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In Enemy Hands by Jaye Peaches: Sweet and Sexy Romance

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Review by Katherine Deane

When the rest of her household flees the family estate during the English Civil War, Hester Cavell, a proud Royalist supporter, stays behind hoping to protect her home. Unfortunately for Hester, she quickly finds that she is no match for a troop of Parliamentarian dragoons, led by Captain Daniel Hasard. Once the dragoons take control of her house, Daniel lets Hester stay with her servants, but he warns her that he will punish her severely if she causes any trouble.

Despite Daniel’s warning, it isn’t long before Hester risks her safety and attempts to sabotage his troops, earning her a long, hard switching on her bare bottom. But as the weeks pass, she begins to realize that the man behind the enemy uniform is loving, intelligent, and kind, and she can’t help but grow more and more attracted to him. Daniel returns Hester’s affection, and while they remain enemies by day to protect her reputation, they soon become passionate lovers by night.

Not wanting the servants to guess at their games, Hester continues to make a pretence at mischief, and Daniel continues to punish her sternly. But when a servant at last finds out the truth of their relationship, will it bring an end to their newfound romance, or will Daniel cast aside politics and allegiances and ask for her hand in marriage?

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REVIEW

This was such a lovely, historical read – a story of romance and love between two enemies.

Hester stays behind to protect her family home as the warring gets closer. With her father and brothers gone, fighting, and her mother and the rest of the servants leaving for safety, Hester feels it is her duty to stay behind and make sure nothing happens to the beloved home.

Parliamentarian dragoons, led by Daniel, commandeer the house, but agree to let Hester and the remaining servants stay.

This is where things become interesting. One spanking was all it took!

 Daniel and Hester didn’t want to be attracted to each other out of duty to their families and roles. But when he took control of her house, they were forced into some more intimate situations.

She felt her duty was to protect her family’s home, and sabotage the men at every chance.

He felt his duty was to follow his orders as the Captain of a Parliamentary troop, but as a chivalrous man, also wanted to protect Hester and her servants since they were under his care.

If caught, both would have been in so much trouble, but they continued to explore and love each other, in the hopes that when the war ended, they could finally be together.

This historical was quite enjoyable. I relaxed and immersed into the vivid time period of the English Civil War that Jaye Peaches brought to life. 

I especially enjoyed Hester’s pranks. She was so much fun to watch. And I appreciated her longing to be spanked and loved by Daniel. It was a wonderful personal battle between love and duty.

Jaye Peaches did a fantastic job of bringing history to life in this sweet and sexy romance.
Buy now on Amazon

The Mail Order Switch by Patty Devlin – (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Recently Celeste Jones reviewed Chicagoan Switch by Patty Devlin [http://spankingromance.com/the-chicagoan-switch-by-patty-devlin-a-fun-ride/] which is a sort-of sequel featuring the ‘one who got away’ in this book, Mail Order Switch.

In the original story, Caroline Lowe (The Chicagoan Switch’s main protagonist) persuades teenage runaway Liz Castle to switch places with her when she gets cold feet about becoming a mail order bride to a man she has never met.

It’s an interesting premise, set at a point in history when it was common for men working out west to place adverts to find themselves wives. The practise allowed men to find wives even though they were forging new lives for themselves where women were in short supply. The couples would exchange no more than a few letters and perhaps a photograph.

Although there was certainly no photo exchanged in the case of Caroline and our hero, Wade Malone. An oversight perhaps, on his part, which enables his intended to switch places with Liz.

Liz has escaped from the lascivious clutches of a wicked uncle and aimed to head out west disguised as a boy and make her own way in the world. She is persuaded instead to take up Caroline’s identity and, with it, an obligation to marry Wade.

To be honest, it’s a good thing that Caroline did manage to persuade Liz away from her original plan. Liz turns out to be terrible at subterfuge. She’s totally unable to master the basic pretending-to-be-someone else skills and continually finds herself caught out in her lies.

Her new husband, Wade is a gruff but fair man with a firm belief in physical discipline. Of course he is. I rather hoped he would be. Wade delivers the first spanking within hours of marrying his new bride. Given Liz’s inevitable tendency to lie – and lie badly – coupled with her preponderance to run away the moment she feels stressed, Wade has plenty to reasons to spank her subsequently on numerous occasions. And each time, within the story, it feels deserved. Spankings are delivered either via Wade’s palm or – on a couple of occasions – the switch. They are non-consensual discipline spankings although Liz quickly learns to appreciate the concern for her wellbeing that motivates Wade to punish her.

