Cover Design: Raven Designs
I guarantee that if Celia Aaron writes it, I will read it. Every.damn.time. I love her work so much. I’ve talked about before about how I think she’s a new chapter in Modern Southern Gothic fiction. She writes such layered stories with a lot of nuance. Her FMCs are strong characters in and of themselves, and she gives them a lot of smarts and stubbornness. Blood Prince fits in well with her style, even if it doesn’t take place in the South, unless, well, you consider the Underworld the South.
So, this is Celia’s take on the Helen of Troy story. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Paris, the prince of Troy is asked to judge a beauty contest between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They bribe him and Aphrodite offers Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. That just happens to be Helen, Queen of Sparta, wife to Menelaus. As the story goes, either he went and kidnapped her and brought her to Troy or Aphrodite spirited her away. Either way, Helen and Paris end up together in Troy and madly in love. Menelaus, understandably, is really fucking pissed, so he and his allies lay siege to Troy. Eventually, Menelaus challenges Paris to a duel, and Paris either dies or runs away, depending on which story you read. Then, the Trojan Horse shows up.
OK, that’s the way that Homer told it. Celia’s version is slightly different. In her version, Priam, Paris’ dad, is the vampire king, and the vamps aren’t bad. Menelaus is a demon lord, and demons are bad. Menelaus bought Helen, a daughter of Zeus and full of magic, at an auction to be his wife. He did terrible, terrible things to her. We don’t know most of what he did to her at any point, other than killing her brothers and torturing her mother, we just know that it was terrible. When Paris was there and saw Helen in a rose garden, lightning struck, and they fell in love. He took her home to Troy, where they lived happily ever after, at least until Menelaus showed up and tried to get her back. Paris went to fight Menelaus and he lost. Then when Menelaus came to get Helen, she killed herself so that he couldn’t have her anymore.
Flash forward a few centuries and Elena, one of the maiden warriors of Artemis and her chief strategist, is out wandering through the streets of Paris. She runs into a huge guy who ends up taking her and shoving her in his car. Right before that happens, she sees the vampire prince Paris teleporting towards her, with a really angry look on his face. Last she knew, he was dallying with Artemis, so she can’t figure out why he’s mad at her. When she gets in the car, the man sticks some silver bracelets on her which block her magic and then tells her that, oh, BTW, he’s her husband.
Paris manages to help her escape, and tells Elena that she’s actually Helen of Troy. Artemis rescued her body after death, took her memories, and turned her into one of her warriors.
Elena/Helen is pretty damn kick ass. She’s smart, tricksy, wily, and a master tactician. She pretty much strategically outthinks everyone. Paris is more than willing to go with her plans because he knows that she’s not only the best at it but that she’s already thought through all the possible steps and problems before she finalizes anything. It’s like she already has seen every possible outcome and knows what definitely happen. It’s pretty cool. I love that Elena/Helen is so kick ass and that she is seriously fierce. She isn’t necessarily a damsel in distress. She definitely causes the distress. She’s confident and sure of herself and her power. The nice thing is that Paris isn’t threatened by that. He values her, her powers, and her abilities. He knows that if she’s by his side then he can’t fail.
Oh, Iphi. I love her. She and Helen are a pair. I think that she’s just super fun, and not quite right, but in a good way. I would love to see a story about Iphi because I’m pretty sure that she would get into all kinds of good trouble.
Apollo is such a horndog. So funny. I wonder how many upset husbands he’s left in his wake over the centuries, because you know he has. Or maybe he just managed to charm them all, who knows. I feel like he’s one of those jackasses who is such a huge asshole but you can’t help but like him because he’s a charming fuck.
OK, that’s all I have to say today. Go check this one out! Happy reading!
This anthology is more than a collection of excellent stories by excellent authors, it’s also a way to support To Write Love on Her Arms. I’ve talked about them before. They are an organization that helps support people who are dealing with self-harm and suicidal ideations, among other things. This is such a great organization. Even if you only want one or two of the stories in Just Breathe, you should definitely buy it to support TWLOHA.
Before I get further into my review, I want to warn people that the stories in this book all deal with mental illnesses of some shape or form. There are things in these stories which may trigger you. Please be aware of that and read responsibly.
All of the stories are pretty short, so if you only have a moment here or there to read, you should have no problem finding one that will fit. Because they are short, you are going to basically get my reaction to each story. For most of them, if I were to put anything about them in the review, it would totally spoil the story. So, here we go.
Missy Ann-Forbidden Sorrows-Grief
Missy Ann was a new author to me, and I’ll be looking up more of her work. Grief is hard to deal with at the best of times, and is highly individual. In most cases, you and your grief can be acknowledged, but what happens when it can’t be? It’s not anything I’ve ever thought of before, and wow, Missy brought it to life so vividly.
