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Sweet Surrender, by Maya Bankssweet-surrender

Published by Berkley HEAT, Sweet Surrender is the first in a loosely connected series of erotic contemporary romances set in Houston. This novel, at its core, follows Faith Malone’s path of self-discovery. She is considered by everyone who knows her to be a sweet and feminine girl (nevermind that she’s twenty three or so *ahem*). As such, so far all of her romantic relationships have left her vaguely dissatisfied and wondering whether something is wrong with her.

Before going further, reader beware: this novel contains graphic language, explicit sexual scenes and what some may term objectionable sexual practices.

Here is the back cover blurb:

Relentless, by Lauren Danerelentless

The second book set in Ms Dane’s Federation universe, Relentless is an excellent romance novel, focusing on building the relationship between its main characters, Roman, head of the House Lyons, and Abby Haws, unranked barrister.

Published by Berkley’s Heat imprint, Relentless is considered an erotic romance, with explicit and graphic sexual content; therefore, all minors-as well as adults who have issues with strong language or sexuality-should avoid the review and the novel.

Without further ado, the back cover blurb:

In this erotic universe, passion knows no rank…

Since the first settlers came through the portals from Earth, fifteen Families have held the rule of the Federation Universes in their hands. There’s never been a better time to throw out the old and usher in a new order, giving voice to the unranked. Abbie Haws has spent her life battling the system. A fighter by nature, she’s always been too busy and too driven to pay much attention to finding love. But when she’s granted an audience with Roman Lyons, the head of House Lyons-a man who stands for everything she hates-her instant attraction catches Abbie off guard…

It’s common knowledge that the Known Universe revolves around the world Ravena-and that Ravena revolves around Roman Lyons, bred to lead since birth. Roman dreads this meeting with a defiant-if stunning-rabble-rouser. But sometimes headstrong personalities in the conference room make for hot-and-heavy, guilty trysts in private…

Now, Abbie will show Roman the parts of her world he wouldn’t otherwise get to see. And he’ll give her a glimpse of the Families’ age-old traditions and unleash a sexuality he’s never given rein to before.


Be With Me, by Maya Banks

This is only the third of Ms Banks’ tittles that I’ve read, but will by no means be the last. Published by Berkley Heat and labeled as an erotic romance, Be With Me focuses much more on the relationship than it does on the sex. Of course, the fact that it’s a ménage à quatre is probably reason enough for most people to consider it more erotica than romance.

And that brings me to the usual warning: this is adult reading material, with graphic sexual scenes and language.

Here’s the (humdrum) back cover blurb:

Three men. One woman.

Hutch Bishop, Cam Douglas and Sawyer Pritchard were delinquents with a reckless and wildly sexy side. But they had more in common than that. They had Regina Fallon, a wealthy but lonely girl from the right side of the tracks who formed an unusual friendship with the boys. She felt protected. She felt needed. She felt loved… for the first time in her life. By all three.

So much closer than just friends.

Today she’s a police officer, dedicated to her badge and wary of reigniting her relationship with the hot trio after one night of passion left her confused—and stunned—by what they wanted from her. But when a mysterious attempt is made on her life, Hutch, Cam and Sawyer jump in to protect her again. Now Regina and her three lovers are forming an all-new bond. It’s more exciting, more intense and—as a killer looms in the shadows—more dangerous than ever before.

The first chapter is an excellent example of action writing, introducing the heroine and showcasing her strengths in just a couple of pages: a small town police officer, Regina answers an anonymous call reporting a potential crime and finds herself face-to-face with a crazy, grudge-holding killer. (more…)

Lord and Master, by Jules Jones

Back in July, I read and enjoyed Ms Jones’ short story “Black Leather Rose” and ever since have had a hankering for more of her writing. Very kindly, she sent me review copies of both Lord and Master and its sequel, Lord and Master 2, and even though it’s been a few months (me, ssssllllloooooowwwwww) she’s been extremely patient with me. A few days ago I was finally able to sink into Lord and Master and oh man! what a treat it was!

Published by Loose Id as an erotic romance, it has the following publisher’s note: “Lord and Master is a homoerotic love story. As such it depicts sexual content that may be objectionable to some readers: male/male sexual practices.” It also has explicit language and is pure contemporary romance (which should delight the peeps at Smart Bitches and Dear Author *said innocently*).

