Book Review – Secrets And Spies By Ellie Barker

Nikolas Jinsen works to bring down bad guys, hunting for those who steal classified information and sell it on. When he meets Sky, what starts as lust at first sight swiftly becomes something more complicated. Not only is blue-haired Sky a skilful thief, she’s also transgender, something the bisexual Nikolas hadn’t bargained for but certainly has no objections to. A hot night of sex has him coming back for more, but in this game of spy versus spy, who can he trust and who is using who?

Secrets And Spies is narrated from Nikolas’ point of view, and Ellie Barker gives him a blokey, laconic tone of voice and the air of a man who’s seen it all before, even though it soon becomes clear events are spiralling out of his control, both in and out of bed. As well as his sizzling-hot entanglement with Sky, he is also up against the Queen, a dominant baddie who demands pleasure from all her “subjects,” including Nikolas. The plot moves fast, even though there’s barely a page goes by in which Nikolas isn’t involved in some kind of sexy shenanigans, and it doesn’t fall prey to some of the usual clichés about hacking and computer espionage.

Sky herself is a well-rounded anti-heroine, secure in her gender identity and forthright about her needs and desires, and as such she’s a great foil for Nikolas. She’s involved in a brief (but necessary to the plot) scene of dubious consent with one of the Queen’s henchmen, but apart from that all the sex in the novella – and I may have mentioned there’s a lot of it – is enjoyed willingly and enthusiastically. Mild spanking play, exhibitionism, oral worship – it’s all there, and the two scheduled sequels to Secrets And Spies promise even more thrills to come.

If you’re looking for a straightforward romance, Secrets And Spies isn’t for you. This is a quick, quirky and satisfying read that proves blue-haired gals have more fun…

Secrets And Spies, Book One in the Undercover Lovers series, is published by Sinful Press. It’s available from Amazon, and you can find out more about the book at Goodreads.

I was given a copy of the book by Lucy Felthouse at Writer Marketing Services in return for an honest review.

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The Big City Nights Sale Is On!

Love to dream about travelling? Love to read hot romances that take place in cities around the world, where anything can happen on one special night? Well, if you aren’t aware of Tirgearr’s City Nights series, which is designed to scratch both of those itches, the Big City Nights Sale is the perfect introduction. Throughout the month of May, the 30-plus titles in the series are being showcased in a special sale across all of Amazon’s Kindle stores.

From today until Tuesday 15th May, my novella One Night In Brussels is part of the sale, along with the City Nights books set in Biarritz, Chicago, Barcelona, Pamplona, Daytona Beach and Cleveland. Here’s the blurb for the novella, to whet your appetite:

Saskia van Gaal works as a translator for the European Commission, dreaming of a life filled with excitement and hot sex. When she bumps into suave, sexy Englishman, Dominic May, and offers to be his tour guide in the beautiful city of Brussels, she doesn’t realise she’s about to embark on the wildest night of her life.

You can pick up One Night in Brussels at the sale price of 99p/99c from Amazon UK and Amazon US, and find out more about the sale at eBook Discovery. Click on the graphic below to go to the eBook Discovery site and enjoy some unforgettable, hot nights of fiction…

Tirgearr At The Romance Book Cloud

If you think of ways to read as much fiction as you want for a set subscription price, then Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited would most likely be your first choice. However, if you’re into romance fiction, then a new service might be of interest to you. Romance Book Cloud is different from Kindle in that it’s targeted at lending libraries. The ebooks can only be read online, rather than being downloaded, which means there’s almost no chance they can be pirated (which is good news for any author who’s tired of seeing their books being offered for free on nefarious websites). For the reader, it means that unlike a traditional library, you don’t have to wait until a book you’re looking for is back in stock – it’s always available to read.

