Liked It: Working With Heat by Anne Calhoun

Series: Cosmo Red Hot Read
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Cosmo via Harlequin
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance

For now, Milla Jackson is an American in London, but she’s also been an American in Paris, Rome, Prague and more. She’s working hard to combine her love of travel and growing social media presence into a career, even involving her followers in her (somewhat dismal) dating life. When the combustible heat between her and her best bloke, Charlie, explodes, she’s unprepared for the secrecy of “friends with benefits.” Charlie’s an artist who’s already been burned by one woman who used social media against him. He’s determined to keep his hands on the glass he works with–and off the irresistible Milla, who’s sure to share every detail with her followers. Will their best intentions survive a secret relationship? Or will the heat transform their fling into something that can overcome Milla’s fear of permanency and Charlie’s reluctance to trust again?

With my unlucky reading streak of late, I decided to take it easy and tackle something I’m familiar with and something short because I am exhausted! Well I’ve read one of Anne Calhoun’s The List a while back and totally loved it! It was smart, well-written, and very relatable. I thought, hoped, prayed, that Ms. Calhoun would be a godsend and give me something worthwhile. 
WORKING WITH HEAT was fun, flirty, young, sweet, short, and exactly what I need right now. This might be a shorty, but it’s well crafted and didn’t feel incomplete nor rushed unlike other novellas/short stories. The plot is quite simple, Milla and Charlie are friends and roomies who hooked up and fell in love. Both weren’t looking for anything serious and ended with one anyway. 
I love Milla and Charlie’s dates, ACalhoun highlighted their chemistry as well as their easy going vibe. The conflict was believable as its rooted in their individual differences so I get why Charlie got upset. Milla’s apology was a bit cheesy, a personal letter combined with a vague blog post, the cheesiness extended to the resolution which I didn’t mind, it coule easily be translated as a grand gesture of love. Overall, I had fun with WORKING WITH HEAT and I am hoping this shorty is the beginning of a streak of outstanding reads.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

It’s that time of the week where we share sexy eats!
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts
hosted by the lovely lady over at UnConventional Book Views

I don’t know what is it about breakfast, didn’t realize it can be so sexy!

Talk Supe


Naughty Nooners: Starry Eyed by Alexia Russel & Enticed by J. A. Belfield

I got shorties for you today. Some quick reads to make your legs cross or give you sweet dreams 🙂

Starry Eyed | The Becca Kingsley Diaries 1 | Alexia Russel
Serial | Contemporary Romance | March 4, 2015 | Self-Published
Goodreads | Amazon

I imagine this is how those famous actors hook up with a lesser known actress while they’re filming an indie movie. Such is the case with Becca Kinsgley and Mason Riley. I think this is a serial as the story is only 31 pages. I finished it on my lunch break. But don’t be deterred by its shortness. Sure these two hooked up fast BUT Alexia Russel wrote a good precedent indicating that there’s some chemistry going on between the two prior to STARRY EYED. You can say this is where things came to a head where Mason finally saw Becca and now she’s pseudo moving in with him back in LA.

I like how the short is written, it’s very personal, intimate and very sexy. Becca Kingsley is a great narrator. I’m usually unsatisfied with stories this short, that’s not the case here though. I’m curious to see if this is going to be a short-lived romance or if there’s more to Mason than his playboy reputation and if he is indeed very smitten by Becca or if she’s just another notch on his bedpost.

This week’s Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts, hosted by Unconventional Book Views

Enticed | Halloway Pack 4.7 | J.A. Belfield
Novella | Paranormal Romance | April 16, 2015
Goodreads | FREEBIE: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I haven’t read nor am I familiar with J.A. Belfield’s Halloway Pack series, but when she wrote to me about this novella Ms. Belfield assured me that it can be read as standalone. I was skeptical about the standalone thing because I’ve read books where the authors assured me I can skip the first books only to feel totally lost. Despite my skepticism, I agreed just the same because I’m always on the look out for new authors to try and fresh series to read. It also helps that Keri Lake is endorsing this series and was even blurbed on the cover. I do love Keri and if she’s giving ENTICED her stamp of approval, then I’m game.

ENTICED is simply a shortie about birthday sex. Ethan is one lucky dude because Shelley really prepped for his birthday gift. Cake, sexy lingerie, mind blowing sex, ready and waiting for him. 50 pages of coital bliss! Just so you know, you won’t get anything about the Halloway Pack from this novella. No world building, no pack politics, just good ‘ol sexin! Nobody even shifted or did anything non-human… unless sexual prowess and stamina is considered paranormal?

Talk Supe

Quick Hits: Boy Toy by Jay McLean & Darkness Falls by Erin Kellison

Boy Toy | Toy Boy Chronicles 1 | Jay McLean
Contemporary New Adult | March 3, 2015 | Self-published | Bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

BOY TOY by Jay McLean was a random purchase for me. I got the deal alert via email, read the blurb, and decided to grab the novella because it sounded fun. 

And it was! Boy Toy Inc. is a bunch of fraternity guys working as male escorts or gigolos and their clientele are bored housewives. Leading the pack is Tyler West, founder and frat president, handsome, very simpatico, and very much in love with his best friend, Allie. 

Tyler’s “service” adventures were hilarious aside from the expected sexy times. There’s a mother-daughter snafu wherein a giant black dildo named Wesley Snipes. was used as a weapon. Then there’s the widow cat lady who likes “cat” play, for lack of a better word. Interspersed are crazy antics c/o Tyler’s frat brothers, who I want to get to know better *wink wink*, and Tyler’s pursuit of Allie. 

All in all, 99c was money well spent on BOY TOY. The characters were surprisingly fleshed out for a novella, the romantic slant with Allie might be imperfect, but it was still sweet, heartfelt, and heroic. Tyler’s sexual enterprise with the housewives were more funny and silly than sexual so I didn’t feel icky about his gigolo gigs.

Darkness Falls | Reveler 1 | Erin Kellison
Paranormal Romance | Fire Flower Publishing | May 12, 2014 | Bagged via Author
Goodreads | FREEBIE ALERT! Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

DARKNESS FALLS by Erin Kellison has a very interesting concept. There’s a new party drug that can make people congregate in the dream plane, party, etc… Or something to that effect.