Wade is a widower whose incentive for arranging a new wife is simply to provide a new mother for his two young children. He intends the marriage to be one in name only. Of course, the reader knows that the relationship is destined to bloom into something greater and the way this is handled is sweet and believable.

I haven’t yet read “The Chicagoan Switch” and I am really looking forward to doing so. What’s the likelihood, do you think, that Caroline managed to avoid one enthusiastic spanker only to end up embroiled with another one? I certainly hope so!

 

Emmaline’s Groom – Casey McKay (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

I love a spanking story. Preferably one with a historic setting – late Victorian period is my absolute favourite. Throw in a socially mismatched pair of lovers and some sparkling dialogue and you’ve got my perfect book.

Casey McKay’s Emmaline’s Groom ticks every single one of my spanking preference boxes and does so with great style. It’s fantastic. I feel like I have I have just acquired my very own bespoke romance writer catering specially to my own personal requirements.

Although to be fair, I’m probably far from being the only person likely to be enchanted by Emmaline and Leo’s story.

Lady Emmaline Lawford is the much indulged daughter of the Marquess of Stanhope. During a stolen week of intimacy, she surrenders her virginity to one of her servants, Leo Colston, whom she has always loved. The couple’s plans to marry are derailed as Emmaline is forced to accept a suitor more in keeping with her station. However, some outrageously scandalous behaviour on Emmaline’s part exposes their secret and forces a marriage between Emmaline and Leo. We then follow the couple as they start their married life together on a voyage to America, their soon-to be new home. A lot of spanking and some very sexy lovemaking ensues as well as a sub-plot about a jilted husband which provides the more suspenseful aspects of the story.

My one criticism of the book – and it’s not a criticism so much as an observation – is that the book sometimes feels more like the continuation of an existing story rather than the first in a series. There is so much already happening that I found myself re-checking Casey’s blog and Amazon to see if there was an earlier book I’d missed.

I especially wanted to know more about the backstory between Emmaline’s oldest brother, Samuel and his wife, Clara. How did the stuffy Earl of Darlington feel about being matched to a rich American heiress who tells servants not to call her ‘Lady’ because “titles make me crazy”? What compromises did they need to make to reach the state of wedded bliss we see them enjoying in Emmaline’s Groom? There’s probably a clue in Samuel’s remarks to Leo in the aftermath of Emmaline’s scandalous behaviour: “If Lady Clara were acting like my sister, she would be in for a session with the strap.” I so want to find out more about this couple.

Of course this isn’t about Samuel and Clara. Emmaline’s Groom is very definitely Emmaline and Leo’s story.

Despite their obvious love for one another, Emmaline and Leo have to work hard at their relationship. Emmaline needs to control her impetuousness while Leo needs to learn how to reign in his temper. And, to their credit, both try very hard to do so. Emmaline especially recognises that she can no longer act like a pampered princess and must learn to be adjust to life as an obedient wife of a working man. She is refreshingly aware of her shortcomings and tells Leo: “Sometimes even when I have the best intentions, even when I am trying very hard to stay out of trouble, I cannot.” Luckily Leo is just the man to give her the discipline she needs whether it is daily maintenance spankings or a stern lesson in obedience with the strap.

The best scenes are those when the pair are sparring off one another. Their conversation is so

natural and sweet and witty that I could happily believe that Emmaline and Leo were made for one another,

This is one of the most delightful, romantic books I have read in a while. I enjoyed it hugely.

 

Finding Their Bliss – Thianna D & Sarah’s Tutorial – Emily Tilton (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

There’s been quite a buzz about Corbin’s Bend these last few months - at least on the bits of the internet where I like to hang out. A multi-author project spanning (for now) ten books set in the fictitious community of Corbin’s Bend - a housing development where spankings – both disciplinary and erotic – are the norm.

We have had to get by on just teasers and snippets for weeks. The Corbin’s Bend blog [http://blog.corbinsbend.com/] has been doing a great job giving us tantalising glimpses of life in this Spankophile Utopia. If spanking romances had the same budgets as Summer blockbuster movies, we’d have been seeing Corbin’s Bend billboard posters everywhere.

