Darque Phantasy by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

FANTASY
Darque Phantasy by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (279 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

Darque Anbhás was known throughout the Megaverse as the Faolchú Príomha..the Alpha of the Black Tribe, defender of his werewolf clansmen and warrior to equal none before him. When his little brother is murdered by their enemies, he takes hostage the daughter of the Lord High Chancellor in retaliation. What started out as brutal vengeance on his part became the sweetest of temptations he could not resist. He will cleave apart
two kingdoms to keep Aisling at his side for the young witch has brought his aching heart back to life.

It seemed like a good idea at the time: kidnap your adversary’s daughter; secure a truce with all the necessary stipulations. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as Darque planned, for reasons he’d never anticipated. Now what would he do with his new prisoner? He debates sending her back to her father, but when he learns why her capture wouldn’t procure the results he wanted, Darque doesn’t think sending her home is a good plan either. Had she been some horse-faced, sharp-tongued, disease-infested wench, his decision might not have been so difficult. But she wasn’t. Aisling was far too precious to be a pawn in the war between the North and South, and he loathed himself for trying to make her one. When his mother offers a solution to his dilemma, Darque is both aghast and intrigued by the suggestion. Kidnapping the Lord High Chancellor’s only daughter hadn’t gotten him what he’d wanted, but maybe it would be the one thing he needed.

Aisling is understandably terrified when she is taken prisoner by Padraig, who serves as the warden for Daingean, the stronghold of Darque Anbhás, her father’s enemy. But little does her captor or his master know that they’ve wasted their time if they hope to gain any leverage with her. Her father would more likely bargain with them to keep her as opposed to gaining her back. She’d merely traded one prison for another. She wondered what the Taoiseach—the chief—of Daingean would do when he discovered his efforts had been in vain. If what her captor’s vile claims were true, then she was truly damned. Her father hated her despite her intact virtue; he would likely execute her if Darque returned her sullied and valueless. He was considered the vilest man alive to the people of the south. No one would want her once he took her to his bed.

Darque Phantasy by Charlotte Boyett-Compo grabbed my attention from the get go. I love paranormal beasties and witches so this book seemed a perfect match for my tastes. While I did thoroughly enjoy the storyline, there were some things that kind of left me clueless. Aisling is a witch, but she doesn’t seem to have much power until later in the book when she teams up with Darque’s mother to perform a daring rescue—which was quite brilliant, by the way. Darque is supposed to be a werewolf but other than just having the knowledge that he is one, there is no evidence of it throughout the entire book. In fact, the only person who turns into a wolf is his annoying ward, Maire, and that’s only because she’s throwing a temper tantrum. I’m not really sure what purpose labeling him as a werewolf served.

Some other things that seemed off was the presence of technology—laser cannons, vid-coms, vid-pads, but the absence of transportation. Everyone rode horses. It seemed a bit at odds. The clothing threw me as well. The women dressed in lavish gowns—I envisioned like the 1800’s—yet the men wore blue jeans. This is one of those books that you just have to go with it. Once I quit trying to reason through these things and just focused on the plotline, I fell right into the story. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for certain scenarios. Despite these oddities, I fell in love with Darque Phantasy fairly early on. There were so many different directions this story could have went, but I think Ms. Boyett-Compo did a fine job with the one she chose. I’ve been a fan of hers since I stumbled across her Reaper characters. She is truly a talented author and I haven’t found a story of hers yet that I didn’t like.

This might stretch your imagination a bit, but if you give it a chance, I think you’ll find Darque Phantasy quite intriguing. While politics state they should be enemies, Darque and Aisling are both tortured souls who find healing and passion in the arms of each other despite the betrayal of those closest who seek to tear them apart. This book is quite a ride, one not to be missed.