Psych PNR is a tricky sub genre for me. Wading through the rules, powers, et al, is like walking through a maze. In this case, I did a lot of head scratching because I could hardly follow the happenings in DARKNESS FALLS. I mean I think I know what went on but didn’t really have a clear grasp of the story. 
I like the premise enough, I think The Revelers is a unique one, I just had problems keeping up with it. Like it got so confusing at certain points I wasn’t sure if the characters were awake or someplace else because they will just faint or collapse while in the middle of something. So I have to go back and check what I missed because I didn’t catch the transition. 
The characters were okay, Malcolm and Jordan is a great pair, and since this is PNR, expect the insta-love. Evolved creatures just have a sixth sense for their mates. But with all the sinister stuff going on in the novella, I didn’t quite get invested in their romance. What I love is the nightmares that is seeping through reality. I would want to know more about that because it’s freaky! I would totally lose it if I find myself in a room full of snakes! 
DARKNESS FALLS is an okay start. I’m hoping that the next one would be smoother because I hate feeling like a dumb-dumb because I can’t follow these humans with super brains.

Steampunk Sundays: Risen by Elizabeth Watasin

Series: The Dark Victorian 1

Format: Mobi
Release Date: January 28, 2014 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Steampunk | LGBT

“Way will open.”

She is Artifice.
A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission.
An artificial ghost.
A Quaker.

He is Jim Dastard.
The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission.
An animated skull.
A mentor to newly resurrected agents.

It is 1880 in a mechanical and supernatural London. Agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women—a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black—where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life.

I simply love Elizabeth Watasin’s brand of steampunk! Her novels are intricate enough to be compelling yet simply contructed that it makes for an enjoyable quick read. As you all have probably experienced in the past, novellas are tricky to pull off and only a few have mastered the art of writing SHORT and SUCCINCT stories that still manage to be satisfying. Well, I’m adding EWatasin to my list. 
RISEN is the first volume of her Dark Victorian series. Simply put, her heroine, Artifice, is a reanimation or what they call Quaker in this world. Nothing like Frankenstein or a zombie, Art’s more majestic than that and doesn’t look like she was butchered. In fact, Art is such an imposing figure, handsome comes to mind when I first read her. She’s somewhat Amazonian in appearance, talks funny, fights like a warrior, but has the kindest heart. The hook for me is her past, who was Art before she became a soldier for the Secret Commission? RISEN has given me vibes that Art’s past self is a far cry, if not entirely opposite, from her current life. 
Jim is not Art’s love interest because Art like women. He is her partner and sort of Art’s guide in this reawakening of hers. I love Jim, he’s funny, intuitive and observant, he isn’t pushy nor does he feel threatened by Art. He doesn’t come across like a thirsty dude too, you know the type who can’t seem to keep their ding-a-lings in their pants and would make a move on every woman that crosses his path? These two make quite the tandem and I look forward to reading more of their Batman-Robin-like adventures. 
Dark Victorian has a simplistic yet very Steampunk-ish world. As I mentioned, EWatasin builds her world as the story progress and doesn’t dump all of these info on us. Her descriptions are vivid but not too heavy as to weigh down the pace of the story. The mystery and investigation was pretty straightforward too. Capture the dude who’s been re-animating vengeful corpses and as Art & Jim pursue him, Art’s curious story tricked in slowly. And although there is an element of sexy to her novels (both I’ve read are LGBT), it’s clean. The intimacies are implied and I love that about her books. Art’s past made me even more curious towards the end because her ex-girlfriend had a chapter, talking about Art before she became and agent and her (girldfriend) hand in Art’s transformation into a Quaker. I look forward to discovering Art’s backstory and how her reunion with her ex is going to be. I’m very intrigued…

Suped Up: Strange Magic 1 by Michelle Mankin + Giveaway

Series: Strange Maigc 1 | The Magic Series

Format: Mobi
Release Date: January 22, 2015 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: New Adult – PNR

Billy Blade is a hardworking, hard living, razor sharp musical force. Mysterious behind his dark shades, the rough around the edges Texan mesmerizes with his haunting harmonica and tantalizes with his dangerous looks and smooth country charm. His latest album is topping the charts. He’s the newly crowned King of the Bacchus Krewe. He’s definitely living the rock star dream.

Exotic Creole beauty Thyme Bellerose couldn’t be more content. She has it all. An adoring grandmother. A handsome Tulane medical student beau. A satisfying job in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Her life is as rich as the ice cream she creates. She’s got everything under control.

But control is an illusion. Dreams can turn into nightmares. And now during Mardi Gras, otherworldly powers stand ready to shape their destinies in ways they could never imagine.

Shadow and light. Magic and mystery. Reality and myth. All come together in a place where rules bend and lines blur. Even those between life and death.

Please note: This is Part One of a Two part novel. It does NOT stand alone. Part Two is available for pre-sale exclusively on Amazon. Recommended for mature readers. 17 and older.

Better late than never! I’m a little “late” for the release day party but I made it just in time to share not only my thoughts about Michelle Mankin’s latest project, STRANGE MAGIC, but also to share her epic giveaway below. Aside from her sexy rock stars, scorching romances, Ms. Mankin is a generous party host and I’ll be loathe not to share it with you. 
Thyme Bellarose’s story will have you glued from beginning to end. I love her spunk and stubbornness, this girl doesn’t stand down and rightfully so. She’s up for a long hard battle though and I’m anxious to see how she’s going to go about it considering she’s not necessarily well equipped to fight the people coming after her. Then again, its the reluctant ones that makes for great heroines so let’s see what kind of awesomeness Thyme’s going to be.
NOLA. Ice Cream. Voodoo. Music. Gods & their progeny. Crazy combo right but trust me it works! This little novella is the backstory to the main arc so it’s imperative that you read this otherwise things won’t make much sense when part 2 releases. Anyway I love STRANGE MAGIC P1 even if it ended in a big WTF What now?! way. STRANGE MAGIC captured my imagination, gave me a different kind of NOLA where evil hides in plain sight and all kinds of mischief happens in the shadows while  the music blasts and the alcohol flows. It’s playful and dangerous at the same time and I love this new musical fantasy MMankin penned for us, I’m excited to read some more!

