Chapter 1 The skies over the city of Betony split open, and Ella, who’d been pacing the narrow halls of the city’s Great Room, shrieked as the floor tumbled out from beneath her. Free-falling through space, she desperately clawed the air for a handhold. As the ground rushed up to greet her, she could only close her eyes and brace for an impact that never came. She landed in muscular arms with a solid thump. Ella cracked open one eye and surveyed her savior. She smiled brightly. “Well, hello, there.” Ice blue eyes raked her face before the man dumped her to the ground. “Who in the hell are you and what have you done with my brother?” “Your brother? I don’t know your brother, and I don’t know what you’re talking about!” She tossed a quick glance around. “Or where I am.” One large hand grasped the corner of her robe and hauled her to her feet. “Before you continue lying, let me warn you. My temper is very short right now, and I’m in no mood for games.” Ella tried to free her collar, but the man held on. Giving up, she clamped her hands on her hips and stood on tiptoes to give herself more height. “You don’t know what you’ve just taken hold of, mister, so unless you have a wish to spend the rest of your days as a chameleon, you’ll let me go.” Instead of releasing her as she’d hoped, the man leaned down to peer into her face. “Are you fucking kidding me?” No time for nerves. She shook her head. “No. I’m a witch.” “Then, lady, you’re in a helluva lot of trouble because you just landed in Wizard Country.” Ella’s mouth fell open. Wizard Country? Oh. My. God. A witch in Wizard Country. The two definitely didn’t mix. She managed to paste a sweet smile on her face in spite of the turmoil in the pit of her stomach. “Well, in that case, I’ll just be leaving then. I didn’t mean to intrude.” The wizard’s eyes darkened. “You’re not going anywhere. In fact, I think your arrival could work out very nicely for us, most definitely for me.” “Wait a second. Am I really in Wizard Country?” Ella pursed her lips and assessed the man-wizard whose silver eyes zeroed in on her face with unwavering clarity. “I mean, as far as I know, this could be my cousin’s way of fucking with me.” His muscles bulged as he crossed his arms over his chest, finally releasing her. She did give him points for the easy way he let her go. Although he didn’t look any happier than he had when he held onto her. “Which part are you having difficulty understanding?” She tipped her head back to get a better view of his face. He was extraordinarily attractive, and Ella had a soft spot for good-looking men. Too bad this one was a wizard. They were notorious for hating witches. Although she’d fucked other enemies before, so this certainly wouldn’t be the first. He towered over her, and with that height, it was only natural she should look at his feet. Hmmm. Rather large. She licked her lips in anticipation. And big hands. Her breasts would fit perfectly in those palms. “So do you have a name?” She leaned into him, giving him a peek at her cleavage. At least she was wearing something mildly attractive when her pissed-off cousin decided to retaliate. Ordinarily, she didn’t like the robes of her coven, but this particular one had a vee-shaped neckline which draped low over her breasts. Perfect for a man with an appetite. His fingers dug into her arm. “You should be more concerned about your own well-being than the name of your captor.” He began to tow her forward. Ella didn’t bother to struggle. In all truth, she was more than a little intrigued and excited. Her aunts would probably be horrified at her thoughts, but now that she’d had time to consider her options, she wasn’t about to even try to leave Wizard Country without finding out if this man at her side tasted as good as he looked. The wizard’s shoulder-length black hair glistened in the sun, a stunning complement to his perfectly chiseled features. Ella’s heart rate sped into dangerous territory. Perhaps she should thank her cousin, Noelle, instead of complaining about this inconvenient interruption of her life. With her free hand, she tested the strength of the wizard’s bulging biceps and tautness of his skin. He really was as hard as he looked. She couldn’t resist a low, throaty purr, which brought him to an abrupt halt. “What was that?” Ella sent him a provocative smile. “That was just my inner whore expressing approval.” He stared at her, his expression wavering between disbelief and confusion. “You do realize you are in a very precarious situation. Why aren’t you concerned for your life?” “Honey, if I worried every time my life was in danger, I wouldn’t get anything done. And I definitely have plans to get something done