Labor Day Hop Giveaway

Friday, August 31

I hope you have a great and safe holiday weekend! If you're here I might as well make it worth your while with a giveaway sponsored by Romance @ Random. Good Luck! 



 


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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Daisy Harris featuring Pride & Politics

Thursday, August 30

The Republican National Convention is in full swing, and while I vote in every election I'm not really into politics....because frankly I don't care which party you belong to, Washington gets virtually nothing done.  

However, there is one thing that Washington does have going for it, the hotels!  And I'm not talking your run of the mill Holiday Inn....no we are talking the five star hotels with beds that are legendary for their comfort, to die for room service, and bars that not only have signature drinks, but also attract the kind of billionaires that have become so popular in romances recently (*cough* fifty shades of gray, bared to you & because you are mine *cough*)

My guest, author Daisy Harris, is here today to share with us how luxury hotels and politics play a part in her new erotic M/M romance, Pride and Politics, as well as a bit about the book.  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Thanks for having me at Seductive Musings, guys! Today I’m going to talk about 5-star hotels and my latest release, Men of Holsum College 6: Pride and Politics.

In Pride and Politics, my heroes Hunter and Steve spend a lot of time in hotels. Hunter Ford’s uncle is running for Vice President. And he has decided that having Hunter along on the campaign trail will make him appear more gay-friendly. However, Hunter wants nothing more than to make his uncle look bad. So, Chase Ford hires Steve as an “image consultant”, and Steve has the unfortunate job of trying to force Hunter to make like a good boy.

But though Steve struggles to keep the sexy hellion under control, he never struggles with the amenities at their hotels. Each and every campaign stop features a 5-star hotel with impeccable service, in-room dining, televisions in every room (including the bathroom), and, of course, chocolates on the pillow.

My challenge as a writer was to come up these imaginary palaces. Although my family travels a fair bit, we rarely (never?) stay at hotels. Our family owns a little travel trailer and we take that for our local weekends away. And oftentimes when we fly somewhere, we end up camping.

But since I’ve started writing, I’ve had the opportunity to attend writers’ conferences. And those always take place at large hotels. They may not be 5-star, but I’ve seen the inside of a few fancier places.

And, yanno, had drinks at hotel bars…

So, I combined my experiences with my imagination, and what I’ve seen on travel shows, and voilà! We have my Fairway Excelsior where Hunter and Steve stay in Virginia (modeled after the hotel that hosted the 2011 RT Booklover’s Convention.) The Grand Weathervane Seafairer where my boys stay in Florida (modeled after the 2011 RWA conference’s overflow hotel, combined with a place I stayed in Miami back in the mid 1990s.)

Not every hotel in Pride and Politics was modeled directly after a real place. The hotel my characters stay at in Chicago had a steampunk feel. But most involved some aspects of places I’ve stayed for romance conferences. Have you ever been to RWA or RT? If you read Pride and Politics, maybe you’ll recognize something from your room!

In closing…

I’m heading off to go camping tomorrow, and while I fall asleep with my family in our little 16ft camper, I’ll pretend I’m at one of the hotels in my imagination. I’ll call it the Great Bayside St. James, and it shall serve champagne upon arrival. There, I’ll be waited on hand and foot, pampered with spa treatments…

Of course, I shall also be a lithe, twenty-one year old twink. ☺

Unfortunately, I’ll wake up to the scent of my dog sleeping on my face and the sound of my kids clamoring out of their bunks. I’ll dust myself off and, bleary-eyed, microwave water for my morning tea.

At least I’ll have a power and electrical hook-up. Ah, the luxury!


Aloof and arrogant, Holsum College junior Hunter Ford has enjoyed all the perks of being from one of America's most prominent families. Hunter can have anything he wants—except time away from his family's political spotlight and the image consultant hired to keep him there.

Steve Camden’s job is simple—make Hunter toe the line for the duration of his uncle’s vice-presidential campaign. This is the break Steve's been waiting for and a chance to provide a better life for his deaf sister. But he didn't count on an attraction to the broken scion—one that rearranges everything Steve thought he knew about himself.

As Steve melts Hunter's icy exterior, the heat between them threatens more than just their hearts. Then a ghost from Hunter’s past shows up on the campaign, challenging Hunter’s stability, and straining Steve’s ability to defend and protect the man he’s growing to love.

Enjoy this special excerpt in the flipbook below:
advisory:  this is not work appropriate :)

or read it in a google document here.

Congratulations Daisy on your newest addition to the Men of Holsum College series!  Seductive reviewer Andrea has been a fan of this series and has reviewed many of them for Seductive Musings (Player and the Prude, Townie and the Twink, College Boys  & Pride and Politics--posted today).

If you'd like to learn more about Daisy Harris and the books that she writes you can find her at her website www.thedaisyharris.com, Twitter, Goodreads, & Holsum College Tumbler (which has some very explicit content & is definitely not work safe!)

To celebrate the release of Pride and Politics, the sixth book in her Men of Holsum College series, author Daisy Harris would like to giveaway a digital copy of a backlist book from this series to one lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: Pride and Politics by Daisy Harris

Title:  Pride and Politics*
Author:  Daisy Harris
Series:  Men of Holsum College #6
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand
Format:  e-book
Date/Year:  August 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

Aloof and arrogant, Holsum College Junior Hunter Ford has enjoyed all the perks of being from one of America's most prominent families. Hunter can have anything he wants—except time away from his family's political spotlight and the image consultant hired to keep him there.

Steve’s job is simple—make Hunter toe the line for the duration of his uncle’s vice-presidential campaign. This is the break Steve's been waiting for and a chance to provide a better life for his deaf sister. But he didn't count on an attraction to the broken scion—one that rearranges everything Steve thought he knew about himself.

As Steve melts Hunter's icy exterior, the heat between them threatens more than just their hearts. Then a ghost from Hunter’s past shows up on the campaign, challenging Hunter’s stability, and straining Steve’s ability to defend and protect the man he’s growing to love.



My Musings:

I’m a big fan of Daisy Harris.  Unfortunately, this was my least favorite in the Men of Holsum College series.  I had trouble connecting with the characters on a consistent basis throughout the book.  The flow of the story felt disjointed and I kept getting knocked out it.  I had to make a conscious effort to adjust my thinking and keep up, which has never happened for me with a Daisy Harris book.

If you’re familiar with the series you’ll already know Hunter Ford.  I’ve always thought of him as being conceited and cocky, basically he’s an arrogant prick.  Transforming a character I actively dislike into someone I can connect with is a huge obstacle for an author to overcome.  Harris did it though, she exposed a vulnerable side of him that has never been seen before.  I started to understand him and actually began to empathize with him. 

