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Shifter’s Song by Vanessa North

Shifter’s Song
By:  Vanessa North
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Content: M/M, Anal Play, Anal Sex, Oral Sex
Length:  Novella
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 24, 2013

Edouard Bonsaint has a bear-sized problem. He hasn't shifted in ten years, and isn't sure he even can anymore. Chaperoned by his youngest brother, Bruno, he heads to the Wiccan Haus to ask Rekkus for help. But when Bruno doesn't show up on the other side of the portal, Edouard's inability to shift is no longer his biggest problem.

Lincoln Tucker has it all: money, fame, and a golden voice. But he's in the closet twice over--few people know he's gay, and even fewer know he can shift into a songbird at will. Downtime at the Wiccan Haus between tours allows him to be himself. Throw a big toppy bear-shifter into the mix, and Lincoln might just have all he's ever wanted--if he can trust himself to hold on to Edouard.

With passions and tempers burning hot, can Lincoln help Edouard bring forth the bear and save his brother?

If I had the ability, I’d be doing back flips.

When I finished Shifter’s Dance earlier in the week I was hoping, praying and I likely would have been begging to read about Stephen’s brothers, Edouard and Bruno. I knew there was another Wiccan Haus book out there, but since I didn’t have it in my greedy little hands, I let it go. I actually thought there was no way Vanessa already had finished one of the brother’s books. Boy was I 110% wrong. Not only is it done, published and excellent; a little birdie told me she is working on the last brother’s book as we speak. Again, imagine the back flipping and dancing around. Trust me it is all in my head and not in reality, because I’d hurt myself.

The Bonsaint brothers are heading to Wiccan Haus for a little R&R and to give newlyweds Stephen and Romy some peace and quiet. Edouard also plans to work on his inability to shift into his bear. Things didn’t go as planned. For some reason Bruno didn’t make it to the other side of the portal. Edouard is understandably upset, but the sexy Lincoln is there to take his mind off his troubles.

Lincoln is a man in need of a break. He is a high profile singer and the stress of touring and the pressures his big sister keeps piling on him; have him at his wits end. It’s time to break away and relax in the comforting arms of Wiccan Haus and he’s seen the arms he wants wrapped around him, Edouard’s.

Edouard’s stress from his missing brother and the likelihood he won’t be able to help search for Bruno, because he can’t shift, has him stir crazy. One note from a lovely Blackburnian Warbler settles his soul and he is able to shift into his brown bear once again. Now the only thing he needs to worry about is hurting his lover Lincoln. He will not let the past repeat itself.

First the thing that stood out for me in Shifter’s Song was that even though they are both shifters they didn’t fall in the shifter’s mating trap; the zing and recognition, lust fills the air, they fall in bed together, because hello, their instincts are making them do it and the horns toot and the bells ring and they live happily ever after. Nope these men fought it all the way. Yes, one of them accepted it sooner than the other, but there was a bit of a battle to accept fate. It wasn’t absolute instinct for them. They had to work for it and let me just say, YAY!

Second thing that was a shining beacon for me…I absolutely loved these two men’s names. Both are first for me and well like I said, I loved them!!

Finally third, I’d like to congratulate Vanessa for writing the first M/M Wiccan Haus story. You have set the bar high and if I was sitting next to you, I’d be patting you on the back; very well done. Their romance felt natural, yet very sexy and steamy.

I think I only had one slight problem with the story. Edouard wasn’t upset enough about his brother being missing. I can understand that he was distracted by the loveliness of Lincoln, but with him being the oldest and a big protective bear, I felt there should have been just a bit more angst. It really isn’t a big deal, but I just had to put it out there. Now that I’m over it, Shifter’s Song was AWESOME!!

The story was well thought out and it was nice to see Stephen and Romy again. I also love how all three of their books are flowing so well together and I personally can’t wait for Bruno’s book. You hinted a bit about Bruno, without giving anything away and I’m booking my trip to Wiccan Haus to watch it unfold firsthand. All aboard, the ferry is about to leave the port!

Psychic Lies by Sara Daniel

Psychic Lies
By:  Sara Daniel
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Published:  October 26, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Length:  Novella
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 22, 2013

Fiona must keep her ability to read minds during sex a secret from those determined to exploit her, especially a sexy truth-finding investigator who needs her psychic power to save his job.

Fiona has spent her life hiding her sexual mind-reading power at the risk of being exploited by the government. Instead, she pretends to have lifebond vetting powers like the rest of her family. When her fake power results in the death of an innocent woman, her life of lies unravels and she retreats to the Wiccan Haus.

Armando is the head of the Department of Truth-Finding for the Syndicate. To prove his unit’s worth to the government, he follows Fiona to the Wiccan Haus to expose her as an infiltrator of an enemy faction. The truth about Fiona is even more valuable to his people and his career.