And now it’s here! May 7th saw the release of the first Corbin’s Bend book “Finding Their Bliss” by Thianna D, the second – “Sarah’s Tutorial” by Emily Tilton – hot on its heels with a release date of May 14th. The gates have been opened and we’re being welcomed in. It’s time for us to meet their neighbours.

As well as providing a story in its own right, Finding Their Bliss is responsible for laying the groundwork and introducing us to the prominent characters in the Corbin’s Bend community. By centering the story on Brent Carmichael, head of the housing board and one of the community’s founding members, Thianna has ensured that there are plenty of opportunities to explain the history and the set-up of the place without the story becoming too exposition-heavy.

The story itself is a delightful love story between Brent and newcomer Charmagne Michaels who is fleeing a former life made impossible by her ex-fiancé – a spoilt playboy who freaks out when he finds out that his girlfriend is into spanking. Charmagne has bought the only house in the area which doesn’t belong to the Corbin’s Bend co-operative, but that doesn’t stop the residents welcoming her with open arms. Although she was completely unaware of Corbin’s Bend’s very special charter when she bought the house, it turns out that she ended up in exactly the right place.

Emily Tilton’s book “Sarah’s Tutorial” is very different in style from Thianna’s, demonstrating how different writers can use their own voices while still staying within the project’s overall narrative and theme.

John Dunn a middle-aged History professor begins a torrid BDSM relationship with one of his students, Sarah Harshaw. There’s a lot of build-up to their relationship. A huge chunk of the book is given to a single encounter between the two of them in John’s study following Sarah’s attempted seduction. There’s barely any sex or spanking in this part yet the sexual chemistry radiates off the page as both characters give themselves the chance to assume the roles that they have always wanted to. And then there’s a ton of sex and spanking so don’t worry.

Although Sarah has grown up in a family where Domestic Discipline was the norm, she realises that her desires go far beyond this. She wants to be completely dominated. However, it turns out that even in Corbin’s Bend it is still possible to shock your parents and when the nature of their relationship comes to light, it looks like John and Sarah are going to have to forfeit the one thing that matters most.

Although very different, both stories were both engagingly romantic, brilliantly written and fun to read. I love the idea behind Corbin’s Bend and can’t wait to see where other writers will take it. Tara Finnegan, Cara Bristol and Maren Smith are among the veritable ‘Who’s who of spanking authors with forthcoming Corbin’s Bend books. I’ll be checking out all the new releases as they happen.

I have been completely won over by this little spanking community. In fact, I might put my name down for a house, there.

Eddie, my Love by Patricia Green (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Eddie, my Love is the third book in Patricia Green’s Romantek series, an original and highly imaginative story premise which combines sci-fi and historical fiction. It’s the 22nd century and people are able to take literal dream holidays with Romantek – fully immersive virtual reality fantasies set in a time and place of their choosing. It’s a fantastic idea which allows Patricia Green to set the books anywhere she wants. The first book, The Winner, was set in the Wild West and the second, Charlotte and the Pirate, was set on the high seas during the golden age of piracy.

This one takes place in 1950s Los Angeles. The heroine, going by her character name of June for most of the story, has chosen a private eye film noir adventure for her dream holiday and finds herself paired with Eddie Strong, Private Investigator as the two of them try to get to the bottom of the suspicious death of a society lady.

I hadn’t previously given much thought to how well a hard-boiled private investigator would suit being the hero of a spanking romance. Very well indeed it turns out, at least in Patricia Green’s capable hands. Eddie is a Philip Marlow-esque character, all cynical eyebrow raises and snappy put-downs. When I checked my notes for this book, it turns out that every single thing I had highlighted was a cool or sexy line delivered by Eddie. “This is it, kid,” for example, “Tell me yes or no, but don’t make it maybe.” Every time he said anything like that to June, I just sort of melted a bit. I swear if it would have been possible to draw little pink hearts around Eddie’s best dialogue on my Kindle, I probably would have done.

June and Eddie have great chemistry and they manage to combine their investigations with getting to know one another very well indeed. The getting to know one another’ process involves Eddie putting June across his knee pretty frequently, you’ll be pleased to know. Usually for doing something dangerous that he’s just told her not to. She gets three spankings in a single day at one point. She’s not a fast learner.

