Review: Going All In by Cassandra Carr, Isabo Kelly and Stacey Agdern

Wednesday, August 28

Title: Going All In*
Author: Cassandra Carr, Isabo Kelly and Stacey Agdern
Series: n/a
Genre: contemporary romance
Publisher: T&D Publishing (self-pub)
Format: ebook
Date/Year: August 28, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

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

Summary from the publisher:

Going All In-

Professional hockey players Marcus, Alex, and Chris attend their team's Vegas Night fundraiser unaware their lives will change forever. Can they face their difficulties and win the most important game of their lives – the game of love? These guys are going all in…

HEDGING HIS BET by Cassandra Carr

Marcus Mitchell never thought he’d find the love of his life with champagne dripping from her shirt rather than walking the runway at Fashion Week like the models he usually preferred, but you can’t always plan these things. Annalise Alonso isn’t going to make it easy for him, though—he’s going to have to work for her love. Now, Marcus is taking a shot and hedging his bet on love.

CASTING THE DIE by Isabo Kelly

After she sees his murder in a vision, Nathalie Mendez has to warn star hockey goalie Alexander Semenov of the danger. To keep him alive, she risks exposing her many secrets. But once the die is cast, her biggest gamble involves her heart.

PLAYING HER GAME by Stacey Agdern

Melanie Gould has been dubbed ‘The Girl in the Lace Corset’. But she doesn’t always like to be the loud mouth defender of the romances she writes, and is definitely not good at playing the games relationships require. Of course, she’s never gone head to head with a guy like Chris Emerson. Chris is trying to behave, and someone like Melanie would destroy his plans to stay under the radar. So what happens when the ‘Girl in the Lace Corset’ and the NHL’s most infamous bad boy go one on one? Will they play her game? Will they play his? Or will they both end up in the penalty box?

My Musings:

HEDGING HIS BET by Cassandra Carr

This first story is the key to setting up our understanding and expectations for the world of the New York Empires, a professional hockey team full of popular athletes and the over-sized personalities each of them brings to the rink. The hero in this story is Marcus Mitchell, a player for the Empires who is known for his success on the ice and the series of gorgeous models on his arm in public. The Vegas Night fundraiser isn’t really his thing, but his appearance is required as an obligation to the team. His night takes a more dramatic turn when Annalise Alonso accidentally douses him with champagne glasses from her overturned tray. He might have asked for her number just to make sure she didn’t get stuck with his cleaning bill, but he also wants to get to know her better, and that includes doing everything he can to make her difficult life easier.

Annalise already has more than she can handle when Marcus becomes such a big part of her life so quickly, but she soon sees that he truly cares about her and her ongoing trust in his motives and concern grows into a love they both share. It was great to see their relationship progress and how Marcus was able to show his love for her in ways that nobody had ever done for her before. I only wish that their story had been longer.

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality: 3.5

CASTING THE DIE by Isabo Kelly

The second story is about how Nathalie Mendez, a physical therapist who works with the Empires, tries to save their star goalie from being killed by an unknown assailant and in the process, finds her own true love. Alexander Seminov didn’t get the nickname “The Wall” just because of his tremendous skills as a goalie. When Nathalie finally works up the nerve to let him know his life is in danger, he is determined to use this new connection as a way to get Nathalie to let him into her life in spite of her concerns about how such a relationship could affect both her job and her privacy. What he doesn’t know is Nathalie is more than just a physical therapist with hands just warm enough to relax the tensest muscles. What she doesn’t know is that Alexander’s resolve will not be denied and that their love is more than a match for any threat.

I loved how Isabo Kelly made me believe in everything that Nathalie was keeping a secret, and how it would all come together in an ending that was not only completely plausible but perfectly symmetrical in the context of the earlier story. Normally I’m a skeptic of paranormal elements in a contemporary story, but this one worked for me very well.

Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality: 3.5

PLAYING HER GAME by Stacey Agdern

The final story fills in the missing pieces from the other two with regard to the event at the Vegas Night fundraiser which indirectly caused Annalise’s tray to be upturned, and while it ultimately fit in well with the overall story arc, I did not like it as much as I had hoped I would.

Chris Emerson is the star forward of the Empires but he’s got real issues with anger management and behaving appropriately in public. This makes him the guy all the tabloids want to follow around but it doesn’t make him all that popular with anyone else. When Chris finds himself called upon to defend Melanie Gould, another notorious loudmouth and controversial romance author, from the rude threats of his teammate, he steps up to the challenge, including convincing her to spend some quiet time alone where nobody can interfere with the buzz of attraction they both feel. Playing Her Game is the story of how two strong personalities find that love doesn’t have to be noisy and public to be real.

There are many reasons why Playing Her Game didn’t work for me as well as the other two stories, not the least of which was the abrupt and frequent switches between the characters’ points of view, often referred to as “head-hopping”. I got mixed up more than a few times wondering who was doing what and when and had to go back and read some pages a few times to get back my bearings. There’s a lot going on in this story, and it might have benefited from some scaling back, but the overall arc gave it sufficient grounding to ensure that it was better for it to be included than not.

Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality: 3.5

The pivotal event of “Going All In” is the New York Empires’ big Vegas Night fundraiser where three of their biggest stars each find their special woman to love, even if it’s not obvious to them at that moment. Each of the three stories take place in roughly the same period of time, and overlap during this and other events taking place during that time frame. If it had been handled poorly, it could have ruined anticipation for each story in turn, but instead it provided context where it was needed, especially in the third one. I’m looking forward to seeing new titles from all three authors in the future.

Ratings for Going All In as an anthology:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5

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

Other Reviews:
  • Goodreads (avg rating as of 8/26/2013= 3.83 stars)

*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.


Review: Escape from Obsession by Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Tuesday, August 27

Title:  Escape from Obsession*
Author: Dixie Lynn Dwyer
Series: The American Soldier Collection #1
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Siren Bookstrand
Format: ebook
Date/Year: April 26, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

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

Summary from the publisher:

Gia Marie Giselli’s boyfriend wanted to share her with his business partner, and she refused. She leaves New York the moment she gets a chance and heads to Houston, Texas. With the help of her cousin Teddy, a detective there, she finds a new home and tries to put her past behind her.

In Texas she meets Garrett, Wes, and Gunny McCallister. Her world and impression of ménage relationships are turned upside down. They want her, and as they try to convince her that this relationship is serious, some jerk from work attempts to assault her, making all her fears of men resurface.

When they finally get through that incident, Gia's past reemerges. Can the McCallisters keep her safe and convince her that true love and compassion don't come in the form of fists, control, and fear?

Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among siblings.

My Musings:

I am a regular reader of the “Ménage Everlasting” erotic romances published by Siren Bookstrand, so when I was offered the opportunity to review this new-to-me author, I jumped in with both feet. A MFMM erotic romance featuring three hot and broody military brothers is just the sort of book I love to read, and I had hoped that Dixie Lynn Dwyer’s ESCAPE FROM OBSESSION would be no exception. Unfortunately for me, what good there was to enjoy in this book was constantly overshadowed by awkward phrasing, excessive repetition and an ending that I found implausible at best.

The story begins several months earlier in New York, when Gia is still Gianna, a young impressionable woman being controlled by her domineering boyfriend, Antonio, who is up to his neck in drug dealing and other major financial wrongdoings. When Antonio attempts to force Gianna to submit sexually to his business partner, Valdere, she realizes she is in a dangerous situation and only manages to escape when another angry business associate crashes into their apartment and the cops show up to drag Antonio off to jail. Gianna moves to Texas, settles in a new job and apartment near her beloved cousin, Teddy, and changes her first name to Gia in an attempt to stay hidden from anyone who might come looking for her there.

Teddy is already in a long term ménage relationship where he shares his wife Deanna with another man. Gia wonders how they can possibly be happy when she is still so horrified that Antonio wanted to give her to Valdere. It’s only when she finally comes out of her self-imposed social exile and joins in the fun at Casper’s, the local sports bar, that she meets a friendly bartender, Garrett McCallister, and realizes that she might be ready to trust a man again. A few days later, she meets Garrett’s brother, Wes, who is the football coach for her cousin’s son Dale, and just as attracted to her as Garrett was. The two brothers then contact their older brother Gunner, a Texas Ranger, once they both realize that Gia might be the one woman they have all hoped to find for a ménage relationship of their own. But Gia is still trapped in her fear of what happened in New York and what might happen again if she lets these men take her as their own.

The McCallister brothers are easily the best part of “Escape from Obsession” but the various ways they are described were also a major frustration for me. We are constantly reminded that they were “commandoes” (author spelling) in the “Marine Corp” and that they each have a matching “Royal Commandoes” back tattoo. Although such phrasing kept taking me out of the story, I did enjoy how each of the brothers treated Gia with patience and love, especially in light of how she was so incredibly afraid to even go out on a real date with any of them. I found Gia’s reactions understandable at first, but as the story went on and on with her continuing to insist that men are pain and that no men could ever be trusted, I got impatient with her refusal to move on and wondered if she’d ever gotten any counseling after her experience in New York.

The other issue I had with ESCAPE FROM OBSESSION was with the pacing and the plot choices as the story played out. I had a big problem with the moment when Gia decided to finally submit to the McCallister brothers, considering how understandably afraid she was of men attacking her and what had happened to her mere hours before they all had sex together for the first time. But the truly astonishing moment for me came toward the end when all the various threats in Gia’s life converge in a single horrific scene. I found that moment to be so preposterous that I wondered if book length constraints had forced the author’s hand, or if that was the resolution she really intended. At least at the end of it all, we know Gia will be happy and safe with her McCallister brothers, having finally escaped from her own obsession with her unhappy past.


Overall: 2.5 stars
Sensuality level: 4
(MFMM ménage including anal sex, and multiple instances of attempted rape)

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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.


Monday's Muse

Monday, August 26

Hey there!  How are ya?  What've you been up to?  Hopefully reading some great romances and enjoying what is left of the summer.  Seriously, I saw ever year that I can't believe how fast time is flying, and here we are, heading into the final few months of the year.  It just doesn't seem possible, does it?

I guess one of the good things about the approach of the end of the year, is the release of Striking Distance by Pamela Clare in November.  I seriously cannot wait for this book!!!!!  I think it is my most anticipated read of 2013.  I've been busy making the cover for the erotic prequel, First Strike, and let me tell is sexy with a capital "S-E-X-Y !".  Yes, that's right an erotic prequel.  I can't wait to see what she has in store for us with this little gem, since her stories are already quite steamy!  So, even though I've been lamenting the passage of time I can't help for wish for November to get here ASAP especially after looking it up on Amazon to find that the print version is over $3 off the list price.  The pre-order price is only $4.79 right now!  I totally pre-ordered it.  My booklover heart just couldn't resist that much temptation :)
Need some more sexiness to add to your Monday?  How about this week's Muse, LOL.

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll be sharing Michele's review of Escape from Obsession by Dixie Lynn Dwyer.  This book has the potential to be over the top sexy so I can't wait to see what Michele thought of it.
  • Wednesday:  I'll also have Michele's review of Going All In by Cassandra Carr, Isabo Kelly,  and Stacey Agdern.  Yep, 3x times the sexy with this newly released anthology ;)
  • Thursday-Friday:  I'm afraid that I probably won't have anything new to share with you since I'm playing catch up with some design work after having to take a few days off because of family obligations.

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Joan Swan, Janet Chapman, Anna Campbell, Kieran Kramer, Megan Hart, Amanda Scott, Sophie Barnes, Beth Williamson, Tamara Morgan & Katharine Ashe.  Congrats ladies!!!

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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.


Giveaway: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid & Once Upon a Tartan by Grace Burrowes

Thursday, August 22


Follow along as Casablanca Sourcebooks gives SIGNED copies of the two books in Grace Burrowes’ emotional and sensual Scottish Victorian-set MacGregor romance series: THE BRIDEGROOM WORE PLAID and ONCE UPON A TARTAN (August 2013) !

Honor or happiness—he can’t have both.

Tiberius Flynn may be every inch an English lord, but smart, headstrong beauty Hester Daniels has no use for his high-handed ways--no matter how handsome, charming, or beguiling he is. They only see eye to eye in caring about the feisty little girl who is under their protection.

Tiberius's haughty insistence that his wealthy estate in England is a better place for the child than her beloved, rundown Scotland home sparks Hester's fierce protectiveness, and the battle lines are drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes is the author of the acclaimed Windham Family Series, The MacGregor Trilogy and The Lonely Lords Series. Her debut novel, The Heir (2010), as well as The Bridegroom Wore Plaid (2012) were both included as Publishers Weekly Best Books of their respective years, in the romance category. A practicing attorney specializing in family law, Grace lives in rural Maryland, where she is working on the final book in the Windham series, Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait (October 2013) and third MacGregor story, The MacGregor’s Lady (February 2014), and many more books. Visit her website for more information about all of her books, exclusive extras and her lively blog.

Giveaway Schedule—chances to win all month long!

