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Friday, April 29, 2011

Paradise Moon by Jocelyn Modo

Paradise Moon by Jocelyn Modo
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (41 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Book Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

When Kiana landed both her dream job and her dream man, she should have known her luck was going to run out sooner rather than later. After months of doing both job and man, she’s fallen in love…but he’s just in lust. And that’s not enough for her anymore.

Arguably the galaxy’s most eligible bachelor, Alix Como has been burned by so many ex-girlfriends he no longer trusts any woman he invites into his bed. But somehow Kiana is different. He wants desperately to trust her—if he hasn’t already run out of time.

Kiana’s biological clock is telling her it’s time to either move forward in her relationship with Alix or move on. Alix has always been very up front about the fact that he doesn’t plan to commit to any one woman. Will the possibility of losing Kiana forever change his mind?

One of the great things about short stories is that you don’t have to become invested in the lives of the characters to be entertained. It’s kind of like sitting down to watch television and stopping on a half hour sitcom or mini-drama that you aren’t familiar with and enjoying it in spite of not getting much background story.

In Jocelyn Modo’s novella Paradise Moon readers are introduced to Kiana and Alix. When the story begins they have already been in a relationship for the better part of a year. We are given a quick snapshot of how they met and under what circumstances. The whole setup is highly believable given the information Ms. Modo provides.

Kiana and Alix are both likable characters but Kiana has a repetitive habit of dwelling on the fact that she wasn’t brought up with the money or culture or privilege that Alix enjoyed. She has a self-deprecating view of herself even though she is the personal assistant to the “CEO of the galaxy’s most profitable travel company”. I had a difficult time reconciling the negative way she viewed herself with the fact that IF she was completely unsuitable to be his PA, Alix could simply have dated her without having had to hire her. She must have had some skills and self-confidence to have had the courage to apply for the position of his PA in the first place, right?

In spite of Kiana’s internal struggle with her upbringing, Ms. Modo paints a very loving relationship between Kiana and Alix. More than once he refers to Kiana as his “star” and that endearment runs as an underlying theme throughout the story. Because this is a love story, the reader can expect a lovely HEA for Kiana and Alix but it takes some growth and communication on both parts to achieve what they both realize they want.

This little novella has all the right elements to please sci-fi and contemporary book lovers. The sci-fi parts do not over whelm the plot but add a nice change of pace to story that could have just as easily taken place solely on Earth.

If you are craving a sweet and sexy love story but don’t have much time to read then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Jocelyn Modo’s Paradise Moon.

To Love a Thief by Cherie De Sues

To Love a Thief by Cherie De Sues
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (81 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

When a beautiful thief steals the French Blue diamond from security expert Nick Corelli's personal Pandora safe, his only lead is the sensual minx who was his dinner companion just hours before.

But no one is who they pretend to be, as Nick learns when he discovers a gut-wrenching betrayal and forms an unlikely alliance with a family of thieves. Following more twists and turns than an Italian country road, Nick risks his own reputation and family business in the name of love.

Or is it? Once her family is safe, will the elusive Clarisse decide to vanish with both the diamond and his heart, leaving him behind amid the ruins?

For a spiffy short story that starts off with a bang and a mystery, you can’t go wrong with To Love a Thief. It’s got plenty of steam and suspense as well.

Our heroine, Clarisse, and her sister have to steal something from our hero, Nick, a rare French blue diamond -- but they get caught. They’re doing it for a good reason, though: their brother’s been kidnapped and the stone is the ransom. Too bad for Clarisse that Nick is a security expert. Prior to the attempted theft, she had dinner with him, flirting and getting him plenty aroused, and that heat never quite stops simmering under the surface.

This story speeds from scene to scene as Nick and Clarisse try to find their way with each other, thief and security expert, opposite sides of a coin. How can they possibly have a relationship, even if things do work out with the stone?

Nick, an amazingly sexy man who has a soft spot for family – including his charming, younger brother Gio – offers their help to get the girls’ brother back safely, but for Nick the deal can’t include the losing the diamond that’s been entrusted to him. Clarisse is a master planner and between the two of them they plot and plan and wonder if they can trust each other.

The author did a whiz-bang job of keeping the action moving during this story. Both the romance and the suspense zoom along at a crazy speed. Though hints were dropped now and then about a way they might be able to be together, the ending was left very open ended, and I admit to being a little disappointed at being left hanging a bit. I hope Ms. De Sues has plans for a sequel that answers those questions that were left unanswered at the end of this story.

