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The 13th Guest by Rebecca Royce

The 13th Guest
By: Rebecca Royce
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Published: June 13, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Length: Short Story 
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 28, 2014


She snuck aboard his ferry, and if he can save her life, she'll repair the hole in his heart.

Dr. Amelia Everett is a respectable psychologist from New York City. She wants only to find out how so many of her patients are getting healed emotionally from their stay the Wiccan Haus. The only problem? Every time she tries to schedule a visit, she is denied entry What other choice does she have except to sneak on the boat?

Damek Antonov is a ferry boat captain with a broken heart. He spends his days shuttling passengers to and from the island but whatever magic his charges find there, he has not seen any himself. But, when Amelia is made Damek's responsibility, the two will find that taking risks might lead to the great adventure ever: love.

I really liked the idea of The 13th Guest; a stowaway on a ship and the captain who falls for her. Yes, it’s been done over and over, but Ms. Royce adds a little twist; island getaway and a little magical fate to help them along the way to love.

This is a very cute short story of two damaged people who never planned to come to the island to heal. Each were content with their lives. Satisfied in the cards that were dealt them, but Myron has other plans. The islands resident card reader has dealt them a pair and now with the help from the crew on the island, they will heal each other and mend their broken lives.

Their attraction was instant, but in my opinion they needed more time for healing. We are talking deep dark problems that a little slap and tickle really can’t fix. Short stories are hard enough to write, but not to give a potentially gripping story enough time to come together is just criminal. I wish there would have been a deeper connection with the characters. They had a larger story to tell and I think it could have been spectacular.

The 13th Guest is still a very nice short read. It fits nicely in with the Wiccan Haus family and I am left wondering if more of Dr. Everett’s patients will make an appearance on the island. I also hope Damek rediscovers his gift. It would be a shame to have such a strong talent go to waste.

The authors of the Wiccan Haus series have a way to make me want to know more about their characters and Ms. Royce hit this mark. So while The 13th Guest may not be perfect, it is still a sweet escape and filled with love and healing.

Exquisite Trouble by Ann Mayburn

Exquisite Trouble
By: Ann Mayburn
Publisher:  Fated Desires Publishing, LLC
Published: July 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Content: M/F, BDSM, Spanking, Bondage, D/s, Anal Play, Oral Sex, Toys
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 28, 2014


Before I met Smoke I’d never been kissed, really kissed, by a man, let alone a biker sex god bent on taking my virginity and my heart.

I got dragged into the deadly world of the Iron Horse MC by my crazy twin sister who is engaged to the club’s President and the schemes of my even crazier mom who only cares about herself. Smoke has been assigned by the club to keep me safe even though he’s everything that I should be afraid of. He’s the kind of man who lives by his own rules and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, but he treats me like I’m something rare and precious, not a socially dysfunctional basket case who has no idea how to love, but needs him more than her next breath.

Not that my feelings matter, because if we don’t find my mother soon, the only thing I’ll have to be worried about is who is going to kill me first.

I can’t really tell you what it is about this type of storytelling, but the new trend of bikers has been very welcomed by me. The way they talk, the way they treat their women, the way they….well you get the point. But my past experience of biker books did not prepare me for Ms. Mayburn’s new series, Iron Horse MC.

My past experience has been full of love/hate, lust/disgust and intrigue/horror. It’s just what they bring out in me each and every time and I love every bit of it. What Ann’s book did to me was more on the emotional level. She had my heart pounding and my skin tingling. This was a completely different biker novel.

Miguel “Smoke” Santos actually felt very real to me. Previously, I would love how extremely jerkish the bikers were, but with huge loyal hearts. There were countless times I would yell at the heroines to slap the crap out of the hero. Smoke, at time, just broke my heart. You could see his jagged edges, but the way he loved Swan, wow it was touching. I will admit he brought out moments of violence against him. I didn’t want to slap Smoke, but wanted to junk punch him. It was only a few times, but hello – he’s a larger than life, dominate man!!

With a name like Sue Wanda Anderson aka Swan, you expect some delicate flower. Not even close. I loved that she was so flawed. Thinking back, I can’t recall ever reading about a woman with her types of problems and obstacles. She had such a hard life and I can’t even imagine growing up the way she did. How Ms. Mayburn thought up her past is beyond me. I loved the change from the normal. I also enjoyed that the book is set in my back yard, the beautiful Texas Hill Country and Austin.

