"Agent Provocateur" by Liz Maverick: Vienna James is about to die until wealthy twins Michael and Devlin Kingston decide she'll be perfect to exact their revenge on a hated enemy. All she has to do is seduce him, then bring back proof. Only one of the twins is falling for Vienna - will he be able to stand by and watch her make love to another man in order to please his brother?
Having read a previous story by Ms. Maverick that disappointed me called "Kiss or Kill", I was pleasantly surprised by the heat and emotional intensity of this story, and I enjoyed it very much. Vienna is fighting for her life, but she is not cold-hearted or vindictive. Both her and the twin training her for the assignment in seduction connect immediately, and it is a very powerful bond. I would love to see more of these two...maybe Ms. Maverick will write the other twin's story???
"Unrequited" by Kimberly Dean: Ty is has always been in love with his brother's wife Trista, and now that she's free, he sets out to win her heart. But when she goes out with other man, all bets are off on a slow and tender seduction. Ty has waited long enough for his woman, and this time there is no question as to how he feels. But does Trista feel the same way?
Hands-down, this was my favorite story in the anthology. I am a sucker for those unrequited love stories, or friends who fall in love. Ty is a very sexual man who has tempered his basic urges to court the woman who owns his heart, and Trista needed a friend after a nasty divorce, so it only made sense that he took it slow. She has no idea of the depth of his feelings, only that Ty was there for her when she needed someone to lean on. Reluctantly getting back into the dating scene finally gets Ty to declare himself, and for Trista to give her heart to a man who truly deserves it this time - her friend and her lover. Loved it. Ty is my kind of hero ;)
Victim of Deception by Lynn LaFleur: Karessa Austin has just lost a beloved member of her family and inherited the family home. In the process of updating it so she can move in has her hiring a construction crew to make some subtle changes to update the house but to retain its charming character. One of the crew members is a man from her past, a man who broke her heart and one she never wants to see again. Little does she know that not is all as it appears and Max Hennessey has more than one reason for coming back into Karessa's life...least of which is to re-capture her heart....
This story has some paranormal elements to it that add to the poignancy of the story. I thought it was a little too convenient that Karessa forgave Max as easily as she did, but then she still loved him, and Max did regret the past way he treated her and had to live with that decision for many years. The HEA was very satisfying and clever.
Grade: 4 stars out of 5. Very sensual, and will definitely give readers who crave a hotter short story what they are looking for along with a lot of emotion. The love scenes are very intense and not cold in the least - you feel the strong connection between characters almost immediately. I believe all the authors have written for either Ellora's Cave or Red Sage "Secrets", both lines are ones I enjoy very much. I would recommend this for anyone who has been hesitant to pick up a book by EC because it's not quite as explicit, but definitely generates a lot of heat.