The mystery that they need to solve is properly thought out and executed as the pair rush around picking up clues and eliminating suspects. It made me wonder whether Patricia Green needed to have bothered with the Romantek premise at all. The story would have worked just as well as straightforward 1950s crime fiction.

I do like Romantek holidays as a framing device though. It gives the stories a similar vibe to time travel stories as we see the characters reacting and adapting to the ways of the past while looking at everything from a modern perspective. Or rather a futuristic perspective in this given that the characters come from a time at least a hundred years ahead of our own where amongst other things private cars and carbohydrates are no longer commonplace. Patricia Green certainly has her work cut out for her as keeping all her plates spinning. The geek in me wants to understand exactly how these holidays work and what the rules are. Why for example was Audrey in the first book allowed to use her real name in her dream when the characters in this one are specifically prohibited from mentioning theirs? Why the massive secrecy in the first place? And why are there apparently no web forums in the 22nd century?

I hope Patricia Green plans to write plenty more Romantek adventures. They’re a bit like Doctor Who in that the stories can be set literally anywhere in space and time while still sharing a common narrative.

It would be great to see some of the characters from earlier books recurring in subsequent ones. Particularly Rex, Romantek’s counter cyber-terrorism expert and the evil hacker from the second book.

One of the features of Romantek’s dream holidays is that the characters that you get to interact with may either be computer simulations or real people enjoying Romantek holidays of their own. So far in the series, all the protagonists – including June and Eddie – have always fallen in love with other participants. The premise has left me wondering what it would be like to fall in love within Romantek when the object of your desires is a computer program. It must be easy to do, particularly if they were specifically programmed to fulfil your fantasies. It would be a really interesting area for Patricia Green to explore although I don’t know how feasible it would be to write a successful romance where one of the heroes doesn’t actually exist. It would be a hell of an obstacle to overcome.

Luckily that isn’t a problem for June. Eddie is all real man. I have loved all of the Romantek stories so far but Eddie, my love is definitely my favourite. The 1950s film noir setting is perfectly realised and the dialogue and character interaction is tremendous fun. The spankings are an absolute delight. It doesn’t matter in what order you read the books in series – you don’t have to have read either of the earlier books, to enjoy this one fully. Just make sure you come back to them later.

 

A Simple Misunderstanding (Corbin’s Bend 7) by Kathryn R Blake (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Some spanking fiction is pure fantasy. And I’m not just talking about the sort of thing set on the far-off planet of Padlor where the Ancient Al-Faas insist on the young, female and invariably nubile members of their kingdom obey the sacred spanking rituals of their people. Although that does sound pretty great. Nobody steal that.

Spanking romance stories can be set in what is seemingly the real world and still be pretty fantastical by nature. You know the sort of thing – where the hero can lay a hundred lashes on his lady’s backside and by the next morning all traces of his handiworks will have disappeared leaving an unblemished canvas for the next day’s spanking. Where no-one ever needs to worry about condoms or lube or whether it might be the heroine’s time of the month.

A Simple Misunderstanding is not one of those kinds of books.

In fact, for a completely fictional spanking community, Corbin’s Bend stories are all set very squarely in the real world. The series certainly doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult subjects.

Tara Finnegan’s Exile to Unity (reviewed on Spanking Romance Reviews a couple of days ago by Rayanna Jamison) dealt with a whole host of real-world issues including job loss, marital difficulties and the problems of having a premature baby. But it was Finnegan’s eloquently written words on coping (and, in fact, failing to cope) with depression that had me crying in the bath. Kate Richards’s For Ben also reduced me to tears. This time I was sitting at Waterloo train station trying to sob discreetly as I read about a woman trying to come to terms with the death of her twin sister while supporting her suddenly orphaned four year-old nephew.

And much like those two books, Kathryn R Blake’s A Simple Misunderstanding, the seventh book in the hugely successful Corbin’s Bend series – will put you through the emotional wringer.

The book deals with the issue of domestic abuse. It’s a difficult subject to tackle within the context of a BDSM novel. I am sure that plenty of people who embrace a healthy domestic discipline lifestyle have had to deal with people who are unable or unwilling to see a difference between domestic discipline and domestic abuse.

There is a difference of course. A huge one. And it is a difference that Kathryn R Blake tackles head-on here.

