New Release Blitz for – To Have and to Hold ( Enchanting Encounters #2) by Tamryn Eradani (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  To Have and to Hold

Series: Enchanting Encounters, Book Two

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: June 11, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 57300

Genre: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, BDSM, multiple partners, fetish club, college lecturer

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Following the success of Project: Notice Me, Kyle and Aidan are now in a three-month extension of their play. If three months wasn’t so short, then it would be everything Kyle wants.

They’ve been together long enough to meet each other’s friends and to try new things. Kyle only hopes that at the end of the three months, he isn’t the only one who wants more.


To Have and to Hold
Tamryn Eradani © 2018
All Rights Reserved

“I can drive myself tonight,” Kyle says as he rummages through his closet for the third time in the past five minutes. Jenny’s been here for fifteen, amused as he worked himself into a panic, but now her arms are crossed over her chest, and she’s moving into impatient territory as he can’t settle on what he wants to wear. “You and Charlotte should head out.”

Tonight, Kyle’s two best friends, Jenny and Charlotte, are meeting his Dom for the first time.

Kyle’s been crushing on Aidan since the first time he saw him at Enchanting Encounters, the kink club he’s been frequenting for years now. After he managed to catch Aidan’s attention, they had a two-week trial period to see if they were compatible beyond physical attraction.

Now that they’ve extended their play to a three-month commitment, Kyle figures it’s time Aidan met the most important people in his life.

Well, that, and Jenny was determined to meet Aidan, whether Kyle was there or not, and he doesn’t need Jenny scaring him off.

“We’re not leaving you behind,” Jenny says. She sprawls across Kyle’s bed, making herself comfortable.

“Absolutely not,” Charlotte agrees, wandering in. She lies down next to Jenny, resting her head on Jenny’s stomach. “I’m not sure you’d ever make it.”

“Besides, if you drive in with me and Charlotte and we have to leave early, then you’ll have no choice but to catch a ride home with your man.”

“Huh,” Kyle says. It’s a good point. It’s a Wednesday night which means Aidan has afternoon classes tomorrow. Maybe he could go home with Aidan. Or have Aidan come home with him. As long as there’s bed sharing involved, Kyle isn’t picky on whose bed they sleep in.

“Never say I don’t do anything for you,” Jenny tells him. Then, “Put down that shirt. It’s basically see-through.”

“It looks good on me,” Kyle points out, but he puts the shirt back because it’s not appropriate for where they’re going. He picks up one of his polos and glances at his small collection of dress shirts. “Is this a date?”

“Ugh,” Jenny groans.

“Would it be bad if it was?” Charlotte asks.

“You’ve already seen each other naked,” Jenny says. “This can’t be more intimidating than that.”

“We haven’t actually seen each other naked,” Kyle says. That is something he’s going to change as soon as possible. “And you’re trying to distract me. Scenes are scenes and dates are dates. They’re different.”

“Put a damn shirt on so we can go,” Jenny says.

Kyle grabs a long-sleeve thermal to throw on. Shirt and jeans on, he only has one thing left to do. “Overnight bag.”

“I take it back,” Jenny says. “You can drive yourself, and every minute you’re late is a minute I have to ask Aidan questions.”

“Nope, you said you were giving me a ride. No takebacks.”

Packing an overnight bag is quicker than dressing himself for this maybe-date. Socks, boxers, pajamas, a black V-neck, his favorite briefs, and a toothbrush. He already has condoms and lube stashed in his bag, and he can’t think of anything else he might need.

“All set,” Kyle says.

“Fucking finally.”

“On second thought.” Kyle runs a hand through his hair. “Maybe…”

“No,” Jenny says. She jumps out of bed so she can slam Kyle’s bathroom door shut, cutting him off from his comb and his hair gel, and Kyle dissolves into laughter.

“All right,” Charlotte says, but she smiles at both of them. “Let’s go. We don’t want to be late. I want to make a good impression on Aidan.”

“He’ll love you,” Kyle promises.

Charlotte pats his cheek. “Then there’s nothing for you to worry about.”

Except I want him to love me too.

Kyle links his arm through Charlotte’s. “Come on, I’m in the mood for a beer and pretzels dipped in cheese sauce.”

“Gross,” Jenny says and leads them out the door.


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Tamryn studied English and Creative Writing in school but has been writing since she could first hold a pencil. Recently, she’s turned her focus towards writing erotica. She enjoys writing stories where sex comes first, then feelings, because doing things out of order can be fun.

Tamryn has spent the past few months writing the Daniel and Ryan series with a lovely view of mountains out her window, and she’s now searching for a new mountain range to serve as her backdrop as she begins her next project.


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Release Day Blitz for To Seek and To Find by Tamryn Eradani (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  To Seek and to Find

Series: Enchanting Encounters, Book One

Author: Tamryn Eradani

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: January 22, 2018

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Female, Male/Male

Length: 56900

Genre: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, BDSM, multiple partners, fetish club, college lecturer

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“Project: Notice Me” is a win-win for Kyle. He’ll do a series of demonstrations at the club and have a good time with people he knows and the fledgling Doms who are new to the scene and looking for encouragement from an experienced Sub. And maybe along the way, he’ll attract the attention of the new Dom at the club, the one with terrible taste in fashion, but who has the most intense focus Kyle has ever seen. He wants the entirety of the man’s attention on him. The clothes are optional.


To Seek and to Find
Tamryn Eradani © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“So,” Kyle says. He slinks into Jenny’s office, glad he wore his stretchy jeans when he pulls a chair out from the table and turns it around so he can straddle it. Even with the give in his jeans, they still pull tight across his quads.

Jenny doesn’t glance up from her computer.