8/2 RomFan Reviews     





8/30 Linus' Blanket

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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.


Monday's Muse

Monday, August 19

Good Monday to you :)

I don't have a lot to share with you today.  To recap, I'm behind on everything, I haven't read anything stellar in several weeks (which is really disappointing) and nothing else much is new.  I didn't even get a chance to see the new episode of The White Queen this past Saturday (*sad face*).  So I'll save you a few minutes in your day by not babbling about a whole lotta nothin' except to share this week's Muse.  Enjoy :)

This week at Seductive Musings:
  •  Wednesday:  I'll have a new Scottish Historical Romance giveaway in celebration of Grace Burrowes new book, Once Upon a Tartan

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Vivian Arend & Joan Swan!  Congrats ladies!!!!

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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.


Review: Scent of Salvation by Annie Nicholas

Thursday, August 15

Title:  Scent of Salvation*
Author: Annie Nicholas
Series: Chronicles of Eorthe #1
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain
Format:  ebook
Date/Year:  July 30, 2013
Reviewed by:  Andrea

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

Summary from the publisher:

Love blooms across species, culture, and time.

Stranded in another dimension, on a primitive version of Earth, Dr. Susan Barlow needs to find a way to survive. There’s no electricity, no cities, and to her shock, no humans. Instead, she faces a population of werewolves, vampires and incubi. The people are vicious but she must find her place among them. And live.

An illness is killing Sorin’s pack. As alpha it’s his responsibility to save them, but it’s a battle this warrior doesn’t know how to fight. Then a blue light in the sky brings a creature he’s never seen. She calls herself human, but to him she smells like hope.

Sorin offers Susan a safe haven in return for a cure, but she’s not that kind of a doctor. She’s a doctor of physics, not a physician. Yet as they search for a cure to save a dying people, they find something special—each other.

But even with Sorin’s protection, Susan can’t help but wonder how long she can survive in a world without humans…

Warning: Feral shifters, power-hungry vampires, and a sole human female suffering culture shock.

My Musings:

Inter-dimensional travel, alien culture, an alien planet, vampires, werewolves, and incubi...  it sounded great to me!  I’ve read my fair share of erotic sci-fi and paranormal.  I thought I knew what to expect... extremely hot sex, alpha male shifters, darkly dangerous vampires, and a not so strong sci-fi plot.  I nailed it with the first three on my list, but totally underestimated the strength of the plot. 

Susan is a brilliant and well respected physicist.  She has given up any type of personal life in order to focus on her profession.  With single minded determination, she has done the impossible.  She has built a prototype machine based on the principles of string theory.  If it works, it will open temporary portholes from one dimension to another.  She has put everything into building this machine only to find out that her boss has been secretly funneling all of her findings to the military.  Now that it seems she has working prototype, they want to take over the project.  She can either let someone else take over the project or stand her ground and go out with a bang.   I’m sure you can guess which choice she makes :)

Susan finds herself in another dimension.  It’s Earth, but not the Earth we know.  This version is known as Eorthe and it’s inhabited by things we consider to be mythical creatures.  There are werewolves, vampires, incubi, and mermaids, but no humans.  She has to quickly acclimate in order to survive in such a hostile environment.  In theory, she knows exactly what to do and should be able to make logical and informed decisions.  It sounded easy enough when she was standing in her lab, but she forgot to factor in the impact shock and terror would have on her judgement.  I love a strong and smart woman, but Susan was almost too perfect to like at first.  It was when she found herself in Eorthe that I finally started to connect with her.  She lost that cold professional attitude I had trouble seeing beneath and then I was able to identify with her.

One of the first people she meets on Eorthe is Sorin.  He is the alpha werewolf of his pack.  He takes his leadership role very seriously and has been working selflessly to resurrect the once great pack.  His latest crisis is a disease running rampant through his pack.  Sorin is willing to take whatever help he can get.  When he sees Susan literally drop out of the sky, he thinks his prayers have been answered.  The feisty woman is like nothing he has ever encountered.  Meeting her throws his entire world off kilter. 

The romance is good. Susan is likeable and is anything but meek.  Sorin is lovable and sexy.  Honestly, a hot romance is about all I expected to find when I picked this book up.  What surprised me was how much was happening in the periphery of that romance.  Susan is getting a crash course in the etiquette of the various species.  There is also a lot of political maneuvering under the facade of friendship between the races.  They all have their own secrets they are trying to conceal because any perceived weakness leaves them open for attack.  It was a nice multi-layered plot and all of them kept my interest. 

I was extremely impressed with how believable I found the existence of Eorthe to be.  The cause of the divergence from Earth, which is one of the big mysteries of the book, was brilliant and worked perfectly.  The only issue I had was with language.  I had a hard time believing Sorin and Susan would never have any communication issues, especially with modern words.  Not a big issue by any means, but it kept niggling at me. 

I enjoyed this book on so many levels.  The side characters were almost as interesting as Sorin and Susan, especially Peder and Kele.  I’m dying to know what is going to happen between them.  Hopefully their book is next.  I will be continuing with this series.


Overall: 3.75 stars
Sensuality level: 3.75

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.


Monday's Muse

Monday, August 12

Happy Monday!

First, I'd like to give a big CONGRATS to historical romance author Elise Rome (aka Ashley March) and her family on the birth of a new baby boy!  Welcome little Ian Douglas :)

In other semi romance related news, did you catch the first episode of The White Queen on Starz this past Saturday?  I had no idea that they were turning the Philippa Gregory The Cousins' War series, THE WHITE QUEEN, THE RED QUEEN, THE LADY OF THE RIVERS, & THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER into a mini-series for TV.  How in the world did I miss this?  I just started seeing info about it a week prior to the first episode being aired.  I watched the first one, and really enjoyed it.  It was a bit confusing at first because of all of the characters being introduced, but I have a feeling it is just going to keep getting better.  If you were a fan of The Tudors, I don't think you will want to miss this one!   You can watch the first episode for free, but I think it is the PG-14 version in instead of the TV-MA one, which I have to admit had pretty revealing and steamy love scenes.  I could be wrong about that though since they ask you to enter your birth date before the video starts.

It's made in conjunction with BBC, and I thought it was interesting to see their promo video for it focused more on the "Women Wage War" theme:

Speaking of TV mini series, did you hear that they cast the actor for the role of Jamie Fraser in the Starz adaptation of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon?  Actor Sam Heughan will play Jamie Fraser.  Author Diana Gabaldon said on her Facebook page, "Sam Heughan showed up and he was Jamie." That really says something about him in this role to me.  I saw a pic of him on Twitter wearing a kilt and he doesn't seem as imposing as what I always imagined Jamie to be, but they haven't Jamiefied him yet :)  What do you think?  Do you think he'll make a good Jamie?

