Tag: Leah Braemel

Review: Red Hot Holiday by Anne Calhoun, KA Mitchell & Leah Braemel

Posted December 5, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Wish List by KA Mitchell

Blindfolds. Handcuffs. Submission.

There’s so much Jonah Kendrick hasn’t tried, and so much he wants to explore. But just before Christmas he finds a ring box in his boyfriend’s desk. Jonah panics. He loves Evan and their sex is hot, but how can Jonah be ready for forever, when there are so many items on his Naughty Bucket List? Desires that might drive Evan away.

Evan’s noticed Jonah has been distant. His usually talkative and cheerful boyfriend is preoccupied. The seemingly straitlaced Evan stumbles across Jonah’s wish list of sexual kinks, and Evan realizes he may not have to hide his true nature from Jonah after all. The Dom in him wants to see Jonah on his knees, begging, submitting, but Evan isn’t sure Jonah’s ready to accept what being Evan’s sub would mean.

The two lovers must figure out how to share their hidden desires with each other before their secrets permanently damage their love.

In this first novella we meet Jonah who is searching for tape to wrap a present when he finds mens wedding rings in his partners desk. He freaks the fuck out and his partner, Evan, notices immediately that something is up, especially when Jonah start turning down sex. Jonah’s not sure he’s ready for marriage and there are things he may want to try sexually that he hasn’t done with his current partner and can’t image Evan ever even considering – like domination.

When Evan and Jonah head to Evan’s family’s home Jonah sits down and makes a list of all the things he wants to try. Evan finds the list and is a bit shocked that Jonah has never told him of his desire to be dominated and Evan’s all over it as he totally used to be in the D/s scene. When Jonah goes so far as to update his profile on a dating site – and Evan gets notification – Evan sees red. Is Jonah ready to break it off and be with someone else or can Evan keep him at home by moving them in to a more D/s relationship?

This story, I must admit from the start, really frustrated me. I had a very hard time liking Jonah. He seemed very immature and flighty and after 2 years with the same guy he just NOW has such strange sexual desires that can’t be met by Evan? All because he thinks Evan is asking him to marry him. I guess I had a problem with Jonah’s lack of trust in Evan after so much time. He should have felt comfortable enough to go to Evan and talk to him. Of course then it wouldn’t have been the same story.

I liked Evan a whole lot more than his partner but was still upset at him for not communicating with Jonah about his past and experiences with D/s. Not that it’s something that comes up in casual conversation but you’d think after 2 years that they would have discussed past experiences.

The way things are handled in the end was satisfying but the road to getting to that point was exasperating to say the least. I liked neither Evan’s nor Jonah’s actions and didn’t feel that in the end it was a very strong nor lasting relationship.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I Need You For Christmas by Leah Braemel

Ryan Porter is a sculptor, and beneath his callused hands, even the most rigid metals bend to his will. So, too, does his girlfriend Megan—a confident, strong woman who delights in submitting to Ryan’s dominance in the bedroom.

Megan is a Mountie, and she’s spent the past few years in the arctic following her career dreams. Family obligations kept Ryan at home, but their love survived the distance thanks to several hot visits. A Mountie always gets her man, and Megan is bound and determined to keep Ryan.

Now Megan’s with Ryan for the holidays…but how long will this visit last? She’s always been willing to do anything Ryan desires, but will he finally tell her that all he needs for Christmas is her?

Megan is in Canada for Christmas and she’s so very excited to be with her love, Ryan, once again. Little does he know that she’s made plans to be with him forever. Ryan is beside himself with joy having Megan back in his arms but he’s made plans of his own and he’s ready to surprise Megan with his good news.

This was very much a slower paced story. I think we were supposed to be so wrapped up in the sex scenes and the different bondage show that we didn’t mind that there wasn’t much more to the story. I think the sex was supposed to show us their trust and their love, which it did to a point I’ll admit, but I found myself wanting more.

Besides the sex the story focused around Ryan & Megan’s sacrifices – which the other knew nothing about – kind of a gift of the magi type thing. Ryan quit his job and planned to move to the Arctic where Megan was posted as a Mountie and Megan gave up her job as a Mountie to move to Ryan’s town and take a job with the local police. It was all very sweet I felt, however, that those incredibly life-changing plans weren’t something you did without discussing it with your significant other. In the end it all worked out so all’s well that ends well, right?

Rating: 3 out of 5

Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun

Christmas is the perfect time for Firefighter Ronan O’Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he’s sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind.

Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can’t move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she’s got that her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won’t be easy.

Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn’t just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?