I was a fan of Steve’s the minute I met him.  He’s a great guy.  He stood up to Hunter and had all the nice guy qualities Hunter was lacking.  He had his priorities in life figured out and wasn’t going to allow a cocky kid (a.k.a. Hunter) to screw it up.  As Hunter and Steve grew closer, Steve really won me over by standing up for Hunter when he couldn’t do it for himself.

I was never pulled in by the two of them together.  I saw they were good for each other but it always felt more like a HFN (happy for now) type of romance.  As their relationship developed, the dynamics of the relationship changed.  Steve became very submissive to Hunter and Hunter once again became that cold and untouchable guy I didn’t like.  It seemed to work for them, but I couldn’t make the transition with them on an emotional level.  I felt very disconnected from both Hunter and Steve once they took the turn into a more dominant/submissive relationship.

Pride and Politics was a strange book for me.  I really liked the first part of the book but once the relationship changed, I couldn’t go with it.  I always have had problems with books requiring me to understand characters craving a D/s relationship and I’m sure that’s what caused me to lose interest halfway through.  Whatever the cause, my lack of connection with the characters made this just an average book for me.

Ratings:

Overall: 2.75
Sensuality level: 3.5

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:
 




*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Julie Ann Walker featuring Hell On Wheels

Wednesday, August 29

Are you a fan of the strong, silent type?  If so then I think author Julie Ann Walker has a hero just for you!  Her hero, Nate Weller from Hell on Wheels is one of those types of men, and Julie's here today to share a bit about him and his nickname, "Ghost".   Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Hey-ho!  Julie Ann Walker here, happy to be on Seductive Musings talking about my oh-so-delicioso hero, Nate "Ghost" Weller and how he came to have that chilling and tempting nickname...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  Au contraire, my dear Shakespeare.  When you're a spec-ops guy, your nickname has meaning.  And for Nate, the nickname "Ghost" pretty much sums up his demeanor whether he's out in the field, eye trained on the sites of his sniper rifle, or listening to Ali babble in that way of hers that, despite his best intentions, he finds simply irresistible.  He's stealthy, aloof, and prone to long periods of silent observation.

From a scene in the opening chapter.  Told from Ali's point of view:
Nate Weller certainly wouldn’t welcome her. For Pete’s sake, he didn’t even like her. Always eyeing her with such cold calculation. Those fathomless black eyes of his following her like she was some strange bug and he was the dispassionate scientist charting her activities.

Sheesh.

Okay, so maybe she had the tendency to talk too much. But that was partly his fault because he never talked, instead remaining constantly and aggravatingly aloof, which was a state so totally foreign to her that she, in turn, started jabbering like her mouth was attached to a motor.

Which was lovely, just lovely.

And here's what Frank "Boss" Knight has to say about him:
Nate had been tagged “Ghost” because he was so damned stealthy in the field. But ever since Grigg Morgan, Nate’s all-time best friend and ace spotter, died, especially considering the way Grigg died—and great wasn’t that just one more happy thought Frank would rather not have today?—Nate’d given new meaning to the nickname. Now he was Ghost because he was a walking dead man. No emotion. It wasn’t like the guy had been a big bowl of jolly to begin with, but now? Damn…

So if you're a sucker not only for Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome, but also for the strong, silent type, pick up a copy of HELL ON WHEELS and try not to fall in love with Nate "Ghost" Weller.  I dare you!


Black Knights Inc.—Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.

Hold On Tight...

Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits.

Rough Road Ahead

Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.



Congratulations Julie and thanks for being my guest today!  Nate's book Hell on Wheels is the first book in the Black Knights, Inc. series.  The second book, In Rides Trouble releases next week, and then the third book, Rev It Up comes out at the beginning of October.  Delicioso indeed!

If you'd like to learn more about Julie Ann Walker and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.julieannwalker.comFacebook, and Twitter.

To celebrate the release of the first book in the Black Knights, Inc. series by Julie Ann Walker, her publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a print copy of Hell on Wheels to one lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win and read all the rules in the Rafflecopter entry form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Monday's Muse

Monday, August 27

I can't tell you how excited I am that fall is almost here.  I think I mentioned that last week, but it deserves repeating :)  I've been super busy lately with not only the blog, but with the design business & family,  so school starting up this week full time is perfect timing.

One of the benefits of designing book covers is scouting out images to make into covers.  It takes a lot of time, but when you find images like this week's Muse it is all so worth it!  I am so in love with this image, that I think I've pretty much decided to buy it to make a into cover myself, even though I don't have a commission for it.  Because frankly I love it so much that I can't NOT do a cover with it.  It calls to me :) 

As romance readers what do you think?  If you saw our Muse on a book cover would you be more likely or less likely to buy it...even if it was from an author you didn't know?  Would you rather see it as a Romantic Suspense or a Paranormal Romance cover, or something else?  Do you like the wet look?  Or would you rather have the same model, but in a cowboy or Highlander setting? I could easily be persuaded, LOL.  Tell me what you think, and maybe I'll design a cover and let you all have some input on some of the choices...what do you think? 

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I will have some reviews for you, not sure which ones yet
  • Wednesday:  Author Julie Ann Walker will be my guest to share with us the first book in her new Black Knights Inc. Romantic Suspense series, Hell on Wheels (think motorcycle bad boy heroes)
  • Thursday:  M/M author Daisy Harris will be my guest to celebrate the release of her new book, Pride and Politics.  Seductive Reviewer Andrea, is a big fan of this author and the Men of Holsum College series so I can't wait to learn more about them.
  • Friday:  More reviews for you and maybe something fun for the last holiday weekend of the summer.
  • Saturday:  I'll be taking part in a blog hop with lots of great prizes.  I normally don't post on the weekends, but decided to make an exception since I think you will enjoy what is being given away :)
  • Tempting Trailer: This week's Tempting Trailer is for the new Isabella Bradford Wylder Sisters Trilogy.  I've been curious about this author and the series.  The book trailer didn't really tell me much, so I'm still on the fence about whether or not to add it to a list of books I want to read.  Have you read the first book, When You Wish Upon a Duke?

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Beth Kery, Kieran Kramer, Jillian Stone, Tessa Dare, Anna Randol, Christie Craig & Shana Galen!!!



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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Join Me @....

Friday, August 24

Happy Friday!

If you are interested in joining me, I'll be at the Romance Reviews Today chat room tonight talking books, usually a bit of good food, occasionally a few prizes, and just about anything else goes, LOL.   Really there is no agenda....just to shoot the breeze and have some fun.

