Once and Forever by Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Emelle Gamble, Lavinia Kent and Evie Owens


Once and Forever by Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Emelle Gamble, Lavinia Kent and Evie Owens
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary, historical, paranormal
Length: Full (366 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Dandelion

From five compelling authors, five original novellas which will make you laugh and cry, and believe in a love that once found will last forever. Meet a duke, a psychic, a bodyguard and a professor…and one “guardian fairy” in absorbing stories ranging from regency and contemporary romance to paranormal and women’s fiction.

Playing for Keeps by Mary Blayney

Actress Kendall Marshall is determined to get an autograph for her sick sister from famous TV personality Mike O’Hara, the Oprah Winfrey of sports. In the process she meets his brother, security consultant Steve Marshall, lands a job on O’Hara’s show and gets in the way of a man set on causing big trouble. As the stalkers attacks escalate, Steve and Kendall are thrown together and find it impossible to ignore the chemistry between them.

The Princess & the Pinot by Elaine Fox

When a beautiful woman shows up at the Vineyard Inn, wine manager Kim is certain she’s been sent by fate for the inn’s owner, Cooper. Self-effacing to a fault, Kim knows she can’t hold a candle to Principessa Bella, who also seems to know even more about wine than Kim herself, but her heart has belonged to Cooper since they shared one kiss as teenagers.

While Prin sweeps easily into the job of sommelier at the renowned inn, Kim is afraid Prin will sweep just as surely into Cooper’s arms if she doesn’t do something about it. Can she tell Cooper how she feels without losing even his friendship?

Kim is willing to try except for one problem: she’s almost certainly losing her mind. Or is that belching, swearing, smoking, farting fairy – who claims to be trying to help her – real?

Duets by Emelle Gamble

Duets offers alternating looks into the lives of two women who would seem to have little or nothing in common.

Screen star Molly Harper is on the verge of marrying a man who has swept her off her feet, thought perhaps hasn’t swept all her feelings for her first love away. Anne Sullivan, happily married for twenty-five years, is fighting to hold onto the man she loves, and hold off a confrontation that could shatter her family’s image of what they are.

Duets confronts a past secret that ties these two women’s lives together, just as chance events turn Molly and Anne’s worlds upside down.

Never and Forever by Lavinia Kent

Never and Forever is the beginning of the love story of two people who shouldn’t belong together. Molly, Miss Wilkes, runs an employment agency helping women of quality find positions perfected suited to their characters. Although her father held the title of Earl for just over a week before his death, Molly has never wanted to be a lady. She knows her place in this world – and it is not at the center of society.

The Duke of Radford also knows his place in this world – and it’s above everybody else’s. He cannot imagine a world without all the privilege and power that comes from being Radford. He’s had foreign princesses and heiresses dangled before him for years. Why would he ever have interest in a simple woman who doesn’t even understand that she should want to be a duchess?

Can these two overcome the obstacles of their own beliefs and realize that love can make all things possible?

Never and forever are both a very long time. Where will their love fit?

The Psychic Detective by Evie Owens

Psychic Martin Sterling doesn’t trust cops–and the feeling is mutual. Detective Erin Healy needs more than a ghost story to save her job and reputation. Her partner is dead, a million dollars in drugs and money is missing, and all the evidence points to her.

Can a sexy psychic and a by the book cop, trapped between the living and the dead, unearth the truth? Or will a cold-blooded killer get away with it all…

I’m a big fan of all the romance genres, so was excited to dive into this anthology, and I wasn’t disappointed.

In Playing for Keeps by Mary Blayney I found a really fun mystery/romance. There was a lot of cute back and forth between the hero and heroine. I smiled a lot while reading this story. The two of them were trying to find out who was trying to frighten people, and why was it being done. A lot was put into this short story and I enjoyed it very much.

Next came The Princess and the Pinot by Elaine Fox, a sweet romance with a lot of fun twists and turns. This author managed to put a lot of detail into this short story, and really engaged me. I thoroughly enjoyed the word play between the hero and heroine. Also enjoyed the gnome (or fairy godfather) in the story. A neat idea, well executed.

The third story was Duets by Emelle Gamble. This story, though exceptionally well written, felt a tad out of place amongst the rest which were very clearly romances. This was a very intriguing and somewhat sad story. A story of lovers separated by fate. When they meet again, sparks fly, but this story is not a fairy tale romance. This is more like real life, and made my heart hurt a little.

Then I moved on to Never and Forever by Lavinia Kent, a touching regency romance. This story really explains how differently all the people in those days were expected to behave and live. A very interesting, very proficiently written sweet story that touched my heart.

Lastly I read The Psychic Detective by Evie Owens to get my paranormal fix. It’s a really unique ghostly novella as well as a tender romance and may have been my favorite story in the series (tough to decide since I enjoyed them all). Ms. Owens wrote about the heroine and hero so well, I felt that I knew them both almost at once. The ghosts in the story are delightful and the mystery was very important to the story. Just reviewing it makes me want to go read it again.

If you, like me, enjoy your romance in all genres, I highly recommend this anthology. It’s a great way to get a taste of everything you enjoy.


  1. Thanks for the lovely and generous review, Long and Short Reviews! We appreciate your wonderful site, and hope your readers will take a chance on Once and Forever. As you said, there is something for everyone’s taste in this collection.

  2. Thanks for this wonderful chance to win something around the holiday’s! I have picked this book up and I can’t wait to read it over the holiday while I am off. 🙂

    I love Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, and Lavinia Kent writings, it sounds like I am in a treat for two new authors Emelle Gamble,and Evie Owens.

    Can’t wait to enjoy these stories, have heard great review about them, including your wonderful review!

    • Thanks for posting, Vanetta! I’ve been privileged to be a part of the critique group with these 4 fine writers, and even more blessed to be their friends. I hope you enjoy the book, and good luck in the drawing!

  3. Wow, yes, thanks for the wonderful review! And thank you, too, Vanetta! I can say with absolute certainty that you ARE in for a treat with Emelle Gamble and Evie Owens. Now if we could just get them to write faster… 😀

    • Hey Elaine Fox, okay two masterful novellas published by you (the other is in the fab collection Mirror, Mirror every one) in a month. But I want more Fox! A full length Fox! and soon! XXX

  4. Eva Millien says:

    Sounds like great stories and I am looking forward to reading them. Wishing you a wonderful and magical holiday season! evamillien at gmail dot com

  5. Interesting stories

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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