Aside from that little burp, I completely enjoyed this story and read it in one sitting, needing to see how everything worked out. I was impressed by the author’s writing skill, her descriptions, her dialogue, her narrative – it all shined. I’ll be looking for more from her. In the meantime, I definitely recommend this great short story to romantic suspense buffs, and plead to the author for a sequel.

Buried In Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry

Buried In Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry
A Briny Bay Mystery
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (62 pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 4 books
Review by: Jasmine

Roxie Turner finds herself up to her neck in trouble when her lifelong nemesis, Georgia Collins, is discovered buried in the town’s landfill. To make matters worse, with her characteristic Southern sass, Roxie has been saying she’d kill Georgia for more than twenty years. In fact, she listed the ways to do the woman in, constantly reminding prominent citizens of her intent. It was all a joke, or so she thought. But the joke turns on her as, suddenly, other dead bodies begin to pile up, all murdered with a technique from Roxie’s list.

Enlisting the assistance of handsome hunk, Greg Norris, Roxie’s sister, Trixie Frye, comes to her aid, bent on uncovering the killer and the truth. Can they find out both before Roxie goes to the big house?

This book is southern charm meets "I Love Lucy". If you like the old television series, then you will love this book. The main character, Roxie Turner, and her sister, Trixie Frye, are like a modern day Lucy and Ethel. They get into endless trouble, even when their intentions are completely innocent – though the results tend to be a bit more lethal than the original duo's. Trixie's husband, Floyd, reminds me a lot of Fred from the same old TV show, though I'm not sure the male lead quite measures up to Ricky yet. The first in a series that promises to be very entertaining, this book takes place in North Carolina.

Roxie has spent the last twenty years, very vocally, plotting the death of her nemesis, Georgia, to anyone who will listen. She even did research on different ways to kill her. When Georgia turns up dead in one of the many ways on Roxie's list, naturally she is the first, and most logical, suspect. Then, when more people start dying in the other ways on Roxie's checklist, it seems that someone is out to frame her. Trixie and Roxie have to investigate, and find the killer, to clear Roxie's name before it's too late.

Well written and comical, it was a fun change from the normal romantic suspense novels. It was slightly predictable in a couple of places but it didn't take away from the enjoyment of the story. The plot keeps you reading just to see what trouble the girls get into next. A quick, fun read that leaves you looking forward to the next book in the series!

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (56 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Holly

Magic, matchmaking and murder...

Lord Willowbrook’s spring ball is supposed to be a magical celebration, but Miss Emily Wright is bored. The only outlet allowed for her magic is matchmaking—for others, not herself. Why bother? The only man she wants, Michael Black, is a man she can never have.

Suddenly the guests are abuzz with news of a young sorceress found drained of blood in the parlor. The mystery calls to her, and since she is the only available seer in all England, she jumps at the chance to prove herself.

Michael has spent his life preparing for his ritual death, when he will join the Order of St. Jerome as an immortal chronicler. Now that dream hangs in the balance, his mentor accused of the murder. Worse, gentle Emily, the woman he silently loves, is walking into a world of horrors beyond her imagination.

Torn between duty to the order and desire to keep her safe, Michael fights his growing need for a love that can never be his. All the while the real killer stalks the shadows of Willowbrook Hall, homing in on the next victim.

The Importance of Being Emily by Robyn Bachar is an intriguing glimpse into earlier times, when women were expected to be genteel and reserved.

It is a time when women, even women of magic, are expected to fill certain roles. As a seer, Emily uses her magic for matchmaking, though she wants much more from life. It’s ironic that she has matched her younger sisters with soul mates, while Emily, the eldest of the sisters, remains single.

At the party celebrating the vernal equinox, everyone is shocked by the murder of one of the young ladies, Miss Amelia Morgan. As a seer, Emily has an insatiable curiosity, and offers her services to try and solve the crime. Although many in attendance believe they have already caught the perpetrator, Emily isn’t convinced of his guilt.

They believe she was the victim of a necromancer, or vampire, but none are at the party. There is, however, a chronicler and his apprentice, and these are known to be drinkers of blood. Complicating matters, Emily has a vision of her soul mate, and it is someone she can never have. He is Michael Black, a librarian and the apprentice to the chronicler accused of the crime.