Fiona uses her power to seduce Armando and stop his plans to betray her. But nothing is strong enough to keep her from falling in love with this man whose power threatens to destroy her. Now she must trust him, not only with her life and her psychic lies, but also her heart.

If you like shorter stories, written by a variety of authors and enjoy reading about paranormal beings set in a fantastic location, then Wiccan Haus is for you and now is the time to jump on board. This shared-world series is still in its infancy, but there are enough volumes to keep you busy and interested.

In this installment we have two people coming to Wiccan Haus to find closure, but for way different reasons. Both are there because of their perceived mistakes and failures. Fiona is running from herself and Armando is trying to find the truth and save his career.

I really enjoyed this story. WOW! I went in without reading the blurb, so I had no idea what Fiona’s secret ability was. When it started to show itself, just the implications of two people coming together who could read the truth from others, is mind boggling. Could you imagine having your lover know all your secrets/thoughts and you knowing all his, ALL THE TIME! Nope, no thank you.

The romance progression was nice, but since their relationship started with so many complications at times it was hard to believe, but Ms. Daniel resolved all my questions and made it work. She also did a fabulous job with tying up the loose ends. It just amazes me how authors can package so much story into such small packages. I am completely satisfied and have no questions that these two found their happily ever after. I will say though, even though I’m satisfied with the outcome, I’m excited that there are three more stories for me to read in the Wiccan Haus series. Bring them on!!

Shifter’s Dance by Vanessa North

Shifter’s Dance
By:  Vanessa North
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Published:  November 16, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
Length:  Novella 
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 22, 2013

Romy Lewis, a ballet dancer at the peak of her career, loses everything when she is blinded by a mean prank. Her agent suggests a visit to the Wiccan Haus resort to sort out what she wants to do with her life now that both her career and her eyesight have been taken from her.

Stephen Bonsaint, bear shifter, computer programmer, and sometime spy, always figured he’d meet a sturdy mama bear someday and have a couple of cubs with her. A tiny human ballet dancer who can’t even see is not at all who he imagined as a mate.

Together they dance around their feelings for each other as Romy learns how to navigate her new life, and Stephen learns that sometimes, strength isn’t something you can see from the outside.

Truthfully after several hundred books, I still have not wrapped my head around what makes a short story a short story or a short novel a novella. All I do know is that it is really darn hard to tell a complete story with character development, intriguing plot and a believable romance in a few chapters, but Vanessa North and the other authors of Wiccan Haus do time it and again with flying colors.

This is my sixth Wiccan Haus installment. I also believe this is my sixth 5 stars review. The people of Musa have really done exceptional job with picking quality authors with the ability to weave great tales in a confined amount of time. They have kept the story line consistent, fun and exciting love stories and even throw in some new twists along the way.

Ms. North is a new author for me and she did a fantastic job. I loved the angle she went with; a blind struggling heroine and a big burly bear shifter. I sit here and envision a tiny ballerina and a huge bear of a man and chuckle. Talk about opposites attracting. They had some issues to overcome and this couple could have held up to a longer book, but Ms. North did a great job capturing Romy’s frustration and Stephen’s patience in her allotted time. They were really made for each other.

One of the best treats about this series is that you consistently get to revisit the original members of the staff. They bring such color to the stories and I’m glad that the authors incorporate them seamlessly. They really help weave the stories together and make them even better.

Shifter’s Dance was a wonderful treat. I could even see myself enjoy a couple of stories about two brothers (hint hint). You never know. If what Ms. North says is true, Stephen’s brothers will be booking a trip to Wiccan Haus. If that is the case sign me up too. I’m always game for some bear shifters. Bring the boys on!

Killing Lucas by Dominique Eastwick

Killing Lucas
By:  Dominique Eastwick
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Published:  April 19, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Suspense 
Length:  Novella
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 10, 2013

What doesn't kill us makes you stronger. But is their love strong enough?

Lucas Sherman wanted one thing in life. Never to set eyes on his ex-fiancé Kiloran O’Connor again. But no one said life was fair. Now with a stalker hunting both of them Lucas is forced to put his distrust and hatred to the side to keep them both alive.

Kiloran only ever wanted to keep Lucas safe. But no matter how hard she tries danger seems to be a step behind them. Now creating a public front can she break through the wall Lucas has erected around his heart? Those same walls she helped cement.

Can true love conquer and forgive all or will it kill them both?

Killing Lucas is a book of discovery, understanding and a burning passion that even unforgivable betrayal cannot extinguish.

Lucas has been unhappy from the very beginning of the Sherman Family series. Now it is our chance to understand the who, what, where and why that shaped Lucas into the man he is today. Can he find his former self or has his pain destroyed the fun loving man he used to be?

Kiloran is a woman who will do what she has to do to protect her friends and family. Even if it means pushing away the one man she is destined to be with, her soul mate. She has been alone for years and one chance meeting changes the game. She may have forced Lucas away in the past to save him, but she can’t lose him to death. She is done hiding. Lucas is too important to her to stay silent any longer.

Two ex-lovers must now pretend to be back together. One is still hopelessly in love and the other is too angry to realize who his heart belongs to. Every near death experience brings them closer together, but is it too late for them? Can they find each other again?

Fast paced, emotional and sexy; a great mixture for sure. Lucas’s pain has been haunting me from the very start and I’m so happy that he gets his happily ever after. The Sherman’s play hard and love harder. Lucas had the biggest heart of them all and it was broke beyond repair. Ms. Eastwick had a tough job ahead of her and she did very well to showcase his pain. Honestly, this book could have been longer, because he was in that much pain and was that angry. Lucas had a very long road ahead of him, but she did a great job in the time allotted her. Even though Lucas wore his pain on his sleeve, it was more painful for me to finally understand Kiloran’s side of the story. She is an amazing woman, with a selfless heart and a true mate for Lucas.

Thank you Ms. Eastwick. You did a great job bringing this story to light and bringing these two tortured lovers back together. Killing Lucas was everything I wanted and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. It is a great addition to the family.

Kissing the Bridesmaid by Dominique Eastwick

Kissing the Bridesmaid
By:  Dominique Eastwick
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Published:  November 23, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length:  Short Story
Heat Level:  Sensual
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 2, 2013

A single kiss can change everything.

Callie Sherman has moved past her silly schoolgirl crush on Aiden Marshall. But she is still haunted by the one kiss they shared the night before he married her best friend.

Aiden has been in love with Callie since he first pulled her pigtails years ago. Believing he could never have her as more than a friend, he moved on with his life. But everything came crashing down after one kiss.

Now divorced, Aiden isn't going to let anything get in the way of his second chance with Callie. This time, if he has anything to say about it, will be their finally ever after.

Kissing the Bridesmaid is a sensually sweet romance of two people who were destined to be together; who have loved each other for two decades and now they are finally able to make it happen. I’m reviewing this as an addition to the Sherman Family Series.

Callie and Aiden have been friends since they were children. Their friendship remained strong until distance and outside interferences separated them; each carrying guilt, jealous and sadness within their hearts. Years later, circumstances have changed and Aiden is not allowing any more time to pass. Kissing the Bridesmaid is about the day their lives change forever; the moment that Aiden takes a chance to win back the heart of his best friend and the woman of his dreams.

Very short stories are hard to rate. If it is very good, you are left wanting, but are satisfied with the outcome. That is where I am. I loved Kissing the Bridesmaid. Would I have loved it without having read Ms. Eastwick’s other Sherman Family novels? Probably not, but I would have still liked it immensely. One of the biggest complaints from people about short stories is that they are not long enough. Of course I would have wanted a novella or a full book, but this story still felt complete. When you love something you can’t help but want it to continue and let me tell you I have fallen in love with this series.

Callie and Aiden are wonderfully written. Ms. Eastwick did a great job in the time allotted her. She kept the details of them and their pasts tight, thorough without draining the word count. She was able to make me feel their pain and understand what each of them where going through in their individual moments in time. Once the walls were torn down, they had nowhere else to go, but into each other’s arms and I couldn’t be happier for them.

If you want to know about Tony/Haven or Spencer, pick up the two prior books in the Sherman Family Series: Hunting JC and Tony’s Haven. This series is top notch and I’m enjoying it very much and thank you Ms. Eastwick for the quick escape and tasty little morsel of Kissing the Bridesmaid, before the next installment of the series, Killing Lucas.

Tony's Haven by Dominique Eastwick

Tony’s Haven
By:  Dominique Eastwick
Publisher:  Musa Publishing
Published:  October 28th, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Length:  Novel
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date:  April 1, 2013

Sometimes Love comes in a package we least expect to find it in.

Tony Sherman may be a modern day Adonis and a well-known ladies' man, but hiding beneath his carefree, playboy persona is a man who knows how to be discreet. He keeps his desire to protect all those he loves from being seen by anyone, particularly his family. Fate intervenes when he uses his charm to beg a favor from a co-worker, a women as unaffected by his charisma as she is by his looks.

Haven Pelletier is anything but the kind of woman usually found on Tony's arm or in his bed. She's mousy and rubenesque, unmoved by his Adonis appearance. But when circumstances bring them together, she sees right through his tarnished armor—to the true man underneath.

As Haven learns more about Tony, she discovers a man who might just steal her heart if she lets him. Can Tony be the knight in shining armor Haven needs? Or will the secrets in his past keep them both from finding happiness?

Another hit!!

After taking some time off from his family, Tony is required to make an appearance at the family’s annual skiing trip before they start to get more concerned about his absence. He may be known as a playboy, but he is bound and determined to leave his old ways behind him. The problem is his family will be suspicious if he shows up alone and disappointed if he brings his usual flavor, ala bimbo. So he comes up with a plan, take a woman they wouldn’t expect and one he thinks he can trust…Haven Pelletier.

OMG – what is Tony Sherman thinking? He wants her to play his girlfriend at a family function! This can only end badly on two counts. One, she will be a laughing stalk. She is not tall, skinny or ditzy. Two, though she might despise him, he does stir something in her. Not good for a woman who has responsibilities and a heart to guard.

Two total opposites are playing their parts, but as the weekend unfolds, things become clear; neither are what the other expected and their passions run hot and high. Haven is a breath of fresh air for Tony and his family, but she has many things to consider and to protect; mainly her daughter. While the relationship is at its peak, disaster destroys their budding love. Will the damage be repairable?

I am going to first say is hot damn. Tony’s Haven was amazing. This is fantasy come to life; a beyond gorgeous man falling for a pleasantly plump woman and not a super model. Most time when you read such a storyline you think, yeah right – that will happen. But what made it special and believable is that Ms. Eastwick wrote the novel in a way where it really could happen. Haven is a beautiful person inside and out, no matter how large she is and as Tony got to know her, he realized just how special she was and wanted the whole package. No instant attraction, just the gentle progression of true romance.

Ms. Eastwick also did a great job portraying how hard it can be for the not so perfect person. She made my heart break for Haven and rejoice at Tony’s determination and patience. I was unsure of him after reading Hunting JC, but he has redeemed himself in my eyes.

Tony’s Haven is a wonderful read that, once again, I couldn’t put down. Just a note to you, don’t pick this up late in the evening. It is a definite page turner and I was riveted from page one until the very last word. Now that is a true mark of a marvelous book.

Wolf with Benefits by Shelly Laurenston

Wolf with Benefits
By: Shelly Laurenston
Publisher: Brava 
Published:  March 26, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Length:  Novel
Heat Level:  Spicy
Reviewer:  Toni
Date: March 26, 2013

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

First off. I do not love this book because my name is Toni….*smiles*…I love it because it is kick butt funny, has endearing crazy characters and a twisted new plot. So why wouldn’t I love it!

Toni may not be a progeny, but there is no one that can manage her family better. With ten siblings, yes ten, she has her hands full. As the oldest in this jackal family she tends to ensure the safety, security and all around wellbeing of each and every one of them. She adores them all and is willing to give up her own happiness to make sure they are happy and well taken care of. Well about her? She needs to let go and find happiness, but it might be the hardest and scariest thing she has ever done.

Ricky Lee is the epitome of laid back. Don’t underestimate him, but with a rather serious older brother and a prankster younger brother, he tends to be in the middle in most things. When he first sees Toni’s wild untamed curls all he wants to do is run his hands through them. The problem is she has little linebackers guarding her and they don’t want his interference. Ricky Lee is not deterred. He loves a challenge and he may have just found one in this little she-jackal.

Once Toni gets the boot out of her home to go find her own life, she is unexpectedly shackled to a persistent wolf. He fires her up and is unsure what to do about it. She has stubborn bears to negotiate with, siblings to fret over and danger everywhere she goes. On second thought, he actually might just be the fix she needs to help calm her down. Why isn’t it perfect that he is all ready to help her out? What a prince!

Toni was an unexpected pleasure. She’s a character that I think most moms would be able to relate to. She is the go to person for everything her family needs and is constantly being pulled in every direction. I loved her. Ricky Lee is her complete opposite, but exactly what she needs. Ms. Laurenston did a great job uniting these two.

Ms. Laurenston is known for her scorching romance, but in Wolf with Benefits it was late in coming. On one side I was disappointed, but on the other I enjoyed the journey that these two lovers endured. My disappointment ended there and trust me, she more than makes up for it. She brought back a few prior characters, wrote an intriguing plot and once they started burning up the sheets…whoa! I will have to mention that she wrote some “monsters” that will have you cringing and laughing. They are bunch of selfish little buggers you want to smack and hug in the same moment.

If you like Ms. Laurenston’s work you won’t be disappointed. She has written a solid book. From beginning to end, I had a blast. Fair warning though, this is book #8 in the Pride series. I think it could be read alone, but to get the full benefit of the humor, history and essence of the novel; I think you shouldn’t jump start with Wolf with Benefits. I have yet to read one of her books that I couldn’t put down. Laurenston is pure bliss for me.

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