Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 52 - 13 Reasons to Read Bona Fide Liar by Red Garnier

Last September I was thrilled to get my own sizzling copy of Bona Fide Liar, the fifth release by Red Garnier in a very prolific debut year. Today's Thursday Thirteen is a review of Ms. Garnier's second Torrid Tarot book, just in time for her fantastic news that she sold to Penguin/NAL!

1 - I discovered Red Garnier as a fellow blogger. I'm not really sure how I got to her blog - but I stumbled upon a post where she shared one of her passions, for contemporary art. She had pictures of the Sotheby's art auction and even had a favorite auctioneer. This is a woman after my own heart, thought the ballet freak. And not only that - she had multiple Oscar Wilde quotes in her sidebar (on her previous blog layout.)

2 - When I first got to know Red, she hadn't sold anything - yet. A few short months after I'd got to know her as a blog buddy, she sold her first ebook to Ellora's Cave. Since then she's published eleven books, seven with Ellora's Cave, two with Liquid Silver, two with Loose Id, and one coming in June with Samhain.

Red also has her own blog, and is one of the Sexies at Six Degrees of Sexy, along with Christine d'Abo and Renee Field.

3 - Let's have a look at Red's fifth novel, Bona Fide Liar. This is part of the Ellora's Cave Torrid Tarot category, which offers romances inspired by the aspects of cards in a tarot deck. In this contemporary story, the heroine is a creative thinker for an internet giant. The hero is her competition from the same office.

4 - We meet Carly Sanders, who works at Yoodle, North America's leading internet search engine. She can't let anyone know she's wrung out of ideas. More specifically, her nemesis Callahan must never suspect she's come up high and dry.

5 - Alexander Callahan is the most original mind at Yoodle. He's the two-time winner of the Creative Award. Unfortunately, his physical reaction to Carly never seems reciprocated by her. He's forced to pretend he feels nothing for the stunning beauty on his creative team.

6 - Is it wrong for Carly to plot devious payback when she overhears outright lies from Callahan to their co-workers? Sure, they're competitive, but aren't they on the same corporate team?

7 - I really, really love the S-ensuous aspects of this story. "S-ensuous love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination," advises Ellora's Cave. Now that women no longer have to blush and swoon at the mention of super-charged encounters, Red makes her readers blush and swoon for all the right reasons. This is where the contemporary aspect actually works for me!

8 - The sexual tension between Carly and Alexander is cloaked at first by their competitive animosity. Sure, she thinks he's attractive in a neck-throttling sort of way. Alexander might fantasize about her but Carly is strictly hands-off. Until he discovers her pink fur-lined handcuffs.

9 - Carly and Alexander have given their best to their careers, even thriving as competitors. What Red does so well is to fill their night of sexual discovery with emotional realization. Will Carly and Alexander acknowledge their own roles as liars, or keep finger-pointing in the opposite direction?

10 - Red really knows how to end each chapter with a hook. Like this, for example:

"As she took the elevator upstairs, Carly suddenly realized she hated herself just as much or even more than she hated him. For she had been the fool who’d allowed this disaster to happen. The fool who’d believed she could make these wretched, painful, alien feelings go away. Perhaps it was past time Carly recognized there was a bigger liar in Yoodle, bigger even than Alex Callahan.

Her name was Carly Sanders.

She could always continue to pretend she hated him. She could always continue to pretend she didn’t want him more than
anything, and still, for all her pretending, for all her lying and her feigned contempt, she just couldn’t make it true.

Not anymore."

11 - Red's writing style is filled with ironic humor that carries a thread of longing throughout. Carly's work woes are so easy for readers to share, and her determined trip to the sex shop for Operation Alexander ammunition is both funny and poignant. Of course, Red's steamy scenes need special mention. If you're willing to throw off your inhibitions, Red is willing to take you where you've always longed to go.