“Remember that time I introduced you and Charlotte?” Kyle asks, undeterred by her obvious disinterest in him. He and Jenny have been best friends for what seems like forever, and they both work from their apartments—Jenny does photography, Kyle does graphic design—and if she didn’t want to be bothered, then she would’ve closed her office door.

As it is, she’d left it wide open, and Kyle is happy to take advantage.

At the mention of Charlotte’s name, Jenny looks up, a smile on her face. They’ve been together for five years, but her expression always softens whenever Charlotte’s mentioned as though they’ve only been dating for a few weeks. Kyle thinks it’s sickeningly cute. He hopes one day someone will look like that when his name is brought up.

Jenny registers the rest of what Kyle’s said and her smile is replaced with something more guarded, suspicious. “Last time you opened with that, we almost wound up in jail.”

“Exaggeration,” Kyle says.

“The time before that you made me go bungee jumping with you.”

“That was awesome.” There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline as he plummeted toward the earth. Then, right when he thought his harness was going to fail and he would splat, it caught him with a jerk of reassurance. Kyle had loved it. Jenny…not so much.

“I’m afraid of heights.”

“Which meant you were incredibly brave on top of being a good friend.” Kyle needs to get to the point. He’s on a break from his work because all shades of red now look the same to him, but he has a project to finish before the day is over. “This is a favor that’ll benefit us both.”

Jenny continues to look skeptical.

“I want you tie me up,” he says.

Kyle and Jenny have been roommates, have worked together, and have scened together throughout their long and storied friendship. They’ve never slept together, because Kyle’s bisexual, and while Jenny enjoys men on an aesthetic basis, she prefers sex with women.

They frequent the same club, Enchanting Encounters. Jenny does rope demos and occasionally ties up a close friend, but she isn’t as involved with the casual scene as Kyle. She’s been pulling away since she met Charlotte, going mostly to keep Kyle company or catch up with their friends there.

Kyle, on the other hand, is still searching for someone who wants him for more than a couple of sessions a month. He wants a Dom who wants him back and so far, he hasn’t had any luck. He’s hoping his luck is about to change.

Jenny abandons even the pretense of working. “Is this about the new guy?”

He grins. “Who else?”

Kyle spends a lot of time at Enchanting Encounters. Working from home means he’s able to set his own schedule, which allows him to sleep in after a night of play or take an early afternoon if that’s what works better with his partner’s schedule.

Sometimes, he’ll go to the club to have a drink or chat with his friends, but more often he’s there with the intent to pick-up or because he’s part of a demo.

Last week, things got interesting, because there was a new guy.

The BDSM world is a small one, and Kyle has known most of the people at Enchanting Encounters for years now. Someone will bring a friend sometimes or someone will move into the area or move away, but it doesn’t happen often, which means it’s always exciting when there’s a new face.

Unfortunately, it also means there’s a lot of competition for the man’s attention, and Kyle needs a battle plan.

The first time Kyle saw New Guy it was a normal Friday night and he had a drink in hand as he did a sweep of the bar to see if anyone caught his eye. He hadn’t come in with a particular scene in mind. Some nights, that made it easier to find a partner while other nights it made it more difficult.

That Friday had been a difficult night. Since he wasn’t sure what he wanted, no one popped out at him. If he wanted a good spanking, then Renee was his go-to, but he wasn’t feeling it. Same with a bit of bondage and a pegging, which is what Alexa would give him. Dylan was strutting around in his full leather gear, but Kyle wasn’t in the mood to have to work and Dylan always makes him work.

The only person who drew his interest was TJ, Kyle’s favorite bartender, and while TJ flirts with anyone who seems receptive, he doesn’t have sex with club members. It’s a shame, but Kyle can respect his choice.

Kyle was considering a second drink when his eyes landed on someone at the far end of the bar. New Guy was, well, new, which immediately made him interesting. What kept his attention was the expression on the guy’s face as he talked with Lou.

The guy was completely captivated even though Kyle knows from personal experience that Lou isn’t the most interesting person to talk to. Lou’s gorgeous, especially when he has red welts against his almost inhumanly pale skin, but he’s not the most thrilling conversationalist.

Still, New Guy leaned in like nothing in the world could pull him away.

Part of the reason Kyle scenes is he loves having the full attention of another person on him. If New Guy can be that intense during a conversation, then Kyle wants to find out what he’s like in a scene.

He didn’t look away from Lou once, didn’t give Kyle a chance to catch his eye, and Kyle eventually had to move on. He didn’t go home with anyone Friday night. A couple of people approached him, but he turned them down. New Guy was the only person on his mind, and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone he scened with.

Anyway, Kyle didn’t have a chance to talk to New Guy on Friday night, but he’s determined to change that. The guy is attractive and he has the kind of focus Kyle craves.

“You’re not the only one asking about him,” Jenny says.

Kyle shrugs. “He’ll want me once he sees me.”

“Modest. So, what’s your big plan, do a bunch of demos until he wanders over to see one?”

That’s exactly his plan.

Jenny groans. “Are you serious?”

“It’s a good plan! I’m hot, I’m an incredible sub. And while I’m waiting for him to notice me, I’ll be doing scenes I like. Plus, Wanda’s been after me to do some more demos. I’m good for business.” Kyle doesn’t bother holding back his smirk.

Jenny reaches across her table to shove his face away. “You’re terrible.”

“But you’re going to help me.”

Jenny sighs. “Because you got me and Charlotte together? That won’t work as leverage forever.”

“You’re going to help me because you just got a new order of rope in, and you know I look gorgeous in lavender.”

“Ugh. Fine. I’ll do a demo with you. But you’ll let me tie you up for a photoshoot. Unpaid.”

Kyle doesn’t bother to hold back his grin as he says, “Deal.”

