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★★★½ Full Series Review – Desires Entwined Series by Tempeste O’Riley ★★★½

 

Full Series Review

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Book #1 – Designs of Desire

Book #1.75 – Bound by Desire

Book #2 – Desires’ Guardian

 

by

Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

 The blurb

 

Book 1

Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.

As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.

James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?

Book 1.75

Despite his past abuse, James has come to terms with his relationship with his Dom and lover Seth. Seth treats James with all the trust and love his sub desires. There is only one thing left to do to make it all complete: Seth needs to put a collar on James.

 

Book 2

Most people see Chase Manning as the party-boy twink he seems on the surface. Only James, Chase’s BFF, knows the depth of his loyalty and the extent of the wounds Chase carries inside. When Chase meets Rhys Sayer things don’t go well, but he can’t shake his attraction to the huge, sexy man.

Rhys is a man of contradictions and fear—a strange combination for a PI and bodyguard. He’s in a bad place emotionally when he sets eyes on Chase for the first time. When Chase puts the moves on him, Rhys insults him, thwarting any possibility of a relationship. Rhys doesn’t see himself as a complicated man, but he dreads the very kind of connection he desires.

Just as they’re trying to overcome their uncertainties, Chase is put in harm’s way. Luckily Rhys and their friends have all the right talents to help Rhys save the man of his dreams.

 

Our thoughts

 

In Designs of Desire, James is an artist whose day job is with a marketing company. At least, I think it’s a marketing company. That wasn’t really explained well. James doesn’t get along with his immediate supervisor, who is a bigot and likes to make James miserable, which is why James is so suspicious when he’s given Seth Burns as a client. Also, James was born with a serious genetic disorder and serial bad taste in men. Seth is CEO of his company and his new project requires branding. He’s building a new chain of high-end bed and breakfast hotels to cater to the GLBT community.

When Seth and James meet, the two men are attracted to each other. Working together does provide them time to get to know each other, but it’s still insta love. I liked the characters so much it didn’t bother me. From the beginning of the getting to know you stage, Seth and James are burning up the sheets. A lot. Seriously, there was a lot of sex. For the most part it was hot. Seth does care and want James to be happy. There is somewhat of a cinderfella feel, except James’ art could have been supporting him in a much better fashion than his job. James is strong inside, but fragile at the same time. Very low self-esteem, thanks to horrific previous boyfriends. At least James finally gets it right with Seth. The lite BDSM doesn’t appeal to me, though it is very lite – primarily D/s with a few elements of bondage and other play.

The supporting cast really helps this story. Chase is a bit stereo typed, but still loveable. I like Mel and Britt. Seth’s parents are also good people, although they have a very small part in the story. Danni, Seth’s secret daughter, is precious, but maybe a little off on her ability to articulate. I’m not sure, since I can’t remember what my kids were like at 6. The horrible ex-boyfriends and their attempts to harm James were believable. Discovering who threatened James and tried to burn his stone house down was a bit of a surprise. Too much of the story is off page then summarized. For example, making sure James’ ex number 2 went to jail for assault and violating a protection order. I would have preferred seeing more everyday with the guys, but that won’t bother everyone. Also, there is no background about Seth. A few lines of going to college at 15 and his parents are from Ireland. He could have been fleshed out more.

Bound by Desire is a very short story about Seth giving James a collar. Not much more than the set-up and a sex scene.

Desire’s Guardian is my favorite of the three books. This is Chase’s story. Chase is very prominent in the first book since he is James’ best friend. In his own book, Chase breaks out of the stereo type, which is really his armor and not who he is. Chase has started his own consulting firm since the end of book one. We met Rhys in book one when Seth hired Rhys to be James’ bodyguard. He had a few scenes in that book, but we do get to know him along with Chase. Rhys is co-owner of an investigation company. I got the impression that he doesn’t normally do bodyguard work, although that isn’t really addressed. When Rhys’ regular computer guru moves across the country with her husband, he needs help and James coerces Chase into taking the job.

Chase and Rhys had met once before Rhys entered the story in book one. Unfortunately, that meeting didn’t go well and while the two men are wildly attracted to each other, they act more like adversaries. Thankfully, this plot thread is addressed and closed within this story. It takes quite a while, especially when compared to book one, for the men to finally accept their attraction and become intimate. Except that doesn’t go as well for Chase as it does for Rhys. This particular element is very important to Chase, but he never tells Rhys why he walked away after their first time together. I don’t know if that was deliberate or something that was left on the cutting room floor. Either way, they move past it and do become a couple.

