Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire

Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire
Book Two – Time for Alexander series

Publisher: Accent Press Ltd.
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (280 pages)
Heat level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

A major road trip adventure, this story does a fine job displaying quirky people and the problems they encounter in their epic quest across an ancient land. Modern-day Ashley goes back in time and is married to her hero, Alexander the Great. What could possibly happen here?

Legends of Persia is the second in this series, continuing the story of Alexander expanding his kingdom while searching for his and Ashley’s kidnapped son. What a man won’t go through to save his boy. Because there are many battles to go through over the years, Alexander gets seriously hurt, more than once. His recovery, and Ashley’s responses, are one of many good ways a reader gets to know them better. However, serious injuries are only one way we get to know them and their friends and enemies. The human relationships between exotic characters bring interesting scenarios to light. Ashley has to face her husband taking yet another wife because history says he married this other woman and fathered her children—to interfere could get Ashley eliminated from time as a punishment. What does she think as she stands and watches this wedding? What does Alexander think? The unrolling of episodes such as this is woven skillfully through the story.

This is not technically a romance. True, Ashley and Alexander are married and in love, and they act like it, but they are not alone in the relationship. He has other wives, and she has another lover. There is jealousy but not enough to destroy the main relationship. This novel is also very spicy, with unconventional and very hot love scenes. If one is offended by non-traditional “love scenes”, this would not be the book to read. If a reader doesn’t mind this or can get past it, then it becomes obvious that the scenes either develop the plot or the characters or simply just show life as it was thousands of years ago, with different human values.

Customs and values change, but human emotions are the same, and this comes out. Though, those human emotions go through the filter of a different culture and time and can inspire eye-opening revelations.

At first, I found myself wondering at times if what happened in the book was good for the characters, but the way these types of scenes are written, it becomes clear that they are appropriate for the setting and the characters. Put in this context, our concepts of feelings such a love may widen upon reading about these complex love relationships.

Mundane details like meals are delightful for putting us in average scenes, making them more realistic. There are good details about different types of festivals with one memorable and spicy festival in particular—not for the squeamish. Other scenes, like a rape, are offensive in themselves, but how do the characters handle them? A reader will keep turning pages to find out.

Deep ponderings come up. Alexander talks about descendants and ancestors—food for thought. Even though this is a road trip, with battles and big things happening around the interesting details of everyday life, in the background there is a sense of urgency behind this story. Ashley knows that Alexander dies young, and she knows when. As each passing year happens, she feels fate pushing down upon them.

This story will have a reader reconsidering conceptions of several things. It ends on a calm note with the promise of great adventure ahead. I would recommend this story to anyone who would enjoy unconventional but deep love with some violence mixed in, with a story that does a good job with character development and world-building.

In Deep by Stacy Gold

In Deep by Stacy Gold
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (92 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sophie Tremore is trying to build a career in the male-dominated world of Ski Patrol. Hard to do when her new boss is her smokin’ hot ex-lover. She hasn’t forgotten how he made her body tingle and her heart pound, although he’s making it a lot easier by treating her like she’s incompetent—when he’s not ignoring her existence altogether.

Emerald Mountain Ski Patrol Director Max Demford has been doing his best to avoid working with his feisty former flame, given his judgment is clouded by those eight mind-blowing weeks two years ago. Ski patrol is dangerous enough, and no way could he handle another person he cares about getting hurt on the mountain.

Forced to work together, their simmering attraction becomes difficult to ignore. When Sophie gets caught in a slide, an adrenaline-filled day could turn into a spectacular night they will never forget—one that could risk both their careers.

Max is Sophie’s boss and determined to protect her, keep her safe. Their brief fling – a whole eight weeks together – might be long ago and before they started working together, but Max couldn’t admit he still had feelings for Sophie and he certainly can’t admit that he’s restricting her job to try and keep her safe. Sophie is determined to prove she’s just as good as the men on their team and doesn’t care how hard she has to push to prove it. Will she and Max get in too deep together – and can they get themselves back safely when they do?