12 - Red has mentioned her love of the alpha male, and Alexander is a prime example of that breed. When we're in his POV, his reasons for doing things that make Carly crazy suddenly all make sense. When he makes bedroom moves that shock and delight Carly, they flow from Alexander's character. He's a bold top performer for a cutting edge company - and these instincts serve him well when Carly finally invites him to see her as a woman.

13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!

" 'Do I have to repeat myself every time to you, Alex?' she asked, jerking away from him and stalking toward the bathroom to clean up.

Minutes later, she came out tying a bathrobe around her waist, pursing her lips in irritation when she found him still on the bed.

He was sitting with a pillow propped up behind him, and looking as confused and baffled as ever. At least Carly hadn’t been the only one who lost her wits tonight.

'Can you explain to me what’s going on, Carly?' Alex asked calmly, a sleek eyebrow rising in question.

'Don’t tell me this is a surprise, Alex,' she said stiffly.

An overwhelming amount of anger was building up inside her and it was mostly directed at herself. For not following The Plan. For submitting to her nemesis.

For joining the Alexander Callahan Whimpering Groupies Club.

Alex straightened, raking a hand through his rumpled blond hair. 'I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.'

'Really? It’s very simple. I want you to leave, and I want you to leave now,' she said tersely.

He leaned back on the pillow, crossing his arms across his chest, his jaw set. 'Did I do something wrong?'

She wanted to scream at him, scream it all, the whole damned list. He’d done everything wrong. He’d touched her so right, kissed her so right, made up lies about her that turned out to be so right that it was just wrong. Maybe to top off her evening, he should pull out a wad of bills and go ahead and pay her.

Instead she simply said, 'Yes.'

'And just what in the hell does that mean?'

Her fists shook at her sides. 'Just leave, damn it!'

'Why are you doing this?'

'Because I’d like to get some sleep and because I don’t want to see you again. I want you to leave and I want you to forget about this.'

That crushing sound—was that something inside her? It hurt.

'So you expect me,' he breathed in a deadly voice as he slowly rose from the bed, six feet of sinewy muscles rippling at the move, 'to conveniently forget the way you tasted in my mouth, the way you said my name and the way your voice shook?'


He reached her in less than a second, his fingers coiling around her arms like whips, squeezing so hard he almost cut off her blood supply. 'You are so wrong, Carly.'

'Just leave!' Her voice cracked, the pitiful sound tearing through his building fury and succeeding in what her anger had not, sending him stalking out into the living room to fetch his clothes.

She winced when she heard the front door slam shut and suddenly felt a strange urge to cry."

- Red Garnier, 2007

Next week I'll have the final installment of my review series of T13's, when I showcase Lillian Feisty's Dance of the Plain Jane from Seasons of Seduction I.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 51 - 13 Reasons to Read The Bond That Ties Us

Last summer I was thrilled to get a copy of The Bond That Ties Us, a debut release by Christine d'Abo, and for today's Thursday Thirteen I'll give you my review. The sequel to this book, The Bond That Heals Us is releasing soon from Ellora's Cave. A perfect time to settle in with the first in the Eternal Bond series while waiting to dive into the sequel.

1 - I met Christine when she joined my Atlantic Canada chapter of Romance Writers of America. Not only was she a new member in a small group, making her very easy to spot, but she had a Betty Boop purse. How could I not feel instant sisterhood with this person? When I discovered she was a Maritimer who - like me - had moved to Ontario and had very recently returned to the east coast, I liked her even more.

I so enjoyed the time she spent with our chapter, and most especially the writers' retreat near White Point Beach last May. Sadly for me, she relocated back to Ontario (woo hoo said her Toronto Romance Writers buddies!) by last fall. Happily, the blogosphere keeps us in touch (phew.)

2 - Christine is one of those people who likes to sit back, chew on a piece of grass and think up stories. She reaches this zen-like state through her very hectic, fulltime day job with a cutting edge company. She has a family, her own blog, as well as a group blog called Six Degrees of Sexy which she shares with five other writers, including Renee Field. Yes, the same Renee whose Love Me Wild I reviewed two weeks ago.

