July 2013 - The Romance Reviews



July 2013 - The Romance Reviews
Amazing New Western Series by Kathleen Ball Available July 18th
First they brought her ultimate sexual fantasy to life…Now it gets real.
July 2013
Cover Story Excerpt
The author takes us back
to the American West in
the first book of her
Wildfire Love series
Angie Fox shares about her adventures
Bridget Keown recommends her favorite beach reads
He broke her heart. 15 years
later her secret will break his.
Will their love survive?
Yumy eye candy from Susan Frances
How Rue Allyn was inspired for her Wildfire Love series
Jeannie Lin talks about one of the mysteries in history
The title says it all! And Emma Holly tells all
Josh Lanyon shares tips on creating characters
KindleRomance shares her fascination
Tara Sue Me discusses the different merits of each
Julie knows not all monsters run
on 4 feet; now she must learn-some beasts are good.
It Happened One Midnight (Julie Anne Long)
The Westerfield Affair (Renee Rose)
$50 Amazon GC
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Exposed (Laura Griffin)
Heart of the Woolf (Kai Andersen)
July 2013
Romance Excerpts
Top Pick Reviews
11 AGAINST THE ROPES (Contemporary) Carly Fall
(Contemporary) Robin Bielman
15 KIDNAPPED COWBOY (Contemporary) Lindsey
22 IDENTITY CRISIS (Contemporary) Grace Marshall
25 A MAD PASSION (Historical) Scarlett Scott
(Historical) Adrienne Basso
Amelia Grey
44 INKED BY AN ANGEL (Paranormal) Shauna Allen
48 IN LIKE A LION (Paranormal) Karin Shah
51 MYSTIC INK (Paranormal) Casey Wyatt
57 BYZANTINE GOLD (Rom. Thriller) Chris Karlsen
65 LEGEND BEYOND THE STARS (Sci fi/Futuristic)
S.E. Gilchrist
Black Ops specialist meets his
match in New York Stockbroker.
DeAnn Smallwood
GLBT Excerpt
78 SWEET YOUNG THANG (Rom Com) Anne Tenino
Erotic Romance Excerpts
Angel Payne
THE OFFICE SLAVE (Contemporary) Opal Carew
THE BEST MAN (Contemporary) Adriana Kraft
Jianne Carlo
HEXUALLY OBSESSED (Paranormal) Sam Cheever
WITH HER CRAVING (Paranormal) Lorie O’Clare
The Romance Reviews
You know there's trouble ahead
when zombies aren't your
biggest worry.
July 2013
Dear Reader,
ummer is here! What are you doing cooped up at home? Load this ezine into your ereader
and take it to the beach!
I’m sure many of you have also won books and gift certificates
at our recently concluded Sizzling Summer Reads Party to
add to your beach reads. As usual, we’ve over 400 prizes to go
around. Thank you, authors and publishers! Winners for the
monthly prizes, including the grand prize of $100 GC, have
already been announced. Check it out.
You know how it seems your ereader or book shelf is piled high
with books you haven’t yet read, but somehow, you continue
to be on a quest to hoard, er… add more books to your evergrowing pile. Your credit card’s maxed out, your wallet is
empty of cash, but you can’t seem to ignore this urgent beat
to log in to Amazon (or whatever online bookstore tickles your
fancy) and browse the pages in the never-ending search for a
great read. Never fear, we are here to feed your addiction!
*cue evil laugh*
Upcoming is our all-genre book hop in early September
(we’re still searching for a great name. Back-to-School Hop,
maybe?). In fact, we have a contest for this on page 64! Why
don’t you help us and win yourself something besides? Act fast
because the deadline is on July 31, 2013 (no extension).
(Authors, if you’re interested for promo opportunities during
this event, please email me at carole @
theromancereviews.com )
Book 1 in the Cowboy Code
Speaking of contests, TRR is sponsoring one with a prize of
$50 Amazon GC! Check it out on page 77.
In this ezine, we continue to bring you lots of exciting stuff!
Tons of excerpts on interesting books, and articles from Angie
Fox, Jeannie Lin, Josh Lanyon and Tara Sue Me. Reviewers
Bridget Keown talks about her recommended beach reads,
and KindleRomance chimes in about the draw of gay
romances for a straight woman.
Upcoming, we have compiled our reviewers’ recommended
beach reads and debut books. Check them out and have an
amazing summer filled with exciting adventures. And when you
feel hot from the sizzling chemistry of the main characters,
why, just jump into the pool or beach and cool down! 
The Romance Reviews
Only he can save her... Book 2 in
the Goddesses Rising trilogy,
July 2013
When a feisty, irrepressible heroine who lives
her life by a list of seven rules and a laid-back
surfer with a dominant streak meet in the most
heavenly of a Hawaiian resort, there's no quest
ion that readers are in for a wild ride. Vanessa
McGregor arrives in Hawaii determined to
make her best friend's wedding a success. But
she never planned on the bride's brother,
Jackson, who is everything she has decided to
avoid in men. But when Jax cooks up an excuse for keeping
them in very close quarters for the duration of the wedding
planning, Vanessa slowly realizes that some rules are meant to
be broken. Gina Maxwell has a phenomenal ability to blend
steamy, wild passion with genuinely emotional, heartfelt
romances, and these characters will surprise and charm
readers again and again. Without a doubt, her Fighting For
Love series is going strong, and I can't wait to read more!
(Recommended by Bridget)
THEN, AGAIN by Karen Stivali is a quick and
convincing drama highlighting the tension
between work and play in regards to
relationships. Ms Stivali again delivers an
excellent illustration of modern day
relationships….It is not surprising that Ms
Stivali enjoys richly character-driven books and
movies; it shows in the flawless character
development in her own novels. There is never
a question mark over her characters' motives, thoughts or
actions; it all makes perfect sense. The characters also have
real issues, to which readers can easily relate. Here, the issue
of life priorities takes center stage…Read more.
(Recommended by Victoria Lane)
This book puts the reader on full-alert; it is a
high-voltage, fraught-with-danger, vicarious
experience that is sprinkled with humor and
super-charged with breathtaking love... Ms.
Grace creates riveting stories that assail the
senses and churn your emotions.
(Recommended by Books, Books and More
They must stop a madman if
they have any hope of a free
future together.
Callie Collins is determined to go
west and she's not afraid to lie to
get there.
Kristen Callihan simply amazes with surprising twists and turns that keeps the
reader guessing. The truth is not always what it seemed. Reading WINTERBLAZE
is like peeling away layer after layer to discover the true gem that is within. Each
book in the series builds upon her world until it becomes the complex, dynamic,
living thing we see in this book. In as much as the paranormal aspects of the
story is fascinating, WINTERBLAZE is a story of a love that would never die, a love
that is deserving of a second chance…Read more. (Recommended by Ashia)
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Ms. Holt delivers an ingenious romance of decadence, heartbreak, true love and
adventure in the first book of The Borderland Legacy series… BORDERLAND BRIDE
gave me the most wonderful four hours of escape, leading me to grin, cry out
warnings, clutch my Kindle and cross my fingers hoping for the best. It was
everything I could want in a romance…Read more. (Recommended by JCCeleste)
Features a startlingly unique story setting in the
lush and tranquil setting of Tuscany, where a
pair of unlikely people fall in love while trying
their hardest not to, but eventually, they
succumb to the magic of each other's company,
and find a wonderful love together.
(Recommended by Mary C)
Kira Brady's world is a dark, complex and
fascinating one, full of sensual characters,
ancient histories and fierce conflicts, and I, for
one, am hooked…. The love story between
Kayla and Hart was so moving and so
passionate that it was impossible not to keep
reading in order to explore their relationship
further. This is a terrific read, and a genuinely
promising start to a series I plan on following
closely! Read more. (Recommended by Bridget)
To escape a life of terror and
abuse, a woman finds herself in
remote Southwest Alaska.
EXPOSED explodes with action almost from the
start, as Maddie is mugged and she fights for
her life. Laura Griffin escalates the tension with
each page, each scene, and interspersed the
action with spine-tingling romance in a perfect
blend…Read more. (Recommended by Ashia)
A very charming and sweet romance that's
evocative of Cinderella, except the heroine
cares deeply the plights of others and the hero
unfortunately can't resist her. (Recommended
by Mary C)
The Romance Reviews
Maggie Malone thought she had
the perfect plan for her life until
she met the not so perfect man.
July 2013
This story was great from beginning to end.
There was love and romance, lies and secrets,
surprising plot twists, and a happily-ever-after.
The town of King's Bluff is unusually accepting
of diverse relationships—same sex couples,
multiple partner relationships—which made the
characters and story that much more enjoyable
for me…Read more. (Recommended by Lynn)
One of the best debut books I’ve read in a long
time. Hopefully this is just is just a first in a
series. Ms. Quan is a dynamite erotic
paranormal romance writer. The world Ms.
Quan creates is marvelous. The mix of magic
and fae is enchanting. The characters are rich
and likeable. What is admirable is even the
“evil” villains in this story are not fully evil. Ms.
Quan shows a side to them which makes their
psychotic behaviour understandable and at times makes a
reader pity them. The main characters are phenomenal.
(Recommended by BookAddict)
How far can she run before her
secrets catch up with her?
Simple doesn't mean boring when you have
Kyle Adams' trademark humor. There are
several lines in this story that had me burst out
laughing which is a huge treat. In addition to
several sexy scenes, there was a lot of
interaction between the characters, and an
ending that solidified the start of a sweet
relationship…Read more. (Recommended by
This book was funny, tender, and occasionally
sad, but overall it left me with such a good
feeling about romance and love in general. This
is a sweet, insightful tale of two men who get
together despite their differences. Emory is
Each man harbors his own
just so not your typical leading man and his
secrets. Would this cost them
take on life is just too self-deprecating. Then
their lives?
he meets sexy Nate and Emory’s organised and
preconceived world will never be the same again. This was a great tale of
humanity and romance that will knock your socks off. It was a wonderful read. (Recommended by
Susan Mac Nicol)
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
[GAMBLING MEN] is a love story that doesn't need any outside trappings or
additional plots—it is simply a starkly honest, moving, joyful story of two people
who will take any risk to win their future together, and I loved every moment…
Its beauty instead lies in its simplicity, in the way Jace and Quent negotiate their
new relationship with their friends, their families, and, most importantly, with
each other…Read more. (Recommended by Bridget)
This was a sweet, realistic tale about geek meets jock. It has some really good
moments and overall, a great story. Noah and Callum meet when Callum is
installing software at a gym. Noah is the ‘jock’, a professional hockey player
who’s pretty deep in the closet. Callum is out but doesn’t flaunt it. They become
friends first then lovers. There’s minimal sex in this book, it’s mostly about the
relationship developing which I liked. It’s a heart-warming, entertaining sports
romance. (Recommended by Susan Mac Nicol)
There you have it.  Happy reading!
Follow Amelia's darkly erotic
adventures at
The Romance Reviews
What you see is not always what
you get.
A dirty-talking vampire prince, a
woman with a grudge, and two
races on the brink of war.
July 2013
Against the Ropes
Carly Fall
Winning the next fight will mean
nothing... if he can’t win back the heart of
the woman he loves.
Five years ago Dylan Gomez had it all. He
was an up-and-coming boxer with a
loving girlfriend, and his sights were set
on the big league. Then he let the hype of
the fans inflate his ego—he thought he
was invincible. That all changed when an
alcohol-fuelled decision altered the course
of his life. He lost his girlfriend and then
bit-by-bit his life crumbled around him.
Physical therapist, Regan Holloway, has coasted through life for
the last five years. She’s been in the same place all that time
and most of her things are still in boxes. Agreeing to a
“friendly” date with a co-worker, she ends up ringside and faceto-face with the man she’d fled to forget—Dylan.
Publisher: Bottom
Drawer Publications
date: 5/28/2013
Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
Carly Fall Website
Dylan’s turning his life around and working his way back up the ranks; he’s got a big fight lined
up in thirty days that will be his ticket back into the pros—if he can win. The only thing holding
him back is an old shoulder injury and Regan not being by his side.
When Max, Dylan’s manager, convinces Regan to come with them and work on his shoulder for
the fight, she knows she needs to keep things professional so that she won’t be hurt again.
In the thirty-day countdown to the big fight, secrets are revealed, their passion is reignited, and
the past threatens to haunt their future. On fight day, Dylan and Regan are truly against the
eeling a little lightheaded from the wine, she opened the bathroom door and looked around
for a moment to get her bearings. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a red duffle bag, and
a shiver traveled down her spine as goose bumps crawled across her skin. Slowly, she
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Dylan strode toward her, his big body gliding through the crowd. At his side was his trainer, Max,
carrying the red bag. She looked Dylan up and down. He wore loose, black sweatpants and a
black t-shirt that hugged the ridges of his chest. Sweat glistened on his face and wet tendrils of
black hair were plastered to his neck. His dark eyes were focused straight ahead.
Was he fighting tonight?
Oh, no. Why hadn't she looked at the fight card?
Because she never thought in a million years that he would fight in a casino located in Indio,
California. His fights had always been held in larger cities, like Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Never
had he fought in a place like the small Dreaming Casino in the middle of the desert.
He hadn't seen her yet, and she tried to head back into the bathroom, but it seemed her feet
wouldn't move. She felt panic well within her as he approached, now about fifteen feet away. His
gaze fell on her, and she detected a hitch in his smooth gait. Their eyes locked as he approached,
and she felt as though she were about to be swallowed up by the massive man coming toward
"So tonight you give it your best, Dylan," Max said as they passed, his eyes on the ground, as
usual. The man lived in his head, always planning to stay one step in front of Dylan's opponents.
"You just need to remember his right hook."
Dylan's gaze held hers, and she felt a long-forgotten sexual heat rip through her. As he passed,
she caught the faint scent of sweat mixed with sandalwood, and she cringed when she recognized
the scent of the soap he used. When Dylan had finally moved by her so that he couldn't look at
her any longer, she closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, wondering how she was
going to get through the night. The man who had shattered her heart would be in fighting in the
About the Author:
Carly Fall is a wife, a mother and a slave to Nicky the dog.
She loves to laugh, thinks chocolate and wine should be
considered their own food group, and wishes Christmas happened
twice a year.
She is the author of the fantasy/paranormal series, The Six
Saviors, and contemporary romance.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Kissing the Maid of Honor
Robin Bielman
Kissing her best friend's brother never felt
so right…
Sela Sullivan is resolved to be the best
maid of honor ever, even if it means
tolerating the best man. Insufferable,
too-handsome Luke Watters is not only
the guy who humiliated her at a kissing
booth in high school, but he also happens
to be her best friend’s older brother.
Positive he’s the same arrogant jock, Sela
vows to focus on her duties and steer
clear of the frustrating—and frustratingly
ISBN: 9781622660889
Publisher: Entangled
Publication date:
Genre: Contemporary
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Robin Bielman Website
As a world-renowned extreme-sports photographer, Luke is
used to undertaking life-risking adventures. But risking his heart for the beautiful Sela Sullivan,
who clearly still hates him for his rejection all those years ago? He didn’t see that coming. Sela
inspires a passion he’s never known, and the more time they spend together, the more he craves
her. But can he prove to the maid of honor he’s become a man of honor?
uke didn’t see the point of learning choreographed dance steps, but it made his sister happy,
her smile and laugh contagious, and he found himself enjoying even his missteps.
His partner didn’t hurt matters, either. Paired with the beautiful maid of honor, he gave
silent thanks for his new role as best man. If he’d had to watch Sela dance with someone else, he
might have gone insane.
A disconcerting thought he decided not to examine too closely.
“Remember, the basic step is one of the most beautiful of the rumba. So if nothing else, stick to
it, and the dance floor will be yours,” the instructor said.
Luke peeked at Sela out of the corner of his eye. The slight imperfections in her profile made it
the most fascinating he’d seen. With his photographer’s eye he imagined shooting her face from
different angles and in different lighting and had a feeling every single one would spark beauty to
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
a thousand different beholders. She might be a girl from his hometown, but there was something
about her that was worldly.
She turned her head, catching him in the act of staring. He darted his attention away.
“Now let’s step into the closed position once again and begin,” the teacher said.
At first they moved rigidly, fighting the natural rhythm of their bodies like they still needed to
battle to keep things normal. But as the music continued, their moves melted into a fluid sway of
hips and torsos and Luke couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be.
“Close your eyes and feel the movement. Let the music guide you,” the teacher said softly as she
wove around the dance floor.
Luke waited for Sela to shut her eyes. Christ, she was pretty. The woman made scrubs look sexy.
But it was what she had on the inside that suddenly made his mouth drier than the Sahara
Her eyes fluttered open. “You can wipe that smug look off your face. You’re not that good of a
“No?” Without missing a beat, he spun them around, their steps in perfect tandem. An invisible
string kept them in harmony. The flush of Sela’s cheeks kept energy humming through his veins.
Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed, and Luke imagined she’d much rather have a sword in her
hand so they could fence instead of move with each other.
“You know what they say about show-offs, don’t you?” she said.
“Tell me.” He twirled them away from the others, his fingertips increasing the pressure on her
shoulder blade.
“They’re compensating for something else. Usually something small.” Her gaze dipped below his
waist as they both stepped back.
He laughed, a little more carefully than he had in the kitchen. For the second time in the last hour
she’d done what few women could—raise his hackles in the most engaging way.
“Sweetheart, there’s nothing small about me,” he whispered when they came together. “And if
you need proof, I’d be happy to show you.”
About the Author:
Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high
school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini
Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim
Butcher's Dresden Files books). When not attached to her
laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a
book. She also loves to run, hike, and dip her toes in the
ocean. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches
herself to be sure it's real. She writes contemporary
romance for Entangled Publishing and is also the author of
Worth the Risk and Yours at Midnight from Entangled's Ever
After line. She loves to connect with readers...
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Kidnapped Cowboy
Lindsey Brookes
After countless attempts to speak with
the owner of the retreat for troubled
teens she runs on the outskirts of Lone
Tree, Montana, Caitlin Myers resorts to
kidnapping Brandon ‘The Ogre of Lone
Tree’ Barnes in a desperate attempt to
change his mind about turning Stoney
Brook into a vacation resort for the
Publisher: Amazon / B&N
Publication date:
Genre: Contemporary
Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Retired rodeo star, Dalton Barnes, gets
Lindsey Brookes Website
the surprise of his life when he’s
abducted by a soft-spoken female with a
‘gun’ and taken to the retreat his family owns. He soon learns
she’s kidnapped the wrong cowboy by mistake. She wanted his brother. Things go from bad to
worse when a late spring snowstorm strands them together at the cabin. But it’s during their
snow-in that Dalton learns why Caitlin has gone to such lengths to save Stoney Brook. Having
had issues with his older brother himself and a not so happy past, Dalton promises to do what he
can to help her.
When confronted Brandon tells Dalton he’ll hold off on his plans for the retreat, but only if Dalton
agrees to stick around and help run it. Keeping his promise to Caitlin, Dalton agrees and what
starts out as a common goal to turn the troubled teens’ lives around that summer ends up turning
theirs around as well. Can a man who has always avoided putting down roots and a woman with a
deep-seated fear of abandonment hang on to the happiness they’ve found together? Or will the
past return to threaten their newfound love?
Love, laughter and a heartwarming read…
“D...don’t move or else.”
Dalton Barnes froze, one leg hiked up on the chrome running board of his brother’s truck, one
hand curled snugly about the open door. Being held up on the main street of Lone Tree,
Montana, where crime was virtually nonexistent, was the last thing he expected to happen when
he’d driven into town that evening for a couple of drinks.
No, make that being held up by a woman on the main street of Lone Tree.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“All right,” he said in the same calming tone he used when working with horses, “I won’t.”
If his assailant were a man he might have attempted to wrestle the gun away. Instead, it was a
female jabbing the barrel of her weapon into his back. A nervous female at that if the trembling
of her hand was any indication. Not a good combination.
“Good.” Her voice shook as much as
her hand.
“If you’re after money, there’s about
fifty bucks in my wallet.”
She let out what could only be
described as an unladylike snort.
“That’s all?”
“I don’t want your money,” she replied,
sounding more shaken than he felt and that
was saying a lot, considering he was the
one with a gun barrel rammed into the
center of his back. “I want you.”
Okay, now that was unexpected.
“Look,” he said, his patience slipping, “I can get more. There’s an ATM machine across the
street. We can just take a walk on over there and I’ll get you whatever you need.” He started to
“D...don’t turn around,” she gasped, sounding panicked.
The barrel felt like a tree trunk pressing into his back. “I won’t,” he said, throwing up his hands.
“Just take it easy.”
“I don’t want your money,” she replied, sounding more shaken than he felt and that was saying a
lot, considering he was the one with a gun barrel rammed into the center of his back. “I want
Okay, now that was unexpected.
“Me?” he said, the word a billowing puff of steam in the cold evening air. He couldn’t help
himself, he laughed. The woman must look like the weathered side of a rotted fence post if she
had to get a man this way.
She made a choking sound and then jabbed the gun into the back of his shirt again. “Not in the
way you’re thinking. Now, please put your hands behind your back.”
Metal clinked together behind him, making him stiffen. He’d been in enough bar fights during his
rodeo years to know the sound of handcuffs when he heard it.
“Look, lady, why don’t you put that gun down and we’ll forget this whole thing ever happened?”
he said, trying to keep the alcohol induced fog rolling into his brain at bay.
“I...I can’t do that.” The trembling in her hand intensified.
He could take her, Dalton was certain of it. But one slip of her finger on that trigger and he could
be a goner. Thirty-two was too damn young to die.
Closing his eyes, he slowly lowered his hands and brought them around behind his back. “Mind
telling me what this is all about?”
Cold metal closed around one wrist and then the other. “You’ll figure it out. And by the way, you
shouldn’t drive when you’ve been drinking.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“I wasn’t gonna.” He’d already set up a room for the night in town, knowing he had some
emotional steam to work off with the help of a long night of drinking. “I just came out here to
grab my cell phone.”
Dalton’s gaze swept the now empty street. The cold front had sent everyone scurrying back to
the warmth of their homes. Everyone but him and this crazy woman.
“Well, you don’t need it. Step away from the truck, please.”
He made a mental note to stay the hell away from tequila in the future. Robbers and kidnappers
did not say please. Therefore, this had to be some kind of alcohol-induced hallucination. Despite
the possibility, he did as she asked, moving slowly as not to startle her.
“My car’s just around the corner,” she said, teeth starting to chatter. From nerves? Or the cold?
The snow which had been no more than a few flurries when he’d driven into town that evening
was now coming down in thick white flakes that glistened beneath the pale glow of the
streetlights. Even now, the main street of Lone Tree was covered in a thin veil of white.
“Where are you taking me?”
She ignored his question as she guided him down the empty street.
“Why don’t you just put down the gun before someone gets hurt and tell me what it is you want?”
“No one’s gonna get hurt.” She forced him across the street. “Here’s my car. You’ll need to lie
down in the backseat so no one can see you.”
Dalton eyed the woman’s car. Hell, it wasn’t much bigger than a toilet.
“You’re kidding, right?” His six-foot-two-inch frame would be lucky to fit sitting upright.
“No.” She turned him, keeping herself out of his view as she opened the rear passenger door.
“Hurry up. Get in.”
Wisps of steam drifted past him when she spoke. He judged her to be a good foot shorter than
he was. Chances were he could take her. Maybe if this had happened a few years before when
he was going through his ‘throw caution to the wind’ phase he might have tried. But now that he
was a little older, he valued having all his parts intact and without bullet holes in them.
Having little choice but to do as the crazed woman ordered, Dalton bent down and edged his way
facedown, no hands, across the seat. Half of him made it in.
“You’re not in all the way.”
“No kidding.”
Being taken at gunpoint, handcuffed, and forced to pack himself like a sardine into a Matchbox
car on one of the coldest nights of the year made being shot and put out of his misery a more
welcome alternative.
“But this always works in the movies,” she grumbled with a frustrated groan.
“I hate to break it to you,” he mumbled into the cold vinyl seat, “but this ain’t the movies.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“I know that. Let me think.” She was sounding more and more panicked.
He rolled his eyes. If she had the ability to do that, they wouldn’t be standing out in the icy snow
while she tried to figure out some way to stuff him sideways onto a seat nearly half his size.
“The trunk.”
“In the trunk.”
“No way in hell am I getting into any trunk.” He began worming his way back out of the car and
then froze as the cylindrical pressure returned to the center of his back.
“I wasn’t implying that,” his crazed kidnapper said. “There’s some rope in the trunk we can use.
Don’t move.” The crisp snow that coated the sidewalk crunched under her shoes as she backed
away and started around the car.
“Rope?” he exclaimed. What, was she going to tie him to the bumper and drag him to wherever
it was she was taking him to? “Hey, I’m handcuffed,” he called out to her. “What do you need
rope for?”
“I can’t take any chances,” she replied as the trunk creaked open.
And kidnapping a man in the middle of town wasn’t taking a chance? She was definitely one brick
short of a full load. The trunk shut, echoing in the night.
“You really don’t wanna do this,” he said, determined to convince the mentally deranged woman
to rethink her actions and let him go.
“I know I don’t,” she replied, much to his surprise.
They had a badge for proper kidnapping
techniques in the Girl Scouts?
Thank God. She was coming to her
senses. “Then why are you doing this?”
“You left me no choice.”
“I what?”
The car shifted slightly as she crawled in over top of him.
“Lady you’re...mmm...” his words were cut off by the strip of silk she threaded between his lips
and tied behind his head as he struggled beneath her.
“I’m really sorry about this,” she said as she placed some kind of mask over his eyes and then
everything went black.
Dalton mumbled a string of curses behind the gag.