Here’s the (yay, good!!!) blurb:

When Mark’s PhD supervisor sent him for a job interview with an old university friend, he didn’t mention that the friend was devastatingly handsome. He also neglected to mention to either that the other is gay.

Steven was just looking for a young scientist to train as a PA to help him run his technology company. No extra services required. But watching other people react to a young, pretty man playing secretary to an openly gay CEO amused them both. Watching people wonder if they were having an affair was an entertaining game.

But when the game became real and caught them both up, Mark was left wondering… how real? Because he’s the one PA in the building who can’t marry the boss.


The Countess Lends a Hand, by Bonnie Dee

I believe I mentioned before that I fell in love with Ms Dee’s writing after reading The Countess Takes a Lover. My infatuation has only grown after reading Empath a few weeks ago and the short novel The Countess Lends a Hand just now.

I confess that I don’t know how much of the historical detail in the Countess’ stories* is accurate or not—I sense that some of the language may not be, at any rate—but the story telling and the characterization in each of Ms Dee’s stories that I’ve read so far has grabbed my interest from first to last page.

From the publisher, the usual warning: This title contains a Regency hero and heroine doing the library lambada, and graphic language Jane Austen wishes her editor would have let her characters use. (more…)

Unless of course you’re Elloras Cave.

I read over at Mrs Giggles’, that they’d had a make-over, so of course I went to have a nosy.

Well, I surfed in about six minutes ago, and I’m still waiting for the page to fully load.

Also, for some reason, the page URL is defaulting to Jasmine Jade Enterprises. According to Mrs Giggles, they may be trying to house EC, Lotus Circle, and Cerridwen Press all under one roof. I guess probably because Lotus and Cerridwen weren’t doing so great.

I like the new colours, but I’m hating the fact that there’s so much information on the home page. (Just re-checked the page, there’s just one item apparently left to load.) I’ve given myself a headache just trying to figure out what’s what.

I see that they have new and funky names for the different lines and sub-genres. Apparently ‘Aeon’ books are futuristic sci-fi. ‘Spectrum’ are gay and lesbian fiction, and ‘Moderne’ are contemps.

Surely keeping things simple would have been the best route to take? Changing the names to make them sound more interesting might seem like a good idea, but I’m guessing that most people would prefer a spade to be called a spade. I know I would.

Anyhoo, having just checked back, I’ve now got that yellow error thingy on the bottom left hand side of the page, so I guess it’s given up the ghost.

Balls to it, I have better things to do with my time. I’ll check back next week, by which time, EC should have ironed out the loading problems.

I bet their books are selling like hotcakes today. Not.


Undercover, by Lauren Dane

This erotic futuristic romance is Ms Dane’s print debut, but the fact that she’s been writing for years is evident in the quality of her craft. I was privileged to get an ARC of Undercover, which made me really happy as a well written ménage à trois is one I enjoy very much (particularly in the M/f/M incarnation, as is this one).

With that said, the usual warning: this novel is not meant for minors; any adults who object to any sort of relationship deviating from the typical one man, one woman would not enjoy either the novel nor my review; there is graphic sex, some BDSM, and what could be considered offensive language.


It’s been a while since I felt moved enough to write a review, but I have read a few decent (and not so decent) books over the past month, so I’ll try to get some of my thoughts about them out in review format.

The first book on the list is The Conquest, By Julia Templeton.

I’ve never read Templeton before, but I decided to pick this one up at the Borders store in Clearwater, whilst we were in the states.

Rhiannon MacKay is the daughter of a wealthy laird, who’s destined to be married off to a man, selected by her father. She’s never really been bothered by this fact, assuming that she would like whoever her father ultimately chose for her.

Predictably, Rhi’s father ends up giving her to a man who’s older than he is, which of course pisses Rhiannon off no end. When Lord Malgor (Rhi’s decrepit intended) sends the rather delish Adelstan Cawdor to escort Rhi to her betrothed, the shit truly hits the fan.

Adelstan and Rhi fall in lust with each other, and although Ade tries very hard to resist her womanly charms, (mostly because he doesn’t want to be accused of being a traitor, and killed off) they eventually end up doing the horizontal foxtrot. Over and over, and over again.