The story’s hero, Jerry Douglas often sees Corbin’s Bend newcomer, Elly Benson when she walks her dog near his veterinary practice. He has his suspicions that the relationship Elly has with her husband, Arthur, may not be a healthy one but is trying to resist interfering in another couple’s marriage. Elly denies there is any problem insisting as she does that the bruises she is trying to hide are down to a ‘simple misunderstanding’ between her husband and her.

However, we discover that Elly has become increasingly withdrawn and frightened since her marriage to Arthur. Although he chose to move them to the spanking-friendly community of Corbin’s Bend, Arthur discourages Elly from talking to the other residents or making friends, telling her that she cannot be trusted not to embarrass them both with her behavior. Her self-confidence has been eroded to the point where she is unable to see how dangerous and unhealthy the marriage has become. Finally, Arthur’s violence escalates to the point where he puts Elly’s life in danger. Tellingly even then, Elly only seeks out Jerry’s help because of the injuries her husband has

caused to her beloved dog, not because of her own broken ribs and bleeding internal organs.

Jerry, who already knew that his feeling for Elly were more than platonic, puts everything on hold in order to rescue Elly and help repair the damage Arthur has caused not just to her body but to her hugely damaged sense of worth. The relationship quickly develops into a romance. And, this being Corbin’s Bend, a romance that includes spankings.

It’s a brilliantly written book and Kathryn R Blake manages to tell Elly’s story in particular in a believable and sympathetic manner. It can be very easy for people to assume that those who remain in abusive relationships must be weak or stupid when in fact the truth is far more nuanced than that. Elly may be damaged but she’s also funny, stroppy, clever, generous and loving. And Jerry’s love – and loving discipline – helps her to see it.

This is another excellent story in the consistently brilliant Corbin’s Bend seriesA Simple Misunderstanding is thought-provoking, powerful and beautifully, life-affirmingly romantic. Kathryn R Blake takes us on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster before we reach Elly and Jerry’s Happily Ever After but it is certainly worth the journey.

Legally Tied by Chelsea Dorsette – (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

The two main characters in Legally Tied come together when the book’s hero, successful lawyer, Nick needs to hire an interior designer for his new home. Lyndsay, our heroine takes the job. It’s a clever set up for two characters to get to know one another better. It gives them plenty of opportunities to spend time together alone at his place as well as giving the heroine the opportunity to pump her client for information about his personal tastes and likes and dislikes.

During their first meeting, the reader can hear Nick’s filthy internal responses to Lyndsay’s questions about his ‘personal tastes’ which he is much too gentlemanly to say out loud. I loved his mental response to her question of “When would you like me to come?” Right now, all over his cock apparently.

Given that both characters fall for the other one pretty much at first sight, it takes an infuriatingly long time for either of them to do anything about it. In fact, it needs Lyndsay’s friend Jodi to drag Lyndsay along to a swinger’s party to finally get Lyndsay hotted up enough to make a move. Lyndsay at least has a good reason for not moving too quickly given that she doesn’t want to jeopardise a valuable account. I’m not sure why Nick is quite so coy. He is introduced to us as a ‘bad boy’ and we’re given to understand that he has had dozens of women. Maybe the fact that he likes her so much means that he doesn’t want to blow it. He mentally admonishes himself ‘not to let his cock run her off’. Is that an expression? I quite like it as something one should warn young men about “Don’t let your cock run her off, young man!”

Despite their slow start, once the characters do get a chance to interact with one another there’s real chemistry. The sexual interaction between the two of is nicely portrayed.

There is way too much exposition though. Frequently we get whole big chunks of information revealed in one lump. It would be nice if things were allowed to unfurl naturally sometimes. There is also a tendency to explain things to the audience that we already know. “Jodi was the one who introduced her to Nick Olsen last Saturday”. I know she was! I was there when it happened!

I think this book would have improved with less exposition and a lot more conversation because it’s when there’s plenty of dialogue that the book comes to life. The characters are well-rounded and believable. I totally wanted to see them get through their difficulties and get their happily ever after.

They have some difficult hurdles to get through before they can do that though. Firstly a violent act of revenge from some properly nasty villains threatens to end any chance of a relationship between the two of them. This part of the book is quite thrilling and given that Nick works as prosecuting attorney, it is totally credible that violent criminals would want to harm him

The biggest threat to their happiness however comes from inside their relationship and is over differences of opinion regarding parenthood. The conflict that the characters need to

face is nicely handled by the author.