During all this downtime Christine manages to coax extreme word counts from her keyboard, which is why in the time she's packed up one household and unpacked a new one, she's also managed to publish three books as well as co-authored a book with Renee Field. Head spinning? Yeah - me, too...

3 - Let's have a look at Christine's debut novel, where it all began. The Bond That Ties Us is part of the Ellora's Cave Futuristic category, which offers science fiction romances. In this story, the heroine is a security chief on a colony planet. The hero is an alien ambassador.

4 - We meet Haylie Bond, newly arrived on the sandy, windswept planet of the Eurus colony. As she waits in line with her friend Sara, the colony's new doctor, to be processed into Eurus' population, Haylie feels uncharacteristically space sick after spending several years in suspended animation en route. What she doesn't know is that her reaction to Eurus - which feels like a case of horniness taken to a painful extreme - is in fact a reaction to someone on the planet she hasn't even met.

5 - Kamran is a Briel ambassador expecting to one day feel the inexorable pull towards his one destined mate. Exactly the way he feels since the new security chief arrived. Yet that would be a biological impossibility. A human woman could not be his mate.

6 - Kamran has built his career to the point where he is a crucial figure mediating between human and Ecada interaction in deep space. Haylie has likewise gained a reputation that pits her as head of security on a colony that could erupt into hostilities under the wrong leadership. Neither of them has placed resigning and raising a family anywhere on their life plan agendas.

7 - I really, really love the sci-fi aspects of this story. Being a longtime fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune, Alien, etc. I love a laser-shooting woman and a tall, dark alien male with an irresistable voice. I'm more at home with this type of couple than with a contemporary cop and a former Russian colonel now serving at the UN. Which would be the same sort of couple, but I like the fact that they're on another planet so much better.

8 - To say there's a lot of sexual tension between Haylie and Kamran, would be rather like saying it's a bit warm in Death Valley in late July. This is definitely an ouch-mama!-hot tale of passion. Erotica with a capital EROTIC.

9 - Haylie and Kamran have given their all to their careers before meeting one another, and neither had a romantic bone in their bodies. What Christine does so well is make their willingness to rethink their own priorities crucial not only to their individual happiness, but to the survival of several races in this frontier of deep space.

10 - Christine really knows how to end each chapter with a hook. Like this, for example:

"Kamran? 'Are you hurt? We need to get out of here.'

She reached him and they quickly hugged.

He pulled her to him. 'I’m okay. Are you...'

She felt him stiffen. She pulled back to look into his eyes. She watched as they rolled back up into his head. Haylie tried to say something or at least she thought she did. But the words never left her mouth. The thoughts stopped as they were formed.

Pain sliced through her mind. Her hands flew to her head in an attempt to keep it from exploding. Screams surrounded her mind. If they were real or imagined, she was long past caring.

Right before she passed out, she realized that they came from her."

11 - Christine's writing style is assured as she builds a lived-in world where we can lose ourselves. Her little details here and there give us something concrete to hold onto, yet don't ambush the story. Her characters spend many hot and heavy moments together, but we not only go along with them, we know exactly who we're with and what they're feeling. And why.

12 - I love encountering fictional worlds that seem to have a life larger than that of the novel. I immediately felt this kinship to the Eurus colony, wishing it were a series so I could find out more about the other inhabitants. Every character I met in The Bond That Ties Us made me feel that they had a history prior to their scene, and would have a future - if only I could find out what it was. Dreams really do come true - The Bond That Heals Us, coming soon, will take us back into this world to follow Sara, Haylie's friend and the doctor on the Eurus colony.

13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!

"Haylie lay back on the bed and rested her head next to her best friend’s.

Sara lightly tapped her head against Haylie’s. 'Hon, I know that the past week has been rough on you. Shit, I can barely believe we’ve only been on the station for such a short time. You need to rest and relax. Get your head about you so you can figure things out.'

