Stone Cold Beast (The Umbra Shifters)
Author: Karly Germain
Length: 67 pages
Genres: M/M paranormal romance
TBR Reviewer: Amanda
Rating: 3 Stars – A Good Read
Heat: 4 – Smoking Hot
Karly Germain introduced her paranormal world in her entry in Alpha's Claim: Manlove Edition. In this novella, a cousin of the previous main character has gone into isolation due to a terrible injury. Ethan is a lion shifter that was caught in a fire while undercover, scarring one side of his body and leaving him extremely angry. In what is possibly meant to be helpful, Ethan's cousin sends another member of the Umbra law enforcement to interview him. Daric is reluctant to take the assignment, but soon after meeting Ethan, he realizes that they are mates and starts to try to get Ethan to accept that fact as well.
Although the relationship starts suddenly, I like the fact that each person in this world has the choice to accept or reject his mate. These two work through a lot of conflicting emotions and I enjoyed the surprise cameo of Ethan's great-grandparents and how the healing in their relationship leads to his taking a chance on his own. I wish there had been more clarity about the situation that Daric and his brother were involved in, but I suppose that may be setting up another story in the future. Overall, I can see this series as one to keep your eye out for future installments.
Falling to the Viking
Author: M. Garnet
Genre: Time Travel, contemporary romance
Length: 58 pages
Rating: 4 Stars - Recommended Read
Heat: 3 - Blush Worthy
Can I be cliché and say Falling to the Viking , is a blast from the past. Kathyrn visits Denmark to meet her Aunt, looking for information about the parents she never knew. What she finds instead is a one way ticket back to the past! During a trip to a local museum a mishap with an elevator lands her in a foreign land where she doesn’t speak the language. Full of action , adventure, and some heavy handed dominance, seriously , think about what it would be like in a Viking village in the 1600’s, there were some intense and hard to take scenes.
I won’t ruin it, but I will say it’s not for the squeamish. The ending came up fast, so I never felt we got to know the hero, or get a good feel for how she’d handle being in the time, or if she’d ever return home. It felt more like a serial than a stand alone. For that reason and the quick transition from almost captive status to acceptance, I gave this a 4. However, f you don’t mind a bit of violence *coughs*…their Vikings, and you’re looking for something different and steamy, it might be right up your alley.
M. Garnet does an excellent job of transporting you not only from America to Denmark, but back in time. Her descriptions truly brought the story to life. This is an interesting short that answers the question what if you got thrown back in time.
Hart has hidden his true identity since he realized he wanted a man instead of a woman, trying hard to stay in the closet and fake it with the women around him to keep his family and business contacts from finding out. Just when he has reached the end of his rope with his life, he gets a new bodyguard and Josh can see exactly what Hart really needs; he's been there before and knows how hard it is to keep "Faking It".
There is an instant attraction between the two men and after a few starts and stutters, they end up together. Although it is a cute "out for you" story, there was not anything really special about it and I did not love the main characters. It a good example of the Romance on the Go line, though, cute and quick. You won't waste your time reading it if you are looking for a short book to read.
We hope you enjoy these teasers from some fabulous authors! The TBR Pile is giving away two books from our prize list and a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. To ENTER: Comment below on which of these books you'd like to read and why!
He’s going to make love to me.
I won’t screw it up this time.
Stephanie forced her fingers away from her palms and choked back a groan, knowing Eli could hear her choppy breathing. Clamping her teeth together, she traced his long strides as he stalked in her direction, and the memory of the bulge in his pants at Château Pontchartrain made her eyes squeeze shut.
She did that to him.
Mousey, skinny, underdeveloped Stephanie Lauren Grant, who’d only ever been able to talk to her parents’ peers, and who became a puddle of nervous anxiety if anyone near her own age even so much as walked into hearing distance, far less the coolest, hunkiest, most mouth-watering man on the planet. She turned on Eli Gallagher. She made him feel alive.
Eli, who charmed everyone, kids, babies, old ladies, even Mr. Smuckins, the surliest night guard in the universe. Resisting the all-consuming urge to pinch her forearm viciously, Stephanie instead took a deep inhale. Relax. No panicking allowed. Not now. Not when it looked like maybe, maybe she and Eli…
She’d never fit in and had never been cool, like Eli.