“I’ll take it off of you as soon as we get to where it is we’re going. Now could you please sit up so
I can tie you?”
Easier said than done with her perched on his back. “Mmmm....mmm...” He shifted restlessly.
“Oh, sorry,” she said, clearly realizing the ridiculousness of her request, and then backed out of
the car. She waited for him to sit up then proceeded to wrap the rope around him.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
How in the hell had he ended up prisoner of some rope toting crazy woman? Him, Dalton Barnes,
a man who needed to be in control of his life, something his family had never allowed to happen
when he was growing up. Having to give up that sense of control again was damned hard thing
to swallow, but the gun at his back left him little choice.
“I was never a Girl Scout so I hope I’m doing this right,” she muttered as she worked the rope.
They had a badge for proper kidnapping techniques in the Girl Scouts? What was it that people
said about paybacks being hell?
About the Author:
Romance author Lindsey Brookes grew up reading romance novels. She has
finalled in/or won more than 75 RWA chapter sponsored contests with over
a dozen different manuscripts. She is also a four time RWA Golden Heart
finalist as well as a past American Title III finalist and winner of Harlequin's
Great American Romance Novel contest. She's married to her childhood
sweetheart, her hero, with whom she has two beautiful daughters.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Riding with the Harley Dogs:
One Author’s Adventure
By NYT Bestseller, Angie Fox
I’d always known writing would be an adventure,
but I never predicted my writing would put me on
the back of a coal black Harley Davidson, with an
Irish Setter in tow. I’d set out to write a
paranormal about a straight-laced preschool
teacher turned demon slayer who has to run off
with a gang of geriatric biker witches. But my
heroine has a smart-mouthed dog that, thanks to
her new powers, can talk…and talk…and talk. And I
really loved that dog. What’s a writer to do? Well, I
went online and learned that there is a nationwide
club of Harley bikers who ride with their dogs. So
my heroine could have her pink Harley, and her Jack Russell Terrier too.
And of course I had to meet these Harley riding dog lovers. I called up a few
of the members of a Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club and the adventure began.
They invited me into their homes, introduced me to their dogs and, like my
heroine, the bikers hoisted me up on the back of a Harley, with a dog in tow.
Things I learned right off the bat:
 After an hour on a Harley, you’ll walk like John Wayne for a week
 Helmets hurt when they are worn backwards
 Dogs love riding motorcycles
Stone, the biker who spent the most time making sure I didn’t fall off his
hog, showed me how to ride, invited me to some biker rallies (note to self:
don’t wear pink next time), and helped make The Accidental Demon Slayer
as real as it can be (for a book about a somewhat sheltered preschool
teacher turned demon slayer).
So just when I thought I was writing fiction, it seemed my made-up
characters from The Accidental Demon Slayer weren’t so imaginary after all.
One of the bikers I met even has a wife who is a biker witch. I’m wondering
if she, like my heroine’s biker witch grandma, wears a “kiss my asphalt” tshirt and carries Smuckers jars filled with magic. Maybe I’ll find out on my
next adventure.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox writes about demon slayers, biker witches and
things that go bump in the night. The first book in her series, The Accidental Demon Slayer, is
free right now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple iBooks. Visit Angie at
Serial bachelor. Celebrity author.
Her perfect forever?
The Romance Reviews
Her hideaway is perfect, until the
phone calls resumed, kicking her
paranoia into high gear.
Revenge must be taken. A voodoo
queen striking fear in ur heart;
while zombies eat people.
July 2013
Identity Crisis
Grace Marshall
PR rep extraordinaire, Kendra Davis,
ISBN: 9781908917836
is elated when she gets the chance to
Publisher: Xcite Books
work for her hero, reclusive, romance
novelist, Tess Delaney. Her elation is
date: 1/24/2013
short-lived when she discovers that
Genre: Romance
Tess is none other than Garrett
Buy Links:
Thorne, the bad-boy brother of
Publisher Link
business tycoon and eco-warrior,
Amazon Kindle UK
Ellison Thorne, who is engaged to her
Amazon Kindle US
best friend, Dee Henning. Kendra
Barnes and Noble
blames Garrett for the comedy of
errors that nearly destroyed their
relationship. Garrett doesn’t like
Grace Marshall Website
Kendra either, but he’s desperate. His
alter-ego, Tess has been nominated
for the prestigious Golden Kiss
Award. No one knows who Tess really
is, and he needs Kendra to play Tess for the awards.
When Tess is stalked by a rabid fan, the two unite to protect her identity. With Kendra, the body
and Garrett the soul of Tess Delaney, is there room in this strange ménage for romance? Can a
woman who doesn’t exist understand their hearts even better than they do?
endra cocked her head and looked at him in a way that made him think she was expecting
to find something, something he was hiding. But just when he was beginning to feel
defensive, she shoved her iPad back into her bag and stood. ‘Alright then. That’s all I need
‘Wait a minute.’ He said following her to the door. ‘Don’t we need to … I don’t know … Practice? I
mean I barely know you and you said we need to be comfortable with each other.’
She turned so quickly he nearly ran into her. ‘You don’t have to be comfortable with Kendra
Davis, Garret. You have to be comfortable with Tess Delaney, and I promise you will be.’ She
looked up at him with a smile that might have been teasing, might have been a smirk. Whichever
it was, the small alcove where they now stood suddenly seemed even tighter fitting than it
actually was. ‘If it’ll help,’ she said, ‘you can kiss me good-bye.’
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
‘That’s not very professional,’ he managed, feeling like the breath had been squeezed out of him
as he fumbled to help her into her jacket.
Her smile was warm, reassuring. ‘Actually, in our case it’s very professional.’ She rose on her toes
and brushed a kiss across his lips. ‘Very professional, indeed.’
And before she could pull away he scooped her into his arms, feeling her little gasp of surprise as
he took her mouth. What had only been intended to show her he was up for it, very quickly
changed to something else, and suddenly they were clawing at each other, hands grabbing collars
and hair and anything else to get closer to each other. Clothing brushed against clothing until
friction mounted and body heat radiated through. And God, her mouth was sweeter than
anything, full lips so soft one second and so hard and demanding the next, parted to allow him
access to her tongue and her hard pallet, to her warm humid breath coming faster and faster as
her fist clenched in his hair and her own tongue battled for supremacy. And her body, Jesus, her
body was hard pressed and tight and mounded and undulating and he’d never felt so much fire
just beneath the surface.
But she was Kendra Davis. And just when he was ready to scoop her up and carry her off to his
bedroom. Just when he was ready to hold her captive there for the next three of four or more
hours, she stepped back with a little sigh and caught her breath. She raised a hand to her lips,
almost but not quite covering her teasing smile and said. ‘You get an A Plus for practice, Garrett
Thorne. You just convinced the hell out of me.’ Still breathing hard, she ran a hand through his
hair, brushed a quick kiss across his lips and let herself out, leaving him leaning against the wall
barely able to stand. For the very first time, he allowed himself to think that not only might they
be able to pull this whole charade off, but he might actually enjoy it.
Kendra fled Garrett’s house mentally kicking herself. Why the hell did she kiss him? Could she be
any more stupid? Yes, they might have to kiss each other and yes they might have to hold each
other like they couldn’t get enough of each other. But that was for Friday night. That was for the
Golden Kiss Awards. That wasn’t for this afternoon. That wasn’t for the privacy of Garrett’s house.
What the fuck was she thinking? She didn’t even like the man. This was her job, nothing more.
She shoved her way into the Mustang and barely managed the seatbelt with her trembling hands.
But she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and forced herself to drive around the block
out of Garrett’s site before she stopped, threw on the emergency break and laid her head against
the steering wheel, struggling to catch her breath, struggling to calm herself, struggling not to
think about how badly she’d wanted to stay, how badly she’d wanted to escalate things even
further. If he’d started it, she would have slapped his face or maybe kneed him in the balls. But
she had started it. Her! What the fuck was the matter with her?
She fumbled in her bag and found her lipstick, trying to breathe deeply as she used the rearview
mirror to tidy her make-up. Clearly she just needed to get laid, that’s all. How long had it been
now? And all this the result of too many Tess Delaney novels, no doubt. Even when he wasn’t
consciously fucking with her, Garrett Thorne was fucking with her. God he was a pain in the ass.
And yet how could she blame him for her bad behavior. And now she’d have to face him Friday
night as though nothing had happened, as though what she had done was simply a part of her
plan to facilitate their desired end result. She would have never pulled anything so brazen and
unprofessional with any of her other clients, and she’d had more than a few who were plenty
willing, bigger names than Garret Thorne, she reminded herself. When she was calm again and
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
her hands had stopped shaking, she started the Mustang and headed back into Portland. She had
a dress to buy and all the other accessories that she could imagine a glam romance writer
extraordinaire might need for an awards ceremony. And in spite of her best efforts, she couldn’t
help thinking of just how her version of Tess Delaney would take Garrett Thorne’s breath away.
About the Author:
Grace Marshall lives in South England with her husband and the
growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their feeders. When
Grace isn’t busy writing something sexy and romantic, she’s busy
digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or walking across the
British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and
most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or
Grace is the author of the fast paced, quirky Executive Decisions
Trilogy published by Xcite Romance. The first and second novels in
the trilogy are out now.
His temptation. Her secret. Their
The Romance Reviews
A talented rider disappears
without a trace.
One soldier, one space salvager &
one 'hot' bath.
July 2013
A Mad Passion
Scarlett Scott
Seven years ago, the Marquis of
Thornton broke Cleo’s heart. He’s the
last man she wants to see at the
country house party she’s attending
with her sisters. However, fate has a
different plan when she finds Thornton
standing before her, as devastatingly
handsome as ever.
Thornton’s resolve is tempted by Cleo’s
reappearance in his life. He’ll stop at
nothing to have her back in his arms.
Now a respected politician, he
jeopardizes his career and reputation with each secret
moment he spends with her.
ISBN: 1419965409
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
date: 2/16/2011
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy Links:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes and Noble
Scarlett Scott Website
A steamy interlude in a darkened chamber, the crackling tension of a shared Shakespeare scene
before the rest of the house guests, and one too many secret kisses prove to Cleo and Thornton
that despite their scarred hearts, their feelings for one another may never have changed. But
neither is free to pursue the other. Cleo remains hopelessly trapped in a loveless marriage, and
Thornton is on the cusp of making an advantageous match. Together they must battle against
ruin and swirling scandal to discover if their mad passion is worth the price.
e sauntered into the room, his feet making an intimate sound on the floor. It did not seem
possible that years had passed and yet in two days, the careful architecture of her world
had been disassembled as though never there. She had not lived with a man, had not been
truly drawn to a man since she and John took separate residences a few months after their
marriage. Somehow, Thornton turned her into a heroine torn from the pages of an old gothic
romance, swooning over him. The spirit of the house party had driven her to madness, she was
convinced of it.
“I’m sure this is ill-advised,” she murmured, watching him warily.
A knowing smile curved his wicked lips. “I’m sure everything that’s ever been worthwhile
throughout history has been ill-advised.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
She sank lower in the water until her chin grazed its warm surface. “Do you swear on your honor
to touch my hair and my hair alone?”
Her request wrung a chuckle from him. Cleo liked the deep rumble of his laughter, rich and
contagious. His gray eyes glinted into hers. When he smiled he looked less arrogant and more
reminiscent of the young man she’d known.
“I swear on my honor,” he promised.
“I don’t know if I trust you.” Or if she trusted herself.
His grin deepened. “I assure you that, apart from the occasional indiscretion, I am quite the
decent fellow.”
“The occasional indiscretion?” She repeated. “Is that what yesterday and this afternoon were to
Thornton drew closer to the tub and began rolling his shirt sleeves to his elbows. His forearms,
she noted, were dark and strong. She wondered again if he went about Buckinghamshire shirtless
when he was up from town. Cleo never would have guessed him for a barbarian. But she fairly
savored the thought of it now.
“Shampoo?” He requested.
“On the chair just over there.” He had not answered her question. Was she a mere indiscretion to
him? A careless dalliance? Why did the thought bother her? She should be pleased. “Ridiculous
creature,” she scoffed beneath her breath. “Ninny. Hen-wit.”
“Have you just called me a hen-wit?” he asked from very close to her ear.
She started at his proximity and turned. Her lips nearly grazed his. “I rather thought you hadn’t
“It isn’t done to berate the man about to wash your hair, you know. I could pull it, or some such.”
Thornton’s strong hands sank into her hair, turning her face away from him. He began
dismantling her complicated chignon.
Pins slid one by one from her scalp. A soft sigh escaped her lips. The only sensation better than
her hair being released from its styling was the laces on her corset going slack. It occurred to her
that he was unusually handy with hair pins.
She couldn’t keep herself from commenting on it. “You know your way around a lady’s tresses,
“Is that jealousy I hear curdling your sweet voice, my love?”
“Aren’t you a wit?” She paused for a moment, nettled by his attempt at humor. “For a gentleman
who claims to be quite the decent fellow, you are remarkably well skilled, is all.”
Her hair was almost completely down around her shoulders now. “I should like to think so.”
He pulled the last pin from her hair and began gently massaging her scalp. Bridget never did that.
Cleo sighed with pleasure and leaned her head back into his capable hands. If she wasn’t careful,
the man would seduce her without so much as a kiss.
“Lean your head back into the water,” he ordered.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
She obeyed, keeping her arms over her breasts and sliding forward in the tub. Thornton’s face
hovered over her, impossibly handsome even upside down in the low light of the gas jets. Their
eyes met, his fingers caressing her scalp and somehow there had never been a more intimate
moment in her life. She experienced the sudden, foreign urge to yank him into the tub and make
love with him.
“You would make an exceptional lady’s maid,” she said instead.
“So I’ve been told.”
She caught her bottom lip between her teeth. “Do you make a habit of accosting women while
they’re at their baths and then washing their hair?”
Cleo was prying and she knew it was none of her affair what Alexander de Vere chose to do. She
had jilted him long ago. She was a married woman. Trapped, it was true, by society’s refusal to
allow a woman escape from a loathsome union. He could bed every woman in the house party if
he wished. She had no claim on him, no reason to harbor the sudden, irrational longing for his
“You and I are playing at a game
Wondering if he would ignore this question as
he had the last, she scooted backwards,
pulling her hair from the water. Silken strands
clung to her back. His mere presence
heightened her every sense.
that could be ruinous. Though we
She heard him lathering her shampoo in his
hands before his fingers once more
descended to her head. “You well know I’m
only here because of your meddling sisters.”
squabble like children, our desires
are not infantile in the least. I
overstepped my bounds in coming
here tonight.”
His words stung a bit. “If it was such a hardship, why did you come?”
“I never said it was a hardship.” He chuckled again. “I merely pointed out that I ordinarily grace a
lady’s chambers when I have been invited.”
Which she supposed happened with alarming frequency. No denying it, the thought galled her.
She remained silent, listening to the sounds of shampoo and hands and wet hair. Perhaps he had
not changed at all despite his sterling reputation.
“Lavender,” he murmured.
Her shampoo, like her soap, was of the finest French lavender. Her signature scent. He had
noticed. A smile curved her lips. Cleo was feeling naughty.
She pursed her lips. “Do you like it?”
Thornton cleared his throat. “Indeed, yes, your hair is lovely. Longer than most ladies’ locks and
singularly soft.”
A laugh escaped her. “I meant the lavender, though I do appreciate your commentary on my
“Of course.” Thornton’s voice was gruff, slightly pained. “Generally speaking, I find lavender to be
an agreeable scent.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“I am relieved.”
That earned her a sound dunking. She re-emerged from the water sputtering and dashing suds
from her eyes. “Thornton!”
The object of her ire was having a difficult time producing ire of his own. In fact, he was currently
preoccupied with the buoyant quality her breasts seemed to have taken on. Truly, she had no
idea that he had an excellent view of her perfect pink nipples. Thornton knew he should be
ashamed of himself, but he couldn’t summon up an admonishment of the like.
“Well?” She demanded, magnificent in her anger. Her long dark hair was slung across her back
and she had turned to face him—all the better to berate him, he supposed. Her green eyes spat
fire and her ordinarily pale cheeks flushed with becoming color.
“How would you have me rinse your hair?” he asked, careful to keep his inwardly roiling emotions
from his voice.
“A trifle more delicately than attempting to drown me.”
“Your nostrils are flaring again,” he pointed out because he knew it would peeve her. In truth, he
found it adorable. Christ, he wanted to shed his clothes and hop into the bath with her. She
shifted into a more decorous position and her breasts bobbed as if to tease him.
“I shall splash you again,” she warned.
“If you do so, I shall be compelled to think you wish for me to join you in the bath.” God knew he
certainly wished to join her. Could think of little else, in truth, other than the gleaming beauty of
her bare skin in the low gas light.
“Insufferable man.”
“I fear we are back at the beginning of our conversation, Countess and that you have run out of
insults for me.”
“You are quite wrong.” Her chin went up a notch. “I called you horrid earlier, not insufferable.”
He was afraid that Hollins had
seen exactly which room he’d
emerged from, half-naked,
wet and guilty as sin.
Hell. What was he doing here in her chamber where
he didn’t belong, trading banter with her as if they
stood in a drawing room, both fully and respectably
clothed? He wanted her. But taking her…
Taking her would be folly.
“I think I must go,” he said softly, his eyes tangling
in the lush mossy depths of hers.
“Do you?” He swore it was the closest she’d come to requesting him to stay.
“Yes.” He leaned across the tub and dropped a kiss on her damp cheek. She even tasted of
lavender, sweet and seductive. “You and I are playing at a game that could be ruinous. Though
we squabble like children, our desires are not infantile in the least. I overstepped my bounds in
coming here tonight.”
She reached for him then, her wet hands snagging in his hair. Water droplets fell to his shoulders.
Locking gazes, she pulled him to her, her mouth seeking and open. He allowed her to kiss him,
groaning when it deepened and her tongue entered his mouth. He wanted desperately to sink into
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
the warm water with her, test the silky weight of her breasts in his palms, make love in the tub
with suds splashing across the floor. To wake up every last guest with their ruckus.
The guests. Damn. It took every last reserve of strength he had, but he somehow managed to
tear his lips from hers. “Good night, sweet Cleo,” he whispered, wondering if Romeo and Juliet
had made him maudlin. His conscience getting the better of him, he straightened, rolled down his
sleeves and stalked from the room and her chamber before he could change his mind.
He was in such a tumult he stepped right into the corridor without bothering to check first and he
could have bloody well kicked himself in the arse when he saw Hollins, his mother’s steel-haired
maid, whisking around a corner. There would be hell to pay with the dowager if she had an inkling
of this and he was afraid that Hollins had seen exactly which room he’d emerged from, halfnaked, wet and guilty as sin.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes contemporary and historical
romance. Having graduated from swiping her older sister's romance novels to
read in secret, she now crafts happily ever afters of her own. She lives in the
Pennsylvania countryside with her Canadian husband and is a proud mom to
their adorable but occasionally evil dog with a penchant for eating everything
he shouldn't. For exclusive excerpts from her books, go to
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
By Bridget Keown
For those fortunate travelers who have planned grand excursions for their summer vacations, I
wish you safe travels and fascinating adventures. Savor every breath of sea-salted air, every
long walk and each mountain sunset—because that’s what summer is for, right? But for those of
you who, like me, will be viewing summer’s majesty through an office window, or engaging in the
modern fad of the “staycation”, then I hope that your summer is full of enchanting books that
provide a setting for the imagination to roam free, and a love story to keep the heart pounding
for hours. Regardless of your plans, here are some books that are guaranteed to provide a few
hours of vacation in the midst of the routine—or maybe the perfect pick for your getaway bag!
Romances are the stuff of fantasy, allowing readers to indulge in a world where
things happen just the way they should—right? Maybe in some cases, but the
truth is that some of the most entertaining of romances start in the worst
possible circumstances. Take, for example, Cherrie Lynn’s Unleashed, which
opens with Kelsey’s husband leaving her for another woman. This revelation is
heartbreaking by itself, until she realizes that “the other woman” is none other
than the fiancée of her best friend, Evan. Though Kelsey is distraught that the
fallout of this nightmare will ruin her friendship, Evan sees this opportunity as
his golden opportunity to whisk Kelsey away on what should have been his
honeymoon, and prove to her that he is the only man she needs.
I have a soft spot for jilted-at-the-altar romances, because they force the heroine to realize just
how strong she is, and find her own happiness amidst some genuine emotional turmoil. This
story offers a wonderful spin on the trope, by presenting not one but two jilted characters who
already share a complex history. Their less-than-conventional honeymoon is a perfect escape
from painful memories and reminders of who they have been to each other, and provides the
perfect opportunity to explore all the desire that has been simmering between them for years.
There’s no doubt at all that their physical chemistry is sensational, but watching Kelsey and Evan
grow together is an emotional journey that will satisfy the most die-hard romantics.
While Evan might not have had the wedding he had planned, he at least gets the honeymoon he
always wanted.
In Gina L. Maxwell’s Rules of Entanglement, planning a destination wedding
might prove more than her hero and heroine can take. This steamy follow-up
to Maxwell’s sensational debut, Seducing Cinderella, focuses on Jackson
Maris, professional MMA fighter, who has the dubious honor to be both the
brother-of-the-bride and best friend of the groom, and Vanessa McGregor, the
maid-of-honor who believes the key to happiness lies in adhering to seven
strict rules she laid out for herself. And none of those rules allows for any
kind of relationship with a sinfully sexy, laid-back troublemaker like Jax. But
when Jackson tells her that the only way they are going to be allowed on the
resort to plan the wedding is to pretend to be the bride and groom, it isn’t
long before the warm evening breezes and the blistering heat between this
most unlikely of couples leads to a week of scandalous rule-breaking that
neither of them are likely to forget.
Like with the characters in Unleashed, the tropical paradise of this Hawaiian resort gives Vanessa
the chance to unwind and drop some of her defenses in order to savor the short time she has
with a charming—if slightly infuriating—stranger like Jackson. Maxwell makes Hawaii as real and
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
enchanting as any of the characters in her books, immersing her readers in the sensory details of
the island and its remarkable scenery. While Vanessa and Jax savor a respite from rules and
responsibilities inside their romantic bungalow, those of us toiling away in the real world can get a
brief break from it all inside this enticing story and watch as natural beauty and personal
chemistry combine to make for one explosive read.
While the sands and the sea are a wonderful short-term escape for some of our
favorite characters, for others, a beach getaway means far more. For Reese
Monroe, the heroine of Rhyannon Byrd’s sizzling new novel Take Me Under,
moving to beach house in Florida means not only leaving the wreck of her
marriage, but finding a safe haven from a stalker who was making her life in
Boston hell. But Reese is in for the surprise of her life when she realizes that
her new landlord is none other than the local sheriff, Ben Hudson, her brotherin-law’s cousin, and the most dangerously handsome man that Reese has ever
met. Despite her desire for him, Reese knows Ben’s wicked reputation and is
sure that a woman of her limited experience could never keep him interested
for long. But Reese has no idea how desperately Ben has lusted after her since
their first meeting years earlier. Now that he has her so close, there is no way
Ben is going to let this chance to live out his fantasies slip away.
This is a book that really does have it all: fierce, strong characters who aren’t afraid to push each
other, or to savor each moment they share; their heartfelt journeys, as individuals and as a
couple; a layer of suspense and mystery and, of course, enough heat to burn readers’ fingers.
Truth be told, I found the opening of this book so intense I was worried about continuing, but as
Reese and Ben both have the chance to develop and grow, the rewards of their story are
But what if the beach isn’t your cup of tea? There are plenty of other fabulous
literary adventures to be had for those intrepid explorers among us. Take, for
example, Jennifer McQuiston’s delightful debut novel, What Happens in
Scotland, which is another case of a summer holiday gone hopelessly wrong,
this time in Victorian Scotland. Lady Georgette Thorold has decided to spend
some of her summer with her cousin in the highlands, hoping to avoid any
attention from the Ton. Recently out of full mourning for her selfish lout of a
husband, Georgette wants nothing more than some peace and quiet alone to
being to enjoy her widowhood. Imagine her utter shock, then, when she
awakens with a piercing headache in a strange bed, beside a burly Scottish
stranger who calls her his wife!
Though utterly out of her depth and bewildered by the bizarre course her holiday has taken,
Georgette, like many of these intrepid heroines, comes to realize she is far stronger and far more
resourceful than she ever truly believed herself to be. The humor in this story is completely
delightful and the characters Georgette encounters are so charming and quirky and genuine that
it’s impossible not to become immersed in the world that McQuiston has created. Though the
events of the book unfold over the course of a single day, she manages to fill each scene with
insight and hope for her unlikely couple, whose incredible mistake might just
turn into a brilliant stroke of luck. I adored this romp through Scotland with
Georgette and can’t wait to read more in this series when the second book,
Summer is for Lovers, is released in September!
As much as we all adore the chance to indulge in some escapist fiction, there’s
something special about reading non-fiction travel memoirs, and share a
personal journey with a beloved author. Eloisa James’ charming Paris in Love
was one of my favorite books of last year, and is still one I recommend to
anyone with a case of wanderlust and daydreams of adventuring. Following
her mother’s death from cancer and her own battle with the same disease,
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July 2013
James resolved not only to live her own life to the fullest, but to live the life she had always
dreamed, which meant a year in Paris for her and her family. Culled from her tweets, Facebook
updates and personal memories, Paris in Love reads a bit like a journal, providing stellar
snapshots of the beauty and peculiarities of life abroad, the struggles and triumphs of
motherhood, and some utterly hilarious tales about James’ mother-in-law and Milo, the grossly
overweight family dog.
