May 2008
SCP      Please help support Just About Write
by purchasing your books through the
StarCrossed Productions
links on our pages. Thank you, wholeheartedly.

Title: Across Time
Author: Linda Kay Silva
ISBN 978-1-883523-91-6
Publisher: Spinsters Ink
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $14.95 - Pages: 264
Genre: fantasy

Have you ever known something before it happened? Have you ever known the answer to a question without really knowing where you got the information? Do you believe in soul mates?

Jessie Ferguson thinks her parents are totally destroying her life. They've torn her away from her friends and school in California to move to a small town in Oregon where they plan to renovate an old house into a bed and breakfast. They hope they are saving Jessie from the drugs and sex she was involved with, but all she can think about at first is getting out of the town.

Then things begin to change. Jessie meets Madam Ceara, the town fortune teller, who seems to be able to read people's minds. Ceara not only isn't surprised when Jessie says that there is a room at the house that keeps appearing and then disappearing, but encourages her to explore what the room means. Jessie finds herself passing through a portal that carries her two thousand years into the past to meet Cate, a Druid priestess and a previous incarnation of the soul Jessie now possesses. Cate has been sent into the future by two powerful Druid leaders Maeve and Lachlan in a desperate search for information. The Romans are intent on destroying all of the Druids in Britain and Cate needs details from Jessie that will help them avert disaster.

As Jessie and Cate reach out to each other, Jessie begins to grow in knowledge, maturity and power. She acquires a wisdom and courage that sets her apart from her peers and she learns from Cate and Maeve about a type of love that is not bound within a single lifetime or by gender. As Jessie tries to prove to her parents that she's not the same person, she also struggles with the new things she is learning. And always there is the sense of impending doom that hangs over all of them, the race to find information that Jessie has to win if she is to save people who have become friends.

Linda Kay Silva has created a book that has to be appreciated on two levels. There is a well crafted story about Jessie, Cate and the situation involving them. The reader could simply enjoy that and have a good read, but there is a much deeper theory expressed in this book. It poses interesting questions and proposes more interesting answers. What if time is not linear, but cyclical, with past, present and future lives all coexisting on different planes? What if the soul moves from plane to plane inhabiting different bodies, but maintaining certain characteristics?

If we could quiet the noise and distraction of the world around us, could we learn to tap into knowledge we possess in other lives? When a person has unusual artistic, mental or psychic abilities, could it be the memories from other lives surfacing at some level? Is it possible for souls to pass through the "seam" of time and visit other incarnations, perhaps appearing in those lives as "ghosts" or dream characters? If two souls are "mated," do they pass through time, constantly rediscovering each other in various relationships?

These are just some of the questions the reader will find herself pondering as she works her way through the story. The concepts challenge conventional thought and tap into ancient traditions and beliefs. The reader doesn't have to spend time thinking about these issues, but they add a depth to the writing that isn't often found in fiction.

Across Time takes the reader on two interesting journeys, one with Jessie to rescue the Druids and the other in the realm of philosophy. Taking both of them is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Beach Town
Author: Ann Roberts
ISBN: 978-1-594931-32-1
Publisher: Bella Books
Available from: StarCrossed Productions,;
Bella Books,
Price: $13.95 - Pages: 288
Genre: Romance





Beach Town spans fifteen years in the lives of two women. Kira Drake is a rising star in Hollywood. She knows that an actress only has a certain number of years while she can enjoy real box office success and she's determined to stay there as long as she can. Her dedication to her career puts her at the mercy of her manager and her ruthless mother, either of whom is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Kira at the top so that they can benefit from her popularity. Things threaten to derail when Kira goes to Ocean Beach to film a movie and meets Flynn McFadden.

Flynn is the local surfing phenomena and a veterinary student. The McFadden family is at the heart of the community and Flynn has never known anything but total acceptance for her "out" lifestyle. There is an instant attraction between Kira and Flynn that makes Kira daring and reckless. When her career is threatened by tabloid stories, her manager shows up to wrench the women apart and Kira lets him do it.

The story then leaps forward to when both women have moved on with their very different lives. When a surprising turn of events brings Kira back to Ocean Beach, she has to face Flynn and deal with what she did to both of them. An attraction is still there, but the obstacles are huge. Kira still has a successful career that she may lose and Flynn isn't sure if she wants to expose herself to the kind of pain that Kira inflicted before. The people of Ocean Beach rally to protect Flynn while they watch to see if the women can resolve the situation in a way that will make both of them happy.