Easier said than done.

'I need to talk to Kamran.'

'Then go talk to Kamran,' Sara said, sounding very much like her mother.

'I believe I mentioned he was in jail. Accused of treason.'

'You dumbass. You’re the human chief of security on the station. Can’t you get in and see any prisoner you want?'

Haylie opened her mouth to answer but nothing came out.

Sara pressed on. 'Don’t you have an in with your counterpart? Kamran’s friend?'


'Exactly. It seems plausible that you would want to check things out. He can get you in.'

Haylie was on her feet and across the room to the computer vid screen before Sara moved.

'Taber, we need to talk.'

'Ms. Bond. I believe that would be an excellent idea. Your office in ten minutes?'

'I’ll be there.'

She stopped long enough to throw on her boots. Her sleeveless shirt and uniform pants would have to do.

'Hey, be careful,' Sara said and tossed Haylie her blaster. She caught it easily and tucked it into her holster before heading out the door.


'You're not feeling well. You should let Sara check you over.' He moved his arms in a failed attempt to reach for her. He swore loudly in his own language. 'Can you remove these?'

'Why did they tie you down?'

She reached for his arm and let her fingers brush lightly against his skin. The temptation to remove the restraints was laced with the desire to leave him like this. Knowing he was at her mercy was strangely arousing.

At the brief contact between them, Kamran sucked in a breath. Haylie felt the same jolt that had surely passed through him. Images of them locked together, screaming in a mind-blowing climax blinded her. Her knees weakened and she dropped her full weight against the edge of the bed.

Her vision cleared enough to see that Kamran had felt it too. He swallowed hard but he didn’t look away from her.

'They normally don’t bind people to beds. Let me up.' His breathing was ragged.

Without thinking, she reached over and ran her hand over the sheet. She felt his leg muscles tense at the contact, vibrating with strain. He was at her mercy. And damn her if she didn’t like it.


'They knew you needed bed rest, that’s why they have you in bed. I wouldn’t want to you exert yourself and end up back in the med bay. I think you should stay here.'

His groan filled the room as she caressed his flesh, pressed tightly against the thin cloth.

'What are you doing?' He sounded far away.

'Interrogating the prisoner. Do you have any problems with that, Ambassador?'

'Only if you stop.'

Her laugh was deep, throaty. 'I’m not into torture.'

Haylie leaned forward. She could taste him though the fabric. His heated sweat seeped through and onto her tongue. Kamran swore again.

She nipped his tip lightly with her teeth and pulled back.

'Then again, torture does have its pleasures.' "

- Christine d'Abo, 2007

Stay tuned to the next two Thursday Thirteens - next week I'll review Red Garnier's Bona Fide Liar, followed by Lillian Feisty's Dance of the Plain Jane.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 50 - 13 Reasons to Read Heart of My Heart by Stella MacLean

I had the wonderful surprise of winning a copy of Heart of My Heart at my writers' meeting last Sunday. Since this debut novel is an April 2008 release, it will be gobbled up while it's on the shelves this month. Stay tuned next week for my review of Christine d'Abo's The Bond That Ties Us. Ms. d'Abo's book is currently available at Ellora's Cave.

Today I'd like to treat you to my review for a very special debut novel by a very special debut author.

1 - Heart of My Heart is an Everlasting Love imprint from Harlequin Super Romance, released on April 8th. Stella is part of my RWA chapter, and a debut novel from one of my sistahs is a major deal.

2 - Stella MacLean was a member of RWA when I joined, and as I got to know her and listened to her writing workshops over the past five years, she shared with us her unparalled determination in the face of that elusive first sale. She held workshops on keeping one's spirit up, or keeping it fresh when one's writing voice seemed tired and uninspired. At one of the writers' retreats, she shared her writing history with us. To say that Stella's experiences have inspired me is truly putting it mildly.