I deal with an anxiety disorder and Anna’s story rang so true for me. It was very much like what can go through my head when I feel out of control. It was a great story. And, it looks like it’s the start of a new series, when Anna gets the rights back to it. I can’t wait to see it.
Michelle Brown-Little Lies-Self-Harm
Michelle is still a pretty new writer, but damn, the girl has some serious chops. Self-harm is a very, very touchy subject and has to be handled just right. If you go too far one way, you end up sensationalizing it, if you go too far the other way, you end up making it not believable. Michelle walked that line perfectly. Not so much that it’s glorified, but just at the point where you can understand why Lindsey does what she does. Self-harm was the very reason that TWLOHA was created, so I felt like this one was so important.
K.S. Marshall-Wreckage-Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
PMDD is PMS with roid rage. As the hormones in a woman’s body ramp up for ovulation and menstruation, they can have an effect on the woman even at the best of times. But brain and body chemistry being what it is, sometimes the best of times isn’t what happens. K.S. Marshall explored that really, really well. You are inside her heroine’s head as these changes are happening to her and she can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s kind of chilling, but in a good way.
Livia Grant-Purged-Eating Disorder
If you’ve read any of the Black Light books, you’ve probably run across Khloe and Ryder before. It’s no secret in their book that Khloe, a big time movie star, has a history with an eating disorder. What Livia’s story shows so well is that dealing with something like an eating disorder is that it isn’t as easy as one day being cured. There are always going to be things that can trigger you and it’s something you are always going to have to be diligent at fighting, and sometimes that fight is really, really hard.
Yolanda Olson-Sickness in the Sunrise-Erotomania
Erotomania generally happens to women, and it’s when they believe that someone who is of a higher status than they are is in love with them. For example, Yolanda’s story. Yolanda is one of my favorite authors when I want dark, creepy, and chilling, as well as beautiful. Her characters are always so real to me. Just like you can reach out and touch them. That’s no different when it comes to this one. You can feel what’s going on in Dice’s head and why her thoughts make perfect sense.
Natalie Bennett-Ashes to Ashes-Depression
Honestly, I don’t even know what to say with this one. It got deep inside me and moved me. I had to take a break and read something completely different after reading this one. It was so… Yeah.
Dani Rene-Tattered Pieces-Abuse
The one thing we always ask when we talk about people who are in domestic violence situations is why did they stay? Why didn’t they leave the first time, the fifth time, the twentieth time? The thing is, the question isn’t that simple, and the answer is nowhere even near that simple. I could probably write a thousand words on that alone, and it wouldn’t even come near answering anything. And I wouldn’t have gotten it anywhere near as good as what Dani said. I hope that this is the start of a series, because it looks like it could be. I want more of Toni’s story. I’m rooting for her.
Jennifer Bene-Cocoon-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Jennifer managed to write a story that is very true to her storytelling while still exploring OCD. People who have OCD have rituals that they have to follow or their world ends, and that’s not really an exaggeration. That’s the way it will feel, at the very least. Amy was an interesting character and Colton was tortured in so many ways. Such an excellent story and a viewpoint of OCD that most people won’t ever see.
Fire can be very pretty. But, for most of us, pretty is as far as it gets. For people who are pyromaniacs, it’s like their lifeblood. Ally showed that really well. I’ll never look at wooden matches the same way again. Nor, I think, will I ever look at a bonfire the same way.
Murphy Wallace-Hostile Takeover-Split Personality
Murphy Wallace is another new to me author. And another one I’ll be tracking down more of. This was really intriguing to me. I’m not sure how to describe it or even to talk about how it made me feel. I really enjoyed it though.
Jane Anthony-The Row-Addiction
Addiction is a serious illness. Too many people want to see it as some kind of moral failure or something, but that’s not the way it works. Jane’s Trinity fights with addiction, and when you see her backstory, you see why. I thought that Jane did so well. Trinity and King made me cry.
When I was reading Ashleigh’s story, it was both kind of creepy and engrossing. I mean, yeah. I’m hoping any of her insomniacs stay right away from me, please and thank you.
Skye Callahan-Unbearable-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When you go through a traumatic incident, there are changes that are made to your brain’s chemistry and your body. Those changes can trigger PTSD. And there’s no way of telling who is going to have it and who isn’t. Two people who went through the exact same event may not both have PTSD, and if they do, they might not be triggered in the same way. Skye handled the subject really well, and explained it in ways that many people don’t necessarily hear.
Toni Lemay-Loops-Mandela Effect
The Mandela Effect is something that was totally new to me. Basically, it has to do with alternate realities and the way that your brain makes memories. That’s probably a way too simplistic description, but it’s what I got from in when I looked it up. If I had more time to research it, I would probably be able to come up with something more, but I tend to fall down the rabbit hole when I start researching things. I will probably be looking into this more when I have a chance because Toni made it sound really interesting, and I want to see how it works.