It’s been two years since Thea’s husband died but she’s still shutting life out. She wears ear buds while moving around New York city to block out the signs of life and she’s been having meaningless sex with Ronan for about 6 months. But is it really meaningless? It’s not for Ronan and he’s determined to bring her back to the present.

This story was a wonderful surprise. I was thinking, after reading the first two stories that this would be more about a bdsm relationship and while there was some incredibly light bondage that really had nothing to do with the story.

Thea and Ronan’s relationship is intense and emotional but Thea’s thinking that it’s just something she does – it doesn’t mean anything. Ronan knows better and wants a deep and lasting relationship with this woman. he goes about trying to bring her back to life in different ways and I loved how he did it – with care and subtlety and love. It was kind of a manipulation in a way but since it was to her benefit I couldn’t fault him for that.

The story had a lot of story packed into such a small amount of pages but I was glued to my ereader as I just couldn’t get enough of it. Breath on Embers was a very well written and thoroughly enjoyable story that I highly recommend reading. Really great book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 
(Psst – Anne will be visiting the blog on Friday and will be giving away a copy of Breath on Embers so be sure to stop back by for a chance to win.)

I normally give an overall rating for anthologies but this one had such different ratings I think I’ll skip that this time. :0)

KA Mitchell
Anne Calhoun
Leah Braemel

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What I Read Last Week

Posted December 3, 2012 by Tracy in Features | 4 Comments

So what do you do when you get a call from the High School your daughter attends telling you that she’s in trouble and oh, yeah, gonna be suspended. Yikes. That’s how my week went – from bad to worse. Apparently some boy called her a bitch but instead of blowing it off my daughter the bruiser took him by the backpack straps, picked him up and when she put him down he fell and hurt himself. She was suspended for use of force. Oy. She knows better than to touch another kid in anger or any other way but apparently the bitch comment sent her over the edge. My daughter was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder when she was younger but in her case it’s usually being incredibly argumentative…about everything. This kid obviously hit her switch and my kid got a day spent in the school office and a day at home. sigh My hubby and I sat and talked with her but it’s “I know, Mom!” If you KNOW why did you DO?  So, any wise words that have worked for you with your kids (if you have them) or worked on you (when you were a kid)??

That was the excitement for my week…on to what I read…

First off was A Dragon’s Seduction by Tamelia Tumlin. This story was about a dragon shifter who is from a, I think, alternate universe, and he’s a gatekeeper. He is after an evil dragon who shouldn’t be on Earth at all. His path leads him to sorceress who is smack dab in the middle of it all but only on the side of good. This was an ok story. Pretty predictable and not to intricate of a world, but cute. 2 out of 5

The Red Hot Holiday anthology by KA Mitchell, Leah Braemel and Anne Calhoun was next. This had Christmas stories that were all very different. I’ll post my review on Wednesday.

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton was next. This was a darned cute story about a woman who moves into an apartment and her next door neighbor is having sex almost constantly with 3 different women. She thinks he’s just a sleaze but when they eventually become friends she sees that he’s not at all. The friend and love story was great and it kept me laughing, that’s for sure. Yes, there were some thing that annoyed me – like when the heroine was more worried about her missing “O” than the hero while having sex…and other things but overall I really liked it. 4 out of 5

Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas was next. I had very mixed feelings about this book. I liked the characters very much when they were getting along but they were only getting along because the heroine had amnesia. Normally she hated the hero so much she could barely be in the same room with him. He, of course, has been in love with her since he was 14. The thing is that over the years the hero felt that he’d rather rile the heroine and send out nasty verbal barbs and have her get pissed off rather than have her ignore her completely. I just didn’t see the logic in this. I mean, I did, but what he did only made her hate him more. So while the writing was good as is usual with a Thomas novel, the story had me on the fence. 3 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was the novella Just One Bite Vol. 1 anthology which includes: The Unlikely Vampire by Scarlet Blackwell, Sacrifice by J.L. Merrow, One Last Wish by Josephine Myles, Mayan Time by Erik Orrantia, Fire Can Make It Rain by Nix Winter, The Hunter & the Hunted by Stevie Woods. These was vampire related short stories with some odd, some ok, some great – they were all pretty much very hot and I liked this volume a lot. 4 out of 5