3 - Heart of My Heart offers a longer-range romance following one couple through several decades. 'Discover how love is truly the adventure of a lifetime,' writes Harlequin about its Everlasting Love category. 'Because happily ever after is just the beginning...'

This is a big draw for me, as I love living through all the bumps in the road with a couple. In a traditional romance, there can only be so many bumps because by its nature, a romance shows us the start of a relationship. Everlasting Love books show the more complicated emotions that happen between a couple as they mature into the 'everlasting' part of the equation.

4 - We meet Olivia Banks, a high school senior in the 1960's who plays basketball and has won the first full scholarship awarded to a female student for the marketing program at Hastings College. She's in love with the son of her father's employer and hasn't quite grasped how much their social inequity will shortly impact her life.

5 - James McElroy is called suddenly to meet with his father, though it's the night of the prom and Olivia is waiting for him. James' father is cruel and unyielding. He refuses to watch his son marry beneath him and physically forces James to bend to his will.

6 - The core of this novel revolves around the willingness to believe in one's own feelings. The adults in the hero's and heroine's lives play on the 'wisdom' that young high school kids can't possibly know what's best for them. And Olivia and James themselves try to convince their own broken hearts to mend over the years - but without any success.

7 - I really, really love the flashback aspects of this story. As I've mentioned before, if this were a straight contemporary romance following the very same couple, I wouldn't find it as fascinating as when we get to skip back and forth through time. One scene shows Olivia and James as heavily smitten teenagers, one scene shows Olivia as a 20-something mother trying to make it work with a man who is not her beloved. The different facets of the characters' growth over the years is very well-handled. They don't simply change hairstyles with the fashions - they realize things about themselves, they grow.

8 - There's an absolute ton of sexual tension between Olivia and James. Whenever they're in a room together, I'm feeling it! This is a sweet romance, the high level of longing and uncertainty between the hero and heroine driving the story.

9 - Olivia's and James' most crushing differences come from their families' economic backgrounds. From a compatibility standpoint, this couple underestimates the power this will have over them. And I'm a sucker for class-difference romances.

10 - MacLean really knows how to end each chapter with an emotional hook. Like this, for example, a scene between Olivia and the man she married instead of James:

" 'But Alex, this is our life and my child-' Olivia heard her words, and flushed at the realization of what she'd said.

'You mean our child, don't you?' Alex countered, his voice tinged with recrimination.

'Yes, of course I do,' she said too quickly.

'Olivia, I'm Kyle's father in every way that matters,' he whispered, peeking over his shoulder to see where Sarah was.

'Of course you are, and I want us to be a family,' she whispered back.

There was silence between them as Olivia stared up at Alex. How could she have said something so stupid and insensitive?

'I didn't mean to make it sound like you weren't.' She reached for him, her hands clutching the smooth cotton of his shirt.

He nodded and his fingers folded over hers. 'Kyle is our son. My mother loves Kyle, and she wants to be part of his life. I agree that makes things difficult for us at times, but -'

'I realize she loves Kyle,' Olivia broke in, 'but I wish it was just you, me and Kyle.'

'Give Mom time to adjust...'

'She's had over a year, for heaven's sake!'

'She's alone. She has no one but us,' he answered.

Olivia hated to be ungenerous, but her mother-in-law's involvement in their lives was becoming intolerable. And there was nothing she could do about it."

11 - MacLean's secondary characters hold significant sway over the plot dynamics. I could never really guess how Olivia's husband Alex would react to things, nor Olivia's school friend Grace. And yet their reactions made all the difference to Olivia and James.

12 - The thing that I like most about this book is the way we meet the hero and heroine. Any longtime couple will see the inner person every time they look into each other's eyes. Readers can carry the teenage lovers forward into every scene, just the way Olivia and James do. Yet we've been there for all the growing and changing, so the later scenes have layers to them.

13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!

" 'When did you get married?'he asked suddenly.