It's a chat I like to visit on Fridays because it has a great group of ladies, including some some well known authors! Chat starts at 9:30 pm EST in the RRT Chat room. Hope to see you there :)



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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review & Giveaway: 50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People by Don and Debra MacCleod

Title:  50 Ways to Play:  BDSM for Nice People *
Author:  Don MacCleod and Debra MacCleod
Series: n/a
Genre:  non-fiction
Publisher:  Tarcher
Format:  paperback & ebook
Date/Year: August 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

This simple and highly accessible non-fiction guide to BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism) features 50 edgy and erotic adventures to sample and is the perfect companion for the millions of fans of the Fifty Shades trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed), the Anne Rice/A.N. Roquelaure Sleeping Beauty trilogy (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, Beauty's Release) and Sylvia Day's Crossfire novels (Bared to You and Reflected in You). This instruction book for couples contains one warning: you should try this at home!

From turning your ho hum bedroom into a “Red Room of Desire,” to exploring the fine art of Japanese rope bondage—and a few other ideas perhaps better not mentioned in polite company—50 Ways to Play invites couples who might otherwise think of themselves as “average” or “nice” to walk on the wild side. According to husband-and-wife writers Debra and Don Macleod, sex should pack a punch—it’s meant to catch you off guard. The fifty sexy and surprising “ways to play” offered up in this book are guaranteed to turn up the heat in your sex life.

My Musings:

I was offered the chance to review a book called 50 Ways to Play:  BDSM for Nice People.  I thought it might be interesting since my husband and I have played around with BDSM a little bit but never delved very deeply into it.  I decided I had better run it by my husband first though, just in case he didn’t share my interest in exploring.  His response was a very enthusiastic, “Hell Yeah!” so I agreed to do the review.

We received the book and I wasn’t expecting much.  It’s a rather small book, just a bit larger than a regular paperback, and it’s right around 100 pages long.  How much detail could they really go into in such a small book?  My husband and I had a plan going into the review.  We would both read it, discuss our thoughts on the book as a whole, discuss the ideas presented in the book, decide if we wanted to try any of those ideas, and then we would get to the fun part of trying those ideas.  

I read the book first and then gave it to my husband.  It’s a quick read and we were each able to finish it in a couple of hours.  We both thought it was a very user friendly book and appreciated the small bits of humor that were thrown in.  It starts out with the basics and gives easy to understand descriptions of the methods and tools used in BDSM.  I liked that everything was presented and it was up to us to pick and choose which things were appealing to us.  My husband was happy to see that the authors covered such a wide range of topics.  They went from extremely basic concepts all the way through more advanced practices.  We agreed that this book would be good for people just discovering BDSM or with only a little bit of experience.  We fall into the slightly experienced category so it was great for us. 

When we finally had some uninterrupted, child-free time, we sat down and discussed all 50 ideas in depth.  My husband and I regularly talk about fantasies and turn-ons, so I was surprised at how many topics the book brought up that we had never discussed before.  There were things we both dismissed immediately, some things only one of us found arousing, things we had been doing previously, and then the new things we both found appealing and wanted to try.  We each learned some new things about our partner that day.  We ended up talking and shopping for new toys online for a couple of hours.  It was fun and a nice bonding experience for us.  

There were a few things we weren’t impressed with.  We both thought that kitchen utensils as sex toys or spanking devices weren’t a great idea.  My husband thought the detailed thrusting techniques for penetration were common knowledge and most of them should not have been included.  I disagreed and told him that if he already knew all of them, he should have been using more of those techniques previously  :)  I thought the anal play and anal sex sections were lacking in a lot of details.  My husband disagreed and said I have an abnormal interest in all things anal and it was more than adequate for normal people :) 

In the end, we were already practicing 24 items, we dismissed 19 items due to lack of mutual interest, and that left 7 new things we plan on trying.  We have a fairly well stocked toy box but decided to add a few more things to it.  My husband has been wanting a special piece of furniture for a while now and finally convinced me that it would be a good idea with the help of this book.  The others were variations in practice or behavior we plan on adding.  Some of them have already been tried and approved and others are still waiting to be tried.  None of them are going to drastically change our sex life, they will simply add a bit more variation in what we’ve been doing.  I think the biggest benefit for us was getting to know each other and our turn-ons a little bit better and we have this book to thank for that.

Ratings:

Overall:  3.75
Sensuality level:
  It’s a non-fiction sex manual so it’s not exactly erotic on it’s own.  The sensuality is up to you when trying what you’ve learned :)
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Other Reviews:





 

To celebrate the release of 50 Ways to Play:  BDSM for Nice People I have one copy of the book to giveaway to a lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win....

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Myla Jackson featuring Boots and Leather

Thursday, August 23

Do you have a bar you like to visit frequently...for the atmosphere, great drinks, music...whatever?  

I've never been a big drinker, and as a result have never really found a bar that I would consider a "hangout".  But these types of places seem to be a prevalent "must have" in most romances with cowboys in them.  I guess if I lived out West I would need to rethink that because if there is even a shred of truth to the kind of cowboys you can find in a place like that then I've been missing out!

Author Myla Jackson is my guest today to share with us her fictional bar, the "Ugly Stick Saloon", and her newest romance Boots and Leather, that brings her characters together in a very steamy sexy story.  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

 More on the Ugly Stick Saloon

The Ugly Stick Saloon is a bar that's located halfway between the towns of Temptation and Hole In The Wall, Texas. It's owner, Audrey Anderson, earned the money she paid for it with by stripping. When she bought the bar, she gave up stripping but modeled the bar after Coyote Ugly. She's made it a habit of hiring "strays", women who have deep issues, down on their luck or just plain hurtin'. Each one has to perform in some way, whether it's to sing, dance or sling liquor bottles. The cowboys in the tri-county area love it. But she doesn't forget that women like to dance and drink just as well as the men and she sponsors a Lady's Night Out where her male strippers (think Magic Mike) entertain.

Things can get wild, and sometimes Ugly, but you're guaranteed a good time at the Ugly Stick Saloon. So pull up a bar stool and sit a spell. You never know what's going down until it's going down at the Ugly Stick Saloon!


This biker chick longs for the open road…until two Kiowa cowboys shift her gears.

Eight months ago, Libby Jones parked her motorcycle in Temptation, Texas, to work at the Ugly Stick Saloon. Since then she’s grown to love the bar’s feeling of family, but now it’s time to hit the road. The longer she stays, the greater the risk her father’s investigators will track her down.

Yet she can’t resist taking the Gray Wolf twins up on their offer to go riding on their ranch. Even though getting involved should be the last thing on her mind.

Ever since Libby landed at the Ugly Stick, Mark and Luke Gray Wolf have been trying to capture her attention. She's blown them off at every turn, until now. Their plan: expose her to the delights only twins can provide—and persuade her to stay for the long haul.