MICHELLE MANKIN is the author of the Black Cat Records series of novels. Romance with subtext. For many years she worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter. Somehow, the boredom didn’t kill her but the hour and hours of looking at facts and figures provided ample time for her mind to wander. Black Cat Records in Vancouver provides the central backdrop for all of Michelle’s current novels. Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a Brutal Strength centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock ‘n roll industry. Things take a bit of a darker, edgier, once upon a turn with the Tempest series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there. When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend as she takes the children to school and back. 

Stalk Michelle

Naughty Nooner: Need You Now by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: 1001 Dark Knights 7 | Shattered Promises 1

Format: Mobi
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Source: Author 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Life is hard. Life leaves you beaten, broken…alone. Then one day, a stranger touches your hand and you feel something intense, unforgettable, but yet, you want to forget. You need to forget. It’s safer than believing in things you’ve decided don’t exist. You know all about shattered promises and lost hope. You know them so much better than you know this excited, warm, wonderful feeling, and it scares you. He scares you, but he also makes you feel alive again. He makes you realize you haven’t really been living. You’re surviving and you fear he’s the one who’ll make you forget how to keep doing it. But what if he’s the one who changes everything?

Trust Lisa Renee Jones to always embed some sort of intrigue to her story regardless if it’s full length or a nooner like NEED YOU NOW. The trope of this 80-paged Naughty Nooner is an office romance although this office isn’t your typical love story developed inside a cubicle. 
One drunken night Danny found herself a sexy stranger who she ended up fooling around with only to discover that the handsome guy is the boss’ nephew, Jensen. The following day, Danny’s called to the office and was told that she’s been handpicked to help Jensen sort out some corporate crisis. But the attraction between them is proving to be too distracting and powerful to ignore and eventually the lines between work and personal is blurred. Question is, can they keep things separate and can Danny stop Jensen’s passion from devouring her?
NEED YOU NOW is another short, sexy, entertaining tale, and clever story by LRJones. And for the purpose of comparisons, it’s more Inside Out than Amy Bensen (I think), in case you’re wondering which is a good thing IMO as I’m not a big fan of the latter. Though I have yet to get invested in the characters I do love how LRJones laid out the premise of NEED YOU NOW. She’ll tease and seduce you the same time Jensen is seducing Danny so there’s this simultaneous thing going on that will make you pant and sweat for at least an hour. The rush of sexiness is swift and will have you begging for more. 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Steampunk Sundays: Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape

Series: Gaslight Chronicles 6

Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk

A Gaslight Chronicles novella
London, 1860

Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that’s not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness the same illness, it seems, that’s responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy’s classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it’s he who will need protecting from emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

I’d like to note that my rating for Cindy Spencer Pape’s ASHES & ALCHEMY is leaning more towards It’s Okay than a solid I Liked It! I was hoping for a short and sound Steampunk novella to get me through a tryptophan coma but instead I got more of a historical fiction with hints of fantasy and the faintest touch of steam and punk. 
Now I didn’t read the series in order, this is my first CSPape and Gaslight Chronicles book and my curiosity is stoked enough for me to check out the previous installments although I’m not in a hurry to do so. But I did some research and the series doesn’t follow a particular couple although it involves a certain group of people descended from King Arthur and his honorable round table Knights. That background was interesting and naturally the fey are involved somewhat, I do love Arthurian based fantasies. That said, CSPape gave a good briefing on her myth in this installment so I got a good grasp of what’s going on behind the curtains apart from the obvious mystery. Minnie and Seb’s story was independent from the group despite some connections to the rest of the cast but they held their own so I didn’t feel like I’m starting mid-tale. 
Now ASHES & ALCHEMY is one of those novellas that would’ve been better if it was longer. Because of the length and the intricate mystery about Minnie’s child, Ivy, there wasn’t much room for romantic and character development especially for Minnie. I felt like she just jumped in Seb’s world and his arms, taking for granted all the revelations he shared with her. Seb seemed like a hunk unfortunately his story didn’t allow much facetime for me to develop swoony feelings for him.
That said, ASHES & ALCHEMY did it’s purpose and that’s to keep me entertained and prevent me from going through another food coma. So I still say job well done, CSPape!

Loved It: Freed by Stacey Kennedy + Giveaway

Series: Club Sin 3.5

Format: eGalley
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: BDSM Erotica

Fans who can’t get enough of USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy will love this wicked, wild spinoff novel that explores how sexy life can be outside Club Sin.

Mary Schmidt knows only too well how thrilling a Master’s touch can be. Her husband, Charles, had been her ultimate fantasy, a seducer in the erotic dance of dominance and submission. She misses the sensual lifestyle they shared, but mourns him so deeply she cannot bear to embrace her submissive needs with another Dom—until a man who exudes temptation reawakens desires she can no longer deny.

Elliott Foster is dazzled by Mary. He instantly knows that she’s the woman he’s been waiting for—a woman who turns games into need. As her Master, he dares to unlock the deepest pleasures of her flesh, releasing her from pain and healing her mind. When Mary’s lithe body comes to life under his, he knows their connection goes beyond sex. Now that he has found the perfect woman, the perfect partner, the perfect submissive, he desires only to give her everything she craves.

