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on 12 February 2014
I received my copy from Kit Rocha and rated this book 4.5 stars.

Reviewing and rating anthologies is hard. I don’t think it is possible to find a collection of stories by different authors and enjoy them all to the same extent. This book came close though. While I wasn’t equally in love with all three novellas there is little to separate them and all of them managed to push my buttons just that way.

I suppose comparing the three stories wouldn’t be fair anyway. I have been a fan of Kit Rocha’s ‘Beyond’ series for a while now and have managed to fall head over heels for the O’Kane’s and Sector Four. Vivian Arend and Lauren Dane on the other hand, are both new to me authors although I’ve got a feeling that is a state of affairs that’s to change in the not too distant future.

I’ll give a short review as well as an individual rating for each of the three novellas below. As far as the book as a whole is concerned I’ll limit myself to saying that the stories are well written, the characters interesting and the scenes incredibly hot. All three of these novellas will leave you with an appetite for more.

Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha (5)

Four years ago Noah Lennox promised his dying friend that he would keep his younger sister safe. And for a long time he thought he’d succeeded in doing just that. Recently Noah has discovered that rather than living away from the Sectors in safety Emma, the girl he was supposed to protect, is living in Sector Four, fully integrated in the O’Kane clan. He tells himself he only wants to make sure she’s safe, but when Noah and Emma are reunited it is impossible to deny the attraction between them. The feelings have always been there, but now that Emma is all grown up, they’ve become impossible to suppress.

Emma knows what she wants and it is Noah, it has always been Noah.
Noah knows he isn’t good enough for Emma but can’t deny the pull she has on him and is powerless against her persuasion.

“(...) giving him everything he’d never dreamt of allowing himself to want.”

When a secret Noah has been keeping for years is revealed, Emma turns away from him although it breaks her heart. But, while Noah knows that Emma no longer needs him to keep her safe, he can’t make himself stay away from her.

“There was no part of him he hadn’t yielded to her, heart and soul, past and future.”

Emma is a real O’Kane woman. She loves men but doesn’t need them. She’ll take Noah back, but only on her own terms, only in a partnership of equals.

“Laughter, love, and a lover who didn’t need to be her savior, didn’t need her helpless and at his mercy. Everything she’d ever wanted, in the one man she’d always craved.”

I may have said this before, but I guess there’s no harm in saying it again; I love the ‘Beyond’ stories. I fell in love with the post-apocalyptic setting and the O’Kane’s in ‘Beyond Shame’ and that feeling has only grown stronger with each subsequent story. There is something wonderful about a series in which strong men and women find their own balance on their own terms while living according to a high standard of honour. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with dominant, tattooed bad-boys and the women who know just how to handle them. This novella, like all its prequels was a hot erotic romance set in a dark and thrilling world where danger lurks around every corner. These stories take the reader on an exhilarating ride, always leaving us both satisfied and hungry for more.

Rocky Ride by Vivian Arend (4+)

I liked this stories in which two friends with benefits slowly come to the realisation that they want to be more to each other.

Anna Coleman is a cop who’s worked hard to arrive where she is and is very reluctant to do anything that might jeopardise her position in the department. Being seen to be dating Mitch Thompson might put her career prospects in serious danger. In fact she has one colleague who goes out of his way to tell her how inappropriate such a relationship would be.
Mitch Thompson has a bit of a reputation as a local bad boy; with his tattoos, and a penchant for bikes he exhumes danger more than ‘perfect husband material’ but Anna can’t deny that the chemistry between them is scorching.

After two months of causal but very inventive sex, Mitch is ready to take his affair with Anna to the next level but:

“Mitch Thompson had fallen hopelessly in love with the worst possible woman in town – one fighting tooth and nail against letting her real nature free.”

When Mitch convinces Anna to give a relationship a try it raises a few eye-brows but doesn’t appear to cause the problems Anna has been anticipating. And there’s no denying the two of them are good together. However when Mitch is faced with the idea that her relationship with him might cause Anna to miss out on a huge career opportunity he takes a decision that might cause him to lose everything he wants before he’s even gotten close to it.

