I like the anthologies of short stories as I am sure to find stories that I like and female cowboys are a particular favorite. All of the stories are...moreI like the anthologies of short stories as I am sure to find stories that I like and female cowboys are a particular favorite. All of the stories are erotic and sexy though a couple weren't my kind of story. The rest of the book made up for it! Every reader will have different stories that speak to them and stand out for. The others. The best thing about a collection like this is after reading all the stories I know exact which ones I'll go back and retread over and over again.(less)
Probably closer to 2.5 stars but not enough to drop down to 2 stars.
I was really excited for this book as I really enjoyed the other First Responders...moreProbably closer to 2.5 stars but not enough to drop down to 2 stars.
I was really excited for this book as I really enjoyed the other First Responders novels and the blurb was quite enticing. Sadly it didn't really deliver. I honestly got bored with Wes and Evyn and the conflict they faced was resolved way too quickly and easily. Even the sex was repetitive and boring by the end.
The best part was the inclusion of Cam and Blair but even that wasn't enough to improve the book as a whole. To me this felt like a placeholder, a bridge to another book that is in the works. Although the central plot does come to a resolution, there is a plot line left hanging open, obviously with more to come. Not sure if this will be another First Responders novel or another entry in the Honor series. Either way, I know I'll read it as the good Radclyffe books highly outweigh the not so good such as this one. (less)
Magdalena Moore is a working girl with a broken heart. All she wants is to be left alone to soothe her sorrow with a cold beer, but a stunnin...more3.5 stars
Magdalena Moore is a working girl with a broken heart. All she wants is to be left alone to soothe her sorrow with a cold beer, but a stunning stranger is determined to interrupt. Seems the most beautiful woman Magdalena's ever seen is an artist who wants to immortalize Magdalena in a painting, in the nude. Victoria Graham has an eye for beauty and is determined to show Magdalena the color of her desire. It's a fantasy waiting to happen but is Magdalena ready to see herself the way Victoria does?
Magdalena is trying to relax with a cold beer on a Saturday afternoon. Trying and failing as she nurses a broken heart thanks to her best friend, and crush, Tina going off and getting married. When a woman approaches her quite unexpectedly, Magdalena can't ignore the woman's beauty or the unique pick-up line, "Actually, I'd like to paint you."
Come to find out the mysterious woman in the soft purple suit with violet eyes is Victoria Graham, a painter well known for her images of nude women. Magdalena feels out of place in jeans, work boots and a company work shirt but Victoria won't take no for an answer. She whisks Magdalena back to her house to immortalize her image, and to satisfy the hunger that is burning within them both.
Magdalena is a quick read, a scorching hot story with two women who have an immediate connection from the moment their eyes meet. Although they are very different from one another, they are acting on an attraction that is undeniable and overwhelming. The story picks up pace when they get to the house and drives through to the ending with fast and heated sex. It is quite an encounter, and no doubt any other interactions between them would be just as hot and titillating. I would have liked for the story to be drawn out a bit more, to have the joining of the two women to be more developed, but overall it's an enjoyable quick read with solid characters.(less)
Liza is a photographer, and the last thing she wants to be doing is shooting a wedding. Unfortunately the money is too good to pass up, and t...more3.5 stars
Liza is a photographer, and the last thing she wants to be doing is shooting a wedding. Unfortunately the money is too good to pass up, and that's why Liza finds herself lost on the way to a beach wedding. Thankfully for Liza, an alluring passerby takes pity on her and helps point her in the right direction. When Liza encounters her stunning savior at the wedding, she can't keep her eyes, or her camera lens, off the young woman.
"Black and White" is an intriguing short story, one that is very visual in it's descriptions and tone. In a story about a photographer who is entranced by an artist, it isn't surprising that the core is based on the attraction and draw of images and contrasts. The women dance around one another a bit, ending with a satisfying and sensual coming together that is beautiful and gentle.
