Feature & Giveaway: Stephanie Julian featuring An Indecent Proposition

Friday, January 17


Happy Friday.  Today we are featuring the books of Erotic Romance author Stephanie Julian.  Enjoy! 

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One woman. Two men. Half a million dollars. One night...

One night. That's all Erik and Keegan want with Julianne. And they've come up with the perfect plan: Offer her a half-million dollars. Julianne is in debt up to her eyeballs due to her mother's illness. Five-hundred-thousand dollars would pay off her bills and give her a start on a new life. All she needs to do is have sex with a man she's never met.

An explosion left Erik with scars, physical and psychological. Work is his only refuge. Until he sees Julianne through a surveillance camera. And he discovers a desire he thought had been burned out of him. Keegan has watched his best friend retreat from the world for too long. If his desire for Julianne brings him back to life, Keegan will bring her to him, whatever it takes.

But what happens when the night is over? That's the best part of the story...



Salon Games series #1

Antiques dealer Annabelle Elder’s life is nowhere near as passionate as the erotic art she collects. A cheating ex-boyfriend and her business have seen to that. So when she attends a New Year’s Eve party at Haven Hotel, she sees a chance to blow off some steam. But she never expected to meet anyone like Jared—or to experience such passion in his arms…

Handsome, rich, and charming as hell, Jared Golden brought his Midas touch to Haven Hotel—and created an anything-goes pleasure palace on one floor to cater to his special friends and their very special desires. After falling in lust with Annabelle at first sight, seducing her was easier than he expected. What he didn’t expect was to be seduced in turn…

But unrestrained passion in the bedroom is not the only spark between Annabelle and Jared. Their mutual attraction is confounded by their separate pasts. Caught in an ever-growing web of painful secrets and sensual fantasy, will they be able to face the truth about themselves and trust in true love?



Salon Games series #2

Tyler Golden is all about control. It’s an attitude that helped him and his brother build Haven, a boutique hotel in Philadelphia. The only thing Tyler couldn’t control was his fiancée’s death. It left him emotionally guarded, and willing to go only so far with women: satisfying his sexual needs.

Kate Song knows the feeling. Her sole focus is her dream to be a lingerie designer. She’s not about to be distracted by any man. No matter who he is. Or how demanding. Or forceful. Or captivatingly sexy. Or so she thought.

Tyler has the power to make her dream come true. Who can say no to such a dominating personality? Who would want to? Not Kate. Offering her body for submission is one thing. But giving her heart and soul is another. Now Tyler may discover that the one woman who taught him to love again is the one woman he might not be able to keep.



Stephanie Julian is a recovering English major and a reformed reporter who enjoys making up stories much more than writing about real life. She writes sexy series that combine heat with heart. The Salon Games series (BY PRIVATE INVITATION, NO RESERVATIONS, upcoming OVER EXPOSED) and AN INDECENT PROPOSITION are contemporary erotic romances. She also writes five paranormal erotic series: Magical Seduction, Lucani Lovers, Forgotten Goddesses, Darkly Enchanted and Lovers on the Fringe. And writes the straight contemporary romance series, DeMarco Investigations.

She is happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and is the mother of two sons who love her even when they don't have any clean clothes and dinner is whatever they can find in the fridge.  If you'd like to learn more about Stephanie and the books she writes you can connect with her on her website, on Facebook and on Twitter as well as sign up for her newsletter.

To celebrate the release of AN INDECENT PROPOSITION, the complete serial, Four (4) winners will EACH receive a copy of AN INDECENT PROPOSITION (winners choice of print or digital) (US or Canada only) courtesy of Stephanie Julian.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below.

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Review: An Indecent Proposition by Stephanie Julian

Title:  An Indecent Proposition*
Author: Stephanie Julian      
Series: n/a
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Moonlit Night Publishing
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: 12/30/2013
Reviewed by: Michele

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

Summary from the publisher:

One woman. Two men. Half a million dollars. One night... 

One night. That's all Erik and Keegan want with Julianne. And they've come up with the perfect plan: Offer Julianne a half-million dollars. Julianne is in debt up to her eyeballs due to her mother's illness. Five-hundred-thousand dollars would pay off her bills and give her a start on a new life. All she needs to do is have sex with a man she's never met.

An explosion left Erik with scars, physical and psychological. Work is his only refuge. Until he sees Julianne through a surveillance camera. And he discovers a desire he thought had been burned out of him.