This is a fun read. I enjoyed the set-up – of wintery cold and snow patrol out on the mountains. I was a little disappointed that Sophie initially came across as a bit of a cliché – narrow minded in her assumptions on Max and her stubbornness in proving herself “worthy”. It annoyed me that she just instantly thought Max was a misogynist and thought poorly of all women, that Sophie couldn’t broaden her mind to think that maybe Max was as affected by her as she was him. Also, Max had a decent point that she was the newbie on the job and he wanted her to have a good amount of experience with the safer areas of their work before doing the more dangerous aspects.

While not the whole truth – I still thought Max’s point was completely understandable and logical. Sophie initially came across to me as reckless, headstrong and stubborn to a silly degree. I was relieved and pleased when my feelings toward her mellowed as the story moved on. I was also really pleased when Max unwound a little and finally explained the full story to Sophie. It helped ease much of the miscommunications between them and I really felt from that point onwards the story progressed really well. I was also glad that the emotional connections between Max and Sophie deepened and the chemistry sizzled between them both. This made the reading so much more pleasurable for me and I eagerly continued to turn each page.

The sex between Max and Sophie was hotly written and quite graphic, but there was nothing kinky or envelope pushing between them. I feel readers who prefer the bedroom door “closed” won’t enjoy the single love-making scene, but readers who don’t mind a bit of spice should find this fairly standard and certainly not offensive or extreme. There was plenty of chemistry and sizzle between Sophie and Max and while their Happily Ever After was a little backwards and just a bit clichéd to my mind, it gave me a definite warm and fuzzy feeling and helped me finish the story with a big smile.

A fun and lovely story that I enjoyed.

Second Time Love by Laura M. Baird

Second Time Love by Laura M. Baird
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (39 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After losing her husband of thirty years, Grace, at the age of fifty, thought all she’d ever feel was grief and loneliness. She certainly never thought to feel love again. After being convinced to take the trip of a lifetime, a surprise encounter with Cole has her rethinking her feelings—especially when he ignites a passion unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Will Grace allow herself another chance with this second time love?

After thirty years together Grace is devastated when her husband is killed in an accident. After a number of months recovering from the heart-wrenching loss, Grace decides to take the already paid for trip to Fiji she and her husband had planned for the end of the year. When Grace meets Colt on her holiday, can she open her heart to living – and loving – once again?

This is a lovely short story. I was particularly pleased that the author didn’t gloss over Grace and the loss of her childhood sweetheart and husband of many years. There was no doubt in my mind that Grace fully and thoroughly grieved for that loss and finally managed to come out the other side of her grief. Watching Grace embrace life again was delightful and a lovely aspect to this story which I hadn’t been expecting. I feel that readers will either love or hate Grace jumping into a new relationship with a man she met on holiday – the four months that have passed since Grace’s husband died could be either plenty of time to grieve or nowhere near enough, and I think readers will vary wildly in their opinions on that matter.

I personally found that Grace’s emotions were well written, but I was a little uncomfortable at the spiciness of Colt’s reaction to meeting Grace and particularly the speed with which they moved their physical relationship. While I was more than happy to read of Grace moving on and finding love for a second time, I think I would have been more comfortable had it been a softer, more gentle style of love that slowly blossomed into a spicy and sexy relationship. Possibly due to the shortness of the story the vast bulk of that getting to know you stage was skipped over into a paragraph or two describing “wonderful days” of Colt and Grace exploring the islands and talking at length together. While that nod to time was fine – actually reading the story meant that basically from one page to the next Colt and Grace met, admitted their desire for each other then tumbled into bed. It felt just too fast for me, personally, to really enjoy.

Readers looking for a spicy “second chance at love” style of story likely should be very happy with this – as the consummation is sensually and explicitly written. I was also impressed that although neither Grace nor Colt were young, their sexual desires were hot and heavy. Both Colt and Grace were more than willing to embrace life and love and ready to start fresh with each other. This was lovely to see.

An interesting short story that encompasses both the deep well of grief stemming from the loss of one relationship and walking through the other side to the beautiful beginning of a new relationship. This story covers a lot of ground and is certainly a spicy, sexy read.

The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois

The Right Fit by Daphne Dubois
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (247)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.

As one of Toronto’s hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.

That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.