I enjoyed Germain's writing, the characterizations and the overall voice of the story. This story didn't feel forced or rushed, something that is often a pitfall with short stories, and it was quite enjoyable to read.(less)
Being on the road and away from home is tough, and Eve and Charley are near exhaustion when they finally stumble upon a motel in the middle o...more2.5 stars
Being on the road and away from home is tough, and Eve and Charley are near exhaustion when they finally stumble upon a motel in the middle of nowhere, the Shady Oaks Motel. Past the point of being tired, they are desperate enough for a place to sleep that they are willing to look past the decrepit condition of the motel. To complicate matters, Eve has a secret ability, seeing visions about the past or the future, and this comes into play when she sees a horrible vision while checking into the hotel. The next morning that vision has unfortunately come true, and the women seek out the group of people living in the motel to hopefully find the person responsible for the crime Eve witnessed.
"Incident at Shady Oaks" is a short story about two women who are committed to one another that get mixed up in the lives of the owner and residents of a creepy motel. Although I enjoyed the characters of Eve and Charley quite a bit, as well as the glimpses of their relationship, the story overall didn't really work for me. It almost felt like there were too many elements being poured into the story. The fact that Eve is a bit clairvoyant is intriguing, and it provides the impetus for the women helping out when the motel owner is attacked, but I had trouble being truly invested in the existence of her abilities.
The ending of the story was a bit too rushed and there wasn't much suspense surrounding the mystery. Although I can recognize that there is meant to be a connection between Eve and the outcasts living at the motel, there wasn't enough time spent on that part of the story and I had a hard time seeing the residents as being Eve's equal.
There are definitely some interesting concepts that were included in the story, but I have to wonder what Colter would have produced if this was a longer story with more time spent on different aspects. This story is worth reading for the characters of Eve and Charley and their connection which is palpable throughout.(less)
Retired FBI investigator Charlotte Diamond is back in Retired with Prejudice, a follow up story to By the Howling. Still living in the typica...more2.5 stars
Retired FBI investigator Charlotte Diamond is back in Retired with Prejudice, a follow up story to By the Howling. Still living in the typically peaceful waterfront community of Hopewell on the Choptank, she and Hollywood actress Brenda Boynton continue to spend time together as their relationship matures and their connection grows deeper. Their quiet life is slightly uprooted when one of the town residents goes missing and his boat appears showing signs of foul play. Charlotte, as mayor and still an investigator at heart, is quickly pulled in to help and finds herself torn between the mystery and spending time with Brenda.
This story is a fairly quick read that focuses on a town filled with characters who aren’t necessarily who they appear to be on the surface. The mystery involves a lot of mistaken identity or clever cover-ups and it’s not easy for the reader to identify the resolution before reaching the end. This is mostly a good thing, but since it is due largely to a sparse level of detail provided in the story it is a bit frustrating at times. Usually, the story stays at surface level and the reader is not given much chance to dig into the detail. It was hard at times to keep all the town occupants straight since so little time is spent establishing the characters. I found it a bit difficult to become invested in the characters because of this.
The writing style is very formal, even the conversations between Charlotte and Brenda. The realism that would typically pull me into a story was missing, and I had a difficult time embracing the dialogue in particular. I also wish the author had provided a lot more depth and development. What I read felt like a good beginning, with the novella just skimming the surface of the overall story. There is no climactic ending to the mystery and the story maintains a consistent tone from beginning to end.
The relationship between Charlotte and Brenda is a key part of the story, though it doesn’t tie directly to the underlying mystery. Mostly the focus is placed on Charlotte’s struggle to balance her inquisitive mind with her retirement and deepening relationship. There is only brief mention of the affection between the two women and it could just as easily be read as them being simply two friends who have grown close during retirement. Those looking for a strong lesbian relationship might be slightly disappointed.
Overall, this story shows a lot of potential but fell a bit short for me. I especially would have liked to see more development of the relationship between Charlotte and Brenda and the challenges they face.(less)
Nashoba is an Indian woman, a member of a special Clan of shifters. In her wolf form, she is out scouting the pack's new territory to see if there is...moreNashoba is an Indian woman, a member of a special Clan of shifters. In her wolf form, she is out scouting the pack's new territory to see if there is any threat from White settlers. What she discovers is May and her brother-in-law Joe, a soldier in the war. Nashoba is immediately driven to attack Joe, as the anger over the loss of her family and tribe is directed at all soldiers she encounters. But when she sees May, she is drawn to the White woman in a way that she can't explain.
