3 out of 5
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This was a definitely a mix bag. I must admit most of these authors were new to me. The stories were grouped into “Appetizer” , “Main Course” and “Dessert”. This gave a clue to the length of the story. Main Course stories were longer, but I still wouldn’t consider those stories long. This was hard to review. Just like any other anthology, there were some stories that were more enjoyable than others. If looking for a book that holds different genres then this might be one to try.Especially if you want to read something and don’t have a bunch of time give this a chance. A good book to take on a plane.
Reviewed by Tipsy Dreamer
Our Blog was given this book in Exchange for
Savory fare for smaller appetites – short stories from a wide range of styles and genres.
by Tarah Scott
Paranormal fiction, 3074 words
No man can ever fully master memory. But maybe, just maybe, he can learn to live with it. Even be glad for it. Even if that means reaching across space, time…and the grave.
Ida and the Nor’easter
by Victoria Barbour
Contemporary fiction, 8014 words
Is there such a thing as a curse? With a storm looming on the horizon, 98-year-old Ida Walsh fears a repeat of the terrible events of her childhood. Will her indomitable wit and resilience be enough to save the day?
by Stephanie Joyce Cole
Literary fiction, 4225 words
Anne begins to question the rigid limitations of her new marriage as she spies on a mysterious neighbor.
One Who Waits
by John Robin
Epic Fantasy, 6538 words
Contains moderate violence
Al’a will die at his father’s hands, unless he can master a forbidden magic.
Al’a Solaris, born into the Sun Priesthood, only wanted to prove his worth to his father when he delved into forbidden magic. Now, he must die at his father’s hands, to restore honor to his bloodline. But the blade his father wields is also his final hope — if only Al’a can discover its secret and master the fire within.
by Ted Grosch
Just exactly why is Bernie digging that hole?
The Spirit Bottle
by Ted Grosch
A bushman’s duty is his legacy for the tribe.
by Ria Cantrell
Paranormal romance, 5477 words
Contains mildly explicit sexual scenes
A magical journey where love knows no boundaries, the Summons combines romantic and ethereal love in a mystical setting.
Hearty fare to satisfy larger literary appetites.
The Seventh Sister
by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Paranormal romance, 12,439 words
A story of love, legend, and magic
Down-on-her-luck American artist Maggie Gleason returns to Ireland, hoping to put old hurts behind her. Instead, revisiting the fishing village that enchanted her twelve years before only reopens wounds – until the unexpected appearance of roguish pub owner Conall Flanagan proves that the Ancient Isle is a magical place where anything can happen and true love always stands the test of time.
Falling in Time
by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Time travel romance, 11,090 words
When love calls across the ages…
Aspiring writer Lindy Lovejoy knows all about happy endings. But when she travels to Scotland to research Celtic myth and lore, she never expected a chance to live her own storybook romance, until a stop at mystical Smoo Cave whisks her back in time and into the arms of Rogan MacGraith, a Highland hero who’d burn up the pages of the steamiest Scottish romance novel.
Clouds Across the Moon
by Kathryn Lynn Davis
Historical Women’s Fiction, 17,151 words
In the 19th century Scottish Highlands, young Morna struggles with new motherhood, her child’s illness, and her inability to compete with her husband’s idealized vision of her. Will she have faith in the magic of her dreams, and thus find the strength to save her child’s life–and her own–as she begins to recognize the truth and depth of the woman she really is?”
