the things she said that made sense in our times but were unintelligible a few hundred years ago.

I would have liked to see more time spent developing the romance in this story. The characters involved in it were so different from each other that I needed more examples of what they shared in common. They were both fascinating people. I simply wasn’t totally sure that they would make a good couple because of how often their personalities and interests conflicted each other.

Mary was such an interesting woman. I loved her spunky attitude and how unflappable she was when she found herself in the middle of a crisis. She’s the kind of smart and steady person I’d want to have around if there were some kind of emergency. Her calm approach to even the strangest situations she found herself in made me adore her from the first scene to the last one.

C1PHER should be read by fans of light science fiction and historical romances alike. This is a nice blend of both of those genres!

Even Honey Expires by Carlene Love


Even Honey Expires by Carlene Love
A Sin Pointe Novel – 6
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Sin Pointe drummer Will Cordero has good reason to keep his marriage a secret. In an age of no privacy, there’s too much danger and drama should he introduce Honey to the Sin Pointe masses and he’ll do whatever he can to protect her from that. Besides, it’s been pretty perfect having her all to himself. Until one day when he discovers a note she’s written that he was never meant to see.

Living in seclusion has left Honey feeling invisible, pushing her to the breaking point. The secret is no longer their shared adventure. While she is his one source of joy in a mad world, she needs out and he admits he must let her go. But he just can’t. One night, it all comes crashing down on them when Honey snaps, rocking Will’s world. Faced with a life or death situation, can he make the sacrifice and set his soulmate free in the name of love, or will he hold on until his, and her, last breath?

Will is a member of a avaunt guard band and it could be dangerous for the fans to know he is married. He keeps his wife Honey a secret – even from his bandmates. When he realizes he’s not being fair to Honey and is destroying their love by keeping her hidden, he decides it would be best to leave her.

Events beyond their control thwart Will’s intentions and the pair end up in extreme danger.

This book is unusual to say the least. A little bit of the paranormal, confusing Will’s decisions, although he isn’t aware of Honey’s out of body experience. His love for his wife comes across as wonderful and unselfish. He’s willing to sacrifice their marriage to enable her to survive. I did feel it was a bit on the selfish side that he wouldn’t leave the band for his wife’s sake, but had to admit this could also have had a bad effect on the marriage. Not bad, and I felt the length was just about right.

Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 6
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

Corrine Ayres was a werewolf with a charmed life. Until her love was taken from her in a place called Mesa Diablo.

Javier Roque’s wolf never rose, so he left Angels Rest to make his own way. Until a deadly threat to his pack brought him home.

Can the widowed she-wolf and the tattooed bad boy missing his wild side find what they desire? Or will they lose everything before they can claim their fate?

A bad boy werewolf who isn’t a wolf sounds like it’s its own conflict. If that’s not intriguing enough, this story picks up with someone I met in the last book, Lost Wolf. Corrine has had the worst thing happen to her. The love of her life, her other half, for all intents and purposes now belongs to another woman and is mated to her courtesy of the hated Kingdom Guard. They destroyed the man she once knew and replaced him with a stranger. She had it all and lost it all. Both Javier and Corrine are tortured in different ways but they are both seeking something they believe is out of their reach – impossible dreams of happiness, love and fulfillment. At the point when I first watch them meet, they are both in a bad place in their lives and there’s no better hook than wanting to see them find their way to a happy ever after, together. But what is it going to take? That’s one of the questions that had me picking up this book, determined to find the answer. I already wanted peace for Corrine but how could Javier give it to her when he couldn’t find it for himself? Ghost Wolf has great hooks, awesome conflicts and a romance story that delivers a solid and well-earned HEA.

What I liked about this tale is that unlike the previous books, both the hero and heroine are part of the werewolf community. There are no secrets between them – they both understand werewolf culture. But Javier is an anomaly within that culture which is unique. Once again Ms. Jade has found a clever twist to make the paranormal genre her own. I enjoyed every minute.

The only thing that I felt was a disservice to Javier was his grandmother. Oh, there’s love, respect and a wonderful interaction between the two, but I just couldn’t understand why she didn’t want him in that little hut. Why didn’t she ever teach him anything? Why did she deny him? Why did she treat him that way when in every other aspect she proved she loved him unconditionally? How can he learn his way without being mentored? That was never explained so I was a bit bummed. There’s a story there that was never told and I felt the book suffered from the lack.

Except for that little dangle, I thought Ghost Wolf was a wonderful addition to the series and worth every minute of my time as I watched Corrine and Javier fall in love. Once again, the story celebrates what the power of love can do, even accomplishing the impossible. I continue to be impressed with this series and am enjoying myself tremendously. I wonder who is next?