“I’ll hang you upside down,” Jenny threatens.

It’s an idle threat. She likes to suspend him, but usually not upside down.

“You’re the best,” Kyle tells her. He stands up, smacks a kiss to her cheek, and leaves to finish the rest of his project. He needs to be on top of his work this week or he won’t have the time to hang around the club and put Project: Notice Me into effect.


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Tamryn studied English and Creative Writing in school but has been writing since she could first hold a pencil. Recently, she’s turned her focus towards writing erotica. She enjoys writing stories where sex comes first, then feelings, because doing things out of order can be fun.

Tamryn has spent the past few months writing the Daniel and Ryan series with a lovely view of mountains out her window, and she’s now searching for a new mountain range to serve as her backdrop as she begins her next project.



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Megan Mulry’s Bound With Honor, Regency Romance with a Twist (Interview and Amazing Contest)


Bound With Honor by Megan Mulry
Published by Riptide Publishing
A Regency Reimagined Novel
Cover Art by L. C. Chase


Release Date: August 3, 2015

Sales Link: Riptide Publishing

We are happy to have author Megan Mulry of the wonderful Regency Reimagined series, here to talk about her characters, the series and the time period.  It’s sexy, saucy, and just what I imagined from the author of this  series!

 My Interview with Megan Mulry
Q.  You manage to combine ribaldry with smoldering sex.  Is sex better when mixed with humor?
I don’t know if sex is necessarily better when mixed with humor, but I definitely think there’s a place for both serious sex and not-so-serious sex in romance novels (and life). I’ve always found sex to be a silly, awkward business (until it’s not, and then, well, you know—SHAZAM!), so it just seems emotionally realistic to make some of the sex scenes in my books awkward/silly/fun and others profound/meaningful/serious.
Q.  Why polyamory?  What is the appeal for you and your characters?  Is life a smorgasbord?
Yes! Life is a smorgasbord! I love that—it would be perfect on a T-shirt. The appeal for me is this idea that there are multiple facets to someone’s personality and that sometimes it takes multiple partners to bring out those different facets in the best possible way.
Q.  Do you have a favorite character and why?
Oh, this is hard! I love Archie because he’s so his own-worst-enemy. I totally relate to characters who just can’t get out of their own way. I also love Selina for how she knows what she deserves and she’s not going to settle for less, even if that’s scary as hell.
Q.  I know you research the time periods for your plots.  What do you think of the dress for this era? Would you like to wear them?
I do love the clothing for both men and women in this time period, because I imagine the fabrics being such a wonderful mixture of velvety softness and starchy linen. I also love the contrast—of formality and invitation, perhaps—that women’s clothing at that time evokes.
Q.  How many books do you have planned for this series?
This is it for now. A total of five stories (two novellas and three novels), with a little short story thrown in a few weeks from now.
Thank you so much for having me! I hope your readers enjoy Bound with Honor.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Lord Archibald Cambury, Marquess of Camburton, has never wanted for anything . . . except normalcy. Although he adores both of his loving mothers, and his vivacious twin sister with her two husbands, he wants a wife. One wife. Full stop. Is that so much to ask?
Miss Selina Ashby appears to be everything Archie has always wanted in a marchioness: demure, soft-spoken, and pretty, with a quick mind and delectable humor. Yes, she is a bit forward, but he chalks that up to youth. Yes, she has a very particular friend in Beatrix Farnsworth, but he chalks that up to loyalty. He is a lord; she is a lady; they are in love. And so they marry. That should be the end of it.
But when Archie discovers that his wife is as passionate with her particular friend Beatrix as he is with his particular friend Christopher, his world is shattered. He must decide if Selina’s love is big enough for both of them—and whether normalcy is truly more important than the love he feels for both the man and the woman who have become so dear to him.
STRW Author Bio and Contacts
Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Best Book of 2012 and USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida.
Connect with Megan:
STRW Spotlight Contest Header
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a 6” Kindle! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 8. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!
Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Regency Reimagined Series

Regency Reimagined invites you to enter a sensual realm that defies the rules of polite society, where convent girls are more than curious, and dukes and earls are eager to oblige them—and each other. Pull back the curtain . . . and step into a passionate world that knows no traditional bounds.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Regency Reimagined series page:

Bound to be a Groom (A Regency Reimagined Story)
Bound with Love (A Regency Reimagined Story)
Bound with Passion (A Regency Reimagined Novel)
Bound with Honor (A Regency Reimagined Novel)





Love A Sexy Historical Romp? Turn to Bound with Passion by Megan Mulry! (and a chance to win a Kindle)



Bound with Passion by Megan Mulry
Published by Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 6, 2015

Cover Artist L. C. Chase
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

I discovered author Megan Mulry and the Regency Reimagined series with her book, Bound to be A Groom, a wildly funny and imaginative  sexual romp! Now Megan Mulry is back with another  story in this universe, Bound with Passion.  It gave me a chance for a interview and a closer look at this terrific author.

 My Interview with Megan Mulry on Passion, Historical Fiction and Regency Romance!

Q.  I love how you combine your passion of history and a certain era with your passionate and unusual couples and their relationships. What was the inspiration behind using that era?

I’ve always loved Regency romances, so it just made sense that when I tried my hand at writing historicals, they would take place in that time period. And for some reason when I write in a historical world, I feel freer to explore all these ‘passionate and unusual couples’ so it all kind of fell together.

Q. What was your inspiration for your characters?

I tend to find inspiration everywhere I look: Georgie was (fictionally) inspired by Judith McNaught’s Whitney, My Love as well as real life British adventuresses like Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839), and Freya Stark (1893-1993). I was fascinated with all sorts of elements of these real-life women while writing Vanessa, Nora, Georgie, and Selina.