He was so not in her league, with his buffed-to-the-max martial-arts body, those soulful gray eyes, the always mussed shock of wavy ash-blond hair, and his magnetic, charismatic personality. Her pulse skittered as he neared.
The words he’d uttered earlier washed over her and cocooned her in a blanket of tremulous hope. She made him feel alive. She’d fallen for him like a boulder tumbling off a sheer cliff; confused, erratic, terrified, aroused, giddy, and doomed to shatter on impact.
Their lovemaking the night of the Christmas party had followed the same pattern. Both of them had been clumsy, noses knocking in their frenzied kissing, her head banging his chin when she attempted to unbutton his shirt, and her pants tangled at her ankles making penetration awkward. Then he’d turned green—no.
Not going there.
She gritted her teeth and worked her jaw. Jutted her chin and replayed the social self-confidence mantra drummed into her by myriad child psychologists.
You can do this—you can.
“Okay?” he asked, his voice husky and all growl.
She stared into his eyes and the desire blazing there soothed her fear. She nodded
Planting his palms on the wall on either side of her face, he bent his head and brushed sinfully soft lips over hers. The tickle-tingle sensation sent sparks across her belly, pulling at her navel, tugging her clitoris.
Two weeks ago, life had been normal. Aurora had gone to get a cup of the sludge they called coffee and left her partner Debbie working at her desk on their backlog of case files. On her way back to their office, Lieutenant Cory Ashton had caught up with Aurora and they’d stepped into the room together, both coming to a dead stop.
Debbie, who’d lately taken to the layered look with sloppy clothes, had bent over to pick something up from the floor and her extra-large t-shirt had draped open. Her pregnant belly had been revealed for all to see.
“What the hell?” Cory erupted and his explosion cut off Aurora’s absurd exclamation.
“You’re pregnant.” Even as the words left her mouth, Aurora wished them back. No need to worry since Cory’s voice rose to a bellow and drowned out her obtuse remark on the obvious.
“Girl, why didn’t you tell me I’m going to be a father? A guy appreciates knowing these things.” The excited man swept the curvaceous blonde into his arms and hugged her until a smile wiped the horrified expression from her face. Flying high, happier than Aurora had ever seen him, Cory continued. “We need to celebrate. A man doesn’t find out he’s going to be a daddy every day.”
Shock zipped around inside Aurora, and the memory of the horror eight months ago emerged and wouldn’t be squashed. Was this Cory’s baby? She watched her partner closely. No one knew the girl in the same way that she did. For the first time, Aurora couldn’t read her. Innocent pleasure had wiped away all traces of wariness, and Aurora had to accept that adoration shone in eyes that were empty of treachery.
Cory kept his arm around Debbie’s shoulder and caught Aurora trying to sneak away. “Do me a favor doll? Make a reservation at the pub and tell them to expect a bunch of us. As soon as I convince this beauty to marry me, we all need to drink some toasts… on me.”
A couple of hours later, Aurora, cradling a beer, sidled up to a glowing Debbie and suffered the girl’s hug. “It’s a special day, Rory, you’ll have to put up with me.” Pearly whites shone as Debbie’s happiness forced a response from Aurora.
“Yeah, whatever. And don’t call me Rory.” Aurora allowed the hug and even returned it. Then she backed away and stared her friend down. “Give. What’s the story?”
The blank stare that met hers didn’t quite ring true, but the words were believable. “Cory came to see me a few days after Rhondo’s assault. You remember he was out of town when the attack happened? He wanted to make sure that the skunk hadn’t damaged me, broke my spirit, you know. Anyway, one thing led to another and we found ourselves undressed and—”
Drolly Aurora interrupted “I do know that part.” Her tone brought a smile to Debbie’s flushed face.
“Well it was incredible. Truth to tell, it scared the shit out of me. However, I knew the rules. I couldn’t stay working with you and carry on with him. So, I called it a one-night stand and shut him down. Hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Twisting her water bottle in both hands, she stared at the floor. “You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit grouchy lately?”
“Grouchy? Are you kidding? We could have handled a bit of grouchiness. Your viper’s tongue has drawn blood from every person in the department. They’ve taken to hiding when you’re sighted.”
“Heck, don’t hold back.” Debbie giggled. “Sorry. Between morning sickness and unrequited love, my hormones were touchy.”
Aurora thought back over the last months and recalled instances where the tension between Deb and the boss had sparked, but she’d just put it down to Debbie’s recent bad mood and temperamental personality. After all, her partner could be stubborn as a mule, and Cory took his management role very seriously. Little did Aurora know then that everything would change for her, and so quickly.
"Guess what I found?" Hunter carried a sweater and a pair of sweatpants in his hands. "You'll be nice and warm in no time." He handed them to her.
Becca pointed to his head. She wished her words would just come out already.
"You don't want to change into dry clothes first?" He raised a brow, then winced. "Damn that hurts. Okay fine, you win. I will probably curse and go stark crazy, so bear with me please?"
She may not have been able to find her voice to speak, but a quiet laugh escaped her throat. At least, that's what she thought it was.
Hunter crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Are you laughing at me?" Amusement danced in his gorgeous eyes. "That's so messed up! There is a little devilish side to you after all. I like it," he teased.
Becca smirked and pointed at the first aid kit. She wondered if he remembered any of the sign language, back from when she'd been mute and unable to communicate all those years ago. But so far, he'd been able to understand what she needed. The very first time he came to visit her, he'd learned it so they could talk. She remembered that day well on her aunt's back porch when Hunter sat beside her. He asked if she remembered him. She nearly cried that he'd taken the time to understand sign language for her.
"All right little devil, have at it. Just don't get offended for any swear words I may use." He cracked a smile. She loved that he could still have a sense of humor. It showed that even though he had some injuries, he was the same old silly Hunter she knew. She pointed down at the floor, wanting him to kneel before her. Again, he cued in right away and lowered to his knees.
Becca opened up the first aid kit and searched for what she needed. As she pulled out a large bandage, cotton swabs and the small bottle of peroxide to clean the wound, Hunter hissed. She flicked her gaze back to him.
"Call it psychological warfare. I'm anticipating that it's going to sting like you wouldn't believe. I know, I know, I'm being a baby and I should just shut up." Hunter raised his hands. "Think you can do that one handed? I might need you to hold mine with the other."
Becca grinned and held out her hand. She wished her voice would work with her so she could tell him how cute he was being. She couldn't be too sure if he was putting on an act to make her laugh or if he really was bothered by what she had to do. Regardless, she felt needed. Important. Something she longed for. When his shaky fingers curled over hers, a ripple of electricity zipped through her.
Now those were strange, random thoughts.
"Your hand is so cold. Not that mine is any better," Hunter said softly. "I know, I'm stalling. I should just man up and take it, huh? You won't tell anyone about my weak side there, will you?" He chuckled.
She slid him a knowing grin and put a finger to her lips, then ran the finger across them as if to say 'My lips are sealed'.
"I knew I could count on you."
Savannah Monroe groaned when she saw the lights flashed across the dash board. “No way.” She carefully maneuvered the sports car to the shoulder. She knew she should’ve stopped for gas twenty miles back. She knew better than to let herself do such a stupid thing. She was twenty-nine years old for heaven’s sake, not some teenager just learning how to drive. She dug through her purse that was placed on the seat beside her. After finding her cell phone she flipped it open and saw she wasn’t getting a signal. “Ugh.” She chunked the phone on the seat and swung open the car door. She carefully looked both ways before getting out of the car, although it was unlikely she was going to be hit by a car on the lonely country road. She hadn’t seen anyone in the past hour. There was nothing but wide open space. She could see some cattle in the far distance. There was a barn way off in the middle of nowhere. From what she could tell from where she stood, it didn’t look like there were any houses close by. Her only choices were either start walking back to where the last town was or walk forward to where she hoped was just a few miles to her destination to the town of Twin Stars, Texas. She was about to reach for her phone again just to make sure the signal hadn’t come back when she saw out the corner of her eye an old truck coming down the road. Maybe her day was turning around after all. She waved her hands in the air motioning for the driver to stop. As the truck crept closer she could see a man in a cowboy hat sitting behind the wheel. When the truck came to a complete stop in front of her she leaned forward into the open window of the passenger side and said, “Hi. I seem to be stranded.”
“I kind of figured that. You don’t see many women out here waving their arms around.”
"Do you think you could help me?” She hated asking for help from anyone, but she didn’t see much chance of solving this problem on her own.
“I’m sure I can. What’s seems to be the problem?”
"Well, Mr…I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name?” This guy didn’t look like a crazy backwoods man that would drag her body off and do horrible things to her, but still she kept her guard up.
“You can call me Wes.”
“I’m Savannah Monroe and it seems I’ve run out of gas.” She brushed back a curl that managed to fall in her face.
He leaned forward and pointed to the car. “I’d think a fancy little thing like that would have a warning light letting you know it’s time to fill up.”
Great, a cowboy with a humor. That’s all she needed right now. “It does, but it seems I’ve decided to ignore it.” She realized the gas light was just one more thing in her life she was ignoring. Just thinking about all of it was depressing her all over again. She had hoped getting away for a while might take her mind off of her troubles, but it seemed her troubles had traveled right along with her.
“Hmm…not much good that got you.” Wes opened his driver’s door and step out of the truck and walked around to where Savannah was standing.
“We are fucked.” He whispered and lifted his sword.
Larina tensed, prepared to roll. However, the blow did not come to her neck. Instead he swung at the nearest slave. The crowd gasped and she heard yelling as the slave fell. Larina grabbed the sword and swung at the other guard. They were close enough to the gates to run.
"What else shall we greet the afterlife for but freedom.” He spoke quickly and his long legs ate up the path to the gates.
More guards were piling into the arena. Slaves were trying to close their only way out. Brennus lifted his leg and his massive foot slammed into the gate. It shot open, the iron bars smashing against the arena wall. Larina was close behind him, stunned and confused by the recent events. It didn’t matter. Sort all this out later. Right now, it was fight for freedom or die at the hands of the Romans. She followed him down a narrow path. Two guards approached but it took him mere moments and three swings to cut them down. She hopped over the remains and kept her hitched breathing in control. The smell was nauseous as they came up a door. What lay beyond was more shocking then she could have imagined and she’d seen a lot of scary shit. Bodies, most dismembered lay on slabs of concrete. The remains of defeated warriors. They were chopped up and sent down the water shoot which led to the lungotevere aventino. According to legend that was the river Romulus and Remus were collected from after being abandoned.
Brennus spun toward her, covering her back as she hopped into the filthy liquid. A hand floated up to greet her and she close her mouth to keep from wrenching. This was no time to act like a useless female. She took a breath and went under. The current quickly took her feet but she heard a splash behind her.
The water slashed at the dried blood and sand that caked in various parts of her body. Larina tried to swim but the current was too strong so she simply let it take her. When the ceiling lifted, she pushed against the stone floor to pop her head up and gather her bearings as well as take oxygen into her lungs. One the third such trip she spotted a big dark shadow behind her. One that grunted and cursed. She smiled despite the scrap of the stone against her skin.
Larina held a scream as the water shot her from the tunnel along with various body parts into the river. Her body landed harshly against the water and she sunk several feet before kicking her legs and bobbing to the surface. The big guy landed beside her doing the same. He was still cursing the Gods as they quickly swam toward the opposite side of the river. They had mere moments to get free and make a run for it. However, when she crawled onto land upon the sandy banks Larina fell to her back and stared at the blue sky. A sight she never thought to enjoy again.
“We were both wronged by fate.” Lorn swallowed hard.
“Or maybe it was a ploy devised to get us together and change the future.”
Lorn snorted. “A master sergeant and a former wastrel...what can we possibly do?”
Kallen lifted his lips in a grin. “Change the world, Lorn…change the fucking world.” He then reached out, grabbed a handful of Lorn’s shirt and tugged him forward.
Lorn could have fought. With his training Kallen wouldn’t have stood a chance. Yet, he followed the pull and planted his lips on Kallen’s. The kiss was slow, a sizzling burn that seemed to consume all the air in the room. Lorn was gasping as he pulled back, disturbed by just how much he enjoyed touching Kallen. “Again you tease the beast.”
Kallen grinned. “Hell fucking yes.” He then smacked his lips onto Lorn’s mouth.
This time the master sergeant took control. He grabbed Kallen’s chin, holding the man in place while his lips ravaged and his tongue stroked. By the time he pulled back, they were both gasping and it echoed throughout the room.
“Fuck, I’m so hard,” Kallen said then groaned. “Let me suck you.”
“I told you, private, I don’t do quick sucks.” Lorn wanted slow, consuming sex with this man. He ignored his early comment about having the heart of a hero and tugged his shirt over his head. Lorn flexed his muscle a bit more than he had too, grinning as Kallen watched with an open mouth. “Undress, private. The master sergeant wants to perform an inspection.” It was a clever quip that popped into Lorn’s head.
He pulled the Velcro of his pants open, slipping them down his legs to his ankles. His undershorts barely hid the raging erection prodding the material. Lorn tugged off his shoes and kicked his pants away then glanced at Kallen.
The man was beautiful. Pulling his pants down, Kallen’s legs were long and lean. Some blond hair was scattered on his thighs and Lorn’s mouth watered as his eyes fell upon Kallen’s dick. It was exposed to his eyes and the moon’s scarce light. The foreskin was wrinkled and being pulled apart to reveal the red tip and creaming hole. The long shaft curved upward strikingly, the thick vein on the underside throbbed as Kallen’s balls were tight to his body. A nest of blond hair was at the base of his cock. Lorn was officially taken by the sight. His eyes strained upward to a...shirt. “Undress. I want to see every inch of your body before I pull apart your butt checks to play.” It was a threat and a promise.
Author: Cathy Pegau
Tbr Reviewer : Shyla
Genre: Sci-fi Romance, F/F
Length : 322
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read
Heat: 3 - Blush Worthy
I love a strong female lead, and in this instance, Ms. Pegau had two. After a strange incident in a bar with an intriguing woman, Natalia Hallowel’s life continues to spiral downward. Suspended and accused of taking a bribe while her company performs illegal activities, she opts to take matters into her own hands and investigate to find the truth. Tough without crossing the line of too much, she’s got a good head on her shoulders, and enough bite to back up her bark. It was refreshing to see! While working undercover she meets Gennie and the plot thickens, as it always does when you add romance into the mix. Gennie is a woman stuck between a rock and a hard place. A woman who wants the best for her children , she struggled to find her place, and settle down while running away from her deceased lover’s powerful family. A fighter, you can’t help but admire this woman for all she’s overcome. She reached out to Natalia for help unveiling a secret that could save her or get her killed and winds up receiving much more.
Bent, but not broken these two woman handle their baggage, and rediscover who they are as they come together as a couple. I loved that most about their romance, the fact that they grew together. The spark between them is a live flame powered by lust, admiration and love. It made for well-rounded couple I really believed in. Self-discovery, intrigue, action, drama, and smoldering heat, what more could a person ask for? This 'must read' delivers in a big way, and is the perfect chose for a reader looking for Sci-fi done right.
GIVEAWAY: Ms. Pegau is giving away an Ecopy of her book. The TBR Pile is giving away a book on our Prize List. To ENTER: Commend below on why you want to read Deep Deception!
Sally takes the place of her sister on a photo shot when she has a bad allergic reaction. Now, Sally gets to meet the panty wetting Master J and be tied up in the sexy art of Shibari.
Sally, lovely, curvy, sensual Sally. I really loved how Master J brought out her confidence and her submission. The way they reacted to each other was so beautiful. The plot is more about the growth of these two characters and it really flourishes. The shibari was beautifully written. I could really see all the intricate detail. The editing was a bit rough, that was the only reason for a four star review.
If you like hot BDSM with sexy characters, Through The Dom’s Lens is a must read!
It’s been a long time since I adored a story as much as I did, a Matchless Romance. Full of endearing characters with layers like sponge cake, decadent, rich, and completely satisfying. This story will fulfill are your romance needs. Ms. Barth wrote an intelligent, wit filled, humorous love story I couldn’t put down! Tabitha is the type of heroine I could get behind. In control of her own life, passionate, intelligent, and giving, the type of woman we all aspire to be. Despite having it together on her surface, she has a surprising past that surfaces later and catches you unaware. The twist is one of many in the book that really make it unique. From the moment Tabitha is practically run over by Drew, a hopelessly awkward, logical, sexy, and fit video game designer, their chemistry vibrates right off the page. In trouble with his boss because his interaction with women is less than stellar, and has run off potential clients, Drew is in desperate in need of help. So running into Tabitha, who happens to be a matchmaker seems like fate. He convinces her to take him on and polish his rough edges. But there’s one major problem, their attraction to one another. The pull between them is unstoppable , and it’s like watching a ticking time bomb as they maneuver their way toward d-day, his meeting with potential investors. God, I can’t gush enough about Drew. I enjoyed seeing him get himself in to scrapes Tabitha, and his geek charm allowed him to slid out of by the skin of his teeth.
Entertaining, exciting, and sweet this is a great read for romance readers of all genres, but especially those like me who have a soft spot for geeks. I actually worked for a video game company before, and I have to say, Ms. Barth got the environment spot on. While there isn't an abundance of sex or a lava like heat quality, the meaning behind it trumps any explicitness she could’ve added, but didn’t need. I highly recommend this one.
I have to say from the start, this isn’t your average paranormal romance! I loved the exploration of the Incan Culture. The Mythology was fresh, new, and extremely captivating. Ms. Pouchet wields her words like a surgeon with a scalpel. Full of vibrant scenes, deep emotion and, unique characters I couldn’t put this one down.
I loved Layla, lighthearted, passionate, and unique she was extremely easy to like. Being there as she discovered her powers was simply fun. It felt like having a secret with a good friend! The hero, Sebastian, was just as easy to like, but intense. Dedicated to the arts and his cultural heritage, the respected play director has his life turned upside down by paranormal events out of his control.
Full of twists, turns, myth, and lore, this story will slake your thirst for a new spin in the paranormal romance world. The chemistry and the sexual tension between these two made them amazing. I’ve never seen a play be a central point to convey history in a story before. I loved the parallels between past and present as they tell a story they’ve yet to realize is directly linked to them. As the mystery is revealed their connection deepens you’re left wanting to know more. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.
Picking up with the couple hinted at in the previous book, The Dragon's Lover, follows a half-dragon shifter, half vampire named Ryu and the fox shifter Takumi that he discovered is his mate. Like the previous book in the series (and the series it spun off from), the knowledge that their mating is fated is not, in and of itself, enough to guarantee a smooth romance. Although all the people in this world understand that a vampire knows his or her mate at first sip, Takumi feels unworthy and is disbelieving. He also is in the middle of a crisis, since his father figure has been kidnapped by a con-man and a fire demon.
Although there were places where this book seemed to move more slowly than necessary, it was still enjoyable to fans of Ms. Medina's writings and the world she has built here. Even if this were to be the first of her books read, there is enough background information given to keep the reader from being lost. Especially enjoyable is the way that the fated mates in this novella shared a common tragic childhood and both seemed to share traits such as being unable to see in their own pairing what they could see easily in others. The overall arc of the story is satisfying and the epilogue sets up nicely for the next book in the series.
As DADT draws near its end, Captain Mike Kelley wanders into a gay bar and soon strikes up a conversation with bartender Will Hayes. Once their friendship deepens, they enter first a "domestic discipline" relationship, then a marriage, and a partnership in a gay-friendly coffeeshop. However, when Mike's enlistment is forced to be extended and he is send to Afghanistan, terrorists, so-called friends, and Will's own emotions all put a lot of strain on them.
The story was enthralling and although at times the writing was a little choppy, I could not wait to see how everything would turn out. I found many of the events surprising and really pulled for resolution to the various trials the two men went through. I thought the explanation for why a gay man with OCD would join the military had a ring of truth to it, and appreciated his sense of honor and respect. I also liked the way both men had to learn to bend to make things right.
I was sorry to reach the end of the book, as if I was saying goodbye to friends. In other words, this one is worth the read.
GIVEAWAY: Ms. Borino is giving away an Ecopy of her book. The TBR Pile is giving away a book on our Prize List. To ENTER: Comment on why you want to read No Flag!