Another book I’ve had in my TBR pile for a while was The Virgin Proxy by Georgia Fox. This was a medieval erotic romance and it was really good. The story is about a woman who has lived most of her life in a convent during the Norman invasion. She is asked by fellow convent dweller to be her virgin proxy. Deorwynn will take Sybilia’s place on the wedding night, behind a heavy veil, because Sybilia’s not a virgin and she doesn’t want the marriage to go bad because of it. But Guy the groom is quite a bit smarter than the women think AND he’s got the hots for Deorwynn rather than Sybilia. I liked the characters the writing, the setting – almost everything. The cover is a bit misleading as looking at it you would think that the woman ends up with two men but while there are multiple partners at one point it’s just a h/h romance. This is book 2 in the Conquerors series so I’ll definitely have to go back and read book 1 and then on to the others. 4 out of 5

Next up was Courting Carolina by Janet Chapman. This is book 3 in the Spellbound Falls series. The story is about Alec who is out in the wilderness blazing a trail, literally, for his friends resort. He ends up harboring a woman who he found escaping from kidnappers. She, however, is the daughter to Titus and is a mythological princess from Atlantis and her father wants her to marry a warrior of his choosing. She’s run but there’s someone after her. While with Alec they fall in love but Alec plans on never getting married so that puts a kink in things. While I found this book cute and at times fun and funny it didn’t move fast at all. The second half of the book had Alec and Jane (Carolina) apart almost completely until the end and that just didn’t work for me all that well. 3 out of 5

Last was a free short I got from Amazon called Rent-A-Groom by Jennifer Blake. The story was about a woman who was using her honeymoon suite even though her wedding had been called off. A man shows up at her door claiming to be from Rent-A-Gent and is there to escort her so that her fiancé will think she’s over him. We could tell the man, Race, was up to something but we didn’t know what but it was sweet watching Gina and Race get to know each other. It was a short but the couple did fall in love in 2 days. That being said they did state that they would take it slow and get to know each other so that saved the insta-love a bit. 2 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that have posted since last week:
When the Duke Found Love by Isabella Bradford
The Bridegroom Wore Plaid by Grace Burrowes

Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: Tangled Past by Leah Braemel

Posted June 10, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Judith’s review of Tangled Past by Leah Braemel

Forced to marry a man she just met, Sarah McLeod clings to the hope that she’ ll finally find the love and acceptance she’ s always craved. Her tenuous dreams of a happy life on the frontier are in danger of being dashed by the one thing she can’ t change—her husband’ s love for another man.  Jackson Kellar’ s determined to do right by his bride, yet he’ s torn between his newfound love for Sarah and his still-burning desire for Nate.

Ranch owner Nate Campbell loves them both. He hates to see Jackson’ s loyalties so divided, and doesn’ t want Sarah hurt either. How can they fix the tangled mess they find themselves in? Nate suggests a possible solution—a permanent threesome. With the open frontier closing in around them, is Nate’ s solution their path to happiness—or will others destroy what they’ ve found together?

It’s 1887, and homosexuals are lynched without a trial.  It is the norm.  It is also only a few years since President U. S. Grant has declared:  “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”  This story embraces the prejudices that grow out those realities and the characters in this story must deal realitically or lose their lives.

Sarah McLeod is grieving over the death of her mother, living in the home of her mother’s husband who looks down on her as a sub-human because her father was an Indian.  She is treated as a servant, and her stepfather makes no bones about the fact that she is property to him.  He easily sells off or destroys animals or items that were her mother’s and which are important to her.  Her feelings carry no weight with him.  He and his son and ranch foreman are also involved in a scam where they sell horses or cattle to other ranchers and then manage to steal them back.  Sarah becomes privy to this information and she makes her way out to the barn to warn Nate & Jackson who will be journeying home in the morning.  As she is really, really quiet in order not to alert her stepfather that she is warning these potential victims of his scam, she sees Nate and Jackson in each other’s arms.  Because the ranch foreman catches her in the barn with a naked man–Jackson, he demands that they marry and he take her away.  An easy solution on how to get rid of a woman who he really doesn’t want around anyway.  Because Nate still had his jeans on, Jackson is deemed guilty of compromising Sarah’s virtue.  Close call, and one that alerts Nate and Jackson that they are getting sloppy about acting on their love for each other.  Sarah, unbeknownst to these two men, saw their advances toward one another as being “beautiful.”  Her open heart and attitude will serve her well in the future.

This is a story that is exclusively about the relationship between these three people.  Jackson is a man of honor, and since he is bi-sexual, his wooing and bedding of Sarah is caring and gentle, and within the context of his determination to be a really good husband to her and to remain faithful to her in spite of his on-going love for Nate.  Nate, too, was a man of honor, for in spite of his growing attraction to Sarah, he did everything he could to support her marriage and to be just a friend to both her and Jackson.  It is only when he is injured, when his life is truly in danger, that Jackson lets down the walls and begs Nate to live, and Sarah is faced with their love far more overtly than had so far been the case.