At the end of the book there is “a word about the author…”. I must quote it for you because I believe it would have been beneficial if I had read it in the beginning of the book. “Daphne Dubois writes steamy contemporary romance and loves putting her characters in awkward situations. She believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference.” I must say that the author was an over achiever. This book is anything but your average romance book. The characters, plot, and setting were all unique, contemporary, steamy and awkward, yet, heartwarming. It all makes for an entertaining read.

The heroine, Maxine, is relatable and I connected with her. However, I felt like she was an endorsement for plus size woman. It’s wonderful that our society is finally embracing body diversity and we’re seeing a greater acceptance of girls in different sizes. I applauded Sports Illustrated when they featured a plus size model on its cover. Name brands and magazines are finally paying attention and we’re seeing less body shaming in society. Therefore, I had trouble with Maxine constantly struggling with her self-image. I would have liked a stronger leading character. Yet, I understand the need for the focus to be on her weight concern because it was significant to the plot. There was a moral to this story; The Right Fit was more than just the size of the clothes.

Our significant others can be “The Right Fit” – which leads me to the hero, Antony Laurent. I don’t have any complaints about him. He was divine and I wish he was mine. Antony’s first language was French so he struggled to speak English; that was entertaining and romantic at the same time. I loved that Antony was a hockey player for the Toronto hockey team. I grew up around hockey and met my husband at a hockey game. I had no issue considering Antony to be my book boyfriend. He was drawn to Maxine and accepted her for who she was inside and out. She was very lucky to have that chance encounter with him. Together they were “The Right Fit” and full of chemistry.

There were other significant characters that were relevant to the plot such as Maxine’s twin sisters, Crosby and Rose. Maxine also had a brother named Westley. Westley had a best friend since elementary school named Stuart. The most special character that was heartwarming was Carmine. The character that caused conflict was Antony’s brother, Marc. Together they made for a memorable cast of characters.

My attention was caught starting with page one. The author’s writing style kept my attention all the way until the end as I continuously turned the pages at a steady, moderate pace. I enjoyed the quirky awkward moments since they made me snicker from the imagined embarrassment that I’d feel if I was in that situation. I can’t say the plot was predictable. There were plenty of emotional provoking threads that were unexpected.

Here is the point where I get perplexed about my review because near the end of the book I got perturbed. Without giving any spoilers there is an unexpected and unnecessary scene that as far as I’m concerned was pandering to make yet another social statement. Prior to this scene I was satisfied with how the story was progressing. The scene was not relevant or necessary to the romance between Maxine or Antony. The entire scene was rushed, illogical and superfluous. The scene could be cut out of the book and no one would miss it because it had no relevancy to the plot. I felt the author did the story a disservice by adding that m/m kiss – literally seconds before the monumental moment where the leading man and leading woman realize they are destined to live their happily ever after. I have no issues with gays, lesbians, transgender or whatever but I would have liked to have been warned that there was some m/m in this story. It’s not my style to read those kinds of books, even if it’s one scene. This scene happened with 10 pages of the story left! I didn’t see it coming. If I was in the audience I really don’t think I would have been cheering and applauding.

This was a worthy read despite the irrelevant scene. I was entertained and would recommend this book with a warning about the m/m scene.

Fortunately there was an epilogue which helped erase the shocking scene from my mind though not completely, hence the difficulty of writing this review. Luckily this story had many great scenes such as when Maxine, who is an esthetician, loved to name the colors of her nail polish. I thought that was clever and unique how the author connected the name of the polish to the current scene at hand. I wanted some of her nail polish that she described. I loved the humorous sexy banter between Maxine and Antony. I appreciated the dedication at the beginning of the book. It says “This book is dedicated to every woman who has ever gone bathing suit shopping—you’re beautiful and worthy. Own it.” This was definitely the moral of the story. A great message for all women.

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (412 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . .

What’s a famous man to do when he’s famous for things that never happened? For things that paint him as a public personality when he’s so much the reverse? Adding in the complications from a heroine who wants absolutely no part of a man so much in the public eye that he seems shameless creates quite the conundrum. Such is the contrary, fun and complicated romance between Alaric and Willa.

