Alta Hensley-Scoundrels & Scotch

If I were a drinking woman, which I can’t be, I would be a Scotch kind of woman. The few times I’ve tried Scotch, I’ve liked it, so there it is. I also am a huge fan of scoundrels. I mean, my first crush was Han Solo, you can’t get much more of a scoundrel than him. Harrison Ford, yummmmm. Hmmm, maybe my head version of Victor Drayton will now be Harrison Ford in a super sharp suit. Anyway, what does my little digression have to do with anything? Well, that’s because Victor Drayton, the hero of Scoundrels & Scotch is always sharp looking in his expensive suits.

S&S is the third book in Alta’s Top Shelf series. It’s also the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the other two books, and Harley has a special place in my heart, but Victor Drayton and Drayton’s Dolls is something I’ve been looking forward to reading since they were first mentioned.

So, Victor is a performance artist. He uses a very particular type of material to create his art and his pieces tend to be very sexual and taboo in nature. His material is his Dolls. These are beautiful young women who he has trained, dressed up as dolls, and displays as his art. He has taken them all over the world and shown them in all kinds of ways. He’s also a founding member of Spiked Roses, New Orleans’ premier kink club. Together with the rest of the founding partners, he has agrred to strict rules for the staff, so that they don’t have problems like they had before. That includes a zero tolerance policy for drugs. Anyone who tests positive for drugs is immediately fired. No ifs, ands, or buts, they are out on their butts.

Ivy is one of the waitresses at Spiked Roses. She works hard, does as many Tastings as she can, and loves her job. She also got busted doing drugs. She says that she’s not a junky, but she does have a good reason for doing them, on occasion. The problem is, that even if she only does them every now and again, she tested dirty for drugs and that means that she is going to be fired. However, Victor is willing to offer Ivy a job.

Victor wants Ivy to be one of his Dolls. He knows that she will be a beautiful Doll and covets her for his collection. More than that, he also wants to possess her in other ways. As one of his Dolls, he will be able to have her whenever he wants, as well as spank her, or use one of his other, more creative punishments. She will be perfect for his collection and for his art.

Ivy takes him up on his offer and goes off to be one of the famous Drayton’s Dolls. She learns what being a Doll is all about and puts a lot of work into becoming a Doll and being a credit to Victor’s artistic views.

Time for you to choose, dear reader, which path you shall take. We know which one I’m going to take, in fact, I’m off to blaze it for you. Aren’t I such a nice, nice person? S&S is, thus far, the darkest of the series, less mindfucky than V&V was, but darker overall. The kink is very kinky and damn hot. The story did make me sad on occasion, when you read it, you will see where I got sad, and I’ll be you get sad there too. Honestly, go read this story, especially if you love to read kinky kink that is put into a good story. Each of these books can be read as a stand-alone, but you will enjoy them more if you read the entire series. They aren’t in any kind of larger story arc, but they do interconnect, so you will get the world a little better if you have read the other books.

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Pretty, pretty dollie, right? When I was out looking for pictures for this post, I ran across all kinds of doll pix. You have to be really careful when you put in search terms looking for pix like this. Some of the pix I found were… horrifying. But, some of them were like this, beautiful and perfect. I now have a doll folder on my computer in my smutty pictures files.

Anyway, Victor’s punishments are really interesting. I love the whole doll stand. That was just wow. That was just such a wicked, wicked idea.

I liked seeing Harley, like I said, he has a special place in my heart. I hated seeing him for the reason that we did, because that was terrible, and that’s why I thought that the story was darker overall than even Harley’s book.

I was sad for Victor for what happened, although, he was a tad bit short-sighted, or maybe just obsessively focused on what he was doing with his art. I hope his further artistic endeavors are as interesting. I’d love to get a glimpse into what he and Ivy are doing in later books.

So, this is all I have to say about this one. Later tonight, you’ll get the first half of my review of Alien Alphas, and tomorrow will be the other half, plus a brand new to me author. Keep your eyes peeled for that. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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Sahalie Blue and Sterling Scott-Cowgirl Thrill Rider

When I looked at the title of Cowgirl Thrill Rider, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting myself in for. I could guess from the title that there was a cowgirl and that it was going be some kind of romance, and knowing the authors, I knew it was going to involve sex and spanking, but outside that, I had no clue.