I have to say, I rather enjoyed this book, flaws and all. Rhi was a total Slutty Suzie, even though I suspect that a lot of well-bred girls in 11th Century Scotland, wouldn’t have known what their front bums were for, pre-marriage. But I kinda liked this about her. Adelstan was a slightly wet hero, but he was pretty likeable, nonetheless.

I also liked that the sex between the two of them were pretty hot, and mostly well-written.

The villain of the piece (The coffin-dodging intended) was predictably cookie-cutter-bad, but I wasn’t overly interested in him, even though his presence in the book was the main source of conflict for Rhi and Ade.

Although this was an historical erotic romance, I liked that Templeton didn’t have them jumping into bed on page six, so there was enough tension to keep the juices flowing.

Having said that though, in this book, you get the erotic romance full kit and caboodle. Not only do you get the straight, if slightly kinky, M/F sex, but there was also an m/m/f threesome. As well as the odd blowjob here and there. Oh yeah, and if I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure Rhi gets herself off in the bath whilst she’s alone too. All good erotic romance fun.

Ultimately, The Conquest was a good read for me, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I suggest that if you enjoyed War and Peace, this book probably aint for you.

You can buy The Conquest from Amazon.com here, and from Amazon UK here.

By the way, you can tell this is an erotic romance because it seems obvious to me that in order to fulfill the Lots Of Sex quotient requirement, Templeton uses Rhi’s maid, Elspeth (who also happens to be a bit of a Loose Lucy) and Ade’s brother-in-arms, Jorden to ramp up the action. It was probably easier than having Rhiannon drop her knickers for every Tom, Dick and Barbara.

Just sayin’.

(Two Feral attraction stories, released April 15th 2008 by Samhain)

Before starting, I have to apologize profusely to the amazing Angela James and the authors for it taking me six and a half months to get around to reading and reviewing these, since I got them at a giveaway hosted by the wonderful ladies at WriteMinded. I suck, and not in a good way. Sowwy. (Two down, four to go.) (more…)

Riding Temptation, by Jaci Burton

Second installment in Ms Burton’s Wild Riders series, published by Berkley Heat, Riding Temptation follows Díaz Delgado and Jessie Matthews during an undercover investigation in weapon smuggling.

The Wild Riders are a number of bikers—dudes and dudettes *tip o’ the helmet to Ms Burton*—who are in fact undercover federal agents working in tandem with other federal agencies (ATF in this case) by penetrating different bike gangs wherever illegal activities are suspected.

The usual warning: this series is considered erotic romance, which means that there’s graphic language and sexual behaviour. Minors and those who are bothered by either should skip these. (more…)

Beyond Innocence, by Emma Holly

Emma Holly is well known in the online romance reading community for her erotic romances (such as All U Can Eat, review here). Beyond innocence is my second full length novel by Ms Holly, and it was a wonderful surprise, giving me a glimpse of a very different facet of her writing.

Set late in the nineteenth century, Beyond Innocence presents a different perspective on societal mores, their pressure on the individuals, and the contrast those make with familial obligations. Love is a powerful force, indeed, and doing something out of love doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

When her beloved father passes away, Florence Farleigh finds herself alone in the world. All she wants is a man who will treat her kindly and support her financially—and she’s come to London to find him.

Edward Burbrooke thinks marriage is the only way to save his brother Freddie—and their family—from scandalous ruin. As head of the family, Edward has vowed to find Freddie a bride—and fast…

Thrown together by Edward, Florence and Freddie make a perfect pair—until Edward realizes he has feelings for his brother’s betrothed. The sight of her nubile young body makes his blood burn with lust. The sound of her voice makes his heart warm with love. And the sweet taste of her kiss makes him wonder if he isn’t making a terrible mistake.