Freed is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

I think some of you will agree that the genre has been saturated by billionaire playboys and their virginal playthings that most of the books are starting to blend together. So we have to stick to what works and Stacey Kennedy’s Club Sin is one of three BDSM erotica series that I faithfully follow because the plot is as solid as the play. 
FREED is a novella, it’s not too short as to compromise the development of the plot and has the right length to show a lovely story between two people who have loved, lost, mourned, and learned to love again. Both are in their 50’s but their age doesn’t really make a difference. Love is love and every story is beautiful in its own way, right? Mary is a widow of 5 years and have been a loyal and faithful to the memory of her Dom and husband, Charles to the point where she’s denying herself happiness in fear of tarnishing his memory. While Elliott is a dashing divorcee who’s been longing for a life partner in and out the lifestyle. There was instant attraction when the two met and I enjoyed how straightforward their intentions were for each other and even if things started sexual for them, it didn’t feel like a cheap lay.
Inasmuch as I like young love, I have a better appreciation for a couple who are in the age bracket of Mary and Elliott. They have a certain level of understanding when it comes to life experiences and what it does to a person and they sure do know the balance between patience and persistence and the wisdom to exercise which one to use at a given moment. Elliott was consistent in courting and pursuing Mary, respectful of her history with Charles, understanding her loss, and very accepting of her insecurities and doubts. I love how he never failed to reassure Mary that she’s beautiful and that she’s the one for him, he never wavered and remained by her side until Mary finally realized that Charles wanted her to be happy and did not want her to remain a grieving widow for the rest of her life. 
Now I have to be honest, BDSM featuring an older couple had me doubting, SKennedy eased all of it from the first chapter. FREED was a beautiful love story, very in tune with the emotions rather than the physical and superficial characteristics. The focus was on Mary and Elliott’s chemistry with the physical attraction taking a backseat. Like Mary was insecure about her stretchmarks and lack of muscle definition but Elliott saw it as her “battle scars” and found perfection in her imperfections. I promise you I swooned over Elliott for this alone! He always made Mary feel like she’s the most beautiful girl in the world and who doesn’t want that right? 
So if you’re a fan of this series, please pick it up. You can also read FREED as stand-alone and who knows, you might like it, enough for you to pick up the rest of the series. Club Sin is one of the better BDSM erotica series out there, this is quality work people and not some cheap smut hiding behind “erotica” that I can guarantee. 