So, CTR is all about Polly. We follow her and her exploits from 1916 to 1948. The story is episodic in nature. That means that we just peek in at various times of Polly’s life and see what she is doing. Some of the episodes are longer than others, and some seem like they are all one time period because they take place in the same basic setting, but if you check the time stamps, you’ll see that really they are months or more apart. I really liked this because the story does cover 30 years. Having 30 straight years would be boring and unwieldy, and nowhere near as enjoyable as CTR is. So, very well done there.

In 1916, little Polly is 14 and getting ready to ride in her first bronco busting event. She’s been riding since she could walk. Her dad is supportive of it, her mom isn’t. Her mom wants her to be a lady, and riding horses and bustin’ broncs is not all that particularly ladylike, even in Nebraska. But that doesn’t stop Polly. She goes out there and gets on the horse and wins. And boom, her life is set at that very point.

Years later, Polly has joined a big Wild West show. She’s 18 now, she has kept up her riding and rodeoing, and she is now off to show off how well she can ride. This is what she wants to do and she’s good at it. She knows that there are risks, but she’s never let that start her.

When she gets to the show, she rooms with Lulu, who is Annie Oakley’s niece and a sharpshooter herself. Polly gets to try all kinds of things, like learning trick riding from some “Cossacks”. She also meets Buck. She and Buck get close, especially after he spanks her. That pretty much sets the tone of their relationship. After a while of touring, they make it back to Nebraska, where Buck and Polly are both from, meet parents, and get married.

OK, This is where I’m going to go my way and you can choose yours. I read in the back of the book where Polly was created from the profiles of a lot of women. I think it really shows through. I fell in absolute love with Polly. I think that she is pretty kick ass. I also like that the story is more about Polly’s story than it is about Polly and Buck’s story. I mean, yes, that is an important part of the story and it would be wrong to diminish it in any way, but it’s not the most important part of the story. The important part of the story is Polly and her courage in getting up and being the cowgirl that she wanted to be and to do all the riding she wanted. That’s just awesome, IMO. Polly really is the hero of her own story. This is a truly awesome story on a lot of levels, so even if you aren’t sure about whether or not you’ll like western romances, you should go check it out.

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There is a lot of spanking in this, and I think that in most cases it’s perfectly justified. However, there is one spanking that I thought was completely unjustified, and if I was Polly, Buck would’ve had to sleep with one eye open that night. She had a justifiable reason for her feelings and for what she did, and Buck didn’t even try to talk to her about it or about why she felt that way. In fact, he owed her an apology, if you ask me. Just because he’s the head of the household doesn’t mean he’s perfect and doesn’t make mistakes, and I think that this was on. When you get to the point in the story, you’ll see what I mean, and I’m eager to see what you think of it and if you agree with me about it.

I think that’s the only spoiler-y thing I have to say, and I’ve said everything I wanted to say. It’s a good story, a lot of fun, and one I’m glad to have read.

I’m looking forward to a weekend where my nose rarely comes out of my Kindle and lots of good posts for next week, so be looking for that. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Mark S. R. Sterling-Arsenic and the Socialite

Mark Sterling is a new author to me. Lady Theodora Strangways is a character in his new series.

Lady Theodora is a woman who married into the English nobility. When her husband died, she should technically have lost her title, but since Queen Vic liked her and kept referring to her as Lady, then the rest of the world has to as well. She is pretty, quick-witted, adventurous, wears slightly scandalous clothes which are amazingly fashion-forward, and gives just about zero fucks about anything. She’s going to go out, do things, live her life, and then have everything written up in books.

In Arsenic and the Socialite, Lady Theodora is called to Glasgow, Scotland by an old friend, John Digby, who is an inspector with the Scotland Yard. He needs her help to find a poisoner who murdered a man. They also take the time to renew their FWB status, including a little spanking.

While the Lady Theodora is the person the series is named after, we don’t actually see a lot of her. We see much more of Madeline Smith, the young woman who has been accused of poisoning her lover.

The story starts out several months after the murder when Lady Theodora is called to court as a witness for the prosecution. When she gets asked a question, she goes back in her mind to the past, and we get a little look into what happened during the investigation. Then, we get into a whole different timeline and POV because we find out what Madeline, or Mimi, was doing.

Apparently, this story is based on one that actually happened in Glasgow, Scotland in 1857. Madeline Smith was accused of poisoning her lover with some arsenic in his cocoa. Obviously, Starling has taken a few liberties here and there, but when I looked at the Wikipedia page, it seemed reasonably true to the story.

The story is pretty light on sex, but there is some, and some spanking, both for fun and for punishment. Because it takes place in the Victorian era, the sex isn’t overly graphic and the language is very euphemistic. Remember, from this point, you may find spoilers.