Romance Book Cloud currently has around 1800 titles in its catalogue, from publishers including Wild Rose Press, Vinspire Books, Belle Books, Bold Stroke Books, and Tirgearr Publishing. Among the Tirgearr selection is the whole City Nights range, including my novella One Night In Brussels. It’s a great way to try books by authors you’ve never read before, catch up on a backlist and sample something that catches your eye.

Due to its nature, Romance Book Cloud is pretty much only available to readers who are members of a US library, but if it catches on (and there are already other branches of the service aimed at readers of YA fiction and audiobooks) it could be the start of a whole new way of enjoying fiction.

You can find out more at the Romance Book Cloud website.

Book Review – The California Dashwoods By Lisa Henry

The Dashwood children – Elliott, Marianne and Greta – have lived a happy and privileged life in the comfortable setting of their family home, Norland Park. That changes with the death of their father, Henry. They’re thrown out of the house and forced to relocate to the small California town of Barton Lake, where they have to cope with a vastly diminished income. If that’s not enough upheaval, Elliott’s life is further complicated by his sudden and unexpected attraction to Ned Ferrars, the younger brother of Henry Dashwood’s first wife. Try as he might to tell himself it’s just a fling, Elliott is soon in much deeper than he ever dreamed…

Modern retellings of classic novels always run the risk of being nothing more than a lazy piggybacking off a previously established plot and characters. When they’re done right, though, as in The California Dashwoods, they can breathe new life into a well-loved story. It’s roughly a thousand years since I read Jane Austen’s Sense And Sensibility, the novel on which this book is based, so I didn’t have a mental checklist of all the plot beats The California Dashwoods should hit. However, I think those who cherish the original, and who are fans of M/M romance, won’t be disappointed with the way Lisa Henry tackles the material. And it’s also very easy to come to this book knowing nothing about Sense And Sensibility and enjoy every moment of the tale it tells.

The author has obviously had a lot of fun gender-flipping various characters while retaining the basic premise of two siblings, one quiet and sensible and the other wild and impulsive, negotiating the tricky waters of love and relationships. Elliott, the responsible one, is keen to hold things together for his mother’s sake, while Marianne plunges headlong into a whirlwind romance with a man who might not be the best choice. Much of the social minefield and layers of status that informed Jane Austen’s Regency romances no longer applies in the Twenty-first century – yes, the Colonel Brandon character is older than the person they’re attracted to, but that doesn’t make them a figure of fun in the love and marriage stakes any more. Indeed, Brandon is a nuanced and sympathetic character, as is everyone here but the rich and snobby side of the Dashwood family, who need to be out-and-out villains for the story to work. But there is still plenty for Lisa Henry to explore in the subject of losing a loved one and readjusting to a new way of life, and Elliot’s vulnerability and grief is very nicely handled. He and Ned have chemistry from their first meeting, and their suitability for each other is emphasised with small moments, such as Ned being the only person to tell Elliott he’s sorry for his loss, rather than with over-the-top romantic gestures.

If you’re looking for erotic content you’ll find the book on the light side (one scene involving paint and a canvas in Henry Dashwood’s old studio aside), but that fits the tone of the story. Overall, The California Dashwoods is a funny and charming read that respects Sense And Sensibility while giving it a thoroughly modern makeover.

 The California Dashwoods will be published on May 1st and is available for preorder here. Find out more about Lisa Henry at her website.

I received a copy of The California Dashwoods from Indigo Marketing and Design in return for an honest review.

One Night In Brussels – Hot Chocolate For A Cold Day

With the weather at Naughty Corner Towers having been positively glacial for the past few days, my thoughts inevitably turned to ways of warming up. So here’s a cheeky one from One Night In Brussels, which is on sale till Sunday as part of Tirgearr’s birthday celebrations. And no,  it’s not what you might be thinking…