In addition to the main characters, the supporting cast are nicely drawn. I particularly liked Lyndsay’s sex-obsessed friend Jodi and her army brother, Carl.

One thing I especially enjoyed in this book is all the interior decorating porn that comes with seeing Lyndsay do her job. It’s probably because I’m buying a house at the moment. I am just as likely to become excited by the idea of wallpaper charts or choosing fabric samples or shopping for ‘character pieces’ as I was by the sexy hot spanking action. Luckily Chelsea Dorsette delivers on both.

Call Me Yours by Casey McKay (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Casey McKay has a knack for coming up with great characters. She writes believable people that you would happily spend time with in the real world. Especially her heroes who manage to combine charm with gleeful dominance and a preponderance to spank. Leo from Emmaline’s Groom, Wesley from Loving Lena, Trevor from Cursed Waters all just lovely. You know if I had to arrange some kind of sexy foursome with a bunch of fictional characters, those boys would be top of my list. I may have to go away and consider that sexy foursome scenario for a moment or two. Be right back.

So it was a bit of surprise therefore to find that in Casey’s fabulous new book, Call Me Yours, for a while I really didn’t think I was going to like the hero, Simon Westin at all. I mean sure he is kind and good-looking and liable to bring up spanking in his first proper conversation with a girl – something I applaud wholeheartedly – but boy, ‘sensible Simon’ has some serious bossiness issues.

The books heroine Caitlin – a former spoilt rich kid – needs to make her own way in the world now that she no longer has Daddy’s money to support her and takes a job as a phone sex operator. (When it’s first mentioned as an idea by her friend she asks exactly what I was thinking:Do people even do that anymore?”)

Simon isn’t having any of it though and immediately lays down the law. “I said no,” he tells her simply. “You aren’t doing that.”

Hold on just a minute there. I mean, sure, I get that maybe most guys wouldn’t be thrilled to have their girlfriends work in the sex business but at this stage in the story, Caitlin and Simon have been dating for less than 24 hours. What gives, Simon? You give a girl oral sex one time and now you think you get to dictate how she lives her life? Well, that’s not how things work in the real world, matey.

And you know what? I needn’t have worried. That’s not how it works in the real world and that’s not how it works here either. Like I said, Casey McKay writes great, believable characters.

Simon may not be happy about it but he learns to accept has to accept Caitlin’s decision. They negotiate, they make compromises and they deal with stuff. Just like real people.

And happily, when Simon gets to lay down the law about things he’s entitled to get shirty about (Caitlin almost accidentally burning the house down or getting wasted and trying to drive home for example), he’s as sexy as hell doing it.

So it turns out that I really like Simon after all. Phew. Simon can join in my fictional character orgy too if he likes.

Call Me Yours is a delightfully straightforward, engaging story about a girl getting it together with (literally) the boy-next-door. Their relationship is just adorable. Caitlin and Simon are just so perfect for one another. She needs some stability and order in her life. He needs a bit of chaotic fun.

They meet for the first time when Simon rescues a far too drunk Caitlin from the unwanted sexual

advances of a fellow partygoer. He takes her back to his house where she can sleep it off. Caitlin then spends the next three months avoiding the guy who washed puke out of her hair and threatened her with a spanking if she didn’t behave herself in future.

Caitlin really shouldn’t have avoided her cute, but dominating, neighbour for quite so long. She was missing out on lots of sexy sex and some pretty inventive punishments. Happily, once they get together, the pair seemed determined to make up for lost time.

This is an utterly charming and sweetly funny story about a couple of people coming together and getting to know one another better – often through sex and discipline. Casey has proven once again that in the world of character-driven spanky romantic fiction, she’s a tough act to beat.

Maggie Carpenter – The Strict British Barrister (RE-POST)

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Review by Etta Stark

Maggie Carpenter’s The Strict British Barrister tells the story of slightly spoilt Southern Belle, Brittany who meets the man of her dreams onboard a cruise across the Pacific. Not only is our hero, Duncan Rhys-Davies a barrister, he’s also an erotic fiction writer. Interestingly, he plays his barrister card pretty close to his chest for the most part, choosing just to tell Brittany about his writing instead. It’s an unusual strategy but one that totally pays off in his case.