Sultry Southern Nights by Elle LeBeau

SOUTHERN
Sultry Southern Nights by Elle LeBeau
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (227 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism, Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Sultry Southern Nights is an historical, highly erotic and romantic story set in 1858-1860 Charleston, South Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a noir tale in which the heroes struggle to conquer their inner demons and overcome their enemies. Beth Franklin’s huge, tortured eyes still haunt Rafe LaRue as he recalls the announcement of his betrothal to Amanda Hamilton. Marrying an heiress allows him to save his plantation and position in 1858 Charleston society. But at what cost? Enraged that Rafe cannot quell is obsession with Beth, Amanda acquires forged papers proving Beth to be an octoroon, arranges Beth’s kidnapping, and lends her to Geoffrey Mandeville as his love slave. To her great shame, Beth finds herself submitting to her captor’s relentless seductions and lascivious demands. She hates Geoffrey. How can her body betray her so completely? Rafe believes Beth is dead. Only months later does he learn the depths of Amanda’s perfidy when she brings Beth into their household as her personal slave. Beth convinces Rafe of her innocence and that he will find proof of her heritage in the Ashley family Bible, now in the possession of her former mammy in Philadelphia. Will Rafe be able to find the Bible and prove that Beth has no black blood that would condemn her as a slave? Will Beth be able to escape Geoffrey and his heavily-guarded house? Will she be able to move beyond her trauma? Will Amanda and Geoffrey escape retribution for their evil actions? Sultry Southern Nights is a gripping, spell-binding tale of sex, violence and love.

It’s bad enough to have your heart broken by the only man that your young heart has ever loved but to also be stripped of your freedom and sold into slavery is the ultimate nightmare. New Year’s Eve 1858 Beth Ashley’s life takes a turn in to a life she couldn’t have imagined. How will she prove her heritage to show she’s not a slave? Will she be able to recover emotional from the vile treatment she has endured?

The author has crafted a skillful story that is highly entertaining. The characters in this novel are seemly real. I enjoyed the love and determination that Rafe LaRue had towards Beth, though he made the horrid decision to marry Amanda Hamilton to increase his financial status not knowing the calamitous domino effect it would cause. The author keeps it coming. When I thought all was well and life was good for Beth and Rafe another unpredictable domino would fall.

The writing is enjoyable and I even learned a lot of new words while reading. The book is inundated with vocabulary that caused me to keep a dictionary handy. The plot is engaging and many twist to move the story along. Amanda Hamilton is a egotistical minded woman with sexual desires that cause her to seek consolation in various men. It’s okay for her to find pleasure but she took things to a completely different level to stop her husband from seeing the woman he loved. Awesome job on creating such a villain. Amanda was an unlikeable character and her sole purpose was thinking of herself and what pleased her; how others felt did not matter.

I like the surprise at the end. The conclusion that Beth came to was inspiring to see that she grew from her harsh treatment as a slave and wanted to do something she felt in her heart was a way to help other that have been treat badly.

This is a recommended book that tells a tale of jealously, shame, deceit, remorse and best of all, a man that is determined to be with the woman he loves. How can you pass up a book that includes all this?

Blood Possession by Brandy Roark

LOOD
Blood Possession by Brandy Roark
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (174 pages)
Heat level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Being attacked in an alley is one thing, but when your attacker bites your neck and drinks your blood, that is a whole different story. When Forensic medical examiner McKenzie Adams is turned into a vampire against her will, the normal life she led is suddenly shattered. Her sexy and charismatic assistant Ron comes to her rescue when he finds her in the alley in the arms of her new maker. He manages to get her back to the safety of her apartment, but not before it’s too late to save her mortality. The next morning McKenzie wakes as a fledgling vampire. She is confused by the attack and chalks it up as a dream, until Ron convinces her of the truth. He also has another revelation—he is a vampire as well. Even though McKenzie is in shock, with the help of Ron, she begins to adjust to her new life. But the happiness is short-lived when her maker, Aaron, comes for her. His blood courses through her veins and he is hell-bent on getting her back. Aaron gives her an ultimatum—she must come with him, or Ron dies. McKenzie has to say goodbye to everything she knows and loves to be thrust into a lonely existence, where she must fight her unwelcome desire for her maker. He is a cold-hearted creature, but she craves his touch like a drug. Can Aaron change his cruel ways and become a man she can love, or will he be the true death of her?