I’ve always enjoyed Eloisa James’ fiction, but I adored this book from start to finish. Her honesty
and insight is touching, and each scene is filled with her gift for language and her delight in her
subject matter. And since the book provides its material in bite-size pieces, it’s the perfect
antidote to any drab day, and an ideal source of inspiration for those looking to start their own
remarkable adventure.
Whatever your plans this summer, I wish you fair winds and following seas, and stacks of books
to feed your every desire. Happy reading!
About the Author:
Bridget was born and raised just north of Boston. She spent most of her early years as an
historic re-enactor, turning every day into a grand costume drama. After attending graduate
school in London and wandering about Europe with her garden gnome, Bridget returned home to
her beloved Red Sox and is now working on her doctorate in First World War history.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
How to be a Scottish Mistress
Adrienne Basso
She's his in every way. . .
When newly widowed Lady Fiona Libourg
flees to Scotland in need of protection,
Lord Gavin McLendon is powerless to
refuse the British beauty. Especially when
she offers herself in exchange. Now the
brooding Scottish warrior can think of
nothing else but ravishing his delectable
new mistress, even though he's dutybound
to marry another. . .
But one. . .
ISBN: 9781420129021
Publisher: Zebra
date: 7/2/2013
Genre: Historical
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million
Indie Bound
Adrienne Basso Website
Fiona is shocked when Gavin accepts her scandalous offer—and
fretful at the thought that he will discover how little she knows of
seduction. But when Gavin proves to be a skilled and achingly
sensuous teacher, Fiona doesn't want their passionate arrangement to end. Now she can't help
but wonder just what it would take to go from Scottish mistress. . .to Scottish wife.
howing respect and deference, Fiona lowered her head and sank into a graceful curtsy. “I
thank you most humbly, my lord, for receiving me.”
The earl snorted, then gave her a humorless smile. “Ye’ve given me little choice in the
matter, Lady Fiona. Let me assure ye, the McLendons are not often this lenient with those who
trespass upon our land.”
Disappointment rushed through her. She might be an uninvited guest, but there was no need to
treat her like a common criminal. Why, he hadn’t even offered her a seat, or a glass of ale or
wine to quench her thirst.
“Duncan warned me of the reception I was likely to receive. I see now that I should have trusted
his word, but I believed a noble Scottish earl would show a chivalrous hand to a lady in distress.
Especially since he had been treated as a friend when he dared to trespass upon my land.”
The earl raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Are ye scolding me, Lady Fiona?”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“I am relating the facts, my lord.”
His mouth tightened. “With a boldness that many would find insolent.”
His words gave Fiona a chill. For one horrible moment, she worried she had gone too far and he
meant to dismiss her. But then the pride that had given her the courage to take this risk flared to
life. Her chin lifted, her spine straightened.
“It would be tragic, indeed, for you to perceive an insult when none was given.”
“Aye, it would,” he mused.
Subtly wiping her damp palm on her skirt, Fiona forced herself to smile. “Friends are not easily
acquired in these uncertain times. ’Twould be tragic to turn one unjustly into an enemy.”
“Aye.” His gaze slid from the rounded neckline of her gown to her booted feet. “Is that what we
are, Lady Fiona? Friends?”
Fiona’s breath shortened. She knew the scrutiny was meant to intimidate, but there was
something intimate, almost sensual in the earl’s hooded gaze that caught her completely off
guard. “My husband counted you a friend.”
Lord Kirkland’s gaze slipped downward. “I was saddened to hear of Henry’s death. He was a
good man.”
“The finest.” Fiona blinked, refusing to get teary-eyed.
“Ye were attacked?”
“Ambushed in the middle of the night. My son and I barely escaped with our lives.” Fiona’s voice
softened. “That is why I have come. I seek justice.”
“From me?”
Fiona’s cheeks reddened. “You are my last hope.”
The earl’s surprised expression did not alter. “These are dangerous times to be forging alliances,
milady. Especially with a Scottish earl.”
“Spencer and I have been squarely placed in danger’s path ever since Henry’s death. Though he
believes otherwise, King Edward cannot live forever. His son and heir is a different sort of man.
It will be difficult for him to rule England’s nobility with the same iron fist as his father. I need to
be ready to reclaim my son’s birthright the moment an opportunity arises.”
“What do ye want from me?”
“Spencer is intelligent, passionate, and eager to learn. All he lacks is the proper training.”
The earl furrowed his brow. “Is there no one in England to foster the lad?”
“None will have him.”
Emotion rose inside Fiona, clutching at her throat. “He was wounded during the attack. His
injuries have been slow to heal.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“He’s a cripple?”
“No!” The tension in her stomach twisted. She couldn’t lie; the moment the earl saw Spencer he
would know the truth. “His right leg is not as strong as the left. But it will improve.”
“There’s those that can be taught when they are lacking,”
Duncan remarked. “Old Douglas wields a sword as good
as any man, and he has but one hand.”
“Hmmm.” The earl settled back in his chair. He didn’t
seem entirely convinced, but at least he was still listening.
“What do ye offer in return for my aid?”
Fiona’s heart leapt. “A half yield of our grain crops for
three years.”
“What else?”
“Hunting rights in our northern most woods.”
Fiona nervously licked her lips. “Twenty bolts of our finest wool. The weavers of Arundel are
known throughout the kingdom for their skill. You’ll find no finer material in all the land.”
The earl studied her for a moment. “As far as I can see, ye have neither crops, nor land, nor
cloth. I’ll grant ye ’tis rather clever offering things ye dinnae possess in exchange fer what you
want, but only a fool would agree to such a bargain.”
Fiona could feel her heart beating. “With your help, someday I will have it all again. And I shall
keep my word and give you what we agreed upon.”
His expression grew quiet, contemplative. Fiona allowed herself to hope, making the earl’s next
words all the more crushing.
“Someday is far away. Yet even if I were willing to wait, I must maintain that ye are offering
nothing to make it worth my time and effort.”
Fiona stood stunned for a moment, struggling for words. “I appeal to your honor, my lord, to
your sense of decency.”
“Sadly, ye are gravely misinformed as to my character.”
He is turning me away. Disappointment slammed into Fiona’s chest like a fist. She had expected
the negotiations would be challenging, but had been confident a satisfactory solution would be
found. But what use was compromise when the earl showed no interest at all in anything she
There had to be something he wanted, something he would prize enough to strike a bargain with
her. More often than not she had heard Henry say that every man had his price. What was the
“There must be something, my lord,” Fiona’s voice trailed off, her pride keeping her shoulders
straight, her head high.
And that’s when she saw it. A flash of passion glowing from the depths of his eyes. A gleam of
male interest, a spark of masculine admiration. Sexual desire.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
It startled her. Henry liked to tell her she was pretty and would often compliment her golden hair
or fair complexion or green eyes. And she enjoyed hearing it. But those words were never
spoken with overt desire. At first, she had been too young to realize there was a lack of physical
intimacy in her marriage. By the time she learned that her marriage was different from most, it
was no longer important.
Henry treated her with respect, showered her with kindness, favored her with devotion. One
night, after drinking too much ale, he had confessed that his lack of physical attention toward her
stemmed from always thinking of her as he first knew her. She had come to his castle as a child,
and though she had grown to womanhood beneath his roof, he forever saw her as a young girl.
Gradually, Henry’s lack of passion had woven itself into Fiona’s mind, but the spark of interest in
the earl’s eyes reminded her that she still had one weapon at her disposal, one move left to
The earl was twice a widower. Did he feel the loss of a wife as keenly as she felt the loss of a
Holding steady, Fiona forced herself to look at the earl’s
handsome face. “You are very much mistaken when you
say I have nothing to offer. There is one thing that is
mine, wholly and completely – my person. And thus, in
exchange for training my son, I offer myself to you.”
A deep, soulful hush fell over the hall, letting Fiona know
that others had heard her remarks. But it was their lord’s
reaction that mattered.
Slowly, the earl lifted his gaze to hers, his deep blue eyes
burning into her own. Fiona swallowed hard. Embarrassment washed over her, along with a
single ray of hope.
Clearly, he was not repulsed by the idea.
“’Tis a tempting offer, but I cannae marry ye, lass. I feel no great urgency to wed again, but
when the time comes and I do take my next wife, she’ll be a Scottish lady, through and through.”
“I’d expect nothing less.” Fiona hardly knew how she was able to speak so calmly. She had
known that a marriage between them was highly unlikely, yet her desperation had been so
strong, she was willing to humble herself with the outrageous suggestion.
The earl stood, his posture dismissive. Oh, no. Crestfallen, Fiona’s heart sank and her breath
quickened as her mind worked frantically, desperately searching for the words that would
miraculously change his mind.
He would not marry her. It had been a rash, desperate suggestion. But there was no time to feel
the sting of rejection. She must act.
Ignoring the voice that told her she was about to make an even bigger fool of herself, Fiona took
a bold step forward. If the price she needed to pay to secure Spencer’s future was her own
humiliation, then so be it.
“Clearly, you misheard, my lord. When I offered myself, I said naught about marriage, did I?”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
About the Author:
Critically acclaimed author, Adrienne Basso, writes historical,
holiday, vampire and contemporary romances for Kensington
Publishing. Visit her at www.adriennebasso.net and on Facebook
A double cross, an ex-mercenary,
a kids' book illustrator thrust into
The Romance Reviews
Taking dinner & romance to a
whole nother level…
Mona's friend's bespelled & has
henchmen after. Meeting her
unwanted mate? So not ready.
July 2013
The Rogue Steals A Bride
Amelia Grey
Matson Brentwood has finally met the
woman of his dreams. The lovely, redhaired Sophia Hart heats his blood like no
other lady. There's just one problem—she is
the ward of the man he's sworn to hate.
Newly arrived in London, Miss Sophia Hart
is looking for a husband-for herself and for
her spinster aunt who has decided she
wants a man. When her search lands her in
front of Matson Brentwood she wants
nothing more than to give in to his
maddening charms. But she must deny her
love for him and pay her debt to her father for costing him the
love of his life. Was their love doomed from the start, or can
Sophia and Matson find a way to be together?
ISBN: 9781402239779
Publisher: Sourcebooks
date: 7/2/2013
Genre: Historical
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble
Books a Million
Indie Bound
Amelia Grey Website
Chapter 1
The affections are like lightning: you cannot tell where they will strike til they have fallen.
Jean Baptiste Lacordaire
Matson Brentwood stopped dead in his tracks.
It was a clear and crisp spring day and the London street was busy with pedestrian, horse, and
carriage traffic, but all Matson saw was the woman of his dreams walking straight toward him.
She was tall, slim, and graceful with a regal tilt to her chin. The flounces of her pale yellow pelisse
fluttered like a delicate leaf caught on a summer wind with every step she took. From beneath
her fetching, short-brimmed straw hat, he saw ringlets of gorgeous red curls framing her
beautiful face.
Matson had always been attracted to redheads.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
He had attended more parties than he could count the six month he’d been in London and was
certain he’d never seen her before. She must have just arrived in Town for the Season.
She was flanked by a pair of older women who looked so much alike they could have been
bookends. Though they each wore a different color, their dresses and bonnets were made from
the same pattern. Matson knew at once they had to be sisters and maybe even twins, but his
gaze didn’t linger on the matrons. It was the younger lady who commanded his attention.
Matson couldn’t help but think she must be the daughter of a powerful duke or an earl to have
such severe-looking chaperones on either side. The lovely belle was at least half a head taller
than her prim escorts, and they all carried fancy ruffled and beribboned parasols over their
His pulse raced when the young lady’s attention caught his. He bowed, as was custom, though an
observant onlooker would note the restraint, as if he hadn’t spent his life bowing in London
streets. When he lifted his head, their gazes met once again and she returned his smile. A slow
throb started in his loins. There was a sensuous quality to her full lips, and an amusing twinkle in
her eyes that beckoned him.
When she was only a short distance from him, Matson heard a man yell, “Stop that thief!”
Matson had always been
attracted to redheads.
A second later a lad of about eight or nine years of
age rushed in front of the three ladies, shoving one of
them aside and almost knocking her down. The
incident slowed the boy just enough for the
shopkeeper to grab the back of his tattered coat and
stop him.
“You little bandit!” the portly merchant yelled and
almost lifted the boy off the ground by the neck of his
shirt. “I’ll teach you to steal from me.”
The young lady broke away from the two women at her side and rushed to the boy’s aid.
“Put him down,” she commanded. “That’s no way to treat a child.”
“I’ll do no such thing,” the man barked, his expression blazing with barely controlled rage. “It’s
the second time this week he’s stolen a loaf of bread from me.”
“He’s holding nothing,” she protested, her tone full of challenge.
“That’s because the little imp threw it aside when I gave chase.”
“He is probably hungry,” she answered, continuing her defense of the street urchin whose face,
hands, and clothing were smeared with grime and coal dust.
“Sophia, you must not get involved in this,” one of her chaperones said breathlessly. “This is not
our quarrel. We must go.”
So now he had a name for the lovely young lady.
“Not yet, Aunt June. I’ll not stand by and watch anyone this small be treated so violently.” She
turned to the man again. “Release him.”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Matson admired the young lady’s display of courage and determination to help the impish lad and
was impressed by the way she took the bellowing trader to task. Obviously others were, too. A
small crowd was gathering around them to watch.
“He deserves far worse,” the shopkeeper muttered without backing down on his firm stance.
“Not from you he doesn’t,” she answered quickly.
Matson wasn’t the kind of man to stand by for long and let the young lady take up for the lad all
by herself. He wasn’t very familiar with London streets but in Baltimore some shopkeepers put
out their stale bread baskets by the door each morning where street scamps could help
themselves without fear of punishment. It was the charitable thing to do and it kept most of them
from pilfering the fresh baked loaves put out
later in the day.
“I’ll pay for the bread,” Matson said, stepping
closer to the group and reaching into his coat
pocket for a coin.
The young lady gave Matson a grateful smile,
and his stomach tightened with desire. There
was something infinitely rewarding about aiding
a pretty lady and receiving her gratitude.
He was intrigued by her, and
attracted by the sparkle in
her bright green eyes.
“Such a nice thing to do for the lad,” he heard one of her chaperones murmur softly.
“Hush, Mae,” the other lady said. “This is not our concern. Sophia needs to stop this nonsense
and come with us immediately.”
“Oh, yes, of course you’re right, sister.”
Matson looked back to the shopkeeper. “Take this, and the bread will be more than paid for both
days. Now do as the lady asked and let him go.”
There was a moment of tense silence before the irate man turned the lad loose. “Yes, it’s paid for
today, yesterday, and maybe a bit more for times past,” he grumbled, grabbing the coin with
stubby fingers and squeezing it in his beefy palm. “But what will I do about tomorrow or the next
day when he comes back?”
“I will not be here to help him.” Matson peered down at the dirty-faced rascal whose big,
expressive brown eyes showed no fear. His calmness was unusual for one so young and in his
predicament. That told Matson the lad was no stranger to trouble. He was probably used to being
man-handled, and it obviously wasn’t the first time he’d been caught helping himself to food he
hadn’t paid for.
“I’d say that’s a good thing,” the merchant said. “He needs to be taught a lesson.”
The young lady bristled again. “What would you do? Thrash him? You are more than three times
his size. He is only a hungry child.”
“He is a thief,” the man growled malevolently.
“Stop this,” one of the aunts said sternly, taking hold of the Sophia’s upper arm. “I insist that we
go now. This is not any of your concern and not a place you should be.”
“Wait,” she said.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“No, Sophia, June is right. We are drawing a crowd of onlookers. We must go now.”
Sophia acted as if she hadn’t heard her companions, and didn’t make a move to back down from
the shopkeeper’s angry glare and harsh accusation.
“Where is your benevolent spirit for one so young?” she asked the man as she tried to shake off
June’s tight hold on her arm.
“I suppose he robbed me of that, too,” the merchant shot back.
Matson didn’t want to lecture anyone, but in this case, felt he had do more to settle this dispute.
The trader was obviously looking for punishment for the lad to go with the payment Matson gave
him, and Sophia was determined the child simply be set free.
Looking down at the boy’s smudged, but innocent looking face, Matson said, “You may not be so
lucky to have someone come to your aid next time. You’d best not try your hand at stealing
again. If you need a handout—just ask for it. I’m sure this man would be willing to give you a job
or two to do around his store to pay for some bread.” He looked up at the merchant, “Do you
“I’ll not be promising this scamp anything,” he muttered and stomped down the boardwalk.
Matson returned his attention to the captivating young lady named Sophia. He was intrigued by
her, and attracted by the sparkle in her bright green eyes. He was downright tantalized by the
dusky pink tint to her inviting lips. There was a faint sprinkling of tiny freckles that swept across
the bridge of her nose and fanned her cheekbones. Matson had an instant desire to kiss his way
over them. He knew her skin would be warm, smooth, and soft to his touch.
She fixed her gaze on his and Matson’s heartbeat leapt. His gaze followed the graceful curve of
her chin, drifting down to the pulse in the hollow of her throat. She wasn’t giving him smiles laced
with promises or sensuous glances, but every cell in his body responded to her. He could see
that, even though she’d boldly taken up for the lad, she was every bit a soft, feminine lady.
Matson’s body was making him quite aware of just how long it had been since a woman had truly
interested him.
About the Author:
Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida
Panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for
over twenty-five years. She has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New
Hampshire and now lives in Florida.
Amelia has won the coveted Romantic Times award for Love and Laughter,
the prestigious Maggie award for best historical and Affaire de Coeur's best
American historical award. She has been a finalist for the Golden Heart and
the Holt Medallion awards which are given by Romance Writers of America
and numerous other awards. Her books have been sold to many countries in
Europe, Russia and China.
Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Sizzling Men on Book Covers
By Susan Frances
Male model, Fabio, made a lucrative living being “The Body” most often seen on book covers of
romance novels throughout the 1990’s. Since the days of Fabio, the market for sizzling men on
book covers has spiked exponentially to the satisfaction of the female dominated readership of
romance novels.
Whether it’s historical romances, western love stories, paranormal thrillers, or time-travel
escapes, the trend to put Mr. Universe-type hunks on front covers to catch the eye of female
readers (or male readers as the case might be for the gay population) is stretching across the
spectrum of romance genres. It’s a wave that’s gained speed in the last few years.
The cover of Jennifer Jakes’ novel “Twice in a Lifetime” shows a dreamy male
meant to define the physicality of Captain Ian Douglas. This time-travel escape
describes the tale of present day Isabelle Douglas who wants to stop her
divorce from her husband Ian, but she doesn’t know how. A friend’s spell brings
her back in time where she meets Captain Ian Douglas, her present day
husband who back in the eighteenth century is a pirate on a mission to rescue
his sister. The sizzling cover replicates the sizzle that Ian Douglas ignites along
the pages.
Pamela Clare’s new novel “Untamed” has a front cover of a male model that is
the epitome of a muscle-bound highland warrior creating a visual for Morgan
MacKinnon, the warrior in mind. Torn between his loyalty to his band of brothers and the
convent-bred woman whom he falls in love with, every tense cord of the pictorial’s muscles is
mirrored in the emotional intensity of the story.
Though bare chest males seem to be the most popular image these days, as
shown on the two previously mentioned books, some authors have gone with
the equally pleasing back view like Rhonda Nelson’s “The Keeper.” The dreamy
image of the western ranger, Jackson Oak Martin, on the front cover is adorned
with rippling back muscles that induce visuals in the reader’s mind of a man
who can take care of himself and fend for his family and property. The western
setting of “The Keeper” contrasts Vonda Sinclair’s historical romance “The Wild
Highlander” which also focuses on the muscular shoulder blades of the male
form. The blond haired specimen on Sinclair’s front cover is designed to depict
the tough as steel Sir Lachlan MacGrath who hones the sobriquet “Seducer of
the Highlands” in the passages of the story.
Sizzling men may also be depicted on book covers as having the physical
attribute of stunning eyes, one of my favorite attributes in male characters to
denote passion. “The Lost” by Caridad Pineiro uses this image effectively to
portray the paranormal shape-shifter Adam Bruno who can transform his body
from a weapon of war to an impassioned lover. Besides the eyes, the lips can
also being sizzling like on the front cover of Ashley Barnard’s “Night of the Fox.”
Cast in blue light, the face of the book’s hero Jared Dunefaellan, a guardian of
the city of Lleweyan, is featured with sultry lips that permeate secrecy and
promises of sensual kisses.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but it can sure draw your attention. The trend to
put sizzling men on book jackets has exploded in the mass marketplace. Images of hottie males
might not guarantee that readers will enjoy the novel, but they’ll certainly give readers a
preconceived idea about what to expect within the body of the story. It’s a wave that’s riding
romance into the 21st century.
About the Author:
Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island, I always
enjoyed writing making several contributions to her high school literary
magazine, The Lion’s Pen. Influenced by writers of epic novels including
Colleen McCullough and James Clavell, I gravitated to creative writing.
After graduating from New York University with a BA in Liberal Arts, I
tried her hand at conventional jobs but always returned to creative
writing. Since 1998, I has been a freelance writer and have contributed
thousands of articles to various e-zines including: Yahoo Voices at
Associatedcontent.com, Suite101.com, BarnesandNoble.com,
Amazon.com, TheReadingRoom.com, Fictiondb.com, Librarything.com,
Hybrid Magazine, Books and Authors at books.wiseto.com,
Newsvine.com, and Bookdepository.com.
In 2013, I was a judge in the Orange Rose Writing Competition sponsored by the Orange County
chapter of the Romance Writers of America located in Brea, California. My latest romance novel
The King Maker has been published by Champagne Books and can be found on the publisher’s
Susan Frances Website
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Inked by An Angel
Shauna Allen
Tattoos . . .
Jed Gentry is doing just fine, thank you very
much, running his tattoo studio in Austin,
Texas. So what if people think he’s a bit on
the surly side? He’s been burned by his ex
who sticks around to torture him and he
lives with a family heartache that he’d
rather not talk about. But he’s got a thriving
business, his dream car, and good friends.
Not much to complicate things. At least, not
until she walked in . . .
ISBN: 9781619351776
Publisher: Soul Mate
date: 1/29/2013
Genre: Paranormal
Romance (Angels)
Buy Link:
Shauna Allen Website
Accountants . . .
Kyle O’Neill has had it with being the sheltered daddy’s girl at the family accounting firm and is
ready to spread her wings and fly on her own for the first time. Unfortunately, it seems she’s
about to fall flat on her face when her first and only client is—gulp—a tattoo artist! Her country
club upbringing certainly hasn’t prepared her for this place or the sizzling attraction her traitorous
body feels for the grumpy owner.
And . . . Cupid?
But there is a Divine conspiracy at work here pushing these two together. And they are hell bent
on bucking the Heavenly plan all the way. Luckily, their angel is a true believer and pulls every
trick he knows from under his halo to make this a match made in Heaven.
Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
“Tattoos, cupids, and bad boys: Shauna Allen delivers one heck of a read. Fresh, sassy,
and witty—she brings a new voice to romance that readers are gonna love!”
~ New York Times Bestselling Author, Christie Craig
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
ichael took the cramped stairs leading to the basement of the Old Tabernacle Church for
his AA meeting with his shoulders slumped, his heart saddened, and feeling absolutely
dejected. Nothing was going according to plan. And Divine plan was not something to be
messed with. He knew from experience.
Gabriel stood up once the doors were sealed with light and called the meeting to order. “All right,
everyone. Let’s get started. Is everybody here?” He looked around. “Good. So, let’s talk about our
week.” He turned kind eyes to Rafael across the circle. “Rafe. Start with you? How are you
The golden boy of the group sat up straighter in his chair and smiled. “Well, things are moving
along quite nicely, actually. My humans, Gloria and Roger . . . ”
Michael cringed. Rafael spoke like they were pets. Angels were not on Earth to keep humans as
pets. They were here on assignment from the Big Guy Himself. They may be only Archangel
namesakes on Earth, but theirs was serious business. No foolin’ around.
Rafael continued. “Well, they’ve been dating several weeks now. I’ve hardly had to intervene at
all other than to introduce them. The chemistry is quite amazing. Father does know what He’s
doing, doesn’t He?”
His brothers and sisters at what they affectionately called Angels Anonymous all nodded their
agreement. How had Michael ended up with this dud of an assignment? Jed and Kyle certainly
were not cooperating. They were worse than Henry and Catherine, Henry and Anne, Henry and,
well . . . just Henry in general. Now he was paying several lifetimes of lovematch penance so he
could finally graduate from the Cupid Squad and move up to the Messaging Brigade. What he
wouldn’t give to just once be able to say:
Hark, do not be afraid! and have a really cool message for a human from Father. But, he should
be glad he hadn’t bumbled it badly enough to have his wings clipped and be cast down as a dark
one. He’d take going back to halo polishing or wing prep, heck even Crossovers. Anything but
being cast out. That would be unbearable.
“That’s great, Rafe,” Gabe’s voice cut in. “Rafael Sr. will be getting a full report. Well done!”
Gabriel interrupted his fantasy. “What about you, Michael?”
He looked up. “Huh?”
Gabe tilted his head. “How about you? How are”—he ran his eyes over his notes—“Jedediah and
Kyle doing? Have they made any progress in their union?”
“Well, uh . . .”
Rafael snickered and Michael felt himself flush with embarrassment. Just because he was
probably going to skip Messenger and jump straight to Prophecy was no reason to get all bigheaded. Michael still had time. Kyle wasn’t married to that other guy yet, though that was a
sticky, unforeseen bump in his road. The game wasn’t lost and he hadn’t been demoted to halo
polisher just yet.
“Oh. Sure. Jed and Kyle, they’ve, uh, met.”
Gabe furrowed his perfect brows. “They’ve met?”