Nashoba keeps an eye on May and Joe while in her wolf form, to ensure that they don't intend to enlist the help of other Whites to attack her tribe. When May is at the river collecting water and falls in, becoming trapped under the ice, Nashoba rescues her and takes May to the camp to be healed. The connection between them is immediate and they will use all their resources to convince Nashoba's tribe that May and Joe mean them no harm and that Nashoba and May are meant to be together.
"Nashoba's Hope" is an interesting spin on a well-known part of history. What is totally unexpected is the fact that the women are shifters, but it blends well with the folklore and mysticism that surrounds Indian cultures. Drake has penned a story that is a good balance of historical fact and paranormal spin that is a romantic tale of two women from very different cultures coming together.
There is an intriguing setup for the history of the Clan that Nashoba is a part of, but I wish there had been more detail provided in the story. There are several mentions of Nashoba's dead wife and sons but no explanation of how they came to have sons together. The Clan is made up of women but there isn't much information about what role men played in the past for the tribe. More of these details would have helped to enhance the story and the understanding of Nashoba's Clan. Overall this is an enjoyable story about two women finding love despite the differences that could so easily keep them apart.(less)
This story drops the reader right into the middle of the action, when Cassie Stuart is trying to help photographer Bryana Austin. From the be...more3.5 stars
This story drops the reader right into the middle of the action, when Cassie Stuart is trying to help photographer Bryana Austin. From the beginning we are shown how very different the two women are as Bryana hesitates when her rescue necessitates riding horseback to the castle. She is very femme while Cassie is a "butch dyke." These two women couldn't be more different, but they do share one thing in common, which Bryana discovers when she stumbles upon Cassi's playroom.
Taming Bryana is a quick but intriguing tale about two women who find that they share a particularly kinky side. I loved the setting of a Scottish castle and what better place to find a dungeon playroom! Despite the plethora of items in the playroom, the BDSM in this story stays on the lighter side. I wish the story had delved a bit deeper, but that is the nature of the beast with short stories. I can only hope that the author decides to revisit these characters so we can get a taste of what they are really capable of together.
There is an element of danger involved, with Bryana submitting to a total stranger, but that heightens the emotions of the story. The scene in the playroom is quite erotic and we begin to see that, despite appearances, Cassie is exactly what Bryana has been looking for. I enjoyed this story of kinky passion and look forward to more from this author.(less)
When a young girl shows up at her courtyard gate, Léonor Griffin is quite annoyed. At six-thirty in the evening, most might not consider it t...more3.5 stars
When a young girl shows up at her courtyard gate, Léonor Griffin is quite annoyed. At six-thirty in the evening, most might not consider it to be an ungodly hour when they would prefer to be sleeping. But as a vampiress, Léonor has a very different idea of what hours are respectable for being awake. At her gate is Clancy Rosabel, a student at the local university. Her sorority president sent her to steal flowers from Lea's garden, but instead of sneaking in and taking the flowers Clancy decides to try simply asking for them. Lea is quite intrigued by the young woman standing before her and their introduction marks the beginning of a relationship that will find the two women entrenched in each other's lives.
The Garden House is an alluring tale of two women from very different backgrounds who find a common ground, a love they both share. It is the last thing either one of them expects, and this story charts the origin and evolution of their relationship. Léonor is seductive from the moment we meet her and pairing her with a woman who is a virgin in all respects is quite interesting. The interactions between both women are quite scintillating, and adding in the fact that Lea is a vampiress makes it even more interesting.
This story is set in the Garden District of New Orleans and the location very much plays a part in the story that is quite intriguing. The area has a deep history, one that Lea has been quite affected by, and it adds a depth and realism to the story. There is quite a bit of detail within the story about the area and the people that live there which I found wonderful to read.
The lore surrounding vampires in this story is different than what you find in a lot of stories, and here it actually plays a much smaller role. Lea is a vampire and so of course it is an aspect of her relationship with Clancy, but it is not the focus of every interaction they have. It is just one more piece of the puzzle, something I found quite refreshing. I actually felt that there was a lot more ground that could be covered, areas that I can only guess the authors didn't go into in order to keep the story length down. There is a bond among vampire families, one that is played out between Lea and her brother Caspaar, which could have been more developed especially as it concerns Clancy.