'October, 1967.'

'That same year?' he asked, his voice flat with disbelief.

She nodded, but didn't meet his eyes.

She'd married just four months after he'd left. 'And all that time, I thought you were willing to wait for me,' he said bleakly.

'I couldn't.'

'Or wouldn't,' he countered, all hope draining from him. 'So you were already married when I sent you the airline ticket.'

She nodded.

'Why didn't you tell me back then?'

'I couldn't.'

'Why not?'

She didn't reply.

If Olivia had waited, if she'd been willing to believe and trust in him, in their lives together... 'Would you leave your life behind for me now?'

He saw the truth in her eyes.

Tears soaked her eyelashes as Olivia continued to stare at him. 'Oh James, why didn't you call me or try to contact me when you got to Ireland? I called your house and they told me you'd left. I felt completely abandoned by you. I survived that and now you want me to pick up and leave the life I've made for myself.'

Seeing the sorrow in her eyes, James faced the fact that he was making a fool of himself by being here. 'Olivia, I've never wanted anyone but you, and I never will.'

'That was true years ago, James,' she said with finality.

But it hadn't changed anything for them. Was that what she was trying to tell him? 'You're right. I have no business asking you to leave your life behind for me.'

Her cheeks damp with tears, Olivia murmured, 'I'd give anything if we could go back, start over.'

He breathed in her scent, clinging to the moment. 'But we can't, can we?'


From the moment she told him when she got married, everything had changed. The anger and betrayal she saw in his eyes was unfair and undeserved, but she wouldn't defend herself to him.

Back then, she'd had no choice but to protect Kyle from the shame of illegitimacy, and she'd protect him again.

Her heart ached to tell James about his son, but telling him was out of the question now.

The trust between them was damaged beyond repair. Telling James about Kyle wouldn't change anything...except Kyle's life.

And Alex's."

- Stella MacLean, 2008

Stay tuned to the next three Thursday Thirteens - following next week's review of Christine d'Abo's debut ebook from July 2007, I'll be reviewing ebooks by Red Garnier and Lillian Feisty.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 49 - 13 Reasons to Read Love Me Wild by Renee Field

Continuing with my e-book review series of T13's, today I'm showcasing Renee Field, a fellow writer from my chapter of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada.

1 - Love Me Wild is an e-book from Ellora's Cave, released last year and a 2008 Finalist in the EPPIE Awards Erotic Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal category. As if that wasn't exciting enough, Renee won the 2008 Fantasy/Paranormal EPPIE for Rapture!

2 - I won an ARC of this book at a chapter meeting and was so excited to discover Renee's writing voice. We have nine published authors in our chapter, and it's really amazing to open the pages of a book written by someone I've sat next to many times at our pre-meeting lunches. It's always a magnificent experience to be welcomed into my fellow writers' worlds. And Renee's world is immediately tangible, sweeping and big enough to carry more than this single story.

3 - Love Me Wild is part of the Ellora's Cave Shape-shifter category. The hero Tulon shifts between human form and horse form. In fact, he was banished from his clan for his inability to shift into centaur form.

4 - We meet Rowena, royal daughter of the Ruler of the Supreme High Fertility Council for the Maida people. Her work as a biologist leaves Rowena unable to dispute the test tube results that mark her with the Maida curse - fertility.

5 - Tulon is a captured slave, banished from his Dark Forest clan, now held by women for one purpose only. He must fulfill the lust-fueled needs of the fertile woman if chosen as a partner. The guards fail to mention that the fertile men, once joined with the woman suffering the Maida curse, never live past a second day.

6 - Tulon is like no other man Rowena has ever seen. She has no idea that this man's bearing and spirit hold the stallion that lives inside him. Until he sways her with his belief that freedom is possible for both of them.

7 - Love Me Wild is a very hot erotic novella. As with all stories in this genre, the sizzling scenes between the hero and heroine do more than simply turn up the heat. Each scene pushes the two characters closer to their breakthrough resolution moments. And Renee Field's scenes really shine in bringing Tulon to a future he never dreamed possible.