“Yeah. I’m giving them time to get to know each other. Letting it simmer. Marinate.” He smiled.
He liked that analogy.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“Marinate? Like, meat?”
“Does Father know about this?” Rafael demanded.
Michael shot him a wounded expression. “Stay out of this.”
“That’s enough.” Gabe spoke up, his light emanating a sudden flare of brilliance and the room
became uncomfortably quiet. “Michael, come with me.” He waited until Michael rose from his
chair and followed him out of the room to the small private lobby. He motioned for them both to
“What’s going on, Brother?” he asked, concern in his golden eyes.
Michael ran a hand over his bald head. His heart was fearful. “My humans are not cooperating.
It’s just like before and I’m terrified of having my wings clipped. I never want to become like . . .
, you know . . . .” He couldn’t bear to say the name, though they both knew of whom he spoke.
Dark ones roamed all around, but the darkest one of all kept them on a short leash and Michael
never wanted to be one of them.
“I understand. Can I ask you something, Michael?”
Sigh. “Sure.”
“Why do you think Father has had you on Love Detail for all these many, many years?”
Michael rolled his eyes. “That is a fairly silly question, Gabe. Because of how badly I screwed it up
with Henry. I royally messed up that match. Or matches. And now I’m making up for it until I get
enough right to move up the ranks.”
“And let me ask you, Michael, did you make him divorce his first wife? Or behead poor Miss
Boleyn? Or cause any of his other stupid mistakes where love was concerned?”
Michael stared.
“Well? Did you?”
“Well, no.”
“Did you forget about a little thing called free will that Father granted all of His children, Michael?”
“Uh . . .”
“Michael, you are not on our team out of some sort of punishment from Father. You are here
because you are good at what you do and we need you here. But whenever you are ready to
move on to another task, I will be happy to put in the word for you. And, Brother? Angels are
never cast out because of failed assignments or simple mistakes. Our Father is not so unmerciful
as that. We lose our light when we willfully break our Angelic Commandments and break Father’s
heart. You know this.”
He nodded, speechless and humbled. He’d allowed himself to be blinded by fear and self-doubt.
“So,” Gabe continued with a smile. “Tell me more about your couple. What can we do to get them
to cooperate with the plan?”
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
About the Author:
Shauna had the privilege of growing up an only child with two open and
loving parents who gave her the freedom to be herself and to explore her
creativity. After traveling several places around the world, they settled in
Texas when she was seven years old, where she met and eventually married
her high school sweetheart. (Yes, that still happens these days!) Now, some
18+ years later, they still live in Texas with their three beautiful children and
a few furry creatures to boot.
Shauna graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in nursing and works
full-time bringing babies into the world. In her spare time, between work,
chores, and family time, she slips into the worlds of her own making—her
precious creative outlet. This is the place where she feels truly free and she is
profoundly grateful for this. She understands that the joy found in writing is a God-given gift. If
you’re a writer, you understand. Music also holds a very special place in her writing and heart. It
is a large part of her life, from her worship experience all the way through to her writing journey.
When she’s not writing, Shauna loves reading, movies, reality dance shows, vacations to the
beach, dates with the hubby, and hanging out with the kiddos. (Seriously. Even teenagers!)
Shauna would love for you to visit her at her website and blog at: http://www.shaunaallen.com/
Or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/shauna.allen.12
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
In Like a Lion
Karin Shah
Research scientist Dr. Anjali Mehta lost her
beloved family in an earthquake. Only her
work cuts through the paralyzing grief, but
when she finds her new research subject,
reputed mass murderer Jake Finn,
maddeningly uncooperative and inexplicably
sexy she's tempted to run away. How can
she burn to touch a man behind bars—a
What she doesn't know is that Jake is a
chimera, a shapeshifter who can change into
a lion or a dragon with all the strengths of
both even in human form, who believes his ability to shape shift is
nothing but a terrifying hallucination and his overpowering
attraction to his new doctor proof positive he’s finally gone over
the edge.
ISBN: 9781619351677
Publisher: Soul Mate
date: 12/18/2012
Genre: Paranormal
Romance (Shapeshifters)
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Karin Shah Website
And the employer she trusts has an agenda all his own. If she can't believe the impossible,
neither she nor Jake may make it out alive.
"I've not read a book that has chimeras in it as shapeshifters before...but this is
definitely a series I'd turn to time and time again. It reminded me a little of Christine
Feehan's Carpathian series...but oh so much better!..."
~ Home Away from Home Dominique Goodall
n the center of a large room, a shirtless man moved with fluid grace on exercise mats.
Karate? Or Tae Kwon Do? That explained the shout. Anjali shrugged.
Before she could slip away, the man turned and came closer. She ducked to the side so he
couldn’t catch her watching.
Her breath caught as she saw his lean face.
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July 2013
She swallowed, pulse leaping. God, he was gorgeous. Staring much, Anjali? she admonished
herself, scraping together the remnants of logic blown away by the sight of him.
This was just a man, his face, just a pleasing arrangement of features.
Papers on the appeal of symmetry to the human mind had been mandatory reading in some of
her classes.
His movements took him deeper into the room and she inched closer again, her long exhale
fogging the window in front of her. She didn’t need calipers to know when God had handed out
facial symmetry, this man had pushed to the front of the line.
Odd shadows lent the suggestion of a tiger’s stripes to the man’s elegant cheekbones and clean
jaw. She glanced at the ceiling and noticed metal baskets caging the fluorescent light fixtures,
throwing voids into the harsh glare.
Her attention zeroed back to the man.
His hair—raven black with the sheen of a crow’s feather—hung past his chin and fell forward,
masking his eyes. She caught herself wishing he would raise his head so she could see them. Her
gaze drifted downward, following the delicious curve of his shoulder.
His large body was a work of art, each muscle defined and chiseled, as if Michelangelo had carved
him from a piece of granite. The impish light played more tricks, lending his golden skin the
sheen of satin as he defended against the attacks of invisible adversaries.
Her mouth dry, she watched him flow through the movement, muscles rippling beneath that
flawless skin. Who was he? A guard?
Given his size and superior musculature, if he was a doctor, he was nothing like the doctors and
researchers she’d worked with in the past.
Goose flesh pimpled the back of her arms. There was just something about a man that big that
called to her most basic instincts.
A disparaging laugh huffed from her chest. She’d been living like a nun for years and now she
was drooling over a man so out of her league he might as well have been a movie star.
What sounded like a voice—short and harsh, but indistinct—reverberated through the thick,
metal-reinforced glass. The man halted mid-move and glared over his powerful shoulder.
For the first time, Anjali noticed there were other people in the room; uniformed men with sleek,
ugly rifles, not only drawn, but leveled at the man as if prepared to shoot him at the slightest
She gasped as an awful realization washed over her. This man—the first man to draw her interest
since her loss—was not a guard or a doctor.
He was Jake Finn, her subject, and a stone-cold killer.
About the Author:
From childhood, Karin Shah wrote herself into her favorite TV shows before falling asleep every
night. But, despite graduating with a degree in English as a Writing Art from SUNY Oswego, Karin
had no plans to write as a career. She got her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
State University at Buffalo and worked as a School Librarian in a suburb of Rochester, NY, for five
years, before discovering writing was where her heart lay.
Karin lives with her amazing husband Nikhil, brilliant children Natalie and Roman, a mischievous
basenji, and an exuberant vizsla, in Westerville, Ohio. She belongs to RWA, Central Ohio Fiction
Writers, the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal special interest chapter of the RWA, and the
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Mystic Ink
Casey Wyatt
Welcome to Mystic, Connecticut, where a
Satyr owns the local pawn shop, a Minotaur
serves the tastiest pizza in town, and the
nearest gate to the Underworld resides in
the alley outside a tattoo parlor.
Nix–Sea Nymph, talented artist and
proprietor of Mystic Ink–just wants to run
her tattoo shop in peace and quiet. Peace
and quiet, however, are the least of her
problems. Mortal corpses keep springing up
in her alley like daisies. Hades is angry that
the mortals’ souls are missing. And to top it
all off, the human authorities suspect Nix of foul play.
ISBN: 9781619350724
Publisher: Soul Mate
date: 1/25/2012
Genre: Paranormal
Romance (Gods)
Buy Links:
Casey Wyatt Website
Before long, the supernatural police force takes an interest. They dispatch Agent Calder Quinne to
investigate. His assignment is simple: determine Nix’s guilt or innocence by observing her daily
routine. Instead, he’s faced with an uncooperative Nymph who resents his presence and evades
him at every opportunity.
Nix finds Cal far too attractive and a challenge to her self-imposed ban on relationships. She
wants him out of her life as soon as possible. When Cal’s soul is stolen next and Nix wakes up
missing memories of the evening’s events, even she starts to wonder if she’s guilty. Now, she has
only two weeks to locate Cal’s missing soul, or he’ll be doomed to spend eternity as a Shade.
or the past two weeks, Cal had tried his best not to crowd Nix. He knew she resented his
presence, but it couldn’t be helped. Nereus was right to be concerned—a Destroyer’s power
was vast and hard to contain. When one of Nix’s sisters had lost control, it had sent every
member of The Delian League High Council, at least the ones with two brain cells to rub together,
into a justified panic. Properly armed, a Destroyer could be a God killer.
“Don’t you have anything better to do besides watch dog me?” Nix stepped in from the alley. The
heavy door slammed behind her with a metallic clang. A perfect echo of her grouchy attitude.
“I can’t complain. There are worse jobs.” Cal folded his arms and leaned against the kitchenette
counter. The coffee pot was gurgling and pumping out its fragrant brew. Normally, Mary Swain,
the receptionist made the coffee, but she hadn’t arrived yet and Cal needed something to do.
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July 2013
“I don’t need you hanging around. I’m fine. It’s been over two weeks since I gave up the
Destroyer’s Mantle.” Nix gave him her back and rummaged through a box marked “sterile pads.”
When she bent down, her blue T-shirt rode up her back, giving him an enjoyable glimpse of her
tan flesh and nicely curved ass. His fingers twitched at the memories: the feel of her soft curves,
the taste of her skin.
Memories she no longer retained, he reminded himself. Touching her now would earn him a slap.
Or with Nix’s training, probable broken bones. Not that Cal would grope Nix without invitation. He
had manners and was a gentleman. Gods or Demigods who raped unwilling mortals and Nymphs
deserved to be punished.
“I think if I was going to go nuts, I would have done it by now.” She turned and tossed the box
onto the counter, then swept her shoulder length hair off her neck and pinned it up with wooden
sticks. Cal had seen Nix do this a dozen times already, but was always fascinated by the
seemingly magical process that allowed two chopsticks to hold her hair in place.
“I know it’s all hush-hush about which sister went nuts. But I’m different from the others.” She
dropped another container, labeled “Viricide,” onto the first box, where it balanced haphazardly.
Cal reached out to steady the second, larger box before it crashed to the ground.
Gods, she was adorable when she was irate. Cal had known it would be hard to see Nix again but
wanted the assignment anyway. In fact, if he was being honest with himself, he had maneuvered
his way into getting it. A part of him hoped she would remember their earlier time together, even
in some small way. But after two weeks, she still treated him like a total stranger.
After war camp ended, he and Nix frequently crossed paths at Delian League gatherings. True to
form, she was the only Nereid who questioned her orders and asked pertinent questions.
Unfortunately, given the nature of her duty, she never remembered any of those times.
When a Destroyer pulled on the Mantle, she lost her sense of self. After the proscribed term of
duty ended, Nereus erased the Destroyer’s on the job memories to ensure her sanity. And it was
a potent security measure. If one of his daughters was kidnapped, she couldn’t disclose any topsecret information.
“I’m sure they have my sister locked down in the Greek God’s version of the loony bin. I don’t
have any of the signs. See?” Nix crossed her pale, blue eyes and made a goofy face.
“You shouldn’t joke about such things. Talus died when your sister lost control,” Cal said,
surprised to hear the bitterness in his voice. Granted, it had only been a few months since the
tragedy, but after centuries, it galled Cal that he still had to work to control his emotions. The
death of his best friend and partner crushed him. Cal often wondered why he had been spared.
Their mission in Central America—to stop a rogue Troll terrorizing the local populace—had gone
horribly wrong when their Destroyer lost control in a crowded marketplace. Talus had put himself
between the Destroyer and a group of mortal children. Cal had been steering a family to safety
when the Destroyer knocked Cal aside, then plunged her hand into Talus’ chest. Even an
immortal can’t live long without a heart.
His hands heated. Flames attempted to burst through his palms as his emotions overrode his selfcontrol. A Son of Ares, he could harness fire and bend it to his will. He took a deep breath, stilling
the flames before they escaped. A light touch on his shoulder brought him back to the present.
“I’m sorry for your loss. I didn’t know.” Nix’s sentiment seemed genuine and for a moment her
defiant eat shit and die attitude toward him lessened. “All I’m trying to say is . . . with her, it
happened while she was wearing the Mantle.”
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July 2013
“Your father is not taking any chances. The policy stands for good reason. If you would like a new
agent assigned, I’m sure your father would accommodate you. I hear Nate Adonis is free.”
It was a low blow, using her ex-boyfriend, but he really wanted to stay with her. He had to give
Nix credit. She did a good job of not reacting to the name of her former lover. Adonis was a jerk
who had publicly divulged the details of their brief love affair. Details Cal could have lived without
knowing. The God community’s relative smallness meant that the gossip traveled quickly;
whether it was true or not, didn’t matter. He knew his own relationship disaster, with a princess
in the Amazon court, was still fodder for the rumor mill.
“I don’t have a problem with you personally.” Nix handed him a carton marked ‘black ink’. “If
you’re going to hang around, you can at least be useful.” Nix left him standing there, box in hand.
He breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe he had a chance with her. Maybe she would remember him
and their shared past.
He shook his head. He was a fool. Reclamation was always permanent. If he wanted Nix, he
would have to win her heart, all over again.
The front door chimes tinkled. Then the musky scent of Satyr hit his nose.
“What the hell do you want?” He heard Nix say, anger clear in her tone.
Shit! Not good. Cal arrived in time to see her palming a watermelon-sized ball of water, ready to
douse the Satyr standing in the shop.
About the Author:
Casey Wyatt has no personal knowledge of the paranormal, but she
hopes someday that may change. If there are ancient Gods, elves or
satyrs living nearby, they’re more than welcome to visit. Bring pizza
and chocolate please!
Casey’s paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels have won or
placed in numerous RWA contests. When not writing, Casey enjoys
time with her family, loves to read, and enjoys knitting and crocheting.
She lives in a bustling Connecticut town with her husband, two sons,
and an assortment of pets (none of which are shape-shifters).
Visit Casey on the web: www.caseywyatt.com or at http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/ .
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
By Rue Allyn
The spark which lit the authorial flames that became the Wildfire Love series began (as most of
my story concepts begin) with the question What If.
What if a clerk made a mistake in a will that was supposed to require the heroine to marry and
have a child in order to inherit? Good question but not great, so I added complicating factors.
What if there were three sisters instead of one? What if the sisters only had two years to fulfill the
requirements of the will? What if the mistake the clerk made was to omit the requirement for
marriage while keeping the requirement for a child? Yes, that situation was complex enough.
Unfortunately the likelihood was small that a clerical error in a will would remain uncorrected
before the will was signed. The concept was improbable but not impossible, and given the right
circumstances an uncorrected error could be plausible. My job as author was to create the
plausible from the improbable. If I succeeded, I would have a series. While I worked on that
detail, I began to toy with character sketches for my three heroines, the men they would meet
and fall in love with, time period, settings, and at least one major crisis per book. Although not
necessarily the traditional black moment, the major crisis would be the pivot point in the
relationship. The crisis would mark the point at which both characters on some level (internal or
external) realize they were in love. The writing process—unlike reading—is not linear, so I worked
on all of these in combination. However, for ease of explanation, I’ll start with characters.
I already had the spark that the series had three sisters, so each must not
only be heroic and admirable but also unique in a way that readers could
identify with and like. From that spark emerged Edith—the eldest, bold,
nurturer who will risk everything to protect her sisters. Then came Kiera—free
spirited middle child, a beauty with an artist’s soul whose loyalty to friends
will put her life in danger. Last, but definitely not least came Mae—youngest,
shy, retiring, generous to a fault, and used to sheltering in the shadows of
her more outgoing sisters. Mae will be forced to emerge from her shell to
prevent disaster from overtaking them all.
Each sister would meet her soul mate. That small ember led me to
entrepreneur Dutch Trahern—driven to overcome a tortured childhood and
gain the respectability he longed for. Dutch mistakes Edith for a prostitute (the kind of deceptive
woman he hates) but saves her from danger because he is too noble not to rescue her. Then
champion of justice, Marshal Evrett Quinn pursues Kiera, first because she’s wanted for murder
and horse stealing, but eventually because he can’t live without her. Attorney James Collins,
executor of the will containing the infamous clerical error, decides that quiet Mae will make the
perfect wife, once his executor’s duties are done. However, James (and Mae herself) discovers
that she isn’t as shy and quiet as she seemed to be. By the end of the story, he no longer thinks
of Mae as a perfect wife but as his perfect match.
The embers of character compelled me to seek just the right period and setting for these stories.
A marry to inherit story could work in a modern setting but the trope is more compelling and
more believable in periods when women’s rights are more restricted. The type of clerical error I
envisioned would hold less weight in medieval and ancient times than in the 19 th century when
the written word was more rigidly interpreted. This left me with two periods favored by romance
readers; the British Regency and the taming of the American West. In this choice I was compelled
to bow to the principle of write what you know. I do not know the Regency period well enough to
satisfy the very exacting readers of that historical romance sub-genre. I knew more about the
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July 2013
American West, particularly the years (1868 to 1872) surrounding the completion of the transcontinental railway. My choice was made, and the hearth created to contain my sparks of
But where in the US would these stories be set? The sisters lived in Boston which I chose because
it perfectly suited their puritanical grandfather (also my husband’s family comes from that area
and I could get first hand information from my mother-in-law). I could not imagine, however, all
three stories taking place in the supposedly staid Boston of 1870. In fact, since Kiera had run
away from an arranged marriage in 1868 (the kindling was beginning to smoke), the natural
beginning for One Moment’s Pleasure was for Edith to go in search of her sibling. Where would
her search start—as far as possible from Boston and still remain in the US—San Francisco of
course. I love San Francisco, so researching the city was a true pleasure. One of my discoveries
was that until the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was prone to frequent fires because very few
of the buildings were made of brick and no organized fire-fighting methods were established. Also
fire-fighting equipment and fire science were in their infancy. A city wide fire would be the perfect
major crisis.
I still needed inspiration for the setting of One Night’s Desire, Kiera’s story.
That came to me during a trip to Yellowstone National Park. At the park, I
learned about the earliest area photographs and surveys, which took place in
1870 before the area was designated as a park. I discovered the history of
the area settlers and the Native American nations which traditionally lived
around Yellowstone. I learned that fire was an ecological necessity in the
parklands. I read extensively about the fires of 1988 in which more than one
third of the park burned. The Wyoming wilderness proved the ideal place for
Kiera to try to disappear. In Yellowstone I found not only sparks for the
setting of One Night’s Desire but also inspiration for the major crisis of that
book, a wildfire.
One last setting, Boston, called to me. Mae’s character wouldn’t allow her to travel far physically.
Most of her journey would be a voyage of character change. But was Boston exciting enough in
1870? A little research (and a few questions to my mother-in-law) proved that Boston was a
literal hot bed of activity and excitement in my chosen time period. Women’s suffrage, labor
rights, industry growth, financial expansion, rapid infrastructure change, political skullduggery, I
had almost too many options from which to choose my major crisis in this setting. When I read
about the tragic fires in the cloth mills and the great Boston fire of 1872, I knew I’d found the
setting for One Day’s Loving. A cloth mill would be part of the inheritance that must be
managed during the two year term of the will. Remaining in Boston, Mae would involve herself in
the mill management, much to the disgruntlement and unhappiness of industry Barons and
society Brhamins who thought her too forward. At some point either she or her soul mate or both
would be caught in a fire at the cloth mill.
All of the major elements were in place— character sketches, time period, settings, and major
crises— forming the fuel, oxygen, and heat that would feed my creative fire. I wrote my books,
submitted the series, and had it accepted for publication by Crimson Romance Publishing. Then
the managing editor asked me, “what do you want to call the series?” Until that moment, I had
not thought of a name for the group of books. I worried over the question before the obvious
answer flared to life. Fire! Fire is an ancient metaphor for love because both love and fire are
transformative. However I couldn’t label the stories The Fire Series. That label would be
misleading and incomplete. So I decided on not just fire, but Wildfire Love. Those fires that
mark the major crisis of each book became the means of marking the entire series. Those small
sparks of inspiration lit the wildfire of my imagination as I hope these books will light yours.
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July 2013
Crimson Romance Publishing released One Moment’s Pleasure ~ Wildfire Love # 1 in March
2013. Book # 2, One Night’s Desire is due for release on July 15, 2013, and Book # 3, One
Day’s Loving is currently in production. Copies of One Moment’s Pleasure and Rue Allyn’s other
books may be purchased at this link http://www.amazon.com/author/Rue-Allyn.
About the Author:
Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever
after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years
and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more
about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com
Undercover agent + free-spirited
heiress vs. dangerous drug cartel
= madcap adventure
The Romance Reviews
London Heiress abducted by Lord
Ashlund, read the headlines. Yet
no one tried to save her.
When the gods begin to play,
mortals tremble...
July 2013
Byzantine Gold
Chris Karlsen
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era
carrying an unusual cargo of gold has been
found off the coast of Northern Cyprus.
News of the valuable cache has attracted
the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan
to attack the recovery team’s campsite and
steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the
sale of the relics will buy them additional
Charlotte Dashiell, an American
archaeologist, and her lover, Atakan
Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are
scheduled to be part of the recovery team that brings up the
artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught
in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer
bent on revenge. Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim
history. As a result, Tischenko is a man who will stop at nothing
to achieve his goal—seeing them both dead.
ISBN: 9781481980722
Publisher: Books to Go
date: 12/31/2012
Genre: Romantic
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble
Chris Karlsen Website
harlotte’s worries regarding telling Atakan the truth and the negative dive with Nassor
pressed on her mind. Tired to the bone, she headed for the women’s dorm to drop her
backpack. From there, she couldn’t wait to shower. Maybe standing under the hot water
would clear her head and she’d know how to approach Atakan.
She was almost at the dorm when the cook’s truck came to a quick stop next to her. Atakan was
behind the wheel. He leaned across the cab of the truck and flung open the passenger door.
“Get in.”
“Now? I wanted to take a shower. How about I meet you in twenty minutes?”
“Get in,” he said, flatly.
Charlotte tossed her backpack in the truck bed and climbed into the passenger seat. He pulled
away before she had the door completely closed.
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July 2013
“Where are we going?” she asked, shutting the door.
Atakan didn’t answer as he sped out of camp, spraying dirt and stones behind them.
“What’s going on? Why are you in such a hurry?”
He stared straight ahead, silent.
Tight-jawed, he continued down the side road that paralleled the beach, ramming the stick shift
into place as he went through the gears and ignoring her questions. She’d never seen him this
tense, not with her at least. A bad feeling crept over her. She had a sick sense his mood involved
her plan to leave.
They’d gone a kilometer from the camp when he came to a stop. He hopped out, slammed the
driver’s door shut and came to her side.
Opening her door, he said, “Get out.”
She did.
“Atakan,” Charlotte started to ask the same questions again, but he was already turned and
walking toward the sea.
She followed. He finally stopped near the
water’s edge with his back to the surf and
faced her. She stopped a couple of yards away.
“When were you going to tell me?”
She knew exactly what he was asking about.
Who told him? It wasn’t Nick. He’d honor the
twenty-four hour rule.
“If you go, you cannot return.
You’re either in my life or out of
my life. There’s no in between.”
“Who told you?”
“That’s not an answer.” He stood still as a statue, arms crossed, feet apart.
She hesitated, trying to choose her words so he’d understand and not be hurt. She gazed out at
the incoming tide. The blue-green waves, effervescent with bubbles, rushed toward shore in rapid
succession. White foam droplets filled the air as they crested, framing him like a new, angry
version of Poseidon.
“Answer me.”
“You weren’t going to tell me until today, although you’ve been planning to leave me for awhile.”
“Not awhile.”
“Long enough to send job inquiries to several museums.”
So that was how he knew. One of the museums contacted MIAR and they must’ve sent the
questionnaire to Refik and he told Atakan. She hadn’t considered the possibility. She’d thought
any contact from the museums would be handled by MIAR’s headquarters.
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July 2013
“I’m so sorry you had to find out this way. I intended to tell you if it looked like I’d definitely
leave. If none of the museums showed interest, then you never had to know what I’d done.”
“And you believe that is acceptable?”
It killed her to see the look of disgust on his face with the question. “Yes...” she said low.
“Because I’m bad luck for you—everyone can see it, even your--, it’s obvious. There’s something
about me, and God knows, I don’t know what, but I’m like a magnet for Tischenko.”
She never cried and she wouldn’t cry now, but she was close. “I can’t bear to see you hurt again,
or worse. There are people that bad luck follows, even Iskender thinks so.”
Atakan inhaled deeply and let out a slow breath. Uncrossing his arms, he closed the short
distance to where she stood.
“It’s not forever,” she offered, “I’ll return.”
He shook his head. “If you go, you cannot return. You’re either in my life or out of my life. There’s
no in between.”
About the Author:
Chris is a retired police detective. She spent twenty-five years in the law
enforcement with two different agencies.
The daughter of a history professor and a voracious reader, she grew up
with a love for history and books.