Beach Town takes an interesting approach to a standard story. The women meet, fall madly in love and, if it were the usual romance, overcome all the odds, but they don't. The separation allows each one to develop as she thought she wanted to, and when they come back together, the reader knows that it isn't a given that the situation will end happily. The characters stay true to who they are. Kira may be in love, but she wants her career more than anything and that made it possible for her to be selfish and cruel when she was younger. Flynn grows the most of the two characters, but she maintains that wild spirit encased in responsibility that draws people to her.

The interesting part of the book is the second half when it's obvious that the attraction is still there, but life has taught both women that love isn't everything. More important at that point is being able to trust and rely on the other person and the women may not have enough of either trait to be able to let their love reassert itself.

Roberts has created a pleasant romance. The reader can easily feel Kira's desperation and Flynn's pain. There is also humor in the story and a good cast of supporting characters. Beach Town can easily be read in a few hours and should provide good entertainment.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Deadly Vision
Author: Rick R. Reed
ISBN: 9781932300963
Publisher: Quest Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $16.50 - Pages: 220
Genre: Suspense

Cass D’Angelo lives a regular life in small town, Ohio, with her seven-year-old son, Max. She works at a popular diner and has little unusual going on in her life except, initially, the lack of a girlfriend. Her whole life changes, however, after being struck on the head during a storm. When she wakes up in the hospital, she discovers that she’s acquired psychic powers, specifically the ability to visualize the grisly deaths of local girls who have recently begun disappearing.

The killers are an insane, but handsome, psychopath and his smitten and spectacularly confused girlfriend. We find out very quickly that they worship a devil-like entity, “The Beast,” and when they discover that Cass has directed the police to unearth one of their victims, they go after her and her family.

Like Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly character, Cass D’Angelo is a psychic character who’s fascinating to read about. She’s thoughtful, smart, and capable. Unlike Harris’s character, who travels around to use her gift, Cass is mostly happy and settled in her Ohio home and committed to family, friends, and her community. That makes her deadly visions and horror over the sick murders even more palpable. Everyone is at risk, even her own son.

Reed gives us alternate chapters from the perspective of the twisted killer’s girlfriend and of our increasingly-stressed heroine. His secondary characters, particularly Cass’s mother and Cass’s journalist girlfriend, are lively, interesting, and essential. His use of tone, pacing, and atmosphere is masterful. A natural born storyteller, this author does an excellent job showing Cass’s increasing panic in the face of the killers’ single-minded murderous intent. With every page, the reader’s tension level rises until the wild climax. At times graphic, always descriptive, and endlessly suspenseful, this novel takes you on a rocky ride through horror and anxiety. Will the killers be thwarted? Will Cass live to see another vision? Will she lose the one she loves the most?

Deadly Vision is highly recommended for all who enjoy heart-pounding suspense, horror, and good old-fashioned fright within an expertly constructed narrative.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake

Title: Heart of the Matter
Author: KI Thompson
ISBN 10: 1-60282-010-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,;
Price: $15.95 - Pages: 223
Genre: Romance

KI Thompson, author of the historical novel, House of Clouds, has brought her readers a romantic novel with a history professor as one of the protagonists. As in her previous work, Thompson's love of history, particularly the Civil War, brings facts, figures, and places to life. Her protagonist, Ellen Webster, is well respected in her field, and well liked by her students. Her only fear is "if her life suddenly ended, she would never experience the one thing missing from her life . . .love." Ellen is sure that no woman could find her attractive . . . not at her current weight. Her self esteem is not helped by her sister, who constantly tells her that she could find a "decent" man, and live a "normal" life, if she would just lose weight.

Ellen's next door neighbor is Kate Foster, an award-winning newscaster. Kate is every woman's dream: tall, dark, handsome and successful. She's at the top of her game and is able to call the shots at her grateful station. She is also able to enjoy a rich and varied love life.

Kate's and Ellen's lives change when Kate is in a terrible accident on the Washington Beltway. She survives, but is left with a facial scar, which rocks her confidence and her job. Literally unwilling to show her face in public, Kate begins an uneasy relationship with Ellen. Ellen does Kate's shopping and provides her with company. Their growing friendship provides Ellen with nightly erotic fantasies.

Thompson has given her readers a rich story, showing how love and friendship can grow despite superficial appearances, and that body image is in the eye of the beholder. Her characters are well developed, as is the love story. The sex is hot and vivid. Heart of the Matter is definitely a good read.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: House Of Clouds
Author: KI Thompson
ISBN: 9781933110943
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bold Strokes Books,
Price: $15.95 – Pages: 377
Genre: Historical fiction

Yankee actress Jordan Colfax and her brother have been raised by her widower father in the North. She’s a forward-thinking woman, as modern as she could be in the 1860s. She’s got the kind of spunk that Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March possessed, so it’s no surprise when she takes on the role of undercover spy for the Pinkerton agency.

