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Alluring Tales--Awaken the Fantasy (Avon Red)
The best description of Alluring Tales can be found on the cover of the book – awaken the fantasy. Most of the stories seem to involve a fantasy of some kind. And as Avon Red is billed as Erotica you won’t find a HEA with marriage and baby here. I would argue this is erotic romance more than erotica, as each story ends with the couple together. And with hope there will be there HEA.

Lover’s Locket by Cathryn Fox
A young woman frustrated with her love life is given an antique locket, when used with a spell it will bring her true love to her. The downside is it also unleashes an evil darkness she must fight in order to keep her HEA.

Lover’s Locket has a great set-up but it was just too big a story for a novella. There is a huge back story here, one I would have like to see more than be told and there wasn’t enough time to fully develop the characters or their motivation. So I was left wondering too many things and couldn’t just enjoy the story. Why did the family keep this painting hanging in their living rooms and not pass down a story about it. Why didn’t he spend time helping her know how to fight the darkness when it came to her instead of having sex with her? And the end was way too pat and nicely tied up. Although it kicks ass the heroine was the one who had to save the day.
Grade C-

Kili’s Ice Man by Delilah Devlin
Kili has had it with smart men. She wants a pretty boy toy with more between his legs than ears. In effort to calm down before her presentation in front of her newest fantasy man, she goes for a lunch time virtual fantasy snack. Unfortunately Gunnar “Ice Man” Rydeman’s hears her ‘all jock and no brains’ speech and next thing you know lunch gets a whole lot spicer.

This was better than I expected because I rarely do the funny stuff and I enjoy Delilah’s ‘darker’ stories. The whole caveman can’t talk thing almost got old but I have to say it was creative as hell. I would have rated this higher but the idea the smart, strong, professional woman couldn’t hold it together when meeting a cute guy, even when he is THE cute guy, set my feminist bells ringing and I never got over it.
Grade C+

Hottest One Night Stand by Lisa Renee Jones
Jessica Montgomery is heading down to Brownsville Texas for a family birthday party. Along the way a storm, car trouble and the old no room in the inn leads to one amazing night with a stranger. Only for as big as Texas is, sometimes it is still a small world and it helps to have connections.

I really liked this story. Part of it is due to the fact it is less fantastic and easier for me to believe and the other is it fits well into a novella. I would have enjoyed the story if it was longer but I didn’t feel there was anything I NEEDED to know. We learn a lot about the characters in small ways and that leaves the reader with a better feeling they will get their HEA. The biggest issue I had was his repeated use of Spanish endearments. Yes I am sure many a man does it but damn it is annoying.
Grade B+

Out of the Shadows by Myla Jackson
TJ Evans has just finished a night at work. He is on a special Houston Police Unit set up to hunt and kill vampires. There is a hurricane coming and his wanna be girlfriend slash neighbor hasn’t spoken to him since the two of them spent the night getting hot and sweaty. And the night only gets better when he learns Cassidy was attacked and he now has a whole new reason to be chasing her.

I liked the fact it was the girl who was fighting her lust for blood and the one being chased instead of the other way around. TJ was a good guy, which is always nice to see in a romance. And hey was set in Texas. But really there isn’t enough story here and I found it flat. When I hit the last word of the story I wasn’t really interested in finding out what was next.
Grade C-

A Familiar Kind of Magic by Sylvia Day
As an unattached Familiar, Victoria is something of an oddity and one the High Council wants to deal with by assigning her a new warlock. Enter Hunter Max Westin, who is sent to tame and collar the kitty. Once he has her on a leash, he decides to keep her. Now the trick is getting her to see it the same way.

The story was good in a Catwomanish sort of way. And there wasn’t a vampire to be found! But I could have so done without the BDSM stuff. Just running on overkill right now with it. But the grade dropped a good grade level or three because it doesn’t end. I hate a cliffhanger and make it one I wasn’t expecting and have no clue when and if the next part is coming, I get way cranky.
Grade D

Quick Silver by Viva Anna
A good messenger is contacted from an unknown to deliver a package to Las Vegas for an ungodly sum of money. Only to find out the ‘package’ was a person, and not just any person but a whore. Now they are on the run and hiding out from one of the most powerful people you can find, well if the year is 2080 and you are in the New States of America.

Typical futurist story or it is until you make the messenger a woman. The whore a man. The powerful person they are running from is the first lady. And… I could go on. The heroine was awesome and completely kicked ass without losing her femininity. She could have weakness without being weak and completely owned her sexuality. So why the low grade you ask? It is a cliffhanger!!! I upped the grade when I read the deal and saw there will be an Alluring Tales II and III. But I am still only ASSUMING that will continue the story. I mean it has to… right? It is one thing to leave the relationship up in the air but even erotica has to close the plot.
Grade C+

Tempting Grace by Sasha White
Grace Walters is just about living her dream life. Her home, job and place in her community mean the world to her because as a former bad girl, runaway, stripper she never thought she would be in the position she is now. Life is nice and stable or at least it would be if it wasn’t for Lucas Martin. An emotional crisis is just the thing to make her crack and take Lucas up on his repeated offers. Only now what does she do when the much younger preachers kid wants more than just one night?

It prolly says all sorts of really bad things about me but I rushed and read this story first. I love the tale of the kid who was going to make nothing of herself coming out on top and it seems I have a Thornbird Complex. Lucas was great. He normal and not made out to be holier than thou. My biggest issue was the story was too damn short.
Grade A

Overall this is a really good anthology with something for everyone, well except historical fans, so make that just about everyone. I think the book would have benefited from the stories being in a different order but who knows. Let me know if you pick it up or if you have read it. I would love to hear what you think.