She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and
Northern Africa satisfying her passion for seeing the places she read
A Chicago native, Chris has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and now resides
with her husband, and five rescue dogs in the Pacific Northwest.
The Romance Reviews
One Moment’s Pleasure
Rue Allyn
One Moment’s Pleasure will become a
lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith
Alden, embarks on a search for her missing
sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman
looking for an interlude with an anonymous
male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello
where her sister was last seen. She escapes
the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t
escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s
ISBN: 9781440565441
Publisher: Crimson
Romance Publishing
date: 3/31/2013
Genre: Western
Historical Romance
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble
Born and raised in the brothels of the
California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked
for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and
Rue Allyn Website
worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in
the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard
won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.
e saw it coming, and if he'd believed she'd follow through, he might have stopped her.
"How dare you question my virginity! You don't even know me. I, sir, am no whore!"
He put his hand to his stinging cheek and checked to make certain he could still move his jaw.
The slap re-lit his simmering temper, and he advanced on her, retribution his primary goal. She
cradled the hand she used to hit him against her waist, using the other to fight a losing battle
with her décolletage as step for step she backed away.
The raw panic on her face cooled his ire a bit.
The sinking dress dragged the floor. She caught a heel in the hem, pulling the dress half off her
He put out his hands to keep her from falling.
The Romance Reviews
"No!" She raised her arms as if to protect her face from his fists, giving up all hold on the
recalcitrant bodice.
He let his hands drop and closed his eyes to get a mental grip. Finally he got it. He understood
what the woman had been saying all along. She wasn't a whore. No whore behaved like this
woman-well except for dropping her clothes. Whores did that all the time but not when running
away from a client. Whores ran toward clients not away, and drugged up or not they didn't act in
ways guaranteed to make a client angry.
He opened his eyes.
"I'm not gonna hurt . . ." His jaw opened and shut. He couldn't pull his eyes
from her naked form. "For petesakes put your clothes back on."
He bent, tugging at the cloth around her feet.
"No. Don't do that." She batted at his arms and twisted downward, trying to
rescue the dress.
"Stop fighting me," he growled. "You'll tear it."
She succeeded in getting a grip on the dress but cracked her head against
his. She staggered into him.
"Ow." He jerked upward, the dress still in his hands.
"Noo!" Already off balance, her tangled feet slid out from under her along with the cloth. Then her
head hit the floor.
For the third time in almost as many days, Dutch had a female at his feet. He stared at the
woman sprawled before him. She was beautiful. Naked and beautiful and not moving. How had he
gotten into this situation, and who would believe it if he told them? "Get up. Virgin or not, I'm not
fool enough to get down there with you."
She didn't twitch.
About the Author:
Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever
after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years
and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more
about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
How were Crimes Solved and Punished
in Ancient China?
By Jeannie Lin
One of the beauties about writing stories set in ancient China is that the Chinese invented paper
in 105 AD. Which meant by the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), a large amount of
information was recorded that still survives to this day.
Whenever I’m stuck for ideas, I just jump back into historical research until something catches
my fancy, whether it be a famous poem, an archaeological find or some intriguing bit of trivia.
During my last research binge, I started reading about judicial cases from ancient China and
came across fascinating accounts of forensic investigations, crafty criminals and clever
The record of famous ancient Chinese cases read more like Boccaccio’s Decameron or Arabian
Nights than a dry historical account; each tale providing, not only insight into the justice system,
but also a look into what life was like during those times. Whereas many of the other historical
records of the Tang Dynasty I’d come across focused on the upper classes: royalty, nobility and
the scholar-gentry, the judicial records brought some light into the life of merchants, peasants,
pawn shop owners and farmers.
And the level of procedural detail was also amazing. As early as
the 2nd century B.C., the coroner was an official position tasked
with investigating suspicious deaths. There were documents from
that period instructing investigators on body decomposition rate
and how to detect fractures, bruises and other wounds in a
corpse. Magistrates also had formal training and were taught to
read the “five expressions” to determine whether a person was
lying, much like detectives today learn how to read facial signs.
There was a famous ancient case where a widow claimed that her
husband had died when their home burned to the ground. The
investigating magistrate noted that the corpse didn’t have ashes
in his mouth. Suspicious, he used two pigs to try to recreate the
incident. One pig was already slaughtered while one pig was kept
alive in a hut that was then set on fire. The re-enactment showed
that the pig that was alive when the fire started had ashes in his
mouth as he inhaled the smoke from the fire. The pig that was
already slaughtered had no ashes in his mouth. The widow was
thus convicted of murdering her husband and setting the fire as a cover-up. (Condolences to the
pig who was sacrificed for the sake of justice.)
As I read more and more of these cases, the picture that emerged wasn’t one of confession by
torture or medieval justice. The ancient Chinese were very concerned with administering the law
and meticulous about the magistrates and clerks who were tasked with overseeing the law.
The Tang Code, developed in the Tang Dynasty, became the basis for other dynastic codes for
centuries afterward and also heavily influenced the legal system of then emerging powers such as
Korea and Japan.
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July 2013
The Tang Code as a detailed system listing crimes and punishment, which applied to the lowliest
peasant as well as high-ranking officials. Did you know that if a person did not immediately report
a crime, they could be sentenced to 80 blows with a rod? And then the punishment was escalated
for each day they failed to report. A magistrate similarly was required to take immediate action
within a day of being notified of a crime, otherwise he could be subjected to a year of penal
servitude. That wrongfully accusing someone could result in death? Or that the death penalty was
abolished during certain periods of the Tang Dynasty except for by the Emperor’s decree?
What about the fact that there was no official police force in the Tang Dynasty? In larger cities,
the military garrisons would sometimes act as a police force. Thief-catchers were similar to
mercenaries or bounty hunters and would be hired to hunt down criminals. Magistrate offices did
employ constables to do their dirty work, but they were often thought of as low-ranking laborers
that had to be kept in line themselves.
This peek into the world of law and order in the ancient China and the Tang Dynasty was so
mesmerizing that it yielded two new story ideas.
The first was a tale revolved around the son of a disgraced magistrate who had started studying
to become a magistrate himself before becoming a thief-catcher, a job that was considered
unsavory and almost as corrupt as the criminals he captured.
I came across a famous anecdote about an official’s son in Fujian who wrote for his exams that:
“I do not want to be a high-ranking official.” I knew immediately that this would be my next hero;
the famous Thief-catcher Han who was intelligent and dedicated to justice, but had for a long
time harbored doubts about the very system he supported.
And who would be his match but a young woman who operated outside the bounds of the law?
Entertainers and dancers who roamed from town to town were considered fringe elements of
society. Thief-catcher Han would be paired up with sword dancer Li Feng who is an outlaw and
rebel who follows her own code of right and wrong that’s different from the one written down in
code books.
Their story and the outlaw world of the later
Tang Dynasty became the basis of The Sword
Dancer (June 1, 2013).
But I wasn’t finished with these ancient records,
or rather, they weren’t finished with me. Reading
about the interesting occurrences of an area
known as the North Hamlet, or the Pingkang li,
spurred a second series premise. The Pingkang li
was the famous entertainment or so-called
pleasure quarter of the Tang Dynasty.
Intriguingly, there were several unsolved
mysteries that occurred there.
Since it was a place where high-ranking officials
mingled with beautiful courtesans, I started envisioning a colorful world that worshipped beauty
and literacy on the surface, but was full of all sorts of secrets underneath. The mysteries of the
Pingkang li will be first introduced in The Lotus Palace (August 27, 2013) a historical romance that
pairs Bai Huang, failed scholar and playboy, with clever maidservant Yue-ying to solve a series of
murders in the imperial capital of Changan.
Delving into law and order in ancient China has certainly added new layers of depth and color to
the Tang Dynasty for me. I hope that readers will be transported to a different time and find this
world as entertaining and addictive as I have.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
About the Author:
Jeannie Lin started writing in 2005 while she was teaching high school.
After a long journey through rejections and contests and revisions, her
manuscript, Butterfly Swords, won the 2009 Golden Heart® award for
historical romance. Her first two books have received starred reviews in
Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and her second novel, The Dragon
and the Pearl, was listed as one of Library Journal’s Best Romances of
2011. Check the Books section for information on individual titles and
release dates.
Her stories are inspired by her love of adventure, history, and fantasy in
both western and Asian traditions. From an early age she was fascinated
by legends of King Arthur and the fantasy of Lord of the Rings as well as
the Chinese wuxia (martial arts) fiction. As a result, she writes heroic characters in epic situations
while interweaving a strong romance to make larger than life characters human. For more on
wuxia and the historical background to her books, see the extras section. Her website is at:
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Legend Beyond the Stars
S.E. Gilchrist
Seeking redemption from a mission gone
terribly wrong, Captain Alana Knight
volunteers to aid a dangerous operation
to transport colonists between Earth and
alien traders. But on board the spaceship,
she learns of a galactic war raging for
power. A power that can be transformed
into a terrible weapon.
When the colonists are betrayed and sold,
Alana's mission is re-defined. Nothing will
stop her from keeping those in her care
safe and finding a passage home. But her
new captor is nothing like she expects . . .
Commander Tarak El Rajan is human, male and equally
determined to retain his payload. With his race on the brink of
extinction he is under strict orders to transport all females to
the planet Isla for research purposes.
ISBN: 9780857990167
Publisher: Harlequin
Enterprises Pty Ltd,
date: 1/10/2013
Genre: Sci Fi / Futuristic
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Barnes and Noble
S.E. Gilchrist Website
In a world of uncertainty, where the wrong decision could mean the death of an entire race, the
last thing either of these two soldiers expects or needs is to fall in love.
ad mistake! The thought streaked through Alana’s brain with the velocity of a bullet. She
had just innocently strolled into his sleeping quarters. Her heart slammed against her rib
cage. She whirled around but the alien leader blocked the exit. He had his head to one side
as he considered her.
She swallowed over a throat as parched as the Sahara Desert. Attempted to moisten her lips with
the tip of her tongue, aware the alien watched her every move. She saw him tense, clench his
hands into fists at his side, roll his shoulders as if to relieve some inner burden. He strode past
her to the far side of the room. Turned and faced her, waiting for her to react.
She knew it was hopeless but she had to try. Alana flew to the entrance, pounded on the metal to
no avail. She dithered in front of the control panel, spun round with a frustrated snarl.
A low irritated growl escaped him. “Still thinking of a way to escape?”
“Of course. It is a soldier’s duty to escape the enemy.” She sensed the intentness of his gaze.
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July 2013
“So you are a soldier.” He sounded surprised and she scowled in response. “What is it you do as a
Alana shrugged. “The usual stuff. As a soldier in the United
Defence Force I have the right to bear arms and fight for my
“A female warrior! You are very small.”
“Actually I’m of average height where I come from. Not everyone
is some overgrown life form!”
“You still are small. What is it you do in this ...United Defence
What could it hurt to tell him? “I’m a training officer. As a pilot I also perform tests on new
equipment. Mainly shuttles to our space station and our moon.”
“Mmmm. So you do not fight?”
Alana gnawed her lower lip. She would not remember! She admitted with obvious reluctance,
aware of his intense interest, “Not at the moment.”
“Have you fought in any battles?”
Instantly, unwanted memories flashed through her mind. A brief echo of screams and the screech
of rending metal surged in their wake. For a second she thought she smelt the sweet cloying
scent of fresh blood. Her eyelashes flickered as she battled her roiling stomach. She rubbed her
hand down her pant leg, looked everywhere but at the alien in front of her. Latent energy
vibrated in the air surrounding him.
“Aaaah. Do not fear little slave, there will be no more war for you.”
Her chin jerked up with pride. “I am not a slave nor am I afraid.”
“You should be.”
A shudder rippled along her spine. What the hell did it mean by that comment?
“Are there no male warriors on your planet? Is this why the females are forced to fight?”
“No one forced me. I chose to be a soldier. In my world, both sexes can join the forces.”
He snorted. “In my world it is a male Darkon’s duty to be a warrior and protect females. Females
remain out of danger at all times. They rarely leave our home planets. They are useful as
providers of offspring. Those few who do travel beyond our home planets are diplomats of peace.”
‘Providers of offspring!’
Outrage on behalf of those unknown females had her blood surging. Thankfully, her irritation
overrode her guilt ridden memories. She saw red. “In my world both sexes are equal. Women
vote, are leaders of entire countries, run corporations; we do everything men do. And sometimes
we do it better!”
Strewth, how Neanderthal are these people?
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July 2013
Alana was certain she heard amusement in his cool detached voice. She clenched her jaw so
hard, her bones ached.
“The males on your planet must be very weak to allow such foolishness,” the alien drawled.
“They are not weak!” Alana voice rose in outrage. She tried to get a grip on her irritation. What
was happening to her? Where was her usual calm demeanour? She took a slow deep breath. The
next moment it faltered in her throat as the alien’s gaze slid from her face to her chest.
Rubbish, how can I possibly know what it’s looking at through that helmet?
Her logic didn’t work.
It was as if there was a link between them, a connection. An unexpected heat licked a fever over
her body. The urge to flee tightened her nerve endings, she shuffled her suddenly restless feet.
She licked her dry lips. She could have sworn its gaze fastened on her mouth. The shudder which
tingled down her spine and churned through her belly horrified her.
Desperately she tried to regain control of her rioting emotions. “Our men are not weak, it is just
our women are also strong. We are independent and live fulfilling, useful lives.” Oooh much
better, cool, rational, in control; a smug little smile tugged at her lips.
It’s trying to rattle my confidence. Typical interrogation technique. She uncurled her fists, lifted
her chin. She arched her brow as she stared at its helmet with conscious challenge.
The powerful figure inclined its head.
Oh, oh. Challenge accepted, be careful, her inner voice prompted.
“You consider me to be your enemy?” His purring tone sent another unwanted shiver prickling
over her skin.
Alana chose her words with care. “I would hardly call you an ally since you are keeping us here
against our will. So yes, you are the enemy.”
He remained quiet for a few minutes. “So be it. You are my prisoner and will do as you are bid.”
Alana folded her arms across her chest and tilted her chin. “I wouldn’t go banking on that, mate.”
He lifted his hand and gestured which Alana took to signify his confusion with her statement, but
she chose not to enlighten him. Let him work it out.
“What are you called?”
“Alana. Alana Knight.”
“So Alana Knight, you and the other females are now slaves of the
Darkon race and under my power. Mine and my men.”
Her heart stuttered. She recalled the little information Norman had
imparted about this race, their battle prowess.
Their refusal to surrender.
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July 2013
The thought again crossed her mind that perhaps Linette was correct. Perhaps she had made the
wrong choice, landed them in the power of a very formidable foe. Guilt rose like a Broome tide.
Time to worry over her actions later. Now she must discover as much information as possible,
starting with something simple.
“And you, what is your name?” Alana forced out the words.
“Commander Tarak el Rajan, Royal Prince of the Ruling House of Rajan, Emperor of the Darkon
Warlords.” There was no boast in his tone, rather he stated the facts with a casual self assurance.
It irritated her as much as if he had been puffed up with false pride. He inclined his head again.
“Welcome to your prison, slave Alana. The battleship, Ark.”
So no ordinary foot soldier this, Alana thought. Just her luck to come up against what was
obviously a major player in this new world. “Let me first enlighten you. We are not slaves but free
women from the planet Earth and have no intention of doing anything you ‘bid’ us to do.”
“You will learn,” the Commander replied, his voice arctic as he turned his back. He slapped his
armoured gloves onto a bench which ran the full length of the opposite wall.
Not a good move, Alana. Remember your training for pity’s sake. Don’t piss off your enemy. She
cast a quick look around the compact room, searching for an alternate exit but there was none.
For a leader of their people, the compartment was not large but Alana supposed space would be a
premium on board a voyager such as this one. There was a cleansing tube in one corner and at
the edge of her vision lay a massive bunk. And she had no intention of showing any interest in
The shimmering dull grey walls curved inwards giving the curious impression she was inside a
rabbit hole. The source of light appeared to be the entire ceiling, an effect Alana had noticed
occurred throughout the ship.
She took a few cautious steps away from the cabin door as she waited to see what he would do
The Commander was removing his armour.
She bit down hard on the whimper bubbling at the base of her throat. Fascinated, in spite of her
rising trepidation, she inched closer, keeping to the periphery of the room, out of his reach. And
well away from the huge bunk which took up most of the opposite side.
Curiosity had always been her besetting sin.
About the Author:
SE can't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her
hand. Now she writes stories where her favorite words are
...'what if' and 'where'? She lives in urban/rural Australia and
writes in the romance genres of futuristic/sci-fi, fantasy, premedieval and post-apocalyptic.
SE is published by Momentum Books and Escape Publishing and
is an indie author.
Current works in progress are: another book in the Darkon
Warriors series, the first book in a futuristic / post-apocalyptic
series, an Australia contemporary rural romance, a futuristic NA
novel and another 'Bound' pre-medieval/fantasy novella.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Unconquerable Callie
DeAnn Smallwood
Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late
1800’s, is a liar and a darned good one, a
master of the dubious art. She is also a
dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a
new life in South Pass City, Wyoming, where
she can open a bakery and live an
independent life. To be successful, she will
need her greatest deception to date, a
mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the
line. As a woman alone, she has to prove to
Seth McCallister, the wagon master, that she
has the wherewithal and the stamina to
survive months of drought, dust, hardships,
and even the risk of death.
ISBN: 9781619351875
Publisher: Soul Mate
date: 2/26/2013
Genre: Western
Buy Links:
DeAnn Smallwood
Seth McCallister is mystified by the audacity and determination of Callie Collins. His initial distrust
and concern for Callie, a woman traveling alone, opens first to admiration, then friendship, then
love, a love that he is forced to hold at bay. What he doesn’t realize is that there is no fiancé. To
make matters worse, Callie develops feelings for Seth McCallister, too. Yet she feels certain that
once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.
allie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s, is a liar and a darned good one, a master of
the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South
Pass City, Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be
successful, she will need her greatest deception to date, a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of
the line. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCallister, the wagon master, that she has
the wherewithal and the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships, and even the risk
of death.
She had to get to Wyoming. And if it meant lying and creating a make-believe fiancé, so be it.
She would fight every obstacle and, in the end, she would set up her bakery. Callie’s. She could
smell her first loaf of bread baking. She . . .
Callie jerked herself back to reality. She had to get moving.
There had been so many days of scheming and sneaking around. But she’d met one of her
biggest obstacles and succeeded. She had waltzed into the bank and requested a bank draft be
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
sent to the U.S. Bank in Independence, Missouri. She’d experienced a few moments of sadness
acknowledging that, without her parents’ deaths, and the sale of her home, there would have
been no money to fund her dream. She also gave thanks to Aunt Bertha for seeing that not a
penny was touched. Of course, Aunt Bertha had no way of knowing the money would be used in
this manner. Still, it was hers and she was thankful for it.
She left the empty dining room and, with shoulders squared, set out for the general store. The
town hummed like a beehive of angry bees, streets crowded with wagons of every description,
vendors set up on any available space offering any and all items needed for the trip west. If you
wanted it, Independence had it. You just had to find the right stall or store.
Callie strolled past each vendor seeing-without-seeing the wares. There would be time to stock
her wagon once she had one. She reached for the door to the general store only to have it shoved
open from the inside, hitting her with such force she went tumbling backward down the steps.
She landed on her rump in the dusty street, hat askew, petticoats up over the top of her
fashionable buttoned shoes.
Before she realized what had happened, she was pulled up into strong arms, then flopped over a
masculine forearm while a large hand administered rib-shaking blows to her back.
“Breathe.” The order came harsh in her ear while he smacked her back again.
“I said breathe, lady.” The stranger shook her.
“Stop,” Callie gasped weakly, head wobbling from side-to-side. “Stop pounding my back and
shaking me.” She forced the words out between squeaky intakes of air.
As sudden as the earthquake had started, it stopped. She remained in a tight vise against the
man’s chest.
Then he spoke again, his voice full of anger. “What in the hell, begging your pardon, Ma’am, but
just what were you doing on the other side of that door?”
Callie pulled her head back and attempted to focus. How dare him! He’d just pushed her down
two steps, into a dirty street, showed her petticoats to passersby, knocked the breath out of her,
pummeled her back to black and blue, and then berated her for standing in front of a door leading
to a place of business.
“You . . .”
“Hush,” he barked. “I hollered to ‘Stand clear’ before throwing open the door. Are you deaf?”
No, she hadn’t heard. She’d been thinking, worrying, about that dratted wagon. Anyway, it
certainly wasn’t her fault and as soon as she freed herself of a pair of strong arms and a man
smelling of witch hazel and the clean scent of wood smoke, she’d tell him so.
“We were rolling out kegs and barrels. You could have been hurt. I’ve seen some dumb stunts,
lady, but standing there with your head in the clouds when someone is trying to prevent an
accident, is just, well, it’s just crazy.” With that, he released her and set her firmly on her feet. He
brushed off the dust clinging to her dress.
Callie eyed him apprehensively and backed away only to feel the heel of her shoe teeter over the
edge of the step. She flailed her arms and would have tumbled back down the steps again if,
quick as a snake, he hadn’t reached out and grabbed her.
“Ma’am,” he growled, “you’d better get home to the safety of your kitchen and not venture out
without your husband on your arm. You’re a menace.” And before Callie could put her tongue into
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
action, he picked her up like a doll and firmly set her to one side while he stormed down the
steps. He was part of the crowd before she could speak all the unladylike words that were on her
Of all the egotistical males, she had just met the king. How dare he admonish her to home and
hearth? How dare he knock her down, brush her off, and scold her in front of everyone? Men. If
she ever needed proof she’d done the right thing in seeking independence, there it was. A tall,
strong, pigheaded stranger who just happened to have the deepest pair of blue eyes she’d ever
About the Author:
DeAnn Smallwood lives in Colorado with her husband, Marvin, and their two
Yorkies, Stormy and Eli. She has the support and pleasure of family
surrounding her. DeAnn is a native of Colorado, but wrote Tears In The Wind
while living in Wyoming. Also published by Soul Mate Publishing is her
romantic/thriller, Death Crosses The Finish Line, written under the penname
of D.M. Woods. This is first in her “Death” series.
DeAnn's greatest pleasure next to writing is having her books read and
enjoyed. Many more stories are just waiting to be written and shared.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
With witty repartee, humor, and a voice that shows she really knows the Regency
period, Australian author Jillian Leigh has crafted yet another fantastic romance
novella that is sure to endear her to fans of traditional, clean Regency romance. Ms.
Leigh's hero and heroine are delightful and her dialogue sparkles. In several
passages, I literally found myself laughing aloud at well-placed adjectives and,
later, the in-your-face directness of Amelia's sometimes cantankerous aunt…Read
The characters are charming and both very appealing in their own way, yet
unmistakably honest with themselves…Read more.
This second novel in the Three River Ranch series is a heart-wrenching but amazing
feel-good read that's hard to put down…Ms. Snopek is sure to garner many faithful
readers with this endearing series, and I'm hoping she'll be adding another title to
it very soon…Read more.
The story moves at a fast, clipped pace, with tension and the stakes escalating with
every scene, making for a captivating read. The characters are unique and threedimensional, even the secondary characters, Ever and her sister, the queen. We
met Ever in the first book in the series, and it's a pleasure to see her here again
and learn how her story continued…Read more.
TWO OF A KIND Susan Mallery
I adore Fool's Gold and I adore Susan Mallery's ability to continue to introduce us to
new and interesting characters that have the ability to transport me to the pages of
the book and the town of Fool's Gold…Read more.
EXPOSED Laura Griffin
EXPOSED explodes with action almost from the start, as Maddie is mugged and she
fights for her life. Laura Griffin escalates the tension with each page, each scene,
and interspersed the action with spine-tingling romance in a perfect blend… Laura
Griffin gets better with each book. I thought she couldn't top Scorched, but she
proved me wrong in EXPOSED. Again, this book showcased her trademark of
balanced action and romance, but this time, she created a wonderful, amazing
hero…Read more.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Juliana Gray…spins a tale of such astounding warmth and heart to melt the
forbidding coldness of Yorkshire, filled with sensual and mesmerizing imagery and
superb characters. The dialogue is amusing and witty, paid with exacting details to
not only the British language, but also to the political and social climate of the time;
it feels like reading a minor treatise on philosophy and history but with much more
humor and fun. The greatest selling point of this book is, however, the complexity of
its main characters and the way they come to life and enchant readers with so much
thought and feeling…Read more.
SILK & SCANDAL Cassandra Dean
The characters at the heart of this story are so vibrant and compelling that they leap
off the page, capturing the heart and imagination within just a few pages. Ms Dean's
descriptions and insight are marvelous… Everything added up to a reading
experiencing that was completely enthralling and heartwarming, leaving me as
satisfied as if I had spent weeks with Nicola and Thomas…Read more.
Ms. Holt delivers an ingenious romance of decadence, heartbreak, true love and
adventure… At 50,000 words, BORDERLAND BRIDE gave me the most wonderful four
hours of escape, leading me to grin, cry out warnings, clutch my Kindle and cross my
fingers hoping for the best. It was everything I could want in a romance. Ms. Holt
has made me a lifetime fan of her work, and I'm thrilled to discover what happens
next in the series…Read more.
SHADOW'S EDGE…will definitely keep you on the edge... of your seat, that is. This
fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I've read this year. I
could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying
up all night to finish it… The characters and scenes are so well-written that I had no
problem imagining the world in which Raine and Gavin live. The character
development was flawless; the plot was unique and intriguing, and the dialogue was
absolutely believable. The reader can actually feel the emotions of the characters,
especially Raine's insecurities and fears, and the action is intense!...Read more.