After some brief investigation, Emily and Michael come to the conclusion that Mr. Simon St. Jerome, Michael’s mentor, has been accused, but is innocent of the terrible crime. They suspect that someone at the party has secretly turned to the darker side of magic, and become a master necromancer. Can Emily and Michael work together to clear St. Jerome’s name? Can they ignore the growing attraction between them, knowing they can never be together? Or can they discover a way to the happy ever after they believe is lost to them?

This is an interesting world, filled with magic and mystery, and Ms. Bachar has written a delightful romance, mixed with suspense and danger. The characters are all well defined, and multi faceted, and the book, though short, is a very satisfying experience.

Emily is a strong willed, intelligent young woman. She is a little bored with her life, and wants to do more than just use her magic to make matches. With the murder, she blossoms, and is able to use her gift and visions to do much more. She has secretly loved Michael Black for some time, knowing that she can never have him, as he is destined to become a chronicler, and is shocked to discover that he is her one true soul mate. I liked Emily, for her independent spirit, her superb intelligence, and her fearless nature.

Michael Black is a librarian, apprenticed to become a chronicler after his ‘death’. He is strong, loyal and extremely handsome. But Michael has a secret, one he has kept to himself for a while: he loves Miss Emily Wright, and has for some time. But like Emily, he sees no way for them to be together. So when given the chance to work along side her to help clear his mentor’s name, he is delighted to do so. I like Michael, although I do believe he could have found out more about his future responsibilities before believing all was lost.

The mystery of who the real killer is unfolds at the perfect pace for this short book. I enjoyed watching the romance between Emily and Michael blossom, and I was delighted to see Emily try to fight for the man she wants. I smiled at her jealousy of the mentor who she felt was taking what should be hers, even as she tries to clear his name to make Michael happy. And as the romance between these two would be lovers explodes into heated passion, the story opens up to possibilities not explored before now. There are several surprises in this one, and they add greatly to the overall reading experience.

There is a marvelous and surprising conclusion to this one, and I highly recommend it to all who love mystery, magic and heat.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Northern Nights by Theresa Scott

Northern Nights by Theresa Scott
Publishing: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (354 Pages)
Other: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

Miss Elizabeth Powell, a recent graduate of Miss Cowperth's School for Young Ladies in San Francisco, arrives in the wilds of Washington Territory determined to find her missing father. But when handsome Isaac Thompson throws her over his broad shoulder and carries her off, all her plans dribble away in the wake left behind Isaac's black canoe.

Indian Isaac Thompson seeks to restore his family's tarnished name and right the wrongs done to them. But will his mistaken capture of the beautiful firebrand Elizabeth Powell divert him from the deadly aim of his life: to wreak revenge and destruction on his enemies?

True or False: love is the great equalizer? Can it really change a person’s expectations and perspective? Or does it just open their eyes to a whole new world?

The Pacific Northwest in 1854 was hard, uncivilized territory. Cities were just sprouting, businesses were struggling to survive and cultures were clashing left and right. Native Americans were beginning to learn that working for the colonist was the only way to make a living. Sometimes it was fruitful and others times it was deadly.

An unexpected and untimely murder of a Native American worker begins this story that introduces us to Elizabeth Powell, a kind-hearted and well mannered young woman who lives her life according to the dictates of her etiquette books. In an attempt to bring the murderer to justice the local tribes send a cavalry of young warriors to capture and punish the culprit and his family.

Unfortunately for them, they took the wrong woman. Issac Thompson, the warrior leader, learns firsthand what a strong, rebellious, stubborn and lovely woman Elizabeth is and becomes her protector during their arduous journey to the Indian village. Elizabeth is drawn to Issac Thompson and relies on his strength and loyalty to keep her safe. Their time together becomes more and more personal and intimate until they are separated by tragic circumstances and differences of culture and beliefs.

This is such a heartbreaking and heartwarming story. It shows that no matter what the atrocities or circumstances, true love can carry a person through even the most grave of experiences. The love for an individual can open your mind and heart allowing you to accept what you never dared imagine.

Theresa Scott has written such wonderful romantic and suspenseful stories. This is the type of story that you will open and not put down until you have finished. The love, fear, passion and commitment between Issac and Elizabeth are what real romance is all about. What a great book! Don’t miss it.