Keegan has watched his best friend retreat from the world for too long. If his desire for Julianne brings him back to life, Keegan will bring her to him, whatever it takes.

Julianne is young, adventurous and not afraid to take what she wants. And she wants these men.

But what happens when the night is over?

Well, that's the best part of the story... 


My Musings:

AN INDECENT PROPOSITION starts out as the story of how a young woman at the end of her financial rope agrees to sex with a stranger for an outrageous amount of money. Julianne’s father left both her and her mother in a deep financial hole on his permanent way out of town after her mother’s bout with breast cancer. Five hundred thousand dollars is too much for Julianne to turn down, even if it means a night of sex with a stranger. What she didn't count on was losing her heart to not just one, but two men who were worth so much more to her than the cash she desperately needed.

Keegan and Erik have been inseparable since they met in college and soon after formed their own wildly profitable bio-metrics company, but not in the way most people thought. They prefer to share a woman sexually, and had done so successfully until Erik was nearly killed in a lab explosion. The years of reconstructive surgeries and painful rehabilitation have done little to restore Erik’s confidence in his appearance, and his withdrawal from the world weighs heavily on Keegan. But when Erik spots Julianne working as a catering server at their company event, he knew he had to have her. And Keegan will do everything he can to make sure that happens, even if it means walking away from both of them for good.

AN INDECENT PROPOSITION was originally published as a five part e-serial, and that was how I originally read it, waiting impatiently for weeks between releases. The passionate romance and scorching sex scenes kept me reading, even as the individual cliffhangers made me crazy wanting to know what happened next. But I wondered if the read would be just as satisfying when glued together as one complete story.

The good news is that yes, AN INDECENT PROPOSITION does work well without the forced reading delay between each of its five segments. Some serials have a real issue with maintaining continuity, one that isn't obvious until repackaged as a full length book, but this never happened here. The sections flow naturally into each other, even though the originally defined separations are still used (i.e. five sections labeled as “Chapter One”), and the transitions hold up with the closer proximity.

Best of all, the relationship between Erik, Julianne and Keegan still packs the emotional punch that kept me reading for months. It never veers into overkill, even with the compressed timeline and often problematic “insta-lust” trope transforming a bizarre business transaction into a 3 way affair that may or may not become a lasting 3 way relationship. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read AN INDECENT PROPOSITION in both incarnations, and I’m looking forward to a follow-up book featuring Erik’s sister Katrina.

Ratings:

Overall:  4 stars
Sensuality level:  4
(MFM menage, light BDSM, voyeur play, semi-public sex)

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Review: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Thursday, January 16

Title: The Countess Conspiracy*
Author: Courtney Milan
Series:  Brothers Sinister #3
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher: Self published
Format:   Ebook and trade paperback
Date/Year: December, 2013
Reviewed by: Blue
 

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

Summary from the publisher:

Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership...even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.


My Musings:

Sebastian Malheur is a fraud.  He has been both revered and reviled for the scientific work he presents, but  the work isn't his own, at least, not entirely.  His childhood friend, and secret love, Violet, is brilliant.  But when she attempted to present her own work, she was politely rebuffed.  She's a woman, you see, and can't be taken seriously.  So, in order to show the results of her extensive  experiments and theories about genetics, Sebastian agreed to present them as his own.  In fact, he has been helping her with her experiments and is very knowledgeable, though she is the genius.  After years of this deception, Sebastian feels he has had enough.  He lets Violet know that he is finished, and that she will have to find someone else.

Violet is now widowed.  She married fairly young, and her marriage, while not a real love match, at least started out civilly.  But circumstances changed, and the events that happened left Violet ill, with no sense of her own self worth, and walled off from emotions.  She directs all her passion to her work.

Sebastian has loved Violet since he was a teenager.  She is a little older than he, and married when he was sixteen.  Sebastian then became something of a rake as he grew older.  Even when Violet was widowed, he could tell that he had no chance with her.  While they worked closely together and were great friends, she froze up at any touch from him.  Sebastian's changing their status quo acted as a catalyst.  It shook up their relationship, and though it was a long and rocky road, little chinks started to appear in Violet's armor.