FOREVER Jacquelyn Frank
Jacquelyn Frank uses a deft hand to weave the layers of this series together… There
has been no shortage of action and intrigue. Loyalties have been tested and
characters have defected to the other side. The love affairs have been wildly romantic
with some very sensual love scenes. An intriguing subplot was interwoven throughout
the story…It was as awesome as I'd expected, and left me looking forward to the
next one already…Read more.
Zoe Archer’s descriptive talent, insight into her characters and imagination are
staggering, and in this new historic series, she is absolutely in her element. I was
hooked from the first page of this story and utterly haunted when it was over.
Without a doubt, this is a book to adore and a series to savor… The love story at its
heart is simply stunning…Zoe Archer makes their relationship feel completely natural
and genuine—and, of course, overwhelmingly hot from start to finish…Read more.
*This is not a comprehensive list. For more reviews of Romance books, check out the site.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Tips & Tricks
It’s a jungle of books out there!
With hundreds of books being published almost everyday, how do readers find your book?
While writing is a solitary endeavor, other related aspects such as promotion needn’t be. We can
all learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences. In light of this, I wanted to write an article
with the intent to focus on self-publishing and a hope that it becomes a resource for self-pubbed
authors. Authors I’ve approached have been overwhelming in their responses, and my originally
intended single article became a quarterly column.
First up, we have Emma Holly, USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty very hot
romantic books featuring werewolves, faeries, and just plain extraordinary ordinary folks.
Tips on self-publishing
Emma Holly: I love the term "indie" publishing, because I think it captures the spirit of the people
who do it. If you like being the boss of you, indie publishing can be truly freeing. You need the
ability to sit your own butt in your own chair and stick to your own deadlines. You need a
willingness to learn new skills like formatting or cover design . . . or to hire people who already
have those skills. This can seem daunting if you've never done it before, but no part of being
indie involves rocket science. Finding your way step by step creates an incredible sense of
If you'd like to familiarize yourself with (and stay up-to-date on) what's going on in the industry,
here are a few good sites to check out:
Part of being indie means making up your own mind - at least I think it should mean that. As an
indie author, I love being able to decide my own priorities and what works for me.
EH: Digital publishing happens online. It stands to reason that's where the bulk of your
promotional efforts should be focused. Recently, I had some success booking an ad with
BookBub, a curated mailing that sends notices of discounts and freebies to subscribers. A lot of
these services are springing up. I recommend subscribing first and seeing if the books that are
most like yours improve in sales rank over the course of the first couple days after the mailing
goes out. If they do, and depending on your budget, ad space might be worth buying.
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July 2013
EH: I like to define promotion as everything you do in
view of the reading public, whether you pay for it or not.
Some of the best promotions can't be paid for. A good
review at a popular site like TRR is very helpful especially if the book is the kind of story a large portion
of their followers read.
My personal promo includes:
a) keeping my website well supplied with excerpts
b) posting on Facebook, twitter, goodreads and to a
lesser extent Pinterest
c) a mailing list for announcing new releases and special coupons (smashwords has a handy
system for generating these)
d) sending out digital review copies
e) buying the occasional ad on Facebook or a romance-centric site
e) running short-term sales on books to spice up the lag between releases
f) monthly contests to add subscribers to my mailing list
Group promo can be helpful too. Lovely indie author Shelley Thacker invited me to participate in a
freebie anthology last year that ended up boosting all the authors' sales. She had a catchy
concept (TEN SHADES OF SEXY), a great cover (from Kim Killion), and each of the authors
promoted it to their followers.
Some authors do more than I do and some do less. Industry-focused blogs like J.A. Konrath's
seem like effective promotional tools, as does being a regular presence on the conference circuit.
No author should feel like she has to do everything.
Other indie pundits have said this, and I will too: The best thing you can do to improve sales is
WRITE YOUR NEXT BOOK. Digital books sell forever, but - in general - new books sell more. New
gets folks excited, and it should get you excited, too. Doing nothing but promoting (and obsessing
about your sales) isn't good for a writer's soul.
Sales Channels
EH: Amazon, bn.com, kobo.com, Smashwords.com, AllRomanceeBooks and Apple's iBooks are all
reputable vendors who allow indie authors to establish individual publisher accounts. I personally
find Apple a technical bear to deal with, so I distribute to them through Smashwords. For those
who aren't familiar with them, Smashwords is a free site that converts Word files into different
ereader formats, including mobi (kindle) and epub (nook, iPad). For a small percentage, they'll
distribute your books to a lot of different vendors. In the spirit of independence, I recommend
uploading directly to vendors where you can. You don't have to pay anyone a cut, and you have
access to real-time sales data - very important for gauging which of your promotional efforts work
and which don't. The exception to this is 99 cent books. Smashwords has negotiated more
favorable royalty percentages for their authors than if you upload directly to kobo or bn.com.
If formatting scares you and you don't want to learn more than one way of doing it to begin with,
you can distribute to all the big vendors except for amazon just by preparing your file according
to the free Smashwords style guide.
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July 2013
That said, you probably won't want to ignore Amazon. Most, though not all, indie authors make
the majority of their sales there. BN.com and Apple iBooks are probably the next most successful
outlets, but this can vary by author. Smaller vendors have value too. They can bring your books
to the attention of a different or more focused audience. For instance, kobo is mainly Canadian.
You also need a lower velocity of sales to rise to bestseller status on a small site. Wherever you
achieve it, visibility can be useful.
Thank you, Emma, for these insights! We hope authors are able to glean some nuggets in there.
To know more about Emma Holly and her books, check out her website.
We will bring you more tips and tricks on promotion, self-publishing, etc in upcoming issues.
If you have questions you’d like to authors to answer about promotion and related issues, send us
an email at ezine @ theromancereviews.com . Subject: Promotion Question
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Sweet Young Thang
Anne Tenino
When Plan A fails, turn to Man A.
Thanks to Collin Montes, Theta Alpha
Gamma now welcomes gay and bisexual
students. Persuading his Uncle Monty,
president of the TAG Alumni Association,
that the open approach won’t adversely affect
TAG’s reputation is Collin’s own first step
toward coming out. As long as there are no
repercussions, he’ll escape the closet by
ISBN: 9781626490321
Publisher: Riptide
date: 7/22/2013
Genre: GLBT, Romantic
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Anne Tenino Website
Enter repercussions, stage left: someone rigs the TAG House water heater to launch through the
ceiling, then plants a bomb—thankfully unsuccessful—in the fraternity’s basement. Now Collin has
his hands full not only trying to convince his uncle that this might not be the work of homophobes, but
also dealing with a fratful of brothers worried about their kegger fridge.
Paramedic Eric Dixon can’t stop thinking about the kid he met during a call at his former college
fraternity house. The age gap between them is trumped by sexy eyes, so when Eric sees Collin again at
the bomb scene, he pursues him. Soon, Eric is dreaming of being a househusband, fighting to keep
Collin safe from whoever’s trying to destroy the fraternity, and helping his sweet young thang realize
that repercussions sometimes have silver linings.
Chapter 4
On Friday morning, Collin woke up to the bed swaying and bouncing under him, and his first
thought was that the last guy he’d picked up at the Slaughterhouse—before Christmas break—
was here to rock his world again. He opened his eyes just in time to watch some books topple off
his desk in the dim daylight.
What the fuck?
His next thought was, I’d never take a guy back here. Not to Theta Alpha Gamma House, even
though he didn’t currently have a roommate.
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July 2013
“Hey! I think it’s an earthquake!” Someone yelled from the hallway, then screamed, followed by a
That thoroughly woke Collin up.
Holy shit, earthquake!
He half-fell out of bed, expecting to feel the floor jolting under him, but there was no sound or
movement—even the dust motes had suspended all motion. The sudden stillness stifled him,
gluing his butt to the carpet. Like something had thickened the air to jelly, encouraging him to
blink in stupefaction.
He heard a moan from outside his room. Possibly from the bottom of the stairs? He fought off his
inertia and scrambled up, reaching for the knob and yanking hard a couple of times before the
door would open. The air swirled sluggishly as he ran the three feet to the right that brought him
to the top of the stairs.
“Help!” Someone shouted from the bottom just as Collin reached it.
The railing had cracked in half a few feet down, and some spindles
were missing, along with some of the actual steps. Seriously scarylooking wooden spikes were poking out above the foyer, and the
whole thing hung in mid-air.
What the hell did that?
As he started down the staircase, it creaked loudly. He hugged the
wall, but he could see far enough over the side to make out Julian
crouched over a pair of legs. One of them looked really, really
wrong—legs couldn’t bend that way naturally, could they?
Even more alarming, he could swear he smelled smoke. “Oh, no,” he whispered, back sliding
down the wall past the broken part of the banister.
Jules looked up at him, face pale and eyes open wide. “It’s Ricky, I think he’s injured.”
Uh, yeah. “Don’t move him,” Collin said out loud. “Do you smell anything?”
“What the hell?” Kyle’s voice came from above him, and Collin looked up to see him and a bunch
of other guys looking down the stairs, gape-mouthed. Some stared at Collin and some peered
into the foyer. “Shit . . . earthquake?” Kyle asked, looking uncertain. They all seemed as slowmoving as he’d been; being shaken awake had stunned the fraternity house occupants into a
“I don’t think that was an earthquake,” Collin said. “Do you smell something burning?” He was
past the break in the railing, so he gave up his caution and rushed down the last steps. He could
hear Kyle and the other guys starting down the stairs. It sounded like a herd of very heavy
lemmings rushing a cliff edge. One that creaked alarmingly.
Suddenly everyone was talking and moving in normal time. Jules stood up and waved Collin over,
looking at him as if he could somehow fix things. Guys spilled into the entryway and under the
stairs, shouted, moved into other rooms to check for damage. Collin knelt next to Ricky’s leg, but
he wasn’t sure what to do next. He didn’t want to touch the guy’s knee—just looking at it made
his skin crawl. He turned to ask how it felt, but Ricky’s eyes were scrunched tightly shut and his
skin was white and dotted with sweat.
He took a guess that it didn’t feel good.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
“Does anything hurt?” Kyle asked, coming up behind him and stepping over Ricky’s feet to kneel
on the other side.
“I think it’s his leg,” Jules said. Kyle reached to probe the knee, but Ricky hissed.
He yanked his hand back. “Okay, no touching.”
“Dude, what the fuck is this?” Tank asked from under the stairwell, and out of the corner of his
eye he saw a couple other guys join Tank. Whatever “this” was, they’d have to deal with it.
Jules leaned forward and gripped Kyle’s shoulder, nearly pushing him over onto the mangled
limb. “Can you do anything for him? Is he going to be all right? Is it his leg?”
Ricky moaned, and Collin barely stopped himself from telling Julian to stop being such a drama
queen. Maybe he was in shock. Or just being his stupid self.
“How am I supposed to know? He needs an ambulance.” Kyle shook Jules’s hand off, turning to
look up at him. “We need to call 911.”
“Oh!” Jules nodded vigorously. “Someone should do that.” Then he dropped down to kneel next to
Ricky’s head.
Kyle looked up at Collin, raising an eyebrow.
He was about to stand up and find the house phone when the door to the basement burst open,
and Turbo and Danny spilled out into the hall off the foyer—they must have fallen asleep in the
TV room again. They hacked and waved their arms around, like they were trying to clear
something out of the air.
Possibly the smoke pouring into the house from behind them.
Turbo heaved in a breath. “Fire—” hack, hack “—Explosion. Furnace. Dudes!”
In spite of lots of the guys being hung over, the frat house was evacuated surprisingly fast
without a lot of wailing or freaking out. Collin even managed to throw on shoes and grab his
jacket from the entryway. For once he appreciated Julian’s insistence that they leave those things
by the front door. Tank packed Ricky out over his shoulder—there was some wailing going on
there, but it was totally understandable. Even Billings’s pet chameleon, Snake, made it out.
“We really shouldn’t have moved him,” Kyle said while he and Collin followed Tank across the
street to the lawn of the Nu Omicron Mu sorority. “He could have a spinal injury.”
“What else were we gonna do? Leave him in a burning building?”
By the time Tank set Ricky down on the lawn of the sorority, the dude was making enough noise
to assure Kyle that he still possessed a fully functioning nervous system and was capable of
feeling pain.
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July 2013
One of the Nu Omicron Mu girls had called 911, so Collin didn’t have to after all. Instead, he
ended up helping Kyle try to keep Ricky . . . well, “comfortable” seemed like a lot to hope for.
They just aimed for no screaming. Crying was acceptable.
“The ambulance will be here soon,” Collin said for the third time. This time he could hear sirens,
though, so it wasn’t a lie.
Ricky groaned, and more tears leaked down his cheeks. Maybe they should give him whiskey?
Collin turned to ask the sorority girl talking to Kyle about it and heard her say, “—and I told them
I thought it might be a bomb.”
“What?” Kyle yelled, red in the face.
Why would she think someone had tried to blow them up?
“You seriously thought someone’s that pissed off we have an openly gay fraternity brother? That
they’d bomb us?”
Oh, no. Collin went suddenly cold all over, thinking about his conversation last night with Monty.
The girl planted her hands on her hips and leaned forward, right into
Kyle’s face. “Well, considering the boom I heard this morning and the
way the last Greek Council meeting went, yeah, I think it’s possible.”
Kyle looked away, muttering curse words under his breath and turning
even redder.
Collin stood up and asked calmly, “Kyle, how did the council meeting
go?” And why hadn’t he said anything? He knew Collin had a stake in
this shit. They all did.
Kyle ran a hand through his hair and wouldn’t look at him. “Not very well.”
Collin gritted his teeth. “Kyyyyle . . .”
“Later, okay?” Kyle gave him a pleading look. “Let’s get through this and I’ll tell you later.”
Collin pointed at him. “You better. I need to know.” So much for all that work convincing Monty
that Brad coming out and the new policy wasn’t going to be a problem. This could be a fucking
Kyle’s hand landing on his shoulder startled him, and he looked up from the grass he’d been
staring blindly at. “We’ll figure this out, I swear, but we gotta get through this situation first.
Maybe she’s overreacting.” Kyle jerked his head slightly toward the sorority girl, who was
watching them, arms crossed and shaking her head. Kyle lowered his voice. “I know how
important this is to you.”
Important? His uncle believing that gay was okay was absolutely necessary to Collin’s own future.
“Does someone need a paramedic?”
Collin whirled around to see a man coming through the crowd toward them. A fireman in navy
blue cargo pants and a white uniform shirt under a navy jacket, carrying an oversized duffle,
another fireman—whoops, firewoman. Firefighter? Whatever, she was walking along just behind
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
The guy in front seemed to take in the scene, first looking at Kyle, then zeroing in on Ricky. Just
as he reached them, he glanced at Collin, then away. When their eyes met, Collin absently noted
that he was cute. More than cute. Sexy.
Suddenly, eyes widening in what Collin thought for sure was recognition, the firefighter looked at
him again.
They didn’t know each other. Did they? He remembered every guy he’d ever been with before.
Didn’t he? Collin shook off the weird momentary pang in his chest, whatever the hell it was. He
couldn’t afford to stress out now; Ricky still needed him and the frat was burning to ashes.
The firefighter—paramedic?—dropped his gaze and looked back down at Ricky. “So, I guess he’s
the patient?”
About the Author:
Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino
rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive
Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through
therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with
them has been extremely liberating.
Anne's husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two
daughters are mildly confused by Anne's need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were
raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken1's strapon, they let Mom do her thing without interference.
Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and
shirks housework.
Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Characterization in the M/M Novel
A sneak peek at the upcoming release Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction
By Josh Lanyon
A strong character can carry a weak story. It’s our characters readers fall in love with, not plots
twists, not world-building, not vivid language, not perfect grammar. Character. If the reader
doesn’t care about the characters, nothing else matters, because odds are good she won’t keep
turning the pages. But if the reader loves the characters, she’ll cut an author an awful lot of slack
about improbable or derivative storylines, even a bit of clumsy writing. I’m not saying readers
won’t complain about the silliness and the clichés and the expiration dates of series that have
outlived their prime, but they’re very loyal to the characters they’ve come to love.
In fact, readers have a hard time saying goodbye to characters they love, so
it’s up to the writer to know—like the perfect houseguest—when to depart.
Part of being able to do that is planning your series out ahead of time. We’ll
talk more about that later. Right now we’re focused on creating characters
that readers love so much they wish they were series characters—if not their
actual neighbors.
Gay men come in all shapes and sizes: everything from big burly bears to
campy little queens. And gay fiction—especially gay literary fiction—reflects
But M/M fiction differs from regular gay fiction in that most—though not all—main characters are
very much a white heterosexual female fantasy. Sure, M/M romance is more diversified than it
was seven years ago. We can take pride in the fact that we now have more disabled, multicultural
and multiethnic protagonists. We even have our share—as does regular gay fiction—of nerds and
doofuses and, hey!, perfectly ordinary boy-next-door gay characters. Even so, let’s remember
that the gay characters in M/M romance do not really reflect the typical gay man any more than
the traditional heterosexual romance hero reflects the average straight guy. Or straight gal.
This is not to say that you can’t make one of your protagonists transgendered or transsexual, or
transvestite. You can write anything you want. You can write about bears, you can write about
femmes. Your typical M/M reader is open-minded and adventurous. Feel free to write about a
transsexual Eskimo if that’s the story you’re dying to tell. Your M/M reader will be interested and
sympathetic. But chances are, you won’t be tapping into her fantasies. And in order to write
successful romance fiction—meaning stories a LOT of romance readers buy and recommend and
read—you have to tap into the reader’s fantasies.
Certain dynamics are more popular than others in M/M fiction. One of the most popular is the
younger/smaller/weaker bottom paired off with an older/larger/stronger top. That mirrors the
traditional heterosexual romance dynamic, although it’s just as likely based on the theory that
opposites attract. If that’s your kink, that’s okay, but try to show a little imagination in how you
handle this, especially if your plot is going to mirror a traditional heterosexual exemplification.
Just keep in mind that weak is not attractive. Helpless is not attractive. Dumb is not attractive.
It’s not any more attractive in a man, no matter how blue his eyes or bubble his butt, than it was
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
in those old heterosexual romance novels you hated as a girl. The more powerful the alpha in
your story, the more you have to work to keep the beta capable and interesting in his own right.
Now if you’ve got a seriously damaged POV character, that’s okay. Bad things happen to good
characters. But even a character recovering from rape or breakdown or incest or serious illness—
even if it’s all of these at the same time—shouldn’t be a helpless, quivering blob 24/7. Not even if
that really turns you on, because, believe me, it’s not going to turn on the majority of editors,
reviewers, or readers—male or female.
I want to make it clear that you should not be drawing characters based on the broad strokes of
alpha, beta, and omega. These terms are useful shorthand for discussing character types and
conflict, but these are general classifications. If you construct characters based on these profile
terms, you’ll be creating clichés and stereotypes, not characters—not people.
It’s kind of funny how much some women writers worry about whether they’re getting the manon-man sex scenes right in every anatomical detail, while rarely worrying about whether they’ve
nailed the masculine psyche. It’s like a point of pride that they can describe anal penetration to
the last twitch of sphincter muscle, but a matter of complete indifference that they’re writing male
And there are a lot of clichés out there.
Unfortunately far too many women writers seem to believe that frequent use of the F-word, an
inability to articulate feelings (or sometimes even thoughts), and a love of smoked meat, beer,
and football is the same thing as creating a fully realized, believable male character.
It’s not.
Guys are as diverse and complicated as women. Some guys like to garden, some guys like to
read, some guys work with inner city kids, or are connoisseurs of fine wine, old books, ballet,
opera, and vintage film—and they’re straight! So can we all please try to mix and match our
stereotypes in more interesting and fresh ways?
Granted you’re writing genre fiction for romance readers, which means you’re trying to create
male characterizations that play into our western civilization concepts (or maybe wish fulfillment)
of who and what men are.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that there’s some universal scratch-and-sniff male behavior
that you can tap into. Keep your characters in historical and cultural context. Keep them real.
Without meaning to be unkind, it’s pretty clear to me that many of the
women writing M/M fiction are coming up with their notions of gay male
behavior based on reading each other’s books. It’s, at best, a limited
Write people, not stereotypes.
** Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction is available now through
Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, and Smashwords.
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
About the Author:
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author
JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and
romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short
stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the
critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell
You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT
Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time
Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Check out his books at: http://www.joshlanyon.com
Experience magic, love and
The Romance Reviews
In Hollywood's golden age, will his
star fade to tarnished gold?
Pavarus: Finding Home Series #1
by Jennifer Wright
July 2013
The Draw of
for This Straight Woman
By KindleRomance
Reading is an easy escape mechanism. Regardless of what a person likes, they can find
something that satisfies their interests. It's so easy and wonderful to get lost in somebody else's
life, and to forget about my own problems. It's also an engrossing form of entertainment,
allowing me to fully invest myself in the story. A great movie or television show can visually
entertain me with amazing action sequences or special effects. A truly talented actor can show
their heart and emotions on their face and bring me into their experience. However, all of that
and more can be accomplished with a great book and a vivid imagination. As an avid reader, you
already know all of this. But you might be wondering why more and more people are reading and
becoming addicted to gay romance. What's the appeal?
The same plots in male/male romances are also in male/female romances with the exception of
"gay for you" stories. Obviously there are certain activities that take place during sex that aren't
going to happen in a male/female story. However, a well-written, steamy sex scene can have
more to do with the mental stimulation provided than the physical activities described. It's easy
to get worked up reading an amazing sex scene regardless of who is starring in it.
I've noticed that most of the historical romance novels I've read
always focused on the Lords and the Lairds. Very few focused on the
servants. If I'm going to lose myself in a story, I guess it makes
more sense to assume I'll be rescued by somebody powerful or
wealthy. It seems that many of our heroes are not only rich, but
instead of millionaires, they are now becoming billionaires. It's also
rare to find the hero described as anything other than absolutely
stunning and handsome. Even if the heroine is made out to be
somebody who isn't happy with her appearance, the gentleman will
no doubt be powerful, tall, and without an ounce of fat. Most
romances are also written about the beginning of the relationship
when everything is new and exciting. There aren't a lot of books
about people who have been together for 20 years. The same holds
true for many gay romance stories. One of the characters is wealthy
or powerful, and both characters are typically stunning, if the covers
are any evidence. All of that is fine even though it's pretty unrealistic. Reading about our own
lives, where people aren't all beautiful and wealthy, and we don't always get to have our own
happily ever after, really wouldn't be much of an escape or necessarily very entertaining.
Creating a character that I can relate to is the key to making sure I truly grasp what they are
experiencing in the story. By understanding their motivations, it’s easier to sympathize with their
decisions whether I agree with them or not. If I don't care about my characters or what they are
suffering through, then I'm not truly engaged in the story. It will be hard to say I loved the book
when love itself implies a strong emotional connection. But at the same time, projecting the
emotions of the character upon myself can be downright draining in some stories. If the
characters are fighting or one of them leaves the relationship, I find myself getting upset. If the
heroine does something that doesn't make sense or exhibits weak characteristics, I become
frustrated. I've gone from being sympathetic to their situation to feeling as if I'm living it.
Instead of being a voyeur watching their life, I'm living through their drama. I'm no longer
enjoying it and feeling like I'm escaping from reality, but instead I'm upset and living in their
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
misery. While I can appreciate reading a story that brings tears to my eyes, whether for happy
or sad reasons, I still want and need to be able to keep a little distance.
Isn't escaping from reality just a mind game? If so, then we should do whatever allows us to truly
escape and step into another world. I love romance, and I love men. I can easily get lost in their
romance without the fear of internalizing how something might make me feel. It's a very minute
difference, but sometimes that's all it takes. I also find it a smidgen easier to immerse myself in
a story that could never be a reality for me personally. Although I can imagine myself in their
situation, allowing me to empathize and care for the character, I can’t actually picture myself as
either of the men in the story. My lack of imagination, while detrimental in some aspects of my
life, is my saving grace when reading a romance between two wonderful men. I hope I’ve
intrigued you enough to give gay romance novels a try.
About the Author:
KindleRomance positively adores reading romance stories where lovers find their happy endings.
She enjoys getting into the minds of the characters and watching their new relationships form.
Add in some extra spicy scenes, and she’s ecstatic. The icing on the cake is chatting with other
book lovers!
He blazes a trail of selfdestruction—until he realize he’s
hurting more than just himself.
The Romance Reviews
One man buried in secrets.
Another still grieving the love he
lost. Watch them collide.
Sirens will lead you to your death
with a smile. Can fate be averted?
July 2013
What happens when your high school tormentor wasn't really the bully you thought
he was and instead had a major crush on you? The conversations were wonderful,
and I really felt like I got to know the characters. The story takes place over a
reasonable period of time, and we get a glimpse into what their future would be like
together. I really enjoyed this wonderful steamy relationship story with a great sense
of humor and interesting characters…Read more.
TOUCH & GEAUX Abigail Roux
The story moves at a very fast place and pulls no punches. As the deceptions
unravel, Ty and Zane's relationship is quite possibly the collateral damage. Ms. Roux
reveals more about this world and what motivates Ty. She also shows how human
both of them can be…Through all these painful episodes, Ms. Roux interjects humor
lines. This book is a rollercoaster ride and the emotions it pulls out of me are painful.
Even the ending is bittersweet and makes me beg for mercy…Read more.
Anna Zabo weaves an incredibly rich tale of the pure primal emotions of two men
whose world is on the brink of changing forever…She writes incredibly detailed
scenes with a creativity that leaves you breathless. Of course, the marvellously vivid
sex scenes paint a picture of pure lust and emotional longing and are scattered
through the book like lust bullets to your groin. Hot, sexy and definitely satisfying…
Her writing style is so appealing, her characters three dimensional and realistic, and
the imagination she lends to her scenes powerful and evocative ...Read more.