I want to applaud all these authors for writing about these mental illnesses. I don’t know how many of these talented people deal with the subjects they wrote about, but they handled all of them really well. People who are mentally ill aren’t always handled well in fiction, let alone real life, and the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses makes it hard for those of us who are mentally ill to get the help that they need. We are made to feel bad because our brain don’t work the same way that other people’s brains do, and are shamed because we have to take medication to get through our days. I’m very open about the fact that I’m mentally ill and that I take medication to help me be stable. My thought is that if I’m open about it, maybe that fact can help one person get the help that they need. Also, the more we talk about it, the less the stigma is going to be there.
OK, that’s all I have to say today. You really need to get this.
And because I hate to post anything without a picture, here’s a fogbow.
“This anthology took my breath away. It was beautifully written. I connected on some level to most stories. It gave me all the feels.” –Mariela, Erotic Book Review
“I loved this anthology, it hits upon different issues that just aren’t talked about in books and that’s a shame as some of these stories you can relate to and some of them you have never heard of the condition before so it is fascinating to read.” –Dawn, Goodreads Reviewer
“The emotions that run rampant while reading this anthology are no joke.” — J, Twisted Book Reviews
“All these stories are amazing. They’re tales of real-life situations.” –Frances, Goodreads Reviewer
Ava Sinclair has gone back to her Daddy roots for this one, and we get not just one dedicated Daddy Dom, but two, and they have set up Camp Daddy for their wives.
We have two pairs of best friends. Elana and Shelby are lifelong friends who married Zane and Archer, best friends and former Marines. Archer and Zane are Doms and they first met Shelby and Elana when they walked into the club where the guys were members. They had a double wedding, and were really close. However, Zane and Elana moved away a little while ago, so they haven’t been able to get together as much. The foursome has a tradition of renting a little cabin for the weekend and having a lot of kinkery fuckery fun. But in the recent past, that hasn’t been happening in either relationship. Both couples have ceased in any kink in their lives, and no one is really happy. So the guys planned this weekend for everyone to get together, but also so that they could get back to where they were, and basically have a Daddy boot camp for their subs. They’ve never really had the DD/lg dynamic before, but it’s something that they are going to try. All the guys know is that they aren’t happy, their wives aren’t happy, and as the Domly types, it’s their job to try and make it right.
Their camp starts bright and early in the morning, after the women had a few too many drinks, and they are woken up way too early. Shelby ends up being spanked then. Then when she and Elana find out what they are supposed to wear, Elana ends up with a belting.
There are a lot of things that I like about this book. One of them is the fact that it shows that marriages aren’t easy and that even the happiest couple can end up at a point where there is a huge chasm in between the couple. It doesn’t even have to start big either. Just a tiny little change can make a huge difference as it goes on. And it doesn’t take a whole lot for that chasm to be more than someone can jump over and just too much work to try to bridge, especially if you feel like you are the only one trying to bridge that divide. So often, in romances, we get the wedding and they ride off into the sunset, happily ever after, so I like to see what happens after the HEA.
OMG, I need to get a rubber ducky just like the one in the book. It would match my rubber ducky shower curtain, and it would definitely put new meaning to the rubber ducky song.
I love that the guys admit that they screwed up. The Domly alpha types generally get seen as infallible, so seeing that they make mistakes and screw up just like everyone else does is always good. I don’t like seeing anyone fail or anything, but Daddies are human too and Daddies can make mistakes that cause serious problems.
OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!
Camp Daddy from Ava Sinclair.
BUY LINK ->-> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JB9B5QN/
or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
“Can you give me a bath, Daddy?” Those were her words when I’d walked into the living room after dinner last night, where I found her sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing one of the outfits I never got to give her at our Camp Daddy weekend. She looked absolutely scrumptious in her tight white shirt, short plaid skirt, and navy blue thigh high socks. Her thick dark hair was arranged in pigtails. I’d gotten an instant erection, seeing her in the middle of the floor, sprawled out over one of the coloring books she’d asked me for.
My voice had caught in my throat. “A bath?”
“I’m dirty,” she’d said, and she didn’t need to say any more.
“Wait right here. I’ll run the water and you come in when Daddy calls you, okay?”
“Okay.” She’d returned to her book, a smile playing on her lips.
I’d gone to run the bath, making sure to add a generous dose of the bubble bath she’d asked for the day I’d gotten the coloring books. She’d had a long list for me when we got back from the cabin. Coloring books. Bubble bath and baby shampoo. Barbies. And candy. She asked me to reward her with it, but sparingly. As I’d turned off the tap, I told myself she’d definitely earn it on this night.