Mary drove past the iron gate minutes before six o’clock and up the cobblestone driveway toward the Georgian-style mansion. Set back from the road, the redbrick residence was decorated with black shutters and white pillars. Flowers embellished every inch of the grounds, as did olive and Australian willow trees. Dmitri Pratt and Presley Flynn’s home was breathtakingly beautiful yet commanding in its own way, too.
She approached the circular portion of the driveway, and parked her car behind a limousine. As she turned off the engine to her Mercedes convertible, Mary tried to figure out whom the limo could belong to. Since the chauffeur was waiting patiently in the vehicle, she doubted it belonged to her dear friend Dmitri. Besides, he had always preferred to drive himself.
Curious now, she grasped the wine bottle off the passenger seat, and as she exited the car the stifling Vegas air engulfed her. Her high heels clicked against the stone driveway as she made her way to the dark hardwood front door. When she reached the entrance and knocked, the light breeze fluttered the hem of her mauve sundress.
Only seconds passed before the door opened, and Dmitri’s girlfriend, Presley, greeted her, wearing a strapless yellow baby-doll dress. Mary thought even with dark eye makeup around her gorgeous emerald-green eyes and her curled blond hair, Presley still looked much younger than Mary’s own fifty years.
“I’m so glad you could make it, Mary,” Presley said with her sweet smile. “It’s nice to see you again.”
Mary returned the smile, stepping into the house and hugging her friend tightly. Since Presley had come into Dmitri’s life, she had made it a point to invite Mary over for a weekly dinner. At first Mary had refused the kind offer because she worried it would bring back too many memories. Dmitri reminded her of her late husband, Charles, whom she missed dearly. Though after Presley’s numerous invites Mary felt rude saying no. Now she enjoyed their get-togethers, even looking forward to them. She released Presley and said, “Thank you for having me. How are things?”
“Couldn’t be better. I told you, or I think we talked about, my hours at the clinic being cut back, which is good and bad financially, of course, but it’s giving Dmitri and me more time together.” Presley’s soft, gentle voice was so welcoming.
“Wonderful news.” Mary offered the bottle of wine. “A treat for dinner tonight. A nice white that I think will complement whatever you’re serving.”
“Yum. Thank you. Let’s go into the kitchen and talk a bit before we eat.” Presley turned and headed in that direction, her curls bouncing around her shoulders.
Mary smiled, as Presley reminded her a lot of herself when she was twenty-five years old—passionate about life. She removed her high heels, leaving them at the door like she always did, and looked around the foyer. A huge balcony curved around the entire upper floor, leading to a grand wooden staircase. Dmitri’s interior designer, someone that Mary had recommended when he built the home just over four years ago, had outdone herself. From the art on the walls, to the decorative sculptures, the house exuded wealth. One of her favorite paintings was the Edgar Degas—she wasn’t sure if it was a print or an original, Dmitri could afford either. She always admired the entrance no matter how many times she’d seen it before.
Her gaze lowered to the cherry hardwood floors, and her stomach tightened. In the basement was a secret not many knew of unless they were members of the elite and exclusive BDSM dungeon Club Sin. A club that Mary had never attended—in fact, she had no idea what it looked like, only that the club existed.
Even if Dmitri owned the dungeon and would no doubt allow her membership, many of the members were his close friends and presumably closer to his age, thirty-five years old, or younger. It was one thing to visit your friends’ home for dinner; it’s quite another to have a dialogue half naked and dressed for play. Besides, most of Club Sin’s members were still single and she doubted any of them had children—the differences in their lives were vast, and therefore playing at the club lacked in appeal in more ways than one.
After Charles, her husband and the father of her children, and also her best friend and Dom, passed away, just over four short years ago, her need to play in BDSM clubs died with him.
She sighed through those still-painful memories and followed Presley when she heard voices coming from the living room. Glancing to her left, she noted Dmitri sitting on one of the leather couches. His features were stern and focused on his conversation until his eyes met hers; then he smiled.
With his blond hair and piercing blue eyes, Dmitri was a handsome young man. Though she’d known Dmitri for more than ten years, the relationship between them had always been strictly platonic. “Mary,” Dmitri said, waving her into the room. “Please come in.”
She immediately noticed another man with a dark head of hair showing hints of gray on the sides. When he rose from his seat, her breathing faltered and her gaze drank him in.
“Mary Schmidt,” Dmitri said. “Please meet Elliott Foster.”
Elliott was tall, at least six-foot-three, and compared to Mary’s five-foot-six frame, he towered over her. He had a powerful physique, obviously a man who cared for himself and lived a healthy lifestyle. It’d been quite a while since she’d allowed herself to have an interest in another man, but this guy, she couldn’t look away.
He was undeniably gorgeous, and he looked to be right around her age.
Excitement shot through her when the side of Elliott’s mouth arched in a half-smile. He offered her his hand in greeting. “It’s my pleasure.”
“Likewise.” Mary slid her hand into his and heady warmth seeped from his strong fingers into hers; she felt drawn in to his spell.
His grip tightened slightly and he observed her. Nervously, she shifted on her feet from side to side, suddenly very unsure in her own skin.
She removed her hand from his, and couldn’t help but cast her gaze downward. Partly anxiety but partly a result of his presence, a natural response for her, and unfortunately something he would also detect and understand himself.
A long pause passed before Dmitri cleared his throat, drawing Mary’s attention. “Elliott is a close friend. We do a lot of business together.” His normal conversation pulled her back into their surroundings.
“Oh, do you work at the casino as well?” she asked, keeping her focus on Dmitri, attempting to settle the racing of her heart. Without having Elliott confirm it, she knew he was a Dom—for those in the lifestyle, it was instinctual. She could tell by his observation of her, the knowing smile, and the desire in his eyes. Possibly even in the way he commanded his space within the room. She didn’t know if he played at Club Sin or somewhere else, but experience led her to identify a sexual Dominant.
“I invest in many companies,” Elliott replied, his voice smooth and alluring, holding mystery. “Dmitri’s casino is one of them.”
She sensed his stare and peeked at him. When their eyes locked on each other, her stomach somersaulted. She realized this was the first time she’d been around a mature Dom since Charles had died.
The effect rattled her, because she was aroused, interested, and she liked it.
An unnerving ache sizzled between her thighs, reminding her she’d been neglecting her own needs. When Charles was alive their relationship was very sexual and they enjoyed their play in and out of the dungeon. She’d always been a submissive and fiercely reacted around a Dom. Now she realized she still craved the power a Dominant held—the confidence, and the kink he could offer.
Dmitri said, “We’re looking to expand at the casino, so I casually was inquiring to see if Elliott might want to be involved.”
Elliott smiled, yet it was his chocolate-brown eyes that held Mary’s focus. They were commanding, capturing her as he said, “And I casually said yes.”
Dmitri laughed at Elliott’s remark, but Mary couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t ignore the heat coursing through her. This man had a serious effect on her and she wasn’t sure what to do about it.