McKenzie Adams is a forensic medical examiner that comes across a body with no blood. Later she is attacked. The attack opens up a world that McKenzie did not even know existed.

Thankfully her handsome assistant Ron is there to help her and walk her through her new life in being a vampire. I found it a little too coincidental that Ron was in McKenzie’s life at the right time to be her knight in shining armor.

I enjoyed the novel. I wasn’t crazy about it, but it was readable and it kept my interest. I can’t really put my finger on why it wasn’t my favorite, but maybe there were a few holes that weren’t touched on or filled in. McKenzie is a young single female and from her description of being sun-kissed, chestnut colored hair down her back and curvy in all the right places I am sure she attracted many men. Her mother and sister Missy were mention but no friends or any type of social life, which seemed odd. And when she’s assaulted and later taken away from her home, Ron is the only person who noticed.

There were several moments when the book was kind of slow, like the author was trying to stretch the book out. The eating, watching movies, and sleeping…I was ready to read some vampire action. There also were a few things that stood out as odd. For example:  If Aaron has full access to humans to feed at his residence why did he travel so far away from home to bite McKenzie and other victims?

The vampire maker and their bond with their fledgling proved to be an interesting plot. I like the author’s writing style. It was easy to follow and I wasn’t lost in the teaching of the vampire life. There were a few twists in the book that I didn’t see coming. The author did a creative job with the alpha male story line. McKenzie had two men in her life and I had a hard time deciding who I wanted her to be with. In Blood Possession you have romance, along with the gore and blood that comes with any vampire tale. There is cruelty to the human prey/blood-givers and the author adds spice that could risk McKenzie’s life for trying to help them.

Blood Possession was a likable read that was entertaining.

A Marine’s Proposal by Lisa Carlisle

MARINE
A Marine’s Proposal by Lisa Carlisle
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (91 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Thornapple

When Slade Masters, her closest friend in the Marine Corps, proposes to her, Caitlyn O’Neill lets her thrill overshadow the catch. It’s a marriage in name only. Slade thinks a temporary marriage is the perfect solution to their problematic living situations in the barracks.

Despite her reservations about the deceit involved, Caitlyn is thrilled to live off-base and experience the culture of the island of Okinawa, Japan, as a local—especially with Slade. Swept up in the excitement of apartment hunting and planning a wedding, she silences the anxiety within and goes along with Slade’s plans. They struggle to fight their growing attraction while acting on their script. On their wedding night, their bodies heat up with the thrill of being so close. Desire intensifies during a heated moment on the dance floor. How can they play off the charade of their marriage now that they have complicated their arrangement? Have they ruined their plan or will they find a way to continue? Or has their passionate night together uncovered hidden desires impossible to ignore?

The beautiful island of Okinawa is a perfect setting for falling in love. But, Slade Masters and Caitlyn O’Neill are there because they are both members of the Marine Corps. The truth is Slade and Caitlyn are really very good friends. However, Slade comes up with an idea that would make life easier for both of them or could also get them into a lot of trouble. The plan: get married so they can live in an apartment instead of the barracks.

Marriage seems like a pretty drastic measure but, for Caitlyn, the idea holds some attraction because she has romantic feelings for Slade.

Someone in love and desperately wanting for that person to feel the same way might find themselves throwing caution to the wind. As hard at Caitlyn tries to think the situation out rationally, her heart overrules her head.

Now I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I’ve done some bone headed things because my hormones and heart made me do it. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) So, even though Caitlyn is pretty sure Slade doesn’t return her feelings she can’t help but fantasize about being married to him. But, is a loveless marriage really the solution?

Slade ‘s plan isn’t as practical as he would have Caitlyn believe. It’s entirely possible he has other ulterior motives for pushing a wedding down Caitlyn’s throat and jeopardizing their friendship in the process. What would happen if Caitlyn knew the real reason Slade proposed marriage?

This short story is sexy and steamy and sweet all at the same time. It was a fun read set in a unique locale and of course has a HEA.

I read A LOT of romance novels. Contemporary romance especially, seems to have one or two set formulas that are adhered to. If certain themes crop up often it doesn’t stymie my enjoyment of the book, but it is always nice to come across something entirely original. While this particular scenario isn’t done over much, it is still a common enough. In fact, it’s done in historical romances as well. For some reason this theme seems to work better in the historical genre and comes off quite charming if done right, but with contemporary that’s a little harder to pull off.

The story line in this one makes it work much better than I would have thought and I think the author’s decision to keep the story short worked in her favor. The pacing was wonderful and the tension builds at just the right speed so things don’t feel rushed. It’s short with some heat. This light romance makes the perfect break or lunchtime escape.

Off Limits by Rue Allyn

Off Limits by Rue Allyn
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (76 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia

For Senior Chief Hank O’Mara no woman compares with the sea until he meets Lieutenant Bethany Morton. Only the sea can draw two such opposite and passionate people together. Only US Navy regulations keep them apart. Fraternization between Officer and enlisted is forbidden. Beth and Hank do their utmost to resist their mutual attraction. Can love prove stronger than either the sea or the USN? To find out, Hank will sacrifice his career, and Beth will risk her professional dreams.

Can two people who have pledged their lives to the service handle loves consequences?

Hank and Beth weren’t looking for anything more than an affair to last them as they embark on different paths of their Naval careers. Instant attraction made it easy for them to continue their explosive erotic encounters, but with the Navy’s strict fraternization codes, taking their relationship outside the bedroom could ruin both of their hard won Naval careers. Now with Hank’s departure imminent, sacrifice for the sake of their country has taken on a whole new meaning. The time apart puts things into perspective, but uncertainty weighs heavily and feelings have only grown deeper. Is the possibility of love worth the downfall of Beth’s budding Naval career and Hank’s Naval reputation?

This was my first chance to read a story featuring both the male and female leads involved in some sort of military career. I was excited to read how the relationship dynamics would work between two people with not just desire in common but also duty. The story starts right off with Hank and Beth’s first meeting and continues at a rapid fire pace with the discoveries they make along the way of their affair. Unfortunately, the pacing really affected the fluidity of the storyline and rushed through character development a bit too much for me to really connect with them or their situation. There was so much potential for the story to be really great if the characters could have been more fleshed out.

Nevertheless, I did find enjoyment in this quick read. The journey leaves the reader questioning throughout if they will find a way to make it work or not. Then the ending brought an unexpected element that left me wondering and thinking about the characters afterward. This story is definitely for readers who don’t mind instant chemistry mixed with a forbidden love kind of tale.

Dancing with Danger by Laura Sheehan

Dancing with Danger by Laura Sheehan
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (238 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Aster

Lily Brookstone, the daughter of a workaholic United States Senator, defies her father’s wishes by moving to Los Angeles in pursuit of a dancing career. But the tough town hasn’t been easy on her, and after two years she finds herself disowned by her father, dropped by her agent, and recovering from a dance injury. Determined to live her life independently without relying on others, Lily refuses to give up her dream of making it as a dancer and instead works herself ragged at three different jobs to make ends meet. Serving coffee and teaching dance classes to pre-schoolers are ordinary enough day jobs, but Lily dons a disguise when she works the late shift as an exotic dancer at a topless strip club.

Raised to be fiercely independent and hesitant to trust, at first she keeps her “”night job”” a secret from her new beau, Marc Sloane, a tough L.A.P.D. Officer with an uncanny knack for reading people. But her cover is blown when Marc attends a bachelor party at Lily’s strip club and recognizes her.

Realizing that she has a chance at true love and knowing that her life is in danger from the threat of her stalker, Lily must not only trust Marc to keep her exotic dancing job a secret, but she must also trust him to protect both her life and her heart.

The ability to remain positive and determined despite your world collapsing around you is a trait few possess, but it was the dominant trait of the heroine in Dancing with Danger that drew not only the hero to her, but me as well!

A person would be hard-pressed not to like Lily Brookstone. A passion for dancing has estranged her from her only family – her father and, although she had found some success in dance, an injury left her with few options. She worked three jobs to pay off her debts and make ends meet; one as an exotic dancer.