Q. Why polyamory? Why use that in a M/M historical romance or do you consider this a LGBT historical romance?

I think all my characters are pansexual, rather than M/M or F/F or MMFF or what-have-you. I think Riptide has done a great job of embracing all of that. Yes, if the primary characters are in a lesbian relationship when the story takes place (like in Bound with Love), then that book will be marketed as lesbian fiction, but both of those women also had relationships with men in their pasts. I guess I think my characters fall in love with each other’s minds or humanity, and it doesn’t really matter if they are male or female falling in love with male or female. And, consequently, if/when they are attracted to both men and women, well, polyamory is kind of…necessary.

Q. What era would you choose to live in other than our current one?

Maybe 700 AD Japan, when women still held equal power, but with a timeslip that would grant me access to 100% effective birth control.

Q. Some lovers of M/M fiction don’t want to see a M/F or F/F element in their stories. The same probably goes for those lovers of F/F romance. What is your response to that?

I think people should read what they love, but… if we never try something new, we might be missing out on more to love! I used to read only literary fiction because I didn’t think I would like romance (and look how that turned out!) You never know until you try, right? That said, I’m not a proselytizer by nature so I don’t ever like to tell people what to read or not read. For me personally, I love watching people fall in love on the page, and over time it’s come to matter less and less whether they are male or female. Even so, I totally respect that the gender of characters is a powerful part of why others enjoy a book. To each his own!

Q. What you do like to read? What are you currently reading now?

I read romances almost all the time, with a smattering of nonfiction about the history of sex or, rarely, literary fiction. I just finished Alisha Rai’s “Serving Pleasure” (be still my heart for tortured artist Micah Hale!) and am now reading Mary Balogh “Only Enchanting”. I also love vintage Harlequin Presents and have about 30 of those lined up to read over the rest of the summer.

Q. What’s next for Megan Mulry? Any more in this series?

The last book in this series comes out in August (Bound with Honor) and then that is it for now in the Regency Reimagined fictional universe. I have three other major projects that I’ll be writing over the next year, and a contemporary romance, Encore, coming out in December 2015.

Thank you for having me!

The pleasure is ours, thanks for stopping by.



About Bound with Passion….

Lady Georgiana Elizabeth Cambury has been a “wild romping girl” all her life: dressing in trousers, riding astride, and doing just fine, thank you very much. Her father’s exceedingly generous bequest—and her mother’s liberal views of the world—have ensured that Georgie will never be a slave to the barbarous institutions of marriage or motherhood. Or so she thinks.

When she returns from five years in North Africa to boring Derbyshire for a brief, obligatory family visit, she finds herself in the midst of a legal snarl involving Mr. James Rushford and Lord Trevor Mayson—neighbors, lovers, and her two closest friends. Mayson’s father has declared that he must marry or forfeit his vast inheritance, so Georgie blithely offers to walk down the aisle, in name only. Problem solved.

But try as she might, Georgie cannot ignore the passion that quickly blazes between all three of them. When her marriage of convenience turns into something much deeper, Georgie must decide if she is willing to give up the independence she has fought so hard to achieve—or if love is worth the ultimate surrender.

Read an excerpt here at the Bound with Passion page at Riptide Publishing.

About Megan Mulry!

Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Best Book of 2012 and USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida.

Connect with Megan:




Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a 6” Kindle! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 11. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Winner chosen and prize provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Regency Reimagined (Universe)

Regency Reimagined invites you to enter a sensual realm that defies the rules of polite society, where convent girls are more than curious, and dukes and earls are eager to oblige them—and each other. Pull back the curtain . . . and step into a passionate world that knows no traditional bounds.

Bound to be A Groom

Bound with Love (A Regency Reimagined Story)

Bound with Passion (A Regency Reimagined Novel)

Bound with Honor (A Regency Reimagined Novel)

In the Spotlight: Bound with Love (Regency Reimagined) by Megan Mulry (excerpt and giveaway)



Bound with Love (Regency Reimagined) by Megan Mulry
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Release Date:  June 8, 2015
Sales Link:   Riptide Publishing

STRW Author BookSynopsis

A perfect life—until one letter threatens to unravel it all…

Lady Vanessa Cambury, Marchioness of Camburton, adores her life of bucolic contentment with her partner, acclaimed portrait painter Nora White. Together, they have raised two children from Vanessa’s first marriage and built a home filled with purpose, ease, happiness, and passion—always passion.

But when Nora receives word that the child she lost twenty years ago is alive and in England, ancient heartache threatens to destroy their idyll.

To salvage their love, they must come to a deeper understanding of who they are—in the world, and to one another.  Nora must learn to overcome the dark shadows of her past. Vanessa must learn to put others’ needs before her own. And Nora’s stubborn daughter must find it in her heart to forgive the mother she thought abandoned her. This unconventional family must rely on the powerful links of love and mercy to bind them back together.

To read an excerpt, visit Riptide Publishing’s Bound With Love page

Book Details:

ebook, 136 pages
Published June 8th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
edition languageEnglish
series Regency Reimagined

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Megan Mulry writes sexy, stylish, romantic fiction. Her first book, A Royal Pain, was an NPR Best Book of 2012 and USA Today bestseller. Before discovering her passion for romance novels, she worked in magazine publishing and finance. After many years in New York, Boston, London, and Chicago, she now lives with her family in Florida.

Connect with Megan:


STRW Spotlight Contest Header

BoundWithLove_TourBanner (1)

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 13. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing and the author.

Regency Reimagined invites you to enter a sensual realm that defies the rules of polite society, where convent girls are more than curious, and dukes and earls are eager to oblige them—and each other. Pull back the curtain . . . and step into a passionate world that knows no traditional bounds. – See more at Riptide Publishing’s Regency Reimagined Page.