Someone brushed against her arm, drawing her gaze away from Elliott’s stare. She inhaled sharply, discovering Presley had entered the room. An awkward moment passed as Presley looked from Mary to Elliott, then her smile beamed. “You know, I made a little extra for dinner tonight. Would you like to stay, Elliott?”
Mary tensed, awaiting his answer. On one hand, she would enjoy knowing more about this man; on the other, heady guilt was riding her for even thinking that. She still missed Charles. She still loved him. In her heart, she still belonged to her Dom.
Elliott’s gaze zeroed in on Mary before his grin turned devilish. “I would love to stay for dinner, thank you.”
“Just give us a few more minutes, doll,” Dmitri said to Presley and motioned to the papers on the glass coffee table. “We’re just wrapping up the details.”
Mary clenched her teeth, sensing Elliott’s focus remaining on her. She instantly shivered and swore his stare was similar to fingertips dragging over her flesh. Doing her best to hide her unexpected reaction, she followed Presley into the chef’s kitchen. She inhaled the warm hints of spices and settled her hip against the island, narrowing her eyes on Presley.
Presley gave a tight smile. “He’s handsome, isn’t he?”
“Presley,” Mary warned.
“I’m just saying, he is.” She laughed softly. “Besides, isn’t it nice to meet someone else in the lifestyle?”
Mary frowned. What is this? Is she matchmaking tonight?
Though Presley was referring to the relationship of a submissive and Dom when the two lived the BDSM lifestyle, enjoying the power exchange and kink, Mary hadn’t been involved in it since Charles passed. “If I wanted to meet others in the lifestyle, I would have arranged it myself, without your meddling.” She crossed her arms. “I didn’t come here tonight for a date, if that’s what you thought you were arranging.”
Presley opened the oven and peeked in before she glanced over her shoulder. “It’s not like I planned it or something. I don’t mean to step on toes or anything, but I thought it’d be rude not to invite him to stay for dinner. Even if Elliott wasn’t in the lifestyle, I still would have asked him.” She shut the oven and added, “Why, does it make you uncomfortable?”
Mary withheld her response, knowing it shouldn’t make her uncomfortable. If Elliott wasn’t a Dom, having another dinner guest wouldn’t be a problem. Yet she sensed something with him that made her feel unsteady. The heat burning through her reminded her she was attracted to him and that he was a Dominant, a man who was skilled in controlling women and getting what he wanted.
She lifted her chin, forcing the thoughts away. She was no longer a submissive and certainly was not going to act on her body’s response to him. Her fingers absentmindedly reached for her diamond necklace—Charles’s claim of her—which was the collar that marked her as his. No one could replace him. “You’re right. It would have been rude of you not to ask him. Just no matchmaking, got it?”
“Of course,” Presley replied with a smile. She moved toward the counter, grabbing the tray of buns. “But maybe it’ll be nice to talk with someone who isn’t”—she glanced over her shoulder and grinned—“my age.”
Mary laughed, picking up the bowl of summer salad. Nice way of not saying she was old, she thought. Regardless of the years between them, she’d grown fond of Presley in the few months she’d known her.
Though lingering tension followed Mary as she walked through the kitchen toward the circular dining room, she could not be happier for Dmitri and all of the success he had achieved as well. When Charles first hired him to work at the casino, Dmitri had seemed strained, as if something heavy was weighing on him. His years of employment with her late husband was how she’d got to know Dmitri, and over time he became more relaxed and another part of their family. Not only had he and Charles gotten along very well, but Dmitri was a Master and needed to release that controlling nature, so when he got involved in the lifestyle he became a more well-rounded young man.
Charles had introduced Dmitri to Chains, a local BDSM club, and mentored him. They had known Dmitri since he was in his twenties, and he had gone from a kid who struggled through life to a confident thirty-three-year-old man.
Her late husband would have been proud of the man, and Dom, Dmitri had become.
Mary entered the dining room and placed the salad on the antique table, knowing Presley’s intentions were good. Perhaps Presley thought Mary was missing something in her life.
Maybe she was.
She’d always known she’d lost a piece of herself when Charles passed away. In the year Charles was sick with terminal pancreatic cancer, she hadn’t been interested in anything sexual at all. She only wanted her husband well again. Then in the years since his death, she hadn’t watched a BDSM scene, except for a few adult movies, which were much different from being in the club and seeing a live display.
It’d been a long time since she had sex or any sexual physical contact, with or without the kink she had once craved and needed in her life. She sighed as she aligned the fork next to the plate and noticed Presley watching her. “All right, spit it out.”
Presley looked down, fiddling with a napkin. “Do you think you’ll ever date again?”
“I’ve already met the man I was meant to be with and he’s gone.” Presley’s eyes saddened, but Mary pushed past the thickness in her throat. “You don’t get two chances at something that beautiful.”
Forty-five minutes later, Elliott sipped his scotch on the rocks, leaning against the cool, dark brown leather chair in the sitting room. His stomach was full and he was now regretting that second helping.
Hearing voices in the distance, he glanced toward the kitchen, listening to Mary laughing with Presley as they finished cleaning up. He had offered to help, but both women responded with a resounding no. He smiled, letting the scotch warm him.
With the home’s open floor plan they could see each other across the way, and Mary clearly felt him staring—when she looked up directly at him all the blood in his body pooled into his cock. Brown eyes that held a gentle soul, yet a fiery confidence, watched him. Mary’s features were delicate; she had a thin nose and long, shaggy brown hair that surrounded her oval face, with bangs that fell over her brow. The faint creases he noticed earlier around the corners of her eyes showed her age—early fifties, Elliott figured.
She looked at him for a moment longer before she turned to Presley and laughed at something Presley had said. Elliott’s world faded with the power of Mary’s smile. Maybe there was a touch of sadness to it, but she still radiated with life.
Mary’s beauty stopped the world from moving around him.
For the briefest of seconds her gaze returned to him, and Elliott restrained his groan. She heated perfectly under his stare, intoxicating him. Her dark, sensual expression made his thoughts turn wicked, including a tempting image of being on top of her and staring into those soft eyes while he thrust in deep. But every time she’d suddenly move her focus away she puzzled him.
Her blatant aroused reactions proved she’d played in the BDSM lifestyle before. Only an experienced submissive would react in the manner she had with a Dominant near. Though looking at her lacing her hands in front of her and the way she cast her gaze down, she almost portrayed an innocence about the lifestyle.
That was something he’d determine later. He turned to Dmitri. “Call me when the paperwork is ready and I’ll drop by your office and sign it.”
Dmitri watched Mary, then nodded to Elliott. “Perfect.”
Elliott had enough sense to know something stayed on Dmitri’s mind. Many years ago, they had met at a club while on vacation in San Francisco. Small world, he’d thought at the time. But they had exchanged cards with the thought of working together at some point. Within a year, they had done some business together, investing in a small marketing company out of New York. Then Dmitri had invited Elliott to his exclusive BDSM dungeon, Club Sin. When he had heard the members were in their twenties and thirties, Elliott graciously declined.