One fateful night, rookie cop Marcus Sloan and his partner pull over Lily’s car and Marc is immediately taken with her. The next day, he happens into a local coffee shop and finds Lily working behind the counter. They hit it off and he asks her out. Before their scheduled date, however, Marc discovers her secret job when out with friends for a bachelor party. He chases her when she flees, and in the process of settling things, Marc discovers a suspicious vehicle hanging around. His fears of a stalker are confirmed when Lily’s car is vandalized. While trying to help protect her, the two develop a wonderful connection and soon fall in love.

I loved the simplicity of Ms. Sheehan’s story. It was a straight man/woman romance with the lingering mystery of the identity of Lily’s stalker, and the writing allowed me to focus almost exclusively on the hero and heroine. Marc was an awesome hero; your typical Alpha-male who stopped at nothing to defend and protect his woman. Lily, while independent, learned to depend and lean on Marc as she opened her heart to him. It was an endearing combination and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall in love, despite it being on a rather hurried schedule. It felt right and natural, and I was rooting for them every step of the way.

Ms. Sheehan also used various points of view to tell her story. While she changed viewpoints often, and sometimes after short periods, I was never confused as to who was speaking and who was witnessing the action. It was a bit unconventional, but she did it very well and I think it adds to the story – particularly the viewpoint of the stalker.

My only negative was towards the end of the book. The final chapter seemed to focus on surrounding characters who, although mentioned earlier, and who had impact on the hero and heroine, weren’t part of the larger story and I would have preferred to see more of Marc and Lily and how they were wrapped up. An epilogue set a year later would have been awesome – I still want to know how the two handled their relationship once the danger was passed and they had time to really get to know each other. There were also a few other loose ends (what happened with her new dance agent, etc) that I would have loved to find out as well.

Despite the very minor disappointment, which was really only disappointing because I loved these characters so much and wanted more, the story was a very enjoyable read. I’ll definitely look for other titles by Ms. Sheehan and I’d even love to see more of Marc and Lily. If you love a good romance, mixed with the potential danger of an unknown stalker, this is a perfect title to pick up!

Double Dare by Sky Robinson

Double Dare by Sky Robinson
Publisher: Red Sage Publications
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (101pgs)
Other: voyeurism, M/F
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed By Dianthus

Sydney James wants to put a little fun back in her friend Emma’s life, so she talks Emma into a dare to sleep with the first two good looking men they see. Emma doesn’t know that it’s a setup with Sydney’s new boyfriend Logan Ford, and his sexy older brother Jack. Sydney and Logan fulfill the dare in the woods, and Emma and Jack stumble onto front row seats. Emma’s a little too conservative to go through with the dare right away, but she regrets not having a little fun with the man as the day rolls on. Her love life has been nonexistent and having Jack around makes her see just how much she wants that to change. Luckily she gets her chance later that night when Sydney invites Logan and Jack to her cabin.

Sydney James is just looking to have a little fun. After a bad marriage and an even worse divorce, running into the woods to start fresh seemed like a good idea at the time. While transforming herself into the woman that she used to be, Sydney comes across sexy Logan and decides that some cougar action might just be what she needs to right all of her wrongs. What Sydney didn’t expect was the feeling of wanting something more the longer she’s with Logan. He keeps her sexually satisified and is always a gentleman, but she wants more than just a tumble in the hay. After running from her past for so long can she stop to claim the guy who has made her love herself again? And what of her best friend Emma, who is just as broken as she? Sydney will have to do some quick thinking to not only make herself happy but to maybe find a man for Emma, too.

Emma needs this little get away with her best friend, Sydney. Watching Sydney blossom again after such a horrible marriage is a pleasure for Emma and something she would like to have for herself someday. After losing her husband suddenly, Emma has put herself on the back burner for so long it feels strange to think of just her again. Maybe Sydney has the right idea, a no strings attached affair with a hot woodsman who makes her skin tingle and burn. Can Emma take the leap of faith she needs to get Jack in bed with her, and if she does, can she say goodbye to him in the morning?