This was a rather sweet story. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Anna’s issues as far as the risk to her career was concerned but did like the way she got her revenge. The chemistry between these two characters was scorching hot.

“I want to savour you. I want to taste every inch of you until you’re mine all over again.” – Mitch

Some exchanges between Mitch and Anna are funny;

“I’d never turn down the offer to take you for a ride.”

While there is also room for moments of wonderful tenderness:

“You can keep your fire hidden from everyone else, as long as you promise to always let it burn with me.”

In short this was a sexy and sweet story that delivers everything you might look for in an erotic romance with abundance.

All That Remains by Lauren Dane (4.5)

Centuries from now the world has gone through radical changes. A plague has killed a large proportion of humanity and those who remain live in an environment drastically altered by climate change and a society in which men vastly outnumber women.

In a small settlement called Paradise, Summer has created a satisfying life for herself. She has a job she loves, is close to the sister she wants to keep an eye on and happy with her circumstances. When she meets Charlie it is a case of lust at first sight. The only kink in what would have been a hot and carefree entanglement is Hatch; Charlie’s partner and the man who loved and left Summer.

The attraction between Hatch and Summer is as strong as it has always been, but Summer can’t bring herself to trust him or to risk being hurt by him again. If these three are going to establish a successful relationship Hatch will have to do a lot of grovelling, Summer will need to forgive and trust again and Charlie will need all his mediating skills.

“I’m not sure I’d be able to find my way back to Hatch without you.” – Summer to Charlie.

I really liked the setting in this story. I like the idea of relationships taking the form of Triads and Quarts to compensate for the surplus of men and I loved that the author took the time to illustrate that those relationships need a different form of management and compromise in order to succeed.

The interactions between the three characters were fascinating; individual traits result in sparkling interactions. Because Summer, Hatch and Charlie are different and complement each other it was easy to believe in this relationship and root for a happy ending.

I’m glad this is the first instalment in a series and look forward to reading more stories set in this place called Paradise.
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on 11 February 2014
My thoughts:
Beyond Temptation, by Kit Rocha
I've been a Kit Rocha/Moira Rodgers (different pen names) fan for a few years now, particularly their latest series which follows the O'Kane gang in a post-apocalyptic city somewhere in America. This novella focuses on Emma, apprentice tattoo artist, and Noah, a computer hacker. We haven't seen much of either of these characters before, but you quickly get to know them. Noah can't believe how different Emma is now to the girl he knew, but he doesn't trust that she is genuinely happy where she is, and he has some secrets of his own that would be better off with fewer people knowing them. Noah needs to decide how much he's going to align himself to the O'Kanes, and what the consequences will be.
I did enjoy this story, and of course, with a Kit Rocha book, there are some smoking hot sex scene, but I was still a little disappointed that the conflicts were resolved with relative ease. Part of that, I know, is the curse of the novella - there just aren't the words for things to go on too long, but I felt like there was a lot more to Noah and his secrets that could have been explored. Hopefully this means that he'll continue to be an important character in the next book and we can learn more about him and the significance of his past. I felt like some of Noah's secrets are going to have a big impact on the future of Eden & the sectors.
While I think you can pick this up and enjoy reading it without being confused, you'd definitely be best to start with 'Beyond Shame', the first novel in the series, and read them in order.

6/10

Rocky Ride, by Vivian Arend
This is novella 1 in a new series set in the same area as Ms Arend's 'Six Pack Ranch' books, and the timeline picks up after 'Rocky Mountain Freedom'. However, I struggled to connect with some of the characters and setting at first, and suspect it would be easier to read the other series first. Anna and Mitch open the show with a very hot scene on a quiet road, which sucked me in. The first few chapters were interesting, and the little glimpses of the world she has created made me want to read the other Rocky Mountain books. Then we get to the conflict of the book. Mitch wants to pull Anna out of her shell, as she almost acts like a different (and happier) person around him. This seems fair enough. My problem was that Anna is so hung up with her job as a police woman. She has a particularly irritating partner who I wanted to smack, he was just so idiotic. He's the sort of person who (I write this as a UK citizen) gives American cops a bad reputation, refusing to look past people outward appearance, seeing Mitch's tattoos as a clear mark that the man is no good, amongst other things. He holds massive prejudices against several groups of people. I also found it hard to see that there was really an issue with Anna being a police woman - just do you, girlfriend! Thankfully, all is redeemed in the end. Unlike with the Kit Rocha story above, I think this story is exactly the length it needs to be.