This novel is definitely character driven because it’s a push/pull between what the heroine expects a future husband should be and a hero who wants to be what she needs but is stymied by something that he truly can’t control. It’s like Lord Wilde is a rock star of the Regency period. Woman steal the bricks from his home, they want to tour where he supposedly trod as a child – they are obsessive and frenzied romantic fans of a man who is a larger than life hero. Because of all that unwanted attention Alaric has become a man wary of a woman’s intentions, until he meets the most unusual and fascinating Willa. I enjoyed when they met but I really liked how he slowly realized that she wasn’t a sycophant. In fact the heroine is the complete opposite and she kept him at arm’s length. Well, she tried to but eventually she spends enough time with the hero to see the man underneath the fame. The reason why she has that time to explore and delve into the man named Alaric is what endeared me to their romance – I was charmed, entertained and thoroughly invested in seeing them come together and fall in love.

The weird twist comes from the dynamics of both heroine and hero having alternate personalities. Ms. James found a unique technique to explore a romance between two people that seemed so different but are in truth very much alike. Sure, they fight it and that’s half the fun but how everything gets resolved is cheeky and adorable.

Just in case a reader thinks it’s all seduction, light hearted problems and fluffy prose, the author does include a villain to spice things up. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this person was not only going to be a problem, I even guessed quite correctly the method of diabolical intent and delivery. Even knowing that didn’t detract from my enjoyment because it’s always the presentation that can make or break a scene and I’m glad to report that Ms. James employed a clever and impressive solution.

As for secondary characters, there is quite a few that made an impact, not only in Alaric and Willa’s romance but as couples themselves. Parth and Roland stand out the clearest. Roland for his bad clothing taste, and Parth for his sour grapes personality towards the heroine’s cohort in crime made both of them kind of comical yet the author did hint at serious depths so there is definitely more to learn in future books. I am certainly looking forward to the discovery. But my absolute favorite characters were Sweetpea and Hannibal. What a fascinating pair and definitely assets to the heroine and hero.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t wax poetic about Alaric and Willa finally succumbing to that wonderful buildup of repressed passion they both inspired in each other. Those were well written, inventive, and quite enjoyable. Just make sure to have something cool to drink for a few of the scenes – they were a lot hotter than I expected causing me to blink a few times. Whoa.

All in all, Wilde in Love is a historical romance treat. The antics that surround the fandom of Lord Wilde, the adventurer, made me snort and snicker quite a few times. I think the final scene was done with flair, style and was greatly amusing. I believe that fans of Ms. James will be quite pleased in meeting Alaric and Willa. They were a fun couple and I’m glad I met them. I can’t wait to see whose story gets told next. I hope it’s as good as Wilde in Love.

At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti

At Last in Laguna by Claire Marti
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (160 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Alyssa Morgan has secretly been in love with her older brother Nick’s best friend, Brandt Dempsey, since she was an awkward, lonely teenager. When she catches the bouquet at Nick’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and propositions Brandt to a two-week fling. He’s tried to ignore how Alyssa has blossomed into a strong, talented, gorgeous woman because as his best friend’s baby sister, she’s off limits.

After they share a mind-blowing kiss, Brandt struggles to fight their undeniable chemistry. His tragic childhood scarred him, but he pushes it deep inside, only allowing the world to see a wealthy, carefree entrepreneur. Forced to work together on Brandt’s latest charitable venture, Brandt and Alyssa’s passion cannot be denied. Alyssa knows he’s the one. Can she convince him they belong together?

Readers are intrigued right from the very start of At Last in Laguna. We cannot help but wonder exactly what has gone on before…and where on earth could this relationship be going?

The mention about how to find a ‘happily ever after?’ seems insane: Alyssa and Brandt don’t seem to be heading to any such ending. They can barely be in the same room together.

Brandt…oh she is so bitter about Brandt!

This is a twist on love-at-first-sight: More like, love at first kiss. Or would it be second? And can it be love? There is rejection, unrequited emotion, the desperate empty feeling of non-passion; who cannot relate? We cannot guess where this fast-paced and emotional start will bring these two. At Last in Laguna is entirely unpredictable.

I didn’t care for the changes in point-of-view, not because they weren’t well-written, but because it left no air of mystery on either side. Seeing both sides did not add to the plot, although I can’t say (for sure) that it detracted, either.