Jack just wants to work and go home at the end of the day. Working with his brother Logan everyday can be frustrating, but to keep the business alive Jack is willing to bend when need be. Will meeting Emma be the missing piece he has felt gone for sometime or will she make the perfect one night stand to release some of his pent up sexual frustration? It may just take a little lying from Logan and Sydney to make Emma and Jack see each other as something more, but what are a best friend and a brother suppose to do when they want everyone to be as happy as they are?

This was an interesting story that, while short, allowed the characters to tell their own stories to the fullest and still have room for a sequel in the end. Sydney and Logan were devious in the beginning but with the best of intentions toward Jack and Emma. Watching those two come to want each other and admit to trying something new was great to see. I would have like to make the story longer to get to see how things turn out for Jack and Emma, but maybe they will appear in another story down the line from Sky Robinson. If you are looking for a sexy story with some great characters than this is the story for you to pick up!

GUEST BLOG: RED SAGE PUBLISHING

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Speed Date My Hero

Meet the hero of DANCING WITH DANGER, Marc Sloane! These answers are from his point-of-view, before the events in the novel take place.

1) What do you do for work?
I’m an L.A.P.D. officer, just got out of the Academy a few months ago.

2) Where are you from?
Originally I’m from NorCal, but now I live in Los Angeles.

3) When was your last relationship and how long did it last?
I don’t really do relationships. I had a long-term girlfriend in high school, but that was about it. There’ve been a few women I’ve dated for a few months here and there, but I don’t have the kind of career that invites anything long-term.

4) Do you want to marry or have you ever been married?
Never been married. Maybe one day… but she’d have to understand that I won’t give up my career for anything. I’m not going to make the same mistake my father made.

5) What do you do for fun?
I play softball on the squad’s team, third base. I also like to fix things up. I refurbished an old Ducati last year and now I’m renovating my condo.

6) What are you most proud of?
Probably the rooftop patio that I built. I’ve incorporated a bunch of Japanese garden features, including a waterfall feature with lily pads and bonsai trees, and it’s now my favorite place in the city to go when I need to unwind or relax. No one has been up there yet, but me. Well, at least not yet…

7 ) Do you believe in love at first sight?
Nah. How can you fall in love with someone if you don’t know anything about them? Lust at first sight: Sure. But love? Never gonna happen. At least, not to me.

8) What is your favorite music and who is your favorite singer/band?
I like rock music. Classic rock, alternative, hard rock, 50’s rock and roll, pretty much anything with a good beat.

9) Do you like animals/keep pets?
I grew up with dogs and love them, but don’t have one. Might get one someday, though.

10) Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Still working with the LAPD, hopefully still assigned to my partner, Pete. And I better be finished with the condo renovations by then!

11) Do you believe a cup is half empty or half full?
Ugh, I hate this question. It doesn’t really matter, right? If it’s half empty, then it just means there’s room for more. If it’s half full, then bottom’s up!

12) You have got six months to live, what will you do first?
Damn, this question’s even harder. Ummm… shit, I don’t know. This question’s depressing, let’s move on to the next one, that looks like way more fun.

13) Is sexual compatibility important to you?
Hell, yeah! Humans are sexual creatures, and both partners should be able to equally enjoy the experience. I don’t understand people who want to wait until marriage to have sex. To me, that’s like buying a car without test driving it.

14) If you won a lottery, how would you spend your millions?
I’d buy a house, put aside some money for my baby niece for her college fund, donate to some charities, travel the world, and probably buy a nice classic, fixer-upper, car to restore. But I don’t think I’d quit my job.

15) If you have friends coming over, what would you cook?
I don’t really cook… I’d probably order pizza, or maybe do something simple like Mac n’ Cheese. That counts as cooking, right? I mean, you have to boil water, so, yeah.

Buy Dancing with Danger: http://eredsage.com/store/DancingWithDanger.html Red Sage Publishing~ Discover Your Hero

Keys to Submission by Jennifer August

Keys to Submission by Jennifer August
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (274 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Plumeria

Sophie Turner, once the most scandalous debutante in Regency London, has only a few weeks to decipher the secrets of a mysterious journal and gain a treasure or lose her isolated country house forever. She never expected the lord next door and an unknown assailant to throw all her plans into chaos, never thought she might lose either her heart or her life.