He wanted an experienced woman, and in his case, age mattered.
Elliott glanced to Mary and he all but salivated. That type of woman was what he wanted. Educated with a Dom. Experienced in the lifestyle. A woman whom he could arouse by not even touching her. A lady that blushed innocently, yet could also play with kink and own her pleasure.
Dmitri chuckled. “Interested?”
“It’s obvious, I take it?” Elliott murmured, then turned to Dmitri and said with a smile, “Is she single?”
“From what I know, I believe so.”
Meaning Dmitri knew she didn’t have a steady lover, but Elliott figured that also meant Dmitri wasn’t sure if Mary had a Dom. Emotion crossed Dmitri’s face that Elliott couldn’t quite place. He was curious now to learn more about her, but he also heard the women approaching, so he quickly asked, “Would my interest be all right with you?”
“Of course,” Dmitri replied with an arched brow. “A man would be good for her. A Dom would be even better.”
Before Elliott could dig in to that statement further, the women entered the room. He hastily downed his drink and then rose from his seat. “I could use another.” He smiled at Presley, then asked the group, “Would anyone else like an after-dinner drink?” Presley nodded, as did Dmitri. Then Elliott turned to Mary. She hadn’t taken her eyes off him. Her breath grew raspy and her cheeks were flushed. Intriguing. “Some wine, Mary?”
She licked her lips. “White, please.”
He couldn’t remove his focus from her damp lips, creating all sorts of naughty sexual images in his mind. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he turned to confirm the other drink requests, realizing he’d been caught.
A hint of a smile crossed Dmitri’s face. “White for both Presley and me, thank you.”
Elliott turned to Mary, who stared at him with wide, excited eyes. Yeah, he understood her desire. He felt it, too. “Come, beautiful, help me gather the drinks.”
She took a step forward, as if drawn by his order, not wanting to refuse. Which was exactly why he’d phrased the request as he had and not posed it as a question. He watched her, wondering over her next move. Sure, he was testing the waters, but he needed to understand this little puzzle.
Mary drew in a deep breath, lowering her head, trying to recover her emotions. When she regarded Dmitri all heat had vanished from her face, her gaze was guarded. “White wine, you said?”
Obviously sensing the challenge between his two guests, Dmitri smirked. “Two, please.”
Elliott thought her response was ever the more fascinating. Not only did she shield her arousal so fiercely, not allowing it to awaken and be obvious to him, but she seemed hell-bent on keeping him at bay.
In that one second, her actions told him: I turned to Dmitri to ask because I’m not following your order. I’m getting my friends a drink.
Little did she know Elliott loved a challenge. In his life, he conquered businessmen who were known to make grown men cry. He’d gotten investors to dive into risky businesses. He loved those stone walls in life that needed to be broken down to succeed.
Mary had unknowingly become his next conquest.
She turned to him with her chin lifted high. “Are you ready to serve the drinks?”
His frown pulled at the corners of his mouth as he took the final step to close the distance. He leaned down by her face, and the sweetness of her flowering scent spiraled around him. “I do believe I already said that I wanted you to help me get the drinks.” He arched a brow at her. “Did you not hear me?”
“I heard you.” She hesitated. “I—”
“Good,” he interjected with an easy smile. “For a moment there I thought you had a problem with your hearing.”
She laughed softly, avoiding his gaze. “No, my hearing is just fine.”
He noted the flush of her cheeks returned as he leaned away. “Then please come with me so we can enjoy some drinks.” A power play with him she would lose, of that he was confident. And he rather enjoyed hearing her following behind him as he entered the kitchen.
Nice try, though, he mused to himself.
He reached the kitchen island and removed three glasses from the side cabinet as Mary went to the fridge and pulled out the bottle of chardonnay. Once she moved to his side, he sensed her become still, almost frozen in time. He took the bottle from her and she stared at him with dazzling eyes, burning with a light he’d not seen in some time—fierce attraction.
He uncorked the bottle and asked, “Are you a member of Club Sin, Mary?”
She shook her head. “No, I prefer not to play with young men.”
He smiled, filling up the first glass. “You are clearly a submissive, so do you play elsewhere, then?”
“No.” She peeked at him before she pushed the second glass closer to him. “I’m no longer in the lifestyle.”
Surprise flickered through him, and he hurried to finish filling the second and third glasses. He placed the bottle down and turned to her. She stared at the wine bottle, not moving, barely breathing, it seemed.
Unable to stop himself, pulled by the attraction, he trailed a finger over her bare shoulder and her gaze snapped to him. He waited for her to lash out at him, but her mouth stayed shut. She wasn’t even blinking.
He lowered his gaze and watched his finger running up and down her arm, and murmured, “Now, why would a submissive who reacts as beautifully as you do not play anymore?”
“I”—she inhaled sharply and moved away from his touch—“it’s not something that interests me any longer.”
“Funny,” he retorted. “Your body seems to disagree with that statement.”
She snapped her head up, eyes narrowed. “By that, you mean?”
Her glare struck him hard in the chest, being the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. He loved a woman with fire in her blood. The stronger the personality, the better. “I would say that in my experience as a Dom, and that is about thirty years of experience, that you’re aching to play.”
She stared at him for a few seconds before casting her gaze down. “You’re wrong.”
“Am I?” He moved closer, getting right in her space. “I bet I could prove you’re wrong.”
She looked to him again; the angry glare was gone. His cock twitched as he listened to her deepening breaths. Slowly, he lifted his hand, giving her the chance to move away, but again she stayed put. He gripped her arm, pressed his body against hers, and she leaned in to him, probably not even realizing she’d done so.
Held captive by her mouth, he traced a thumb over her cheek. Yeah, darlin’, a kiss would be nice, wouldn’t it? “Now tell me again what you just said when I asked why you don’t play.”
Silence greeted him.
Her eyes were dark, deliciously aroused. He would bet money her lower lips were as puffy, red, and wet as the ones on her face. Leaning down, he brought his mouth close to hers, letting her feel the touch of a Dominant, and allowing her to experience the nearness of a commanding man.
“You lie to yourself, beautiful.” He dragged his finger over her bottom lip, hearing the hitching of her breath. “I smell your need. I feel that your lush body is ready and willing.” Dropping his hand from her chin, he stepped back, and watched her brace her hands on the island.
Intrigue and burning attraction had him reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a card from his wallet. “I hold a BDSM play party every two weeks at Dmitri’s casino.” Which was a gathering of kinky people who didn’t want to attend clubs, public or otherwise. “We have one scheduled for tomorrow night at eight o’clock. This card will give you access.”
He offered her the card, but she didn’t accept it, so he placed it on the counter. “I promise that you would be comfortable there. Everyone is around our age, and all are looking for exactly what we want. A fun, private party to explore our sexual lifestyle.” Pulled by the electricity between them, he moved closer. “I want to play with you, Mary.” He brushed his lips across her cheek, relishing her shiver while he whispered in her ear, “Stop lying to yourself, so that I can.”

STACEY KENNEDY is the USA Today bestselling author of the CLUB SIN series. Growing up, Stacey’s mind wandered the path less traveled and that path most often led to love. She has always broken rules and she continues to feed off emotion – staying true to her heart. Those traits are now the bones of her stories. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who puts any of the heroes in her books to shame, and their two young children. If she’s not on mom duty or plugging away at a new story, you’ll find Stacey camping in the summer, hibernating in the winter and obsessing over Penny Dreadful, Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy. 

Stalk Stacey!

Liked It: Liulf by Victoria Danann + Giveaway

Series: New Scotia Pack 1

Format: Mobi
Release Date: October 18, 2014
Publisher: Andromeda LLC dba 7th House

Source: Author
Recommended By: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Genre: PNR | Sci-Fi | Historical


First of a series of three novellas about the Brothers Cu Ahlee.

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Victoria Danann, wrote this series as a follow up, based on Moonlight, Best Vampire~Shifter Novel of 2013.

For a thousand years the highlander werewolves of Scotia have enjoyed the protection of the fae monarchy, but the straining population has forced them to adapt or die. Or move. Liulf has spent centuries waiting for a true mating while others settled for comfortable compatibility. When he emerged as the new alpha, little did he know he’d find her when he leads his pack to a new world.

Werewolves, fae, highlanders, and a novella? Say no more, I want to get my hands on LIULF by Victoria Danann stat! I’ve been craving for good historical romance novels lately and as this has paranormal elements to it, it’s a win-win for me. Plus that sexy dude in a kilt didn’t hurt either, in fact it made joining the virtual book tour a no-brainer. Like come on, when there’s men in plaids involved, it’s almost always a guarantee that it’s going to be one hell of a partayy!! *waggles eyebrows*
So LIULF is the first of Nova Scotia Pack which is a spin-off of VDanann’s other series. I liked the Nova Scotia Pack‘s werewolf myth, it follows the archetype where they’re very primal, feral, savage, and feared in their realm and not the trained puppies we sometimes come across in this genre. I mean the wolves here are not adorable at all and cute is the last thing you want to use to describe them. I also liked how the story is rooted in a bargain with the fae in exchange for protection and the whole angle about crossing realms was very magical. 
The pace is quick and the intent straightforward, move to the new realm and rebuild. The conflict didn’t have anything to do with pack politics rather it was about which female gets Liulf. I like the direct approach but the world building suffered a little as well as the character development. Like I said, LIULF is supposedly a historical Highlander story but it lacked landscape although I did appreciate how the characters talk with an “accent” if you know what I mean, made it easy to visualize all of them. Then there’s the time traveling aspect which was vague, I wish it was expounded on more as opposed to some simple abracadabra. I also felt like there was no character development, Liulf is a new Alpha and it’s been said that he’s hot and all but aside from his good looks and position in the pack, I didn’t really get the sense that he’s a good catch or what kind of a leader he is. The plot IMO is too big to be contained in 78 pages, it’s almost like squeezing in my fat ass in a pair of size zero jeans. Not happening. 
LIULF had a lot of potential, I liked the premise and the story it intended to give us. It’s a good start though I wish there was more pages to accommodate the story better, more room to explore and illustrate the story. I hope the next one is better drawn and fleshed out and hopefully I get my fill of that yummy highland werewolf fantasy that was promised.
Liulf squatted on the castle parapet with his back to the sound of the ocean crashing against Girnigoe’s black craig cliffs. If he let himself think about the damp cold or the January wind that tried to penetrate flesh and bone, he’d start to shiver in a way that would rack his whole body…. So he’d learned to focus on other things. Looking east, over the land he loved, he felt a sense of pride and history. And memory. In his slightly less than four hundred years, he’d covered every inch of pack territory in wolf form and much of it in biped form as well. He knew he was blessed with good things, but that didn’t fill the underlying emptiness that he couldn’t quite pinpoint. Lack of purpose maybe. There wasn’t much satisfaction in guarding a border without an aggressor.
That very day a wolf had said it was easy for Liulf to make reckless choices because he didn’t have a mate. Liulf had kept his face passive, but inside the words had stung. It wasn’t as if he could control destiny. What Lycan didn’t want to find his mate? Well, perhaps Conn would prefer to be a bachelor wolf forever.
It was true that Liulf could have settled for a bitch who was merely compatible, as most did. But he hadn’t because he knew there was more. There was mating that was, well, magical. He wouldn’t say so out loud because his brothers would never stop razzing him if he did. But he lived with a constant yearning that never subsided, spoken or not.
All the carousing in the world wouldn’t take the edge off his desire. And he should know. All he had to do was keep from cursing the Fates until they saw fit to gift him with the one. The one he knew was out there.

A snippet from an early review says: “This is a wonderful off shoot of that series (Knights of Black Swan). In MOONLIGHT, we learned that wolf shifters were having a rough time. Humans were spreading into their lands and using high powered weapons to kill them in wolf form. Towns and cities were destroying the wild areas.”

This couldn’t be more timely since we learned just 2 weeks ago that the planet has lost HALF of its wildlife in just the past 40 years. Certainly the wildness of werewolves is a metaphor for that part of us that longs for the call of Pan.

USA Today Bestselling Author
2013 Winner in the categories of:
• BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (Vampires & Shifters) – Moonlight

My early work (eight-years-old) would be called fan fiction today. I began by writing my version of Bobbsey Twins novels on legal pads that my dad brought home from the office. As an only child – in the days before children became little electronic receivers – there was often not much to do other than seek amusement in my own head.

Childhood fantasies involved being the only girl (for some odd reason) at a ranch for wayward boys. Yes. I do realize this sounds vaguely familiar. T hose fantasies were supported by real life events because the boys included me in the afternoon neighborhood games whether it was cowboy/Indians or G.I. Joe.

When I left the Bobbsey Twins behind I didn’t write again until I was married with children and in my mid-twenties. I completed a paranormal romance and gave it to my spouse to read. After hearing his criticisms I didn’t write again for decades. At the time I didn’t understand that he’s the absolute farthest thing from my audience.

It turned out to be a blessing because during that time that I didn’t write, I lived an extremely full life. I traveled a lot, raised a family, got an education (I have an M.A. in Psychology.) and explored my compulsion to be a spiritual seeker. The fantasies were a constant companion throughout. The faces and names of the characters changed as I matured, but they remained a source of comfort. They helped me through hellraising teenagers and three near-death scares.

By the time I started writing again, I had something to say. I write cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

If you’re interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock. This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I’m the utility player which means I play rhythm guitar, keyboards, sing back ups and a few leads. I authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for fifteen years. I live in T he Woodlands, Texas, which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods. Married. Four children. One very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

Stalk Victoria
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Loved It: Slash & Burn by Alice Bello

Slash & Burn | Kiss
Slash & Burn Series
Alice Bello
Contemporary Romance
April 2014
Before anything else, know that SLASH & BURN volume 1 is FREE on Amazon (and everywhere else) so please grab a copy! The other links are below in case you don’t use Kindle. 
Now to my review!
So I’ve been on a slump, that or I just need more sleep, so I can only read short novels currently. I can’t get behind anything “heavy” and I can always trust on Alice Bello to sweep me away with her lighthearted romantic romps, SLASH & BURN is no exception. 
The premise is simple, SLASH & BURN is sort of a second-chance in love with a few awkward situations and sexy times thrown in the mix to keep things interesting. Liz Hamilton wanted to give her V-Card to Jackson Burk back in college but the handsome jock declined it. Liz carried that bitter rejection all these years until one fateful day when their paths crossed once again. Seems like Jackson’s been remorseful over what happened between him and Liz all those years ago and he’s bent on getting her back.  
SLASH & BURN is leaning more towards the romcom/chick-lit side than the staple contemporary romance with weeping heroines and dramatic confrontations and revelations. Liz and Jackson had quite the… reunion in the dirty back alley. Okay it was a bit yucky because it’s dirty in more days than one coupled with their dysfunctional display of exhibitionism but it didn’t remain like that for long. ABello has a knack for making awkward situations funny and Liz and Jackson’s post coital bliss didn’t last for long… unless they want the restaurant owners to call the cops on them. 
Now SLASH & BURN wasn’t just about unwise, spontaneous, and animal displays of attraction. It has a few sweet moments and heartfelt interactions between Liz and Jackson that it didn’t take long for him to melt her cold heart. Jackson’s explanation why he rejected Liz all those years ago was sweet and thoughtful even. The overall conflict does feel a little shallow but in this case it’s acceptable because the premise isn’t all that complicated anyways. I simply like that nothing about these two novellas are heavy and emotionally taxing.
So, ABello is helped me get through this week and I enjoyed SLASH & BURN immensely! The novellas are to the point, didn’t linger much on the extras and the secondary characters were as fun and crazy as Jackson and Liz. The ending of Kiss, volume 2, was a bit of a cliffhanger so I am looking forward to reading how Jackson is getting himself out of the mess especially now that him and Liz are back together.