Libby’s longing for a life she can’t have makes her delay her departure just a heartbeat too long. Her hesitation gives her past time to walk through the saloon door, and all hell to break loose. Now the twins have a fight on their hands to teach her that being free doesn’t mean she can’t let go of her heart.

Warning: Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon. Pull up a chair and set a spell, you're gonna wanna hear this tale about two hot Kiowa twins and a leather-clad biker chick. Multiple partners, a little BDSM, and one skinny-dippin' scene so hot it’ll make the pages sizzle!


And for your reading pleasure, enjoy this special additional excerpt (um....it's a hot one, just so you know)

With ten minutes to cool her heels, Libby slowed and paused at the entrance to backstage. A flash of naked skin snagged her attention and she tipped her head to the side to get a better view of what was going on.

Libby’s heart fluttered at the sight of Audrey perched on a stack of boxes, completely naked except for her bright red cowboy boots. Her legs wrapped around Jackson’s equally naked body as his hips rocked, grinding against hers.

One of Audrey’s arms circled Jackson’s shoulders as she rode him, leaning close to kiss the side of his neck. In her other hand, she held a long leather whip. She glanced across the room, her gaze connecting with Libby’s. Audrey winked and flicked the whip, a loud crack splitting the air.

“Careful with that. You almost got me,” Jackson warned.

“Had I been aiming for you, I wouldn’t have missed. Now, ride me, cowboy,” Audrey demanded.

Libby’s breath hitched and she stepped back, just enough so she couldn’t see. Heat rose from her chest into her cheeks. She’d never spied on another couple having sex. But Jackson and Audrey had looked so very hot and sexy, and the kink factor of the whip made Libby’s blood burn.

Audrey’s moan drew Libby back to the entrance like a sailor to a siren. She couldn’t help watching as the couple engaged in hot and kinky sex.


Congratulations Myla and thank you for being my guest today.  From what I've read so far it looks like Libby's got her hands full with those two hunky heroes!

If you'd like to learn more about Myla Jackson and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.mylajackson.com, blog, Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the release of Boots and Leather Myla will be giving away a digital copy of either Sex Ed, or Boots and Chaps to a randomly drawn commenter during the book tour.  The more blog stops you comment on, the better your chances of winning!  Here's how you can earn an entry at Seductive Musings...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Leave a meaningful comment or question for Myla (and by meaningful I mean it has to be more than "great post", "great excerpt", "thanks for the giveaway"...or "I'd love to win"...  tell me what you thought was great, or what you liked...) (good for 1 entry)
How to enter:
  • Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries
Rules and disclaimers:
  • The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s).
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!



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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: Boots and Leather by Myla Jackson

Title:  Boots and Leather*
Author: Myla Jackson
Series: Ugly Stick Saloon #2
Genre:  Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Format: E-book
Date/Year:  July 24, 2012
Reviewed by: ELF

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

This biker chick longs for the open road…until two Kiowa cowboys shift her gears.

Ugly Stick Saloon, Book 2

Eight months ago, Libby Jones parked her motorcycle in Temptation, Texas, to work at the Ugly Stick Saloon. Since then she’s grown to love the bar’s feeling of family, but now it’s time to hit the road. The longer she stays, the greater the risk her father’s investigators will track her down.

Yet she can’t resist taking the Gray Wolf twins up on their offer to go riding on their ranch. Even though getting involved should be the last thing on her mind.

Ever since Libby landed at the Ugly Stick, Mark and Luke Gray Wolf have been trying to capture her attention. She's blown them off at every turn, until now. Their plan: expose her to the delights only twins can provide—and persuade her to stay for the long haul.

Libby’s longing for a life she can’t have makes her delay her departure just a heartbeat too long. Her hesitation gives her past time to walk through the saloon door, and all hell to break loose. Now the twins have a fight on their hands to teach her that being free doesn’t mean she can’t let go of her heart.

Product Warnings
Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon. Pull up a chair and set a spell, you're gonna wanna hear this tale about two hot Kiowa twins and a leather-clad biker chick. Multiple partners, a little BDSM, and one skinny-dippin' scene so hot it’ll make the pages sizzle!her heart.

My Musings:

The Gray Wolf twins, Mark and Luke, are envious of the happiness that their older brother Jackson has found with his love Audrey and although they are happy to participate in a little kinky sex with them, they want a woman of their own.  They have decided that Libby Jones is perfect for them but she may not return their regard.  Libby has secrets that make her reluctant to establish a lasting relationship with anyone but these charismatic and sensual twins may find a way to change her mind if they can keep her in town long enough to weave their magic.  These guys are attractive because they are dominant self-assured males yet they are not arrogant.  They know their assets yet they worry about Libby and her reactions to them and take pains to reassure her and make her feel wanted.

Libby is a woman fleeing her past who has adopted a persona that she still needs to fully accept.  She is tired of living up to someone else’s idea of who she should be and is ready to stretch her boundaries, especially her love life.  She gets exposed (literally) to her boss’ proclivities and learns that there is no shame in going after what she wants, she just has to quit running from her desires.

An entertaining and spicy novella about a portion of one woman’s journey to discover what she truly wants from life.  Libby projects a ‘bad girl’ image and pretends she is a biker chick but is initially a little reluctant to follow her desires until Luke and Mark finally convince her that they really want to get to know her better.  I enjoyed the blend of bossiness and coaxing that the twins employ and their obvious comfort with each other as they each work at achieving a mutual goal...to win Libby’s heart and keep her in their lives.  Another fun chapter in the saga of those luscious women from the Ugly Stick Saloon who find hot sexy males to fulfill their every desire.
Ratings:

Overall:  4 1/2 stars
Sensuality level:  5 =Erotic(a):  Some role-playing, voyeurism, spanking, menage with two hot cowboys and lots of loving outdoors, indoors and everywhere in between

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Delilah Devlin featuring Cowboy Lust

Wednesday, August 22

Later this week I'll have my review for Lorelei James's newest Blacktop Cowboy novel, One Night Rodeo (hint:  I liked it, I liked it alot!).   I've been craving more cowboys since I finished it, which is why the new anthology, Cowboy Lust, edited by Delilah Devlin is just what I've been looking for.  Especially since it has a nice mix of authors that I already know and love, and new authors to discover.

Delilah Devlin, both the editor as well as a contributor to Cowboy Lust, is my guest today to share a bit about the anthology with some great excerpts and a bonanza of prizes!  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Welcome back to Seductive Musings Delilah!  Generally we have just authors that visit Seductive Musings, so it’s exciting to get a perspective from an editor of a book, who is also one of the authors.  Can you tell us what you like to read in an erotic romance that makes it more than just great sex, but also a great love story too?  And what you find so seductive about cowboy heroes?