Violet broke my heart.  It was painful to learn the story of her marriage and her family, and to see such a bright woman get beat down by life and feel she truly has no value.  Sebastian, however, was true hero material.  He continues to love her and protect her, even while he is dealing with his own heartache over his dying brother, whose respect he can't  seem to earn.  Their happy ever after was hard won, but very satisfying.

Once again Courtney Milan has written an intelligent, yet emotionally fulfilling book.  She has become one of my must read authors.  This is book three of the Brothers Sinister series, and we do get glimpses of Oliver and Robert, cousins to Sebastian, and subjects of The Duchess War (book 1) and The Heiress Effect (book 2).  Highly recommended.

Ratings:

Overall:  4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3


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Review: I Take You by Nikki Gemmell

Wednesday, January 15

Title: I Take You*
Author: Nikki Gemmell
Series: Bride Trilogy #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: 12/31/2013
Reviewed by: Michele 

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

Summary from the publisher:

The next alluring novel from internationally bestselling author Nikki Gemmell-a companion to The Bride Stripped Bare and With My Body-the final installment in the captivating "Bride" trilogy

"One of the few truly original voices to emerge in a long time." -Time Out New York

Internationally bestselling author Nikki Gemmell has spent the last decade exploring the hidden lives of women. First, in The Bride Stripped Bare, she offered readers a glimpse into the life of a new bride, a young woman whose dark and sensual double life shocked readers. Next, in With My Body, Gemmell showed the world a wife and mother, a woman marked by memories of lost love and deep secrets. Now, in the final installment in the "Bride" trilogy, Gemmell plunges into the mind frame that With My Body concluded with-the story of a woman safe within her marriage, yet bursting with desire and the will to act upon it.

Under her Chanel suit and designer lingerie, Connie Carven is no longer the typical banker's wife. When Cliff's horrible skiing accident shifts the balance of their relationship, Connie becomes a willing submissive to her husband's every desire. Cliff is eager to explore new, and troubling, avenues of passion. Connie, ever the dutiful wife, follows wherever he leads. While at first she enjoys a perverse sense of freedom within the ever-tightening bonds of her marriage, Cliff's dark and seductive desires soon consume her entirely. She finds herself surrendering to an act that will forever remind her that she belongs to her husband alone-to be unlocked only by him, whenever he pleases.

But, it is also this act that awakens Connie from the numbness that has taken over her life. In the communal garden of her posh Notting Hill home she meets Mel and discovers the thrill of true intimacy…and the price of risking everything for it.


My Musings:

I TAKE YOU is the story of a woman whose life and happiness are in stasis, frozen from the time that her husband became paralyzed from the waist down after a terrible accident not long after they were married. Connie had married Cliff because she felt expected to marry exactly this sort of man (handsome, charming and incredibly rich) to order be successful in her own life. But Cliff cares more about making more money and manipulating Connie’s sexual submission than in actually making her feel loved or appreciated. Desperate for any sort of emotional connection in her marriage, Connie agrees to letting Cliff exploit her in ways that become increasingly destructive to her own sense of self. It’s only at the lowest point in her existence that Connie is able to find love in the arms of another man, and in the process, rediscover herself.

Although I haven’t read the previous two books in Nikki Gemmell’s Bride trilogy, none of the books are directly connected to each other so that didn’t affect my ability to enjoy reading I TAKE YOU. What did affect my enjoyment was the fact that this book is so very obviously the author’s version of D.H. Lawrence’s LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book that may be a famous love story but is not necessarily known as a true romance with a happy ending.

Unlike Mellors the gamekeeper in LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, Mel the gardener in I TAKE YOU is not encumbered with a wife whom he does not love, though as a divorced man, he still carries the bitterness of the failed relationship with him as he and Connie embark on their dangerous affair. But Lawrence’s Sir Clifford has suffered a complete character assassination here, as Gemmell twists him into the most evil of husbands, one who refuses to accept Connie in his life as anything other than yet another of his acquired possessions, and will stop at nothing to force his sexual will on her to satisfy his desires, while crushing any she might have had of her own. With Cliff as the unredeemable villain, we can’t help but cheer Connie on as she clings to Mel as her only salvation from a life she’s lived for everyone but herself, and any possible shades of gray in her actions are completely wiped out in the face of such a horrible alternative.