The powerful physical scenes would be enough to drum up fans regardless of the rest of the storyline; yet this is also well done, with influential secondary characters and a meaningful backdrop. There are a number of ups and downs, revealing more and more about each of our main characters; Brandt and Alyssa.

Powerful characters and an unusual conundrum plus plenty of hot action make this a top choice read for any romance fan.

Dark Blood by Christine Feehan

Dark Blood by Christine Feehan
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (496 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Zev Hunter was an elite warrior, a dark-blood dealer of death to Lycans who preyed on mankind. But he begins to question his past when he awakens in the sacred cave of warriors—and is soothed back to consciousness by the sensuously familiar voice of the woman who has haunted his fantasies for centuries: Branislava, member of the Dragonseeker clan.

Now, with a blood-sworn vow of honor, mercy and endurance, and under the influence of a siren as bewitching as Branislava, Zev begins to wonder what his purpose is, what it means for the future of the Carpathians and what it is about his rebirth that he has to fear…

If fans enjoy reading about those sexy Carpathians then they’re in luck because there are a LOT of them between the pages of Dark Blood. The reason that they’re all there becomes apparent as the plot conflict unfolds. It’s ambitious, large and deadly.

This is a refreshing read. I don’t mean that it’s light and airy, far from it. The last few books of the series were heavy on the sex and light on plot. Not so in Dark Blood. The threat is large, ominous and dark. Fighting is to be expected in Ms. Feehan’s novels because those vampires are evil guys. However, the typical antagonists are missing in this book. Instead the terror and horror stem from mage issues and the Carpathians are in for the fight of their lives.

The fight scenes are numerous, graphic, intense and well written. The sense of foreboding oozes off the pages and readers know something eye-popping is going to happen. They will not be disappointed.

Speaking of the final ginormous plot confrontation – I was exhausted after reading it. The hits kept coming and coming and coming. Here’s the thing. With all the non-stop action and the pummeling and damage that was inflicted upon the hero, heroine and their allies, it got to the point where I thought, “Where is this stamina coming from? With so much blood loss, how are they able to fight in peak condition? Is this even realistic?” There is no doubt that this is a paranormal story and the laws of physics and reality are suspended, but a little balance would have been nice. Despite those pesky questions, the writing was really good. Ms. Feehan’s imagination is diabolical, inventive and diverse, and she kept the action riveting.

My absolute favorite part was the gathering in the meadow. That was where I smiled the most during the whole novel. I was sitting on the edge of my seat for the rest – the suspense was quite potent.

For readers who enjoy the steamy, physical and passionate side of things, the author provides plenty of opportunities to appreciate how explosive Zev and Branislava are together.

Dark Blood is a hefty novel of substance. I am very pleased that there was more plot development, intrigue, suspense and thrills than in her most recent stories. This novel was a lot of fun for me because I got to see the strengths of those Carpathian men and women in action. It was nice to be reminded that they are lethal, alpha and amazing. And, when a Carpathian male meets the other half of his soul, a reader is treated to a wonderful romance. I wouldn’t say this is a standalone read, mostly because so many previous heroes and heroines from earlier books step up to the plate to stand and fight alongside of Zev and Branislava. The impact of seeing them again is more powerful for readers who have ‘known’ them. A new reader would only see a list of names and would have no cause for connection. This is a book for the fans, and it’s great.

Assassin Next Door by Eve Langlais

Assassin Next Door by Eve Langlais
Bad Boy Inc., #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

A killer with a white picket fence.

Suburbia, a great place for a man with secrets to hide–while investing in some solid real estate. The biggest drawback?


In this case, a neighbor with sexy curves and a bright smile. Good thing she’s not his type. Single moms with annoying exes are on the do-not-date list.

Stay away.

Calvin wants to; it’s just not happening. He can’t help but find himself drawn to the chaos next door. And when danger threatens his suburban lifestyle, this assassin doesn’t hesitate to act.

Killing people is easy. Domestication, on the other hand, terrifies him.