Of course the sex has to be great, but I want to fall in love with the characters, want to care about them too. I don’t want their journey to be too easy. I like conflict. I like to suspend everything I know about romance and what has to happen (the Happy Ever After), and worry about them making it. I love when a writer can sink me deep into their world. I want to see, smell, feel everything those characters experience. Not everything has to be sweet and romantic; they can have flaws, do terrible things, but I love it when they learn to feel regret and remorse for their mistakes. When they are tested, pushed to their limits, they grow, and I believe they will make it because they’ve suffered and still want to be together. 

As for what makes cowboys so seductive? The hat and jeans set the stage, but what’s inside them is what is so damn sexy. They are fiercely independent, stubborn, tend to see things in black and white, right or wrong. So when they face something that tests their boundaries and makes them rethink their values and beliefs, especially when they learn to compromise because they’ve fallen in love and HAVE to budge off their high horse, it’s like watching a warrior fall to his knees before the woman he loves. It catches your breath.

As the editor of the book you have a great amount of influence in the stories that are selected for the anthology.   How do you go about selecting the stories that were ultimately included in the Cowboy Lust anthology?  Did you approach certain authors to write them, or did you choose them from submissions?  And were there certain elements or themes in a story that you looked for in order to create the perfect blend for this collection that defines and reflects the types of books you like to read?

First, the stories have to be well-written. I have a limited amount of time to read through the submissions and make my selections. If I see something intriguing, but it needs a lot of work, I have to pass because I simply don’t have time to fix it. Next, I have to look at the body of all those well-written stories and figure out what feels repetitive, what themes, settings, conflicts feel like something I’ve already seen. I discard the ones that aren’t quite as unique. When I am doing that last pass through the stories, I look for the ones that pull the most emotions from me. If they make me feel something, if they can transport me to those worlds, I hope the readers who buy the collection will feel the same way too.

When I put out a call for submissions, I send it to writers’ loops and publish it on my website. I let friends of mine know as well, so they have the opportunity to join the fun. But I don’t play favorites when it comes time to select the final stories. It’s nice when the stories are from writers I already love, but in the end, I want the best stories and most unique voices to populate these collections. I have multi-pubbed writers and brand newbie writers in my collections. If they wrote something I loved, they made the cut.

As to what I was looking for? In my call for submissions, I always ask for surprises. When I put out the call for the Cowboy Lust book, I knew I’d get some very familiar themes and tropes. I asked writers to “imagine greater”. In the end, I was able to put together something that while it will feel familiar enough a cowboy-living reader will enjoy it, she won’t be bored either!

Can you tell us a little bit about Cowboy Lust, who the authors are that are included and the themes of the stories in the book?  And can romance readers expect to find a “happily ever after” at the end, or something a bit more “in the moment” ?

Here is a very brief description of all the stories in the collection:

  • “Riding Double” by Cari QuinnThese gorgeous twins are up to double trouble, until a sexy cowboy makes a move neither expects 
  • “Under the Southern Cross” by Cheyenne BlueAn American in the Witness Protection Program plans a dalliance with a jackaroo in the Australian Outback 
  • “Banging the Cowboy” by Randi Alexander A drummer in a country band surrenders to her craving for some rough lovin’ with a big, wicked cowboy 
  • “Ladies Love Country Boys” by Cat JohnsonFate and car trouble lead a workaholic city girl into the arms of a rodeo cowboy 
  • “Drought” by Michael BrackenAfter a wealthy rancher rescues the town’s new schoolteacher, he puts an end to her sexual drought 
  • “Roped” by Charlene TegliaA Christmas wish brings an ex-rodeo star a second chance to tie down the one who got away 
  • “Rough Stock” by M. MarieA fallen rodeo star struggles to regain her confidence and her buckle with the help of a sexy ranch hand 
  • “The Ranch Hand” by Sedona FoxBucking against being married off to a stranger, a ranch owner’s daughter falls for the new help 
  • “Small Town Famous” by Lissa MatthewsIron bars stand between a girl with a shot gun and the cowboy who made her the talk of the town 
  • “The Storm” by Tahira IqbalA rescue from a near-fatal car wreck during a storm reignites the desire between a woman and the cowboy she loves 
  • “Caught Unawares” by Nena ClementsThe cowgirl next door finally gets her man’s attention after one hapless dunk in a pond exposes her desires 
  • “Some Like It Dirty” by Kimber ValeHer designer dress is no match for his rough-riding hands 
  • “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chaparrita:  The fastest shot in the territory has a big secret—and he’s out for revenge 
  • “Runaway Bride” by Delilah DevlinAfter leaving him at the altar, a headstrong bride is captured by her cowboy and taught the pleasure of sensual discipline 
  • “She Don’t Stay The Night” by Anna MeadowsA vaquero famous for riding wild horses shares a secret of the Mexican plains with his employer’s daughter
All are romances. And they all leave you with the feeling everything’s going to work out fine in the end for each couple.

Not only are you the editor of Cowboy Lust, but you also wrote one of the stories in the book, "Runaway Bride".  Can you tell us a bit about the characters, and what is your favorite scene or moment for your story?

I have a certain following who love my cowboy stories. They expect a sexy, hot romance, but they like the humor laced through the stories as well. I didn’t want to disappoint. Here’s the opening of “Runaway Bride.” I think you’ll see what I mean. :)

Jackson Lowry cussed softly when he spotted the blue lights spinning at the roadblock just ahead. Too late to turn back now. He’d only draw more attention.

Squaring his jaw, he rolled down his window and forced a polite smile as he peered into the darkness at the sheriff’s deputy checking IDs with a flashlight.

As soon as the deputy waved the car in front of him to move along and turned to watch the black pickup roll forward, Jackson’s tension eased a fraction.

Maynard Colby’s expression turned from crisply professional to worried in a second, as soon as he recognized Jackson. “Dammit, Jackson, where have you been?”

“Around. Why?”

A soft moan sounded beside him, and Jackson reached surreptitiously beside him to tap the tarp covering his precious load.

“You didn’t hear?” At Jackson’s vague expression, Maynard stepped onto the truck rail and leaned toward Jackson. “It’s Sammi Jo. Her car was found in Shooter’s parking lot, the door wide open. No one’s seen her. Looks like she’s been snatched.”

Jackson cleared his throat. “How serious is this gettin’?”

“It’s only been a couple of hours, but Sammi Jo’s daddy is buckin’ to get the sheriff to call in the FBI, the CIA, the ATF—and whatever other agency his money can buy to find her. I tried callin’ you, but your phone kept goin’ to voicemail. After the way things went down at the weddin’ last Sunday, I don’t blame you a bit for layin’ low, but I thought you’d wanna know.”

Another sound, this time a snort, sounded beside him.