Ms Madison writes with a wonderful flowing style, her words effortless and magical,
drawing you into her story. This book is not filled with sex but more sensuality, and
when the sex does happen, wow! It's intimate, loving and filled with emotional
overtones. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a romantic, sensual
read with plenty of wonderful funny and tender moments…Read more.
Kendall McKenna does it again. Her wonderful story is an imaginative and
breathtaking tale about men in battle, men in friendship and men in love. Her
knowledge about men in combat shines through this book like a beacon of hope,
glory and camaraderie that makes it very hard to put down once you start. The five
stars for this book are well deserved and I would recommend this to anyone who
enjoys well-written, unique story lines filled with imagination, tenderness, hot manon-man action, and of course, a happy ever after ending…Read more.
Simple doesn't mean boring when you have Kyle Adams' trademark humor. There
are several lines in this story that had me burst out laughing which is a huge treat.
In addition to several sexy scenes, there was a lot of interaction between the
characters, and an ending that solidified the start of a sweet relationship…Read
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
There's something so rewarding about stories highlighting that people are different
and others may perceive them in different ways. SOUNDS OF LOVE is both
powerful and rich in this regard. The plot is rich with different facets--family,
friendship, the discovery of sexuality, heartbreak and love, delight and pleasure,
and Jordan and Sebastian coming to terms with each other. I loved this book and
would recommend it as a great, heart warming, tender, sexy read…Read more.
The story moved at a fast pace, well-written and entertaining and I sniggered and
chuckled along. Of course the tender moments were there too and I had the
occasional lump in my throat. These two men were just meant to be together,
anyone can see that and any threat to that relationship wasn't good. The
descriptive way of writing, the wonderful scenarios the author places her characters
in – they all come to life with a force of their own. They creep into your psyche
until you feel you're actually there with them in their lives. I got very absorbed and
by the time the last page was turned, I wanted to read the next one…Read more.
Mr. Day never ceases to wow me with his breathtaking and moving romance
novels…. He excels at showing how true love can really be. To find that special
someone where sacrifice is not just a noble concept but a state of existence is
splendid. Mr. Day lovingly details little acts of kindness and grand gestures of
affection to build a rich romance. His characters are realistic with their all too
human flaws. Yet they still overcome misunderstandings, unintentional slights and
grievous mistakes to do the right thing. The hardships he puts his characters
through to achieve their loving bond is extreme at times…Read more.
HAVOC Linda Gayle
Riveting, romantic character driven intergalactic love story… The plot was exciting,
including participating in the sex games, winning their ship back and their travels
to the Zone. The story was dynamic, weaving together several ideas throughout
the tale to bring us to our conclusion…An amazing story where every action, every
sex scene, and every conversation helped to move the plot, the romance, and the
relationships along. The love story was beautiful, and the action-packed, science
fiction-based plot was exciting and interesting…Read more.
Lou Harper can tell a great story. Her dialogue is fast-paced and natural, the
characters…are just so likeable and lovable, they make you wish they were real and
you could have a set of your own. The story…keeps you amused and absorbed the
whole way through. This writer has a wicked imagination and a deep dark sense of
humour…Read more.
*This is not a comprehensive list. For more reviews of GLBT books, check out the site.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Handcuffed By Her Hero
Angel Payne
Between a rock and a hard place.
To Sergeant Zeke Hayes, the expression has
always been a non-factor. There's never
been a situation he can't blast, punch, or
smart-ass his way out of, which makes him
the perfect fit for his Special Forces
battalion--and a natural-born Dominant
who's made a lot of submissives happy from
Mt. Rainier to Vancouver.
That all changes when Rayna Chestain
enters his world.
ISBN: 9780988870147
Publisher: Angel
Payne Writes LLC
date: 7/22/2013
Genre: Erotic
Adventure Romance
Buy Links:
Available on July 22!
Angel Payne Website
A rock.
From the moment Z snatches Rayna from the lair of a South Asian slave trafficker, his inner
grizzly roars to life. This is a huge damn problem, because Z isn't wired to be a one-woman man.
Growing up an orphan on the streets of Seattle has taught him that beyond a few hours in a
dungeon, trust means disappointment and love leads to agony. But here he is, in the remote
wilderness escape he'd promised not to share with anyone, harboring Rayna from a fiend who
now wants his pound of revenge flesh from her.
A hard place.
Sheltering Rayna? Z's never done anything more right in his life. But wanting her? Dreaming of
her beneath him, surrendering to his passion and domination? It's the most forbidden fruit he can
crave...and the only thing he can't stop thinking about.
A new beginning?
This is a dead-end canyon that no rifle, bomb or sweet talk will let Zeke escape from. The only
way out is to confront the reality of what Rayna has done to him...the mountain she's moved in
his intractable heart.
A Short Note from the Author:
Hello, everyone! Just a fast but extremely heartfelt thanks to the bunches of you who have
already embraced my W.I.L.D. Boys of Special Forces. They’re a really special group of guys who
fight for their women as hard as they fight for their country. (If you’re wondering what the
“W.I.L.D.” stands for, check out the detailed series blurb on my website.)
I’m so excited to say that Book 2 in the series will be out by July 22! Hope you enjoy this sexy
excerpt from “Handcuffed By Her Hero,” EXCLUSIVE for TRR eZine readers!
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
or a long moment, neither she nor Zeke said a thing. The room began to warm. Rayna
wasn’t sure if it was the heating ducts, the Scotch, or the proximity of the man who once
again had transported her to a place of refuge and safety. She needed to thank him. She
yearned to hold him. Instead, she jabbed a toe at the carpet and muttered, “So what now?”
Z let his hand slip from hers. She told herself that she was imagining his reluctance about the
move. “A shower for you. Or a bath, if you prefer that. While you’re cleaning up, I need to call
Hawk and Captain Franzen. I’ll get the run on how they’re tracking Mua, and make sure both of
us are taken off the AWOL grid.”
“Damn. I’d forgotten about that not-so-little slice of red tape.”
One side of his mouth quirked. “It helps to have kidnappers in high places, honey.”
She shot him a giggle. Zeke, clearly pleased with himself for inciting it, sauntered toward the
stairs. She gave herself the privilege of watching him for a second. Sweet shitloads of sexy, the
man was captivating. His leather club pants moved with his Sequoia tree legs like a second skin.
His biceps and pecs fought the constraints of Max’s T-shirt. Nothing in any of his movements
betrayed that he hadn’t slept in over twenty hours.
And all she wanted to do, even in her own sleep-deprived state, was get her hands all over him
Not a good plan, Ray. Not at all. She fished through the fuzziness in her head to get back the
words he’d issued in the car, after that toe-curling kiss they’d shared. Shouldn’t have happened.
And it won’t happen again. So the man was beautiful and smart, especially about this. No matter
how perfectly their bodies fit, they simply weren’t going to snap right when it came to the same
sexual “Like” button.
She prodded her brain to agree. Shoved at the damn thing. Submissiveness? On a regular basis?
Her? Right. And tofu was a great side dish for steak.
Tonight, she’d seen in glorious, living color exactly what that term meant. She closed her eyes
and willed herself to pull up the images. She recalled what Luna looked like when Tait brought her
in after the session with Z. The marks on the woman’s back…the limp languor of her body…the
sparse rasps off her lips…
She blinked and all those memories vanished like magic act doves—all but the most disconcerting
one. The expression that had blanketed Luna’s face. The peace in it. The adoration in it. The
connection in it, reflected in Z’s own face as he’d knelt to her…
She blinked and looked up. He’d stopped on the landing halfway up to the second floor. His
features didn’t hold a shred of that intense stare he’d exchanged with Luna. He’d even dropped
the smirk of five minutes ago. Now he regarded her only with friendly, even pragmatic,
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
“Shower or bath?”
A bath sounded like pure heaven but she told him the shower was
fine. Soaking in a tub full of warmth that would remind her all too
much of his touch? Especially because the Scotch was already
doing that job in spades? Again, not an advisable plan.
She followed him up the stairs. At the top, there was a large area
that was just as comfortable as the ground floor. One side was
lined by the balcony-style overlook into the living room. Tucked
into the far corner was a window seat with plush pillows and a
chenille lap blanket. But occupying most of the eye’s attention
was the entrance that beckoned into the bedroom. Correction:
the straight-out-of-her-wildest-dreams bedroom.
There was no way any person, let alone a linens lover like her,
could avoid gaping at the bed. The clean angles of its Missionstyle headboard were balanced by a dozen huge pillows in butter
and honey tones. They were stacked horizontally down the center
of a puff comforter that looked soft as fawn skin, and colored the
same rich hue. The room’s drapes matched it, as did the cushions
on a semi-circle shaped couch that was positioned in front of the
stacked stone fireplace. A flat screen TV took up the space over
the mantel.
Zeke walked ahead of her into the room. “At the risk of
redundancy, good wow or bad wow?”
She glared at him in irritation that wasn’t entirely a joke. When
he tossed a snicker back at her, she stomped over and punched
the meat of his shoulder.
“Hey!” His expression became a glower. “What the hell?”
“You had that coming,” she accused. “And stop looking at me like that. I didn’t even knick you.”
His response seemed a humorous move at first, too. As he backed her up against the wall, Rayna
let out little giggles—until he actually had her pinned there. One direct hit from his focused
copper gaze, and her laughs petered out.
“You only think that because I hide the knicks well.” Though they were likely the only human life
for miles, he said it at a volume solely for her ears. “But I have them, Ray-bird.”
“I know.” Her trembling whisper blended with the damp musk of the rain in his hair, on his skin,
dripping down his leathers. They were making a puddle on his bedroom floor. She didn’t give a
damn. “Believe me, I know.” With her stare still locked in his, she scooped one hand around the
side of his neck. “Zeke, there’s really something that I have to—”
“Shower,” he cut in.
She blinked. “Wh-what?”
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
His intimate murmur was gone. So was the crack, however infinitesimal, that he’d opened into
the core of himself…only for her. Not the easygoing soldier-on-leave self that she normally saw,
or even the Bastille-dungeon-leather-and-chains-Dom self of earlier tonight. For a few seconds,
she’d beheld the guts and heart of the man who lived far beneath all that. The man who’d once
been a teen, gazing at her with those intense eyes on a stormy afternoon in a park tunnel.
Did he remember, too? And if so, why did he keep shutting her off like this?
“Wh-what?” she blurted again.
“You’re shivering like a can of pop that’s been used for soccer practice.” He looked down at her
soaked, dirty clothes. “And all this is getting washed. Twice.” His brow knitted tight. “But that’s a
“A dilemma?” She sounded idiotic. Confusion and exhaustion were making her brain a puddle.
She swayed on her feet during the minute he took to fish through the drawers of the dresser next
to the bed. Nothing was any clearer when he turned back with a long-sleeved flannel shirt that
had red and yellow parrots printed all over it. They were depicted in flight—across fields of bright
turquoise flowers. She almost let out a manic snicker. It was hideous.
“This’ll keep you warm. It’s one of my favorites. The socks are great, too. They’re designed for
high mountain hiking, but I’ve broken them in. Really soft.”
She held the shirt up. It was going to fit her like a tent on a sapling. “This is yours.”
He flashed her a visual duh. “Were you expecting something different?”
“Maybe,” she answered, then amended, “Probably.” When his duh twisted into a what-the-hell,
she explained, “C’mon, Z. You don’t have a stitch of anything that other…ermm…houseguests
might’ve left behind?”
As understanding entered his features, so did a soft smile. Hell, she loved getting that look from
him. It lit up everything including his eyes, and made her feel she was the only one who put it
“If you’re referring to Garrett, then I’m afraid none of his shit will fit you much better.” He
fingered some stray tendrils off her forehead. “He’s the only ‘houseguest’ I’ve had besides you.”
She blamed her fatigue for how her whole body reacted to that little brush of his fingertips. Still,
she managed to quip, “Your mask is slipping, Darth Vader. Better come clean now.”
“And your ass is begging for a good blush for that, little bird.”
The rain suddenly stopped. Maybe it was just as stunned as she was—though Rayna wondered if
the astonishment on her face came close to the wonderment on Zeke’s. No, she was pretty
certain her bewilderment outweighed his, for in that moment, three insane realizations hit her.
She’d loved what he growled at her.
She’d loved how it stopped her breath.
She was terrified at the image it burst in her mind. Because she loved that the most of all.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
About the Author:
Hi there. I’m Angel: book lover, hopeless romantic, pop culture
geek and hopeless coffee addict.
I’ve been hooked on books since I was a kid, but it all got even
worse in my twenties, when I discovered romances—the hotter,
the better. Growing up in Southern California, with lots of surfertype manliness surrounded me, certainly didn’t help to assuage
the need for reading about delicious alpha guys and the women
who adore them. When I learned I had a knack for telling these
stories too, I guess you could say I was doomed—though my path
toward romance novelist took a few detours via a concertreviewing gig for my college newspaper (free show
tickets…backstage passes…that was sort of a no-brainer), artist interviews for a Beverly Hills
dance music mag, personal assistant work for a record producer, dance club disc jockey, and a lot
of fun in the hospitality industry.
These days, I still live in California, and have found an amazing alpha guy of my own who was
brave enough to marry me. We live on a street that looks like Brigadoon, with our beautiful
daughter and a crazy dog. I have the best life ever, and never forget to thank the Big Guy
Upstairs for it, either.
Some days all lives paths lead to
The Romance Reviews
The human-hater meets his
human mate...
Bestselling author Tory Richards
newest release!
Erotic Romance
July 2013
The Office Slave
Opal Carew
Sylvia loves to read erotica, and after
her latest read, she's developed a
sizzling fantasy about being forced to
submit to the sexual whims of four
incredibly hot business partners. Never
in her wildest dreams did she think she'd
have the opportunity to live out her
fantasy... until her friend decides to
make it happen.
Now she's about to become an office
slave… to four hunky men she's never
even met. But faced with the reality, can
she actually go through with it?
ISBN: 9781927444047
Publisher: Opal Carew
date: 12/12/2012
Genre: Erotic
Contemporary Short Story
Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble
Opal Carew Website
big, black motorcycle pulled into a parking space in front of them and the rider, tall and
broad-shouldered, climbed off. Sylvia watched as he pulled off his helmet, revealing dark,
wavy brown hair, a little long, and a stunningly handsome face. He unzipped his black,
leather jacket, revealing a black T-shirt stretched across his broad muscular chest.
Sylvia nudged Becca. "Wow, now I’m wishing I’d gone with a biker fantasy."
The sexy hunk noticed her staring at him and smiled, a gleam in his eye. Sylvia returned his
smile but glanced away, a little embarrassed at having been caught ogling him.
Becca grinned. "Sorry, too late. Your office slave fantasy is already set up. You wouldn’t want to
disappoint four hot guys, would you?"
"Man, if they’re even half as hot as that guy, I’ll be thrilled."
"Oh, you’ll be thrilled all right."
Sylvia watched the hot guy walk toward the office tower entrance, his black helmet tucked under
his arm.
He opened the door and held it for another man with a bicycle.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
"Morning, Slade" said the cyclist, who was also muscular and very fit looking, and had straight,
brown hair, thick and cut short.
"Hey, Neil."
"Man, have I been looking forward to today."
The biker, named Slade, shot a quick glance toward Sylvia, then back to his friend. "Me, too."
The door closed behind them and she could see them walking across the
lobby through the glass doors.
Becca glanced at her watch. "It’s almost time. You want me to go up with
The arrangement was to wait until a little after nine, to ensure all the men
were in the office by the time she arrived.
Sylvia shook her head. "No, Mom. I’m sure I can find it on my own." She
grinned. "Thanks for the ride."
"No problem. It was on my way to work."
"And thanks for setting this up. Thank Cal, too."
"Well, my fantasy came true. I think you deserve the same." Becca grinned again. "Just make
sure you call me later and let me know how it went." She shook her head. "Four guys. Leave it
to you, Sylvia." With that she turned and headed to her car which was parked a few spaces
down. She got in, then waved as she pulled into the morning traffic.
Sylvia walked to the entrance and opened the glass door, then crossed the lobby, her high heels
clicking on the marble floor. She glanced at the directory near the elevators, then walked down
the hall to the end and stopped at Suite 105. A sign said to ring the bell, which she did. Becca
had told her that these four men ran a software business, programming games. This office was
where they developed the games. Also, Becca had told her the guys were extremely goodlooking. All but one of the men used to work with Cal as strippers before they graduated from
college and started this business, so she didn’t doubt it.
The door opened and she gazed up at a totally hot hunk wearing a suit, his long, black hair tied
back. He had startling blue eyes that twinkled when he smiled at her.
"Are you Sylvia?"
She nodded.
He pulled the door open. "Please come in."
She stepped into the office. There was a large table in the center of an open space with a big
window overlooking the city below and several doors to offices along the wall behind it. There
was a hallway off to the side. The space had a lot of character, with red brick walls and a curved
arch around the window.
"I’m Mike Bairn. Come on into my office."
She followed him across the central area to the leftmost office. One man was working in the far
right office, but he didn’t glance up.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
"Am I early?" she asked as she sat down in the chair across from his desk.
"No, not at all. The others will meet us in the conference room in a few minutes."
She nodded, starting to feel a little nervous. Would her fantasy begin in the conference room?
Would they order her to take off all her clothes, then… other things. She’d been looking forward
to this fantasy for over a week—ever since Becca had told her she wanted to set it up, and that it
would be acted out by some of Cal’s ex-stripper friends—but now that the reality was here, she
had a case of nerves.
This man Mike was extremely masculine, and sexy, and he set her hormones humming, but could
she really just strip down and become his sex toy. Along his three partners, too?
Don’t freak out now. This is your fantasy!
Mike leaned forward, his hands folded on his desk. "So Cal told us what you were looking for. As
I understand it, your brother cheated us out of a sizeable amount of money and you agree to be
our sex slave in return for not prosecuting him."
Sylvia felt her cheeks heat as she nodded. In her head, especially after reading that book, it
seemed extremely sexy, but laid out blatantly like that made her feel brash and… well, maybe a
little slutty. And… maybe she was being… uh…brash. But both Becca and Jan had lived out their
fantasies, and both were pretty wild. Why shouldn’t she?
And when she’d become enamored of the fantasy, she’d never, ever
dreamed she’d live it out. What woman did? But now that she had the
opportunity, she really didn’t want to walk away.
"So, don’t get me wrong, I find the whole thing wildly sexy, but…"—he
shrugged—"we sound a bit mean, prosecuting your brother." At his grin and
the twinkle in his eye, she knew he wasn’t making fun of her, but he was
teasing her.
"Well, he did do you wrong."
"True. But then we’re distracted by a beautiful woman."
Her cheeks burned hotter at his compliment. "Well, a woman offering sex, anyway."
He chuckled and stood up. "Okay, I think we’re ready to proceed. The others know the story and
are ready to go and we all know the safe word is Tiger. The minute we step out of this office,
we’re into our roles. Okay?"
"Okay." Her stomach quivered as she stood up.
They walked to the door together, but before he opened it, he took her hand and kissed it.
Tingles danced along her skin at the delicate brush of his lips.
"Sylvia, thank you for including us in your fantasy." Then he winked and opened the door.
She followed him past the offices and down a hallway, then into a conference room. He gestured
for her to sit down. He tapped something on his phone, then leaned back in his chair.
"The others will be here in a few moments." His tone was more business-like now, rather than
the easy banter of before.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
The man from the other office walked to the chair next to Mike’s and sat down, glancing at her
speculatively. He had short cropped, sandy hair, a wide face with a square jaw, and warm, brown
eyes. He wore dark blue jeans and a shirt. A moment later, two more men appeared, and
Sylvia’s breath caught at the sight of the tall biker named Slade she’d seen entering the building
earlier. Man, this fantasy was getting better by the minute. And the man by his side was the
cyclist he’d spoken with at the door.
The cyclist’s short, straight hair was a little damp—he’d probably taken a shower—and he wore
dress pants and a striped shirt, accentuating his narrow waist and broad shoulders. Thoughts of
him naked in the shower, water sluicing over his muscular body sent a quiver through her. Her
gaze shifted to Slade, still wearing his jeans and T-shirt. Clearly, he was the rebel of the bunch.
They sat down and she glanced around the table at these four men, who used to be male
strippers. They were all gorgeous and soon she’d be having hot, kinky sex with them all.
"This is Sylvia, the woman we discussed a few days ago. She’s here because of the arrangement
to compensate for her brother’s debt," Mike said. "Sylvia, this is Granger Smith, Neil Craig, and
Slade Forrester."
She nodded as she gazed at their serious expressions. Tension curled inside her.
"So, she’s going to be our office slave, right?" Slade said.
"Yes, that’s the arrangement," Mike answered.
"Good, then I think we should start right off with seeing what’s underneath those clothes she’s
Her gaze locked on his and his charcoal eyes glittered as a slow smile spread across his face.
Heat washed through her.
"Excellent idea." Mike said.
About the Author:
Hi. I’m Opal Carew and I write erotic romance for St. Martin’s Press and
Samhain Publishing, and I self-publish stories. I also write romance as
Amber Carew.
So why do I like writing erotic romance? I like being able to push
beyond traditional boundaries. I like dealing with a female character
who is growing and evolving – questioning her sexual boundaries and
pushing past them. My stories usually include ménage a trois. It is
great fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing
heroes... or more.
These aren’t women who just jump into bed with anyone. They find
themselves in an unusual situation – something exciting and erotic –
but a situation where they have to push themselves beyond their comfort level. As a result, they
grow as a person. So often fear holds us back – of what others will think of us, of what we will
think about ourselves – and we don’t follow our hearts. These women push past that fear.
Check www.opalcarew.com to learn more about my books!
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Series vs. Standalone
By Tara Sue Me
“Do you prefer series or standalones?” I posted that question on my Facebook page the other day
and was curious to see what the results would be. I indicated that I thought I preferred
standalones, but when I went to name my favorites, they were all part of a series.
Surprisingly enough, series were preferred by the overwhelming majority of those replying. So
what is it about series that readers like so much? And is there a place for the standalone?
The Standalone
When I first thought about my answer, the standalone was my
first preference. The book tells the story about one couple, you
get your HEA in one shot, and best of all there’s no waiting for
the next part of the story!
Some of my favorite standalones include: The Sea of Tranquility,
The Duke of Shadows, and Sherry Thomas’s Private
Arrangements. The novels are well-written, self-contained, and
when you turn the last page, you’re satisfied.
With standalones, you’re never left scratching your head wondering what it was
that happened in the previous book. Or, if you’re like me, if it’s possible to skip
books one and two and just start reading at book three.
The downside to the standalone? If it’s a good book, you always want more.
There’s a little nagging voice that keeps asking, “Okay, but what happens next?”
The Series
By a large margin, most of the readers I questioned loved the series novel. It’s not hard to see
why. You get to follow a beloved couple through their ups and downs, laugh with them, cry with
them, and when you finish one book, there’s a promise of more to follow.
But several readers put caveats on their answer: “don’t make us wait too long
between books”, “don’t add unrealistic drama just to drag it out”, and “know when
to end it.”
So, how long is too long between books? My absolute, most favorite reads of all
times is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I’ve been hooked since Book One was
published in 1991. The last book is due out this year, which means
I’ve waited twenty-two years for seven books. Twenty-two years!
And the thing is, you won’t hear me complain at all, because the
books are just THAT GOOD.
But for the most part, I’m pretty impatient and I hate to wait. In fact, after
reading The Hunger Games, I vowed not to start a new series until all the books
were out. That vow lasted until a good friend recommended Tiffany Reisz’s The
Siren, and well, I’m waiting like everyone else to see what happens next!
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
The Standalone in a Series
One reader indicated they liked series in which one couple’s story is told per book, but you see
the couple appear in future books. I have to agree, I like this type of series a lot. You get the
excitement of a new love story, but you still get to catch up with your old friends.
Off the top of my head I can think of several authors who have done this and done it well: Karen
Rose, Cherise Sinclair, Maya Banks, and Joanna Bourne.
Frankly, I think this is the best of both worlds. It’s hard to say goodbye at the end of a book,
whether you’re writing it or reading it. With this type of novel, you don’t have to!
So in the end, which wins out?
I think they all do based upon what you’re looking for. I’m quick to remind my kids how boring
everything would be if we all liked the same thing. The same is true about books. Fortunately,
there’s enough variety to go around for everyone. Whether you’re a contemporary standalone
only reader, a lover of historical series, or an I’ll-read-anything-so-long-as-it’s-good, there’s an
author out there writing it for you!
About the Author:
Tara Sue Me wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. It would be twenty years before she
picked up her pen to write the second.
After completing several clean romances, she decided to try her hand at something spicier and
started The Submissive. What began as a writing exercise quickly took on a life of its own. An
avid reader of all types of fiction, she soon discovered she enjoyed writing a variety as well.
Tara lives in the Southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.
Visit her at: http://tarasueme.com
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
The Best Man
Adriana Kraft
Bad boy meets bad girl – is that all there
Passionate, hard working and every inch a
business woman, Chicago realtor Kitty
Paige likes her sex raw and edgy, and sees
no reason to limit herself to just one man.
Never married and not quite forty, the
striking blonde has successfully raised her
daughter, Susan, and is already pushing
her new-found freedom to the limits.
ISBN: 9780989469302
Publisher: B&B Publishing
date: 6/1/2013
Genre: Erotic
Contemporary Romance
Buy Links:
Adriana Kraft Website
Wealthy commodities middle-man and race horse owner Jared Jacobs is father of the best man at
Susan’s wedding. He is smitten by the vision in yellow who exudes sex as she escorts her daughter
down the aisle. Also single, the handsome mustached California ranch owner with mischievous eyes
views his sex life as a series of splendid love affairs, and sets out to make Kitty next on the list.
