Book Review: Torn By E.B. Barrett

tornRecently graduated, James appears to have it all. He’s smart, he’s good-looking and, under the guidance of his tutor, Professor Thomas, he’s discovered an algorithm that has made him a multi-millionaire. But James’s emotional life is a mess. Throughout college, he and his girlfriend, Amee, have engaged in a lot of sexual experimentation, which has led him to discover two things. One, he’s bisexual, and two, he’s hopelessly in love with Professor Thomas. In an effort to come to terms with his feelings, he travels to Amsterdam, where all kinds of sexualities are tolerated and attitudes are less judgemental than in his native United States. But still he remains confused – torn between doing what’s expected of him and acting on his true desires.

Torn is that rare thing in erotic fiction – a novella that takes an honest and intense look at what it means to be bisexual. James butts up against negative beliefs about bisexuality right from the start of the book. His parents are separated and his father is dating a woman, Claire, who wants all three of his children to be ‘normal’ – in other words, heterosexual. She believes if you’re gay, you haven’t chosen your sexuality, but if you’re bisexual you have the choice to be gay or straight, and if you don’t, you’re just greedy. (A view expressed, coincidentally, by the loveably grotesque Linda La Hughes (Kathy Burke), in the fabulous sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme.) It’s a view that leaves James feeling as if he’s doing something wrong in desiring both Amee and the men with whom he plays around, and it reflects a problem bisexual people often have, not fitting into some easily definable category.

I was eager to read Torn because I’m a sucker for anything set in Amsterdam, though in truth the city doesn’t play much of a part in the story – it simply serves to present a different attitude to sex than the one James is used to. In Amsterdam, James can visit sex clubs and make his desire for a bisexual threesome explicit – and, this being a romance, he might also be able to have the encounter he’s been longing for throughout the book.

Torn is not your standard MM romance. It’s one for lovers of literary erotica, and it features straight sex, threesomes, domination and submission play and much more. Running parallel to James’s discovery of his bisexuality is Amee’s growing acceptance that she has a dominant side. With the aid of a D/s couple she and James meet, she explores her dominatrix persona, Alexa, inviting men to worship them and punishing them for their failings. The sex scenes are vividly described, as Barrett explores the motivations of the many people James meets along the way – from Ryan, the supposedly typical jock who joins him and Amee for a threesome and knows that James wants to have sex with a man even before James really knows it himself, to Max and Iris, the couple who help Amee become Alexa. Barrett has a knack for making even minor characters feel rounded and realistic – even though some, like Claire, are designed purely to put forward a certain point of view, they don’t feel like the cardboard cut-out bigots who infest too much LGBT fiction.

If you don’t want a predictable tale of MM love and you’re interested in what makes people tick in and out of the bedroom, give Torn a try. Based on what happens in the story, I’m certainly keen to read more by E.B. Barrett.

Torn is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK, and you can find out more about the book on Goodreads.

(I was given a copy of this book by Indigo Marketing in return for an honest review.)

Coffee Time Romance Loves Pride Under Fire

prideunderfire_800Pride Under Fire, the latest book in my Lionhearts m/m shifter series, has been reviewed by Coffee Time Romance, and they’ve given it a five-cup review! Reviewer Regina called it ‘one of those unique and fun shifter stories that just keep you on the edge of your seat’ and ‘one story you do not want to miss’. To say I’m delighted is an understatement, as I had such fun bringing lion shifter Connor and his human mate Andy together, and giving them the mystery of a malicious arsonist to solve.

You can find the full review by clicking on the dinky CTR image below, and you can learn more about Pride Under Fire and the rest of the Lionhearts series at the Pride Publishing site.