When Saskia and Dominic reach the corner café, all the tables outside are occupied, even though it’s really too chilly to be sitting for long in the open air.
They find a spot inside, next to a couple of elegantly dressed middle-aged women who are clearly at the end of a shopping spree, their feet surrounded by bulging carrier bags. One of the women is examining a purchase she’s made—a milk chocolate copy of the Manneken Pis statue, similar to those Saskia noticed in a
window back on Zuidstraat.
A waitress in a black waistcoat and skirt over a white blouse, her blond hair scraped back in a tight ponytail, comes to take their order.
“Cappuccino for me,” Dominic tells her. “How about you, Saskia?”
“I’d love a hot chocolate.”
“With cream?” the waitress asks, scribbling a note on her pad.
I shouldn’t, but why not? It’s not the naughtiest thing I’ve done today—or might do later…
Saskia doesn’t know where the thought has come from, only that she’s aware of a subtle tension between herself and Dominic, heightened every time she glances into those expressive dark eyes of his.

To find out how things heat up once Saskia and Dominic leave the café, pick up a copy of One Night In Brussels from 99 cents from Amazon US or 99p from Amazon UK.

It’s Tirgearr’s Birthday!

Yes, Tirgearr is celebrating another year of bringing readers the best in romance, mystery, sci-fi and so much more, and just like last year they’re celebrating in style. From today until Sunday there’s a huge sale at Amazon with lots of Tirgearr titles on sale – take a look at the image below to see all the authors taking part.tirgearr birthday graphic 2018

My book from the City Nights series, One Night In Brussels, is on sale at Amazon US and Amazon UK, so take a look if you like tales of hot romance mixed in with a dash of suspense (and delicious Belgian frites…)

There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway running between now and March 4th, where you can win a House of Tirgearryen teeshirt and three Tirgearr ebooks of your choice. You can enter at the official Tirgearr site or on the Tirgearr blog. Good luck!

If that’s not enough, you can pick up the teeshirt on sale for $15. Click on the image below to find out more and place your order. And happy birthday, Tirgearr!

tshirtsale2

Book Review – Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo

Trevor has grown up as a wolf without a pack in a small town in the middle of nowhere. What little he knows about shifting and pack lore he’s learned from the elderly man he calls Grandpa, who’s also passed on to him a mysterious ring. When circumstances force Trevor to use the ring, he realises it turns him invisible, something he tries his best to use to his advantage. But other people want the ring, too, and that throws Trevor into some very bad situation. Luckily, Ryan Jarfang, Alpha of the biggest wolf pack in the area and the hottest man Trevor has ever met, is on hand to help out.

Ryan and Trevor are Fated Mates, with an attraction too strong to ignore, something that doesn’t go down too well with Amanda, the woman whose forthcoming mating with Ryan will create a powerful alliance with another local pack. With wolves being found dead and shifters going missing, how will Trevor and Ryan overcome all the dangers and find the happiness their status as Fated Mates should guarantee them?

Having a main character who can not only shift into a wolf but become invisible as well should be too much for one story, but in Ghost Wolf Hurri Cosmo manages to pull it off. There’s a streak of humour in the book that keeps everything from getting too serious and overblown, though when the baddies come after Ryan and Trevor there’s a genuine sense of menace about the set piece as they hunt for the ring in Trevor’s old family home. Having Trevor as an outsider to the pack means we get to learn about wolf lore through his eyes, and he’s an engaging hero, always looking out for others beside himself. Ryan might be the typical Alpha male, always on top in the bedroom, but there are times when he needs Trevor’s help and protection, and that vulnerability adds more depth to his character.

There is, as you’d expect, plenty of hot sex, especially on the night of Ryan and Trevor’s mating, though I could have done without the detour into male pregnancy territory. It may be a necessary part of the happy ending for some readers, but personally, I find it silly. With that caveat (and that part of the book is easy to skip once you realise where the storyline is headed), this is a fun and entertaining shifter story that’ll have you howling for more.

Ghost Wolf is published by Painted Hearts and is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. Find out more about Hurri Cosmo at Hurricosmo.com.

I received a copy of Ghost Wolf from Indigo Marketing and Design in return for an honest review.