Gore Orphanage Road by Lynn Hones

Gore Orphanage Road by Lynn Hones
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: Short Story (129 pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Jasmine

Alexis Duncan and her family move into a home once owned by an evil tyrant, and are blissfully unaware of the horrors that await them. Strange apparitions, orbs floating in the woods outside their windows, and frightening specters in their bedrooms are only the beginning.

Alexis alienates her hardcore boyfriend, Joe, and his cronies, after meeting a young man named Reed who understands the manifestation of ghostly occurrences. He sets out to save her from them and also from an insanely jealous Joe. He'll kill to save her, even if it means losing Alexis in process.

When her parents buy run-down house on Gore Orphanage Road in Beavercreek, Ohio, Alexis knows from the beginning that something is off with the house. Plagued by bad dreams and a bad boyfriend, she is tired all the time and more concerned about her academic future than her friends. She ends up alienating them as well, making her life miserable at school. When the ghosts and the unexplained start taking on a more sinister quality, she is helped by the hot young guy that mysteriously showed up in her life one night.

Who doesn't have memories of ghost stories and haunted places from when they were growing up? Ms. Hones takes a tale of a well known Ohio haunting and places our heroine right in the middle of it. Creepy ghosts and unexplained occurrences become their own character in this story.

There are several grammar and punctuation issues in the book that succeeded in pulling me out of the story at times. Also, the main character, Alexis, sometimes came across feeling more like an adult than a teenager and the excessive use of the words “freak” and “frick” in place of swear words didn't work for me.

Being from Ohio, I grew up hearing the story of Gore Orphanage. Fictional creative license aside, to base a story on a real tale I expect it to still relate fairly closely to the original. This story takes place in Beavercreek, Ohio which is more than 150 miles from the real Gore Orphanage Road and the background story is significantly different too. To be fair, this wouldn't bother anyone not familiar with the tale but if it spurred their interest enough for them to look it up, they might find a story that's a bit different than that portrayed in the book. Perhaps there is a form of this tale that I've never heard and that's where the author gets her story.

Even so, the ghosts that make an appearance in the book, and the story unfolding is eerie enough to keep you turning the pages. As a fan of ghost stories, I expected, and certainly received, quite an entertaining read that had me rooting for Alexis and Reed and anxious to know the outcome. There is a part near the ending, with the orphans, that kept me spellbound and would be a very cool sequence in a movie. Check out Gore Orphanage Road for a fun, ghostly read!

Sex and Key Lime Pie by Kat Attalla

Sex and Key Lime Pie by Kat Attalla
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (223 pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Sunflower

Cheyanne Dupree, European trained chef, has a recipe for everything, except happiness. A decade earlier, she inherited a fortune but lost Luc Allesandro, the rightful heir to the family estate and the love of her life. She returns to her childhood home for her tenth high school reunion and attempts to clear out the ghosts that haunt her. Luc has spent the past few years trying to forget Cheyanne. His company has become profitable, and he doesn’t need reminders of his past interfering with his future. As far as he is concerned, she made her choice when she took the money and walked away. Luc is not ready to forgive, but Cheyanne won't let him go until he hears the truth. A truth that will change both their lives forever.

It's not often second chance opportunities come to people in life. Cheyanne Dupree decides it's time to stop hiding from her past. She goes home just in time for her ten year reunion, and comes face to face with her past -- Luc Allesandro. They parted on not so good terms nine years ago, but even now the two can't seem to hide their attraction for each other. It's going to take far more than sexual attraction if they want to mend their relationship; it's going to take trust, forgiveness,and love.

Not only does Cheyanne face Luc, she also faces her best friends Isabelle, and Elisabeth. She's known the women for many years. But for the nine years she's spent moving from place to place, she hasn't done a good job keeping in touch. But the friends are glad that Cheyanne has come back into their lives. Things haven't been easy for Cheyanne since she left, and she feels lucky to know that at least some people have welcomed her home with open arms.

Luc and Cheyanne's relationship is a complicated one. They have also known each other from a very young age and become more than friends in their teens. Even back then it was complex, and though they've been apart for so long and tried to forget the feelings they felt for each other, they can't seem to stay away from one another, either. Luc knows exactly how to push Cheyanne's buttons. But there is one secret she hasn't told him, and when she does it could either bring them closer together, or tear them further apart.

Sex and Key Lime Pie is a story readers won't soon forget. It's about second chances, family, forgiveness, and the power of love. The story not only focuses on the relationship between Cheyanne and Luc, it also shows the relationships of friends and family. The secondary characters play a powerful and important role in this book. Ms. Attalla creates characters that breathe life into the pages and stay in the minds of those who read it long after the book itself has ended.