While perusing Diana Gabaldon's site I also saw that they've cast "Black Jack Randall" as well!  Black Jack Randall & Frank Randall will be played by Tobias Menzies.  I've seen him in other things and I think this actor will play an absolutely TERRIFIC Black Jack!  I'm so very excited about this, and also very happy that they are casting people that won't necessarily be bringing "previous role baggage" with them so that they will "feel" like the characters they are supposed to be portraying.  For instance Jennifer Aniston will forever be thought of as "Rachel" from Friends, and carries that "Rachel" baggage with her to every subsequent role she has least in my opinion.  Can't wait to see who they cast next.  Who will be Claire?  Here's the link to the official Facebook case you are as insanely obsessed with this as I am, LOL.

What do you think about these TV adaptations?  Are you a fan of them taking these books and making them into TV shows?  I for one hope they continue this trend, but I hope that they delve more into the Romance genre.  If you could pick a book or series to be made into TV show which would it be?

p.s.  Your Muse for the week :) And I can't help but think of all of those '80's sexy librarian poses (but of women) when I saw this photo of him :)

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll have Andrea's review of Scent of Salvation by Annie Nicholas for you.
  • Wednesday-Friday:  Is kind of up in the air right now.  I may have another review or two for you or I might have a Thursday's Thoughts or Fun Friday post.  It'll all depend on how much time I have this week :)

Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Julia London, Delilah Devlin, & Laura Navarre.  Congrats Ladies!!!!

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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.


Review: Chains and Canes by Katie Porter

Friday, August 9

Title:  Chains and Canes*
Author:  Katie Porter       
Series:  Club Devant #2
Genre:  contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Samhain
Format: ebook
Date/Year: July 9, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading pleasure.

Summary from the publisher:

A Dom double-teamed by two submissives? He doesn’t stand a chance.

Wealthy businessman Daniel Baker doesn’t have a creative bone in his body, but he knows art and craves beauty. Contemporary dancer Naya Ortiz, his fiancée of three years, embodies both. His protective commitment to her happiness extends to hiring Dominas to satisfy the sexual masochism she craves.

The balance of their relationship is tipped when Naya dances with reckless Cajun choreographer Remy Lomand. His magnetism as a Dom carries over to a backstage encounter that leaves Naya breathless—and Daniel unable to look away.

Remy knows the deal. The fancy people want to play with a disposable boy toy. He’s fine with that…but not with letting Daniel remain a bystander. As their sessions intensify, Remy guides Daniel’s awakening as a sexual submissive. Their no-strings threesome reveals the physical connection Daniel and Naya have lacked—and the emotional depth Remy fears.

When Remy and Naya tirelessly work to found a professional dance company, Daniel is left on the outside looking in. And although he and Naya are ready to submit to Remy for the rest of their lives, the man they call Sir may not want their love at all.

Warning: A sexy-as-hell Cajun choreographer plays slap, tickle, chains and canes with a muy caliente Puerto Rican dancer and her repressed businessman fiancé. What could possibly go wrong?

My Musings:

CHAINS AND CANES is the latest installment in Katie Porter’s Club Devant series and its intensity and passion more than live up to the expectations set by the previous book, LEAD AND FOLLOW. In this book, a devoted couple discovers that what they do have isn’t nearly as wonderful as what they could have with a person who can provide them with that special spark that they didn’t even realize they were missing.

By all appearances, Daniel and Naya appear to be a couple perfectly in sync. Naya is the gifted but insecure dancer who could take the world by storm if she would only believe more in her own talent. Daniel is the quiet but powerful businessman with his own gift for raising and investing money, and who provides the security and balance Naya needs to keep herself from sinking in self-doubt. The one thing Daniel can’t give Naya, however, is the fulfillment she gets only from submitting herself to a Dominant for the extreme pain which clears her mind and settles her soul. He knows it’s what she needs and craves, but he just can’t bring himself to inflict any pain, no matter what.

When Naya begins her new job at "Club Devant", the attraction between her and Remy, the lead choreographer and dancer, is electric. Their first practice dance together is just shy of full-on sexual intercourse, with no heed to who might be watching them on stage. When Daniel sees how Remy dominates Naya so thoroughly just in that dance, he realizes that Remy could be the perfect Dom for what Naya needs....and perhaps even for what he himself has always needed, but never admitted to himself before now. Remy is understandably suspicious when Daniel invites him to spend the evening with him and Naya, and their class differences are no help in calming his concerns. Why would a rich perfect couple want a Cajun river rat like himself for more than just casual sex? And how can Daniel and Naya be the same together again if Remy refuses to stay?

All three of the main characters in CHAINS AND CANES were well developed and enjoyable to read about, and it was great to see how they fit in the "Club Devant" world already established in the first book. We also got to see more about how the club operates and a bit more background on the owner, Declan, and his omnipresent security cameras. "Club Devant" is a place that I wish really existed, because I’d love to go there and see the shows I read about in the series.

But ultimately for me, the key to my enjoyment of CHAINS AND CANES was Daniel. Daniel was the character with the most to lose, and the one who underwent the most changes to his life and sense of self. What made him so compelling was that in spite of all the enormous changes he experiences in this story, he never wavers from who he is and what he wants. He knows he loves Naya and wants to do everything to make her happy. But he also realizes that he feels the same way about Remy, and for the same reasons. His loyalty to them both as well as his own quiet strength of purpose is what made me care for him most of all.  I was actively rooting for him to succeed in his quest to protect his loved ones while still being true to his own wants and desires. His journey as a character is truly remarkable, and reason enough to read CHAINS AND CANES. I look forward to new intriguing stories and passionate characters from Katie Porter in the next Club Devant series book, WATCH AND WAIT (January 7, 2014).


Overall:  4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 4.5
(M/M/F menage, several BDSM scenes including caning and anal play) 

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.


Guest Author: Cathryn Fox featuring Smokin' Hot Firemen

Thursday, August 8

Have I got a treat for you today!  Yes that's right we are talking about not just firemen romance heroes, but smokin hot firemen romance heroes with my guest today Cathryn Fox.  Enjoy!

Oh, how we love our Firemen!

Just the other day I flipped my firefighter calendar to August, and oh my!  Mr. August, why must you be so young and buff, and makes me feel so old and cougarish!