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I overall enjoyed reading the story, but there were a few things that did pull me out of it. One of those things is that we keep going back and forth between Lady T in court and Lady T investigating, and then back and forth between Mimi’s letters and what Mimi is doing. It just seemed a wee bit too much to me. If one of the timelines was cut, and we saw more of Lady T, I would’ve been happier.

Lady T is pretty much a character that I would really like, so I’m looking forward to future books to see how she develops and if I get to see more of her in action in her books.

That’s it for today! Go check out this book, I think that you will probably enjoy it.

Lee Savino-Berserkers

So, yeah, I may or may not have reviewed one or two of Lee’s books here. (Spoiler, definitely did, and more than 2). This time I’m looking at one of her series, or maybe it’s two series, or one total series with two branches. Enh, doesn’t really matter how it’s classified, it’s all about Berserkers anyway.

Way back when, the Vikings had berserker warriors. When these guys went into battle, they were in a kind of trance. They would go into battle without any kind of armor and no one was safe from them and their frenzied fury. There are stories in the various sagas of the berserkers turning into animals during the battle.

Lee has taken the stories and legends of the berserker warriors and turned it into a great set of paranormal romances.

Here’s the basic story. Many years ago, a Viking king wanted to have the best warriors possible. To do that, he had a witch cast a spell over some of his men. The spell that she cast over them turned them into wolves. They also ended up with a 3rd form, the beast. The beast is the berserker form of the Berserkers. When they are in that form, they will rage and kill everyone and everything that is in their view. As they get older, it’s easier for them to fall into being the beast. In order to fight the beast as much as possible, the Berserkers have formed warrior bonds to each other as pairs, inside the larger bonds of the pack. As a pack, they are all connected to each other and they can talk to each other inside their heads. Warriors who have bonded as brothers have a deeper bond and can talk to each other in their heads.

The Berserkers were given information by a witch that if they found a mate, they would be able to control the beast. They were also told what women to look for. The women are called spaewives.

For grins and giggles, I looked up the word spaewives as I was writing this. I wondered if Lee made up the word or not. The word is real, it comes from Scotland and primarily means a prophetess, witch, or fortune teller. Lee also describes them as hedge witches, so that works out well. Makes sense that it comes from Scotland since the stories take place in Alba, which is ancient Scotland.

At the beginning of the Berserker Saga, there are 2 packs. Each pack is ruled by bonded pair of warriors, who are the Alphas. One of the pair is more Alpha than the other. One pack is lead by Samuel and Daegan and the other is ruled by Ragnvald and Maddox. Protip: Hit that link and read the whole saga all at once because there are also bonus extras in it.

The spaewives in the first 5 books are a set of sisters. Brenna, Sabine, Muriel, and Fleur. The sisters have their books in that order. Brenna was attacked by a wolf years before and cannot really speak. Sabine has some skill as a healer.  Muriel and Fleur are twin sisters.

Alright, each sister gets their mate, but that leaves a whole lot of Berserkers without any mates. Because their Alphas are under control, the rest of the pack are more under control, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need their own mates. Luckily, or maybe not quite so luckily, in Fleur’s story, a convent full of spaewives is found, and all the Berserkers go raid it to get their own mates, which leads to the Berserker Brides series.

In Fleur’s story, we get to find out about that convent because she is chased by the grey men who are minions of the Corpse King, the uber-bad guy. He has been taking the spaewives as necessary to power him up.

The Berserker Bride storyline is all about the various Berserkers getting their brides and fighting for them. Each story has its own HEA, but they are all connected together in a broader sense. I, personally, wouldn’t read any of these books as a stand-alone, and especially not the newest one, Berserker Babies, which is a small look into the lives of the sisters and where they are standing as the fight against the big bad progresses.

I would suggest that you go read them, starting with the box set and go through the Berserker Brides. They are all pretty quick, easy reads, with some seriously hot wolf shifters. The women are all very strong characters in their own right, and nothing causes that to change. They are still strong women even when they are submitting to their mates. The majority of the books are menages, with Fleur’s book having 3 guys, and the first Berserker Bride book only having 1. I reread them fairly often when I’m looking for something that is hot, quick, and dirty. So, go check them out!

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Haven Handel-Princess of the Pack

Haven Handel is a pen name for Shanna Handel. She’s writing paranormal romance under this name. Of course, just because she’s writing in a new genre with a new pen name doesn’t mean that she got rid of the spanking and domestic discipline that go along with her other books.