If you're in the mood for an emotional story guaranteed to tug at your heart, make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry, then this is a book you don't want to pass up.

A Rancher’s Pride by Barbara White Daille

A Rancher’s Pride by Barbara White Daille
Publisher: Harlequin American Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (165 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Sam Robertson's life just changed. In one short day, he found out that he's a daddy; that his beautiful little girl, Becky, is deaf; and that her aunt, sign language teacher Kayla Ward, intends to fight him for custody.

There are plenty of reasons Sam shouldn't fall for Kayla. A city girl like her has no place on his ranch, particularly when she's his ex-wife's gorgeous sister. But thanks to the judge's orders, Sam's spending a lot of time with Kayla, trying to give Becky the stable home she's never known.

Despite their ongoing custody battle, Sam and Kayla's love for Becky brings them closer than they ever expected, and Sam knows that no matter who wins in court, he could still lose—Kayla or his daughter.

Will the gift of a special needs child he didn’t even know existed be the balm that heals this rancher’s wounded pride? Sam Robertson has matured a lot since his misspent youth that resulted in a hasty marriage and an almost as equally quick divorce. It’s been four years since his wife, with help of her sister, high-tailed off the ranch leaving him with a stack of credit card bills, mistrust for women and a whole lot of regret. He didn’t realize what she took from him would be worth much more than he could know until Becky was “dumped” on his doorstep four years later.

Imagine how difficult it had to be for Sam to suddenly learn that he has a child that he’s never met and can’t communicate with. Now, throw in the sister of his ex-wife who storms into his life demanding that he give up custody of the child he’s just met. Kayla Ward honestly loves her niece and is determined to bring her back home to Chicago as soon as possible. What she knows about her ex-brother in law is influenced by she was told by her sister. Needless to say they each start off disliking and mistrusting one another. The only thing they have in common is Becky.

Ms. Daille has penned a sweet story about learning to trust as well as learning that love is worth more than pride. Her characters are both determined and stubborn to a fault. They each want what is best for the child but are unwilling to consider that might mean giving her up. The author’s writing evoked sympathetic as well as frustrated emotions for all the parties involved. Sam is happy, sad and scared all at the same time in regards to Becky. Similarly, his reaction to Kayla’s presence is very convoluted. One minute he’s trying to ignore her and the next minute he’s teasing her into a kiss. They have some really sweet dialogue when they aren’t arguing.

Ms. Daille has a lovely voice for contemporary romance. Her characters are not perfect which makes them all the more realistic. Her plots are well built and the book transitions smoothly from beginning to end. If you are looking for a progressive romance that starts slow and ends sweetly you’ll want to pick up a copy of A Rancher’s Pride.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting for the Moon by Tracy Rowan

Waiting for the Moon by Tracy Rowan
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (72 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Andy Crawford has been treated ungently by life. Deserted by her father, abused by the men her mother took up with, she fled home at an early age and threw her energy into her art. Against her better judgment she engaged in an affair with the sheriff of her town, but now she's ended it and plans on spending the rest of her life alone. However, a mysterious man she meets in the woods one night has other ideas.

Though her common sense tells her to stay away from Alec Vadesz, her instinct says that he is her true mate, and that he needs her help coping with the curse that turns him into a dangerous predator under the full moon.

Her soul is deeply scarred. His spirit is painfully cursed. Together they will find the healing and peace that neither ever had hope of achieving.

Andrea Crawford, Andy to her friends, is an artist. After escaping an abusive childhood she pours all her hope, fear, grief and sadness into the little guardians she creates. Her unique little creatures do more than protect her home. They also call to the man who would be the balm to her wounded heart, the healing for her broken spirit, the other half of her soul. Andy has a natural and understandable distrust of men yet she is drawn to mysterious man she finds in her woods. Her body welcomes his attention in a way that no other man has been able to breach her self made defenses.

Waiting for the Moon is not a sexually explicit story but it does contain a charming romance. Readers who have experienced a frightening childhood or a recent loss will be able to emphasize with Andy’s sense of loss and grief. They’ll recognize her need to protect her heart and yet embrace the opportunity to provide love and care for another hurting soul.