this evening, provided I can interest you in some nocturnal activity.” “Kevlin.” “Excuse me?” “You asked me my name.” Ella smiled her enticing invitation for the evening. “Well, Kevlin, it’s very nice to meet you.” Another stare was his only response, but the fingers on her arm loosened. She slid up next to him to allow her breast to brush against his arm. His nostrils flared, and her smile broadened. “I believe you were saying something about how this could work out nicely for you.” The moment the words left her mouth, his blue eyes darkened, as stormy as hurricane-tossed seas. The grip on her arm tightened. “Possibly, but only if you have the common sense to tell me where my brother is.” “Are we back to that again?” Ella tapped her mouth with her hand to fake a yawn. “What part of my response do you have difficulty understanding?” Her paraphrase of his earlier question made his jaw tighten. “I would be very careful if I were you.” “Yeah, well, since you don’t know me, I’ll give you a tip. Careful isn’t in my vocabulary.” Fuck it. If he was going to kill her, there wasn’t anything she could do to stop him. As sharp as she was with a spell, she couldn’t hold a candle to a wizard’s powers. Every witch in Betony knew better than to cross one, which was precisely why Ella was beginning to believe Noelle didn’t intend to send her here. As mad as her cousin might have been for Ella’s past sins, Noelle wasn’t the type to deliberately put anyone in harm’s way. She was too careful. Hell, the woman practically had the word careful tattooed on her ass. “Are you listening to me?” Kevlin’s dark inquiry brought a frown to Ella’s face. “Are you growling at me?” For a moment, the captor and the captive squared off, face to face, gazes locked, each seeming to dare the other to move or even breathe. The wizard broke first, his lips tipping upwards into a crooked smile. “If you won’t tell me where my brother is, I’m going to have to result to drastic measures.” Ella’s heart pumped furiously. “What kind of drastic measures?” If he was into a little bondage, she could handle that, but if he was talking about whips and chains, they were both going to have a serious problem. Snagging her around the waist, Kevlin held her tight against his chest. “Just wait and see.” The air contorted around her, and Ella’s curse was lost in the whipping winds.
SECRET RENDEZVOUS - CALISTA FOX EXCERPT
Chapter 1 “Now this is a perfect gift!” Cat Hewitt let out a little squeal of delight as she lifted the black patent leather, thigh-high boots with five-inch heels out of the gift bag McCarthy Portman had just handed her. “These babies will inspire a whole new batch of erotic fantasies for David. He’s going to love them!” A pang of regret speared McCarthy’s insides as Cat and the other women who’d gathered after-hours at Rendezvous for Cat’s bachelorette party admired the gorgeous boots McCarthy had spent weeks searching for. They were incredibly sexy. So much so, she’d been shocked to find that she’d wanted a pair for herself when she was purchasing Cat’s. Despite the lofty price tag and the fact that she’d never, ever worn anything quite so daring. But splurging on erotic items when you had no one to share them with was just, well, pointless. As she’d done while buying Cat’s gift, McCarthy forced herself to ignore the twinge of envy that suddenly crept up on her. Last year, Cat had joined Rendezvous, the exclusive dating service McCarthy worked for, in hopes of finding a soul mate. She’d succeeded. Just one more happily-ever-after to add to the growing list. As pleased as McCarthy was by the impressive number of perfect matches made by her state-of-the-art software, and her diligence, she was disappointed she was unable to find her own match. Frustrated that she had yet to meet a man with whom she was compatible, McCarthy had finally broken down and entered her profile into her dating system this very afternoon. But even that last-resort tactic had yielded unsatisfactory results. The last name she’d ever expected to see in conjunction with hers had appeared on her screen as her top match. Josh Kensington. For a split second, excitement had speared her insides. She’d literally gotten the jolt of a lifetime. But her euphoria had been short-lived. Confusion had quickly set in. McCarthy had stared at the computer screen for a good five minutes, wondering how on earth her matchmaking software had connected her to Josh Kensington, the owner of The Rage, the rowdy nightclub housed in the same building as Rendezvous. Josh was the hunkiest man she’d ever laid eyes on. Definitely not what she was looking for in a match. McCarthy didn’t want the hottest thing since Brad Pitt