The Lady’s Portrait
by Kate Robbins
Contemporary Romance, 17,332 words
Contains mild to moderate sexually explicit scenes
When Gillian Beaton meets the captivating Ciaran MacLeod, she’s immediately attracted, but is she ready to trust again? Have her demons followed her to Scotland and can new love grow out of old heartbreak?
by Natasha Blackthorne
Historical Erotic Romance, 23,018 words
*Contains extremely explicit sexual scenes that some readers may find offensive*
Late one night, in the midst of a summer’s hot spell, Thomas spies Rosalind in the woods, clad only in her shift, dancing in the moonlight. It’s really more than a man celibate for three years can bear. Thomas is in danger of falling into a sin so powerful it threatens to challenge everything he thinks he knows about himself and life…
Sneak Peek at Highland Legacy: King Arthur Strikes Back
by Mary McCall
Medieval Highland Romance, 12,494 Word
Michael wed Christina when he was nine and she was three, then promptly went about his life and tried to forget about her. Now the pair must unite to thwart the Beast, return the Power of God that was stolen by their ancestors, and save the world in an epic battle between the forces of good and evil.
*Please note, this is NOT a short story, it is an extended preview of Mary’s next novel, book III in her Sisters by Choice series due for release soon. It is a taste of things to come and while it does not end on a cliff-hanger, it is not a complete story.*
Looking for something lighter or perhaps a happy ending? The stories in this section won’t disappoint you. They are shorter and mostly romantic, or funny, or both.
by H.D. Smith
Paranormal fiction, 7099 words
Contains mild violence and a frustrating lack of S’mores
For those that like it short and sweet
Madison Monroe thinks she has everything in life figured out, until one ill-fated camping trip has her running for her life through the woods being chased by two wolves—both eager to claim her.
The Life She Had Before
by Brenda Margriet
Contemporary Romance, 5429 words
A woman is torn between bitter revenge and the sweetness of a second chance.
Hi. My Name is Harold
by Kimberly K. Comeau
Humor, 3778 words
Is there light at the bottom of an empty peanut butter jar?
For Harold, giving up peanuts for medical reasons means the end of life’s greatest pleasure…until his wife introduces him to all-natural peanut butter. But his addictive personality isn’t satisfied with an occasional indulgence.
The Jewel of Grim Fortress
by Victoria Zak
Paranormal historical romance, 7105 words
Eradicating wayward supernaturals has its consequences.
The hereafter may be closer than Carson Kincaid thinks when he is charged to discover what ails Laird Maclean’s mind. Can Kincaid conquer his inner demons while battling the armies of evil?
Paisley Shaw, a powerful druid, has endured her share of hardened times starting the moment Laird Maclean stormed into her life. Now, she must find a way to stop him from taking her powers before it’s too late.
by KyAnn Waters
Erotic romance, 7073 words
*Contains extremely explicit sexual scenes that some readers may find offensive*
Adrian Beck lost everything, including his passion for designing beautiful buildings, after 9/11.
Isabelle Clemet, of Clemet Hotels, is ready to rebuild after Katrina. She wants the Adrian.
Can an erotic late-night encounter on a secluded beach help a lonely architect rediscover his lost passion?
When a Rose Blooms,
by Tarah Scott
Historical romance, 4353 words
On the anniversary eve of his wife’s death, Nathaniel kneels at her grave asking questions he fears were answered the night she died. Despite cold solitude, desire flares when he learns the woman who now haunts his dreams awaits him in the great hall. By morning’s light, she will meet him on the battlefield he has built around himself, and force him to choose between the living and the dead
Sorry for Your Trouble
by Ceci Giltenan
Vignette, 1913 words
Ceci shares poignant but sometimes funny memories of the first funeral she attended in Ireland.
The Personal Ad
by Ceci Giltenan
Contemporary sweet romance, 4211 words
Always the best friend and never the leading lady, will Nina find love when she answers a quirky, sweet personal ad?
The Life She Had Before by Brenda Margriet
When her cell phone rang later that evening she was tempted to ignore it, especially when she saw Derek’s face on the display.
She was lying in bed, staring sightlessly at the ceiling, wondering where and when her life had gone to hell. Ruefully she reflected that anything, even talking to her unfaithful husband, was better than that.
“How are the kids?” she said without preamble.
“They’re okay. Wondering when you’ll be back.”
