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Hot Burning Love by Dominique Eastwick

Hot Burning Love
By: Dominique Eastwick
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Published: July 21, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: October 24, 2014


Rowena may be the best witch of her generation when it comes to crystals and their healing power but keep her far away from the oven. No matter how hard she tries there is no way to break a curse decades old that prevents her from baking anything at all. And she as well as her five witch friends have tried it all. So every month a cookie club time she buys her cookies to the thankful cheers of the others.

Caine has fantasized about Rowena and her curves since they met years ago while she visited her best friend at the college they both attended. When a job opportunity comes up in her home town it’s too much of a temptation to resist. After all when you want something for so long there comes a time a man just has to go for it.

When passion flames between them can love fight the dark magic swirling around them determined to break them or will the fires that burn in the kitchen burn them as well.

Hot Burning Love is a lovely story about two people who felt the pull of fate and let it encompass them wholeheartedly. They never doubted their attraction and went with the flow. While they had a huge momentary hurdle, they conquered it and moved on. Love persevered and now they have a future that is filled with love, family and friends.

At only 56 pages this is a very short read, barely a novella. There is little time to create an in-depth history, compelling backstory or even to dive into the inevitable relationship of the two main characters. You’d think, from those factors alone, I would have a problem with the story. I’m not disappointed one bit with Hot Burning Love other than this would have been an amazing as a longer novella or novel.

What Ms. Eastwick created was a magical love story. Even with no history, I understood what had happened to Rowena and her past generations. There was no involved backstory of the two characters, but anyone could see that Rowena and Caine had instant attraction when they met years ago. I felt strong emotions during their courtship and that is quite a feat to do in less than 60 pages.

So how can I give a story a five rating with no solid story building substance…easy, I’m rating this story on it’s simple, yet direct content, the sweetness of the story and how it made me feel. Ms. Eastwick captured the essence of the story, made me vested in the characters and while, heck yes, this story could have been made into a full novel – and boy do I wish it would have been, it wasn’t necessary. This is a perfect teeny tiny story that doesn’t beat around the bush. It gets right to the heart of the matter; Rowena and Caine were always meant to be.

Hot Burning Love is perfect for when you want a quick reminder that there is nothing stronger than the magic of love.

Goddess, Awakened by Cate Masters

Goddess, Awakened
By: Cate Masters
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Published: July 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Sensual
Reviewer: Marchelle
Date: October 1, 2014


With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.

A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.

Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.

Joss is starting her life over after the death of her husband. She sold her home and purchased an inn. With the help of her best friend, Annie, she is renovating the building and trying to turn it into a thriving bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, the inn is situated along a ley line which unbeknownst to Joss, presents a problem for her. Her Aunt and Grandmother finally let her in on a family secret; they are direct descendants of the goddess Iris and Joss herself is a goddess.

Eric is the local veterinarian who also happens to be a widower and still recovering from the death of his wife. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Joss. At the same time, he feels drawn to a local waitress but it doesn't feel right. He tries to fight it but finds it more and more difficult. An evil power is taking over him and he needs Joss and her family to help save him.

I enjoyed the story and the use of good and evil/light and dark. Joss, seeing the lights of the fae in the field and incorporating the lavender into all her recipes to bring happiness, was obviously the element of good in the story. Sharee, with her manipulative behavior and her conspiring with the mystery man who appeared at the party was obviously the evil. Her Aunt Lydia added some humor to the story with her quirkiness and innuendos.

It was nice to see a strong female lead like Joss. She wanted Eric, even knowing he might not feel the same and he might not be the best for her, but she still took what she wanted and didn't beat herself up over it. She also didn't pine over him like many female characters do now. She went on with her life and took care of her business without worrying whether or not he'd call or come by. For many reasons, she was certainly believable as a goddess as were her family members.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that there were too many characters. It was hard to at one point to keep everyone straight. There also seemed to be scenes that didn't move the story forward and for that reason didn't make much sense. It seemed like Joss' son was added as an after thought. He appeared in the story and seemed like he may be part of a conflict but then he left to go back to school and there was no issue. Annie, as her best friend for years, was not trusted with any of the things that were happening which also didn't make sense to me. Another example is the Thanksgiving scene when Eric goes to his sister's house. I don't feel like that scene contributed to the story at all.

Overall this is a good book. I would probably read other works by this author if all the female leads are as strong as Joss.

The Rancher by Hildie McQueen

The Rancher
By: Hildie McQueen
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Published: July 15, 2014
Genre: Historical, Erotic Romance
Content: M/F
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Marchelle
Date: September 28, 2014


Grant Gentry and his brother are attacked on their way back from a cattle drive. Left for dead, he manages to get to the road and is picked up by a traveling salesman. He wakes up a few miles from home being cared for by two elderly sisters and a young woman they've taken in. His goal becomes to get better and find his brother; this is not the time to find love.

Julia Cutler's life has been anything but easy. After a disastrous marriage to a ruthless man, she settles into a comfortable life helping out the Sullivan sisters in exchange for room and board. When sparks fly between her and the man she's grown to care for, she allows nature to take it's course not planning for anything past the moment.

When the man that attacked Grant turns out to be Julia's husband, who's come to claim her things are about to get complicated.

Grant Gentry is a rancher who wakes up, beaten and bruised, in the home of the Sullivan sisters and their "niece", Julia. They have been caring for him since he and his men were attacked and robbed returning home from a cattle drive. His men were all killed, his younger brother is missing and he was left for dead. He can't remember what happened or the faces of the men who attacked them, but in his dreams he relives the horror of that night as well as the dinstinct, raspy voice of one of their attackers.

Julia is a woman on the run from an abusive relationship. She finds safety in the home of the Sullivan sisters and is helping to care for Grant until he recovers enough to return to his ranch. She is constantly on the lookout for the man she ran away from and is ready to flee at a moment's notice. Grant finds himself wanting to court Julia but she is reluctant to become involved with him. He pursues her relentlessly until she agrees to allow him to court her but still will not agree to marriage.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this story is that Julia and Grant did not hold back the passion they had for each other. Sometimes, with historical pieces, the lead characters cannot give in to their passion because the woman would be considered "spoiled" and lose her place in society. That wasn't the case with Grant and Julia. Neither was worried about what people would say, although they were careful not to flaunt their affair in front of others. I also really liked that Grant quickly realized that Julia was hiding something and he didn't allow her to push him away. The more she resisted, the more he was determined to find out what she was hiding. He didn't try to convince her she needed a man to solve her problems. If anything, he admired her more for her strength.

This was a quick read but there was depth to the story. It also set up a future installment for Emerson, the oldest brother and sheriff. It also left me wondering what happened to Linc, the youngest brother. I would definitely read more about the Gentry's of Montana.

Lady Varney's Risqué Business: A Regency Romp by Cerise DeLand

Lady Varney's Risqué Business: A Regency Romp
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Self Published
Published: April 28, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: September 14, 2014


When a proper lady of the ton takes on a new client in her risqué matchmaking business, she discovers that he has one decadent demand. Spend the night with him!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lady Kitty Varney runs a discreet business to support herself and pay off her late husband's gambling debts. When Viscount Justin Belmont appears in her parlor, Kitty's latest client is the very man she was forbidden to marry years ago. Kitty questions if she can find Justin a woman worthy of him…and if she can bear to help him wed any other woman.

Then Justin lists his criteria for a wife and Kitty is shocked to learn she is among the few candidates suitable. He demands each candidate spend one night with him.

Can Kitty deny herself the chance to enjoy the charms of the man she's never forgotten? Lady Varney's risqué business might be her saving grace—but it may well become her undoing.

I’m going to be very honest. I read the second in the A Regency Romp Series before I read this little gem, but that isn’t what I’m admitting to. I actually had to skim Rendezvous with a Duke before I could write its review. There was something about this shorter story that stuck with me. I only read them a day apart, but didn’t write my review immediately, so I just sat there, trying to remember the greatness of the second story and I kept remembering this one!

After I read my notes, it all flooded back and I totally enjoyed my skim read, I even had to stop myself, because I had this review to write. But this story really stuck with me. Doesn’t that tell you that great things are to come?

Lady Kitty Varney is a woman who once fell in love, was denied that love and was forced to marry a man that she had no feelings for. Her heart was forever broken and her loveless marriage was filled with lack luster sex and her inability to forget her one true love.

Justin Belmont fell head over heels in love with the young woman that he rescued eleven years ago. Unfortunately, at the time, he was only an American clipper ship captain and had nothing to offer her but his heart. Forced to leave her side, he was swooped up by his newly discovered uncle, the Earl of Belmont. Now he is an English Viscount looking for a wife and of course he would seek the services of the renowned matchmaker. She is very successful and he is in great need.

Justin’s criteria is exact and she is one of the few candidates. He requires her to be among his choices. Lady Varney cannot refuse, because the money is just too good and she has to many debts to pay. She knows if she stays strong, she can get past this hurdle and find him a wife. He deserves the best and she is not it.

Oh My Goodness!! What a wonderful story. I loved how Justin never gave up and worked and waited for his bride. My heart sang and I had the biggest smile. I devoured every single word of this novella. Ms. DeLand wrote such a great story for these two. My wish and hope is that she repeatedly brings them back from time to time in this series so I can enjoy them and learn how they are getting along in their lives. This is one couple I never want to miss. They are simply divine and have enchanted my heart.

So if you love regency romances, please don’t hesitate to pick up this book and the next in the series, Rendezvous with a Duke. It is novel length and AMAZING!! Ms. DeLand knows how to write captivating historicals, fan worthy romances and out of this world plots. But watch out when she puts them all together. It’s breathtaking!

Please check out my review for book two in A Recency Romp Series:

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