Talk about romancing the gray area where the good guys are bad guys being good by being bad. This is a very interesting concept that Ms. Langlais is exploring in this first novel of her new series and I had a ball reading it. Some authors have a challenging time world-building in the first book of a series while telling a romance story and introducing a bunch of characters that are important or will become important in future books all at the same time. Not so for Ms. Langlais. This was one of the smoothest reveal and entry into a series I’ve read in a while. It felt so natural.

It’s told in third person POV from both Lily’s and Calvin’s perspectives. The author efficiently used the right descriptions of emotions, action, and environments to engage a reader. I could understand Lily’s terror and feelings of being trapped. Calvin is a different story as he’s a man without much feeling, or, at least he wasn’t until he clapped eyes on Lily’s daughter, Zoe. I think her innocence, her instant trust, her smiling nature and bubbly personality simply bowled Calvin over. In a word, Zoe is adorable, and the hero found her impossible to resist. He tried being gruff, grouchy and tough and he said things that initially convinced Lily that was not a nice neighbor, but a reader sees it from his POV – it’s bluster and smoke. I enjoyed watching the hero’s initial discomfort morph into a protective zeal.

Lily’s external conflict comes in the form of her ex-husband, Brock. The conflict for Calvin is mostly internal until Lily’s conflict twists and turns to bisect the hero’s external conflict and they’re both drawn into a situation that is bigger than either of them realize, until it was almost too late. There’s where the suspense and mystery come in to play. The action stems from all the daring-do that Calvin’s role demands of him. At first his involvement is duty, and then it becomes personal. That gradual switch made for some very intense reading.

My frown comes from the heroine doing something stupid, twice. Yes, the author made her own up to it because being in Lily’s head, so to speak, I could understand her choices. They were rash and necessary to stirring the plot pot but still stupid. My very big grin came from the author throwing in little digs and references to another series the author is famous for. I admit to giggling out loud in a very unladylike fashion because I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about.

The interesting thing about Calvin is his line of work – his view on what he does for a living, how he does it and why. It’s the how that is freaky. The author almost makes it causal, la-ti-da and normal when it’s anything but. After what Lily has gone through, her character is ripe for accepting a man like Calvin. The author alludes to it enough times to make that clear.

When Lily and Calvin get more than ‘neighborly’, it’s detailed, hot and sexy. There is no doubt that they are physically compatible.

The final conflict is a doozy. It has drama, suspense, action and the body count keeps going up. With the satisfactory resolving of the immediate mystery in Assassin Next Door Ms. Langlais left one little plot thread dangling which I believe is, or will be, the background story arc. One thing is for sure, the author has effectively garnered my commitment to reading the next book in the series. This is getting good.

Assassin Next Door is full of exciting chills and thrills, grins and gasps and is a delight through and through. This romantic suspense book is an easy recommend because it kept me guessing, entertained and engaged. I enjoyed watching Lily and Calvin come together as an unconventional couple and how the author handled having a young child in the mix. It’s a well written adventure and I can’t wait to visit the folks at Bad Boy Inc. to see what they get up to next.

The Doctor Is In by Carl Weber and Brenda Hampton

The Doctor Is In by Carl Weber and Brenda Hampton
Publisher: Urban Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Heat level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Dr. Kasen Phillips has the magic touch when it comes to helping his patients who are in dire need of counseling services, but when the love of his life winds up missing in action, Kasen s life takes a horrific turn for the worse. His office manager, Voncile Harper, is there to lend a helping hand. She s on a mission to shake Kasen from his misery, by offering him hersweet heatthat he can t resist. It s not long before Kasen finds himself caught up in a web of Voncile s lies, and when he realizes that he may have bitten off more than he can chew, he wants out of their reckless relationship for good. Unfortunately for Kasen, walking away may be difficult to do. Voncile is deep in love, and any man who refuses to play by her rules may be forced to suffer dire consequences.

What do you get when you mix a resentful best friend and an infatuated office manager? Murder, kidnapping and loss of sleep from staying up at night trying to read to see what happens next.

Have you ever met a person and you can tell some things not right about that person real quick? Well that’s the feeling I got when Voncile Harper was introduced in this story. That little voice says she is up to something and it’s not going to be good. Vonvile is Dr. Kasen Phillips’ office manager of two years. Voncile has harbored feelings of lust for Kasen and silently waited to make her interest known. One afternoon after seeing a patient, Kasen has an epiphany and decides to propose to his live-in girlfriend of three years, Raine. Voncile isn’t the only one that’s not happy about Kasen’s proposal.