She couldn’t help it. The sound of his voice swept through her, sending a rush of longing coursing deep into her belly, so strong she had to curl around herself to contain it.
“Why did you call?”
“We need to talk.”
Gathering the shreds of her courage, she gave in. “What do you want from me, Derek?”
He didn’t answer immediately. The silence grew, and with it the tension in her stomach. When he finally did speak, her breath left her lungs in a whoosh of terrorized hope.
“A second chance.”
She thought back to earlier that night, to a kiss of tenderness and desire, and wondered if she had the strength to make the right decision.
Hi. My Name is Harold by Kimberly K. Comeau
Hi. My name is Harold. I’m a peanut butter addict. Thank you for inviting me here to speak to you tonight.
My addiction, like most addictions, started innocently enough, I suppose, with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a child. Actually, those experiences started well before my addiction, but they laid the groundwork for what came later. After all, those early experiences were pleasurable ones, shared with a parent. What I did then felt safe.
Once I graduated from college, though, I started consuming peanuts. Real peanuts. You know, those little bowls of peanuts set out at parties . . . snacking socially with other guests, then grabbing a handful and filling a pocket when others turned their backs.
Eating peanuts was an adult thing to do. Everybody did it. I didn’t think anything about it, except to believe I’d left peanut butter sandwiches behind, along with my childhood. Then a woman friend discovered how much I liked peanuts and started giving me cans of nuts as gifts: for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, then “Just because it’s Thursday” and “They were on sale” days. I added cashews to my intake of nuts. I began buying them myself to supplement the gifts. It was great! A never-ending supply of comfort food.
Then one morning I was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. I was admitted for emergency surgery but spared the knife when my doctor ruled out appendicitis. (My white blood cell count wasn’t high enough to be appendicitis.) I was referred for a colonoscopy. The test pinpointed the problem: diverticulitis.
This is where the scary music should escalate in the background. I was . . . Ahem. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get choked up. I-I was advised to avoid any food containing seeds. Nuts were absolutely banned from my diet.
As you can imagine, my life changed dramatically that day.
The wind and tree branches whipped past me as I ran through the moonlit forest. The skin of my arms was already sliced from the branches, but I couldn’t stop. The cry of the wolves pushed me forward. I kept my eyes open for anything that might block my path.
My heart was thundering in my chest. The adrenaline that coursed through me moved my legs faster—but to where I didn’t know. I prayed it was the road, or the river—wolves hated water, right?
My breathing was labored and the forest crowded around me like it didn’t want me to leave. I whipped my head around as I heard the cry of the second wolf. Their howls surrounded me—as if they were running toward me from opposite directions. I stumbled, catching myself before I could fall. I had to keep moving. I had to make it to the road or the river. God I hoped I was running in the right direction.
I should have never agreed to this ridiculous “adventure”. I hated the woods, something my boyfriend Jeff knew, but he insisted we go camping. I was bribed with the promise of s’mores and burnt hotdogs, and of course I got neither. I’d left for a walk after he got drunk and suggested we go all pagan and try sky-clad hide the sausage. He didn’t even try to stop me, and then I got lost in the dark woods alone, without cell service—and no s’mores.
Now I’m being chased by wolves. Un-fucking-believable.
I whipped past another bush with sharp branches, sure the howls were getting closer. I’d never make it to the road or the river at this pace. It wasn’t like I knew where either was located—I needed to hide. Breathing heavy, I slowed to a stop. I spotted a large cluster of rocks ahead to the right. Forcing my tired legs to move, I hurried toward the small mountain of stone. I had absolutely no experience climbing anything, but I wasn’t going to give up. The higher ground would protect me until help could arrive. At least, I assumed—hoped—when I hadn’t come back that meant Jeff had alerted the rangers. I just had to survive until they found me.