Maynard’s gaze cut to the dirty tarp folded over a moving bundle on the floor of the cab. A ruddy eyebrow shot up. “What’s goin’ on, Jackson?”

Jackson rolled his eyes, then pulled up the corner of the tarp to reveal a bound and gagged Sammi Jo whose eyes glittered furiously back at both men.

Maynard barked a laugh, then tightened his lips. “This time you’ve gone and done it, boy. This is seriously fucked up.” He laughed again, then tipped his hat to Sammi Jo. “No disrespect meant, missy.”

Jackson cleared his throat. “Don’t s’pose you can forget about this?”

Maynard’s gaze shot to Sammi Jo again, raked her once as though ensuring she didn’t look to be in any real danger, then tipped back his cowboy hat. “Tell ya what. I’ll put a bug in the sheriff’s ear, but she better come walkin’ through the po-lice house doors come Monday mornin’.”

“Not a word to her daddy?”

One corner of Maynard’s mouth crooked up. “Man’s already caused enough problems. Deserves to cool his heels a couple o’ days. Don’t do nothin’ I’ll have to arrest you for.”

With a nod, Jackson rolled up the window and pulled past the barricade. In his side mirror, he watched as Maynard crossed to the other deputy’s car and both men bent over laughing.

“See that, Sammi Jo?” he murmured, not expecting an answer because he’d made double-damn sure he’d tied some serious knots and gagged her pretty mouth. “I’m not the only one who thinks you need a good paddlin’.”

Obviously every creative person wants to push the envelope a bit, which some readers may or may not like. Which stories in Cowboy Lust would you say will appeal to someone who is “dipping their toes” in the erotic romance waters, which ones may raise a few eyebrows, or *smile* raise a few temperatures?

I have stories that will have general appeal to most Western romance readers, but I have a few that stray beyond familiar territory. In particular, “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chapparita and “She Don’t Stay the Night” by Anna Meadows. But I won’t say why. The reader will just have to find out for herself!

What are five fun & sexy facts about this book, and the stories it contains, that readers would love to know?

  1. Not all the stories are set in the American West. I have stories set in Canada, Mexico and Australia.
  2. Not all the stories are contemporary. “The Ranch Hand” by Sedona Fox and “Raney’s Last Ride” by Chaparrita are historical.
  3. Not every story is written by a woman. “Drought” was written by crime writer, Michael Bracken.
  4. One story was written by an author who has never published before. “Caught Unawares” was written by Nena Clements, and this is her first experience ever being published!
  5. NYT Bestelling author Lorelei James, famous for her Rough Riders and Blacktop Cowboys series wrote the foreword!

These cowboys ride hard...

There's a reason Western romance novels never go out of fashion. The cowboy is an iconic figure embodying the dichotomy of the fiercely independent, earthy alpha male crossed with the male as a nurturer and protector. Cowboys take care of their women in every possible way. Wild and wayward women are gentled by the scent of horse and cow and the sight of sun-kissed skin, the feel of work-hardened thighs and arms, and the sound of a deep-voiced Texas drawl.

Contributors at the top of the Western romance genre, including Charlene Teglia, Randi Alexander, Cat Johnson, and editor, Delilah Devlin, have corralled strong and memorable characters ranging from ranch hands to cattle barons, to a rodeo star and a feisty female gunslinger. Traversing romantic settings from Montana, Texas, California, Mexico, and the Outback of Australia, the stories in Cowboy Lust are risky and risqué, full of studs in spurs hot enough to send you to a vacation on a dude ranch!

Enjoy this special excerpt from "Riding Double" by Cari Quinn

Jack Benton looked up from the saddle he was shining when he heard the crunch of gravel. He saw his arrivals but noticed the sky behind them first, only because it was a lot darker than it had been just a few moments before. The dark, threatening clouds cast a pall over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, making them appear foreboding rather than welcoming. A tangle of tumbleweeds blew past him just before the rising wind made its presence known with a howl.

Storm’s moving in.

Noting the twin blondes marching toward him, he suspected it would be storming on more than one front. His quick inhalation brought with it the scent of rain. So that made two things he could expect: an imminent downpour and, if his tightening Levis were any indication, instant and irreversible cock strangulation.

What the hell were they doing here?

Danica and Colleen Yardley were knockouts on their own. But together? Strutting down the drive in similar summer outfits, long blonde hair flying behind them, pouty pink lips tilting in matching come-hither smiles… Dear God. In a second he’d need to lower his zipper to keep from popping the teeth.

“Evenin’, ladies.” Jack tipped his hat to them and shifted his body closer to the saddle. If they saw the wood he was sporting, they might get the wrong idea. Then again, those deviously sexy smiles suggested they were offering a lot more than the last woman who’d stopped by hawking magazine subscriptions. “What brings you out this way?”

“Just out for a stroll. And since your ranch is the only one within miles, this seemed like a place to stop and wait out the storm.” Danica’s voice had an extra added purr to it, which didn’t help the tightness in his crotch. She walked forward and set her petal-pink fingertips on the edge of the saddle stand. “Don’t s’pose you’d let us stay here for a while? Just to be safe.”

Jack lifted his face to the wind and took another breath. Ozone stung his nostrils. “We have a few minutes. More than enough time for you to head home.”

“Well, now, that’s not very gentlemanly.” Colleen stepped closer and ran a predatory hand over his damp chest. The sun had been out in full force all day, and he’d only climbed down from Silba a little while ago. He probably stunk of sweat, but Colleen sure didn’t seem to mind. Strange, considering she’d been nothing more than polite both times he’d met her this weekend.

He cocked a brow and looked from one woman to the other. Did they really think they had him snowed? He knew which of them was which without any trouble. Months of working alongside a woman, you got to know her little tics. The way she nervously shoved her hair behind her ear, how her eyes would get all squinty when she was trying to think of something to say. Whatever game these two were playing, he still knew exactly which woman leaned up to lay her soft wet lips on his.


Congratulations Delilah!  Thanks for not only being my guest today, but also for putting together such an amazing anthology.  Michele's review of Cowboy Lust also posted today in case you'd like to know what she thought about each story and the book overall.