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Book Review: Beyond The Sea By Kiera Andrews

Troy Tanner may have found fame and fortune as part of the hottest boy band in the world, Next Up, but his life is still full of complications. He’s with his girlfriend, Savannah, more out of duty than love, and his brother and fellow band member Tyson has a drug habit that’s getting worse by the day. Troy’s father was an addict who died of an overdose, and he doesn’t want to see his brother go the same way, so he carries out his threat to quit the band if he catches Tyson using again. He doesn’t care about the consequences; he simply needs to be as far away from Tyson as possible, and if that means chartering a private plane in the middle of the night, that’s what he’ll do. But when a cyclone forces a crash landing that leaves the pilot dead and Troy a thousand miles from civilisation with only injured co-pilot Brian Sinclair for company, it looks like his real problems have just begun…

Being stranded on a desert island, fighting for survival alongside someone you’re attracted to, is hardly a new idea, beyond the seaand if handled poorly it can be riddled with clichés and cringe-worthy moments (anyone remember the appalling Swept Away pretty much finishing off Madonna’s film career?) But in Troy and Brian, Kiera Andrews creates an engaging couple whose struggles on the island they christen Golden Sands are all too believable. Both carry serious amounts of emotional baggage – while Troy has his family troubles, Brian suffers from survivor’s guilt after being involved in an earlier fatal plane crash – and they have to find a way to work through that as well as dealing with more pressing matters like finding food and water, making a shelter, and not picking up an illness or infection that might kill them without medical attention.

The sexual attraction between them is something they try to fight at first, putting it down to their need for physical contact and the fact there’s no one else around, as they both consider themselves straight. But once they’ve made their first tentative explorations they realise there’s something deeper involved, and soon they can’t keep their hands off each other. The sex scenes, when they finally arrive, are scorching hot, as Troy and Brian explore pretty much everything two men can do to each other, both learning what the other enjoys as they go.

Beyond The Sea is at its strongest when Troy and Brian are trapped on the island, learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and falling in love. Somehow, the storyline becomes less realistic once they’re back home, as they appear to slot back into their everyday lives without problems and everyone around them, even Troy’s conservative Filipina mother, accepts their relationship with a shrug and a ‘that’s cool’. But overall, this is an enjoyable, escapist book with plenty to offer fans of MM romance – just don’t read it on a flight…

Beyond The Sea is available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, ARe, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords.

(I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.)

Call For Submissions: Silver Desire

Writer, editor, woman behind the regular Dirty Sex Words reading slams and all-round kinky person (she’ll love me for calling her that…) Zak Jane Keir is putting together an anthology featuring characters who rarely feature in erotica/erotic romance – women over fifty. Silver Desire, to be published by Sexy Little Pages, will celebrate the love life and lusty libido of the older woman in all its varied forms. Zak is looking for sex-positive stories (i.e. no downer endings or sex going wrong) of between 4,000 and 6,000 words. You can find full details of formatting and other requirements here, and the deadline for submissions is May 10th.

Book Review: Going Back by Jennifer Young

GoingBackbyJenniferYoung-200Leona Castellano has only just returned from an eventful trip to Italy where she was the victim of a kidnapping , but she’s already planning her return. She hopes she can end the feud between her own family and that of the man she’s falling in love with, Nico Manfredi, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring about a reconciliation. However, she hasn’t counted on the Manfredi family’s bitter old patriarch, Faustino. The last thing Faustino wants to see is his grandson in love with a Castellano, and so he reveals a shocking secret that threatens to destroy Leona and Manfredi’s relationship almost before it’s begun…

Going Back is Book Two in the Lake Garda series, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first book in the series, A Portrait of My Love, because Jennifer Young swiftly fills in the events that have brought Leona to this point.  The story offers two romances for the price of one, as Leona’s mother, Alexandra, who has her ow n troubled history with the Manfredis and a desire to keep Leona and Nico apart, is coming to realise the true extent of own feelings for the man she married on the rebound, Simon Smart, and believes there’s still a chance for them to find love even though they’ve been divorced for years. Their gentle but sincere attraction is in contrast to the hotter burn of the passion between the feisty Leona and  the equally impetuous Nico, who both tend to act first and consider the consequences afterwards.

A good chunk of the action is set in and around  the town of Verona, including a visit made by Alexandra and Simon to Juliet’s balcony, and the tale of Romeo and Juliet is a strong influence on Going Back. But Young gives the concept of warring families a contemporary twist or two, making you root for both Leona and Nico as they attempt to thwart Faustino’s evil plans.

My only quibble is that the chapters from Leona’s point of view are told in the first person and those of the other characters in the third person, a stylistic choice I’ve never been very keen on – I’d rather see all first person or all third person. But that’s a personal preference and one that doesn’t really detract from the gripping storyline and the satisfying emotional resolution. For fans of sweet romance with a dash of suspense, and those who dream of love under the Italian sun, Going Back is a recommended read.