I feel Exquisite Trouble focuses mainly on their relationship and not the biker way of life. While it touches them and the action plot is based on biker business, these factors do not overshadow the romance. I will say that my prior biker books did have larger “lifestyle” influences. This story was a nice change from the others. I also enjoyed Smoke’s pacing of bringing Swan into his D/s sexual preference. He didn’t push his desires on her, but when he did let go…WOWZA. He is one very delicious Dom.

I do have to mention a warning. The ending is abrupt, but not really a cliffhanger. I literally finished the book and I was like, but…but…but. I flipped back and forth and almost shed a tear. I also have no idea the direction Ms. Mayburn is heading. Does book two continue Smoke and Swan’s story? Man, I hope so. Please make it so Ann.

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

Loving Lord Ash
By: Sally MacKenzie
Publisher: Zebra
Published: March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Spicy
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 22, 2014


A Little Misunderstanding. . .

Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love—how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he's reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can't seem to prove her guilt to the final judge—his foolish heart.

Jessica knows she's bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn't got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she's had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It's time to buck up and go win her man back—even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.

If you have been with the Duchess of Love series from the beginning you know about Ash, the unhappily married Marquis. We get tidbits that something terrible happened early on in his marriage, but we never quite know. He shuts down, doesn’t want to talk about it and his wife’s name is rarely mentioned. Now we get to find out what really happened.

I’m very happy to finally know the whole truth and to revisit the whole Valentine clan, but this one didn’t stack up to the rest. You have two people, who had feelings for each other, but they can’t manage to make it work and they both suffer terribly.

This is one colossal mess of a marriage. While one of the excuses is that they married young. They were not that young for the time period; she was twenty and he was twenty-two. There was no real excuse for this marriage to have lasted eight years with neither trying to work things out or to finish it. When you find out how much each had suffered in those years, it is beyond unacceptable. Ash’s lack of trying or will to end it bothers me. If it had only been a few years I think I could have accepted it better, but in my eyes he’s a scared wimp. Here we have the future Duke of Greycliffe and he can’t confront his wife about something he seen with his own eyes? Then you pile on years of rumors and gossip, yeah I don’t buy it. I enjoyed that the story was finally told, but the reasoning and excuses didn’t do it for me.

Ms. MacKenzie’s writing was wonderful and she was able to convey the pain, anguish, love and devotion into their tale, but I wish it was more realistic. We already have a marquis marrying a groom’s daughter and then you add in the misunderstanding that would make any man in his position run for the hills. I still devoured the story because I’m totally in lust with the series, but this one didn’t stand up to the other two and a half novels.

I really adore the Valentine family and I’m going to miss them. Farewell Duchess of Love; you have been a joy to read about. Great job on a lovely series Ms. MacKenzie. No matter how I felt about this final chapter, I still loved the journey.

Bind Me Close by Cerise DeLand

Bind Me Close
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: May 23, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance 
Content: M/F, M/F/M, Multiple Partners, BDSM, Spanking, Bondage, D/s, Exhibitionism, Anal Play, Oral Sex
Length: Novel
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 20, 2014


The moment Willow arrives in Bravado, Wade sweeps her off her feet. He’s gruff, strong and shockingly appealing. Though Willow is in Bravado on business, there’s nothing more appealing—or sexually exciting—than getting naked with Wade.

Wade’s had his fair share of women—in his bed and at the local BDSM club. A confident Dom, he doesn’t get involved with the women he indulges with—until Willow catches his eye. An enticing blend of cautious inexperience and wild woman, Willow snares Wade so completely he’s only too happy to break his rules and get deeply, irrevocably involved.

Willow blossoms in Bravado and in Wade’s bed. But her desires, though long dormant, run deep and she craves a ménage—the only thing Wade can’t bring himself to give her. But if Wade wants to keep Willow—for now or forever—he’s going to have to find a way to ensure she gets exactly what she needs. One way or another.


Knights in Black Leather just delivered its first true knight…Wade.

He is such a prince and encompasses the fabled knight in shining armor perfectly.

