Meet Trick Matthews from Christine Bell’s Dirty Trick and Giveaway!


Please say a big “Hello” to Trick Matthews, sexy hero of Christine Bell’s Dirty Trick!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Trick Mathews] Loyal, hard-working, quick to laugh.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Trick Matthews?

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Cover Shot! A Private Duel with Agent Gunn by Jillian Stone

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I love Jillian Stone’s writing, and I love the covers for her books!  It seems that she wins the cover lottery with every release!  Here’s the cover for the next book in her Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series.  What do you think of it?

In stores November 2012.  You can pre-order a copy by clicking the following links:

A Private Duel with Agent Gunn (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard) PRINT

A Private Duel with Agent Gunn (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard) DIGITAL


From the author of An Affair with Mr. Kennedy and A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis comes a sexy new romantic caper in the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series.

Prima ballerina Catriona de Dovia lives the glamorous life of a starlet, filled with glittering jewels, sumptuous dinners, and admiring suitors. She’s grown up considerably since losing her heart to Hugh Curzon once upon a time, no longer wasting her emotions on the empty promises of wealthy gentlemen. On her own since the untimely death of her parents, she will do anything for the only family she has left: her brother, a notorious anarchist.

Scotland Yard Agent Phineas Gunn—sometimes known as Hugh Curzon—receives his new assignment reluctantly. He’s up for something a little more strenuous than playing nanny to a ballerina, until he sees who his charge is. Then, it’s a completely different story, because he’d been unable to forget the trusting, beautiful Cate since he had to leave her behind.

As the two race across the Continent—by land, by sea, even through the air by zephyr—it becomes uncertain who is keeping tabs on whom, and Finn and Cate must battle the sexual tension that snaps and sizzles between them every step of the way.

Cover Shot! I Own the Dawn by M L Buchman

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Yum!  I love this cover for I Own the Dawn by M L Buchman!  I hope none of those guns are loaded!


Kee Smith battled through a difficult childhood to work her way up the ranks of the U.S. Army. When she finally makes it into the elite Night Stalkers, she feels thrilled, honored, and vindicated…until she finds out she’s been assigned to the “girlie-chopper” piloted by the only other woman in the regiment.

Kee is determined to show Lt. Archie Stevenson, one of the male co-pilots, that she is just as tough as the guys. Throughout their special mission, Archie doesn’t know whether to make love to her or plant her face-first into the dirt. But he’ll do whatever it takes to break through that shield Kee wears around her heart.

In stores August 2012

Review: Rules of Negotiation by Inara Scott


Title: Rules of Negotiation

Author: Inara Scott

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

ASIN: B007915HAQ


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

He let her make the rules…

NYC’s most eligible bachelor, Brit Bencher, is also known as The Slayer for his reputation in the boardroom…and the bedroom. And he’ll do anything to take care of his family, even seduce high-powered corporate attorney Tori Anderson in the hopes of getting her to reveal confidential information about one of her clients. But for the first time in his life, he finds he’s falling for a woman.

…and then he started to break them.

After juggling the demands of her career and the stress of caring for her ailing mother, Tori Anderson doesn’t have time for relationships—but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to feel like a woman. When Brit offers a no-strings attached fling, it sounds like exactly what she needs. But what will she do when Brit decides he won’t take “one night stand” for an answer? When Tori uncovers his lies, will he lose his chance with her forever?



I jumped eagerly into Rules of Negotiation, curious to see if Inara Scott’s transition for YA to adult romance would work for me.  I read The Candidates a few years ago and enjoyed it, though I was getting burned  out on paranormal romances for the teen scene at the time.  As I fired up my iPad and started turning virtual pages, I wondered if I would find the voice of her adult characters as convincing as her teens.  After about 30 pages, I was happy to discover that I liked it better. 

I was immediately engaged in the story, especially after Brit implemented his master plan to get his sister a job by exploiting Tori’s contact list.  Tori has no clue what Brit’s after, but she is immediately suspicious of his attentions.  She doesn’t think she is the type of woman that men start drooling over, and she doesn’t trust that he’s only interested in her.  There’s also the ethical question about a conflict of interest; she is representing a party currently in negotiations to be purchased by Brit’s monster corporation.  Using that as a shield, her defenses are quickly breached when he offers a better deal than expected.  Throwing her reservations to the wind, she allows him to wine and dine her, but stops short of falling completely for his seductions.  It’s a good thing, too, considering his snaky ulterior motives.

What I liked about this read is that no matter how badly I wanted to hate on Brit for trying to take advantage of Tori, I just couldn’t do it.  I liked him too much.  I could easily see the guarded Tori falling for this guy, liar though he is.  While he likes Tori and enjoys her company, his major motivation for trying to get close to her is to get a foot in the door for his jobless sister.  One she doesn’t even want.  I’ll admit that Tori makes his quest easier, because she is so emotionally damaged that she won’t trust anyone.  She is overworked, overstressed, and she’s long overdue to let down her hair and just have some fun.  When she’s with Brit, she has fun, so I could understand her lack of resistance to the guy.