Going Back is published by Tirgearr and is available from retailers including Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and Apple.

You Never Forget Your First Time – Guest Post By Lisabet Sarai

When the lovely Lisabet Sarai announced she was bringing out a new and expanded version of her classic BDSM novel set in Thailand, Raw Silk, I was intrigued. It’s a while since I reviewed the original version for Forum, but I hadn’t realised quite how long until – oh, but I’ll let Lisabet explain for herself…

I published my first erotic novel in 1999. I’ve had many releases since then, but Raw Silk holds a special place in my heart. I was so innocent when I penned this story. I’d never read any romance, and relatively little erotica. I knew ThaiPavilionnothing at all about the publishing world. All I had were my own fantasies and memories, which I burned to share. Although the book was not in any sense autobiographical, it drew heavily on my personal experience. It has always been one of my most popular works, partly, I think, because readers sense the emotional authenticity of the tale. Kate’s sexual journey mirrors my own, not in detail, but in spirit.

Now Totally Bound has given me the chance to revisit that book, revising and expanding it for re-release. It has been a thrill to follow Kate once more through the twists and turns of her adventures in Bangkok. Meanwhile, I’m delighted to have the chance to apply the accumulated knowledge from sixteen years of writing to polish the prose, making the tale shine even more brightly.

Excerpt: Gregory turned to Noi. “Help her get ready. I promised her that no one would know who she was.”

“Kate, put yourself in Noi’s hands. She’s an expert.” He bent down to whisper in her ear. “Remember, I will be watching.” She felt a hard pinch on her bottom. “Break a leg,” he said in a jocular tone, then was gone.

Noi took Kate by the hand. “Sit here,” she ordered, “and take off your shirt.” Kate stripped off the T-shirt. She was bare-breasted beneath, but the women around her did not give her a second glance. She sat at the dressing table that Noi indicated, looking at herself in the mirror.

She was flushed. Her green eyes seemed darker than usual, and sparkled with suppressed excitement. The few freckles on her pert nose seemed especially prominent. She looked pretty, alert, and very Irish.

Meanwhile, her nipples were red and rigid, perched high on her full breasts. Touch me, they almost screamed. Pinch me, suck me.

As if reading her thoughts, Noi caught her left nipple between a thumb and forefinger, and gave a little twist. Kate gasped. “You will be very popular,” observed the mamasan dryly. Kate couldn’t help blushing.

Noi began to apply makeup. Kate watched, fascinated, as her ruddy skin became pale, her freckles disappeared, her eyebrows darkened and arched, her eyes became shallow and almond-shaped. In a short time, she was looking at an Asian beauty, perhaps half-Thai, half-American, with moist, full lips and curly red hair.

“My hair…” she protested. Noi reached behind her and produced a wig of straight, black locks. She gathered Kate’s own ringlets into a tight ponytail then fitted the wig.

The transformation was complete. Black bangs cut across her forehead. Black tresses decorated her shoulders. She looked nineteen instead of twenty-eight. And, most assuredly, Thai.

The other girls gathered around. “Oh, madam, you look so beautiful.” Kate couldn’t help but smile, surrounded as she was by gorgeous female faces and forms.

“Here is your costume,” said Noi. “Gregory selected it especially for you.”

Kate grew a little paler. Was she really expected to wear this, in public? She looked at Noi in silent entreaty, but the mamasan just grinned. “Get dressed,” she said. “The dancing will start in just a few minutes.”

A corset of black vinyl, laced up the front, which cinched her waist and left her breasts bare. The briefest of G-strings, a tiny vinyl triangle that barely hid her bush plus a thong that settled deep in the crevice between her buttocks. Thigh-high vinyl boots with four-inch heels. And, finally, the leather collar she had last worn while Gregory had taken her from behind.

Fully attired, she checked herself in the mirror once more. A stranger stared back, a sultry Asian temptress. The body was more voluptuous than was typical for a Thai, full breasts and thighs that belied the woman’s youthful face. Her red-painted lips were half-open, luscious and inviting. Her skin shone already with a light sheen of sweat. Kate raised her arms above her head and swiveled her hips, as she had seen the other dancers do. The figure in the mirror moved gracefully, languidly, every motion beckoning the viewer to watch, touch, taste, possess her.