• He rescued a damsel in distress with his iron horse
• He rode her to safety after she is injured – on a real horse
• He fulfills her wildest dreams
• He even has his own group of noble horsemen

There is so much to say about Bind Me Close. I have to remain mum because the best parts were the surprises. In the thousands of books I have read I have never read about a hero like Wade. He was one of the most deliciously domineering, manly strong and an amazingly loving man I have read about in a long time, maybe ever. He was selfless in his love and he totally humbled me. His devotion was beautiful and he made me melt for him in every way. Yes, he blew my mind. Willow is one lucky woman.

What I enjoyed about Willow is that she was strong enough to love herself and to go for what she wanted. Her conviction was strong and she held true to her feelings, but was woman enough to admit when she was wrong. The moment she opened her heart to Wade was sweet. Yes, she had help to see the truth, but when she did, it was wonderful.

I’m not sure what it was that made me adore this book so much. In fact, this whole series has been a blast. I am really excited with what may be coming my way. In the first two books, the town of Bravado played a tantalizing third character, but it blossomed in this book. The potential upcoming stories are so exciting and I can’t wait for what Ms. DeLand has in store for me.

Tie Me Down by Cerise DeLand

Tie Me Down
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Published: October 1, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Content: M/F, BDSM, Bondage, Rope Play,  Exhibitionism, Oral Sex
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 18, 2014


Rancher Case Turner is a shibari master who prefers his partners submissive, silent and lush. When he meets an outspoken, curvy lawyer from Austin, he’s wild to capture the colorful creature he calls his butterfly. His cho. Yearning to tie her up nice and tight. And defying the rule of the single men in Bravado that they share desirable women, Case plans to keep Samantha Marlowe all for himself.

Sam has a big, bad aversion to Dominants, so resisting Case’s magnetism seems like a wise idea. Yet Case, who usually binds his women to him in erotic public exhibitions, lures her with sweet-talk and humor. Case becomes the lover Sam told herself she’d never have—kind and tender.

But Case wants to tie up her heart, as well as her body—and she’s ready to bolt. If Case puts his heart on the line as well, Sam might admit there’s no rope stronger than love to tie her down.

Book Two in the Knights in Black Leather series was not what I expected.

I have read my fair share of books that have had rope play in them, but never in my experience has so much detail and subject related words been used. It goes to show the amount of research Ms. DeLand must have done. The only thing I wish is that there was actually more rope play. The story really didn’t support an extensive amount of it, it seems like such a waste of some really good information.

I liked Tie Me Down, but I didn’t love it. Case was such an interesting man, that I wanted to know more about him and how he became a shibari master. Sam had a past I wanted to help her through, but it wasn’t brought fully to the surface. These two characters were so amazing, but we were only able to scratch the surface. I loved how Case made up his mind quickly about Sam and then fought hard for her. Sam has had such a hard time and he was so patient with her, it was beautiful. Case’s time and tenderness won Sam’s heart. He proved over and over that he was the man for her.

For a short novel, Tie Me Down had a good plot, great character interactions and solid romance. Ms. DeLand did a fantastic job portraying their passion, love and devotion. So the question is why don’t I love it?

Rarely do I go into a novella thinking I’m going to get a full blown, richly detailed epic novel. Tie Me Down could have been that story. Case seemed to have an amazing past that was filled with family, military service, shibari training and then political life. Sam’s past was the complete opposite; filled with loneliness, struggle, pain, fear and then strength and perseverance. We could have enjoyed Case helping Sam heal through his rope work and we could have been with Sam while she healed from her past traumatic experience.

I can’t recall two characters that I wanted 500 plus pages from. Ms. DeLand envisioned an exceptionally beautiful story but was likely limited by word count. The unfolding of their lives and their future would have been a work of art; an amazingly classic love story.

To tie things up (I really had to go there), Tie Me Down was still a very good story. While it could have supported a longer storyline, the story was complete and very touching. I fell completely in love with Case and Sam and even more enchanted with the town of Bravado and its community. I can only hope there is more of this Texas town in my future.