Sins of the Night, by Devyn Quinn

Sins of the Night is my first read by Ms Quinn, although it’s actually the second title in her Kyth and Kynn series. Aside from introducing the Kyth and Kynn universe, Sins of the Flesh, the first installment, tells the story of two characters who are essential for the events narrated in Sins of the Night. While I was able to gather most of the background information from this novel, I recommend reading Sins of the Flesh first in order to get the full picture. (But then, don’t I always? :grin:)

The usual warning: this series is erotic romance, and includes both graphic language and sexual content that is unsuitable for minors. If you are bothered by this, do yourself a favor and stop reading here. Thank you. (more…)

All U Can Eat, by Emma Holly

I had read only a couple of short stories by Ms Holly (“The Night Owl”, in the Hot Blooded anthology, and “The Countess’ Pleasure” in the Hot Spell anthology) before reading this novel, so I had an idea what to expect from her writing. Still, I was nicely surprised by the reality of it.

The usual warning though: This book, considered more erotica than romance, is funny and graphic and definitely not for the faint of heart—or at least, not for the prude and faint of heart. Did I mention graphic? Minors, this is not for you.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Frankie Smith’s longtime boyfriend just left her for another woman, but she doesn’t have much time to nurse her broken heart. Her diner, All U Can Eat, is as popular as ever, and the people of Six Palms want their appetites satisfied…

When the body of a wealthy local woman is discovered in a nearby alley, it’s Frankie who falls under suspicion. But the truth is, chief Jack West has an all-consuming attraction to the sexy proprietor—and he knows placing her under arrest isn’t going to improve his chances of winning her.

Determined to clear her name—and to get to know the ultra-responsible police chief better—Frankie joins Jack on a roller-coaster ride of an investigation, uncovering Six Palms’ raciest secrets. And as the twists and turns are revealed, letting go of their inhibitions begins to seem like the most natural thing in the world…

For those keeping track: this blurb isn’t more than half way accurate. Frankie is not the only suspect and she doesn’t investigate the murder. (more…)

I never thought I’d find a book that could make me blush like a virgin in a whorehouse, but that was before I read Opal Carew’s Swing.

Lacey Alexander’s Keywest was the hottest erotic romance book I’d come across previously, but I have to say, even she was wildly outdone by Ms Carew.

I’d read one of her e-books from Loose-Id, written as Elizabeth Batten Carew, and I’d actually liked her voice, so I went onto her website to look for her backlist. Unfortunately for Ms Carew, most of her older books are published with New Concepts Publishing, and seeing as I have no interest in purchasing anything from them, I had to order one of her St Martin’s Press books, instead.

Anyway, this is the blurb on the back cover of Swing:

Melissa’s friend Shane asked her to accompany him on a business trip to an exclusive resort, but the Sweet Surrender is no ordinary vacation spot – it’s for men and and women who swing.

As Melissa mingles with the other guests and discovers the resort’s fantasy rooms, she’s tempted to explore her naughty side and live out her most sinful fantasies – but she isn’t prepared for the storm of desire that awaits her.

Melissa soon finds herself torn between two men, one of her oldest friends, and a handsome stranger who belongs to another. Both men bring her the most exquisite pleasure, but which man will win her heart?

In terms of eroticism, this book had everything. And I mean everything.

There was exhibitionism, voyeurism, menage sex, group sex, sex in public (several times) anal sex, and light bondage. In fact, you name a staple erotic romance theme, and you’d have found it in Swing. All it needed was some vampires, wolfies, and dragons with a fetish for humans, and you’d have had the whole ER kit and kaboodle.

Now, by rights I should have hated this book, I mean, I wasn’t even convinced that the hero and heroine were in love in the end, I just felt that they fell in lust at first sight, but you know what, that was fine by me.

This book had a really high SQ (sex quotient) even for an erotic romance, but I have to say, the scenes were well written, and I never got the urge to go and scrub myself clean. Which was a nice change, seeing as the past few ER books I’ve read, have either bored me silly, or made me long for a cleansing bath.

Anyway, needless to say, if you prefer for your romance to be sweet, then for the love of god, do not go anywhere near this book. The sex scenes alone, would probably cause you to go into some kind of anaphylactic shock.

For those of you however, who love your erotic romance on the sizzling side, you can purchase Swing, from Amazon UK by clicking here, or from Amazon.com, by clicking here.

The Countess Takes a Lover, by Bonnie Dee.

This is a very well executed short novel/long novella erotic romance from Samhain, set in London during the Regency (1800s). Ms Dee, who was a new-to-me writer, uses a few reliable tropes of the romance genre, but her excellent execution makes them feel fresh.

And for once, the blurb is nigh perfect!

Countess Meredith du Chevalier, a widow with a reputation for being sexually adventurous, is intrigued when she is approached by a gentleman who wishes her to “make a man” of his son. Sensing a passionate man beneath Christopher Whitby’s reserved exterior, Meredith takes on the challenge, inviting the botanist to her country home to revitalize her abandoned greenhouse.

Chris finds people to be a chaotic, animalistic species, and has chosen to devote his life to the study of plants. One kiss from the vivacious countess, however, and his inner animal is aroused. But lust is only a fraction of what he feels for the vulnerable woman hiding behind a brittle façade. He resolves to coax her to grow until her petals unfurl into glorious bloom.

To her surprise, Meredith finds Chris brings much more to life than just fallow soil. But just as their love begins to thrive, he learns about the secret arrangement. Meredith must risk her heart for the most dangerous lesson of all—love.

At a little over 130 pages, The Countess takes a Lover is, again, a bit shorter that most of the books I usually like, but the pacing is so well done as to make that just a minor quibble and not very noteworthy.

While having a wealthy society widow with a tarnished reputation as a heroine is not all that common, the fact that she was unhappy—and sexually unfulfilled—during her marriage is fairly common in romance novels indeed. In this case, Meredith wasn’t merely neglected or unhappy, but suffered true emotional and sexual abuse of increasing degree at the hands of her husband until his death. Further, her veiled cries for help to her family fell on deaf ears—and cold hearts—all of which left her deeply scarred emotionally.

However, she possesses a will strong enough to allow her to rise above this, and free herself—for the most part at least—from her past. She discovers her knack for business first, and the power of her sensuality soon enough after that, and creates a life for herself in which she is not accountable to anyone else. Of course, given her background so far, she equates this contentment with happiness. (more…)

What happens in Vegas, anthology by Jodi Lynn Copeland, Anya Bast, Lauren Dane and Kit Tunstall.

The universe seems to be determined to show me how wrong I’ve been in avoiding short stories, by shoving some really good ones in front of me. Mind you, no complaints from this corner. What happens in Vegas is the first erotic stories anthology from Spice Books.

Behind closed doors, the real games begin…
Winning it big. That’s the name of the game at Las Vegas’ Liege Hotel and Casino, where the hottest fantasies hinge on a roll of the dice… and the tantalizing knowledge that anything could happen before sunrise.

Each story is around a hundred pages long—well under my usual comfort zone—and while some missed the mark with me, a couple hit it dead center. Bear in mind, as always, that what bothered me may very well be what other readers like best about each story. So, without further ado, here are the reviews. (I included the short blurbs from the back cover for each story in its review.)

“Hot for you” by Jodi Lynn Copeland

Cocktail waitress Carinna wants a man to tie her up, not tie her down. Little does she know that her most willing partner yet has something else planned for this fiery Latina bombshell.

A quick summary: Carinna and Jake have been best friends since childhood, until one fateful night four months prior to the story, when they fall in bed. Jake panics and leaves, Carinna is more upset about it that she’d like to be, since she a) is commitment phobic, and b) only wants to have her close friendship with him back.

Ms Copeland uses a new-to-me technique for this story: first person voice from both protagonists, alternating the point of views from both hero and heroine while moving the plot along seemed very fresh and interesting to me. Furthermore, the underlying story felt rather sweet to me—he knows he wants forever with her, she only wants friendship (perhaps with some fringe *cough* benefits) and doesn’t want to hurt him.

I had three issues with this story, though. First, the word choices through most of the intimate scenes put me off as being a bit too crude. I don’t consider myself to be prudish and, with one marked exception, it’s not the (sexual) actions described that bothered me, but the words used to describe them. Second, the exception: there is one particular incident, near the end, that yanked me even further out of the story. For me, it crossed the line between consent and violence, and completely colored my take of the story as a whole. Third and last, much is made of Carinna’s issues with relationships and trust, yet it would seem that she overcomes them pretty much from one moment to the next in the ending.

All in all, this one missed me completely—without that one scene, the grade would have been considerable higher. This one is 4 out of 10 for me.

“Stripped” by Lauren Dane

Dahlia is a burlesque dancer with a brain for business and a bod for sin. Her latest admirer may be a sweet-talking Casanova, but despite what he thinks she’s not giving anything away free.

