*NOTE* These stories were originally released in individual, yet connected, ebooks. The reviews below were written for the ebooks, hence the references to the print release at the end of each.*
~Watch Me by Shelley Bradley~
Ballroom Dancing is Shanna's life. She will do anything to win the coveted championship - something that has so far eluded her. To that end, she has gone through so many partners she has been nicknamed the Bitch of the Ballroom. But the competitive gene runs strong in Shanna's family, and she is the only one that hasn't yet proved her skill with a trophy. She has given up everything for that goal, even to the exclusion of friendships or romance.
The moment Alejandro lays eyes on the beautiful dancer, he aims to change all of that. Determined to win her affection, he tries unsuccessfully to woo her, even purchasing all of her dances at a charity event.
But a blackmail scheme and a career-damaging sex tape place Shanna right where Alejandro wants her - in his very own club, Sneak Peek. In this playground for the sexually adventurous, Shanna sets out to trap a blackmailer even while Alejandro sets out to trap Shanna in his own web. He recognizes the exhibitionist tendencies she harbors and knows just how to reach this woman's deepest desires now that she is in his lair... Through it all, he will show Shanna that life is about more than just winning, and that love is the dearest prize of all.
If you have read many of my previous reviews, you have probably figured out already that Shelley Bradley, aka Shayla Black, is one of my very favorite authors. Well, there is good reason for that - her writing absolutely rocks! There seems to be no end to the worlds this author can dream up or the characters that speak to her. She can write sweet, she can write spicy, and she usually combines the two in a way that stirs both the loins and the heart with equal fervor.
With the current popularity of ABC's `Dancing With the Stars' show, Watch Me's setting in the midst of a professional Ballroom Dancing competition is as topical as it is romantic. While Alejandro may not be a professional dancer, he more than has what it takes to sweep Shanna off of her feet - a fact guaranteed to send the dancer with single-minded focus running in the opposite direction. But in the true style of the best romantic heroes, Alejandro does not let this dissuade him from the prize. He sees more in Shanna than the bitch she is purported her to be - he sees a woman afraid to love, a woman who has forgotten what living is all about, and he is determined to show her personally.
Shanna is a woman so focused on her goals, that she has left her life and even her very womanhood behind. With her career firmly in first place, all else takes a backseat, including romance, friendship and even just plain old fun. When she meets Alejandro, she knows to the depths of her soul he will be a distraction she can't afford, and fights her attraction to him with everything she has.
Watch Me is a wonderfully hot little romance story with a resounding moral lesson. Readers are reminded alongside Shanna that love and loyalty are the most important prizes of all, and to always keep your mind and your heart open.
Watch Me is connected to Jaci Burton's upcoming release, Show Me. The stories will be enhanced if you read them in order (Watch Me first and Show Me second) but each works very well as a standalone tale. Both stories release separately in eBook this month from Samhain Publishing, and will be released together in print in an anthology titled Sneak Peek in 2008.
~Show Me by Jaci Burton~
As heir to her father's holdings, and chairperson of her family's charitable foundations, Janine esteems reputation above all else. No matter what her innermost desires are, as a member of the public eye, she must always be above reproach lest she besmirch the Bartolino name and damage their organization.
When her friends drag her out for her thirtieth birthday, she has no idea they are going to Sneak Peek, an exclusive sex club. And she certainly wasn't prepared to meet a man like Del, who seems to see inside her darkest fantasies, but has no regard for reputation, at least not his own. But once she has a taste of what Del offers, she can't stay away, and soon she finds herself exploring the boundaries of exhibitionism with Del in ways she never before imagined.
Del has always had his choice of women. As the bachelor partner in Sneak Peek, he finds himself with more than ample opportunity to indulge his most hedonistic tendencies without reservation. Yet when he meets the reserved Janine, he is intrigued by releasing her from her inhibitions and unlocking the passions she has buried deep down inside...
Jaci Burton has swiftly moved up my list of favorite authors, and when I learned she was partnering with Shelley Bradley to write the Sneak Peek stories, I jumped at the chance to review these stories by two such talented writers. Burton's Show Me picks up where Bradley's Watch Me leaves off, and stars the supporting male character from the prior story, Phillipe "Del" Delacroix as well as seeing a return of Alejandro in a supporting role this time. Bradley and Burton work well together, connecting the two stories seamlessly.
Del is the epitome of the playboy/bad boy. Rich, successful, and with some very wild sexual predilections, he is the kind of man women love to try and tame - just a little bit. Getting to know his character, I found myself reminded of that line in one of Tim McGraw's songs more than once: "I may be a real bad boy, but baby, I'm a real good man." That describes Del perfectly. Del is wicked, tempting, and absolutely untamable, but when it comes down to it, he is definitely a good man. He shows his concern for Janine in everything he does, and still manages to push her limits sexually, fulfilling her wildest yearnings over and over again.
Janine is a woman caught between the woman she thinks she needs to be and the woman she really is. When her real world and her fantasies collide, she has to learn more than just how to let herself go - she has to learn to trust.
I won't be shy about saying it - I loved this story! Jaci Burton has penned a tale that is smoking hot, and also manages to be extremely romantic. I felt every emotion these characters felt, and was on the edge of my seat until I finished the last chapter.
Show Me is connected to Shelley Bradley's book, Watch Me. The stories will be enhanced if you read them in order (Watch Me first and Show Me second) but each works very well as a standalone tale. Both stories release separately in eBook this month from Samhain Publishing, and will be released together in print in an anthology titled Sneak Peek in 2008.