Laura St. Clair, raised in Virginia, comes from an entirely different world than Jordan. She’s been raised on a plantation worked by slaves, her father is an advisor to Jefferson Davis, and she has little choice in the strait-laced life her parents have planned for her. Her brother, Ransom, knows Jordan’s brother, Tyler, from West Point, where both young men are cadets, and the two women meet through them. Laura is initially appalled by Jordan’s liberal attitudes and freewheeling ways. She immediately judges the young actress to be no better than a harlot. Jordan is appalled by Laura’s Confederate sympathies and southern belle status. The dawning attraction between the two comes as a surprise to both.

Laura’s coming of age and coming into her own begins with the death of her brother in his first battle and continues because of her association with Jordan. But when Jordan is arrested for spying, all hell breaks loose. How can these two women remain friends, much less lovers, with so much culture, history, and societal difference between them?

Though essentially a love story, House of Clouds very effectively takes on the issues of the mid-to-late 19th Century: slavery, race, culture, class, property, states’ rights, relationships between men and women, and the taboos surrounding same-sex love. This epic saga moves along with great energy and clocks in at a delicious 377 pages. The author writes with surety and accomplishment, never allowing the historical events to take over the story. An engaging plot and lively characters keep this dynamic story right on track and full of unexpected twists and turns.

Highly recommended for all romance readers, lovers of historical fiction, and anyone who enjoys a fascinating story ably told.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake

Title: Mouths of Babes
Author: Stella Duffy
Publisher: Bloody Brits Press
ISBN: 9781932859539
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bywater Books,
Price: $14.95 - Pages: 214
Genre: Fiction/Mystery

How many people, especially when they were young, took advantage of a weaker person for their own amusement, never considering what the long-range consequences would be? How many of us, now that we have the maturity of years, have looked back and thought of things we did and wished we could change the past? What would you do if your past showed up to remind you of your cruelty?

Saz Martin and her partner Molly are embarking on a new and happier phase of their lives. Molly has given birth to their daughter, Matilda, and is preparing to return to her work as a doctor at a local hospital. Molly's pay check means that Saz can give up her career as an investigator and become a stay-at-home parent for Matilda. Since Saz's work often resulted in her being seriously injured, this seems to be a perfect solution and she is quite satisfied with the arrangement, until a voice from her childhood reaches out to destroy her peace.

Will Gallagher is a famous TV star and someone that Saz hasn't talked to in many years, nor does she want to talk to him now. When they were younger, they traveled with a pack of three other people and they led a very rough lifestyle, one that Saz would like to forget and deny. Will finally manages to make contact though and informs Saz that one of their victims, Janine Marsden, a girl they tormented in school, is trying to blackmail him. Janine insists that the only thing that will stop her is if the group agrees to meet with her.

Since they haven't seen each other in years, Will wants Saz to take the job of locating the other people and bringing them together. Saz doesn't want to do this, doesn't want to face Janine, but she's more terrified of Molly finding out the type of person she once was. She finds herself leaving Matilda with her ex-lover Carrie and deceiving Molly as to what she is doing.

Eventually, Saz isn't sure which is worse, having Molly find out who she was or what she is willing to do now. The final confrontation has a shocking conclusion and will leave the reader with a lot to think about.

Mouth of Babes is extremely topical in a time when it's popular for young people to post videos on the Internet of themselves beating up other people. Numerous school shootings and other tragedies have been traced recently to the effects of a person being bullied by his/her peers and not being able to stand the pressure anymore.

The people who do the bullying usually grow out of the behavior and, in later years, come to regret what they did, but they seldom face the consequences of their actions. Duffy shows quite clearly that the bully's remorse does not erase the results on the victim. She uses the technique of juxtaposing scenes of Saz and who she is now with flashbacks of the teenager that Saz was.

In some ways, Saz was as much a victim of the group as Janine was and the reader is torn between admiring Saz and the person she has become and being appalled at her previous behavior. The final face-off between Saz and Janine is dynamic and demonstrates that, even years later, the act of being a bully can have consequences never imagined and can continue to involve innocent people.

Duffy is an accomplished writer and presents a mystery with a sophistication that is typical in British literature, but not often offered in American writing. There are several strands that must be resolved for the story to be complete and none of them has an easy answer. One of the most challenging comes at the end when Molly discovers in a dramatic fashion what has been going on and presents Saz with a definition of relationships that doesn't fit with the normal patterns of lesbian fiction. Mouths of Babes an engrossing book to read, with lessons that will leave the reader with a lot to ponder.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: On Azrael's Wings
Author: D. Jordan Redhawk
ISBN: 1933720395
Publisher: P.D. Publishing, Inc.,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $16.99
Pages: 190
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

D. Jordan Redhawk's newest book On Azrael's Wings follows in the vein she is known for, a story with some historical reference and some fantasy worked in.

In Middle Eastern theology, Azrael is the angel of death. How appropriate that this is the name of General Azrael of the Third Army. She is the enforcer for her brother, King Shonal, and she does it with brutal efficiency. When she is sent on a mission to destroy a village of dissidents, she does a thorough job. However, Azrael does have a code of honor and she expects her troops to adhere to it, so when she finds three soldiers trying to rape a woman, her punishment is swift and deadly.

As a slave, Ursula understands that she has no value, which is why she is surprised when Azrael not only saves her, but takes her as a body slave. What starts out as a relationship based on fear grows into one of mutual trust and Ursula discovers the woman who lives behind the hard façade is more complex than her legend represents. For her part, Azrael can't understand the feelings she has for Ursula, but she knows they can be dangerous for both of them. Her society doesn't tolerate the idea of royalty and slaves mixing, but she can't deny her growing feelings for Ursula. Azrael also learns she has a problem when rumors reach her that her brother doesn't trust her and suspects she wants his throne. Azrael would like to retire to her estates and enjoy life there with Ursula, but things come to a head when King Shonal seizes Ursula and claims her as his property. Azrael has to decide which comes first: loyalty to duty or loyalty to love.

On Azrael's Wings is not true history, but it has the feel of a story about times in early Europe or Asia. The fantasy comes from the idea that an army in that time would accept a woman general to lead it, but it works in the book.

The story flows well and is entertaining. There aren't any surprises or twists to this tale as it follows a predictable pattern, but it is a pleasant romance with a little adventure thrown in. It would have easily made one of the old swashbuckling stories from 1930's movies, except that both stars would be women. The characters are well developed, not complex, but likeable. This book isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: Second Verse
Author: Jane Vollbrecht
ISBN: 9781932300949
Publisher: Yellow Rose Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Cost: $15.95 - Pages: 174
Genre: Romance

Gail Larsen needs to move on with her life, but it just hasn't been possible. Her partner Marissa has been brain dead and in a coma since a canoeing accident that Gail, incorrectly, blames herself for. A victim of polio, Marissa was left with a weakened body, so Gail believes if she had responded faster, she might have saved her. Marissa's parents have moved her to a nursing home near them and refuse to let Gail have any contact with her, but she still thinks of Marissa as her partner and meeting anyone else is out of the question.

When Gail is assigned by her publishing company to work as the editor on the new book by Connie Martin, the leading figure in lesbian literature, she is appalled when she realizes there is an attraction between them. Conveniently, a childhood friend needs Gail's help to clean out her family home before it is sold, thus providing an excuse for Gail to flee from any contact with Connie. Connie is persistent with her attentions though and Gail begins to believe that there might be a new chance for happiness. A stunning medical diagnosis will call all of that into question as Gail tries to decide if she has the strength to deal with yet another partner with a disability.

Second Verse is a story about mature love, not necessarily in years, but in the way it is experienced and its consequences. It could be a routine romance except that it touches on two sensitive issues, the impact of chronic illness on a relationship and the lack of legal rights that homosexuals experience in many places.

Many people are familiar with the stresses that can be created by factors like money, work, and children, but chronic illnesses create a strain of a different kind. The sick person cannot help the illness, but at times cannot participate fully in all aspects of the relationship. The well partner tries to be sympathetic to what is going on and to cope with the situation, but when irritation with what is a frustrating existence occurs, then the guilt settles in for not being understanding or compassionate enough. It isn't surprising that situations like this often result in separation or divorce.

Gail suffers from guilt over a series of events over which she had no control. In this particular story, the problem is compounded by the fact that most states do not recognize any legal connection between gay partners. The point is driven home that, if Gail and Marissa had spent a little time with a lawyer, Gail would have had the right to make decisions for Marissa's care that would have been more in line with what Marissa had wanted. Instead, she finds herself excluded from her partner's hospital room and then her life by parents who never accepted the reality of who their daughter loved.

Then Connie is diagnosed with an illness that is on the rise among women and that could face many couples. Anyone who is in a relationship should find herself making an appointment with a lawyer after reading this book.

Jane Vollbrecht took a formula romance and injected it with social commentary, poignancy and a touch of reality that isn't usually included in fiction. Second Verse is not a sad story, but it is a thoughtful one. It teaches some important lessons while telling an engaging tale.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: The Trouble With Murder
Author: Kate Sweeney
ISBN: 9781933113852
Publisher: Intaglio Publications,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,
Price: $16.95
Pages: 229
Genre: Mystery

Kate Ryan strikes again. In more ways than one. Kate's insecurities about her relationship with Dr. Maggie Winfield drove her to take a three-week assignment, photographing mustangs in South Dakota. During that time she hasn't been in touch with anyone, not her sister, not her editor, not Maggie. Now she's home and, although her first stop is to visit Maggie and her Aunt Hannah, she's not sure of the welcome she'll get. The situation is difficult and then, as is typical with Kate, it gets more difficult when Maggie introduces her new friend Ellen.

Kate was already going to retreat to her cabin on the lake and intended to invite Maggie, Hannah, and her sister to join her for a girl's weekend. Her confusion multiplies when she finds herself inviting Ellen also, a woman she is pretty sure intends to take Maggie away from her, that is, if Maggie does belong to her, which she's not sure of because Kate's afraid to say anything and Maggie is too mad to say anything and, well, maybe Kate isn't meant to have a relationship, but Aunt Hannah keeps prodding her to do something and, well…you begin to see how Kate's mind works…or doesn't work.

Strange things begin to happen as soon as Kate arrives at the cabin. There are signs of a possible break in and, when she's in the shed checking on some equipment, someone knocks her out. It's a testament to Kate's ability to frequently get hurt, especially by hitting her head, that her sister Teri, Maggie, and Hannah don't really seem surprised when they find her unconscious. They're used to patching her up by now.

When things begin to disappear though and it seems someone is watching them from the woods, the situation turns more serious. A suspicious fire and a body washing up on the shore have Kate regretting that everyone she loves is with her. When a storm causes flooding and strands them at the lake, Kate becomes desperate to solve the mystery to protect the people who mean everything to her.

And then there's her relationship with Maggie. Can she find the courage to open herself up to the possibilities that Maggie is offering or will she drive her into another woman's arms?

Once again Kate Sweeney delivers a story full of interesting characters, led by poor hapless Kate Ryan. The reader doesn't know whether to laugh with Kate, cry with her or smack her on the side of the head and sometimes it's all three. Only Kate could get caught up in the passion of the moment, go to rip the blouse off of Maggie in her haste, and hit herself in the face with several of the buttons. Then go to pull her own shirt off and get it stuck on her head with her hands pinned in the air.

Any reader who doesn't find herself laughing at parts of this book needs to make an appointment for a sense of humor transplant. Don’t mistake this for a comedy however. There is also a serious mystery in here and a strong sense of foreboding that hangs over parts of the book. The story is deftly worked and the solution to the crime doesn't become apparent until the end. Meanwhile, there are lots of suspects to be wary of.

This is the third mystery starring Kate Ryan and her friends. Unlike some series, these stories continue to get stronger. They are better developed with each book and it's clear that Sweeney's skill is improving with practice. It's pleasing to see an author working to make her writing stronger rather than coasting with what has already worked.

Anyone who likes a good mystery will like The Trouble With Murder. Anyone who likes a good romance will like it. Anyone who likes good characters, who have you caring about them and laughing and crying with them, will like this book. Does that leave anyone not to like it? Probably not.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce

Title: To Protect and Serve
Author: VK Powell
ISBN-10: 1-60282-007-4 - ISBN-13: 978-1-60282-007-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bold Strokes Books,
Price: $15.95 – Pages: 240
Genre: Romance/Police Procedural

When a councilman’s daughter ends up dead from an apparent overdose, Alex Troy, an astute lieutenant in Vice/Narcotics, is called upon to head the investigation. Alex plans to outsmart the ruthless drug lord, Sonny Davis, using whatever it takes to bring him to justice. But there is more at stake than a high profile case with a plum chance of promotion. Alex mentored, befriended and admired the once vibrant victim. She vows to punish whoever did this to Stacey and all the other young people who died prematurely as a result of drug pushers.

Alex has enough to deal with choosing the best task force to handle the drug aspect. Her ex-girlfriend, Captain Helen Callahan, not only outranks her as head of the homicide squad on the same case, but Helen assumes she still has claims on Alex. Sergeant Beth Price, Alex’s best friend, is spunky and protective. Beth rightfully harbors animosity towards Helen where her esteemed colleague, Alex, is concerned. She warns Alex not to let Helen interfere. Alex doesn’t intend to let Helen get in the way of the investigation, but can she sever the vise grip Helen has on her?

Alex struggles to maintain her impenetrable persona as she faces both personal and professional challenges. To make matters more intriguing and sexually frustrating, Alex battles her growing attraction for a gorgeous, gutsy and outgoing subordinate, Keri Morgan, who becomes the primary team officer under her command.

Keri is driven by her obsession to nail Sonny Davis, and despite her past encounter with Alex, Keri romantically fantasizes about Alex too.

The last thing Alex needs, between her past demons and this make-or-break case, are distractions, namely, love and lust. Especially when there's a killer on the loose.

"Why did combining attractive women and police work always involve drama?” (p. 71). That’s what VK Powell shows so well in To Protect and Serve. The play between Alex and Keri; Alex and Helen; Alex and Beth; Alex, Keri, and Sonny are enough to make this one fine read, but going undercover chasing hardened criminals and bringing them to justice adds just the right amount of action to make this a well-plotted page turner.

To Protect and Serve drew me in from the very first page with characters that captivated in their complexity. Powell writes with authority using the lingo and capturing the thoughts of the law enforcers who make the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against crime.

What’s more impressive is the command this debut author has of portraying a full gamut of emotion, from angst to elation, through dialogue and narrative. The images are vivid, the action is believable, and the police procedurals are authentic. For instance, after Keri makes a dangerous bust, she asks Alex if she did something wrong. Alex replies, “You saved the victim from further injury, got the bad guy, and no cops got hurt. I’d say that’s a pretty good day. We can talk about the rest another time” (p. 41). Or when “Alex thought about Keri standing her ground and defending herself,” she tells Beth, “That was definitely a thing of beauty…I just might take her under my wing and teach her a thing or two…about police work” (p. 94). Beth replies, “Yeah, right. Let’s go eat” (p. 94).

Powell uses ample narrative that says a lot about her characters, for example, “The last thing Alex needed was another round in the ring with the only woman who had ever made her wonder if life was worth living” (p. 47) and “From the look on Alex’s face, Keri thought she’d rather shake the business end of a rattlesnake” (p. 86).

Powell had me invested in the story of these women, heart, mind, body and soul. Along with danger and tension, Powell’s well-developed erotic scenes sizzle and sate. The riveting scenes between Alex and Keri had my heart in a vise, rooting for Keri to overcome Alex’s barriers and for Keri to stay safe for Alex’s sake.

With a satisfying conclusion and ample room for a sequel, if you’re in dire need of hard-core police action with loads of romantic intrigue, To Protect and Serve will hit the spot. I’m going to relish following Powell’s career and look forward to her next release, Suspect Passions.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg

Title: To Protect and Serve
Author: VK Powell
ISBN-10: 1-60282-007-4 - ISBN-13: 978-1-60282-007-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; Bold Strokes Books,; and Bella Books,
Price: $15.95 – Pages: 240
Genre: Romance/Police Procedural

VK Powell has a surefire winner with her first novel, To Protect and Serve. It is well-written, balancing an enchanting romance with a stimulating police procedural.

Main character, Lt. Alex Troy faces sexism in the police department every day. Her personal life is not much better. She's been burned by women one too many times and has become emotionally aloof and untrusting. Because of her professional connections to a drug overdose victim, she is assigned to lead a Drug Task Force with an undercover operation and must choose her team. Young, hot shot Detective Keri Morgan is the perfect candidate, according to Alex's boss the Chief of Police, but their past encounters make the choice difficult. For Keri, this is the case of a lifetime. For Alex, it's the chance to be promoted. Each cannot trust the other, but they must in order to bring down the elusive drug lord that is poisoning their community.

Powell does a convincing job of blending the sexual tension between Morgan and Troy within the action of the police investigation. Because Morgan is a subordinate, that unequal status creates a delicious mix of forbidden desires and conflicts. This is what fuels the passion in the book. To Protect and Serve is foremost a romance. Lust and love fill the novel, and the story touches us viscerally. We feel the characters' emotions, and are exposed to the intimacy that they crave.

The author is a 30-year veteran of the police force. Her insider's view of that world permeates the pages, and the reader experiences an in-depth look at a covert operation with all of the ensuing dangers. Powell shares with us the issues of professional integrity, the real risks of law enforcement, and the pitfalls of falling for a co-worker who depends on you with their very life.

Powell has a wonderful future ahead of her as an author if To Protect and Serve is any indication.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman

Title: To Protect and Serve
Author: VK Powell
ISBN-10: 1-60282-007-4 - ISBN-13: 978-1-60282-007-4
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bold Strokes Books,
Price: $15.95 – Pages: 240
Genre: Romance/Police Procedural

VK Powell has given her readers an exciting police novel combined with a wonderful romance. She has done this with an exquisite use of the English language. Her descriptions are almost poetic, as in this example: "Her body ached with physical fatigue, and a deep sadness clung to her like a wet woolen pea coat." Her characters are quite believable as well, with emotionally wounded Lieutenant Alex Troy and gutsy Keri Morgan chasing after the notorious drug lord, Sonny Davis. Powell uses her personal knowledge of the workings of a police department to show how departments work together gathering the evidence needed to arrest a criminal.

Throughout the book, emotional and sexual tension builds between Keri and Alex with enough intensity that the reader can feel the heat. Both are torn, knowing that an affair between them could cost Alex her job. Luckily, Keri and Alex are surrounded by a team of pros, and the case is led by a good friend of Alex's who helps to keep things on track. To Protect and Serve is a great read that is difficult to put down until the last page is turned.
Reviewed by RLynne

Title: Training Days
Author: Jane Frances
ISBN: 978-1-59493-122-2
Publisher: Bella Books,
Available From: StarCrossed Productions,; and Bella Books,
Price: $13.95 - Pages: 272
Genre: Romance

Training Days starts with a train trip across Australia. This immediately brings on thoughts of cozy sleeping cars, romantic club car dining, and the coming together of strangers. For Morgan Silverstone, the anchor on a prime-time Australian travel show, it's just another "day at the office." Morgan's boss is with her, as is the camera crew as they film the stops along the train route. With her homophobic producer watching, Morgan vows to stick with her "never in Australia" method of dating. Unfortunately, a French backpacker convinces her to break her vow.

Alison Brown, an architect, decided to take the train home from her job site. The trip would give her a three-nights-and-two-days mini vacation and save her from one more small-plane trip. Complications arise when Alli discovers her sleeper car is occupied, and there are sounds of passion coming through the door.

Alli ends up sitting in one of the "cattle cars," with snores, noxious smells, etc. ( Frances writes with great humor, and this was one section I couldn't resist reading aloud, amidst giggles and tears of laughter.) Even more disturbing for Alli is the attention she is given by the film crew. She can sense undercurrents of secrecy, but she has no idea as to the nature of the secret.

What follows is an intriguing dance between closeted Morgan and straight Alli. Alli even has a man waiting for her back home. Along with great romance, Frances explores the aspects of living in the closet, along with the sexual awakening of a woman who has settled for "nice" rather than for passion.

Training Days is a great read, which may have you calling your travel agent. Just be sure you book into the Gold Class sleepers.
Reviewed by RLynne

Our Reviewers
Bios of Authors

Our Reviewers

Sandra Barret
Sandra Barret grew up in New England, where she spent more years than she cares to mention as a software programmer. She lives with her partner, two children, and a menagerie of pets. Sandra has been an avid reader of fantasy, horror, and lesbian romance. This interest has led her to pen her own creations in novel and short story format.

Contact her at

Anna Furtado
Anna is a Book Reviewer for Just About Write, The East Bay Voice, and The L-Word Literature section; and Author of The Heart's Desire Book One of The Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS Goldie Award Finalist, and The Heart's Strength, Book Two of The Briarcrest Chronicles,

Anna's Web site:
Contact her at

Arlene Germain
For many years a teacher of English and Creative Writing, Arlene Germain lives with her partner in Massachusetts. She is a book reviewer for The Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, the Just About Write Newsletter/E-zine, The Crown—the Golden Crown Literary Society newsletter, and The

Kathi Isserman
Kathi lives with her partner and two very spoiled cats outside Washington, D.C. When not reading all kinds of books, she can be found on the golf course attempting to hit that little white ball. Her reviews can also be read at,, and The Independent Gay Writer.

Write to her at

Lori L. Lake
Minnesotan Lori L. Lake is the author of the Gun series, Different Dress, Ricochet in Time, and a book of short stories called Stepping Out. She also edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters. Lori is currently at work on her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, which comes out in February. She teaches fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and often reviews books for various print and online journals.

Contact Lori at

Lynne Pierce
Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia who has spent the last thirty-two years trying to convince high school students that history is relevant to their lives and leading them through the process of learning to think for themselves about issues. Her main hobby since the age of five has been reading and she has spent the last ten years consuming every work of lesbian fiction that she can get her hands on. Lynne's reviews also can be read at
lesfic_unbound and

You can reach Lynne at

RLynne lives in the high desert of California, next to Joshua Tree National Park, with her partner of 24 years, and various four-footed friends. A semi-retired educator, she’s been reviewing books since 1992. Her reviews have appeared in various gay rags, including Mega-Scene, The Lesbian Teachers Network, Lesbian Connection, and others.

Contact her at

Cheri Rosenberg
Cheri Rosenberg is a reviewer for Just About Write, Queer Girl Talk, Midwest Book Review, The Independent Gay Writer, The L Life, Lambda Book Report, and other venues posting book reviews for the lesbian community. Check out Cheri’s Corner at

Published under the pen name Cheri Crystal, her short stories can be found in Lessons in Love: Erotic Interludes 3, After Midnight: True Lesbian Erotic Confession and many other anthologies of short fiction. She is currently writing her second novel while adding the finishing touches to her first.

When she is not working as a Consultant Dietitian, she is reading, reviewing, and writing lesbian fiction. Cheri is an "activist reader," a wife and mother to a wonderful husband and three terrific children, and she maintains that if more heterosexuals would read the works of lesbian authors they would realize they are talented, intelligent, articulate, admirable, and their books are equally as praiseworthy as anything published for the mainstream market in the literary world. Cheri hopes to enlighten the world and make it a more tolerant place where lesbian fiction is every bit as respected as straight fiction.

Contact her at

Author Bios

Stella Duffy
Stella Duffy has published eleven novels. She was long-listed for the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction for her novel State of Happiness which has been optioned by Fiesta Productions and Zentropa. She is writing the screen play. Her novels have been published in the US, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Japan and Russia. She was born in London, grew up in New Zealand and has lived in London since 1986. She is married to the writer Shelley Silas.

Jane Frances
Jane Frances works in the marketing department of a city-based educational institution in Australia. She wrote Training Days while on a two-year sabbatical which took her across Europe, into China, and on a brief visit to the United States.

VK Powell
A thirty-year veteran of a midsized police department, VK was a police officer by necessity (it paid the bills) and a writer by desire (it didn’t). Her career spanned numerous positions including beat officer, homicide detective, vice/narcotics lieutenant and assistant chief of police.

Now retired, she devotes her time to writing, rewriting, traveling, volunteer work, and attracting a half-life partner (the first half was spent chronically single).

VK is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of three erotic short stories published by Bold Strokes Books: Toy with Me which appears in Erotic Interludes 3: Lessons in Love; Dessert, Anyone? included in Erotic Interludes 4: Extreme Passions; and One for the Road in Erotic Interludes 5: Road Games.

Her first novel To Protect and Serve was released in March 2008. Her second, Suspect Passions, is scheduled for release in 2009.

D. Jordan Redhawk
D. Jordan Redhawk lives in Portland, Oregon with her family, four cats, and four crabs. Her day job consists of setting up conference rooms and her nights are reserved for her writing.

Redhawk can be contacted at her website –

Rick R. Reed
Award-winner Rick R. Reed has been described as "the Stephen King of gay horror" (Unzipped magazine, October 2006).

Well-published, his most recent novels include High Risk, a sexy thriller; Deadly Vision, a paranormal page-turner; In the Blood, a tragic vampire love story, and IM, a thriller about a serial killer preying on gay men using online gay hookup sites. IM has been optioned for film by Panic Productions in Hollywood.

A four-author horror collection featuring three of Reed's stories, Like a Chinese Tattoo, was also published in 2008. His short fiction has appeared in more than twenty anthologies. He is a member of the Authors Guild, the Horror Writers Association, and the International Order of Horror Professionals.

He lives in Miami with his partner.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts grew up in Arizona and continues to live in Phoenix with her partner, her son and her dogs. She is the author of three other novels - Paid in Full, Furthest from the Gate and Brilliant. Her next novel is White Offerings.

Linda Kay Silva
Linda Kay Silva teaches college courses and lives with her partner of ten years. She enjoys taking walks with her cockapoo, Lucy Lui, and has written several books, including a mystery series featuring Delta Stevens, and Tory's Tuesday. She can be reached at her web site at

Kate Sweeney
Kate Sweeney is a native of Chicago, where she's lived most of her life. She is an office manager for a local company and has her nights free for writing.

Fascinated by the power of the written word, M. K. Sweeney has finally put her imagination on paper. Owing her love of reading to her mother, the author admits, "She was constantly reading to us, whether it was a short story by O. Henry or the gossip column from the Chicago Tribune. It mattered little, she had a way of making a grocery list seem full of adventure!"


Email MK Sweeney:

KI Thompson
KI Thompson had a short story, "The Blue Line" in the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology, Erotic Interludes 2.

She has had numerous other short stories published, as well as House of Clouds, a historical novel. In September of 2008, her third book, Cooper's Deale will be released.

Ki lives in the Washington D.C. area with her long-time partner and their two cats.

Jane Vollbrecht
Jane Vollbrecht was born and raised in a farming community in Minnesota. After graduation from college she worked in the Federal civil service for more than thirty years. Since her retirement she has been pursuing a career as an author and editor.

Second Verse is her fifth book and she has several short stories in anthologies. She now lives in the foothills of the Georgia mountains with her partner of twelve years and their cats.

Besides writing, Jane enjoys tending her gardens, feeding wildlife and playing the piano.