5/10

All That Remains, by Lauren Dane
Another new series, this one is set in a future America after a new kind of plague has wiped out large parts of the population and changed the way people live. With far more men born than women, people living in groups of 3 or more is common. I really enjoyed what was going on in this one, although the writing in some of the early chapters did keep tripping me up - the story was good, but I felt like in some places, it was like a statue that hadn't been fully cut out of the marble block yet - I could see that it was good, but there were still bits that needed trimming away to show it at its best. Luckily that feeling disappeared as I got to the middle of the story. However, I felt very uncomfortable with that last couple of chapters. Summer, rightly given the situation, gets cross with Hatch about something. She is cross, then the two men come to her house, and they all have sex. I never felt like he appologised. And the sex they have is with Hatch bossing everyone around. Given the argument, and the lack of apology, I really did not enjoy reading that sex scene at all. I've had another look as I write this, and it still makes me squirm (in entirely a bad way).

Given my very mixed feeling with this one, I don't feel like I can give this a rating. It was on track for a 7 or 8, then dropped to something like a 5.

While I did enjoy these stories, they did prove again for me why I tend to lean away from anthologies. Partly they can be too hit-and-miss for me, and partly I just like my stories to be longer and more developed. I'd love to hear what you thought of Marked if you've read it.

~Ailsa
(Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Review originally posted on my blog, link in my profile.)
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Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha - 4.5 stars

I'm going to confess that Beyond Temptation was the whole reason I wanted to read the Marked anthology, I absolutely adore the Beyond series and am completely addicted to these sexy O'Kanes and the world that Kit Rocha has created! So it'll be no surprise when I tell you that this was my favourite story in the anthology, probably because I'm already so invested in this world and it's characters. We have briefly met Noah before but since he's not an official O'Kane we've not spent much time with him and I was looking forward to getting to know him better. Emma is a character I already liked, one of the bartenders at the Broken Circle she's been a familiar face throughout the series so it was good to learn more about her background and I absolutely loved the scenes with her working alongside Ace as an apprentice tattoo artist.

Noah was best friends with Emma's brother and as such he has always considered her off limits, that doesn't mean he hasn't done his best to protect her though. In fact he paid a fortune to have her sent safely to the communes outside of the sectors and has spent the last few years believing that she has been living a dream life on a farm somewhere. When he finds out that she has been right under his nose the whole time and living with the O'Kanes he just has to check up on her and make sure that she's OK. The Emma he finds is very different to the sweet young girl he knew though, she's all grown up and has turned into a confident, sexy woman who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it. Emma always had feelings for Noah so when she sees him for the first time in years she sets out to seduce him and show him just how good they could be together.

I loved both of these characters, they have off the charts chemistry and a connection that runs much deeper than lust. There are some difficult secrets between them though, things that could end their relationship for good if they don't find a way to work through them. This was probably the tamest story in the Beyond series so far but don't take that to mean that it isn't sexy because Noah and Emma are hot as hell. Just as you'd expect from these stories there is plenty of dirty talk and hot action! We get a glimpse of some of the previous characters but most importantly we get to spend time with Ace and this has just got me even more excited about his book Beyond Jealousy which is up next. This is a series that always jumps straight to the top of my to read pile and I can't recommend it highly enough although I would personally recommend reading the books in order starting with Beyond Shame though.

Rocky Ride by Vivian Arend - 4 stars

Rocky Ride is the first story in Vivian Arend's new Thompson & Sons series which is a spin off from her Six Pack Ranch books. I haven't actually read any of the Six Pack Ranch books (I'm going to have to pick them up since I enjoyed this one so much though!) so although I believe both Mitch and Anna have made previous appearances I didn't have a problem reading their story as a stand alone. This was certainly a hot read and I'm definitely planning on reading the sequel, Baby Be Mine, soon.