“Here is your number.” Noi handed her a plastic chip with a pin on the back. Kate had noticed all the girls wearing them. Apparently they served as a simple accounting mechanism, for tallying the tips the girls received whenever a customer bought them a drink. She smiled wryly, noting that Gregory had assigned her the number sixty-nine.

Blurb: When software engineer Kate O’Neill leaves her lover David to take a job in Thailand, she becomes sexually involved with two very different men—a handsome and debauched member of the Thai aristocracy, and the charismatic proprietor of a sex bar.

Each touches her in a different way, each teaches her different things about her body and her heart.

Then David comes to Bangkok, and Kate realizes that, finally, she must choose one of the three men who all desire her.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of M/M and F/F sex, sex with multiple partners, scenes of mixed ménage, scenes of dubious consent and forced cunnilingus, voyeurism, exhibitionism, sex in public places, pegging as well as the use of inanimate objects during sex scenes.

Review Quotes: “This is by far one of the best erotic novels that I have read and it fully deserves every one of the five ribbons I am giving it! But it does make me wonder what the characters could do with them.” ~ Maree Schuler, Romance Junkies (Five Ribbons).

“[Kate’s] character grows and she comes to realize her inner needs along with her deep sexual desires. Lisabet Sarai has a flair for sexy, sensuous romance with an edgy feel. I cannot wait to read more by this talented author.” ~ Dawnie, Fallen Angels Reviews (Five Angels).

“The Bangkok setting is fascinating and adds to the overall feeling of opulent sensuality. Lisabet Sarai deftly shows the country without ever letting the descriptions take over the story. Good BDSM novels are voyages of self-discovery, and Raw Silk is a journey you’ll enjoy taking.” ~ Kathleen Bradean, Erotica Revealed

“…this is one SIZZLING read (the ending was incredible) and should not be put on the back burner of your ‘to read list.” ~ Alyssa, Amazon review (Five stars)

Buy Links (Ebook and Print)

Amazon US/Amazon UK/Barnes & Noble/Totally Bound/All Romance/

Find the book on Goodreads

Until March 8th, Raw Silk is available for only 99c!
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Book Review: One Night In Pamplona By JD Martins

one night in pamplonaJeff is an American tourist in Spain, enjoying a break from his stressful job in a Boston law firm. He’s arrived in Pamplona at the height of the famous San Fermin festival, a time when the whole town dresses in red and white and gets together to dance, drink, pelt each other with saffron powder, enjoy the fireworks displays and, of course, run with the bulls through the town’s narrow streets. It’s also traditional for single people to go on the hunt for fun and flirtation, and while Jeff doesn’t have any plans to ditch his bachelor lifestyle, the festival’s intoxicating atmosphere soon has him in the mood to make the most of his stay and hook up with someone. When he meets local girl Idoia and practices his rusty Spanish on her, he’s initially drawn by her beauty, but Idoia is more than just a pretty face. She knows exactly what she wants from life, with plans to travel and enjoy a good career. More than that, she’s feisty and has a sense of adventure that matches Jeff’s. With her by his side, Jeff knows he’ll have a better time at the festival than he could ever have hoped for, but will his insistence on joining in the bull run against Idoia’s wishes end their budding romance before it’s even begun.

One Night in Pamplona is a breezy, captivating romp through a beautiful Spanish city in the company of an engaging hero and heroine. Jeff and Idoia are two well-matched characters, both with a stubborn streak and a refreshing sense of self-awareness, and their mutual attraction, though very swift, is believable . JD Martins evokes the sights and sounds of the San Fermin Festival, plunging the reader into streets crowded with revellers and beautifully describing Pamplona’s historic buildings. Much of the sex in the story takes place in semi-public places, and has a heat and urgency that will immediately draw you in. While any conflict in the story is resolved pretty easily, this is overall a fun and upbeat read that will have you longing for a Spanish sojourn of your own. And as the author is donating 10 per cent of royalties to the World Wildlife Fund, you’ll also be doing good by treating yourself to this book

Find out more about One Night In Pamplona, and JD Martins, at http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martins_JD/one-night-in-pamplona.htm And don’t forget the Tirgearr anniversary sale runs until February 29th, with lots of titles marked down to just 99p/99c.