I TAKE YOU'S opening scenes at the country mansion are first-rate erotica and easily the best part of the entire book. It was also good to see Connie and Mel get the happy ending that D.H. Lawrence had previously denied them. But D.H. Lawrence’s ghostly presence combined with Gemmell’s use of the third person present tense (‘The car is driven... Connie sits upright...The driver fumbles...’) made this a very difficult read for me overall. Still, it did prompt me to reread LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, a book I would recommend more than this one.

Ratings:

Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 4
(public exhibition including forced genital piercing, cuckold play, adultery)


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Guest Author & Giveaway: Bronwen Evans featuring A Kiss of Lies

Tuesday, January 14


I happen to be a big fan of Ms. Evan's historical romances.  I found her with INVITATION TO RUIN several years ago and have been a devoted reader of her romances ever since.  Bronwen is my guest today to share with us her latest historical romance, A KISS OF LIES, the first book in her new Disgraced Lords series.  It's about a scarred hero, and a woman damaged by her past....sounds like something I will love :)  Enjoy!

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A Woman on the Run – A Kiss of Lies, Bronwen Evans

Hi ladies, thanks for letting me visit today to celebrate the release of A KISS OF LIES, book#1 in my new Disgraced Lords Regency series.

My new series is hero-centric, in that all the books in the series are about a group of men who are systematically being ruined by a common enemy. However, heroes cannot carry the series alone. These special men need incredible women to help them grow as individuals, but also to aid them in catching the villain.

Book #1, A KISS OF LIES, is Christian Trent, the Earl of Markham’s story. His heroine is Mrs. Sarah Cooper, and she sets Christian’s world alight at their first meeting.

However, unbeknown to Christian, Sarah has a problem of her own. A rather large problem. She’s a woman on the run. Why? She killed her husband but it was in self-defense. 

I find it sad that domestic violence is still as prevalent today as it was over a hundred years ago. However, unlike in the Regency period, there are organizations that try to offer support and help. Imagine what it must have been like for Sarah. She had no money, no protection, no job and no transport. Not only that, she was stranded thousands of miles from her home in England. She escapes from West Virginia, and journeys with runaway slaves, from her husband’s plantation, up into Canada.

Reaching Canada tired, scared and alone, she sees an advert in the York paper (we’re talking York, Canada now called Toronto).  Even though she was never formally introduced to him, Sarah remembers Christian from her previous life in England, and when he places an advert for a Governess, Sarah thinks it fate. The Earl is returning to England and she can make her escape…

But the spark of attraction between these two puts her plans in jeopardy.  Sarah never thought she’d ever desire any man, but the Earl is the type of man she wishes she’d married but now she never can. How can she let Christian fall in love with a murderess?

     The gentle sway of the ship, the soft sea breeze, and the light of the full moon made the room appear magical. Her instincts were on a reckless path, her skin felt oversensitive, and her body was a mass of tingles and feverish longing. Why did he affect her so?

     Then Christian touched her. His fingers threaded themselves in her hair, pulling down the neat chignon she wore. Feeling her breath falter, Sarah wondered if this was in fact a dream. Had she gone to bed earlier and was merely dreaming this? But no, his hand moved on, his fingertips tracing the shell-like shape of her ear, leaving a trail of exciting sensations in their wake.

     As his thumb traced around her jawline and found her parted lips, her breath fled altogether. Words that would halt his arousing touch died in her throat and she stood mute, simply unable to utter a sound.

     For the first time in her life she felt on fire from a man’s touch. Her blood pumped hot and fast through her veins in her rising excitement.

     Both his hands found their way into her hair, pulling at her tresses until they flowed freely, and then moving to the bare skin of her shoulders. The neckline of her linen dress was low enough to expose the swellings of her aroused breasts. She’d put on such daring attire because of the heat, she had told herself, but now she knew she’d only been fooling herself. Wasn’t this what she’d been angling for all along? She knew he would desire her thus attired.

     Perhaps his touch could heal her as much as her touch soothed him. Would he be able to help her overcome her fears and forget her sordid past experiences?

     When his arms slid around her, his roughened palms stroking the bare flesh of her arms, she gave no resistance. Still she gave none as his fingers swept over the swell of her breasts and found their peaks beneath the thin linen of her bodice and chemise.

     She should stop him.

     “I can make you forget . . .”

     Swept up in the moment, she truly believed him.

It must have taken a lot of courage to let Christian into her heart. What have you done that’s courageous lately? Me, I picked up a bird that’d flown into my living room and let it go outside. Share your latest courageous moment and be in to win a copy of INVITATION TO SCANDAL.