Dahlia is a working class, small town girl with ambition and the determination to go places. In business, she has confidence and a sense of self-worth. In her personal life, though, she is insecure, marked by experiences with men who have thought her nothing more than a trophy.

Nash comes from a wealthy family; both his brother and his mother are quite the snobs, fixated on social class and financial worth. He is the exception, working hard at earning his own money, instead of living off a trust fund. While his attraction to Dahlia seems very natural to him, it’s his feelings for her that surprise him—and his inner dialogue endeared him to me. At one point, he and Dahlia exchange presents:

“Good God, she’d made him a shirt. Made it with her own hands and creativity. Crap, his presents didn’t even compare to her thought and effort. He was a fortunate man.”

I really liked the fact that, despite the short page count (just over a hundred) this story covered several months in the protagonists’ relationship. Since the hero and heroine meet on the first couple of pages, it made it that much easier for me to believe that they would be able to work on their issues enough that, by the end of the story, a future together was not only possible, but very much likely. (more…)

My name’s Karen, and I’m a Lora Leigh Fangirl. There I said it. *Cowers and waits to be pelted with lemons*

The thing with LL Cool L’s books is that you’re gonna either love ‘em, or thoroughly hate them.

As it happens, I love them.

Yes, I know that her heroes are usually assholic alphas, and yes I know that her heroines are usually weak-assed bitches who deserve flogging, and yes, I even know that she has a thing about the heroine always being the hero’s best friend’s sister. And not to mention that whole anal sex thing that she has going on in every book she’s ever written, but never the less, I love her writing.

I can’t be arsed writing a proper blurb so I’ll do it in my own very lazy way:


I liked Forbidden Pleasure, I really did.

I thought Leigh handled the emotional elements between Hubby, Wifey, and Bestfriend very well, and at no time did I get squicked out by any of their sexual gymnastics.

Menage books have become a bit of an ‘F’ word for me lately, but I must admit, this particular menage was credible, and I didn’t have to contort my own body in order to figure out if some of the sexual positions that they found themselves in were possible. That’s always a plus in my book.

Mac and Jethro had had similarly un-Leave-It-To-Beaver type upbringings, and when they met whilst training for the FBI, they discovered that they had a crap childhood in common, so they naturally gravitated towards each other.

Their bond intensified when they both joined Sinclair’s Gentlemen’s Club, and they discovered that sharing their women, and indulging in their slightly deviant unusual sexual practices, helped them forget the torment of their formative years.

I have to say that out of the two men, I thought Jethro (Jesus, I hate that goddamn name) was the sexier of the two. I think it was the silent and broody thing that kinda turned me on about him. I like that in my heroes.

Mac was ok, and surprisingly not as alpha, as most of Leigh’s heroes tend to be, although as per her stereo-typical hero, he did sport a massive hard-on for the majority of the book. (Hey, it’s an erotic romance what do you expect?)

I liked his relationship with Keiley, and I never got the feeling that his menage obsession was down to anything other than love for his wife and friend, and also, at no time did I get a Vishous and Butch vibe about him and Jethro. (Shut up Barbara B.*g*)

Unlike lots of other Lora Leigh heroines, Keiley didn’t actually make me want to gag, even though she was super sweet, and was kind to animals. She was a sympathetic character, yet slightly edgier than the average LL Cool L heroine. She wasn’t about to be messed around by anyone, including her adoring husband. Her childhood hadn’t been a picnic either, but I’m glad to say that Lora didn’t beat us over the head with that particular backstory.

In case you were wondering, this is supposed to be a Romantic Suspense, but seeing as I guessed who the baddie was the minute he was introduced in the book, it kinda fell short of being credible. The suspense sub-plot was so thin, it was virtually anorexic, and really, it should have been left out altogether, because it was at times, very disjointed, and quite frankly, totally pointless.

Overall, Forbidden Pleasure was an easy book to read, and had it not been for the stupid sub-plot involving the slightly dim-witted stalker, it would have been a fantastic read.

I still enjoyed it, but then again, as I admitted earlier, I am a Lora Leigh Fangirl.

You can visit Lora Leigh here, read an excerpt here, and pre-order Forbidden Pleasure when it’s released on the 12th June here.