Cape Zero: The Fall by Nicholas Woode-Smith


Cape Zero: The Fall by Nicholas Woode-Smith
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (122 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When social recluse and all round introvert, Peter Swart, manages to survive an attack by an insane homeless man, he soon discovers that Cape Town is not going to remain the holiday destination that it was previously regarded.

In the wake of a failed government state of emergency, society crumbles in South Africa as a virus turns people into violent cannibals. Within a day, the already compromised military collapses. Cape Town becomes a dark zone and its residents are forgotten.

With violent mobs roaming the streets, social anxiety and doubtable sanity thrown into the mix – will Peter be able to survive the apocalypse or, worse yet, the necessity to live with other people?

No one is safe when the undead rise.

The zombies in this story were nicely written. I liked the thought Mr. Woode-Smith put into how these creatures move and behave in this universe. He added some logical developments to their mythology that made me shudder. As much as regular zombies scare me, this version of them is even more frightening. I liked the scenes describing what it would be like to accidentally stumble across one of them because of this.

Peter’s character development was confusing to me. The way he behaved suddenly and completely changed about a third of the way through the plot. The medical explanation that was hinted at in the storyline didn’t make sense. Had it actually been the reason for the dramatic change to his personality, I would have expected there to be references to it beginning in the first scene. It’s definitely not the kind of condition that anyone would be able to hide, especially in an environment as stressful and chaotic as the one he was living in.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this story was how the characters reacted to being in such a dangerous world. The fact that so many of them chose to work together to create a safe place to live made me smile. That doesn’t always happen in this genre, so I was glad to see folks working together so cooperatively this time.

There were multiple grammatical and punctuation errors. Some of the sentences were hard to understand because of how unusually they were written. It often wasn’t clear to me exactly what the author wanted his audience to get from those sentences. The storyline itself was interesting, but this book would have really benefited from another round of editing.

The characters in this tale had a refreshing amount of common sense. I appreciated the fact that they always remained cautious around the zombies and never let down their guards when they were in an unfamiliar situation or away from home. This doesn’t always happen in the horror genre, so I’m happy to meet characters who are so sensible.

Cape Zero: The Fall should be read by anyone who really likes zombie fiction.

Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

The black wolf lost everything when the Kingdom Guard werewolf hunters drugged him, tortured him, and tried to turn him into a weapon against his own kind. All that remains is Zane—a man with no memories, no future, and a bloodthirsty monster lurking under his skin.

But after a seemingly chance encounter with a curvy, black-haired beauty, Zane starts to remember things: glimpses of his past, his favorite book, the taste of desire…

Mahalia Booker needed to dig up the past — just a few petroglyphs from an archeological site on Mesa Diablo — to finish her master’s in history. She never expected to uncover a secret society of werewolves thousands of years old. She’s always stood on the outside, but now she’s become a part of the story — a story with a scary, strangely fascinating and sexy hero…

Zane is an unusual hero even within the paranormal world – he’s an anomaly because he has no memory of who he was before his capture. No one knows the level of trauma and depravity this man has suffered through and how it’s affected his mind and sanity. He’s more animal than human yet the man I come to know in Lost Wolf has depth, passion, drive and all the makings of a true leading man. Hallie, the heroine, gets more than she expects when she comes to Angels Rest to do some research. Research that nothing and no one is going to stop her from accomplishing, but she never counted on meeting Zane and stumbling onto a secret more fascinating than anything she could have envisioned. Fate has something in store for both of them they never expected and the romance that evolves despite the challenges they have to overcome make this novelette another must read from the talented Ms. Jade.

Zane is the unknown assailant from the previous story. Initially it was thought he was unreachable and not able to be saved and there was a good chance he’d have to be destroyed. If a reader is a fan of the tortured hero redeemed theme then Lost Wolf delivers in spades. The very short prologue hints at how badly he’s been treated. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a great hook and very effective. The visual imagery Ms. Jade uses about the water washing ashore is as beautiful as it is haunting because of what it means to Zane’s sanity. Another strong bit of writing is when Zane first claps eyes on Hallie. That whole scene just sucked me in and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the book. A romance is born.

Characters from the initial books in the series are on hand to bring context, continuity and support to Zane and Hallie. There are a couple of new characters that are introduced which amp up the complications between the hero and heroine and create a powerful emotional tangle. For a while there was a lot of uncertainty which contributed to some drama and suspense.

The part when the wolves of Angels Rest were looking for their lost wolf gave me goosebumps. The writing was at its most powerful during this whole scene and made an impact. My emotions were in a tight grip from that point all the way to the very beautiful, poignant and promising happy ever after.

I don’t know how Ms. Jade does it but she’s continued the high quality of writing and storytelling even into this fifth installment of the Angels Rest Mating Season series. Lost Wolf is another keeper along with the previous books. I’m a happy reader and I can’t wait to find out who gets their HEA next.