In Bronwen Evans’s Loveswept debut, a pair of damaged souls ignite each other’s deepest passions—even as they tempt fate by deceiving the world.

Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, the man who, long ago, she fantasized about marrying. Despite the battle scars that mar his face, Sarah finds being near Christian rekindles her infatuation. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and as she accompanies Christian on his voyage home, Sarah must resist her intense desires—or risk revealing her dangerous secrets.

One of the renowned Libertine Scholars, Christian Trent once enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. But that was before the horrors of Waterloo, his wrongful conviction of a hideous crime, and his forcible removal from England. Far from home and the resources he once had, Christian believes the life he knew—and any chance of happiness—is over . . . until his ward’s governess sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be. Now Christian is determined to return to England, regain his honor, and win the heart of the woman he has come to love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from other Loveswept titles.



Thanks Bronwen for being my guest today! I have such admiration for both of these characters in their fight for love and justice.  I can't wait for more of the Disgraced Lords!  If you'd like to learn more about Bronwen and the books she writes you can find her at her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She has always indulged her love of storytelling and is constantly gobbling up movies, books, and theater. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer? Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  

To celebrate the release of A KISS OF LIES, the first book in the Disgraced Lords series, author Bronwen Evans is giving away a print copy of INVITATION TO SCANDAL to one lucky Musings follower who answers the question she asked readers in a comment below.  In addition to that you can enter to win a $35 Gift Card to one person from the blog tour.  Enter to win that in the Rafflecopter form below.

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Review: A Kiss of Lies by Bronwen Evans

Title:  A Kiss of Lies*
Author:  Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords, #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: ebook
Date/Year: January 14, 2014
Reviewed by: ElaineReads 
*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

In Bronwen Evans’s Loveswept debut, a pair of damaged souls ignite each other’s deepest passions—even as they tempt fate by deceiving the world.

Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, the man who, long ago, she fantasized about marrying. Despite the battle scars that mar his face, Sarah finds being near Christian rekindles her infatuation. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and as she accompanies Christian on his voyage home, Sarah must resist her intense desires—or risk revealing her dangerous secrets.

One of the renowned Libertine Scholars, Christian Trent once enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. But that was before the horrors of Waterloo, his wrongful conviction of a hideous crime, and his forcible removal from England. Far from home and the resources he once had, Christian believes the life he knew—and any chance of happiness—is over . . . until his ward’s governess sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be. Now Christian is determined to return to England, regain his honor, and win the heart of the woman he has come to love.


My Musings:

Bronwen Evans is a new author to me and I am sorry I have missed out on her excellent writing. The Regency period has always been a favorite of mine and she does an great job of placing her characters in the time. 

The story actually begins in Canada which is different from most of the books I have read of this period.  In actuality, most of the book takes place before they even reach England.  Christian and Sarah are both running from their pasts. 

In Sarah’s case, she is literally on the run. She has killed her husband (although, in self defense) and must remain in hiding to avoid being hanged. She ends up in Canada where she applies, under a false name, for the job of governess to Christian’s ward Lily.   Sarah knew of Christian from when she was a young girl and always daydreamed of marrying him.  She is a duke’s daughter, but because of her age had never formally been introduced to him. His offer of a job is a miracle because it protects her from society while allowing her to be near the man she has always loved.

Christian was severely burned during the Napoleonic War and hides away from most of his peers. He was accused of raping a young lady in England and her father and brother had him shanghaied and shipped to the new world. After many months, he is ready to go back and face his accuser.  Before the war, Christian could (and pretty much did) have any woman he wanted. He still desires a wife and family, but knows that most women will only accept him because of his wealth and title now that he is scarred.  Sarah is the exception, but she is only a governess.

So, of course, they fall in lust and love.

