Inked Promise by Tierney O’Malley

INKED
Inked Promise by Tierney O’Malley
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre : Contemporary
Length: Full Length (234 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

In bed or out of bed, it’s worth breaking all the rules for her.

For many years, the pain of shattered dreams has haunted Gypsy Grey. Now, she hopes to spend a week at her friends’ house on Shaw Island to attend the yearly fair with her daughter, Nika. But her plan changes when she learns that her ex-lover, Nolan Keats, and his friends will be sharing the house with them. However, Gypsy begins to enjoy Nolan’s company, which again turns into fierce possessiveness and a fiery touch. When Nolan proposes that they not talk about the past or future and only live for the present, Gypsy also decides to hide the truth from him. He’s no longer single. Telling him about Nika doesn’t matter anymore. Once their temporary affair is over, she’s unsure if she’ll be able to survive living with another shattered dream.

Years of running from his hurtful past finally catches up to Nolan—unexpectedly. He’s supposed to celebrate his last remaining bachelor days with the Blue-Eyed Four, but upon seeing the beautiful, spirited woman he once promised to love eternally, he begins to burn for her again. This time hotter and deeper than the last. Worse, he realizes that he’s never really stopped loving her. Like fever flowing in his blood, he must possess her. She’s now a mother to a blue-eyed daughter he wishes belonged to him.

On beautiful Shaw Island, Nolan and Gypsy boldly ignore their present situation for a blazing, forbidden passion. More than anything, he wants her back in his life. But for that to happen it will hurt another.

Inked Promise was a book that easily captured my attention.

I’m a sucker for the secret love child trope so I was intrigued by the plot of this book. It started out great. Nolan and Gypsy fell in love when they were both real young but they made some impossible choices. Nolan walked away from their relationship and unbeknownst to him left Gypsy pregnant with his child. It was four years before they met up again. By that time Nolan was engaged to marry someone else, and Gypsy couldn’t see the point in informing him that her daughter belonged to him. It was at this point that I started having some mixed feelings about the plot. She bald faced lied to Nolan and said that he wasn’t little Nika’s father, even after he asked her three times already. Still, I could overlook that because of the extenuating circumstances. Gypsy was a fiercely protective mother who was afraid that her little girl would be hurt by some of the other people in Nolan’s life.

There were some aspects of this story that tugged at the heart. Yet there were a few elements that had me shaking my head in disbelief. I’ll just say it there was some cheating that made me uncomfortable, and it made no difference to me that Nolan’s fiance happened to be a Cruella DeVille like character, cheating is still taboo in my book. Otherwise I would have reveled in the hot sex scenes between Nolan and Gypsy. On the other hand I loved the adorable kids and the over the top reactions in this story. I always go for the books that have light humor and this one did not disappoint in that area.

Technically, this book had a interesting plot with plenty of emotional conflict and a fast paced story. It had a fantastic hook of the main characters being star crossed lovers and wondering which choice to make …. something real or superficial perfection. The story was loaded with dramatic angst and interesting characters. I’m not sure but I might read the other books in the series. So I say that for readers who can look past the cheating aspect then this is a great story.

Bind by Sierra Cartwright

BIND
Bind by Sierra Cartwright
The Donovan Dynasty
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (252 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking,Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Bittersweet

Only one man can help her. Is she willing to pay his price?

Faced with the potentially overwhelming loss of her family’s fortune, Lara Bertrand turns to the one man who can help her, the gorgeous and powerful Connor Donovan.

She knows he’s dangerous to her on every level. Only desperation would drive her to make such a risky proposition. After all, she knows all about his ruthless nature and relentless determination to succeed.

When the classy, elegant Lara walks into his office with an outrageous proposal, Connor is stunned and more than a little intrigued. Ever since he first met her, he’s been attracted to the cool beauty, but she’s more than kept her distance.

Connor is absolutely willing to help her out. For a price. He not only wants her hand in marriage, but also her total submissive surrender…

I’m an unconditional fan of Sierra Cartwright’s novels. I think she’s a great author and I love reading her, but lately, I can’t seem to shake off the feeling that her novels start a little slow. Bind is no exception. It took me a while to warm up to the characters but eventually I did, and became hooked.

The novel flows smoothly. The writing, as always is first rate, but it is the tension between the characters and the hot sex scenes that move the story forward and thus kept e on edge in more ways than one. One of my favorite scenes was the office proposition. It had me wishing I was little Lara.

However, even though the sex was hot I had the perception that unlike other novels, Cartwright didn’t go into much detail about the BDSM portion. Of course, it was there, after all, it is an essential part of the plot line and Connor himself, but Lara was a novice and unlike other heroines and what one would expect in real life, she accepted everything Connor dished. Wouldn’t using a single tail whip be too much for a novice like her? Everything happened too fast, both sexually and emotionally. It was a roller coaster ride in which I seemed to be missing the smooth transition between hills.

Still, regardless of the above, Bind, was an enjoyable novel with two characters that have depth, an interesting plot line and sizzling sex.

Flax’s Pursuit by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn

AURA
Flax’s Pursuit by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (267 pgs)
Other: M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.

Both recovering from and basking in the glow of the defeat of the lich queen, Val and Quinn are settling into their new life as a couple. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems and a new threat looms on the horizon, threatening to destroy the delicate peace everyone has found. A new event has everyone scrambling to secure the new arrivals before more trouble can form, but will they be fast enough?