Tori and her mother were abandoned by her father when she was a young girl, and neither she nor her mother have gotten over his betrayal.  Tori thinks that she isn’t worthy of love, because why else would he have left?  Now that her mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s, she has even more heartache to drag around with her.  This broke my heart.  Tori has nobody to love her, and she hasn’t for a long time.  Her mother doesn’t even know who she is half the time, and she misses the relationship that they had.  Tori’s drive to be successful stems from her need to provide the best care for her mother.  She eats, sleeps, and dreams her job, hoping to be made partner soon, so some of her financial burdens will be eased.   It doesn’t hurt that when she is working 24/7, she doesn’t have time to think about everything that is lacking in her life.

Even though I wanted to strangle Brit for his initial deception, I have to admit that I thought they made a great couple.  Tori didn’t take any crap from him, and he allowed her to let loose and have some of the fun she desperately needed.  When she finally puts two and two together and discovers that it adds up to a rat, she is infuriated.  I was, too!  He didn’t think he had done anything wrong!  It’s a good thing he quickly developed a guilty conscience, because the story would have fallen apart for me if he hadn’t swiftly realized, and tried to mend, the error of his ways.

So what didn’t I like? I thought the resolution to Tori’s problems was a little too pat.  While I believe that Tori and Brit are good for each other, I wish that she hadn’t forgiven him so quickly.  He should have been made to squirm a little more.  So, obviously, she has a more forgiving nature than I do.  And while it was wonderful to see Tori continue to take big emotional risks, I just wish that ending hadn’t been tied up quite so quickly.  Everything fell into place so quickly that my head started to spin. 

Rules of Negotiation offers engaging characters, plenty of hawt and sexy flirting, and a heroine who deserves to find both a happily ever after and the courage to embrace it. 

Grade: Waffling between B and B+

Review copy provided by publisher


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Review: Dire Needs by Stephanie Tyler



Title:  Dire Needs

Series: The Eternal Wolf Clan #1

Author: Stephanie Tyler

Publisher: Signet

ISBN: 978-0451236234


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Feared by humans and envied by werewolves, the Dire Wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures.

Rifter leads the pack, and his primal instincts have led him to claim Gwen, a woman seeking solace from the chronic pain that has wracked her body her entire life.

But whatever future Rifter and Gwen have is threatened by an enemy of both humanity and the Dire Wolves…


One of the most exciting aspects of jumping into new genres of fiction is discovering new-to-me authors.  I have been reading more paranormal and urban fantasy, so I was curious when I came across Dire Needs.  Stephanie Tyler has several best-selling romantic suspense series under her belt, as well as several series romances, so I was chomping at the bit to start reading this book. 

I love werewolves; they are one of my favorite paranormal beings, and they are so much more exciting than vampires.  To me, a good depiction of a werewolf captures that edgy, dangerous side, and shows how little control they can have over their inner beast.  The more unpredictable the werewolf, the better.  They should be always teetering on the brink of losing control over their human side, and in this respect, Dire Needs excelled.  Rifter is the alpha over a small group of alpha dire wolves.  He is one tough M-fer, and he is swift to mete out punishment over what’s left of his pack.  The great Extinction wiped out most of the Dires.  After they turned on humans, going on a murderous rampage, the Elders punished them harshly; every Dire was killed, except for Rifter and his small group of Dires.  There are no females, so they have no hope of ever finding a mate.  Oh, and they are immortal, so they have plenty of time to reflect on the sins of their ancestors while protecting the humans their kind once slaughter indiscriminately.  These are some tortured heroes, without hope of ever finding a happy ever after.

When Rifter meets Gwen in a were bar, she latches onto him and takes him home.  She is dying, and for one uninhibited night, she wants to let loose and revel in being alive.  She wants to forget about the seizures that have invaded her life, that are pushing her to the brink of death.  Her medications are no longer suppressing them and she has lost all hope for survival.  If ever two unhappy people needed each other, it is Rifter and Gwen.  Both without hope, both willing to throw caution to the wind to squeeze some kind of enjoyment from their hopeless existences.  The chemistry between Rifter and Gwen sizzles.  Rifter is at first reluctant to give in to his attraction for a human female, because he is so badass he’s afraid that he’ll hurt her.  Always skating on the edge of violence, he’s even more dangerous during the full moon.  The beast within demands that he give in to the animal inside, and so he finds it impossible to resist Gwen’s advances. 