as a boyfriend. Talk about pressure. Plus, Josh was a party animal. McCarthy was a computer geek. Josh soaked up the wild, pulsating MTV-video scene, for which his club was famous, like the parched earth after a severe drought. McCarthy preferred the cozy atmosphere of Rendezvous. She liked the jazz music that filled the club, loved to hear the soft laughter that drifted on the sexually charged air. The intimate club was infinitely more stimulating than the Head-Banger’s Ball that took place downstairs every night. Reasons number one and two why she and Josh were not simpatico. Still…. As she’d continued to stare at her laptop, she’d been forced to admit there was something thrilling about seeing Josh’s name pop up on the screen when she’d searched for a match. That his profile had made it into her golden database at all was a bit of a shock. He’d never expressed interest in finding a girlfriend and had never sought McCarthy’s help in hooking him up with the many beautiful, successful women who belonged to the exclusive dating service. Obviously his cousin, Cassandra, had entered his information into the computer. Cass owned Rendezvous and she’d mentioned a time or two that she wished Josh would consider finding a nice girl to settle down with. McCarthy was certainly that. Well, actually, she wasn’t just a nice girl. She was a good girl. Which made her completely unsuitable for bad boy Josh Kensington. Strike three. She should have just turned the computer off right then and there. She hadn’t. Clearly a glutton for punishment, she’d pulled up his photo and gazed at it with a bizarre mixture of desire and dread. Josh was simply too gorgeous for words. McCarthy had never known a man who could be considered breathtaking, but Josh stole hers with ease. He exuded raw sexuality and intense heat. Everything about the man screamed hot sex. From his silky blonde hair, to his mesmerizing ice-blue eyes, to his bulging biceps, to his long, sinewy legs, Josh Kensington was a sexual fantasy waiting to happen. Which was all bad and wrong in her mind—and where the dread came into play. McCarthy wasn’t into perfection. She preferred her men to have a flaw or two. That made her much less self-conscious of her own shortcomings. Having three beautiful sisters, not to mention a best friend like Cass—who was not only beautiful but who, like Josh, also radiated sensuality in the most irresistible way—tended to make McCarthy feel like a wallflower. But, given her optimistic nature, she was certain her Mr. Right was out there somewhere. And she hoped to find him soon. In fact, her cutting-edge software should have had her on the road to romance this very night. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a glitch in the program. Something had gone seriously awry, because there was no way on God’s green earth she and Josh Kensington could be a match. No. Way. But, McCarthy reminded herself, tonight wasn’t about her. It was about Cat. She and her fiancé, David Essex, intended to elope at the end of the week. Following the phenomenally extravagant affair the Hewitts had just hosted in honor of their son’s marriage to Cass, Cat thought New York society could do without another elaborate Hewitt event. Unfortunately, she and David would be running off to Bali for their elopement while Cass and Dean were honeymooning in Tuscany. Cat had insisted they simply couldn’t wait any longer to get married. McCarthy thought the couple’s impatience was romantic. And she was pleased to be able to throw Cat’s bachelorette party after-hours at Rendezvous, complete with a bottomless pitcher of Cosmopolitans and some very erotic gifts. “This is for you.” Cat passed a large red gift bag to McCarthy. Her grin was positively wicked. “It’s a goody bag.” She gave McCarthy a conspiratorial wink. “For me? Why on earth…?” Cat smiled brightly at her. “For doing all of this for me,” she said as she made a wide sweep with her hand, encompassing Cat’s group of girlfriends that were gathered on the crimson-colored, crescent-shaped sofas that filled the cozy lounge. “I know you’re up to your eyeballs managing the club while Cass is on her honeymoon, and yet you found the time to pull together a girls’ night out. It’s fabulous, Mac.” Cat scooted across the velvet-upholstered sofa she sat on and gave McCarthy a quick hug. “You’re a wonderful friend. And this is the best bachelorette party a girl could ask for.” The others agreed, raising their cocktail glasses to toast McCarthy. “This is nothing,” she said. “The male strippers haven’t even arrived.” “Strippers? Plural?” Cat clasped her hands together and let out another squeal of delight. “See? Best bachelorette party ever!”