I enjoyed the struggles each of the characters faced in trusting one another.  They had both gone through such horrific experiences, it was understandable that they had difficulty believing in anyone.  Fortunately, they were both self aware enough to realize that if they were ever going to be happy they had to work through their fears.  The only difficulty I had with this book is some of the dialogue seemed overdone. For example,

“In York, when I entered your study that first day, I can’t explain my reaction to you. I was drawn to you in exactly the same way as I had been when I was a young girl. I inwardly cried when I saw your wounds, and wondered how anyone could mark something so beautiful. I knew in that moment we would be good for each other. I got the overwhelming impression that somehow we could heal each other.” (p. 167)

This emotional outpouring seemed to be the norm, and it became distracting after a while.  That, however, is my only criticism.  I look forward to the next book in the series, A Promise of More, which is due out in April. Simon promises to be a delightful Libertine Scholar.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3


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Review: Control by Charlotte Stein

Friday, January 10

Title: Control*
Author: Charlotte Stein
Series: n/a
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: 1/7/2014 (re-release)
Reviewed by: Michele  


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

Summary from the publisher:

When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Aggressive Andy doesn't quite make the grade, but continues to push her buttons in other areas, while uptight and utterly repressed Gabriel can't quite take Madison's training techniques. One makes her grasp control, while the other makes her lose it. But the lines are blurring and she's no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can Madison work out what she really wants?


My Musings:

I originally read CONTROL a few years ago back when I was first starting to venture into erotic romance and I’m still convinced it’s one of the best examples of the genre. In it, Charlotte Stein shows that a person’s sexual desires can’t be contained in neat and tidy boxes and that losing control is sometimes the only way to regain it for good.

Madison needs someone to help out at her bookstore, but she can’t hire just anyone. It has to be someone who is not only comfortable being around erotic books all day long, but is also good at taking direction. Certainly Andy isn’t the best choice, as he would prefer to tell Madison what to do, even as she feels like she ought to be able to say no. It’s only when Madison interviews the quiet and unassuming Gabriel that she finds the ideal assistant and the perfect subject for her own need to take control. The more Madison pries her way into Gabriel’s closed-off world, the more she realizes that her superficial life isn’t any better than his. But with Andy as the wild card, it’s not certain whether any of them will figure out what they want, or who they want to be with in the end.

It’s hard for me to describe why I love this book so unreservedly. Perhaps it’s the way that Charlotte Stein can so perfectly get into someone’s psyche and describe the confusion caused by unconventional sexual desire. Her writing is so understated at times that the sex almost sounds more clinical than conventionally romantic, yet all the emotions are fully present and accounted for. We see how Gabriel has locked himself down as a reaction to a chaotic childhood spent with hoarder parents, and how this has been reflected in his sexuality. It’s his control that Madison both envies and wants to break, not even knowing why until she realizes her love for him. Even Andy, who acts as the bull in this particular china shop, knows that what Madison and Gabriel share is something special. It’s that knowledge Madison needs when Gabriel reaches his breaking point, and she has to take responsibility for putting him back together again.

CONTROL is both a wildly erotic and heart-breaking love story, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s also why I’ll always read everything Charlotte Stein writes.

Ratings:

Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 4
(menage, humiliation play, light BDSM)

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Review: The Duke's Matchgirl by Lila DiPasqua

Thursday, January 9

Title:  The Duke’s Matchgirl*
Author: Lila DiPasqua
Series:  A Fiery Tale Novella
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher:  Penguin
Format:  ebook   
Date/Year:  December 4, 2013
Reviewed by:  Andrea 

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

Summary from the publisher:

From bestselling author Lila DiPasqua comes a scorching new historical romance novella in the acclaimed Fiery Tales series! An emotional, erotically charged retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl.

As childhood friends, Leopold d’Ermart and Suzanne Matchet were inseparable. One unforgettable Christmas Eve, their relationship changed from the best of friends…to lovers. But the heir of the Duke of Mont-Marly isn’t supposed to fall in love with the daughter of his family’s physician. Or vice versa.

Is this a second chance at first love?

Years later, Suzanne is dreading her first Christmas without her father. The heartbreak Leo caused when he left seven years ago is a distant memory. And she prefers to keep it that way. The last thing Suzanne expects is for tall, dark, and sinfully seductive Leo d’Ermart to show up at her door and announce he wants her back in his life. And in his bed. Worse, the now celebrated libertine is even more devastating to a woman’s senses than ever before…

Or are they playing with fire?

The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional, intelligent beauty who got away. He discovers Suzanne creating and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to show her the depth of his desire, win back Suzanne’s heart. And give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination…


My Musings:

This was my first book by Lila DiPasqua. I'd read in another review that this novella works very well as a stand alone.  It does, so that made it perfect for me. Sometimes I like to start off with a novella rather than a full book when I’m reading a new to me author.  It’s usually enough to give me a taste for their work but doesn’t require much of a time commitment from me.  My first impression upon starting into the story was, “Wow, this author can write!”