To learn more about Delilah Devlin and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.delilahdevlin.com, Facebook, Twitter,  and Goodreads, as well as her blog.  There's also a website just for the book that has all sorts of good cowboy things, you can check it out here if you are so inclined :)  And it looks like Delilah is busy putting together a new anthology featuring SEALs, Delta Force, SWAT and other sexy alpha heroes!  Can't wait for that one :)

To celebrate the release of Cowboy Lust, Delilah is giving away a ton of books during her blog tour in addition to a $50 Amazon GC grand prize!  Here's some of what you could win:
  • Cowboy Bad Boys (digital) by Randi Alexander
  • Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Lissa Matthews
  • Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Charlene Teglia during her stop
  • Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Cari Quinn (x4)
  • "I'll show you my e-reader if you show me yours" T-shirt (Large size) from Kimber Vale
  • Reader’s Choice of any backlisted ebook by Delilah Devlin during her stops (x2)
  • Signed copies of Cowboy Fever by Delilah Devlin to two winners
  • Love in Short Order (digital), a romance by Michael Bracken writing as Rolinda Hay
  • Stud (digital), an erotic romance by Michael Bracken writing as Rolinda Hay
The more blog stops you comment on, the better your chances of winning!  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Finish this sentence:  Madeleine never imagined when she woke that morning that she would find...  (good for 1 entry)
How to enter:
  • Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries
Rules and disclaimers:
  • The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s).
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!



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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Review: Cowboy Lust by Delilah Devlin, et al..

Title: Cowboy Lust*
Author: Anthology
Series: N/A
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Cleis Press
Format: Trade paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  August 7, 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

These cowboys ride hard...

There's a reason Western romance novels never go out of fashion. The cowboy is an iconic figure embodying the dichotomy of the fiercely independent, earthy alpha male crossed with the male as a nurturer and protector. Cowboys take care of their women in every possible way. Wild and wayward women are gentled by the scent of horse and cow and the sight of sun-kissed skin, the feel of work-hardened thighs and arms, and the sound of a deep-voiced Texas drawl.

Contributors at the top of the Western romance genre, including Charlene Teglia, Randi Alexander, Cat Johnson, and editor, Delilah Devlin, have corralled strong and memorable characters ranging from ranch hands to cattle barons, to a rodeo star and a feisty female gunslinger. Traversing romantic settings from Montana, Texas, California, Mexico, and the Outback of Australia, the stories in Cowboy Lust are risky and risqué, full of studs in spurs hot enough to send you to a vacation on a dude ranch!

My Musings:

Thanks to the Rough Riders and Blacktop Cowboys books by Lorelei James, I’ve discovered that there’s more to erotic western romances than just the usual ropin’ and ridin’, so I was excited about having the opportunity to review the “Cowboy Lust” anthology. The fact that Lorelei James herself has contributed the foreword was an extra special bonus for me. 

In her foreword, James outlines in a most personal way just what the cowboy contributes to the romance genre, how he can exist anywhere in the world, and sometimes may not even be a “he” at all. The collection of stories that follow her words bear them out most effectively. I was happy to discover that not only did I enjoy nearly all of them, but that there were a distinct few I loved enough to have already reread more than a few times. As with any anthology, some will resonate more deeply with readers than others, but there’s something here for everyone who loves a cowboy.

~~~***~~~

Riding Double by Cari Quinn

This story was a great way to kick off the anthology. Danica is attracted to Jack, the handsome neighbor who frequently stops by her new farm to help out, and she’s sure he’s attracted to her. She senses he’d like to make a move on her, but she doesn’t want to be tied down to someone else when her real job will be taking her out of town for weeks at a time. Her “solution” is to set up a surprise threesome with Jack and her identical twin, Colleen. But ultimately, the surprise is on her.

I loved the light sexy tone of this story, and enjoyed getting to know these characters, however briefly. I give it 4 stars.

~~~***~~~

Under the Southern Cross by Cheyenne Blue

In western Australia, the cowboys are jackaroos and the wide open spaces aren’t big enough to lose yourself when killers are on your trail. Sam has traveled here all the way from Los Angeles to hide from the drug cartel boss who wants to prevent her from testifying for the FBI. Jake is the hot jackaroo who drifted into Malory Station looking for temporary work. There’s a strong physical attraction between them but nothing really happens until Jake casually mentions someone asking about a woman visiting from the U.S. and offers to take her out with him on his fence-mending trip.

This story went from slow and lazy to fast and furious in a heartbeat, but mostly managed to keep the plot twists from overwhelming the focus on Sam and Jake. I only wished we’d had more of the earlier, less frantic time to enjoy their growing attraction before everything went crazy. I give it 3.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Banging the Cowboy by Randi Alexander

This was one of my favorite stories in this anthology. It’s the story of two people who both need time to discover that the person who keeps catching your eye will be the one who catches your heart. Annie Paris plays drums for a local country band and enjoys checking out all the available men at the bars where her band appears each weekend. But the one man she keeps noticing on the second weekend of every month is Rafe McCord, the man they call the Big Cowboy. And after several months, it’s finally clear to Annie that Rafe has been noticing her just as much. The only question remaining is whether or not either one of them will make a move to do more than just exchange heated stares.

This story had the two things I want most in an erotic romance - hot sex and real affection between the hero and heroine. It wasn’t just about the sex, but that didn’t keep the sex from being just as incredible as each of them had hoped. I give it 5 stars. 

~~~***~~~

Ladies Love Country Boys by Cat Johnson

What do you do when you’re stranded with a broken-down rental car on the outskirts of Austin, with no prospect of rescue for several hours? You walk on over to the rodeo which just happens to be within walking distance to hang out for a while and see the sights. It’s a rare lucky break for Julia Craven that those sights happen to include a handsome cowboy waiting his turn to ride a bull. By the time the tow truck arrives to rescue Julia, she’ll have her preconceptions about her preferences in men all tossed around like that cowboy on the bull.

This was a classic erotic encounter, with a heroine out of her element looking for a fling, and a hero happy to oblige the lady. The story was well paced and the ending was satisfying. I give it 4.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Drought by Michael Bracken

It’s clear that the title of this story refers to more than just the lack of rainfall in the corner of Texas where Cade Garrett meets Amanda Wilcox. She’s the new schoolteacher in town and he’s the handsome rancher who immediately takes charge when he finds her injured in a ditch on the side of the road. When they meet again later after she’s healed, he takes command once more to escalate their connection to the next level. Clearly the drought is nearly at an end.

This was the perfect length as a short story, but it would have just as easily worked as the opening chapter for a longer story with Cade and Amanda. I liked that Cade didn’t take advantage of Amanda in her injured state, but was content to bide his time until she was ready to take the next step. I give it 4 stars.

~~~***~~~

Roped by Charlene Teglia

Unlike the previous stories in this anthology, the hero and heroine in Roped already have a history. Regan and Jonas spent one perfect night together after high school graduation, before she left town the next morning for law school while he was still sleeping in the hotel bed they’d shared. For ten years, Jonas had no idea where she’d gone or if she’d gotten pregnant. Now that her sister has contrived to get Regan back in his path again, he’s going to keep her tied up until she admits she still wants him as much as he has never stopped wanting her.