Fear, grief and loneliness can manifest themselves in many forms when the body just can’t hold them inside any longer. Some people lash-out, others may hide behind masks, still others like the heroine in Ms. Rowan’s story turn those heavy emotions into very personal works of art. Ms. Rowan mentions in her bibliography at the end of the book that she herself is an artist and you can see her love for creating in her writing. There is a tangency in the way she describes the little statues that Andy creates and pours her soul into. I couldn’t help but consider that’s how a truly gifted artist would work not matter if their chosen medium is clay, metal, paint or paper.

If readers are looking for a story that will touch them emotionally then they will truly appreciate the little novella. The story Ms. Rowan tells is very realistic despite the paranormal aspect because even that part of the story parallels how one mistake, though not your own, can shape your life forever. Be prepared to have your heart engaged when you pick up this short story.

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (327 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Lavender

The moving, tragic story of Charles I, the last absolute monarch of England, during his imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Richly drawn and inspired by the New York Times bestselling author’s own experience living on the Isle of Wight, this dramatic retelling brings to life the cavalier king whom Cromwell deposed. But even more fascinating than the account of royal hopes and misfortunes is the tale of a charming servant girl who is as romantic and tender in love as she is bold and resourceful in plotting the king’s escape.

If a king were in danger, what would you do to help him? Mary of Carisbrooke, a book by Margaret Campbell Barnes, addresses this question, and in quite an entertaining way. This book is a wonderful historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Mary is a quiet girl working in a castle when her king, Charles I of England, is brought there and imprisoned. Her character is memorable, fully fleshed out with a history, hopes, dreams, love and disappointment. She is so innocent but yet courageous, admirable for the actions she takes in the name of doing what she thinks is right. Some tragic things happen to Mary, and I kept turning pages to find out how she would get through them. Her first love comes into the picture and is developed with a surprising twist. Something unexpected happens.

The writing flows with elegance as the story unfolds. The setting of a mysterious castle is the perfect place for the themes of misfortune, courage, and hope to come about. Some things are universal, some human characters seen throughout the ages, and the author shows this while expertly holding on to the world of the seventeenth century. The characters are relatable. Sides are chosen. Some die for it. Others have their happy endings. Mary’s fate is surprising and pleasing.

Readers who know the history of Charles I of England know if the escape attempts are successful or not, but even with this knowledge, there is still great suspense in the story. What happens to those who help the king? Charles’s character is written well, giving a glimpse into his human side and inspiring a great empathy for him and his family.

With an intelligent and clear writing style, the story is timeless, a recommended read for fans of historical fiction with a dash of romance.

Friendly Fire by Megan Hart

Friendly Fire by Megan Hart
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (53 Pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Canterbury Bell

After Agent Kendall Frasier's partner is shot in "friendly fire" during a drug bust, she agrees to take a week's vacation on a tropical island as part of her psychiatric evaluation. Sand, sun, sea—what could be better to help her work through her guilt? Even if the presence of the man responsible for the shooting, Agent Zane Vincent, seems counterproductive to her mental health.

As Kendall gets to know Zane, and realizes he feels worse about what happened than she does, it becomes impossible to hate him. And their mutual attraction becomes impossible to deny.

Kendall and Zane soon agree to put the event that brought them together in the past—and spend the present exploring their most erotic desires. Do they have a future in the real world when their week in paradise is over?

How do you get someone to forgive you for something you did when you can’t even forgive yourself? And how do you live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Out to endure a forced two week vacation Agent Kendall Frasier lands on vacation paradise island for rest and evaluation courtesy of a shooting that left her partner dead. On board the plane is Agent Zane Vincent, the owner of the gun that killed her partner. This is going to prove to be an interesting two weeks.

For Zane Vincent, how can he live with what happened? For Kendall Frasier, forgiving Zane Vincent isn’t as easy as forgetting that there was nothing she could have done to save her partner. Therapy and time bring the agents to an impasse...accept what has happened and explore the growing attraction between them or walk away and live with even more regrets.

Kendall and Zane are two of life’s more extreme characters. They live hard, they play hard and they accept what life is throwing at them. Megan Hart is great at creating such totally complex characters and give them the intelligence to find their way back to life. Throwing them together creates passion and emotions that are explosive. The brevity of this story is its only flaw. You want to know so much more about them and experience more of their time together, alone and exposed down to their souls.

This is a passionate, well written and entertaining short story. What else would you expect from Megan Hart. If you can stop staring at the cover!!