THE SPY'S SURRENDER - JULIET BURNS EXCERPT
Chapter 1 Never seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind doth move Silently, invisibly. William Blake
Outside Paris, March, 1812 Leaves crunched underfoot as he darted through the dense thicket of trees at Havenwood Manor. His makeshift sword was drawn and ready for battle and John ran by his side. The savory scent of woodsmoke ushered in the first crisp autumn day. The grounds were his Sherwood Forest and his older brother was Little John, of course. The gamekeeper’s cottage was their hideout— No, it was just a dream. He was a major in the army now, and John was Viscount Pembrook. Ambrose blinked away the fever-induced haze. A prison guard was yelling at him in French to get up. As they dragged him out of a farmer’s cart, the sword wound in his side made him double over in agony. The iron binding his wrists chafed. He looked up at the building they were entering and his gut clenched. La Force. Instinctively he fought, striking the guard in the stomach with his chained fists. But the guard struck his skull with the butt of a rifle and sent him into blissful oblivion again. When he came to, it was dark and cold and a stench filled his nostrils. His head ached and his throat was parched. Had he been out wenching last night? He was shivering. Where was his coat? He’d been sent down from Cambridge and rather than face his father, he’d headed for London. He must have cast up his accounts in a dark alley somewhere and passed out— No, Cambridge had been more than a decade ago. A large rodent scuttled across his boot and Ambrose kicked at it. He opened his eyes and tried to sit up. Shooting pain in his ribs and head made him decide to wait a bit. Heavy iron rattled around his wrists. Bloody hell, now he remembered where he was. He’d been caught behind enemy lines. It was the devil’s own luck he’d not been carrying a packet of letters this time, and because he’d been dressed in uniform, they couldn’t honorably execute him as a spy. But could he escape La Force? He must. As soon as his damned head quit pounding…. He awoke when his cage door opened. A torch blinded him for a moment and he covered his eyes. “Get up, ye English bastard,” a guard commanded in guttural French. How long had he been in this dank hellhole? Ten days? A fortnight? Thanks to this fever, he’d lost track of time. “I said get up!” Rough hands hauled him to his feet and dragged him from his cell. Had he been ransomed, at last? Had John forgiven him, then? They’d been close as boys, but other than the terse note informing him of their father’s death, John had never written to him. Finally Ambrose had quit sending letters. Another beefy guard gripped his other arm and they dragged him ever upward along a dark passageway, through a heavy wooden door and out into the cold night. The fresh air cleared his head a bit and he spied a coach and four waiting in the street. Relief filled him. He was going home! The thought almost brought tears to his eyes. But why would the French conduct a prisoner release at night? “Hurry up!” A guard shoved him toward the carriage and he finally noticed the guards wore rough worker’s clothes instead of uniforms. And they carried pistols, not sabers or rifles. A cold chill slithered down his spine. “I am—” He had no voice at first and cleared his throat. “I am Major Lord Ambrose Delacourt, of the 7th Brigade, Infantry.” And newly recruited “exploring officer”, but he sure as hell wouldn’t mention that. “If you inform my superior—” “Shut up and get in!” They grabbed his arms and tried to force him into the coach, but he managed to cuff one in the jaw with his fists. He tried to grab a pistol, but the other guard knocked him to the ground. Though he struggled with all his strength, they overpowered him. As soon as the carriage door closed the horses were whipped to a gallop. Ambrose remained alert, waiting for the burly men to relax their vigilance, but an hour passed and their hold never slackened. The windows were covered but he smelled country air, not the sea. Wherever they were taking him, it wasn’t to England. At last the carriage slowed to a stop and the guards dragged him out of the carriage and down a muddy drive to a coal chute behind a grand chateau. What the bloody hell was happening? This was his last chance to get away. While the guard’s attention was on opening the trap door, Ambrose reached once more for one of the pistols at their waists. As his hands closed around the gun, he felt the cold metal of the other guard’s pistol push against his skull and heard the click of the hammer being cocked. He froze. And they shoved him down the steep stone stairs and he plunged into darkness. He never knew when the fall ended and the beatings began. The two “guards” took turns with their fists or whips, pausing only long enough for his jailor, an elegantly dressed Frenchman, to question him. “What is the number of English troops? What are the regiment positions? What is your code name?? Ambrose refused to answer all questions. But he hated it more when he was whipped in silence. The Frenchman would challenge him, “If you scream, I’ll give you cheese with your bread.” Or sometimes, “How many strokes can you take before screaming today, Major?” The sick bastard would lick his lips with relish at the sight of every newly raised welt. After they left him, he’d lay huddled in his cell, shivering, drifting in and out of consciousness. He was a madman’s captive. And reality was settling into his frozen bones. If he didn’t escape soon, he wasn’t going to make it.
EXES & AHHS - KATE ST. JAMES EXCERPT
Chapter 1 Risa Haber swatted her business partner’s hand. “Eric, get your nose out of my boobs.” “Can’t help it, Risa. They smell delicious. The nipples are perfect—small and pink and puckered. Mmm.” He glided his finger a hairbreadth away from one erect nipple. “I love how they peek out of the icing bra cups. You should wear bras like this all the time.” “You’re impossible.” Risa hip-bumped her ex-lover away from the demi-bra layer cake decorated with lavender frosting and sculpted marzipan breasts. However, in his usual flirtatious manner, Eric Lange continued to hover over her shoulder, over the sample erotic desserts lining the back room counter of her fledgling bakery and dessert catering company, over everywhere. She fought a smile. The man didn’t need any encouragement. At thirty-five and with a Peter Pan complex rivaling George Clooney’s, Eric didn’t know how not to flirt. But it didn’t mean anything. She doubted it ever had. Her responding banter probably sent him all the wrong messages, too. But she couldn’t stop. Joking with Eric was a lot easier than battling the emotions she still felt for him—and which he, by his own admission when they’d broken up, couldn’t reciprocate. “You lost the right to vote on my lingerie choices after we split,” she said lightly. “And of course the boobs smell delicious. I added extra ground almonds to the marzipan.” “Sheer brilliance.” Risa laughed and scooped more yellow frosting into her icing bag, then moved back to the second cake on the counter. Her hands shook. Damn it, with Eric’s sexy blue eyes, his gym-honed body, and his cover-model sandy brown hair, he distracted her to no end. It didn’t matter if he went bare-chested or, as on this sunny May afternoon, he wore a buttoned-down shirt and a tailored jacket to greet the dinner crowd at his Italian restaurant. Her attraction to him hadn’t abated one iota. Not that she’d ever let him know that. She could play lovers-to-friends-to-business-partners with the best of them. He encroached on her space again, but she waved him off. “Move it, Lange. You’re annoying me, and I need to finish icing this—” “Cock?” Her face heated. “—before Miss Fullbright arrives.” Steadying her hand, Risa frosted the ascot for the On the Town penis cake. She’d never before prepared erotic concoctions for a customer, but Elaine Fullbright wasn’t a run-of-the-mill client. A former adult film star and retired publisher of female-pleasure-focused V magazine, Miss Fullbright had earned millions in the U.S. before returning home to raise eyebrows and stir headlines in the elegant harbor town of Victoria, British Columbia. “She’s paying me a mint to get these designs just right,” Risa said without looking at Eric. “You should see the names on the guest list for her party. We’re talking political and business figures, a Texas oil baron, and Hollywood types up the yin-yang. Miss Fullbright promised to mention my name loud and often. She even asked for brochures of my regular desserts to give her friends. If they like what they see, my catering business could take off.” “You mean, our catering business.” “No, mine. You’re a silent partner, Eric. Sweet Sensations is mine.” A fact he conveniently forgot when he dropped in three or four times a week to check how “they” were doing. Tugging her lower lip between her teeth, Risa continued applying the icing to the oversized phallus lying on a blue frosting sheet cake. Sculpting the marzipan penis had been an exercise in laughter and humiliation because neither she nor her assistant Kyla possessed a recent memory of a real live penis on which to draw. Undaunted, Risa and Kyla had worked late last Saturday night striving to produce an erect penis nicknamed Dick that would satisfy Miss Fullbright’s needs. But the damn thing kept falling over. Three margaritas later, Risa brainstormed the design for the reclining On the Town penis featuring a plastic top hat perched jauntily on its pink marzipan “head.” A walking stick and tiny martini glass with clear gel “gin” completed Dick’s dashing ensemble. Oh, please love Dick, Miss Fullbright. The campy mood of the dozen sample desserts achieved the lighthearted sensuality Risa’s client had requested without appearing pornographic. Happy with the ascot, she straightened. “Finished. What do you think?” She set aside the icing bag before wiping her hands on the rose bakery apron covering her tan slacks and white, short-sleeved blouse. Eric pointed to the frosting bowls. “You need these?” She shook her head. “Good.” He poked a finger into the yellow icing. Risa’s lips twitched. Four months of dating Eric had convinced her that men who reached their mid-thirties without marrying were basically overgrown boys. In the year since they’d kiboshed their romance and opened Sweet Sensations, he hadn’t changed. He liked his food spicy, his cars flashy, and his women fast. Too bad. At the ovary-shrinking age of thirty-two, Risa struggled with a biological clock that clanged louder than London’s Big Ben. She longed to be somebody’s mother, but not Eric’s—or any other grown man’s. She didn’t want to coddle or scold him. She wanted to share a lifetime and make babies with him. Well, not with Eric specifically. A man as sexy and fun-loving as Eric, but one who didn’t sprint away from emotional commitment. She stared, brow arched, at his icing-coated finger. “Do you mind?” Sticking the finger in his mouth, he slowly licked the frosting. “Mmm, no.” Her breasts tingled. Thankfully, the chest-to-thigh apron provided an extra barrier to his probing gaze. He’d once sucked her fingers, her nipples, her sensitive clitoris with the same erotic absorption he employed with the icing. It wouldn’t do if her body betrayed how easily he still aroused her. She jabbed his arm. “I asked your opinion on the cake design, you dummy, not the icing.” Scooping more frosting onto his fingers, he cast the cake a cursor glance. “Nice tie.” “It’s an ascot.” “Couldn’t bring yourself to give him icing pubes, huh?” “Pubes aren’t very appetizing.” “I suppose that depends on the diner.” He winked. “I like my nose tickled by the soft, female blonde variety myself.” Hot desire sped to the female blonde variety between her legs. She remembered. Ah, the things the man could do with his tongue. Ignoring her body’s Pavlovian response to his teasing, she propped a hand on her hip. “Get your mind out of the gutter, Lange, and tell me what you think of Dick.” With a glance at the closed swinging door separating them from Kyla and the bakery customers, he sucked icing from his finger so slowly that her mouth watered. “Imitation is the sexiest form of flattery,” he murmured. Risa laughed. “What an ego! I did not model him after your—” “Cock?” She wished he’d stop saying that! “Sorry to burst your bubble, but my memory’s a little fuzzy.” What a lie. “I don’t recall the size of your—” “Co—?” “Prick.” Hah, thought he’d had her again, huh? He slapped his chest. “Risa, you wound me. At university, the girls called me Eric the Long. I was with you longer—get it?—than any of them. How can you not remember?” She shrugged. “Guess it wasn’t that memorable.” “Maybe we should arrange a viewing and refresh your memory.” “Maybe we shouldn’t, and you could just fantasize that we did.” He grinned. “Believe me, Rees, I will.” Crud. She’d stepped right into that one. He pushed his finger into the icing bowl and moved closer. “Want some?” His voice rolled low and acutely sensual as he lifted the frosting to her mouth. Her breath hitched. He knew exactly what he was doing to her, damn it. Between the lingering aromas of this morning’s baking, the scent of the finely ground almonds used in the marzipan, and Eric’s electrifying nearness, her senses felt ready to burst. “Uh, no thanks.” His finger inched closer. “You don’t sound convinced.” She stepped back. “I said no.” He eyed her.
ENCHANTED SPELL - RACHEL CARRINGTON Witches and Wizards don’t mix. Every magical being knows that. Yet when a little mischievous magic thrusts Ella and Kevlin together, they don’t just mix. They combust. The Wizards chase the lusty pair on a wild flight through the galaxy even as Kevlin chases Ella...into bed.
To My Readers: My fascination with wizards continues in Enchanted Spell. Of course, in my fantasy worlds, wizards and witches don’t mix. That could be a problem considering the heroine is a witch, and she just happens to find herself right in the center of Wizard Country looking up at a very angry wizard. Let the fun begin!
I want to thank each and every one of you who have purchased this book and invested your time in reading it. Your support means a lot, and I wish you all the best life has to offer! To my special readers, Michelle, Debbie, Jennifer, and Rene—a simple thank you could never be enough to express how grateful for each of you!
SECRET RENDEZVOUS - CALISTA FOX McCarthy Portman is the matchmaking maven behind the Manhattan dating service, Rendezvous. When her software pairs her with wild and wicked Josh Kensington, McCarthy’s beliefs about love are turned upside down. Josh breaks every barrier protecting her heart, but can he win her love for keeps?
To My Readers: I have a soft spot for bad boys with big hearts. I love a tough exterior, but even more compelling is the mushy heart that lies beneath it. Josh Kensington is a fun hero—he’s smart, he’s successful and he’s a wild-child at heart. But when Josh loves, he does it for keeps. I first introduced Josh in Intimate Rendezvous (Secrets, Volume 17), and though I had not initially intended a story for him in the Rendezvous trilogy, by the time I reached the third story, I knew he was going to be my hero. I hope you find his fun-loving, big-hearted ways as endearing as I do. And what better heroine to match him with than Rendezvous’ very own dating guru, McCarthy Portman? Fire and ice? Oil and water? I think not. These two know how to set the sheets ablaze!
THE SPY'S SURRENDER - JULIET BURNS Courtesan Eva Werner is the perfect double agent, England’s secret weapon against Napoleon. When she must rescue a British spy at a sadistic marquis' depraved house party, she makes the spy her love slave for the marquis’s pleasure. But who is slave and who is master?
To My Readers: From the age of 12 I’ve been fascinated with anything British, and especially the Regency era. As a teen, I spent my summers reading Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Barbara Cartland. Last summer I watched the BBC America Sharpe mini-series starring the yummy Sean Bean, and was inspired to write about a British major fighting against Napoleon. Major Ambrose Delacourt is a veteran soldier; strong, sexy, and… about to meet his match! Enjoy! EXES & AHHS - KATE ST. JAMES Former lovers Risa Haber and Eric Lange are partners in a catering business, but Eric can’t seem to remain a silent partner. Risa offers one night of carnal delights if he’ll sell her his share then disappear forever. Eric figures he has to play along--or does he?
To My Readers: I’ve always treasured stories about reunited lovers. There’s just something about all that emotional angst as the couple strives to overcome past mistakes and emerge stronger than before that tugs at my heart strings. Knowing how amazing the sex was between them—and could be again—ratchets the tension higher. In Exes and Ahhhs, Risa Haber and Eric Lange find themselves on such a journey. Please enter their world and enjoy the sweet sensations they generate. This story is dedicated to my friend and critique partner, Brenda K. Jernigan, who patiently and quickly reads everything I write. Thank you, Brenda, for sticking by me all these years.
Secrets Volume 26 BOUND BY PASSION Satisfy Your Desires for More 4 Stars!! Secret Rendezvous - Calista Fox Calista Fox has created a sexy interlude for her fans. McCarthy was tired of being a good girl. Secrets Volume 26 BOUND BY PASSION. She wanted sexy Josh Kensington and being a good girl was not going to win his love. Owning an online dating service would be very interesting! Enchanted Spell - Rachel Carrington Ella literally fell into the arms of Kevlin. Witches and wizards do not match, but these two couldn’t resist each other. Enchanted Spell has an interesting plot. Exes and Ahhhs - Kate St. James Risa and Eric are co-owners of “Sweet Sensations”, a catering business. Eric was supposed to be a silent partner, but lately he just could not keep his mouth shut. He broke her heart once before, and she would not allow him to do it again. It is always nice to read a story where lovers are reunited. The Spy’s Surrender - Juliet Burns “The Spy’s Surrender” is my favorite story in this anthology. Major Lord Ambrose Delacort was captive of Napoleon and tortured. Madame Eva Mystere was a British spy. Her assignment, rescue Delacort. She would do whatever it took to save his life. The passion and emotion in “The Spy’s Surrender” is sure to win fans. Volume 26, Secrets is an anthology of four short romantica tales. The connecting thread is the secrets. Each story is well-written. As I stated above, my favorite is Juliet Burns’ “The Spy’s Surrender.” Fans of romantica will enjoy Volume 26, Secrets. ~~Anne Boling for ReviewYourBook.com
COCKTAIL REVIEWS - FOUR AND A HALF FLUTES! In Secret Rendezvous by Calista Fox, McCarthy Portman works for a dating agency, Rendezvous. Despite her success in finding men for the women on her books, McCarthy is single. She’s getting desperate, so she runs her own name through the computer – and is matched with Josh Kensington, the hot bad-boy owner of trendy nightclub The Rage. McCarthy can’t believe it. Josh is sexier than hell but not her type at all – or is he? Josh’s cousin Cass owns Rendezvous and often says she wishes Josh would settle down with a nice girl. But Josh doesn’t do nice girls – or at least, not until McCarthy crosses his path… This is, as McCarthy thinks at one point, ‘shameless, naughty fun’. The good-girl-ensnares-bad-boy plot is always a winning combination for me, and Ms Fox manages this seamlessly and stylishly. I liked both Josh and McCarthy: Josh is super-sexy and honest with his emotions in every way, and McCarthy is sweet and confident, surprising herself when it comes to flirting and seduction. I loved the sense of humour behind this novella – several moments made me giggle. Also, this one had such a great line: The last vestiges of prudence lay scattered at her feet, sexual road kill. Loved it! 4 and a half flutes. A change of pace to the world of fantasy brings us to Enchanted Spell by Rachel Carrington. Ella, a witch, is suddenly torn from her home and dumped in Wizard Country, where wizard Kevlin is concerned about what’s happened to his brother, who vanished the same time as Ella arrived. Adding to the complications is the fact that Kevlin’s father, Oriel, is dying – and a wizard can only be killed if a witch is involved. Ella doesn’t have a clue what’s happening around her. Can she and Kevlin discover who’s behind the evil plot before Oriel dies? This one felt a bit self-conscious and, while fun, was overly sassy with too many wisecracks for my taste. The characterisation is a bit one-dimensional and there’s little attempt at world-building. Entertaining but forgettable. 3 and a half flutes. In Exes and Ahhhs by Kate St James, Risa Haber works with her ex-lover Eric Lange. She makes and decorates cakes – including ‘erotic desserts’ – and he owns an Italian restaurant. He’s the sleeping partner in her job, a catering company named Sweet Sensations, but he drops in so often that Risa finds it hard to remember just why they split up in the first place. Eric is still in love with Risa and he’s determined they should be together permanently. But when he suggests they have two weeks of dating, Risa turns him down. She says she’ll only give him one night – and Eric is certain he can fulfil her favourite fantasy and win her back. But Risa doesn’t want to give in so easily… This was brilliant! I loved the opening scene of this novella – it’s hilarious, saucy, and a great introduction to Risa and Eric. The love scenes are blisteringly hot and very, very sexy. Ms St James spins some fantastic characterisation, not just with Risa and Eric but also with best friend Kyla and cute chef Dante, plus aging porn star Lainey. This is easily one of my favourite erotic romances of recent months. 5 and a half flutes. The final novella in the anthology, The Spy’s Surrender by Juliet Burns, is a historical set during the Napoleonic War. Major Ambrose Delacourt, a spy for the British, has been captured by the French. His imprisonment is brutal, but he refuses to give his captors information – and so he’s delivered to Eva, a courtesan known as Madame Mystère, to be her love-slave and to entertain the guests of Madame’s protector, the odious Marquis de Séréville. Eva knows she’s playing a dangerous game. She must save the handsome major, but to do so she must risk exposing her true identity – and perhaps losing her own life… This is an enjoyable, exciting and action-packed historical romp with two sympathetic characters. I really liked Ambrose – he’s sexy and honourable – and Eva is sharp-witted and courageous. The first sex scene has Eva as a dominatrix, which was both a pleasant surprise and also a great way of establishing their characters. The dirty versions of Shakespeare plays are an inspired touch, too. A great read – 4 and a half flutes. Another strong collection from Red Sage, with something for everyone. Stories range from hot contemporaries to an erotic historical via a sexy fantasy. My personal favourite was Kate St James’ story, and for me Rachel Carrington’s story was the weakest, although it was a lot of fun. The novellas by Calista Fox and Juliet Burns were both sexy and enjoyable. Overall, an excellent anthology that I’d recommend to any readers of the erotic romance genre. Final score: 4 and a half flutes. ~~SINGAPOUR SLING~COCKTAIL REVIEWS