Books in the Regency Reimagined Universe are:

  • Bound to Be A Groom): female/female, female/male, male/male, menage, multiple partners –
  • Bound with Love (A Regency Reimagined Story) female/female, female/male, male/male, menage, multiple partners
  • Bound with Passion (A Regency Reimagined Novel) – same pairing as above
  • Bound with Honor (A Regency Reimagined Novel)- same pairings as above

Review: Strain by Amelia C. Gormley


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Strain_500x750When a deadly virus is unleashed, it spreads and mutates quickly, wiping out most of the human race.  Rhys Cooper and his small family has escaped the virus and its consequences by living in a small compound under the rule of a puritanical preacher and his son.  But soon the zombie like plague victims discover them and all are killed except Rhys and Jacob, the preacher’s son.  They are rescued by a special militia corp, but not before Rhys and Jacob were exposed to the virus themselves.

Sergeant Darius Murrell  belongs to a group that used to be Army and nows roams the country looking for survivors.  They are also charged with finding and killing the people the virus has turned into cannibalistic murderers who spread the virus by various means including blood sprays.  When Darius and his unit find Rhys, he is covered in the blood of a revenant, their name for the infected.  Rhys and Jacob are surely infected themselves by their exposure to the revenants that killed the rest of their group.  When the militia’s medic comes up with a last ditch experiment that might save Rhys and Jacob’s lives, Rhys is begins to think that dying is preferable to the experiment the soldiers propose.

Xolani, the medic present, knows that her squad cannot return to base with the survivors in time to save them so Rhys and Jacob’s only hope is to be infected by another strain of the virus and that the combination might confer immunity. The problem? The virus needed is one that’s sexually transmitted, and the only means to obtain it is to sexually submit to the entire squad of soldiers as many times possible daily over a six-week time period.  At what cost is his survival, Rhys wonders.  Would he rather die than become the sexual plaything of a bunch of hardened soldiers?  And if Rhys chooses to try the experiment, will he be able to live with the memories and the humiliation afterwards?

Of all the thoughts that crowded into my mind after finishing this story, first and foremost is the one that said that Strain is a story people will either love or hate or even possibly hate to love.  The plot alone is one of such emotional impact that the blurb itself just might be a turn off that will leave some would be readers cold.  At its barest outline, you have a teenager who has just watched his family killed by revenants and is now forced to have sex with multiple partners and not yet once but as many times a day as his body can stand.  Throw in the fact that he is a virgin and I can almost see potential readers cringing in dismay, wanting to avoid any emotional involvement this story will demand.

This is not a story for the faint of heart or stomach.  It rears up and commands a reaction from its reader.  And gets it.  At almost 400 pages in length, the reader, once committed to the story, will find themselves on an emotional roller coaster that will include a range of responses, from disbelief to distain, hopefulness to despair, and even moments of hostility towards the author for putting Rhys through such torment for such a long duration.  But if you stick with this story, then it also had its own rewards.

Some of the issues that crop up at first glance are blatantly in your face huge. First, there is Rhys.  He is 19 and a virgin.  Raised in a religious sect environment, he has been abused, starved, and finally deprived of those he loves when they are killed by the revenants that infect him. And in order to live he must whore himself out to a group of unknown hardened soldiers, trusting that the experiment isn’t just a falsehood used to gain his services.  I defy any one out there to to deny the emotions that arise within themselves just by reading that description.

Secondly his rescuer, Darius, that Rhys comes to have feelings for, is 42 years of age.  Think of that difference in age, experience and outlook on sexuality and morals.  Once the reader adjusts and gets past those elements, more arrive to be dealt with.  Additional issues will depend upon how your tolerance and acceptance of the fact that the only method available to transmit the virus is near constant coitus, the more partners Rhys has the greater exposure to different variations of the strain he requires.  I will admit that I was skeptical of the science behind this experiment at the beginning.  Thoughts of injections, blood exchanges or other field methods that an army medic would have at their disposable, even on the go as this company is, rose up to make me question the plausibility that such extreme measures as they require of Rhys and Jacob.  But again, the author managed to answer all my questions, convincing me of the science behind it and the medic’s explanations as the story progresses.  All it takes is sticking with the story, even if you have to stumble past those sections that make you cringe.

Then there is the sexuality that prevails throughout the story.  It is crude, harsh, with elements of voyeurism, D/s, bdsm, and other kinks.  It is noncon, almost noncon, sprinkled with “boy”, dirty language, and the need for pain and humiliation.  That is most likely the biggest hurdle of them all.  Rhys and his initiation into sex by such a horrific requirement is the element that will give most people pause.  I think my take on the events and changes that occur within Rhys might vary from those found within.

Gormley takes Rhys from virgin to one who adjusts his morality to include casual sex among partners while still needing to have relations with someone who cares about him, all within a month’s time.  Towards the end he has adjusted his outlook to become more flexible in his thinking and morality.  Here is Darius’ take on Rhys somewhere in the middle of the story:

“Of course given the way that Rhys seemed to like a rough and dangerous edge to his sex, maybe it was time for that to change. Toby and Jie might be right up his alley.”

For me this is by far the largest issue here. My opinion is that if you take a 19-virgin who has been isolated from others and made to feel that sex is for procreation, including the idea that same sex feelings are a perversion, you have an almost fragile blank canvas in the person of Rhys. Then by  subjecting  him to constant near rape, you are practically hardwiring him to not only accept the role he has been made to play but also that casual rough sex and domination are the norm because he doesn’t have any other frame of reference.  It verges on Stockholm Syndrome in my opinion.  That odd lack of recognition that Darius and the group’s treatment of Rhys might have played a role in the formation of his sexual preferences makes this aspect of the story its biggest obstacle in my opinion.