In a lot of ways Mitch and Anna are complete opposites, Mitch is a mechanic at his family's garage who has a bit of a bad boy reputation while Anna is a police officer who loves her job more than anything. As it turns out Mitch doesn't really deserve his reputation, he may have tattoos and ride a motorbike but apart from a couple of pranks as a teenager he hasn't got into any trouble for years and is a hard working and genuine guy. The couple have been meeting up for a few months for incredibly hot sex but while Mitch wants more Anna is running scared. She worries about how Mitch's reputation could affect her career and she is scared of getting hurt by risking her heart.

I absolutely loved this couple, they are so perfect for each other and I really enjoyed seeing how Mitch convinces Anna to give him a chance. They have fabulous chemistry and are both quite creative when it comes to playing out their fantasies which makes things very interesting. This is definitely a new series to watch out for and one I'm looking forward to continuing.

All That Remains by Lauren Dane - 3.5 stars

All That Remains is set in a futuristic dystopian world where a lot of the population has been wiped out and there are now way more men than women. People tend to live in small communities where they have a barter system in place to trade for the things they need and it is very common to find relationships with three (or sometimes more) members. I'm interested in the world that Lauren Dane has created but I have to admit that I wanted more information than we were given. It's very hard to introduce a whole new world in a fairly short novella so I was left with a lot of questions about why society fell apart in the first place but I was given just enough to hook me and make me want to carry on reading.

Summer knows what she is looking for from a relationship and she is prepared to wait until the right man (or men) comes along rather than settle for second best. She has a high sex drive and isn't embarrassed to take what she wants and needs. Hutch and Charlie have been together for a couple of years and have spent that time travelling around the country, they have enjoyed getting to see the world but are ready to settle down and find a place to call home. They would also love to add a woman to their lives and their bed. Charlie is the one who spots Summer first, there is something about her that draws him in and it seems the attraction is returned but there is a slight stumbling block when it comes to Hutch. Summer and Hutch grew up together and he was her first love so she was devastated when he left her to go and see the world. She has never forgiven him for breaking her heart so although Hutch would love to rekindle their relationship Summer is wary of getting hurt again.

It can be hard to sell me on a permanent triad relationship but in this case I thought Summer, Hutch and Charlie worked really well together. I loved the fact that they all spend time together separately as well as in a threesome and I actually believed that all three of them had feelings for each other. Things to happen fairly quickly but I still found it believable and enjoyed seeing them work things through. Summer is understandable wary of Hutch and scared of getting hurt again so I liked the fact that she made him work at proving himself, he knows he made a mistake by not searching her out sooner and he owns that and apologises for it. The two of them have quite a fiery relationship and Charlie is often the voice of reason and the one who steps in to calm things down between them. All three of them have developed a strong friendship and was left thinking that they could make a success of things. I really liked Summer's sister and I'm hoping that we might get her story later on in the series, she definitely deserves some happiness after everything she has been through and it would also give us a chance to see how Summer, Hutch and Charlie are getting on in the future. I'm a little disappointed to learn that the next story is going to be released as a serial novel (I'm really not enjoying this trend!) so I'll probably wait until all of the instalments are available before I start reading it but I'd definitely like to carry on with this series.
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on 16 February 2014
I really only bought this for ' Beyond Temptation ' as i love Kit Rocha's ' Beyond series '........but i actually enjoyed ' All that Remains ' the best....

Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha....
Was really looking forward to this but felt it was a bit rushed & too much like the other books in series , having said that i did enjoy it, as always sex is of the charts & will continue with series as cannot wait for Ace, Cruz & Rachael's story.......Ace is my favorite O'Kane.....if you havn't read series definitely start with ' Beyond Shame ' & carry on in order

Rocky Mountain series......
Enjoyed it, good sexy story, LOVED Mitch so much, don't know if i loved it enough to read rest of series ......Maybe???

All that Remains......
Well this a hell of a HOT book , this Author knows how to write Sex scenes ( Hotness of the charts !!!! )
Interesting to read about dynamics of emotions involved in a three way relationship.....only negative here is have to wait until 2015 for Dulce's story , sorry but too long to wait, will probably forgotten about it by then!

All in all 3 good sexy books......don't blow you away but easy to read.
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