“Elana!” I’d not had to wait long before she came into the bathroom. She’d stood there with her hands behind her back. I knew what she wanted, so I’d started the process of undressing her. First came the shoes-penny loafers. Then the socks, which I rolled down her soft, shapely legs. I’d reached up under her skirt to pull off the white cotton panties, checking first.
“Elana.” I’d adopted a slightly scolding tone. “Did you wet yourself?”
“It’s not pee, Daddy,” she’d replied. “It’s the good kind of wet. It means I’m excited for my bath.”
Easy boy, I’d told my cock, which was hard to the point of aching now. My little girl either didn’t realize what this was doing to me, or didn’t care.
“You are a dirty little girl, aren’t you?” My words were thick with lust as I reached behind her to take off her skirt. As I did, my finger brushed the top of her pubic mound.
“Looks like it’s time for your shave.”
“Will you do it, Daddy? I like to keep it smooth. For you.”
“You know I will.”
I stood and pulled her shirt up and off, then removed her bra. Her breasts, heavy and soft, tumbled free. I lifted them, feeling her long, dark nipples harden under my palms.
“My baby has the most beautiful breasts. They’re perfect, just like the rest of her.”
“Thank you, Daddy.”
“Let’s get you shaved before we step into the bath.” I’d turned away before I could get carried away with touching her. Elana had sat down on the edge of the bathtub, edging forward and spreading her legs wide.
When we’d discussed adopting this lifestyle, I’d made note that she’d kept herself shaved. She said it had always made her feel submissive, and there was something erotic about it. Then she confessed that she’d always wanted me to do it. I was more than willing. It’s now a weekly ritual.
I’d knelt between her spread thighs, lathering shaving gel on her labia, rubbing the plump mound and outer lips carefully until the gel thickened to a stiff foam. Elana has a beautiful pussy, with a prominent clit and deep pink inner folds. She knows I love eating her shaved pussy. I could do it all day, and I’d already decided that just before bedtime, I was going to suck her clit until she had a screaming orgasm to send her off to sleep. But at that moment, I was in full daddy dom mode, carefully shaving my little girl’s most private place before wiping the gel off with a washcloth.
“Into the bath you go,” I’d said.
“Weee!” She’d stepped in and sunk down into the bubbles, the ends of her pony tails just above the mounds of foam. I sat on the edge of the tub and squeezed body gel into my hands. As always, she’d squirmed, just so I’d scold her.
“Hold still, Elana.”
“Will you spank me if I don’t?”
She’d made a face.
“But you won’t get your surprise if you do.”
“You have a surprise for me? Okay.” She’d frozen in place. “I want to hurry so I can get out and see what it is.”
“No, it’s a bath time surprise.”
“A bath time surprise?” She’d stared at me, intrigued. “What?”
“Hush.” I’d continue to bathe her, taking extra care to wash her nipples with the nubby terrycloth until she’s biting her lip to suppress the moans. I’d taken my time washing her, my fingers lingering between her legs.
“You’re being mean,” she’d said. “And you’re taking too long down there.”
“Well, you’re being petulant. And petulant little girls don’t get surprises.”
“Sorry.” She’d leaned back, letting her legs fall apart as I’d bathed her at my leisure. “Ready for your surprise?”
“Yes!” She’d softly clapped her hands together in a show of adorable excitement.
“Close your eyes.”
She’d obeyed, and I’d turned to fetch it from the cabinet.
“Open them,” I’d ordered, holding my gift out in front of her.
The smile on her face had disappeared. I could tell she was fighting not to show her disappointment.
“That’s sweet, Daddy. But I already have a rubber duckie.”
“Not like this one, baby.”
BUY LINK ->-> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JB9B5QN/
Best friends Shelby and Elana have a lot in common. They’re both married to gorgeous ex-Marines. They both have high-stress jobs. And both their marriages are on the rocks.
When husbands Archer and Zane plan the annual couple’s weekend, the women expect another routine vacation. They couldn’t be more wrong. This year’s retreat has a theme: Camp Daddy.
From the moment they wake their wives with a whistle blast, Archer and Zane set about reminding Shelby and Alana what it feels like to trust their alpha men, both in and out of the bedroom. Disobedience won’t be tolerated, and hard, humiliating spankings are just a little of what’s in store as these Daddy Doms call the shots for a steamy, emotional weekend the wives won’t soon forget.
BUY LINK ->-> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JB9B5QN/
Variety is the spice of life and Ava Sinclair writes a little something for everyone, from dark romance to menage to kinky AF age play. But the one thing that is consistent in her books are strong storylines, alpha males, and strong women whose hearts and bodies aren’t given up without a fight.
Ava lives in southern Virginia, where she enjoys hoarding books, hiking, running, spoiling her cats, and spending time with her Eurasian eagle owl, Lucius.
Web site www.avasinclairauthor.com
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