I remember the day my eighteen year old daughter and I went to the Christmas market to get our calendars, just like we do every year.  The first cute firefighter looked at my daughter and asked, “What would you like me to write?”   She said, “Thanks for Last night!”  He laughed and signed the calendar for her.  Then he handed it on down the line to Mr. November who wrote, “Dear Allison, Call Me...again!”  That was pretty funny, but what was really funny was when she hung it in her dorm.  She’d left the room for a few moments and came back to see her friends all staring at her in shock.  Apparently they’d been flipping through her calendar and thought she was dating the entire station!

Ah, one can only dream!

To all the guys who come out every year and sell calendars to raise money for the burn unit, you rock!  You are brave, heroic and have such a great sense of humor, that we can’t help but count down the days to Christmas so we can purchase a calendar, or two, or three!
I can’t wait to see what they write on mine next year!

Now...back to dreaming about Mr. August...


Who can melt any woman’s heart with a single smile? The sexiest icon of all—a fireman!

They enter fiery structures with selfless courage–the very definition of the word “hero.” Women understand their allure… A soot-covered face, sweat dripping from hard, chiseled muscles, the sharp snap of suspenders—yes, only a fireman can make suspenders sexy! Delilah Devlin’s burning-hot book includes thrilling stories teeming with gorgeous firemen from some of today’s hottest romance writers. In “Saving Charlotte,” Sabrina York’s firefighting Dom rescues a woman tied to a red-hot bed; from Cathryn Fox comes “Temperature Rising” where a fire chief fulfills some very steamy fantasies; Elle James’s “Chasing Fire” sees a daring smoke-jumper parachuting into the hot zone of a forest fire then setting his girlfriend ablaze with erotic heat; and Magic Mike ain’t got nothin’ on Delilah’s own fireman-turned-exotic-dancer-for-a-night “Johnny Blaze.”

With a list of award-winning authors that includes Ily Goyanes, Shoshanna Evers, Adele Dubois, and Rachel Firasek, Delilah delivers tales of these courageous men sliding down their big poles to steal readers’ hearts! Smokin’ Hot Firemen imagines the romantic possibilities of being held against that massively muscled chest by a man whose mission is to protect and serve…

Excerpt from TEMPERATURE RISING by Cathryn Fox:

The room was dark and smoky, the warm tang of sex hanging heavy in the air.

With a strawberry daiquiri in hand, Delilah Morgan spun around on her vinyl padded bar stool, her glance taking in the Friday night crowd as they relaxed at The Hose, a local watering hole where the firefighters from station 419 regularly gathered for a game of eight ball.

Her salacious glance stopped to linger on three sexy firefighters working their way around the pool table, their athletic bodies, low riding jeans and tight backsides sending her thoughts in an erotic direction. As she took pleasure in the delicious sight before her, hot flames licked up her thighs, her skin burning hotter than molten lava.

She watched them a moment longer, and when their teasing jibes and raucous laughter drifted past her ears, the rich sound resonated through her body and pulled a shiver from deep within. Her pussy moistened with want, and she squeezed her thighs together, secretly enjoying the pulsing sensations tugging at her core, but there was nothing she could do to hide the telltale hardening of her nipples or suggestive way they scraped against her light, summer dress.

When the front door opened, Delilah drew a fueling breath and strove to pull herself together. Thankful for the distraction she twisted sideways on her stool, hoping her blind date had finally arrived, but when she spotted the town’s youngest fire chief darkening the doorway, a man whose reputation preceded him, awareness prowled through her bloodstream and spiked her temperature from simmer to inferno.

Looking like sex incarnate in his fire resistant pants and suspenders, his heavy coat thrown over one broad shoulder, the man was every woman’s fantasy come true. Fiery blue eyes scanned the establishment, then using slow sexy movements he angled his head her way. When their eyes met and locked her pussy creamed in heated response and all she could think about was how that hard body of his would feel moving over hers, how that sensuous mouth would feel on her skin, and how his rock hard cock would feel ravaging her pussy, fucking her in a way no man had ever fucked her before. She licked her suddenly dry lips, taking in his confident, bad boy attitude and the suggestive look in his eyes as they moved over her body—a look that held all kinds of erotic possibilities.

There was no question that he had a raw sexuality about him, one that made Delilah ache deep in her core. But since he also had trouble written all over him, she turned away before he could see her tight nipples beneath the low cut dress she’d purchased for this occasion—a dress, she hoped, would seduce her blind date so she could finally fulfill a lifelong fantasy.

Even though she had her back to the fire chief, she could still feel him, feel his hot gaze on her body as he cut across the wide expanse of floor. She took another sip of her drink to cool the heat zinging through her veins, but when he stepped up to her, pressed his warm mouth against her ear and said, “The name’s Jonah,” it was all she could do not to go up in a burst of flames. His heat reached out to her and when she pulled his rich, spicy scent into her lungs, everything in her gut said he was the man, the only man, who could help extinguish the long burning fire inside her.

But he was dangerous, she reminded herself.


She sucked in air, his nearness making her breathless. “I know who you are,” she managed to get out as her pussy quivered with hunger, begging her to lay herself bare and let this man take her to places she’d never been before.

He dropped his coat onto the counter, grabbed her stool and spun her around until she faced him. When she gripped the counter, his gaze flickered over her left hand, stopping to note the tan line of her ring finger.

“And I know who you are, Mrs. Morgan.” Something about the way he said Mrs, told her he was testing the sound of it on his lips, savoring the sensations as it rolled off the soft blade of his tongue.

As he invaded her space, he raked his fingers through his dark, mussed hair and looked past her shoulder to peruse the room. “Are you here alone?”

With her body trembling from his close proximity, she shot a glance toward the front door, “Yes. No. I don’t know.”

A knowing grin pulled at his lips. “Well, which is it?” he asked, the heat between them undeniable as he inched closer, his warm breath doing the most delicious things to her libido.

“You’re either alone or you’re not.” His rough voice played down her spine like liquid fire but before she could give him an answer, he dropped onto the stool beside her and in a bold move that took her by surprise, hauled her to her feet and pulled her between his thighs. As he created a delicious friction between their bodies, dark passion danced in his eyes.

“I don’t think he’s…coming, sweetheart.”

Delilah’s skin came alive as that one suggestive word bounce around inside her head like a pinball and with the way his cock was pressing against her pussy, only a thin cotton dress separating skin from skin, it had her wanting to throw caution to the wind, to indulge in a wild night with a man who clearly knew his way around a woman’s body. The way his big hands were curling around her hips, dipping closer and closer to the moist juncture between her legs was a testament to his bedroom skills.

His eyes fixed on her mouth and his lips twisted in a half smile, making him look edgy, wild, and oh so tempting. “Want to get out of here?” he asked.