Together and apart, their chemistry is explosive, and their sparkling repartee and steamy sex catch both
partners by surprise. Jared is first to recognize he’s fallen in love. When Kitty panics, can Jared finesse
his every move and reel her in?
eaning against the banquet room wall, Jared Jacobs surreptitiously studied his prey one
more time. The tall shapely blonde in the canary yellow dress and yellow stilettos had drawn
his attention from the moment he’d seen her walking her daughter down the aisle.
She’d escorted the bride with her chin up and with a satisfied smile on her ruby lips. Apparently
she and her daughter didn’t mind thumbing their noses at custom. Unlike many mothers of the
bride he’d seen, this one did not carry a Kleenex in her hand. She probably didn’t have any in her
tiny clutch purse, either. Tears wouldn’t come naturally to the fair-skinned female exuding
confidence at the chapel and here at the reception.
She appeared to laugh easily enough with acquaintances at the table where she was seated. But
a careful observer would note that her laughter seldom reached her eyes. Like him, she was a
sharp observer. She’d assessed everyone in the room, particularly the men. When her gaze had
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
settled on his from across the room, she’d lingered ever so briefly before moving her attention to
the person standing next to him.
The small band began to play in earnest. Considerable banter and movement was occurring at the
head table, where the groom helped his bride to her feet. Jared smiled. The traditional first dance
was about to begin.
He glanced back at the woman in yellow. Why hadn’t she sat at the head table along with the
wedding party and the groom’s parents? He liked a woman who did things her way—to a point.
He welcomed a challenge of most any kind. He had little doubt the woman in yellow would be a
About the Author:
Adriana Kraft is the pen name for a husband/wife team writing
Erotic Romance for Two, Three or More. The award-winning pair
has published over thirty erotic romance novels and novellas to
outstanding reviews. “…scorching hot…refreshing...something to
read when you want straight up hotness.” “…filled with warmth,
blazing hot sex, well-developed characters…not for the faint of
heart.” Romantic pairings include straight m/f, lesbian, bisexual,
ménage and polyamory, in both contemporary and paranormal
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Vengeance Hammer
Jianne Carlo
Can a Viking forgive the woman who
cheated him of his vengeance?
All Dráddør has to do is kill the Earl of
Caithness, wed the man’s daughter, and
vengeance will be his and the oath to his
father will be fulfilled. But when he arrives
at Caithness, the earl is already dead,
poisoned by own wife. And when he finds
the earl’s daughter, the Lady Xára, he find
she’s unable to speak. Unwilling to be
thwarted, Dráddør marries her anyway to
claim the earl’s lands and title, knowing King Kenneth could not
fault him for later casting her aside.
ISBN: 9781939194367
Publisher: Etopia Press
date: 5/3/2013
Genre: Erotic Historical
Viking Paranormal Romance
Buy Links:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes and Noble
Jianne Carlo Website
Desperate to protect her family, Xára willingly weds the Viking. She must win Dráddør to her side
before he discovers the secret that will destroy all. But the Saracen warrior, Niketas, has other plans.
He needs the blood of two virgin half-immortals to win eternal life and the powers of the gods. Until
the god Heimdallr, Xára’s true sire, makes it clear he has other plans for his beloved daughter…
Vengeance Hammer, Excerpt #1:
“Look to me, Xára. You and I are the only ones in this chamber.”
She glanced to the right. Two Vikings stood on either side of the doorway. Olaf, Earl Tighe, Egron
and Ghazi and a few other warriors had entered the room and now formed a circle around the
“Look to me,” Dráddør commanded in a tone that brokered no quarter. “Close your—nay wait.
Can you hear me without seeing me speak?”
The frantic concern puckering his forehead made her lips curve. He looked nonplussed and
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
She nodded.
His relieved sigh tickled her cheek and she smelled the cinnamon from the sweet apple pudding
served to end the meal. “I will make this quick. First we will kiss. Then I will stroke your…your
woman parts to prepare them for my…my shaft. After that I will thrust inside of you. There will be
pain when I breech your maidenhead. I know not how much, but immediately I will withdraw.
Then I will have them take the sheets to be hanged and order everyone out.”
The lord almighty had interceded on her behalf. Relief loosened her bunched shoulder and neck
muscles. She had not realized the tension holding her limbs in paralysis until that very moment.
The reassurance and confidence he radiated seeped under her skin, warmed her icy nose, fingers,
and toes, and sucked away her rigidity. She smiled and traced the strong line of his jaw
marveling at the slight scratchiness of the stubble.
“Close your eyes for me now, mit sváss. Do not open them until I tell you.”
She did not understand the Norse words he’d spoken, but he said them like
an endearment, and Xára guessed them the equivalent of dearling or
sweetling. For some peculiar reason, the notion soothed her, and she
He brushed lips to her brow and, when she obeyed his order, to her lids.
The brief grazing caress left her skin sizzling. His mouth, hot and wet skipped
over one cheekbone. She gasped when he lowered his hips to hers and
nudged her legs apart.
A languor, compelling and bewitching, stole across her limbs. She now understood how men
seduced maids into abandoning their virtue, the feel of searing skin on searing skin more
enthralling and delicious than anything she’d experienced afore.
He lowered onto her and his legs, the thigh muscles hard as steel, forced her knees wide. His
groin, heated and forged with sharp planes and angles, settled on her, hipbone grazing hipbone.
The long, turgid length of his organ shifted on her belly when he caged her in an embrace so
intimate all she heard, felt, and smelled was him. Blazing heat, a heady spice, and a sinewy
strength she was cert had been carved in a blacksmith’s glowing furnace covered her in his
Her breasts became the center of the world when his chest scraped her nipples. She ached all
over and the need to touch him surged through her.
All restraint vanished in a flash when he sucked on her lower lip.
She set her palms to his neck, slid them down to his collarbone, trailed them down over the dip
between his shoulders and ribs, and rubbed them back and forth, delving her fingers into the
surprising softness of the downy hair dusting his flesh.
He shifted and his shaft abraded her tender woman parts. The secret nub she had explored during
the long, lonely nights at the abbey throbbed and burned. His mouth claimed hers and she was
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Vengeance Hammer, Excerpt #2:
Something tickled the tip of Xára’s nostrils. She snuggled away the irritation by wrinkling her
upper lip. Another tickle. She knuckled the spot. When the itch persisted, she blinked, and peered
from under hooded lids. A swirl of curly hair the hue of a deep, golden sunset came into focus,
then her fingers resting near a dark flat-tipped nipple, and, when her blurred vision cleared, a
massive, sinewy arm.
Reality crashed away the remnants of her sleep-fuzziness.
The Viking. The consummation.
His mouth on her breasts. His head between her thighs.
An inferno swept from the tips of her toes to the roots of her hair. She jerked upright.
Stared at the lazy half-smile dimpling Dráddør’s bronzed cheeks.
Had it all happened?
A thunderstorm of epic proportions burst around her.
The amused expression on Dráddør’s face vanished. He picked her up and
set her to one side. “Stay.”
She rubbed her eyes.
The pounding came from the barred door. She recognized the voice as that of Earl Tighe. What
was wrong?
“Dráddør!” Tighe shouted and hammered on the door. “The wind has picked up.”
The Viking bounded off the bed. “I will be but a moment.”
Bemused she followed the bunching of his arse cheeks as he walked.
After removing the bar, he opened the door a crack. “How close?”
“Before the midday,” Tighe answered.
Had the warriors taken leave of their senses?
“’Tis more of a reprieve than I had hoped for. Await me.” The door thudded shut.
Xára must have looked as bewildered as she felt for he said, “Yester eve, we spied two ships on
the horizon. They were becalmed. The wind has returned.”
Néill and Godfraid? So soon? Stunned, she leaned on one hand and followed him as he gathered
weapons, boots, and garments swiftly and efficiently.
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Erotic Romance
July 2013
“Know you the state of the castle’s food stores?” He shrugged on his tunic. “Yay or nay, Xára.
Quickly, we have little time.”
Food? He feared a siege?
She waved her hands in an I-do-not-know gesture.
“Find out. Also the state of the wells, fresh springs, all sources of water. Do you understand?” He
strapped on his sword belt.
Her stare was glued to his mouth and she kept nodding repeatedly.
“Are there secret passages in the cliffs? Does Néill know of them?” He laced his boots and
strapped a dagger to each calf.
While he had been engrossed in dressing and arming himself, Xára had recovered enough to
begin donning her own garments. Garbed in the torn chemise, she collected her garters,
stockings, and cyrtel.
“Xára, come to me. Write.” His sharp tone focused her scattered wits.
She hurried to him and traced, Aye. Many. Néill knows. Liam knows.
He gave her a brusque nod. “Aside from Liam, who has knowledge of the castle’s defenses?”
She did. Jennie. Her throat worked and she clenched her fists. So did Magnhildur. But it mattered
not this morn. Magnhildur was long gone from Caithness.
Dráddør opened the door, nodded to Tighe, and glanced over his shoulder at Xára who shook her
“The ships will be in the bay soon.” Tighe handed Dráddør a crossbow. “I have fires lit on the
battlements and oil cauldrons are a-boiling. I sent out spies before the vow saying. A large force
approaches from the East.”
Alarm coursed through her. Two forces, one from the sea, and one from land?
About the Author:
Award winning author, Jianne Carlo’s motto is simple: Alpha Me Please.
While strong heroines, exotic locations, and cultural differences are her
forte, she goes weak in the knees for warriors and alphas. Send her a
man with an attitude and she’ll find the right woman to tame him.
Jianne loves hot and spicy food, stomach-plunging park rides, and is kept
on her toes by her Viking husband of thirty-five years, and three,
handsome grown sons. There’s nothing she likes more than hearing from
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
Book #20 for Tory Richards!
Release date 7/15/13
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
With war looming and surrounded
by enemies, distrust and hatred
may well destroy them both
What's a girl to do when the guy
she falls for is married to another
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Hexually Obsessed
Sam Cheever
If lust were flames, there’d be scorch
marks across the ages!
Ardith is a time traveling witch, a member
of the Epoch Mages. Draigh is a Sorceri
Bounty Hunter. They H-A-T-E each other.
When they’re thrown together by the
elders to chase an evil rogue witch through
time and save the world from flesh eating
zombies, they quickly discover that, while
their minds may tell them they don’t like
being together, their bodies don’t quite
agree. In fact, if lust were flames, there would be a lot of scorch
marks across the ages!
ISBN: 9781419943287
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
date: 10/26/2012
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Erotic Paranormal Romance
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
Sam Cheever Website
he council had situated the portal for a protected escape in the case of another anti-witch
uprising. It was in the dungeons, separated from the upper floors by several barred wooden
doors to keep even the most rabid pursuers at bay long enough for the mages to make it
through. In addition, the doors were covered by enchantments tied to the almost non-existent
electrical signatures given off by non-magical beings.
Ardith hated the subterranean portal, which was the reason she’d returned via the one in the
village earlier that day. She’d been abandoned to die in a deep hole in the earth as a child, by a
non-magic stepmother who was terrified of the things she could do with her magics and thought
she was a monster. With years and perspective, Ardith now understood who the real monster had
been in that scenario and she’d learned to overlook the hatred her differences engendered in
Blackthorne had pulled her out of that hole a dozen years earlier, saving her life. Though he’d
never explained how he’d found her. He’d only say that the council kept tabs on its own, and that
they’d known she was theirs from the moment of her birth.
The scars caused by the terror of being buried alive had never lessened. Ardith was finding it
harder to breathe with every step toward the dark, dank caverns below the building.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Sirius licked her hand, whimpering. She forced her fingers to unclench long enough to scratch him
reassuringly above the glistening crystal collar she used to keep track of him.
The sorceri clomped down the stairs behind her, seemingly unaware of her plight.
Not that he’d care.
By the time she descended from the last slimy, concrete step, a fine sheen of sweat coated her
body and tremors shook her hands. Her breath wheezed in and out of her lungs.
Sirius nibbled her fingers in warning. “I’m okay, boy.”
“What is it, woman? The stench of your fear has been choking me for the last five minutes.”
She glanced over her shoulder, working hard to still the tremors rolling through her body. “It’s
nothing. I’m not fond of underground spaces. I’ll be fine.”
He stared at her for a moment and then inclined his head. She was shocked he didn’t offer some
cutting remark about her weakness.
“It’s not that much farther now.”
She started off again, her footsteps dragging forward with dread. Sweat ran in rivulets down her
brow and between her shoulder blades. The walls seemed to pulse inward, threatening to clasp
her in a slimy embrace. Shudders racked her terror-chilled body.
Without warning, the floor tilted, whirled and rushed toward her.
A hard pair of arms scooped her up before she crashed into the slime-covered stones.
“Good lord above, woman. You nearly broke your rock-encased head on the floor.”
Ardith’s vision darkened and churned with shapes. Despite the muzziness that tried to claim her,
she was vaguely aware of the hunter’s delectable scent surrounding her, as well as the enticing
heat of his big body. She had an overwhelming need to burrow into that heat. It promised to
chase away the shuddering cold infusing her body. Despite this need however, Ardith shoved
against his chest. “Put me down.”
“So you can kiss the rocks beneath my feet. I think not. Lie still. I can get us out of here more
quickly if you’ll stop fighting me.”
Ardith went limp. She told herself it was because of his promise to get her out of the hellish
dungeons. Deep down she knew his heat and delicious hardness were just too pleasant to escape.
Not when the alternative was the bowels of hell.
She stared straight ahead. Her hands clenched his shirt so tightly her fingers ached. Cool air
washed over her skin and she realized he was running. The rhythmic clicking of Sirius’ nails
alongside soothed her and she closed her eyes so she couldn’t see the walls rushing by. He
covered the remaining distance to the portal effortlessly, as if her weight were no more than a
feather resting on his hands.
Moments later she heard the whoosh of air that told her they’d entered the portal and the world
thickened, spinning flecks of minute matter across her skin as they defied time and space.
Suddenly they stood in the bright sunshine. Flowers scented the air.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Ardith took a deep breath, cleansing her lungs of the moldy, subterranean air, and opened her
eyes. She looked into his cool, silver-blue gaze and gasped.
For just a beat of her heart, she’d caught him looking down at her with something less than pure
It must have surprised him as much as it surprised her, for he all but dropped her to her feet.
They frowned at each other for a moment and then Ardith turned away, striding across the
meadows surrounding Devil’s Glen, the largest habitation of humankind in the continent once
known as America. “Come along, dog. You too, Sirius.”
A massive hand dropped onto her shoulder and yanked her around, dragging her up against a
massive, granite-like chest. Ardith gasped in surprise. She hadn’t heard him move, hadn’t sensed
him. Despite his size, he’d moved like a wraith—silent, quick and deadly.
Silver-blue intensity seared through her. “Don’t. Ever. Call me that again. Clear?”
Ardith glared back at him, swallowed harder than she would have liked, and her mouth opened to
snap something back.
A massive finger pressed against her lips. “Do not speak. You and I both know only poison comes
from between those lips. I’m trying very hard not to kill you at this moment.”
Their gazes held, collided. Ardith swore she could smell smoke from the explosive clash of their
wills. She refused to look away. Refused to back down. He was her inferior and she would be
damned if she’d let him intimidate her as he did his fugitives.
The air thickened with leaking magic. His heat and scent infused his energy, making her
traitorous body tighten with need. His finger remained pressed against her lips.
Sirius whimpered.
Finally Ardith opened her mouth and sucked the thick finger inside, pulling it deep. His icy glare
widened in shock. A beat later she pulled away. “Not everything that comes out of my mouth is
poison, hunter.” Turning away, she stalked toward the squat environs ahead. Smiling.
Ardith one, hunter zero.
About the Author:
Sam’s published work includes 40+ books of romantic suspense and
fantasy/paranormal. Her books have won the Dream Realm Award for
fantasy, have been nominated and/or won several CAPAs, were nominated
for “Best of” with LRC and The Romance Reviews, and have won
eCataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice award. Sam is published with Ellora’s
Cave, both Romantica and Blush; Changeling Press; Musa Publishing, and
Red Rose Publishing. She also publishes as Declan Sands, writing m/m
fiction, and under her own imprint, Electric Prose Publications.
Sam’s website: www.SamCheever.com
Declan’s website: www.DeclanSands.com
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
With Her Craving
Lorie O’Clare
A Lunewulf book.
Cariboo werewolf shifter Jarvis Alger
must be crazy. He’s fallen for a Malta
werewolf—the most-despised breed, due
to a rumored penchant for violence. The
more he tries to get Katrin out of his mind,
the more he wants to drag her into his den
for blistering-hot lovemaking. And when
Jarvis proves he cares about her, not her
background, she quickly succumbs.
ISBN: 9781419946776
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
date: 6/28/2013
Genre: Erotic Paranormal
Romance (Werewolf)
Buy Links:
Publisher Link
Author Site Link
Lorie O’Clare Website
Katrin Keller actually is only half Malta werewolf, but she’s
accustomed to the hate thrown at her by ignorant Cariboo and humans. That hatred killed her parents,
and sent her littermates Leisa and Magda on the run. But the law doesn’t care about her half-breed
status. Even the Cariboo cops will stop at nothing to eliminate her.
Torn between the man she loves and the heritage she won’t ignore, Katrin may have to choose between
Jarvis and the very blood that runs through her veins. But as their passion grows, she’s certain of one
thing—she’s willing to fight for both.
he’d dreamed about him, fantasized about him, and even made love to him in her
imagination. Katrin felt no remorse or regret over any of the times she’d obsessed over him.
She knew a perfect werewolf when she saw one, and what was the point of enjoying a male
in her thoughts who ran any less than that?
He stood with his hands on his hips, glaring at the lunewulf males. They looked like runts facing
him. Katrin studied his tousled blond curls that fell just above those rock-hard shoulders. His eyes
blazed blue the way the sky would just before turning the violent shades from a pending storm.
Katrin wanted to breathe in his scent, the only part of him she lacked in recreating him in her
imagination. She was instantly angrier when his spicy outrage prevented her from doing so.
“Leave this female alone,” he barked, his tone fierce. The large Cariboo dwarfed the two
lunewulfs. No sooner had he let go of the male he’d dragged out of her face than he lunged at the
second male. “Leave now!” he ordered.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
There wasn’t time to announce she was capable of taking care of herself before the two lunewulf
males backed off then hurried away from Katrin, leaving her alone with the Cariboo lunewulf
male. She tried reaching for her door handle once again. The male grabbed it first and when he
found it locked, gripped her shoulder and stared at her with dark-blue eyes.
“Keys.” He uttered the one word with an effort, as if still reigning in his temper.
“I can unlock my own door.”
“I’m sure you can.” His gaze left hers and traveled down her body. “Give me the keys or I’ll find
them myself.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to dare him to try. No male would shove her around or tell her
what to do. When she opened her mouth to speak, his attention snapped to her face. Katrin got a
strange sensation that he knew what she was about to say. The corner of his mouth curved as his
fingers brushed over her shoulder.
“Give me the keys,” he said, his tone softer.
“Fine.” She shoved out of his grip and turned slightly when she dug the keys out of her jeans
pocket. It wasn’t enough time to regain composure before his much larger hand scooped them
out of hers. “If you want the truck, take it,” she tried.
Katrin wasn’t able to back away. The male unlocked the truck door, opened it and grabbed her in
what seemed one fluid movement. She found herself with her back against the side of the driver’s
seat. The door shielded them from onlookers, and his incredibly virile body trapped her in the
limited space. She fought for breath.
“I don’t want the truck.” The sudden hunger in his eyes made his meaning clear.
As she sucked in air it was filled with his scent. This was what he smelled like. The
acknowledgment that she now had a well-rounded knowledge of him from all her senses brought
her pause. It took her a moment to realize she was damn near panting while staring at the
incredible muscular structure of his shoulders and chest.
He smelled of timber and the woods. There was a saltiness in his scent, possibly from body sweat
dried on his flesh. She breathed in the scent of laundry soap on his clothes, body soap and the
slightest hint of after shave, although the hint of whiskers on his jaw made it look as if he hadn’t
shaved that day.
None of those smells she breathed in mattered as much as what else she inhaled. Katrin picked
up on his determination, which was tart but not unpleasant at all. His spicy anger definitely
lingered. There was also a hint of something sweet mixed in with the rest. She raised her gaze to
those captivating blue eyes. It was sexual arousal.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice raspy when it became hard to breathe normally.
“You know who I am.”
It was possible the male saw her in her bedroom window the first night he’d undressed and
changed for his run. Katrin had made sure her lights were out and she’d lingered near the edge of
the large window after that. Each night this male had come to the same tree, stripped naked and
changed into the most glorious Cariboo lunewulf she’d ever laid eyes on. Now she knew his scent.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
About the Author:
Lorie O'Clare has published over 60 books. She continues to write for
Ellora's Cave. In 2008 she sold Tall, Dark and Deadly to St. Martins,
which took her name into mass market publishing. By 2012, Lorie had
eight books out with St. Martins.
Lorie writes full time, lives with a houseful of teenagers, her two dogs,
Dude, her Boston Terrier, and Lady, her Beagle. She also has two
American Short hair cats, Ernie and Tigger. She plans on writing until
she dies. "There is nothing more fulfilling than creating a new world
and walking through it with the people who live there," she says, as
her fingernails tap away at the keyboard.
She lied, stole his memory & his
seed. He will teach her a lesson
she won’t forget.
The Romance Reviews
Trapped, her only chance of
escape is to awaken the warriors
in the next cell.
Can Shannon let go long enough
to relax and give Dalton the
control he craves?
Erotic Romance
Can Keith learn to cherish the
right woman?
The Romance Reviews
July 2013
Soldier finds love with lovely law
student. Wounded, he returns to
rekindle the romance.
Photo Journal of Female
Domination and Male Servitude
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Ms. JayBee is a very good storyteller. Her characters are sensual and kinky. Her sex
scenes are explosively hot in a minimalist way. She sparingly uses fancy devices.
Instead, it's the mind fuck and undertone of D/s which is commanding the scene and
making it deliciously depraved… The author also does an excellent job of keeping the
reader's attention by creating unique scenes and scenarios as well as realistic
conflicts between characters…Read more.
OVER THE LINE Sierra Cartwright
I enjoyed this extremely erotic story with an incredibly sexy alpha male who knows
how to communicate…Michael is an excellent character with strong communication
skills, a powerful body, and an incredibly insightful mind. He always pays attention
to every detail about his sub making it his sexiest trait. Sydney was a strong woman
physically, and she loved a good outdoor adventure…Read more.
LOVE ON THE ICE Marisa Chenery
Incredibly sexy and touching… I liked everything about the story…[What] is
surprising [is] that this is hands down my favorite of the series. The writer used a lot
of humor in this one. The scenes with Carson the dog just cracked me up. Laci is
giving him a bath and all the time he's having these really lascivious thoughts…This
was a fun book to read and I enjoyed that very much. The steamy sex scenes
definitely put a gleam in my eye…Read more.
A MATING DANCE was an exciting story and my favorite book in the Ashwood Falls
series. I absolutely loved this book…Lia Davis only seems to get better with each
book…The story had a lot of suspense that kept me enthralled until the end…Read
SEDUCING LISELLE is a heartfelt and sexy romance...The sexual chemistry is
explosive between them and I love how active Liselle is in their sexual relationship,
especially given her past. John's kindness and gentle tenderness knocks at Liselle's
emotional walls and sets up an emotionally as well as sexually intense
relationship…Read more.
HALEY’S MAN Sara Daniel
This was one sexy short. I loved every bit of it and seriously I wanted more…Seth
and Haley are very believable characters. Kudos to the author to be able to do that
in so few pages…Read more.
The Romance Reviews
Erotic Romance
July 2013
Sophie Oak has kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for Logan to get his happily
ever after, and I have to say that BACK IN BLISS blew all of my expectations away!
Read more.
NEGOTIATING SKILLS is newly minted author Laurel Cremant's first published work
and I'm simply awed and impressed by it. Why? Because she chose the often difficult
short story format and she nailed it! …It was a thrilling read featuring a wellmatched couple and boasting a spicy and satisfactory conclusion that seemed
completely natural, unforced and unhurried…Read more.
HOT SPOT Tory Richards
Tory Richards excels in getting into the hearts and minds of both her hero and
heroine and presents both the male and female POV equally well. With gentle
humor, she briefly delves into familial disapproval and acceptance, while injecting
this spicy read with numerous passionate encounters and a positive message…At 34
pages, this is a quick and satisfying read…Read more.
This story was emotional in so many ways. The author did a great job of expressing
and making me feel the sadness, the love, the optimism, the confusion, and the fear
that was being experienced by these characters. I enjoyed the development of Katie
and Reuben's relationship and that Katie was constantly questioning her motives and
her feelings…The author did a splendid job with the expression of Reuben's emotions
as well, and that made the conclusion of the story honest and truly a joy to
read…Read more.
FANCY FREE Shelley Munro
This was a great story with unexpected twists
and turns. The plot really focused on how
much you can discover about yourself by
being open to new people and
experiences…Read more.
Scott Lewis
Diane Scott Lewis has crafted a witty, short
parody that made me titter at the author's
pointed euphemisms and veiled sexual
overtones. The characterization of Anya and
Libidinous is spot-on for the time period and
the cast of secondary characters add another layer of sauce
and sass to this enjoyable little gem…Read more.
A young woman pushed to the
edge by the only man who can
save her from it.
*This is not a comprehensive list. For more reviews of
Erotic Romance books, check out the site
The Romance Reviews
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