So why stick with this story and why give it such a high rating?  Because for all those elements, and distasteful to some, storylines, Strain is a well written and absorbing novel.   The further into the novel the reader gets, the deeper the reader sinks emotionally. It grabs onto your heart or should I say Rhys does, and, refuses to let go.  Trust me when I say you will be sobbing at certain junctures within this story.  Rhys will break your heart over and over.  And not just because of his current situation either.

You will find yourself getting angry or disgusted at times during the narrative.  “Why should that happen to Rhys?  It’s all so unfair” you might find yourself saying, conveniently forgetting that Rhys and the injustice of his situation are the product of a fine imagination.  Truly despicable characters along with those that pull at your heartstrings come not from poorly layered constructs but from wonderful characterizations.  If at times you forget everything but the world the author has created, then that person, in this case, Amelia C. Gormley, has done their job and then some.

This is a HFN story.  Indeed given such a post apocalyptic world and constant peril, it is the only reasonable ending the author could apply.  For some people, Strain will be a difficult book to read, for others a complete joy and for still others, the wide array of strong elements pose just a mild discomfort, a small price to pay for such a complex and compelling tale.  Take a moment to think and make the decision for yourself.

This is how it all starts:

D eath smelled like old wooden pews whose varnish and cushions had become saturated with acrid layers of dust. It smelled like mildewing carpet rotting from rain that had leaked through a roof he’d never had the skill or resources to repair. The hymnals had long since been used for tinder, but the musty scent of old books—once so comforting but now vaguely nauseating—remained.

Cover Art by Kanaxa.  I think the cover fails to deliver any idea of the story or character within.  Rhys is rail thin, disheveled, a survivor.  The model here looks the very antithesis of Rhys Cooper.

Book Details:

ebook, 375 pages
Published February 17th 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 15th 2014)
ISBN13 9781626490710
edition language English
 Book was received as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Wireless by L.A. Witt


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Wireless coverIn the future, skin to skin contact is forbidden.  People wear full body suits and gloves to insure that no bodily contact will be made with another human being.  Everything has been sanitized and all unions between man and woman are for procreation only with the matches made by the Government.   Human sexual release is prescribed medically and people are given appointments bi monthly at Sim Centers where  electrodes are attached at erogenous zones for use in virtual reality sex scenes.  Everyone is microchipped and everything they do is monitored, all by order of the Government.

Keith Borden is a sim tech and has been for years.  And in all that time Keith has never questioned the Government’s actions or his profession.  Keith has just accepted his isolation and his part in supporting its continuation as being for the good of all.  Then Aiden Maxwell becomes his patient and Keith’s world starts to change.  Aiden is gorgeous and flirtatious. And Aiden requests that his sim partner look exactly like Keith.  All too soon Keith’s own sims is not enough to satisfy him.

Keith has known about the perverted and depraved people who break the law and have skin to skin contact but never thought he would be one of them.   Aiden breaks down his barriers and takes Keith to a wireless lounge where people gather naked to have contact with each other and unprotected sex. Keith is hooked.

Keith’s world is shattered from the moment he experiences the sensual pleasures of skin to skin contact and sex with another human being, especially if that person is Aiden.  But the government is cracking down on the wireless lounges and breaking the law means much more than just jail time.  Keith can lose everything, including his life.  What will Keith risk not only to keep having human contact but to have Aiden in his life?

There is much to love about  Wireless by L.A Witt starting with the plot of the book.  Just imagining a world where human contact is outlawed is chilling.  No loving touches, no sympathetic embraces or hugs when you need them the most.   No more gentle kisses on the cheek or lips, all those gestures that connect us to others and telegraph so much emotion without saying a word.  All gone by government order.  I think most people are not even aware of how much touch is used daily to convey thoughts, needs, and direction.  So using the loss of that sense and personal isolation as a focus is a great idea. And L.A.. Witt does a terrific job in conveying the ramifications of such a policy on society in her story.

Character Keith Borden is our “everyman” at the beginning of Wireless.  He is unquestioning and complacent about his lifestyle and government proscribed sexless sex life.  When he and the other sim techs gather to discuss current happenings, all (well mostly all) look askance at those who would risk everything for sex in the wireless lounges.  They even agree when one tech says that those caught in raids should “have their balls cut off” calling them degenerates.  Then Witt brings in Aiden Maxwell to upset Keith’s bland life.  Here is a look at their encounter:

There were thirty million people in San Angeles, fully half of them in the quadrant where I lived. I’d seen so many of these suits on so many bodies, they were as novel as pollution and pavement.

But the way Aiden’s suit fit him did things to me I couldn’t explain. It was like the damn thing was made to accentuate his narrow hips or the fact that he had shoulders that wouldn’t quit.

Walking down the hall from the waiting area to Sim Room 8, it was all I could do not to sneak a few glances. It should have been a crime for a man to look this good. Especially since it practically was a crime for me to have the fantasies I’d had about him in and out of that suit. Living out those fantasies? A felony. Not worth entertaining even within the confines of my mind, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.

The skintight suit wasn’t the worst part. He was here for a sim session, which meant— just as it did for the hundreds of people who came through this simhouse without making me bat an eye— the suit was coming off. So were the boots, the gloves— everything. Every layer peeled away, revealing the exquisitely defined arms and shoulders that a decade of heavy construction work had chiseled to perfection.

It was all coming off, and since he always asked for me, I was the one who got to put the electrodes on him. On his neck. The insides of his elbows. His flat, flawless abs. Not to mention the equipment that went over his penis and testicles to provide the stimulation that would ultimately bring him to orgasm.

