December 4, 2007
Four mistresses of romantic fiction come together in one fantastic anthology
featuring four riveting paranormal tales. I was already a fan of Angela Knight,
Emma Holly and Lora Leigh, but BEYOND THE DARK was the first
chance I have yet had to experience Diane Whiteside’s talent. In my honest
opinion, each of the stories in this collection has earned my highest rating of
~DRAGON DANCE by Angela Knight~
Random humans have developed inexplicable paranormal abilities. The change
comes upon them without warning, and for many, they never recover from the
madness that accompanies the transition period. Hostage negotiator Arial Dean
is called in to talk down one such ‘Hyper’, as they are called, in a standoff
that threatens not only the man’s wife and children, but every living being in
the vicinity. It will take the combined efforts of Arial and the mysterious man
known only as Tracker to subdue this dangerous new Hyper.
Angela Knight recently became one of my favorite authors, and I have been
greatly anticipating this story from her! DRAGON DANCE in no way
disappointed me. This story has several twists that I did not anticipate but
which greatly ramped up my excitement for this story when each was revealed. I
guess I am trying to say that it got better and better with each page! LOL Of
course, it was captivating from page one, with characters that leapt off the
page, immediately engendering a feeling of familiarity for them, and definitely
a strong empathy.
As can be expected from an author who has affectionately described her work as
‘blatant smut’, DRAGON DANCE has some blazing hot love scenes
between Arial and Tracker! Of course, simply calling this story blatant smut
would do this talented author a disservice. Without the emotion Ms. Knight
effortlessly wrings from her characters, it would simply be sex. But Knight has
written a true love story, with all the romantic passion guaranteed to satisfy
any romance reader.
~CAUGHT BY THE TIDES by Diane Whiteside~
It is 1803 and England remains on guard for threat from Napoleon Bonaparte.
Both the French and the English employ the use of powerful mages with the
ability to control the elements and more in their battles. Owen Bentham is just
such a King’s Mage, in service to England. As he carries an imperative message
that can change the tide of the war, the enemy calls a storm that leaves him
When Emma finds the handsome man washed up on her beach, she recognizes him as a
King’s Mage by the ring he wears, and knows that her duty to help him goes
beyond simple human kindness, but is a duty to her country. But in caring for
Owen, she finds herself caught in the midst of the fight, an unexpected but
significant pawn that the traitorous mage will do anything to control. In order
to foil the traitor and help Owen succeed in his mission, she must give
everything she is to Owen.
As I said previously, CAUGHT BY THE TIDES is the first time I have
read anything by Diane Whiteside, and made me oh so glad I have two more of her
books waiting on my book shelf right now! Ms. Whiteside writes with a skill
that draws the reader in to the story as if they were experiencing it for
themselves instead of turning pages in a book.
The author’s magical take on the Napoleonic wars was an absolute delight! I am
not usually drawn to stories about wars, especially true historical events, but
the paranormal element added an extra ‘oomph’ to this story that made me forget
this may not be my typical reading choice. Of course, the focus of the story is
really on the battle between the two mages as well as Emma’s and Owen’s romance,
with the Napoleonic threat as more of a backdrop.
At every turn, the noble Emma is ready to perform her duty to her country and
King, especially when it involves Owen. No matter what he needs, she is willing
to give to him, and it soon becomes apparent to both the reader and Emma herself
that this is out of more than her ‘duty’.
Indeed, it is Owen’s own past that inhibits him from accepting Emma’s assistance
in full until the time is critical. Having been used and hurt in the past, he
is wary of opening himself fully to another. In the end, he does what he must,
and finds deep down, he trusts the lovely Emma above all others with everything
he has, heart and soul.
CAUGHT BY THE TIDES was a magnificent introduction to Diane
Whiteside’s work, and I cannot wait to read more from her very soon!
~QUEEN OF ALL SHE SURVEYS by Emma Holly~
Once again, Queen Tou has won the latest battle between herself and King Ravna.
This time, she has taken his surviving warriors hostage, demanding he ransom
them for his own son, the legendary Prince Memnon. It is said that King Ravna
has been touched by the gods, and his son is rumored to have inherited his
father’s insatiable lust. Unlike his father, however, Prince Memnon indulges
himself only once a month, when the need becomes too great to control.
Queen Tou has also been blessed by the gods with eternal youth, but has been
left with a raging sexual need that requires a harem of men to sate her each
night. Her new husband, Prince Memnon, is not a man willing to share, but can
he satisfy her needs in full by himself? More importantly, can the son of her
enemy truly be trusted in her bed and her heart?
No matter the genre she is writing in, Emma Holly never fails to spin a
fascinating tale full of some very memorable love scenes. But no matter how
wild the sex, she always manages to infuse the scene with a great deal of true
caring. Consequently, the sex scenes never come across as gratuitous but
instead an expression of love between the characters involved.
Despite her heightened sexual appetite, Queen Tou only chooses men for her
harem that she truly cares for. As such, I would not consider her promiscuous,
despite her numerous sexual encounters. Especially since everything changes
when she meets the irresistible Prince Memnon. Once she touches him, she
desires no other, and so begins their love story.
Prince Memnon is a man consumed by worry over his own appetites, having never
met a woman who can handle his sex drive when fully unleashed. In Queen Tou, he
is more than surprised to find a woman he can respect, love, and with whom he
can completely let himself go.
~IN A WOLF’S EMBRACE by Lora Leigh~
A Breed male often recognizes his mate the moment he first sees her or scents
her. Matthias Slaughter recognized Grace Anderson’s importance to him the
moment he first met her, but knew he couldn’t act on his feelings until his
mission was complete. Fate has a way of taking decisions out of your hands,
however, and when Grace accidentally witnesses Matthias assassinating her boss,
an evil Council Scientist, Matthias has no choice but to take her with him.
Sequestered in a secluded cabin together, Matthias sets out to woo his little
mate, explaining why he’d been assigned to terminate her employer. He is
determined to allow her to choose him instead of forcing the Mating Heat on her,
but his own hormones become difficult to control.
Grace knows she should run far away from this dangerous man, but something about
him pulls at her, preventing her from denying him. Soon, their close proximity
will break their control, binding them forever in a way that will consume them
Anyone who follows my reviews has probably figured out that Lora Leigh is at the
top of my list of favorite authors. This woman cannot miss. It is evident in
every book she releases that she cares passionately about both her characters
and their stories and her imagination knows no limit.
Although sexy beyond belief, Matthias Slaughter is probably the hardest, most
daunting Breed male we have yet met in the BREEDS saga. The man
is beyond hardcore, dedicated to eradicating the evil that spawned the Breeds
and now threatens their very existence. It is just his luck to meet his own
mate on just such a mission. How ironic that the kind, soft-hearted Grace
should be his mate. But it is just those qualities that gentle him, and he
fights his very nature to allow her the freedom of choice so important to her.
Grace proves a godsend to the intimidating assassin. With her sweet demeanor
and open heart, she easily softens his own. And once she finds her way into his
heart and soul, she teaches him how to enjoy life to its fullest instead of just
IN A WOLF’S EMBRACE is an outstanding addition to Leigh’s
BREEDS series, and a story that will stay in my heart for a long time to
come. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried more than once during this sweet
and sexy romance, and I highly recommend grabbing a box of tissue before you sit
down to read your own copy!
Note: This review was originally
written by Jennifer Ray for another review site. It is being reposted at
Wild on Books.
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