Lord Ryder Ashford has decided the time is now for him to wed. He knows he’ll need a woman of elegance, refinement and purity. Having resigned himself to a life of vanilla sex and boring conversations, he’s shocked to find the scandalous Sophie Turner catching his eye … and his heart. Together, they will uncover secrets best left alone, embark on a quest for treasure and create a bond steeped in sensual love-making, daring forays into the world of dominance and submission and a love that will defy Society.

Who likes a two for one? Or should I say who doesn’t?

I, for one, love getting two things for the price of one. Which is one of the reasons I highly enjoyed this book by Jennifer August. While this book is a historical romance it’s also a suspense and BDSM novel. Each part was brought to the table by one of central characters of the story making it work beautifully.

Keys to Submission starts off with Sophie Turner elbow deep in a riddle which will lead her to treasure. Something which will hopefully set Sophie’s life on a course of easy living for the rest of her days. After making a mistake during her first season, she waves her independence like a flag during war instead of waving a white flag and doing what would’ve been right. Now an outcast, the lost treasure is Sophie’s last chance to better her position. But first she must engage the help of her handsome neighbor.

Enter the earl, Ryder Ashford. He, of course, thinks she’s the loveliest creature ever. She’s spunky, flirty and smart. What’s not to like? Deciding he can’t keep his hands off her, he decides to follow his gut and show Sophie she’s a submissive at heart. Making an agreement that would allow him to assist her with her treasure hunt, it also allows him to show her the dynamics of a Dom/sub relationship.

The BDSM portion of this book was light by todays standards, and even a little light compared to other historical BDSM books. However, I think that’s what made this story so charming. Ryder loses all his good intentions for training whenever she’s around because she enjoys whatever it is he teaches. Sophie shamefully teases him to distraction whenever she can.

I thought the two of them were just adorable. I loved how the historical factor wrapped around them both. Her suspense and his BDSM really let them be who they needed to be instead of suffocating the story with rights and wrongs of society. Ryder never really changed who he was as a Dom, yet grew better. And Sophie’s sassy charm kept her independence right up front. I just adored the book from beginning to end.

This is the sequel to Her Dark Master which is about Ryder’s sister, Victoria. While several characters from the book appear here in Keys to Submission, this can be read alone and the reader won’t feel completely lost.

I advise anyone who likes strong heroines and sweet loving heroes to pick up this book and its prequel.

GUEST BLOG: RED SAGE PUBLISHING

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Erotic Romance Vs. Erotica

By
Red Sage Publishing

In the writing industry, erotic romance and erotica are quickly shooting up the charts. But many authors face the cold shoulder from other industry professionals for writing P*O*R*N. We all know that when we see it, right? Here’s a quick primer on the differences.

The definition of erotic romance, according to Ginny Wiehardt on the About.Com website:

“Erotica is a genre of literature that includes sexually explicit details as a primary feature. Unlike pornography, erotica does not aim exclusively at sexual arousal.”

So what does this mean? Erotica focuses on sexually explicit details—the actions involved between the characters. The sexual journey and exploration are the key factors of this genre.

Well, what is erotic romance, then? According to the Passionate Ink chapter of the Romance Writers of America, erotic romance is defined as, “stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance.”

Both genres are flying off the bookshelves. The introduction of the e-reader has allowed readers to get their hands on this material in discreet ways. We no longer have to hide our book cover while we’re sitting at soccer practice, waiting for our kids.

As a print and e-publisher, Red Sage accepts all levels of heat in erotic romance, as well as erotica with a “happily for now” ending. Each genre serves its purpose in the industry, and should be accepted for what they are—an escape for readers, and a way to empower them in their sex lives or fantasies.

We applaud the authors and readers of these genres and hope the discrimination against these hot stories ebbs away over time. The more everyone is educated about the true definitions of erotica and erotic romance, the more likely that is to happen.

Happy reading and writing!

Red Sage Publishing

http://www.eredsage.com/