Although Quinn and Val both figure prominently in this second novel, the focus is more on Kai and Tenzin, as well as three newcomers elves – Flax, Ash and Sage. Flax is an officer with AURA and has been tasked with teaching Quinn to control his magic by Kai himself. Unable to tell the drow no, Flax finds himself teaching a human to use magic. In the process, his hero-crush on Val becomes nearly unbearable. I spent a lot of time feeling awful for Flax. He comes across as a bit of a jerk at first, but he’s lonely and desperate for companionship. You really just want to give him a big hug and tell him it’ll be okay in the end.

Ash and Sage are a pair of bonded elves who are ripped from their homeland and dropped into Tokyo without warning. Flax is one of the first on scene and is the only one able to get through to the pair, causing them to latch onto him as their only port in this new storm they’re forced to endure. They’re different from the other elves we’ve met to date, and similar at the same time. They make for a nice contrast to the characters we’re already come to know.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Quinn’s Gambit, this sequel was even better. The mystery surrounding the victims being turned to stone was an interesting one and not something I expected in the end. I did have a slight issue with how quickly the issue with the bad guy was resolved, but at least it was a full resolution. Hopefully in the next installment we get to learn more about all the characters I’ve come to adore, especially the reticent and reluctant Kai Hiltas, who had his own bit of good fortune in this sequel, even if he had to go through heck to get it. With each installment getting better and better, I eagerly look forward to see what we’re getting next.

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Bring Me to Life by Scarlett Parrish

BRING
Bring Me to Life by Scarlett Parrish
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

Nathan Stephenson died seventy years ago and he’d like the world—or at least one person—to think he stayed that way.

In 1940s London, Sergeant Nathan Stephenson ignored his rank and the expectation that he’d wait for the war to be over and find a nice girl to settle down with, and took a lover. Not only was Cian Ambrose unashamed of his bisexuality, he was also proud to be a vampire. Back then, he was certain that his and Nathan’s relationship would last forever, refusing to take no for an answer.

One evening, Cian went too far in his attempts to persuade Nathan to become a vampire and left a mutual acquaintance, Jonathan Cutler, to deal with the aftermath. What Cian doesn’t know is that Nathan didn’t die—Jonathan brought him back to life, agreeing to keep Nathan’s continued existence a secret.

It’s now the twenty-first century and Jonathan’s back to call in the favor. Nathan’s an honorable man and can’t say no, but the trouble is, wherever Jonathan goes, Cian Ambrose can’t be far behind…

There is no line between love and hate…

Nathan Stephenson died seventy years ago at the hands of his lover, Cian Ambrose. In a flash, his friend Jonathan brought him back from the dead by sharing his vampire blood. He has remained hidden, never telling his former flame that he is still among the living-or more accurately, undead. He goes about his nights with little purpose until Jonathan calls on him with a favor he would very much like to refuse. But you don’t turn your back on the man who saved your life. Even if it was against your will.

Cian Ambrose is a haunted vampire living with the ghosts of his past. He very much reminded me of a melancholy Vampire Lestat or perhaps, Louis. Content with his existence, he regrets the death of the man he loved and punishes himself every day. When he gets the chance to see him again, it may be his salvation or the final nail in the coffin.

Jonathan asks Nathan to help turn his lover and despite all of his misgivings and ennui, makes a multifaceted decision. He will find the man who nearly killed him if only to put history to rest. But intentions are never what they seem and the lines between love and hate are often blurred till you can’t tell the difference.

This book was beautifully written. I fell into it and never wanted to come out. It has the grace of Anne Rice’s characters without the whining aspect. It also has the intimate relationships between the men you were looking for but didn’t find. Cian and Nathan are perfect for each other and watching Cian coax Nathan into what he will become was like watching a well-orchestrated chess game. The past, present and past again aspect led the reader into understanding the dynamics in play. The grasp of each character’s action, voice and the time in which the story took place were mesmerizing.

The sex scenes were understated but there was some heat-just the way I prefer to read a m/m romance. Tension was the most potent tool and Scarlett Parrish wielded it well.

I highly recommend this book and will be putting this author on my must read list.

Constant by Megan Slayer

CONSTANT
Constant by Megan Slayer
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking, Fetish
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

He demands his submissive’s body and soul…but can he accept his sub’s heart?

Roddy Green never planned to fall in love and certainly not with his Dom, but every time he goes into Darkness, a fetish club, he falls for Vegas all over again. Being in love isn’t the same as being loved in return. Vegas is there to do a job—not to build a romance. But what if the main constant in Roddy’s life is the one person he can’t live without?

Andrew Vegas knows his job. He’s a Dom. But there is more than one side to him and he’s tired of keeping the other parts of him hidden. One man makes him feel safe and comfortable enough to open up—his pet, Roddy. But will Roddy, the producer of a local news broadcast, want to be with a man with secrets?

Roddy has been going to the club Darkness for years now. He knows that he should not have feelings for the Dom that he sees but it is too hard not to. Roddy has known for some time now that he wants more than just a session with Vegas but he is smart enough to know that he is just a client and nothing can ever come from their sessions. Little does Roddy know but Vegas has had some feelings of his own for Roddy. Both men are not sure if the other wants the same thing or not but someone has to take that first step and try for something more. Will it lead the men to a happy ever after or will someone end up with a broken heart instead?

This was a sweet story about taking that chance on love. Roddy and Vegas work well together and make a good couple. They are both strong men who know what they want. Although each has been hurt in the past the two try to overcome their fear to try for love once again. The men are hot together and their feelings shine through in all that they do. Watching their attraction turn into something much deeper made for a nice read. Each man must be careful and avoid the stigma that comes with their lifestyle. It was nice to see others stand by the men and encourage them to fight for the right to their own private lives. As the two men work through their relationship, outside factors come in to play and the men prove what stand up men they truly are. They prove love is worth fighting for whenever you can find it.