Thanks Cathryn for sharing your sexy Fireman story with us!  Smokin' Hot Firemen is available now at your favorite book seller.

If you'd like to learn more about Cathryn and the other smokin' hot books she writes you can find her at her website

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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.


Review: Not Until You by Roni Loren (8 part serial novel)

Wednesday, August 7

Title:  Not Until You...*
Author: Roni Loren
Series: Loving on the Edge #3.5 (Parts 1-8)
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Format: serial ebook
Date/Year: June 11 - July 30, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

*Parts 1-7 of this book were provided to me by the publisher for an honest review. Part 8 was purchased by me for my own enjoyment. 

Summary from the publisher:

From the author of the Loving on the Edge novels comes a story of a good girl who discovers that once you dare to cross some lines, it’s hard to turn back…

On the night of her graduation, innocent veterinary student Cela decides to play a game of Never Have I Ever with the two hot neighbors she’s been quietly crushing on for the last year. Always the prim and proper student, Cela thinks she’s earned a wild night before she has to move back home under the watchful gaze of her family. But what starts out as a simple game is about to take a very sensual turn...

Ian Foster is tired of playing games. With his membership to The Ranch, an exclusive BDSM resort, and a musician roommate named Pike who brings home groupies with a taste for ménage, Foster has a life most guys would kill for. But lately, his need for dominance is no longer satisfied via one-night stands. He craves the full surrender of one woman—a submissive of his own.

But when his quiet, sweet-as-sugar neighbor shows up at their door with a bottle of tequila and an invitation, Foster decides he and Pike may have time for one more fling…

My Musings:

Although this is not the first e-serial I’ve read, it will be the first one I’ve formally reviewed. With that in mind, this review will consist of a short recap and critique for each of the 8 parts which make up NOT UNTIL YOU, and then a final review for the overall story.

Cela Medina isn’t your average 24 year old woman, not by a long shot. She’s just finished her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, graduating with flying colors from Dallas University. And thanks to her overprotective family and seven long years of graduate school that barely left her time to sleep, she’s completely inexperienced in the ways of the adult world, especially when it comes to men. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t interested in learning more, and when she decides to seize an opportunity to be with her two hot male neighbors, Cela gets more than she bargained for.

Ian Foster is the self-made millionaire and sometime Dom who we met in STILL INTO YOU when he had hoped to start a BDSM relationship with Jace’s little sister, Leila, who was taking a break from her marriage but ultimately chose her husband, Seth, after they both realized they wanted to make things work. In NOT UNTIL YOU DARE we know him as Foster, Cela’s next door neighbor who shares an apartment with Pike, a laid back fun loving musician who is as much an opposite personality to Ian as you could possibly imagine. Their friendship provides a welcome counterpoint to the intensity of the relationship that progresses slowly between Foster and Cela throughout the story.

Not Until You: Part I - Not Until You Dare

In NOT UNTIL YOU DARE we get to see how Cela has spent her whole life doing everything her family wanted and had never questioned it, not until she was done with school, looked up and realized that she’d never done one thing fun for herself. She’s heard both her hot guy neighbors having loud sex with women they’ve brought home, and when they offer her the chance to experience it for herself, she decides to make this the one fun thing she’ll do before going home to join her father’s practice and slide back into the good family girl mold for the rest of her life.

I was a big fan of Ian Foster in STILL INTO YOU and happy to see him get his own story. Despite all her academic achievement, Cela was so sheltered that she almost read more as someone still in her teens, and that grated on me a bit at first. But I loved how Foster and Pike were able to finesse her into admitting all the things she’d never gotten to do, with an eye towards helping her make them happen. NOT UNTIL YOU DARE is a great introduction to the story and had me looking forward to finding out exactly how their night together was going to play out.

NOT UNTIL YOU alternates between two points of view: Cela’s first person and Foster’s third person. The switching back and forth works well for the most part, although I would have preferred first person for Foster as well.

Ratings for Part 1:

Overall: 4
Sensuality level: 4
(no actual sex, just discussion and fantasy thoughts)

Not Until You Part II: Not Until You Risk

After hours of dancing wildly between Foster and Pike at a local nightclub, Cela agrees to go to a hotel with them both, still not quite sure she hasn’t just passed out from all the tequila they had drunk together while filling out her "Never Have I Ever..." list. Foster’s Dominant nature immediately appeals to Cela, and keeps her from panicking as he and Pike give Cela a night none of them will ever forget.

Cela’s ability to submit so completely and quickly drives Foster wild, despite her air of innocence and obvious inexperience. But then he realizes there is one more thing she left off her "Never Have I Ever..." list, and it’s the biggest one of all.

The sexual interplay between Cela, Foster and Pike is a delight to read and the contrast of the two men’s personalities is never more obvious than when they are teaming up to pleasure Cela. But Foster’s reaction when he discovers the extent of Cela’s innocence was frustrating for me to read, even though it did fit in to his belief in how to treat women in and out of bed. The fact that Cela insists that it was all just a one time fantasy fling doesn’t ease his discomfort, and Part 2 ends with that uncertainty between the two of them.

Ratings for Part 2:

Overall:  4
Sensuality level:  4
(M/F/M foreplay, light BDSM)

Not Until You Part III: Not Until You Crave

When Cela, Foster and Pike return from the hotel, they have to deal once again with the real world, which includes Cela’s overprotective older brother, Andre, and Foster’s real concern that what he needs from Cela may be more than she can give. I hadn’t realized until now that Andre is actually one of Jace’s two lovers who we met in MELT INTO YOU, the second book in this series. He’s obviously never shared the true nature of his relationship with anyone in his family, but lets Cela know he will respect her decisions even though he’s worried about her well-being. He also warns Foster separately that he had better not mess around with his baby sister.

In Part 3 we also get to see more about Foster the businessman, who made it his life’s work to track down missing children after losing his own little sister to a kidnapper when he was just a kid himself. Both Cela and Foster try to avoid each other, but the pull between them is too great to resist and late-night texting ultimately turns into another sexual encounter which seems like another goodbye, this time for real. Eventually, Foster opens up to Cela about BDSM, "the Ranch" and his sexual needs as a Dominant, hoping this will scare her off once and for all. She wants to convince him that this is the perfect opportunity for a short term fling since she’s leaving town soon. But Foster is done with flings and one night stands. He wants a real commitment and he’s not willing to settle for less, so it’s goodbye once again as Part 3 ends.

I have to say that the whole hello again / goodbye again dynamic between Cela and Foster was starting to wear on me a bit, especially since they did it so often just in this one part of the story. But by this point, I liked the characters more than their actions, and was still curious to see how they would manage to resolve their differences yet again.