Good thing no one on staff had ever noticed— or questioned— that I always booked my own sim sessions for immediately after Aiden’s.

Forbidden thoughts have already entered Keith’s  mind and Aiden is going to stir them up even more.  I liked both their characters.  Of the two Keith is the most accessible simple because the story is told from his pov.  Aiden is more of a question mark simply because we don’t know anything about him. Aiden is the siren calling Keith to him and the pleasures he offers are dangerous indeed.

The sensuality and desperate nature of the wireless lounges comes across vividly due to Witt’s descriptions.  You can almost feel Keith being overwhelmed by the intoxication of it all, so much skin, the smell, the sounds, truly sensory overload.

 A crystalline bead of sweat slid from his temple and into the side of my hand, the coolness of the liquid contrasting sharply with the heat of his flesh. My mouth watered, and I wanted to know what his tasted like. I wanted to know what his skin tasted like. No, that would be going too far. If I kissed him, then we’d…

My gaze drifted to the others in the room. To the people undulating together, bodies pressed so close it was impossible to tell where some ended and others began. People danced. Kissed. Touched. Fucked. All out in the open, all with a kind of feverish abandon I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. One kiss, I was certain, and I’d understand that abandon. I’d embrace it and lose myself in it just like everyone else here.

It’s all there for us to see and understand, the need that deprivation has caused and how quickly Keith finds he needs the contact in order to live.  L.A. Witt makes Keith and Aiden intimate companions with the reader along for the ride and we love it.

So why not give Wireless a higher rating? That would be due to the confused, incomplete world building.  The beginning of Wireless opens with the words “Several decades from now…” but later on in the story it talks about it being 200 years in the future. There are more inconsistencies further along as to the timeline.  Why the world would have fallen into such a state in a few decades is never related. Plus this time frame is not feasible for the type of government and mechanical structures to have been created.   The reader is given a sentence or two about over population and disease but nothing about governments falling or the rise of new ruling institutions, all of which take time.  And this lack of back history or solid reasonable foundation makes the story almost exist inside a bubble.  It just floats along without being anchored to a world we can make sense of.   As the story itself states, that isolation is not only burdensome but unhealthy for the plot.

I am not a fan of this ending either.  Too much is left unsaid or unexplained, definitely an incomplete HFN.  I don’t mind HFN endings but this one left me with far too many questions about their future than could be answered by the story. Sigh.

I liked enough about Wireless to recommend it with reservations and definitely recommend other books by L.A. Witt, a very talented author.

Cover artist Valerie Tibbs does a great job with this dramatic cover.

Book Details:

ebook, 172 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Loose Id LLC
ISBN13 9781623001605

Review: Bad Attitude (Bad in Baltimore #3) by K.A. Mitchell


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Bad AttitudeWhen Baltimore police rescue diver Jamie Donnigan gets a call about a jumper off the Key Bridge he doesn’t realize that his carefully controlled life is about to change dramatically.  What he thinks will be a routine call turns into something much more important as the man they are supposed to rescue is none other than Gavin Montgomery, the openly gay middle son of the most powerful family around Baltimore.

Gavin Montgomery and his friend Beach were on their way home from a party when Beach decides he is going to swim to Fort Carroll and the best way to start his swim is to jump off the Frances Scott Key Bridge.  When Gavin tries and fails to keep his friend from jumping, he falls in after him.

While in the water, a SOS alerts Jamie to the location of the man he is searching for, and to his amazement he finds Gavin hanging onto an unconscious Beach, both in need of medical assistance.  As the whole rescue operation turns into a media frenzy, Jamie finds himself at the center of attention and a guest of honor at a dinner given by Gavin’s father.   There the attraction between Jamie and Gavin boils over and a sex only relationship is formed.

But keeping things casual starts to become a problem the more they get to know each other.  Gavin and Jamie are more alike than they would like to admit, but when failure to communicate and poor assumptions are in play, will both men let down their guard enough to let love have a chance to flourish?

Bad Attitude is the third book in the Bad in Baltimore series and the first one I have read in the group.  I don’t know how I missed the first two books as I usually gobble up everything that K.A. Mitchell writes, but after reading Bad Attitude I am certainly going to get the first two and start the series from the beginning. I enjoyed this book so much that I must see how and with whom Bad in Baltimore started.

One of the things I can always count on in a K.A. Mitchell story are characters that, while pretty, are full of attitude, extremely confidant, and a tad walled off emotionally from those around them.  I love these type of characters and Mitchell’s are some of my favorites.  They are snarky, competent, and oh so interesting in every aspect.  Any way you look at it, these men are challenging, and so is their path to love.

Snarky and challenging are certainly words that can be used to describe Jamie Donnigan, the police rescue diver who is one of the two main characters here.  I loved Jamie.  He covers his vulnerabilities with tats and a smug attitude that shields him from the injustices and routine daily disappointments that life as a police officer dishes up.  The words that flow out of his mouth match the attitude that his demeanor projects.  This is how Jamie tells Gavin, he will be attending the party Gavin’s father invited him to as a guest of honor:

“Yes, but she— I’ll return the favor and be direct. I was sent to assure you of the family’s sincere wish that you feel comfortable bringing a guest if you desire and to help you with any concerns you might have.”

Jamie met that unnervingly steady stare without blinking. “In other, direct words, you all think that because I’m just a county cop from Dundalk with a high school education, I don’t know how to act at one of your fancy parties? The kind you and your buddy need Liquid X to get through?”

Montgomery took his hands out of his pockets and spread them, palms up. “We all have our crosses to bear.”

Jamie popped the door with his key fob. “I may not come with kennel club papers from the breeder, but I think I can manage to keep from pissing on the rug. I’ve been to a party before.”

