This is a short novella (just under 100 pages) and is part of Alward's small town Jewell Cove series set in Maine. There is some series baggage in play, but I'm behind in the series and had no problem keeping up.
Lainey Price is a hometown girl who runs the local B&B. A nor'easter blows into town, filling up all her available rooms, spare cots and sofas. Local cop Todd Ricker brings a stranded motorist to Lainey's inn, only to get a call from dispatch. Where ever you are Todd, stay there for the night. With the inn full up, that means Todd is bunking on Lainey's sofa in her cottage behind the inn. And since these two have a long-standing crush? Sparks fly. Conflict enters in the way of Lainey's broken heart (her fiance dumped her two years ago right before their Christmas wedding) and Todd's reputation as "a player."
This was a completely nice, cozy read. It's pleasant. It's cozy. Did I say it was cozy? It's the sort of book I wish I had read by my lit Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the kids (um, I don't have kids - minor detail that) were nestled all snug in their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. There was a "jumping to conclusions" moment at the end that I found a little jarring, but otherwise this was a perfectly, pleasant and cozy read (did I say that already?). If you're a fan of the series you'll definitely want to add this one to the pile.
Final Grade = B-
Warlord's Captive by Lisa Cach is the fourth installment in her 1001 Erotic Nights serial - which means that it does not stand alone. You really need to be familiar with the previous installments. I've read them, but it's been a while, so luckily Cach dropped enough breadcrumbs during this novella for my memory to get suitably jogged.
Former sex slave, Nimia, and her BFF, Terix have fled Gaul for Britannia. Nimia is hoping to uncover her past and to do that she needs to find a druid named Merlin (yes, that Merlin). Of course, as happens wherever Nimia seems to go, complications ensue. They get lost, get captured by a warlord named Mordred, and eventually hook up with Merlin and his half-brother Arthur (yes, that Arthur).
This series has been described as Fifty Shades meets Game of Thrones. The best way I can describe it is Old School Erotic Romance. It reminds me of the kind of thing Kensington Brava would have published back in the day. That's either going to work for you...or it won't. I'll admit it - it works for me. I love this kind of thing. I just do. It also helps that Cach has a way with sly humor, and trashy sexual shenanigans liberally sprinkled with paranormal elements.
Wine, a prison cell, and an angry, lusting warlord. What woman wouldn't be swooning with delight?I'll be honest - you pretty much read this installment for the end when Nimia goes all badass Domme on Mordred. That alone was worth the price of admission for me. But alas, once again, just as Nimia takes a step forward in agency and power - she ends up falling prey to a scheming man she should have been more wary of. But hell, who am I kidding? This series is ticking off all my nostalgia boxes. I'm not sure how widely read this series has been, but if you go for that sudsy, soapy, old school erotic vibe (surely I'm not the only one?) - start at the beginning. There's at least two more installments after this one, and I've kind of lost track of the number of sexual partners Nimia's had. At some point I'm thinking Cach will end this serialization with a "oh, that's the guy she ends up with" revelation - but we're not quite at that point yet. Like I said - Old School.
Final Grade = B-