There is deep hurt here and a sense of loss, that there is really so little chance that these two really fine men will ever be free to express their love for each other.  Add in the fact that both love Sarah deeply, and you have a story that will take the reader on an emotional roller coaster.  With a writer of Ms Braemel’s expertise, it will not be difficult to literally enter into this story and be deeply touched by their joys and disappointments.  One part of the side story that gave me a bit of a joy–her stepdad, her stepbrother, and the ranch foreman were eventually caught and paid for their crimes, thereby freeing Sarah from any contact with them in the future, and with the eventual death of Mr. McLeod, Sarah inherits the ranch where she experienced so much hurt and humiliation.  I don’t think she ever lived there again.

This is a really fine novel and one that will not be difficult to read even though it is not a simplistic love story.  It is so well-written.  I have read one or two of Braemel’s past efforts and I have come to enjoy her writing style very much.  And while the epilogue clues the reader in to the ultimate outcome of their life together, I was somewhat disappointed that the author brought the immediate resolution of their personal crisis to such an abrupt end.  In light of the social difficulties for bi-sexual persons, there was lots that could have entered into this story that was left unsaid.  Of course, that may be contrary to the author’s intent and may have resulted in a novel that took their story in an altogether different direction.  All in all, it was vastly entertaining.

I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel

Posted September 16, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Texas Tangle by Leah BraemelReviewer: Holly
Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel
Series: Tangled #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: June 1st 2010
Genres: Fiction, Erotica
Pages: 188
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued...and a little gun-shy.
Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki's life, but he's determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki's heart.
Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?
73,000 words

I don’t read a lot of menage stories. I like the basic concept behind a permanent threesome, but I have a hard time buying into the reality of it. Especially when the social consequences and relationship dynamics aren’t fully explored. This was a good story. It had substance in dealing with some of the darker issues of a permanent threesome. I liked that Braemel addressed the issues instead of skirting them.

Nikki has been really un-lucky in love. Her ex-husband turned out to be a verbally abusive cheater who took her to the cleaners when he left, and her younger brother – who is the apple of her parent’s eye – is a total loser who is doing nothing but sponging off her. She’s doing her best just to get by, when her truck breaks down. It looks like things might finally be turning around for her, because her sexy neighbor, Dillon Barnett, is the one to stop and help her. And it looks like he might be showing more than neighborly interest in her. Then she gets home and finds everything in her house is gone. Everything.

When Dillon sees Nikki on the side of the road beside her broken down pickup he figures now might be the time to make his move. He’s been wanting her most of his life, but he stepped back while she was married to her no-good ex and then while she recovered from the divorce. But now he’s ready to see if she’s receptive. When things get thrown off track by her house being burgled he takes advantage of the situation to have Nikki move in with him.

Brett Anderson had a major thing for Nikki in high school, too. Only he acted on it. Too bad for him she ended up with her ex and he ended up almost losing the only family he’d ever known and his best friend on top of it. Now he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon be with Nikki, even though it’s killing him inside.

But when Dillon suggests a threesome, then plants the idea that it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing, Brett wonders if it’s too good to be true. Can the three of them really make it work? Can Nikki let go of society’s preconceived notions about it and accept both of them?

I really enjoyed all three characters. They were all different, yet they complimented each other perfectly. Dillon is the golden-boy from a good family. Brett is the bad-boy from the wrong side of town with a tortured past. Nikki is the sweet girl who made too many bad decisions and is now afraid to trust – not only the men in her life but her judgment when it comes to them.

I liked Dillon and Brett, but I think Brett was a more real character for me. Dillon was pretty simple – he grew up in a loving home, never really made any major mistakes (except once with Brett) and pretty much got everything he wanted. Except Nikki. It wasn’t that he was perfect, he just wasn’t very complicated. He was kind of the calm one that balanced out Nikki and Brett.

Brett was more the tortured bad-boy. He grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father until Dillon’s family took him in. He’s afraid of losing them more than anything, which is why he steps aside to let Dillon have his chance with Nikki. I liked that his insecurities were addressed and that one of the key elements to the story was his fear that he’d be tossed aside.

Nikki was a good fit for them both. She has some baggage leftover from her time with her ex, but there wasn’t too much of it. I liked that she really struggled with what to do about the guys, and how to go about living with both of them.

It did seem a bit cheesy that great-grandma had two men, and that Dillon’s family pushed so hard for it. But I was able to overlook that part and just enjoy the story as it was.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here in e-format.


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