I cringed at the sharp cry of a baying wolf. Reaching the rocks, I took hold and started to climb. I cursed as I scraped my hands on the rough rocks. One palm felt wet with blood, but I didn’t stop. Both were bloody before my feet were a meter off the ground. My hand slipped, but my shaky legs held. I reached out again, this time securing my footing.
Fear shot through me and I stilled when the rustle of quick padding slowed behind me. A low growl pierced the night. I wanted to cry or scream in frustration—I wasn’t high enough to be safe. Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw the two wolves that had pursued me. If I wasn’t scared out of my mind and a hairsbreadth away from being eaten alive, I would have said they were beautiful. The moonlight shone bright off their glossy coats. The white wolf was so luminous it almost glowed. The black wolf’s coat was like liquid ink.
I was awed by their beauty, but holy hell were they big.
They growled at each other, snarling and baring their teeth, which was when I realized neither wolf was looking at me.
Okay, maybe they were just chasing each other? That was a stupid thought, they came from opposite directions.
I tried to ignore them. I heaved and pulled myself up another foot. I just had to reach the top, maybe then my cell phone would work. Damn wilderness technology vacuum. I cursed this trip again and Jeff for suggesting it. I almost slipped when I heard the far off bay of other wolves. Then all hell broke loose as the two wolves behind me started fighting each other.
Keep it together, Maddy. I tried not to panic, but when two extra-large wild animals are trying to kill each other at your feet, it’s really hard to think about anything else.
I struggled to hold myself up. My arms were shaking—from fear and exhaustion. I needed better leverage. I moved my left leg to a piece of rock that jutted out enough to create a foothold. I pushed up, but before I could grab the next handhold, the sliver of rock under my foot crumbled and I slipped. I cried out in pain as my ankle raked along the rock. Losing my grip, I fell back onto the ground with a thud.
The wolves, who’d been at each other’s throats seconds before, stopped fighting. Turning to me, they bared their teeth and snarled. I screamed, raising my hands to protect my head as both wolves lunged forward.
The Summons – Paranormal Romance – By Ria Cantrell
By the time he could return to the comfortable flat he was renting, it would be late in the night, or rather; early in the morning and he would fall blissfully into bed with no energy left for dreams that left him aching and troubled. At least, that was his hope. He had to concentrate and stop his foolish reverie of something that was not real; that would never be reality–only–somehow, despite his rationalization of it, deep down he knew she was as real as he was. He shook his head again as if the movement of it would actually clear it and he thought to himself that he hadn’t even been drinking or for that matter, smoking anything to make the fantasy take on such a life of its own. He had to stop it. He was a grown man. He felt rather silly for putting so much onto a woman that was not even real.
She had seen him again. She did not know what it meant, but she knew that somehow, he was seeking her, too. He was not of her time; that she was certain, although the way he wore his hair was similar to the men she knew in her village. He was tall and handsome, but his eyes held a deep emptiness that she, herself understood all too well. The time for her to have been mated to a man had long passed as she had been called to care for her dying father. There was no room for courting in her world where her responsibilities pressed upon her like the weight of the standing stones.
The Jewel of Grim Fortress – Paranormal Historical Romance – By: Victoria Zak
Isle of Mull
The clanging of steel on steel echoed throughout the stronghold as Clan Maclean warriors battled to defend their laird. Warriors of every caliber bit and punched their targes until their blood ran to the dirt floor. They growled and snarled like wild beasts, charging forward down the wide staircase with all their might. There was no denying it, these men were willing to die for their laird and today, unfortunately for them, most would.
Dodging a flying Maclean shield before slicing his cheek, Kincaid rolled his eyes and blew out a breath of frustration. “This shite is getting old, me brother.” Being a paranormal assassin, fighting the supernatural was a daunting, unpredictable occupation, but one he had to do.
“Och, man, where’s yer sense of adventure?” Cailean, his brother in arms, huffed as he sliced through a warrior’s gut. “Plus, ye need the coin for rent.