Ratings for Part 3:

Overall:  3
Sensuality level:  4

Not Until You Part IV: Not Until You Trust

Cela is starting to reconsider her plans to go back home and work for her father. The veterinary clinic where she’s been working part-time would love to have her stay, but she’s not sure what would keep her there now that Foster is apparently out of her life for good. Pike’s visit to the clinic is a welcome distraction and with Foster out of town, she’s more than willing to help Pike get settled in his apartment with the dog he decides to adopt. The moment when Foster arrives home unexpectedly to find Cela attempting to instruct Pike on how to show dominance over the recalcitrant dog is one of the funniest scenes based on gross misunderstanding that I’ve read in quite some time, and shows that Foster is not only still totally hung up on Cela but that she is more than ready to take what he’s ready to give her. And yet after another amazing night of sexual dominance and submission, this time it’s Cela who walks away, afraid of what she’s done and might do in the future.

Meanwhile all the plans that have been made regarding Cela’s future are still in motion, as her father announces he’s bought a house for her that’s right across the street from her parents. When she visits Andre at the loft he shares with Jace and Evan, she discovers the true nature of their triad relationship that he has hidden from his entire family. She also has an illuminating discussion with Jace’s brother, Wyatt, about her planned future in the family business. His experienced perspective helps her reconsider her decision to go along with what her family wants, and she decides that what she really wants is Foster. That’s when she blackmails Andre into taking her to "the Ranch" to confront Foster in his element and let him know she can stay as long as he wants her.

Another round of Cela and Foster coming together and splitting apart, and I’m wondering if the serial format makes this repetitive behavior more or less annoying. And yet, because I’m a sucker for true love and the Happily Ever After, I’m still ready to find out what’s going to happen next and how Foster will handle Cela confronting him on his home turf.

Ratings for Part 4:

Overall:  4
Sensuality level:  4

Not Until You Part V: Not Until You Beg

Cela is finally ready to take control of her present and future and she’s not going to let her brother or anyone else stand in her way. Foster is determined to try to move on from Cela, if he can just find the right submissive. What he doesn’t realize is that the scene that was arranged for him by Grant, the Ranch’s owner, is with the woman he keeps seeing in every other submissive with whom he tries to forget her. She knows it’s a huge gamble, but the possible payoff for both of them is worth all the risk. Foster wants a committed D/s relationship and that’s what Cela wants to give him. Whether or not they can succeed remains to be seen.

This was my favorite part of the story up to this point, as we finally get to see Foster and Cela working on becoming a real couple in the BDSM lifestyle. Foster works to train her as he would any other woman new to submission and Cela works on learning to trust in Foster and in her own strength and resilience. But the pressure from home and her family isn’t going away anytime soon, and Cela worries that Foster’s protective instincts aren’t really any different than her own family trying to run her life for her.

At least this part didn’t end with one or both of them pushing away the other, and that was a nice change. Instead we are left Foster promising Cela his own brand of punishment for lying to him about not having told her family that she wasn’t going to come home to stay after all. This was the best type of serial cliffhanger - one where we anticipate something really good about to happen instead of wondering why they were apart again when it’s clear it only makes them miserable.

Ratings for Part 5:

Overall:  5
Sensuality level:  4  (voyeurism, public BDSM play)

Not Until You Part VI: Not Until You Surrender

Cela discovers that she hurt Foster when she lied to him, because it made him believe she wasn’t taking him or their new relationship seriously. She also seems to understand that his concern for her safety and well-being was genuine and not a way to control her the way her father has up until now. Yet when Foster attempts to mark her as his by requesting she wear one of the location tracking ankle bracelets made by his company, she reverts to her original worry that he’s trying to control her life just like her father and asks him for more time to consider his request. Foster, who is equally worried that she’s still not ready for his type of relationship, immediately assumes she’s done with him and has her escorted out of the building. The woman who arrives only moments later asking for Ian (!) confirms Cela’s belief that it’s really all over this time. When Cela finds out the next day that there’s no job available for her at the local clinic after all, she decides that changing her life wasn’t meant to be and prepares to return to the bosom of her loving family with all her future already planned out for her.

For me this was the most frustrating part of the story, not just because they keep making the same mistakes over and over again, but because they actually seem to learn why they are wrong, and then still do the same damn thing again. I really wanted to smack Foster more than Cela this time, as he went right to “oh you don’t love me, so you should leave and I’ll call my reliable sex buddy for comfort” with almost lightning speed. I would have liked to see her stick around and fight for him, but she’s so used to giving in to what her family wants that when it seems like her only option, it makes sense that she would take it. I don’t know how Roni Loren is going to get them back together yet again in a way that doesn’t seem completely insane, but I’m not ready to give up on Foster and Cela just yet.

Ratings for Part 6:

Overall:  3.5
Sensuality level:  4 (outdoor nudity and bondage)

Not Until You Part VII: Not Until You Believe

When Foster arrives from his out of town trip, he’s shocked to find Cela has moved back home, Pike attempts to school him on just how badly he’s messed things up with Cela and Foster realizes that he needs to find her and try to set things right. Meanwhile Cela is discovering that her planned out life is just as lonely and frustrating as she’d anticipated when she’d originally tried to rebel against her father’s plans. Her father refuses to consider any medical decisions but his own, and she might as well be living in her old room at home for all the independence she has in her aunt’s old house across the street. She tries to forget Foster by going out with Michael, a local dentist whom she had briefly dated in high school, but there’s just no spark between them.

When Cela’s longing for Foster becomes too much to bear, she puts on the HomeSafe ankle bracelet that Foster had given her as a reminder of him. Unbeknownst to her, this activates its tracking mechanism, which provides the impetus Foster needs to finally move to claim what is his. But Cela’s father isn’t going to let her go anywhere with him without a fight.

It’s both ironic and clever that the tracking device that had seemingly split Cela and Foster up for good was now the catalyst for bringing them back together again. Of course they were never going to be happy apart, but there was no way Cela was going to make the first move again after being hurt so badly by Foster’s ham-handed response the last time around. But this time neither one will be denied and when Cela stands up to her father on Foster’s behalf and Foster grovels to her most sincerely in return, it almost makes all the previous shenanigans between them worthwhile. All that’s left now is the triumphant finale where Foster and Cela get to have their happy ending, and I’m more than ready to get there.