“Whatever you say, Officer.” Montgomery turned, and Jamie saw the gleaming Bentley blocking in the bomb squad truck.

You can feel the arrogance and snark oozing out of Jamie in that scene. But Gavin Montgomery is more than a match for Jamie. Just from the interaction above, you can feel the charged atmosphere as the two personalities clash and their sexual heat flares up.  Gavin’s attitude is smoother and certainly comes with a glossy finish but in every way it is as bold, cold and sure as Jamie’s.  Mitchell supplies us with Gavin’s back story in little supplements along the way, from Gavin’s interpersonal relationships with siblings, father and stepmother to his commitments to a few friends and surprising interests.  Both men are masters of the lowered expectation while still carrying within them the ability to be disappointed and hurt in the unsurprising actions of others.

The push/pull of their attraction to each other, their denial of their  feelings and, a remarkable disconnect when it comes to communication makes this book feel realistic and at times, a little frustrating.  Realistic because for these men to suddenly capitulate to each other in any manner other than sexual would be out of character but that certainly doesn’t keep it from being frustrating for the reader (and the couple) at certain points in the story. Bad Attitude is sometimes like watching two pieces of granite mate, lots of grinding, loud noises as the boulders smack together, looking for the perfect position and control.

Baltimore, Maryland and its surrounding locales act as a main character in the book and I assume the series as well.  “Balmer” is rich in its ethnically diverse blue collar neighborhoods, old rowhouse neighborhoods, historic buildings and parks. Throughout the story, Jamie and Gavin wander through the scenic upper echelon areas of Fells Point and Federal Hill to the beautifully restored Inner Harbor and beyond, giving the reader an intimate look at one of the Mid Atlantic’s liveliest and interesting cities.   I don’t know if the author has ever lived there but it certainly has the feel of someone not only familiar with the area but who holds it in wry affection, foibles and all.  How else would Mitchell know to have Jamie give directions to his friends house like this:

Jamie listened to Quinn give directions to the lost teacher with the weird name.

“Then don’t get back on 83.” Quinn’s voice held an above-average amount of irritation.

“Where is he?” Jamie asked.

Quinn moved the phone away from his mouth but didn’t cover it. “Towson. He got confused in the construction and ended up going the wrong way on the Beltway.”

“Put him on North Charles—” Jamie held out a hand. “Here, give me it.”

“Be my control freak of a guest.”Quinn handed off the phone, ignoring Jamie flipping him off.

Once Jamie figured out where the guy was, he got him onto 139, only one other turn to get him to Quinn’s. He handed back the phone. “It’ll take him longer, but at least he’ll get here. Hey, kid, we gonna eat or what?”

The other authentic element here is the water search and rescue units that abound in this area.  From Baltimore to Washington, DC, all the local police squads have their own form of water search and rescue divisions.  Whether you are talking about the Patapsco  or the Potomac rivers,or  the Chesapeake Bay, Mitchell plunges you into their cold and treacherous waters along with Jamie with her vivid descriptions:

Geist followed him toward the nearest bridge pylon, moving his hand light across the water. The shoring around the base was made up of head-sized rocks. Not easy to crawl up on, but if Jamie’s life was on the line, he’d have managed to haul ass up onto them.

There was nothing on the east side, south or west. Their hand lights fell short of the next pylon and shoring. Holding his light just below the surface, Geist stared at Jamie in question. Between the thrum of the boats and the chopper sending waves smacking against the shoring, they couldn’t have made themselves heard even without their regulators in the way. Jamie lifted his hands in a shrug and put his head back in the water, intending to sweep around the north side before following Geist back to their search pattern.

The waters around Baltimore were always full of sound. Stone and metal shifting and grinding, bass-deep or treble-whining motors, those were all familiar background to the bubbles moving past his ears. But there was something… rhythmic that didn’t sound like it came from a motor, a tapping that took on a pattern recognizable anywhere in the world. A pattern only a person could make. Three quick, three slow, three quick. SOS. Jamie let a little air out of his vest, sinking under the surface to get a better listen. Water carried sound, but it made direction hard to pick up. Geist swung his light over Jamie as he surfaced.

Jamie flashed his own light, then tapped his ears and indicated the pylons on either side of them. Geist pointed and they separated to search. Jamie put his head down and swam at speed, panning his light over the north side before making for the next pillar of cement supporting the bridge.

The rocks of the shoring were a dark, uneven lump against the black of sky and the shining black of the water. But as Jamie drew within twenty yards, he was sure that among the rocks, something was moving. Something not a cormorant or a heron, unless they had decided to wear a watch because one was reflecting his light from a hand and wrist that clung to a rock.

He’d found him.

The absolutely captures the caution, the excitement and, of course, the dangers of the divers search.  Remarkable details conveying knowledge and a concise narrative that allows the story to move along smoothly yet still gain momentum.  Just lovely.

My only issue here is that I felt the ending was a little to abrupt when you consider all the reader, as well as the couple, went through to get to it.  I would have loved a little more resolution or perhaps an epilogue (not something you normally find in a Mitchell story).  For those of you familiar with the other books, those couples can be found here in Bad Attitude as well.  While Bad Attitude was clearly written as part of a series, it also works as a stand alone story.  I highly recommend it for all the reasons mentioned above and for the combustible, sweat inducing sex scenes as well.  Trust me, those are smoking hot.

Here are the books in the order they were written:

Bad Company (Bad in Baltimore #1)

Bad Boyfriend (Bad in Baltimore #2)

Bad Attitude  (Bad in Baltimore #3)

Cover art by Angela Waters.  I like the cover but where is my ginger haired cop?

Book Details:

Published April 23rd 2013 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
edition language
original title
Bad Attitude