THE DUKE'S MATCHGIRL tells the tale of Leo and Suzanne. They have a history together. Years ago, Leo and Suzanne were childhood best friends. That friendship developed into love as they grew older.  The problem was that Leo was engaged to another woman all along.  He didn’t know his intended and he didn’t love her.  His position in society and his obligation to his family gave him no choice in the matter.  Looking back, he realizes he never should have kept his impending marriage a secret from Suzanne.  It broke her heart when she discovered his deception, and drove her away from him.

Suzanne has spent the years since Leo’s betrayal working as a successful apothecary. It’s a great profession for her.  As a woman on her own in life, it gives her a comfortable life.  On a more personal side, it gives her the opportunity to use her love of science and quest for knowledge in a way which is socially acceptable for a woman of her time.  You know how I love female scientists, so of course I was all about Suzanne.  She is smart, determined, independent, and resilient.  Leo’s sudden reappearance in her life threatens her carefully constructed happiness. 

There are so many good points to this little novella.  The character development is very good.  I got to know and connect with Suzanne very quickly.  Enough so that I could feel her vulnerability to Leo.  The quality of writing is just as good.  The pace is perfect and the amount of dialogue, action, and inner thought was well balanced.  The chemistry was spot on too.  Their desire for one another was one big continuous smolder.

THE DUKE'S MATCHGIRL is no blushing historical romance, this is an erotic historical romance.  Surprisingly, that was the source for my biggest stumbling block with the story.  The erotic nature of their relationship was too much for me.  Suzanne was a brilliant woman and she had obviously made informed and rational life choices before Leo’s reappearance.  I was a little annoyed that she couldn’t seem to sustain an intelligent thought when in the same room as Leo.  Even when in a serious conversation, she couldn’t think beyond her lust.  That frustrated me more and more as the story went on.

I was so impressed with everything about this book, but the full-on erotic nature of it was a little too much for me.  Because of that, I had to deduct a full point in my overall rating.  I do realize though that every reader has a different reaction to a book.  So, if you are looking for an erotic historical romance that is both well-written and engaging, this is your book.

Ratings:

Overall:  3.5
Sensuality level: 4


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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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Feature & Giveaway: Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

Wednesday, January 8



The Sentinels, Book #1
Publisher:  Zebra
Publication Date:  December 31, 2013
ISBN-13:  978-1-4201-2514-6

In a stunning new series, Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain. . .

In The Heart Of Darkness


Sergeant Duncan O'Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer, murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there's one clue: she's missing her heart. It's enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro--one of the dead-channelling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It's a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desparate measures.

Lies The Kiss Of Death

Unlike the other "high-bloods" in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer's final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie's skills to the test, O'Conner's career at risk, and both their hearts on the line. . .literally.

 Read Parts 1-10 in a Google Doc here 
(you will need to read the excerpt in order to enter the giveaway)


If you'd like to learn more about author Alexandra Ivy, you can find her at her website, her blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of Born in Blood, Alexandra is giving away:
  • First Place:  $50 GC to Amazon or B&N
  • Second Place: $25 GC to Amazon or B&N
  • Third Place:  $10 GC to Amazon to B&N
Enter to win and read the rules and regulations in 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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Guest Author & Giveaway: Charlotte Stein featuring Control

Friday, January 3

Happy New Year! 

Today at the blog I welcome erotic romance author Charlotte Stein to share her book, CONTROL.  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Thanks for having me here at Seductive Musings! This is my first stop on my first ever proper official blog tour, so I’m a little nervous. As you can probably tell by my eagerness to thank and my probable saying of lots of wrong things like hello I am Charlotte Stein and the reissue of my book CONTROL is out soon.

Pretty sure that makes me sound like a robot, but I’m going to forge ahead anyway! So my book – it’s about a naughty bookstore owner called Madison, who has to choose between two total hotties. I know…must be terrible for her. But the things is, Madison doesn’t know which she likes better:

Letting someone else take control, or being in control herself.

And in this particular scene – my favorite of the book – she starts to realize that the latter might really be an option for her. A really hot, super delicious option…

Unfortunately, even before I get to the shop I know something’s going on. I know the way I knew when I saw that little flash of hot pink and he stood up too hurriedly. The kitchen door opens out almost on top of the counter, and he’s not there. He’s not anywhere in the main space of the shop – though I suppose that isn’t too unusual, considering that it’s closing time. It could be that he’s just tidying the second tier, the little alcove at the back of the store that made me buy the place.