8 - The novella length keeps the plot moving, yet Ms. Field's Maida world is so solid, I couldn't help wishing it was a full-length novel. A society that poisoned itself into infertility, surrounded by a Dark Forest, impenetrable and still holding magic within its boundaries - I could stay in this world for awhile. Luckily, she's got a sequel to this story which follows Rowena's sister. Love Me Tender also features a secondary character from Love Me Wild, a Mage Pegcentaur who aids Tulon and Rowena's bid for freedom.

9 - The fertility aspect of the story really propels the character of Rowena and shapes the females of her world. Rather than rejoice because of her fertility, Rowena only feels trapped by the burden of being robbed of any other life choice. And for a woman who defined herself as a scientist, the prospect of losing herself to unbridled passion makes her recoil. Until she has four slaves presented to her. And Tulon is one of them.

10 - Ms. Field really knows how to end each chapter with a hook. Like this, for example:

" 'Let's sweeten the bargain. Whoever can get the woman to climax three times by the cresting of the dawning sun claims her and gets safe passage out of here. Is that clear?'

'As you wish,' taunted Zickal.

Tulon would have liked nothing better than to knock the so-called Prince of the Forest on his ass. Instead, he reached up to clasp Zickal in the traditional warrior greeting to seal their bargain.

Stepping away from Zickal, Tulon didn't like the gleam in his eye. Before he could ponder anything further, his nemesis flashed away to who knew where. Tulon growled in frustration.
So be it. Let the chase begin."

11 - Ms. Field has strong POV voices for her hero and heroine. Rowena is more comfortable with her intellect, but her feminine side reveals itself from the opening pages. When the story switches to Tulon, his masculine voice is undeniable. I'm always attracted to well-crafted male characters, and Tulon pulls the reader into his POV from the moment we meet him in captivity.

12 - The history of the Maida people, Tulon's clan and other beings encountered in the Dark Forest are so rich I could while away many an hour inventing my own episodes in the world Ms. Field created. To me, that's the mark of an exceptional writer.

13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!

"When the petite woman knelt in front of him, he fought the urge to lean down and pick her up. Realizing this must be part of their barbaric ceremony, he stood straighter.

'I take thee 7653 to be my mate...your seed to my seed...let life quicken within me.'

The words were barely audible as she mumbled them. An electric shock rippled through his body when she lightly kissed each of his toes. He could have stumbled back from that intimacy, but he forced the creature he was to endure. Sadly, he liked it too much.

That's it! He was then hauled away. No questions asked. No answers. Once in the hall, the fair-haired one who had stood next to him sneered at him.

'Lucky bastard. Enjoy the
rut of your life,' he said, as he was whisked away.

When the other two fair-haired men were taken to a different hall and he was left alone with only one female guard watching him, he thought about running.

But to where? He had no idea where he was. He had been blindfolded for the entire journey to this place. Once here, he had been bathed, his body hennaed and then ushered into the lineup. Breaking his code of silence, he asked the guard, 'What was all that about?'

He noticed her pupils dilate in sexual awareness. He mentally cursed himself.
How I hate what my voice does to the women of this place. He wanted to shake sense into her. For once in his life, he wanted a straight answer.

He turned, as a voice behind him spoke, fully aware of who stood there - the mother.

'Pleasure my daughter well. Do your job. Nothing more. Do you hear me?' she stated, not expecting him to answer as she strode past him.

Pleasure her daughter well. It took a moment for that notion to be fully digested by him.
So that's what I was chosen for. Bed sport!"

- Renee Field, 2007

Check in next week for a review of Christine d'Abo's book, The Bond That Ties Us. I'll feature Red Garnier's Bona Fide Liar next, followed by Lillian Feisty's Dance of the Plain Jane in the Seasons of Seduction I anthology.