There are several supporting characters in addition to the people from the first book. Both Rhys and Chase’s parents love their children. Chase’s mom more than just accepts her son is gay. She is supportive, too. Rhys’ parents accept he’s gay. I absolutely loved that there is more story to this book. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough of the guys doing stuff together. There are massive time skips then Chase telling the highlights in about one short paragraph. Chase is the fragile psyche this time, but he is so strong. Good job working that combo into the irrepressible Chase. There are murders and more drama in this story, too. It gets a little intense and Rhys has to rescue Chase. We do get more background on Rhys than there was of Seth in book one, but still not nearly enough.

This is a decent series that can be read quickly. It’s pretty light even with the drama. I do sense a bit of a theme: big strong boyfriend has to protect the fragile boyfriend.

Jilrene x

Reviewed by Jilrene

 

 

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Giveaway and extended excerpt: With Wings by Z. Allora

Releases today 5th September!

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With Wings

The Dark Angels #1

by Z. Allora

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Publication Date: Sept 5, 2014
Word Count: 79,000

The blurb

The lights go down and stage lights up. The Dark Angels have arrived. With his come-hither voice and body made for sin, lead singer Angel Luv draws lovers like a magnet. And when he caresses and taunts shy guitarist Darius Stone on stage, well…it’s an act, right? But every touch lights a fire, and every flirtatious glance chips away at Dare’s certainty that he’s straight. No one else has so captured his imagination.

Temptation beckons. It’s hard not to notice the want in Dare’s eyes, the way he stares when he thinks Angel’s not watching. One wrong move might scare him away, but a work trip to exotic Bali might be the perfect place to let Dare explore his sexuality, with none to be the wiser. But their “friends with benefits” pact has an expiration date, that just might sour their friendship.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

The drunks in the hole-in-the wall bar were there to get laid, not to listen to Darius Stone play guitar with a gloried cover band. Fuck it, he didn’t care. He pretended his twist on another band’s musical hits was the reason a major fight hadn’t broken out in over a week and the police hadn’t intervened in over a month. It didn’t matter that the bar owner tried to cheat the band out of their take of the door. He was playing in New York City, and that helped block out the negative dialogue still powerful enough to slip around his wall of defense.

His father’s words nagged, questioning Dare’s sanity and his moral compass for following his rock and roll dreams. He’d heard the slurs and skewed stereotypes a thousand times, but each insult still stung. Musicians are nothing but a bunch of druggies and sex-depraved homos. If you’re going to play at being a musician, at least play a respectable instrument like the piano. You’re going to wind up in some alley OD’ed.

Not even the abusive words Darius carried in his heart could dissuade him from his love for the guitar. While his buddies had saved up to buy cars, he’d put his pennies away to buy a Fender American Standard Stratocaster electric guitar in ebony burst black. Every performance convinced Darius he’d made the right decision. The guitar was his first and only love.

When his eyes adjusted to the stage lights, he raised his head and was jolted by an instant connection. The guy from last night was back. Dressed in all black, he sat in the same seat, his amber eyes seeming to Dare’s fingers as they played each note. Guitar wails bridged the gap, joining them. He’d never felt so drawn to a fan, and remained captivated by the stranger throughout the entire set.

He closed his eyes and bent his fingers over the guitar’s strings, stroking out one last vibrato. Fuck, he was on fire tonight. The music injected a burst of love, mixed with lust, and the most incredible satisfaction imaginable, with an adrenalin chaser into his blood. All made better by the unique link he’d forged with the amber-eyed stranger. The connection nourished something in his soul. Nothing else came close to this kind of ecstasy—not even sex.

Fucking A, that was awesome. He opened his eyes, but now, with the music done, he avoided the stranger’s gaze and jumped off the tiny stage. It was weird to have been so deeply connected with a member of the audience. He hoped the guy didn’t get the wrong idea about him.

His gaze skated over to the guy in black, still there. He never socialized, and waved off anyone who approached. The guy’s focus remained on Darius, quite a feat since the outlandish lead singer, Paul Martin, usually demanded everyone’s attention. The shirt Paul had torn from his body, now in tatters littering the stage, was evidence that he’d do anything to get the audience’s love.

Darius hated most of the members of this lazy-assed band he’d fallen in with as a temporary replacement three years ago. On a daily basis he questioned why he’d agreed to play with a bunch of losers who thought the name “Doesn’t Matter” ironic.

But holy hell, he flew tonight. Until he found another band, he couldn’t walk away from this feeling. When it was good, there was no better high. He’d read somewhere that intermittent reinforcement was the strongest form—he’d have to agree.