And yet I know he’s not tidying. I don’t do anything as clichéd as keeping the filthiest books back there, but it’s where I catch the most embarrassed-looking men in macs. I don’t get all that many, however – I think because I sell so much romance, too. It’s hard to lick the pornography amidst the hearts and flowers.

I like Gabe, a lot, for not seeming to mind how many hearts and flowers flutter around his smut. In fact, I think he prefers it that way. He’s standing right in the corner, in front of the bookcase beside the window, reading Passion’s Flame. I can tell it’s Passion’s Flame, because it’s one of my all time favorites.

I can also make out his teeth, biting deep into his lower lip. That furrow he sometimes gets between his heavy black brows, as though he’s uncertain how to proceed. But then his head turns slightly – I think so he can look at the right-hand page – and I can no longer see the lovely slant of his face. His back is almost completely to me – though that’s not exactly an unpleasant sight.

He isn’t big, like Andy. But that curve, to his back. The narrowness of his hips – so clear in those tidy grey trousers he always wears – contrasting giddily with the broadness of his shoulders …

I don’t want to alert him to my presence, just so that I can keep looking at his back. I don’t want to alert him to my presence because then he would stop reading, and biting his lip, and acting like a 19th-century maid who’s doing something she shouldn’t.

I think I know when he becomes aware of me. His back stiffens ever so slightly. He doesn’t turn the page when it comes time to.

My heart thuds, low and long. I’m not going to fire him. Oh my God, I’m not going to fire him. He’s wrong, he’s wrong – I’m not in control at all. I’m taking the step up. I’m strolling across the lovely plush carpet towards him.

When I get up close – so close that I can smell that old-fashioned pine-y aftershave he wears – the full pleasure of his height strikes me, as it did before, when I asked him if there was something he wanted. He must be six foot three, and yet so often he doesn’t seem it. He hunches.

He’s hunching right now. I can see him doing his best not to let me know he’s looking at me out of the corner of his eye. He’s keeping very still, juddery breathing aside.

I have to put my hand on his back. It’s practically a necessity. I need to feel those unsteady breaths, vibrating through his sinewy body. I want to see him jerk when I touch him – and he does. But he keeps still, then, for the slide of my hand – all the way down that glorious curve to the hollow at the small of his back.

He won’t look at me. So I just do my business while his back is turned. I slide my hands over his narrow hips and feel him tremble, then go further yet and pass them over the firm cheeks of his arse.

He makes a little startled sound when I touch him so intimately. His body vibrates with it, but he doesn’t try to escape. So I rub harder, caress him more firmly. I slide my palms over the crease between his buttocks, pressing that tweedy material as deep as it will go.

He’s taking tight shaky breaths, now. When I squeeze one arse cheek, the breathing gets even tighter, and shakier. He even lets out something that’s almost a wavering moan – though not quite.

It definitely becomes a moan when I slide my hand around his hip, and go for the parts between his legs.


When Madison Morris decides to hire an assistant to help run her naughty bookshop, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. Aggressive Andy doesn't quite make the grade, but continues to push her buttons in other areas, while uptight and utterly repressed Gabriel can't quite take Madison's training techniques. One makes her grasp control, while the other makes her lose it. But the lines are blurring and she's no longer sure who's leading and who's following. In the midst of kinky threesomes and power plays, can Madison work out what she really wants?



Thanks Charlotte for being our guest today!  I can't wait to see how Madison solves her double dreamy man dilemma, LOL. 

If you'd like to learn more about Charlotte Stein and the books she writes you can find her at her website, blog, Twitter and Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of CONTROL, Charlotte's publisher, Sourcebooks would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below and answer this question....Madison remarks on Gabe's scent in the excerpt above.  What is your favorite scent on a man?

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.

Read more...
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My FREE Kindle Quest

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?)
Goal: $119
Current Swagbucks Amazon Gift Card balance: $90.00
If you'd like to learn how you can earn Swagbucks and earn your own Amazon Gift Cards to buy books, a Kindle or other merchandise sold at Amazon contact me and I would be more than happy to tell you how I plan to go about it. (just so you know you can earn both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca gift cards on this rewards site)
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