Ratings for Part 7:

Overall:  5
Sensuality level:  3

Not Until You Part VIII: Not Until You Love

After all the misunderstandings and back and forth drama throughout this story, this is where it all comes to its final fruition. Foster has declared his love for Cela and she is almost ready to do the same... when the bottom drops out of Foster’s world. The goal he’s worked toward his whole life - finding out what happened to his kidnapped sister - is suddenly achieved, and that knowledge devastates him completely. When he retreats from everyone and everything, it takes Cela’s complete submission and unconditional love to pull him back from the edge of utter despair.

This was the payoff I was hoping for at the end of this story, where both Cela and Foster finally truly learn from the mistakes they’ve made along the way and grow into the full loving relationship that they both realize they can only find with each other. It’s a beautifully written and heartfelt conclusion with all the emotion and passion that comes from a love so hard won and richly deserved.

Ratings for Part 8:

Overall:  5
Sensuality level:  4 (more intense BDSM including bondage, flogging and anal sex)

In conclusion, I enjoyed reading NOT UNTIL YOU and I think the serial format worked well for the story that Roni Loren wanted to tell. I definitely felt the pain of having to wait for each part to become available, but was happy to see that each one had its own individual story arc, as opposed to just cutting off the story when a particular page count had been reached. It was worth all the waiting to get to see Foster and Cela find happiness and I’m glad this format was available for readers to get their story. Roni Loren has outdone herself with NOT UNTIL YOU and the included excerpts from CAUGHT UP IN YOU, promise an equally great time to come in our next visit to the world of "The Ranch".


Overall:  4.5 stars
Sensuality level:  4

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Double Review: Burn by Maya Banks

Tuesday, August 6

Title: Burn*
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook, print & audio book
Date/Year: August 6, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele & Elainereads

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

Summary from the publisher:

Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire...

When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side—extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled.

Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

Michele's Musings:

This review may contain spoilers for RUSH and FEVER. You could read BURN as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Now that Gabe and Jace are both settled in committed relationships with the women who fulfill their need for dominance and control, only Ash is left as the last single man standing. The loss of Jace as his regular threesomes partner has been especially hard for Ash, as he’s never really wanted to be intimate with a woman one on one. When he sees the beautiful girl sitting at the cafe with a sketchbook in hand, he can’t help but appreciate her beauty. But when he realizes that the ill fitting choker around her neck is actually a collar, his attention is immediately focused on the possibility of making her his own submissive.

Josie is trying to live a carefree artist’s life after experiencing so much personal pain and loss in her past. She thought that a Dominant/submissive relationship with Michael would give her the caring and support she never really knew as a child. Ash helps her see that she’s been doing all the giving while getting none in return, and he convinces her to try letting him take care of her in all the ways she truly deserves.

BURN is the story of how Josie learns to trust and Ash learns how to love. Along the way, we see exactly why Ash has cut himself off from his dysfunctional family and the return of a threat that first appeared in RUSH, the first book in the Breathless series. By the end of BURN we discover just how far Ash is willing to go to protect the ones he loves, and how his need for control has the potential to ruin all their lives if he doesn’t figure out just how far is too far.

After reading the first two books in the Breathless series, I was ready to find out more about Ash, as I suspected that he was equally controlling and Dominant as his friends but was better at keeping it under wraps. The progression of the trust and love between Ash and Josie is somewhat more realistically paced when compared to the previous books, although all three do feature the combination of “insta-lust” and a compressed timeline. My feeling about it is that this works within this series, since these men are in their late thirties and finally ready for a permanent commitment once they find the women who are perfect for them.

When he begins his D/s relationship with Josie, it’s obvious that Ash is trying to learn from the mistakes both Gabe and Jace had made when they were in the same situation, yet he still manages to mess up on the one point that Josie treasured most - her sense of financial independence. Although I understood why she was angry, I was annoyed that she completely flipped out without even talking to him first, but then realized that her actions were necessary to set in motion the final confrontation with the threat to them all that had begun back in the first book. Maybe I’ve just been reading too many Maya Banks books lately, because it seemed like the plot gears were more obvious in BURN than in the previous books, and the way the threat was ultimately resolved seemed almost anti-climactic when compared to the build-up toward its end. But the sense of family between all the characters was just as enjoyable as in the previous two books and it was great to see Josie welcomed by all the people Ash considered as his real family. At the end of RUSH, we see all the characters settled and happy, with all the loose ends tied up in a way that doesn’t feel forced. and that’s part of what makes it a satisfying read.

If you’re new to the books of Maya Banks, the Breathless series is a great place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all three of them and look forward to more great stories from Maya Banks in the near future.


Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level:4

Elaine's Musings:

BURN is the third book in Maya Banks’ Breathless trilogy.  I waited intentionally for all three books to be published before reading any of them and I am so glad I did.  It was wonderful to be able to flow from one book to another.

Gabe, Jace, and Ash are best friends and extremely successful business partners.  All three men are Dominants and their sexual relationships reflect this desire.  In the first two books, RUSH and FEVER, Gabe and Jace find their women and Ash feels a little left out.  It has always been just the three of them and any women they were involved with were strictly short term. Although they will always be close, Gabe and Jace have other priorities now which is exactly as it should be. Ash understands this and loves the two women as sisters, but he still feels like the third wheel.

Fortunately, it is not long before Ash meets Josie.  Josie is an artist who has played at being a submissive, but has never been in a true dom/sub relationship.  Ash is more than willing to show her the difference.

I did not expect to like BURN as much as I did the previous two books.  Ash came across as a light weight in the earlier books.  However, his real personality is revealed in BURN.  If anything, he is more of a Dom than Gabe or Jace.

I have to say BURN is my favorite of the three books.  From the moment Ash meets Josie, he is focused on her.  Of course he makes mistakes, but he never does anything to intentionally hurt Josie.

There is a major twist to the plot about three-fourths of the way through which really amped up the tension.  I did not see it coming at all.  It tied up the storyline of all three books very satisfactorily.

Although this is the last book in the trilogy, another couple is introduced who I think need their own book.  I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but you will know who I mean after reading the book.  Besides, I always want another book by Maya Banks.  She has been an auto-buy for me for years.

The only reason this book did not receive five stars has nothing to do with the plot.  Ash apparently has a problem with pronouns.  Far too many of his sentences start without them.  For example, “Told you before, I’m not your father.” Then there was “Can’t force you to make decisions you want to make. Don’t want to make you do that.”  This affectation was so prevalent, it became distracting to the story.

Don’t, whatever you do, let this keep you from reading this series.  They are well worth your time and I am sure they will be on my re-read shelf.

One last thing: make sure you have the air conditioning on high.  This book is hot!

Overall: 4.5
Sensuality level: 5

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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 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 and gift cards on this rewards site)
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