He tipped his head so a lock of hair would hide his eyes while on stage fell forward. The same move worked offstage as well, allowing him to stare back at the man who appeared to be eye-fucking him.

The guy’s cool confidence could be experienced across the room. His black-polished nails ran through his hair, and he licked his full lips as if savoring something delicious. An odd sensation spread through Darius, but he refused to name it. If he were interested in guys, yeah, this would be the one for him. But Darius was straight.

As if on cue, Paige Rimsky, college student, fan, and his current fuck buddy, bounced over, reinforcing the simple fact of his heterosexuality. The celebration in her voice almost erased his unease. “I told you sitting in on the master’s class would up your game. Your phrasing was flawless tonight. I…”

She followed his line of sight. “Oh, were you showing off for tall, dark, and yummy?”

“What? No!” Maybe a little, no, the connection was just so… Why was the guy here again?

Paige put her hands up and laughed, drawing his attention. “Don’t get defensive, Dare. I’m just asking. Hell, I’d do him.”

Dare pushed his hair out of his eyes and focused on his maybe friend.

Her teasing smile turned into a dirty giggle. “I’d do you both.”

Fuck, rolling around in the sheets with the man in black and Paige wasn’t the image he needed in his head. He let his hair fall back to hide his eyes and fumbled with releasing his guitar strap. Since he’d forgotten to unplug the instrument before jumping off the stage, the wire tangled with his strap.

His sometimes bed partner snorted inelegantly, standing by waiting for him to de-wire himself. “So, who is Mr. Hotness Intensified? You think he’s as emo and sensitive as he appears?”

“No clue.” Best not to dwell on the answer to her questions, and he didn’t want to analyze why he’d love to know the guy. Untangled from the lead he’d failed to unplug earlier, he reached back to put his guitar on its stand.

“Well, he’s gorgeous. I’d fuck him.” Her voice was probably louder than she intended, and carried to their least favorite person.

Ace Starr, the asshole drummer of the band, came up and groped her. “You’d fuck anyone.”

“Anyone but you. Now take your goddamned hand off my ass or I’m going to put my fist in your fucking face.” She leaned into him and he winced.

Ouch! Damn, crunching the asshole’s foot with her heel must have hurt like hell. Paige had grown up in the foster care system and could take care of herself, but Dare was sorry she had to be on guard. If he jumped to her defense, though, she’d eviscerate him. All he could do was keep an eye out to make sure Ace and all the other assholes that crossed her path, in a bad way, were put in their places.

Ace released her ass and attempted an apologetic look. “Sorry, baby cakes. Hey, why don’t you come home with a real man tonight and not some demented elf?”

“Fuck off.” She wrapped an arm around Darius and continued to glare at numb nuts.

“Oh, honey, I would fuck you till the sun came up.” Ace used what he probably considered a sexy purr on her.

“Eww… Why would I want to do that?” Her beautiful face scrunched up, like screwing Ace was the worst possible fate.

Darius couldn’t hold in his laughter. Paige could be a real bitch when the situation called for it. Damn, he was just glad she liked him.

His gaze traveled back to the man in black. The stranger sipped a liquid with a crooked smile on his face. His expression sparkled with a little too much glee, making Darius wonder if the guy heard more than Paige’s outburst. Fuck. He didn’t need this right now.

Ace slunk away to search for a bed partner with lower standards than Paige’s. She nudged Darius. “So, my demented elf, you wanna get laid?”

Dare returned to the stage to buy time. When he twisted back around, the guy in black was gone, vanished. Fuck! Why did regret replace the nervous butterflies dancing in Dare’s belly? So what if he never got the chance to speak to the stranger?

Paige cleared her throat. She’d never had to ask twice. “So?”

No. Yes. No. “Not tonight.” He hated himself for putting a frown on her face.

“Got a headache?” She mocked him until she glanced over at the empty table. “Ah, say what you want, but I think you’re crushing on him.”

“I’m straight,” Dare protested.

“Whatever. Everyone is fluid. Some people just acknowledge it easier than others.” Spoken like a true pansexual, she was convinced everyone would be happier being gender blind and following attraction wherever it led. Paige taunted him, “Darius has a boy crush.”

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About the Author

Every one deserves a happy ending… (and I make sure they get one). I have written about hot rockers, sexy zombies, and Thailand club performers. My stories are about love, romance and are tied together with erotic sex. I utilize my time overseas and my travels to bring you to places you’ve yet to visit. I introduce you to cultures you’ve yet to explore. But with every word I write I hope to convey love is love. I look forward to hearing from you, my Pretties!

E-mail: Z.Allora@ yahoo.com

Facebook: Z Allora Allora

Excerpt For With Wings: