**REVIEW** Antihero (Imperfect Heroes prequel) by C.J. Pinard (novella, part of the Sexy Bastards Anthology by a collection of authors)


Bad Boy, Biker, Alpha, Motorcycle Club, Contemporary Romance Collection

Sexy Bastards Anthology

Available February 8th, 2016!!!

Featuring New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors. 12 top selling authors bring you 12 never-before-published Hot and Steamy Romance stories

Christine Bell – SWITCHBLADE
Michael Blade has always thought of Kaitlin Pepper as the irritatingly prissy girl next door, but when she mistakes him for his twin and shows up at his house wearing only a trench coat and a shaky smile, he starts to reconsider…

Bella Wild – BAD BOY BIKER
Jessie used to think being a parolee psychologist was her way of helping ex-cons get a second chance as they integrated back into society–until she met Jace. He’s the angry, inked, biker ex-con who refuses rehabilitation and insists on getting under her skin.

Sierra Rose – FORBIDDEN
This is the fu—- up version of Romeo and Juliet MC Club style…imagine Juliet a pistol, and Romeo a sexy, bad ass with wicked tats….oh, did I mention there’s lots of cursing, leather-clad bikers, motorcycles, and sex?

Katie’s not your usual rich girl, and Morgan’s not your typical biker. Falling for each other is inevitable, but what will happen when their worlds collide?

Dale Mayer – SALVATION
Beaten. Broken. Finished.
An abused wife meets the most unlikeliest of angels – a man who looks like the very devil himself. He won’t let her give up. Nor will he let her go. Will he be yet another captor or will he become her salvation?

He’d loved her for as long as he could remember, but he would never pursue her, because he alone knew he was responsible for the one thing she would never forgive anyone for. When she starts to pursue him though, he doesn’t think he can keep his distance.

Cassie Alexandra – TAMING THE BIKER
After a short fling with hell-raising womanizer, Taylor (Tail) Adams, Lauren Macey discovers that she’s pregnant with the biker’s child. Knowing that the MC lifestyle isn’t what she wants for their baby, and that Tail isn’t exactly ‘father’ material, Lauren decides not to tell him. This proves challenging, especially when she realizes that he isn’t ready to end their affair…

Morgan and Jazz have dealt with most of the horrific problems that plagued their fledging relationship, at least they hope so. But just as one horrific set of troubles falls away, another interesting one comes into play. Will they survive this one too?

AntiheroC.J. Pinard – ANTIHERO
Can a street punk on the wrong path be transformed into a Special Forces killing machine? Once he’s been “rehabilitated”, Ellis Anderson is determined to show the woman he loves that he’s nothing like both the lives he’s left behind. But actions speak louder than words – and he has a lot of work ahead of him.

C.C. Cartwright – JUST LOVE ME
Justin can’t get Sloane out of his head. He pushes her away for being his little sister’s best friend, but now that she’s filled out in all the right places, will he be able to resist the innocent, yet enticing woman she has become?

Bella Love-Wins – DOG
Kane is now top dog in the Rugged Angels MC, and has slept with half the eligible biker chicks in Tucson. He meets his match when Kim, daughter of his club’s former president, just won’t give in to his usual tricks.

District Attorney Eric Steel is used to getting his way, and when he meets the new intern hired for his team, he wants her: preferably stripped down and bound to his bed. From the moment Crystal Reid first obediently whispers “Yes, Mr. Steel,” he knows she’s perfect for him. He has less than 1 week to convince her…and he doesn’t plan on taking no for an answer.

Kendra Wild – BADASS
The company recruited Nick Taylor from the US Army Special Forces and turned him into a mean machine. His first undercover assignment – to pursue and protect Nicole Hunt.


Antihero by C.J. Pinard  – REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

As a fan of C.J. Pinard‘s work I have enjoyed every book, and feel that this author comes back stronger and stronger with each new story. If you enjoyed the previous military romance series, Duty & Desire, you will absolutely LOVE Antihero.

Ellis Anderson is given an ultimatum in his young life after being caught doing wrong with a bad crowd. His choice could define exactly what sort of a man he will become. Yet, from one troublesome background to one of violence and terror in the military, Ellis is finding it a little difficult to settle into a civilian lifestyle.

When he first sets eyes on Talia he knows he wants her. But after a couple of dates, he finds himself in a rut of only seeing her during the evenings, sharing in some mad, hot passionate sex, and then leaving before she wakes. Is this really how it will be? Is this their relationship? She never lets on if she does want any more than this. Could he even give her more?

“I wanted to “wine and dine” her. I wanted to show her off to the world and let her meet my mom and new stepdad. But I didn’t know how to broach that conversation. I didn’t know how to do anything but strip her bare and love her with my body and feel her body loving mine back. I always wished that would be enough, but with what little I knew about women, I just knew it wouldn’t and couldn’t be.”

In Antihero, the reader gets to hear both sides of the story; we read Ellis’s thoughts about his current predicament with Talia, his powerful feelings towards her, as well as his concerns regarding his troubled past and how it affects him now. He tends to doubt himself; wondering if he’ll ever be able to provide for Talia and her needs. Is deep, hot passion all he can offer?

Meanwhile, Talia struggles with fitting in her studies after a long day at work, especially as Ellis is quite demanding of her time. And yet, he doesn’t do the whole boyfriend/girlfriend routine; they don’t go anywhere together, and he obviously has some issues. But then again, she has some too. Maybe she should try and break free of him. They’re just no good for each other. But, he’s just so god damn sexy she can’t say no!

Talia: “I’m a weak addict and he was my fix.”

Contemporary and military romance readers will find Antihero sweet, sexy, hot and fun, as well as having a serious undercurrent with two well-developed characters. I didn’t want to put this book down, and it has left me wanting more! Being a short read it can easily be read in a day or two. It provides a great escapism as you find both characters in your head and don’t want to let them go.

Will Talia decide to say ‘no’ once and for all? Or, will Ellis tackle his inner demons and show her how he really feels? Will it be too much for them both if his past raises it’s ugly head?

The Antihero novella was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest opinion.

The Sexy Bastards Anthology is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK from February 8th!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker


You can catch up with C.J. Pinard’s books with our review list below:

Contemporary Military Romance

Patriotic Duty (Duty & Desire, Book 1)

Tour of Duty (Duty & Desire, Book 2)

Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story) (Duty & Desire #3)

Playing the Field (Duty & Desire #4)


Enchanted Immortals (Enchanted Immortals Book 1)

Enchanted Immortals: The Vortex (Enchanted Immortals Book 2)

Enchanted Immortals: The Vampyre (Enchanted Immortals Book 3)

Enchanted Immortals: The Vixen (Enchanted Immortals Book 4)

BSI: Bureau of Supernatural Investigation (an Enchanted Immortals novella)

Unscathed (written with Tim O’Rourke)

Soul Rebel (Rebel Riders #1)

Soul Redemption (Rebel Riders #2)

Soul Release (Rebel Riders #3)

Lotus (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part I

Watcher (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part II

The Mating (Law of the Lycans Book 1) by Nicky Charles

The Mating (Law of the Lycans, #1)‘The Mating (Law of the Lycans, Book 1)’ is a powerfully dramatic and beautifully written paranormal werewolf romantic suspense novel. It had me gripped from the very beginning, and what’s more – it’s free! The main character, Elise, has just been mated to the Alpha of a neighbouring pack, however this was not her choice of mate. Between her father, The Elders and Kane, the Alpha she is mated to, it was decided it was in the best interests of both packs to have these two young people mated to create a political alliance between the two packs and help maintain the wolves territories.

The reader initially feels sad for Elise, being forced into such an arrangement, without anybody caring for her feelings.  There are very passionate and sensuous love scenes between two people that may not even be right for each other, and yet the wolf’s instinct inside takes over. Kane reaches out for Elise, taking into account that she’s in unfamiliar territory and unsure of the whole situation. This helps the reader view Kane in a good light, realising that he too is in this predicament but willing to be caring and positive towards Elise and his future with her.

However, to make matters worse, Elise had formed a closer relationship with her longtime friend, Bryan. Elise had grown up with Bryan and so he is familiar and comfortable and she loves spending time with him, roaming the woods and running free. They were on the verge of taking things to the next level when the whole issue of being mated with Kane arose. As it was agreed by so many, so quickly Elise and Kane were mated that night, leaving a whole bunch of questions and emotions swimming around Elise’s mind. How was Bryan feeling about this? Will she ever grow to love Kane, or will their relationship just be physical? Does she have it in her to be an Alpha-female?

That being said, despite the uncertainties, I’m sure many a woman wouldn’t mind having Kane as their Alpha and mate with his domination, possessiveness, and love – not to mention his dark floppy hair, rippling muscles and his whole sexiness!!! Throughout the whole mating process and thereafter, Kane is very sensual and passionate and both of their animalistic instincts kick in when it comes to their physical relationship. I thought Kane was a hot character (if you haven’t noticed already!) who tries in his own way to make Elise feel comfortable and when he isn’t too busy being the Alpha of his pack he does take the time to empathise with the situation that Elise is in. He understands that she is lost when she leaves her pack to stay with him and his pack, surrounded by strangers who are quite possibly sizing her up and making up their own minds on whether or not she can live up to her status as their Alpha-female.

Throughout the novel there is the ongoing worry of the Oil Company and how their decisions will affect the pack and their land. I love how Nicky Charles keeps the reader involved with this plot, despite concentrating on the main characters and their personal relationship. At around three quarters through the book Elise begins to write down all of the recent serious problems that the pack have been having and who the problems are associated with to try and piece the puzzle together. There are the main suspicions as to who is behind the trouble but the question is why. With Elise making these lists it provides the reader with an update on the goings on, keeping the reader constantly aware of the whole story. I thought this was written very cleverly.

Aside from Elise and Kane, there are many other great supporting characters in ‘The Mating’. One of my favourites being Helen. Helen was the Alpha-female prior to Elise and she lost her mate and Alpha, Zack, in an awful car accident. Helen still lives in the Alpha house and takes pride in cooking and hosting for guests. She provides Kane with a motherly figure and offers a great deal of advice to Elise which really helps Elise to feel welcome and accepted in her new pack as the Alpha-female.

On the opposite end of the scale, the reader becomes acquainted to Marla. Marla is calculating, jealous and manipulative. She has a history with Kane and also his half-brother, Ryne. Marla loves reminding Elise regularly that she knows Kane better than her and tries to manipulate Elise in order to get what she wants. She is a great villainous character that the reader will just love to hate. I can assure you that Marla will get under your skin.

The reader’s knowledge of Ryne throughout most of the book comes mostly from what we are told by Helen, Kane and Marla. After Zack’s death he wished to be Alpha of the pack and challenged Kane to fight for the position. Once Ryne lost the challenge, although being asked to stay as Beta, he decided to leave the pack in the hope of starting his own! But, Ryne is hot-headed, impulsive and strongly wanted the position of Alpha. And it was really since Zack’s death that the pack began having so many troubles.

The whole story comes to a powerful crescendo and is very dramatic. It reaches the reader on all levels of emotion throughout. Will the pack’s problems be resolved? Will they be able to prove who was behind their troubles? How will this affect Elise and Kane’s relationship? Will they find love or will their relationship remain purely physical?

I would like to thank one of our followers for suggesting this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it! And guys, this novel is absolutely FREE, available on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Smashwords. Enjoy! I cannot wait to read the sequel, ‘The Keeping (Law of the Lycans Book 2)!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

From out of the Shadows, by Linda Mooney

This is a great novel to read if you like to read werewolf romances. This is a little on the erotic side, so for those aged 18+. However, it is a very romantic and sweet romance too. The author Linda Mooney has, to my mind, created a very unique and believable take on the werewolf myths. I reviewed this a while ago on our Sizzle and Burn Book Reviews site, but thought that you may enjoy it! Tina 🙂

Rapture by J.R. Ward

 Rapture (A Novel of the Fallen Angeles, book 4)
Compelling Urban Fantasy

Rapture is the fourth book in J.R. Ward’s Fallen Angel’s series, which focuses on the battle between good and evil for the souls of seven chosen humans. The chief protagonists are Jim Heron, a fallen angel, representing Heaven and Devina, a demon, who bats for Hell. I will try not to give away any spoilers in this review, in relation to events in previous books.

The soul up for grabs is Matthias’, Jim’s boss when he was human and worked for XOps. We met Matthias earlier on in the series and he has now been sent back to Earth and given a chance to redeem or eternally dam himself. Jim, aided by co fallen angel Adrian are doing all they can to influence him to make the right decision when he comes to the crucial cross-roads – except, as in previous books, it is not always obvious where that crossroads will be or what the decision is. Devina, on the other hand, is doing all she can to ensure that Matthias makes a very different decision, so that she wins this round.

Mels Carmichael, a reporter at the Caldwell Courier Journal, runs into Matthias when he stumbles in front of her car. Feeling guilty, she seeks him out in hospital to find out the extent of his injuries and apologize. Matthais is suffering from amnesia and Mels offers to help him find out who he is and they form an instant attraction that quickly turns to passion. As Matthias’ memory slowly returns he realises what he must do to redeem himself and seeks to distance himself from Mels to protect her from the dangers that begin to present themselves. Devina plots to thwart any signs of salvation for Matthias’ soul, taking actions against him and Mels and also measures to undermine Jim’s sanity so that he is less effective in supporting Matthias.

Matthias’ character is fundamentally alpha, even when faced with mental and physical challenges, loyal to his friends and devoted to his woman, to the extent of thinking that he is not good enough for her. He is also coldly efficient when it comes to dealing with his enemies or anyone he thinks is a threat to those he cares for. I loved the fact that even though he is suffering from amnesia he soon realised what his previous work had likely been and that he even seeks to protect Mels from himself. However, he is vulnerable due to past events in the series. Mels too is a strong, capable character, who can look after herself. However, she too has vulnerabilities since the death of her father, a cop and Matthais makes her feel more alive than she has felt for a long time. She is attracted to him, despite some initial suspicions and quickly finds herself drawn to his side and that of Jim and Adrian. She becomes more and more embroiled in his life, although she is ignorant of Jim and Adrian’s true nature and the wider forces at play.

Jim is becoming more confident with his powers, although he is not immune to Devina’s machinations, with the  intent of tormenting him, due to his reaction to events in previous books. His ongoing preoccupation with what is happening in Devina’s ‘Well of Souls’ linfluences his actions at the end of the book. Adrian is in self-destruct mode for much of the novel, as he too has been affected by previous events. Jim fears that Adrian cannot be trusted to keep his eye on the mission and provide the appropriate back – up. Both Jim and Adrian grow to both like and respect Mels and Matthias and the development of Jim’s relationship with Matthias, his former boss, is a powerful factor within the novel. Jim realises early on that Mels is the key to Matthias’ salvation and both angels do all they can to foster a relationship between the two.

Fewer scenes in the book take place in Heaven and Hell,  than in previous books, though the references are certainly there and Nigel, Jim and Adrian’s boss, does make a few key appearances. Ward does not shy away from describing violent scenes within the story and the horror that is Devina and we also have rather gruesome depictions of her actions. Devina’s character is as complex as ever and it is clear that her fascination with Jim is not going away. I liked the way Ward continues to highlight Devina’s weaknesses with her visits to the therapist.

I am a fan of this series and also Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Vampire series. I love how the author teases us with the occasional references to places and people who form part of the Black Dagger world. To me this adds both depth and breadth to both series and I am eager to see at what point, if any the two worlds will collide in earnest. I would recommend Rapture to all readers who are already following this series and to all those who love reading about the paranormal or urban fantasy and who love a complex plot and characters. Although the book could be read alone I feel that the reader would find it even more enjoyable if they had read the others in the series, which I also recommend.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Captured (The Captive Series Book 1) by Erica Stevens

 Captured (The Captive, #1)

Captivating Vampire Romance

 My sister recommended this book to me, knowing that I like a good vampire romance and I’m glad that she did as I found it to be a really entertaining read. It has an interesting take on vampires and is a sweet romance, with enough potential for violence and evil to satisfy my darker needs!

The world of Captive, is set in the future where vampires have come out of hiding and have gained supremacy over the humans who are either subservient to them or live on the fringes of society in the woods and caves, forming part of a human resistance. Arianna, daughter of rebel leader, is captured and sold to Prince Braith as a blood slave. Arianna is kept captive in the Prince’s apartment at the palace. Despite her status as blood slave she is treated well by Braith, and they form a friendship, which develops into more, although they both in their own way struggle with their feelings. Relationships between masters and their blood slaves are forbidden and both Braith and Arianna realise that there is no future for them.

Just as they begin to acknowledge their mutual attraction, the return of Braith’s younger brother, Jericho, after an  absence of six years, leads to shocking revelations, impacting on Braith’s and Arianna’s burgeoning relationship and paving the way for Book 2 in the series.

Although Arianna is young, 17, compared to Braith’s 952 years, she is a strong heroine.  Indeed, she was captured whilst saving a small boy from the vampires. When being put on the auctioneer’s platform to be sold, at first she prefers death, to the constant torment of being purchased and used as a blood slave. However, once she discovers that her childhood friend Max has also been captured, she resolves to help him escape. I loved how she was captivated by the beauty of the palace and its gardens, which contain luxuries she has never before experienced. Arianna is at first suspicious of Braith’s motives in being so kind to her, fearing that he plans to gain her trust, only to then cruelly destroy her. She comes to care for the prince against her better judgement.

Braith, the first born prince, has a fearsome reputation and demands respect. I liked the fact that although he was instantly drawn to Arianna and was compelled to purchase her, it was not for the usual reason in vampire romances – he does not immediately desire to mate with her or dominate her sexually for example! Indeed, she is not the type of woman he is usually attracted to. However, she does have a strong physical effect on him, which I will not divulge here as it would spoil the book for those who wish to read it.

He is both protective and possessive of Arianna, although there are scenes where he does dominate her and barely keeps his violence in check. He is also fearful of her being taken away from him if anyone discovers that she is anything more to him than a blood slave. I loved how he became increasingly attracted to Arianna, begining to empathise with her. He does not desire anyone else’s blood but hers, but at the same time will not force his attentions on her. Braith recognises the importance of gaining Arianna’s trust and it is this that he wants in the end more than her blood, which I found to be endearing.

There are many tender scenes between Braith and Arianna in the book. The tale is different from many vampire novels I have read in that the relationship between the hero and heroine is a slow burn, rather than them jumping into bed with each other from the start. However, I did not think that this detracted from the romance and it made it all the more meaningful. For example, I found that the scene where they experienced their first kiss and was very moving. Moreover, the level of heat certainly increases as the plot develops.

The main secondary characters in the book included the human Max, Caleb, Braith’s brother and Jericho, the youngest of his brothers. Max seeks to help Arianna escape. He believes all vampires are evil and his experience of being a blood slave is vastly different from Arianna’s. Caleb is pure evil and suspicious of Braith’s relationship with Arianna and Braith takes special care with how he treats Arianna when he is present. Jericho, who returns after an absence of six years is an interesting character. Whilst Braith is wary of Caleb and his motives, he feels more affinity with Jericho. However, it is Jericho’s actions, not those of Caleb, that have a profound impact on Braith and Arianna’s relationship at the end of the book and set the scene for the next instalment.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which was fresh and direct. The story flowed easily and at its core focused on the relationship between the two main characters, which I liked, whilst still making me want to know about the world they inhabited and the other characters. I will certainly be purchasing book 2 in the series very soon as I am eager to learn what happens next. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages from young adult upwards, especially those who enjoy a good vampire romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Author’s website http://ericasteven.blogspot.co.uk

Cover art by www.EbookLaunch.com and image used by kind permission of Erica Stevens

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan

Warprize (Chronicles of the Warlands, #1)

Epic Fantasy Romance

Warprize is the first book in Elizabeth Vaughan’s Fantasy Romance Chronicles of the Warlands series, which continues with her Epic of Palins series. It has everything I like in a Fantasy Romance – a strong hero, sympathetic heroine, great world building and a plot brimming with action and adventure.

In Warprize, XyLara, daughter of king Xyron, of the Kingdom of Xy, has elected to serve her people as a healer until she is required to marry and form a political alliance. After her father’s death, her half-brother Xymund ascends to the throne. Xymund is not the beloved ruler her father once was and is not as competent in heeding his advisors’ advice in defending his kingdom from invasion by the barbarian Firelanders, led by the Warlord, known as the Cat.  The city is surrounded by the enemy, many families in the kingdom having fled to the safety of the city walls and the castle of Water’s Fall. Others have ceded control to the Warlord and have paid him tribute.

Lara works hard to heal her people injured in battle with the Firelanders. She also tests her brother’s patience by insisting to care for the enemy prisoners of war, which he permits her to do on the basis that she does not reveal her identity as the royal princess. The war escalates to the point where the Warlord forces Xymund’s surrender. Under the terms of the peace Xy will remain under Xymund’s control, taxes and tithes are reasonable and all prisoners and wounded are to be exchanged unharmed, and there will be no looting or rape. However, The Warlord has demanded tribute in the form of Xylara as his Warprize. Thus the scene is set for a tale of love, action and adventure, treachery and self-sacrifice.

The descriptive power of the author is cinematic and I could not help imagining all the action on the big screen as it pans the mountains, valley and the distant plains. The descriptions of the castle and city community, which evoke a more European type of society, are vivid. This contrasts with that of the Firelanders (or people ‘of the Plains’ as they prefer to be called) with their nomadic lifestyle of tents and horses camped in the valley below. The story is narrated in the first person, by Lara, – thus we are privy to her innermost thoughts, hopes and fears, and this is especially effective as we can see the differences between the two cultures through her eyes. This first person narrative is well balanced by Lara’s questioning nature as she seeks to understand her new life and as such we learn much about the contrast between the life and the customs of the two societies

The two main characters are well matched and the chemistry between them is immediate and strong. Lara takes her duty to her people seriously, even though she is clearly terrified, fearing abuse and dishonour, she accepts her fate as Warprize with bravery and tries to make the most of it. Lara is kind and compassionate to all around her, yet firm with her patients and Keir, the Warlord, when she needs to be. She also makes friends and allies easily in the Firelander camp, such as Gils who wishes to be apprenticed to her to learn her healing skills and Atira the female warrior.

Keir is a strong alpha male, loyal to those who serve him, who strives to be fair and listen to the views of all, even when he does not like what they say. In contrast to Lara’s initial fears he treats her honourably. I loved the various scenes in the book where Keir stands up for Lara, especially against her half-brother and how he protects her against any perceived threat and cares for her when she is hurt or injured. He also seeks to understand the vast differences between their two cultures and seeks to find a middle way, which I found laudable.

There are a host of secondary characters, too many to mention in this review, one of my favourite is Marcus, Keir’s man and token bearer who cooks and cares for both Keir and Lara. Marcus often scolds Lara for forgetting to eat and sleep and is sometimes irreverent to Keir, with whom he has a strong bond. Xymund by contrast is not only an incompetent ruler, but also insanely jealous of Lara and his treachery towards her and in threatening the peace becomes apparent as the tale unfolds. He is truly evil and it is his actions which drive much of the plot towards its startling conclusion.

I feel that the author could have been more graphic in the sex scenes. However, due to much of the book being concerned with the growing attraction and sexual tension between the main two characters, I found that this did not undermine the romance and perhaps makes the book more attractive to a wider audience. I was happy with the ending, but it kept me wanting to know more about what happens next in the relationship between Lara and Keir and I will certainly be reading more books in the series.

I would recommend this book to lovers of romance, fantasy romance and fantasy adventure novel enthusiasts. Lovers of historical romance would also do well to consider it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams