Review: Without a Net by Lyn Gala

Oliver Robertson has been assigned to go undercover in one of the shade clubs that litter the seedier parts of town. He has never engaged in the sort of edge play found in those places, preferring the BDSM in the more mainstream control clubs. However, to find the criminals behind a series of kidnappings, he must go in undercover as a shade sub. The mission becomes more complicated when his captain asks him to collect evidence against a lieutenant who might be a dirty cop.

The case quickly gets out of hand, and Ollie finds himself caught between wanting to do his job and not knowing who to trust. That confusion grows worse when a number of sexy and dominant men challenge his assumption that he prefers safe, contractually negotiated sex. It turns out he has more of a wild side than he expected, and given that he’s surrounded by dangerous men, and he can’t distinguish the good guys from the bad, that’s terrifying.

When Ollie gives his trust to Travis Goode, a dominant who appears to be a federal agent, he might be making the connection of a lifetime or dooming himself forever.

Publisher's Note: Contains dark BDSM elements. 

I read some of the early reviews of Without a Net and was more than a little trepidatious about charging in. Considering I've publicly declared my love for LG multiple times it was a little panic inducing to consider the possibility that I might have to give a less favorable review.

Thankfully, *manic laugh* that didn't happen!

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Dodged a bullet there.

Initially there was quite a bit of gender and sexuality labeling which filled me with dread. I believe I've made my feels known on the whole labeling thing, but I feel like I should splain a bit to avoid any butt hurtedness. You see, I cut my reading teeth in the thriller genre. When I moved into romance/erotica that came with certain concessions namely that 99.9% of the time an HEA/HFN is a given, so the only puzzle pieces I'm left to play with are character development and I like dissecting characters (and people in general but that's not a topic for this review) so when that's taken away from me it takes the fun out of it. For me. Which was my chief complaint about Turbulence, but it didn't last overlong here nor did I find it excessive. Awkward? Yes. Unnecessary? Maybe. Excessive? No.

What I did find strange was the lack of world building. It's set sometime in the not too distant future with only minor differences between now and then which begs the question why not use a contemporary setting? Of which I'm mostly sure the answer would be the shade vs. control clubs. To my mind shade is to RACK what control is to SSC and I'm back to a contemporary setting with a thriller thread running through it akin to L.A. Confidential, one of my favorite movies. 

"If we were in a relationship, I would be a shade Dom. I would know every twitch of your body better than you do, and I would enjoy playing with every reaction. You'd give up your safe word, not because I wanted to hurt you, but because I planned to drive you so far into an endorphin reaction that you couldn't use it even if you were in serious trouble."

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Ollie is a cop who's clearly being discriminated against and his captain calls upon him to go undercover in a sting operation to root out the corrupt officers. Up to this point Ollie's only ever played in the control clubs and holds a certain amount of animosity towards the shade clubs. He gets a fast education right out of the starting gate though. The whole first scene between him, Buck and Allemande was brilliantly executed. It exemplified what I like best about LG's writing. While it is intense and harsh it perfectly illustrates the difference between observing an act and being on the receiving end of it.

"Sometimes the head gets rewired and you can't go back."

Shortly thereafter Ollie comes into contact with Malin. Malin who is so dominant I could actually feel the dominance wafting off my kindle has plans of his own and soon shows Ollie what shade domination can be. Malin is unscrupulous and kind of a bastard, but I'd read a book with him as the MC. In a heartbeat. Because unflappable BAMF! He's friends with a federal agent who just so happens to be Ollie's neighbor, Travis, whom Ollie's been attempting in vain to deny his attraction to. So it's fair to say Travis and Ollie have chemistry from the start and it only intensifies as they join forces and go undercover. Travis is a seasoned shade dom and Ollie poses as the well trained (read "broken in") shade sub. To lend authenticity they maintain their roles leading up to the meet.

Seemingly, the most important variant between shade and control is trust and Ollie implicitly trusts Travis. The deeper their connection becomes the more Ollie comes to realize that shade subbing is his preference. Now he just has to figure out how to keep his chosen shade dom. LG showed all of Ollie's evolution, insights, desires and angst with aplomb. This is LG's bread and butter if you ask me. She never fails to show how her characters feel about one another even from a singular perspective.

Ollie's a strong character who knows his own mind and isn't afraid to go toe to toe with Travis despite Travis' intimidating demeanor. He's also very forgiving. I'm not sure I would've been as forgiving in his shoes, but I respect why he makes his decisions. Also, I found it refreshing that he and Travis are equals in and out of the bedroom/play room/living room. Ollie's never portrayed as fragile or meek as many are wont to do with a sexually submissive character. And let me tell you the sex is HOOOOOOTTTTT!!!!!! 


After the case concludes there is one major dubious consent fly in the ointment that keeps Travis from pursuing a relationship. But the connection they have won't be denied. Try as they might it's clear they're both miserable and stubborn; a match made in heaven or by an unethical friend who's got some unorthodox methods. Tomato. Tomahto. 

It's like I'm falling out of bed
From a long, weary dream
The sweetest flowers and fruits hang from the trees
Falling off the giant bird that’s been carrying me
It's like I'm falling out of bed from a long and weary dream

Just exactly as I remember
Every word
Every gesture
I'm a heart in cold ground

Like I'm falling out of bed
From a long and weary dream
Finally I'm free of all the weight I've been carrying

Every woman blows her cover
In the eye of the beholder
I'm a fish now out of water

Falling off a giant bird that's been carrying me

I fell open
I laid under
At the tip out
I was just a number

I wanna slip it over
And get back under
And if you think this is over
Then you're wrong
If you think this is over
Then you're wrong

If you think this is over
Then you're wrong
If you think this is over
Then you're wrong

Like I'm falling out of bed from a long and weary dream
Finally I'm free of all the weight I've been carrying

When I ask you again
When I ask you again
Wake me up, wake me up


I loved every minute of how their relationship played out from the authentic dialogue to the secondary characters who pushed and nudged when it was needed and added positively to the narrative, but I especially loved that they meet each other half way. To me it solidified their partnership.

Highly recommend to fans of kink.

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Cover Reveal: Lissa Kasey's Cardinal Sins & Giveaway

We are proud to take part in the Cover Reveal Tour for the much anticipated Book Two of the Hidden Gem series, Cardinal Sins

Book Name: Cardinal Sins
Series: Hidden Gem
Book: Two
Series should be read in order 

Release Date: November 13, 2015

105,000 words
Categories: M/M Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu

Paris Hansworth, star whore turned senator and the most powerful man in City M, has been hiding his terminal illness for years.  Searching for a way to reverse the toxic environment that’s killing him, Paris stumbles upon a lost research facility, and a merman named Rain.

Years alone has made Rain long for companionship, and the beautiful man on the other side of the glass intrigues him. But Rain speaks the wrong language, and is decades out of touch. He isn’t quite sure what to think of the new environment he’s been thrust into.

As a virus spreads through the city targeting City M's most private residents—A-Ms—Paris realizes he’s out of time. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to stop it. But Rain might just be the missing DNA link to explain the mutations created in the last plague, maybe even the cure.

Watching Paris race to save his friends, Rain knows he's found someone special and will do anything to stay by his side. But the past Paris thought he’d escaped is seeking revenge, and he’s forced to adapt yet again, possibly even becoming a monster. He only hopes Rain will still want him.

A MERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!! 


     When the light aura faded from his sight he began to move the mobile unit again trying to find the small blip he’d seen before. Again just on the edges of the screen, so Paris turned the unit, following the movement. The snow was heavier this way, but when he looked back he could still see the copter in the distance and the people spread across the ice with different equipment.
     The tires on the mobile unit spun as it hit something and was apparently stuck. Paris frowned and went to dig it from a fairly deep snow bank. It was wedged far enough that he had to chisel a bit of ice away to unhook the front from an unusual ice shelf. It probably wasn’t more than a few inches higher than the rest of the ice, but it had a lip. Paris hoped the mobile unit wasn’t damaged. He set it down and brushed the snow away from part of the shelf. The edges were shaped like water had spilled over the top and frozen—a sort of tiny waterfall. The snow was loose and light, so Paris shoved it aside, glad Candy had made him take two pairs of mittens instead of his normal driving gloves. The cold froze him to the core regardless. At least his hands weren’t numb yet.
     The shelf was probably four feet long by six feet wide. Paris leaned over the cleared edge and brushed away the last bit of the snow. Maybe the facility was here and that’s why the water seemed to come up. Oddly the ice over the shelf was dark instead of white. Did that mean it wasn’t solid? He wasn’t dumb enough to try to step on it.
     Paris picked up the mobile unit and set it on the shelf, moving it around for a scan. The ice was very thin. Less than a foot deep. How odd. Still there was nothing moving. Paris had hoped to find some sort of exotic fish or something so he could tease Aki relentlessly about his mermaid dream.
     Something appeared on the screen just as Paris was reaching to put the mobile unit away. What was that? He stared at the screen as the blip came closer and got larger. He peered over the edge into the dark murky depth, not expecting to see anything at all. Most people would have been blind out here anyway. Paris’ night sight was better than most. He could almost make out a shape in the darkness. Was there something down there? The scanner was thermal so did that mean whatever was down there was cold blooded—perhaps had even adapted to the cold of long brutal winters and icy water?
     He set the scanner aside and crouched low beside the shelf, then brushed away a bit more snow. There it was again. Something was moving down there. Something large. It could have been a fish, maybe, but a very big fish. There was definitely a fin. Whatever the movement was it was further to the side than Paris was. He got up and brushed the snow away, walking carefully around the edge just in case the ice wasn’t as solid.
     The scanner began beeping—a signal that something large was close. Paris stared through the thin sheet of ice watching for movement. Was that something right there? He leaned forward, hand on the ice to steady himself.
     Suddenly a face appeared on the other side of the glass. Not that of a fish, and not quite a person. A hand reached for him. Paris stumbled backward breath caught in his throat. What the hell was that? The ice thumped like whatever was on the other side was trying to get through. Paris took another step back. There was only a half a second warning of crackling before he was suddenly falling through the ice, though thankfully not into water. He rolled a few times, hit a few things on his way down but landed in a pile of fluffy snow surrounded by what seemed to be a frozen water fall.
     “Holy fucking hell.” Paris sucked in a few heavy gasps before floundering his way out of the snow pile. Even with his good night vision everything was pitch black. The moonlight trickling through the break in the ice above gave him the impression of ice over rock, but he couldn’t be sure. He flicked on the light attached to his suit, happy it hadn’t been broken in the fall.
     The ground was solid concrete here—not ice—or at least as far as he could tell it wasn’t ice. Very faintly over the far opening enclave that led off to darkness there was a number. Five. Apparently he’d landed in the middle of the missing facility. Part of it. The Great Lakes facility had twelve aqua ducts and tanks, all containing different species of fish. There had never been an official area for APs since APs were not known by the general public. Paris wondered if any of the records were intact. Everything seemed to be under heavy sheets of ice and water.
     “Senator?” Paris’ radio crackled in his ear. “Location?”
     He pushed the button hoping it would work and turned on his tracker. “Aqua duct five, I believe. Down a very deep hole. Watch out that first step is a killer.” He stared up at the broken layer of ice that had formed over what appeared to be an old stairway that was now covered in several haphazard layers of ice. Had there been a building on top of all this at one time? That made sense didn’t it? It would have been washed away in the flood.
     A moment later several lights peered down the hole. “Do you need a medic?” One of them asked. The others were talking about rope and equipment, not sure if they had anything long enough to get them in and out or even pull him up. If Paris hadn’t slid his way down and landed in a pile of snow he’d likely be dead. The drop was over fifty feet.
     “Nothing broken,” Paris shouted back. Bruised, sore, but mobile. The giant wall of ice in front of him was actually glass with a layer of ice over the top making it somewhat murky.  
     “Did you really see a face, Hansworth?” He asked himself. 
     “Soon you’ll be babbling about mermaids like Aki. It was probably just your reflection. Couldn’t have seen much through ice that thick anyway.” He adjusted the cuffs of his jacket and glared at the dark space beyond.        
     The light reflected back his own weary face. His mask had fallen off in the fall, but toxic air couldn’t do much damage to him anyway. He was already dying. No need to dwell he reminded himself. He wasn’t one to focus on the misfortune of the past. He was wealthy and powerful. No one should pity him. Not even himself.
     Something was glowing on the other side of the glass. Paris clicked off his light. The men above called to him that they were coming down. He ignored them. The brightness intensified. First in green, then blue, and finally purple. Not one or two things but hundreds lighting up to illuminate the darkness beyond the glass. Fish. Nothing Paris recognized from any file or book, but hundreds of glowing fish swirled and moved beyond the glass. A few even came close enough to brush by his outstretched hand like they knew what he was.
     “Fish don’t look like people,” he told himself. These fish were beautiful. Something that might be found in the deepest ocean. Some looked deadly with large teeth and long antennae. Most were longer than Paris’ arm, a few as small as his hand. They moved in schools circling close before moving away.
     Paris found an almost boy-like joy in watching them. He’d never experienced an aquarium before. There were two left in all the united cities, one on the west coast and one on the east coast. He’d never had time to go to either. Of course he grew up with videos that showed him of such things. Virtual environments could almost simulate going to one of these places. Or at least that’s what he’d thought until now.
     The fish moved aside, seeming startled but unafraid by something else moving close. Paris watched with fascination as something swam toward him he was sure wasn’t possible. Hot damn, he owed Aki an apology. It stopped before the glass, reaching out to lay webbed fingers over where Paris rested his mitten-covered hand. A mermaid? Merman? Paris couldn’t tell as it was a swirl of fins and hair, but it did look sort of human on the top and all fish on the bottom. Multicolored scales decorated its torso in batches and even covered a good deal of its face. How odd.

Did I mention how much unicorns respect and admire our fellow mermen mythical creatures?

Rafflecopter Prize: One winner of a print copy, and one winner with the name of their choice in the next Haven Investigations (model) book.

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Meet the author:

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she's not writing about boy romance.

Where to find the author:

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Review: Moon Born (Feral Hearts Tales #2) by D. River

Tucker and Ryder figured that the worst was over. They'd gotten used to being lycans, they'd managed to not get killed by werewolf hunters and they'd stopped a crazy magician from trying to unleash Armageddon. However, as they try to get back to their lives, they find a whole host of new problems awaiting them. The government has established a task force to deal with paranormal threats and lycans are at the top of that list. There is a monster prowling the dark places of New York City. And the Moon Spirit has an agenda for them to fulfill. Moon Born continues the story of Love Bites, with new characters, new dangers and new complications for Ryder and Tucker's relationship. 

 I loved this continuation of Tucker and Ryder's story. Everything that was started in book one, continues here. D. River combines the contemporary world, the magical world, the fighting, pain and unease with the hottest, sweetest romance. Tucker and Ryder and the dynamics between them are what kept absolutely hooked to this book. I loved the hot sex scenes - and I'm really not that bothered by nooky in my fiction. I mean I like it - of course I do - but I can easily read a book without it. The sex here though was haaawwwwttt.
"I am so fucked, thought Ryder. Yay"
...oh I wholeheartedly agree with that yay!!
"Since screaming out 'thank you God' was blasphemous and would get them more noise complaints, Ryder clenched his jaw instead."
...noise complaint, snoise complaint. Save your jaw, Ryder. Scream away!

As well as some damn hot sex, there is a great story. A continuation of book 1, with Tucker and Ryder finding their way as lycans, figuring out who is friend and who is foe. trying to become a pack in a world that doesn't accept wolves. Along with Trey - and a cast of new, and returning, characters - Tucker and Ryder become embroiled in a fight they really don't want to be involved in. Except they both believe in the power of good and the power of right. A story that twists and turns and makes you want to keep reading and not put the book down.

As in my review of the last book, I have to mention Little Avalon. I want more in this setting. I love it.
"Passing under the cobblestone arches was like stepping through a portal of another world. The citizens of Little Avalon made no effort to look like regular people. Ryder wasn't sure if it was in reaction to their being segregated from the rest of the population or if it was simply pride in who and what they were."
I hope there is mopre of this place in the next book.

If you like fantasy books, especially those that bring the contemporary and fantastical worlds right alongside each other I heartily recommend these books. If you like hot sex between shifters - what are you waiting for? If you want to read something for pure escapism and enjoyment, give this series a try. I'm truly enjoying it.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Review: Drifting Sands (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries) by C. J. Baty

As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Justin Warfield feels alone, drifting like the sand that blows along the beach near his family’s hotel. He has done exactly as his father wanted. Married the right girl and carried on the family tradition of running the Warfield Hotel. On paper things seem perfect, but happiness hasn’t been a part of his life for a very long time.

Marcus Drummond once spent a summer with his best friend Peter at the Warfield Hotel and fell hard for Peter’s much older brother. Five years later he’s back, and this time hopes that Justin will see him as more than his kid brother’s friend.

Sparks fly when the two meet again, but there are a few things standing in their way. The closet that Justin has himself buried in and someone on a killing spree, dumping bodies on the Warfield beach . . . victims that indicate Justin may be involved in some way.

I have a confession to make. This book has been on my review TBR pile for a while. I started it and then put it down. Started again and once more put it to one side... it took me a while to get into... but I think this was definitely a me thing. Sometimes I have to be in the right mood for a certain type of book. When I picked this up a third time, I couldn't put it down. Honestly, I loved it and can't wait to read the next in the series.

The Warfield Hotel and general setting of this story is as much part of the cast as any other character. CJ Baty has written a wonderful murder mystery in this setting. The thing is... I'm not sure it's solved yet. Sure, there was a conclusion, it seems wrapped up, but I'm really not convinced. And I LOVE this. I want more - but not in that horrible cliffhanger way where I felt I've only been fed half a story in order to line an authors pocket (I know that's not how it works, but we've all read those books which really are only half a book, none of the story solved until the second instalment. It's made me hate cliffhangers!).

Justin is not perfect, he tries hard, but he makes mistakes. His father's influence over his life - even though he's long gone - made me frustrated. I could understand (some) of Justin's reasoning, he was trying to keep what he loved. His brother, the hotel - and TBH, his father sounds like a completely manipulative bastard. The thing is, I felt Caroline ended up as a victim. While she could be seen as a hateful character, I have to admit I felt more than a little sorry for her. 

I liked the dynamics between Marcus and Justin. I can't wait to see how it moves on between them. It wasn't a sweet romance - I wouldn't have believed it if it was. It was hot and cold and horny and subdued. Frustrating at times - and sometimes Justin annoyed me. Sometimes I wanted to shake him. Sometimes his decisions pissed me off no end. Then other times I felt so bad for him. I ached for him to have the easy settled - open - life he craved.

Marcus was unendingly patient, I felt. I'd like to know more about him. He's nobody's fool, smart and savvy, his attraction to Justin wasn't sickeningly sweet. It was real, and I wanted for him to get an HEA so much!

Before I go, I just want to mention Moses. Now he seems a really hateful character. One of those with absolutely nothing to like about him - and yet he intrigues me. I feel there's more if we just get to dig deeper - he's part of the reason I want book 2 so much. 

This book is well worth reading, I'm just sorry it took me so long to get into it. Like I said, I honestly believe this was me and not the story! Recommended.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.