Aye, a blacksmith’s son was in no matter born into riches or noble birth. Yet, one small characteristic seemed to have been forgotten through the ages. Not only could a smith forge steel into a fine sword fit for a king, but he possessed a special kind of magic. Magic strong enough to be passed down from generation to generation. Magic that could detect supernatural activity. It was something special, secret. Yet Kincaid thought differently. Charmed yet cursed.
“Aye, I suppose ye’re right, brother.” Kincaid knocked heads with a weaponless warrior who had thought it a good idea to charge him. The man fell to the ground. Kincaid kicked the motionless body down the stairs, shaking his head in disgust while he caught his breath. Hunting the wayward paranormal was growing old on him. The visions of unnatural activity that always led him to his next quest had become stronger, wearing on him mentally. The unending string of missions was also taking a toll on his body. Vampire bites, werewolf scratches, and conniving demons, he had scars from them all, but nothing came close to dealing with the Fae. Aye, every scar came with a price; his soul.
Falling in Time – Time Travel Romance – By: Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Sweet lass, I need you….
Lore’s voice came low and husky. Lindy whipped around with a jolt, sure she’d felt his breath on her nape. Soft and warm, it’d caressed her skin, making her tingle with desire and awareness. His words, deep and rough-edged, let her know that he wanted her with equal passion. But a quick glance showed that the room loomed empty. As before, nothing stirred except the damp wind outside her window.
She’d reached again for her pen and notepad, pushing her Scottish hero from her mind.
Sometimes it didn’t pay to have such a vivid imagination.
But hard work was always rewarded.
If her Armchair Enthusiast Guide took off, she hoped to someday earn a living by immersing herself in the world she loved best. Medieval Scotland, with all its mystery and magic, and where, she knew in her heart, she should have born if only some cruel quirk of fate hadn’t plunked her down in the wrong time and place, leaving her filled with yearning for a life she couldn’t have.
But she could write books set there.
Once she made a name for herself as an expert on the must-see Highland hot spots of Celtic mythological fame.
And that wasn’t going to happen unless she stopped thinking about her romance novel’s hero and paid attention to the task at hand. Such as studying her next morning’s route to one of the most celebrated places on her two week tour through Scotland’s ancient landscape.
She peered at the Ordnance Survey map that covered most of her bed. The map was a Landranger 9 and detailed every inch of Cape Wrath, the wildest and remote corner of Scotland. Just seeing all the squares, lines, and miniscule place names filled her with anticipation. This was the part of her trip that most excited her. She’d never been to Scotland before, but she’d dreamt of Sutherland all her life.
Scotland’s far north was where she belonged.
Thenext day’s journey would feel like going home.
Already, she knew each twist and turn of the way. Every curve of the shore road, the slender crescents of golden sand, and even the forgotten homesteads, each one little more than a tiny dot on her map.
Looking at them now, her heart skittered. Though nothing thrilled her as much as the special place she’d explore in less than twenty-four hours. Said to be a portal to the Otherworld as well as a favorite haunt of the fey, Smoo Cave would be the highlight of her trip.
She also meant to make it the piece de resistance of her book.
Levering up against the pillows, she pulled the map onto her lap. But before she could trace her finger along the pink-highlighted stretch of road she needed to follow around Loch Eriboll and along the coast to Durness where the cave was located, the wind picked up, slamming one of the shutters against the wall.
Or so she thought until she remembered the window wasn’t shuttered.
If the banging noise had been the sound of her door flying open….
Lindy’s heart stopped and the fine hairs on her nape lifted. Scotland wasn’t exactly known for crime, but there were always exceptions. So she slowly looked up from the map and slid a cautious glance across the room.
What she saw took her breath.
A man stood silhouetted against the light from her dresser lamp. Tall, kilted, and too rock-solid to be her imagination, he wore a very real-seeming sword at his hip and had a dark, roguish air about him that made her mouth go dry and did funny things to her stomach.
He looked very much like Lore.