Rope Me In by Cerise DeLand

Rope Me In
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Published: May 18, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Content: M/F, M/F/M/M, Ménage, BDSM, Spanking, Bondage, Anal Play, Anal Sex, Oral Sex, Toys
Length:  Novel
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 17, 2014


Knights in Black Leather, Book One In Bravado, Texas, the men are good and plenty...and lonely. Not inclined to remain horny bachelors, the three MacRae brothers devise a plan to find one fine woman and get the good lovin' they deserve. One gander at the new gal in town, charming Cara Ford, and the cowboys decide to do some old-fashioned courting. Then they'll offer her a thoroughly modern deal-all three of them, just for luscious, lovely her.

Cara has returned to Bravado to rebuild her life after cutting the cord to her self-centered husband. One man was a pain. Why would she want to tie herself to three ranchers known for their wildcattin', no matter how sexy?

Undeterred, Jed, Harry and Will rope her into their daily lives, sweet-talk her into sharing their torrid nights, and set out to convince her that three hard-lovin' men in bed is better than one.

I was in the mood for some wild lovin’. I knew I had to pick up book one in this sexy Texas based series. Nothing like Texas, cowboys, Doms and ménage to get things revved up!

What I loved most about Jed, Harry and Will was that they knew what they wanted and they went after it. For me personally, when I think of a strong man, I envision height, strength, assertiveness, determined and loving. That is how Ms. DeLand wrote the MacRae brothers. Each man was unique, but together they were a tsunami of passion that rolled right over the woman they all desired, Cara.

Cara came to town with thoughts of that being burned once was enough, but she can’t seem to forget her former crush on the striking MacRae men. She knows they are trouble, but maybe she should just dip her toe.

So why is Bravado most definitely fictional? If the town was a real, there wouldn’t be a shortage of women. Women would flock to Bravado. It offers well off men who never stop loving, appreciating and adoring their women. They are a dream come true. I’m kinda sad that Ms. DeLand’s town isn’t real and I’ve been teased with such greatness.

Rope Me In is a perfect read for what I was looking for. It was steamy, heart pounding and hot as hell. I would recommend the book for people who would love to escape to a small town in Texas, dive into a toe curling romance with three men and want to experience country life where they grow the men big and strong and full of passion.

Do Him Right by Cerise DeLand

Do Him Right
By: Cerise DeLand
Publisher:  Ellora's Cave
Published: March 28, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Content: M/F, Anal Sex, Oral Sex
Length: Novella
Heat Level: Scorching
Reviewer: Toni
Date: June 14, 2014


Shana ruined rodeo champion Chet Stapleton years ago with hastily written words. Now a PR pro, she's engineered a plan to make amends. She'll successfully promote his rodeo, soothe her conscience and leave. Trouble is, she can't keep her hands off the smooth talker or call a halt to their smokin'-hot sex.

Chet takes one glance at Shana and develops an itch to put his boots under her bed...permanently. He's won awards for taming willful fillies so he can't understand why he can't break Shanna's stubborn refusal to open up to him.

The closer Shana gets to Chet, the more she wants to stay, in his life and in his bed. But to do that she'll have to tell him everything-and risk being rejected. One thing is certain, if Shana doesn't put the past to rest, she'll never be able to grab the future-or the cowboy she wants most.

I will admit that I had mixed feelings about this novella while I was reading it. I couldn’t wrap my head around the instant attraction and the constant guilt. I will also admit that Shana and Chet totally grew on me and as their relationship progressed, so did my feelings towards them.

Shana really needed to move the heck on. Her constant whining about how guilty she felt, was grating at times, but she had valid points for being so darn guilty. She was young and stupid and has returned to make things right. Problem is she let her past and current attraction to Chet complicate things and she never found a way around it. What a sad series of events.

Chet had me scratching my head. He gave off mixed signals at their initial meeting, but when he wants something, boy does he go after it. He had no qualms about his feelings about Shana, but there was much more to the story.

As their relationship progressed, things went from steamy and sexy to cold and distant. That tends to happen if there is guilt sleeping in the same bed. As things came to a head I had a better understanding of their relationship dynamics and had several questions answered. That was the turning point for me. When the reasons, feelings and truths came out I had a much better understanding of how and why things happened.

Ms. DeLand did a great job wrapping Do Him Right up. She brought everything together and made them a believably happy couple. They may have some bumps ahead of them, but I want to envision a happily ever after for these two well deserved people.

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