After his proposal to Raine doesn’t go as he had planned, Kasen arrives home to an empty house. Raine’s belongings are gone and so is Raine. I know we try to give people the benefit of the doubt but Kasen was slow and naive to the people around him because the signs are there that they definitely didn’t have his best interest at heart. For all Kasen knows Raine has ran off with another man and then shortly after Omar stops answering his calls. Kasen isn’t sure what is going on but he has Vonvile to keep him distracted. If only Kasen could have heard me while I was talking to the book telling him no don’t do that.

I highly enjoyed this book. It wasn’t predictable and with the twist it kept the storyline moving in a fast pace. The anticipation was high as I was concerned how will Raine ever get out of her situation. Will Kasen find out how Omar really feels about him? The authors didn’t spend a lot of time with character details but with a novel written with such an active plot I wasn’t left feeling like something was missing.

I am a fan of Carl Weber and familiar with his work. This is the first book I’ve read by Brenda Hampton and I must say I want to read more by this author. This book had my full attention. Suspense, murder, crazy people and a man fighting for the woman that he loves that surely is a book that I’d want to read.

After Burn: Big Sky Mail Order Brides by Elsa Jade

After Burn: Big Sky Mail Order Brides by Elsa Jade
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (144 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When Vaughn Quaye’s older sister goes missing in Big Sky Country, she’s willing to risk everything to hunt down the only man who seems to know anything about the mysterious mail order bride agency that closed under suspicious circumstances. Except Vaughn is risking more than her life—she’s discovering a universe of danger and desire she never knew existed.

Dejo Jinn, sole proprietor of Jinn Data Recovery, just wants to steal—no, sorry, not steal, recover—the data left behind at the abandoned Intergalactic Dating Agency when it was forced to close after mistakenly losing some brides. He has no interest in revealing his extraterrestrialness to a clueless if distractingly curvy Earther, but after they are attacked and she sees his green blood, his secret is outed.

Now reluctant partners, he’ll have the chance to steal—sorry, recover—the valuable data and she’ll get her sister back. Assuming they don’t end up dead.

Or worse yet, end up dating.

The Intergalactic Dating Agency might be closed here in Big Sky Country, but some hearts are still dreaming of the stars.

I really like the name Dejo Jinn; it sounds exotic and mysterious. It’s apt since the hero is a species of alien that I’ve never seen in books before. The whole concept of how his kind is born and their growing stages was truly imaginative and fascinating. Dejo is also a character easy to sympathize with the more I got to know him. His life is what he made of it and that’s a character strength that the heroine, Vaughn, will eventually come to not only appreciate but love.

What surprised me is that even though we were on Earth, which aliens call ‘Dirt’ and made me snort every time, things that are familiar were not all as they seem. The author surprised me with a curve ball. What should have been ordinary was anything but. I liked that twist because that led to some serious drama and suspense that had the capacity to destroy Dejo and Vaughn’s future forever.

Even though the main characters were different species, that didn’t stop sexy shenanigans from steaming up the pages and giving readers proof that Dejo and Vaughn are more than sexually compatible. What I found very telling was what the computer said. Something tells me that they won’t be 100% alien to each other by the time they finish falling in love. I wonder if anyone else will catch that.

Vaughn’s involvement in this story is personal and I could feel her determination and desperation to find her missing sister. She has a strong personality which meshed nicely with Dejo’s.

Language and alien terminology weren’t totally awkward in this story. I think the author did a nice job of inserting odd terms so smoothly that I didn’t get stuck or distracted by them. Many times they were perfect for the scene. There were a few instances that made me pause but on the whole, it worked.

The dramatic conclusion was more than satisfying and I liked the future that seems to be opening for Vaughn and Dejo. Based on what I know now about the hero, if anyone can make things work to their advantage, it’ll be Dejo Jinn. Vaughn couldn’t be in better hands.

After Burn is a wonderful romance story with an exciting exotic touch. I’m glad I read it and enjoyed myself immensely. I wonder; will the kidnapped brides be found in the next book? I can’t wait to find out!