I enjoyed the interaction between Rifter and his Dires.  They are always one word or gesture from tearing each other apart.  Vice is my favorite, and I can hardly wait to see him achieve his HEA.  Now, while I liked the Dires, I was overwhelmed with the number of characters in Dire Needs, and by the rapid succession in which they were introduced.  The first 60 pages is full of character introductions and info dumps about the Dires and the Weres, and I thought it bogged down the story.  The beginning of the book was uneven for me, and it didn’t always hold my attention.  I wasn’t fully engaged in the story until the fighting started, and then I didn’t want to put it down.  That’s when the story was at its best; during the action and when the characters took charge, instead of the world-building taking priority.  I found the world of the Dires a bit confusing, and honesty, after having it force fed to me, I stopped trying to understand it and just went with the flow, hoping that the focus would shift quickly back to the characters again.

While Dire Needs didn’t rock my world, I am invested enough to read the next book.  We have several story threads that need resolution, and I am curious to see how the Dires are going to best the witches and the weretrappers.  Plus, all of that testosterone was addicting, and I want to see how our alphas find happiness after being unhappy for such a long time. 

Grade: Waffling between  B and B-

Review copy provided by publisher


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Review: No Dress Required by Cari Quinn


Title: No Dress Required

Author: Cari Quinn

Publisher: Entangled Publishing


Novella: 55 pages


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

After years of ho-hum dating, Noelle Gregory is tired of fooling around. There’s only ever been one guy for her—Jake Conroy, her best friend’s older brother. Now that Jake’s back in town, she’s headed to his sister’s New Year’s Eve party to make her move. Purse full of condoms? Check. Sparkly dress guaranteed to show Jake the sexy woman she’s become? Check.

Carjacker that makes off with both two hours before the party? Check.

When Jake finds Noelle stranded on the side of the road—looking sexier than ever in her striped socks and silly holiday shirt, damn it—he’s glad for the snowstorm that cancels his sister’s party. His and Noelle’s friendship has tormented him for years, and now, Jake wonders if he should dare to sample what he’s always wanted…and if he’ll be able to walk away when it’s over.


Noelle is having a very bad day.  Her car has just been carjacked, along with her purse and her perfect party dress.  It’s New Year’s Eve, and she had big plans for the dress, plans that involved Jake, her best friend’s bother, a guy she’s lusted after for years.  Can Noelle still have a happy New Year, now that her plans have gone awry?

No Dress Required is a breezy, fun read that is perfect for a short disconnect from reality.  Clocking in at just over 50 pages, the pacing is as unrelenting as the attraction that smolders between Noelle and Jake.  Having recently suffered an emotional break-up, Jake isn’t ready for another relationship, especially one that involves his kid sister’s BFF.  He has known Noelle forever, and even though he’s attracted to her, she has been firmly off-limits because of their age difference and because he doesn’t want to piss his sister off.  When he encounters Noelle right after she’s been carjacked, he can’t just turn his back on her.  When she declares her intention to seduce him, should he let her?  While his brain is blaring warning signals, the rest of him is ready to give in, bad idea or not.

I found this an enjoyable read.  It’s easy to devour in one sitting, and it doesn’t require much brain power.  It’s a sexy read with a sense of yummy chemistry between Noelle and Jake, and I could hardly wait for them to throw aside their reservations and take a chance on developing their friendship into something more.  My only quibble is the reason that Jake’s previous relationship ended; I was just not convinced with that plot reveal at all.  I would have been more convinced if his ex had run off to join the circus.

Despite that one gripe, No Dress Required is an entertaining romp.  Bring a bucket of popcorn, though you probably finish the story before you can munch your way through all of the popcorn.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher


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Cover Shot! A Secret in Her Kiss by Anna Randol

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café.  I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share.  More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents.  There is an allure to a beautiful cover.  Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I don’t know how I missed this cover, because I find it breathtaking.  I love the drapes of fabric, the muted colors, and the blaze of blue from the jewelry.  I love the guy, too!  He looks hawt with his shirt half off.  Really, really hawt.

Have you read Anna Randol’s A Secret in Her Kiss? What did you think about it? 


She would gladly relinquish her life of intrigue…

A rare beauty, raised in the exotic heart of the Ottoman Empire, Mari Sinclair knows it’s time to end her career as a British spy when she narrowly avoids a brush with death. Unfortunately her employers think otherwise—and they are not above using blackmail to keep Mari in the Game.

Saddled with a handsome, duty-obsessed "minder" to ensure that she completes—and survives—one last mission, Mari is incensed…for her guardian, Major Bennett Prestwood, is simply too dedicated, too unbending, and too disarmingly attractive. But in the face of dark secrets and deadly treacheries, as the true peril to Mari is slowly revealed, loyal soldier Bennett realizes that, to save and win this extraordinary woman, he will have to do the unthinkable and break the rules—rules that passion and desire have suddenly, irrevocably changed.

In stores now!


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