In the end, this story is about the love between two women and everything else is extra. It is a tale filled with wonderful detail and two strong women who find one another in the most unexpected of ways that is a very satisfying read.(less)
Yet another destination wedding is happening in the Bahamas, and two women have been forced to attend against their better judgment. Sunny ha...more2.5 stars
Yet another destination wedding is happening in the Bahamas, and two women have been forced to attend against their better judgment. Sunny has been ordered to attend her stepbrother's wedding by her mother, who is married for the third time. Thankfully as part of the bargain, Sunny's mother is paying for her trip.
Fiona is not so lucky, and as a cousin of the bride attending in her parent's place, she used all her bonus miles to pay for the trip. Fiona is determined to have a good time at the wedding, and is ready for a casual hook-up and hopefully a bit of sex. She thinks she's found just the right person in Michael, until she finds that he has forgotten about her and latched onto another wedding guest with bigger breasts.
Thankfully for Fiona, Sunny steps in to help make sure that Fiona has a good time at the wedding. Fiona has never been with another woman, but Sunny is ready to teach her a few things without ever pressuring her into doing more than she is comfortable. Fiona takes to the new passionate experimentation immediately, and finds quickly that she can't get enough of Sunny. Fiona gets to have quite an affair while on vacation, but in a way she never would have imagined.
The Cliche is a perfect title for this story, an exploration of the idea of a straight girl being indoctrinated into lesbian sex by a more experienced and confident woman. The story is filled with one erotic scene after another as the two women explore each other's bodies and bring one another to orgasm after orgasm. Fiona is hesitant at first, but once she realizes how much she enjoys being with Sunny she embraces the experience whole-heartedly.
Sadly, this quite decent story is hampered by poor editing, especially with respect to pronoun confusion. With two female protagonists, it is doubly important that it always be clear who "her" and "she" refer to, and here there were too many points throughout the story where, as a reader, I had to stop and reread lines to decode who was doing what. Having to stop and restart affected my enjoyment of the sexually explicit scenes, and although I was usually able to jump back into the story and continue on, it did provide for a slightly disjointed reading. Below is a small example of the pronoun confusion found in the story, along with clarifications in parentheses of who "her" belongs to.
"'It's like I'm addicted,' she told her [Sunny], changing sides for a bit before using her [Fiona] hands to push her [Sunny's] breasts together and taking both her [Sunny's] nipples to her [Fiona's] lips. Sunny's sigh told her [Fiona] she was on the right track."
By clarifying a few of the pronouns, it becomes clearer who is doing what to whom, and would provide the reader with a more seamless experience.
This is an interesting story of a woman exploring new feelings and a sexual appetite that she never expected to have with a woman instead of a man. Despite the issues I had with the editing, I did enjoy the story, and would give it three stars for the story itself. The issues I had unfortunately bring down the overall rating, but this is still a story that is filled with eroticism and is a satisfying read.(less)
It has been two years since Emily’s fiance Tyler Messer died in a tragic plane crash, and she continues to be absorbed by memories of them making love...moreIt has been two years since Emily’s fiance Tyler Messer died in a tragic plane crash, and she continues to be absorbed by memories of them making love. However with her discovery of the skull, the images of Tyler in her mind start to be replaced by that of an Indian warrior. With the help of her best friend Tessa, Emily learns that the warrior, Fighting Eagle, thinks she is the reincarnation of his lost love Little Deer. Little Deer was taken from her village by the leader of the cavalry, Emily’s great-great grandfather, before they massacred the Cherokee tribe. Little Deer never stopped loving Fighting Eagle and lived out her life hoping that one day he would return to her.
Emily’s mourning for her fiancé has kept her from being able to sustain a relationship. It has also blinded her to Tessa’s true feelings. As the haunting intensifies, Emily begins to explore the emerging emotions for her friend and what they mean for their relationship. In order for Emily to be fully available to a relationship, she must find a way to let go of Tyler’s memory, opening her up to possibilities that the future may hold.
Blood Creek Haunting is an intriguing tale of the strength of love combined with an element of the paranormal. The parallels between Emily and her namesake are interesting and help create a powerful bond between the stories of the two characters. Tessa is a compelling character, and anyone who has loved a friend from afar will identify with her. Her love helps to ground Emily to reality when the haunting intensifies to dangerous levels. The emotional and physical connection between the women is intensely powerful and sensuous, making for an enjoyable story with a rewarding ending.(less)