In Princess of the Pack, we meet a new cast of characters. There’s Cassandra and Deo, her husband, and all of his family. Deo’s family are interesting, but we’ll get to them later. Right now all you need to know is that they are Greek and they all look like they stepped down off Mount Olympus.

So, Cassandra and Deo have been married for 10 years. In fact, the story starts out the day before their 10th wedding anniversary. However, in the past few months, their marriage hasn’t been good. They have been fighting and arguing and just pulling away from each other, in general. During a big argument that night, Cassandra tells Deo that she is leaving. It’s that exact point in time when everything changes. Deo tells her to go to his office, tells her to get undressed, and then takes her over his knee, after she laughed in his face, which meant she got spanked even worse.

The next day she goes to work late, so she wouldn’t have to sit down at her meeting, and tells her friend Cynthia what happens. Then she goes out to lunch with her friend Andrew, when Deo shows up. Bye-bye Andrew. When she gets back from lunch, another Greek god looking dude, Baal, is waiting in her office and tells her that Deo sent her and she needs to leave.

OK, this is a good place to mention all the names of the hot guys. Whenever anyone meets them, they always tell the new person what their name is and what it means. Deo means godlike. Baal is short for Balthazar, meaning protect the king, he’s Deo’s couisn. Alekos is Deo’s brother, and his name means defender of mankind. Draco, another cousin, means the dragon. Xander, yet another relative, means protector. Then there was Cassandra, who was an unheeded prophetess.

Here is where the paranormal bit comes in. When Baal and Draco get Cassandra to Deo at the castle, he starts to tell her what’s the what. Turns out he and his family are shifters who have to fight against dark spirits. They are all wolves, but Draco has a second, more powerful, form. Gee, guess what it is? Not that we see it in this book, but we will, I’m sure.

Alright, here’s where you choose which path to follow, my little ducklings. There is spanking and romance. Not so much sex, and not a whole lot of bad language. Shanna/Haven writes rather tame stories, sex-wise, but very entertaining otherwise, so I’m not complaining in any way. I enjoy reading them. Shanna came up with a good premise in this and an interesting way to turn the people into wolves, which is a way I’ve not heard of before, and I’ve read a lot of paranormal and UF, so that was exciting.

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OK, so here’s how they become shifters. You know, in most stories, they are bitten or they are born to be a shifter. In this one, Deo’s family was cursed many, many, many years ago. Now, when the men make a sacred vow, whoosh, the curse activates and they turn into shifters. Until they do that vow, they have no clue what’s going. So, when Deo married Cassandra, he made that vow, and he found out about the curse and was able to turn into a wolf.

There are always dark spirits around, but they multiply when vows and promises get broken, and they like to attack a lot more people when that happens.

I like that Cassandra stays a strong woman even after her husband starts with his domestic discipline. She’s a high powered lawyer outside of their marriage and is pretty Alpha herself, so Shanna did really well not letting that part of Cassandra disappear. Sadly, it earns her a lot of punishment, but you know, this happens. But, Cassandra also gets to be a BAMF and a kickass fighter, which is good.

Outside of telling you to go check this out, I think I’ve said quite enough. It’s a fairly short story, which is amazing that I was able to talk this much about it, and it’s a great start to a new series in an interesting world.

Sue Lyndon-Punished by the Cowboy

This post was going to show up on Tuesday, but it dropped early, so I decided to post it today.

Sue Lyndon has made other appearances here on my blog. I really like her books, the menage ones, the non-menage ones, the alien ones, so on and so forth. Punished by the Cowboy is a nice, short spanking story, and just in time for your kinky Halloween read.  Because it’s a short story, this blog post isn’t going to be that long. This story did originally show up in another anthology, but Sue expanded it and gave us more hotness.

There really aren’t going to be much in the way of spoilers, because with something so short, it only takes one extra detail and the whole thing is given away. The premise is that Elizabeth and Jacob met online and they have been talking about everything under the Sun for a while. When it’s time to meet, they decide to meet at a costume party.

This is a wonderful little story, very light-hearted, even with some spanking. I enjoyed every word of this all too brief story. The only thing I wish was that it was longer, just because I was enjoying it so much. I think that it will remain on rotation on my Kindle, as a way to brighten my spirits and to use like I use pickled ginger (yum!) when I eat sushi, a tasty way to cleanse my mind.

Even though it’s short, I still have a picture for it, mostly because I love looking at pictures to find something that suits the book. Tomorrow is a Sophie Kisker story, Tuesday is the new one from Rose Deveraux, both stories that I really enjoyed reading (and rereading). Meanwhile, happy reading!

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