This is the second Maggie Carpenter book I’ve read – the other being Three Dark Hours which was part of the School’s In Session boxset. That one had erotic authors as characters too.

Maggie Carpenter clearly has a thing about British boys as she’s written three volumes of “The British Billionaire Bachelor as well. Being a Brit myself, I’m afraid that the appeal of a British accent may be lost on me. I can see the appeal of a British billionaire though. If you were planning to snag a billionaire, a Brit would be the best way to go. Not only are pounds worth more than dollars, but a British billion is bigger too – a million million rather than a thousand million. (Actually, I just looked that up and apparently we use the thousand million version here too, these days. It’s a good thing I checked. How disappointed would I be if I started dating a billionaire assuming that he was worth a tidy thirteen figures only to find out later that his bank balance only ran into a meagre ten digits?)

All of which is slightly off the point, Duncan isn’t actually a billionaire as far as we know. Although he’s clearly not short of a bob or two. Brittany’s rich too. The pair of them meet when they’re taken to their exclusive First Class staterooms on board the cruise.

A cruise ship is a great place for a romance novel to take place. Everyone is confined together in the same place. If, like Brittany, you are determined to better acquaint yourself with someone that you met on the first day, well you know they’re not going anywhere any time soon. Plus no-one needs to make any complicated arrangements for getting home after a night out. Everyone’s bedrooms are right there. It’s practically impossible not to have a steamy affair to be honest.

Brittany and Duncan’s steamy love affair gets off to a very robust start when Duncan finds Brittany snooping in his cabin and decides she needs to be firmly disciplined. They’d already agreed to a date that evening but Brittany’s bad behaviour shifts the tone of the relationship. Duncan tells her “If you had simply waited for tonight I would have given you a pleasant, smart spanking, one that would have made your toes curl. Now, however, you must be disciplined and that, Brittany, is a very different matter.”

The discipline sessions are wonderfully described. Duncan is a man who clearly relishes being in control and who enjoys Brittany’s rebellious impulses. As well as spankings with a variety of implements including quintessential British favourite, the slipper – there are a bunch of other inventive punishments that Duncan employs to enable Brittany to fully discover her submissive side.

The pair end up having stronger feelings for one another than they anticipate and realise that the few days they have on board together are not going to be enough. They do seem to get unreasonably agitated about it though. Things turn a bit sour between them for no real reason at

all. It’s as though they’re looking for trouble. Yes, you’re going to have to figure out whether you have a future together, yes, there are other guys on the boat who might want to get into Brittany’s pants, yes long distance relationships can be awkward. But you know, it’s fine guys. Chill the hell out.

Happily Brittany and Duncan manage to overcome their difficulties. Such as they are. The fact that the book is called The Strict British Barrister Part One does rather suggest that we haven’t seen the last of our two heroes. This is a really enjoyable book. The sex scenes are incredibly hot and the way in which the heroes fit into their dominant and submissive roles is wonderfully believable and rather touching.

I must say I am impressed with theadventurously sexy lives that Maggie Carpenters fictional erotic authors seem to lead. Both here and in Three Dark Hours, letting someone read one’s erotic novel seems to be quite the springboard into all manner of sexy shenanigans. It makes me feel like I am doing erotic authoring all wrong. Maybe should book myself a cruise.

Becoming Lady Amherst by Celeste Jones – Sweet Romance (Re-post)

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Review by Casey McKay

There were so many things I loved about this book! I’ve read other books by Celeste Jones and I always appreciate the way she can interweave some humor into her story lines.

Sarah is a spirited American who, through a series of events, ends up the bride of Lord Amherst. I loved that Sarah started out as this spunky self-assured woman, but then we got to see more of her self-conscious side as she began to fall in love with Jeffrey and feared she was not good enough.

Ms. Jones did a wonderful job of characterizing and really making you love Jeffrey even though the entire book is told from Sarah’s point of view. Even in the beginning when Sarah is set on disliking Lord Amherst, he never comes across as harsh or unreasonable. It’s rare that I like a hero in a spanking romance from the very beginning, but Ms. Jones had me loving Jeffrey from the start!

I highly recommend Becoming Lady Amherst to any reader who enjoys a good spanking romance with a touch of humor.

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