The chemistry between Regan and Jonas was riveting and the way her sister Nancy got them together was wonderfully devious, but I couldn’t help thinking that ten years was an awfully long time to be unable to find someone if you really wanted them in your life that badly. Still, their reunion was a fun read, and the ending worked well. I give it 3.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Rough Stock by M. Marie

This was one of the stories that didn’t conform to my usual expectations of a cowboy romance. It’s told from the point of view of Dawson, a young ranch hand in love with Kennedy, his employer’s daughter. Kennedy is making her first bronco ride since her recent near-fatal fall while Dawson is remembering fondly how she’d ridden him just the day before. The rest of the story is all about those two rides and how they intersect at the end.

I liked the way this story was told with almost no dialogue and how the symmetry between Dawson and Kennedy’s physical encounter and the physical danger of her ride led up to the neatly understated ending. I give it 4 stars.

~~~***~~~

The Ranch Hand by Sedona Fox

It took me a few pages to realize that this story was set in a more distant past, at a time when a father could include the hand of his only daughter in the sale of his cattle ranch. Charlene still can’t believe that her beloved father would sell her off to to a wealthy businessman from another state and that she is expected to marry this man she hasn’t even met. When the businessman sends Jesse Broadwell to check out the ranch - and her - Charlene vows not to change her routine or put on any silly girly airs to impress this man. But she can’t help but be attracted to him physically, and the feeling is definitely mutual. At least she’ll have this chance for one moment of happiness before she spends the rest of her life married to the highest bidder.

This was one of my favorites, although I couldn’t help thinking that I wouldn’t have been as forgiving as Charlene by the time the story ended. I loved her scenes with Jesse, and how they warmed up to each other gradually over the week before her future husband was due to arrive. I give it 4.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Small Town Famous by Lissa Matthews

This is the story of a loud and proud couple who just don’t care what anyone else thinks about them. Tommy Martin and Bethann Pritchard have been together for eighteen years but never managed to make it legal. Tommy didn’t think they had to get married because everyone in town already know Bethann was his. Bethann, on the other hand, is getting mighty tired of every barely legal buckle bunny shoving their assets in her man’s face and has reached her breaking point. Now that Bethann is locked up in the town jail for threatening the sheriff’s daughter with a double barrel shotgun, Tommy is finally seeing the appeal of putting a ring on her finger at long last.

I am sad to say that I did not like reading this story very much. It seemed like it was just trying too hard to be wacky and fun, but to me it just seemed forced and silly. I was embarrassed for Tommy and I pitied Bethann for staying with someone who clearly had no idea what marriage meant to her. I give it 2 stars.

~~~***~~~

The Storm by Tahira Iqbal

Another story, another heroine in need of rescue. Candace and Brent meet when her SUV is caught in a flash flood and he saves her from being drowned inside it. They return to his home, where we soon find out is that they are already known to each other and have been unhappily apart for several months. When Candace thinks about what she has nearly lost, she realizes that it’s not too late to reclaim what she needs. Sometimes it takes nearly dying to know what you are missing in life.

Although Brent almost seems too good to be true, I enjoyed his quiet confidence in Candace’s ability to finally see what was right in front of her. I give it 3.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Caught Unawares by Nena Clements

I always enjoy romances where the heroine is the little sister of the hero’s best friend, and this one was no exception. Reece had always been attracted to Thad’s little sister, Lacy, but would never have dared to risk the anger of his best friend by ever making any kind of move toward her. It took Lacy going after what she wanted and what she wanted was Reece.

The whole story is just the one scene of Lacy doing to Reece what the title implies, and it ends exactly as it should. I give it 4 stars.

~~~***~~~

Some Like It Dirty by Kimber Vale

Once again we have a heroine out of her element in need of rescue and a cowboy who is ready to help her out. Jenna would be happier in a big city, surrounded by designer boutiques and well dressed men to treat her with deference. Thanks to her hybrid rental car dying on the way to her next client meeting, she’s out in the middle of nowhere, wondering how she’ll get back to civilization. Then a stranger appears on a horse, ready to lend a helping hand. That hand - as well as the rest of him - is covered with dirt and goodness knows what else, which makes Jenna understandably leery about getting up on a horse and riding away with him. But when he takes the decision out of her hands, she can’t help but be intrigued and aroused by him...and wondering what she might find under all that dirt.

If only we could all have a hot dirty cowboy ride up and save us like this! I should have seen the ending coming up Main Street but I was too distracted by how great they were together once Jenna got a look at her cowboy after his shower. I give it 4.5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Raney's Last Ride by Chaparrita

This was probably my favorite story of all, but it was more sad than happy. It is a tale of the Old West, where bad things happen to good people and how it changes those people in drastic ways. There is great love and great loss, and terrible brutality. There is also justice for those who bide their time and will stop at nothing to make it happen.

I don’t know if this story is for everyone, but it touched me deeply and I was glad that the ending was as happy as it could be, given all that had happened before. I give it 5 stars.

~~~***~~~

Runaway Bride by Delilah Devlin

This was another story where the hero has literally captured the heroine in order to force her to see that she belongs with him, but it didn’t work as well for me as the others. Sammi Jo was supposed to marry Jackson but she left him at the altar and now he’s got her tied to his bed so she can’t get away again without an explanation.

I got the same feeling from this as with “Small Town Famous” - that the story was trying too hard to be cute and wacky, but failing miserably. The reason that Sammi Jo had run away from her wedding was ridiculous (IMHO) and both she and Jackson were so annoying that by the time they finally made love, I just didn’t care. I give it 2 stars.

~~~***~~~

She Don't Stay The Night by Anna Meadows

The last story in the anthology takes place in Mexico, where Buckley Carver, a homeless blond boy, appears at the door of Adabella’s house. She is only fifteen and is sure he is nearly the same age. They connect on an emotional level and grow up with the implicit understanding that they will one day be together. When Adabella is nearly eighteen, her mother sends her away to live with her aunt and learn how to be a lady. She worries that Buckley will forget her, that he will hurt or kill himself with his need to ride wild horses bareback. Then she returns and they begin the rest of their lives.

It’s hard for me to say much about this story because I just didn’t connect with it at all. It seemed to be so intent on being lyrical and literary (and long!) that I lost interest before Adabella had even returned from the stay with her aunt. It’s likely that the problem is entirely with me and not the story. But it seemed incredibly out of place when compared with the other stories and was a disappointing finish to an anthology that had started out so well. I give it 2.5 stars.


Ratings:

Overall: 4 (Although there were a few stories I didn’t especially enjoy, the ones I did love more than made up for that.)

Sensuality level: 4 (Each story had at least one explicit sex scene, some more graphic than others but nothing over the top, with the possible exception of “Raney’s Last Ride”. It has one intense scene with dubious consent that some may find disturbing but makes sense within the context of the story.)

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I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy one...so in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
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