Feb 10 2014 11:05am

First Look: Marked Anthology (February 10, 2014)

Lauren Dane, Kit Rocha, Vivian Arend
Kit Rocha / February 10, 2014 / $15.00 print, $4.99 digital

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Dane takes you into a brand new world in All That Remains. Summer Killian falls fast and hard when Charlie arrives in Paradise Village. But the heat turns all the way up when she learns Charlie is also with Hatch — the man she loved four years before. While she's not sure she's cut out for a triad, neither man is going to give her up.

Take a Rocky Ride with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Vivian Arend as she leads you back to the Six Pack Ranch. Anna Coleman might be the law around Rocky Mountain House, but bad boy Mitch Thompson knows that under the stiff RCMP uniform is a woman with a passion for speed and pleasure that matches his own, and he's not giving up until she's his.

Kit Rocha returns to Sector Four in Beyond Temptation. A promise to a dying friend backfires when Noah Lennox finds that the girl he was supposed to rescue is all grown up — and wearing O'Kane ink. He wants to protect her from the secrets of their past, but she wants him. And an O'Kane woman always gets what she wants.

Whether it’s a new addition to a rockin’ dystopian series, a spin-off of a beloved saga, or entry in a new, futuristic world, the Marked anthology’s common thread is its inked, and pierced, alpha heroes and tough heroines who each make a splash and never crowd each another out. In fact, authors Kit Rocha, Vivian Arend, and Lauren Dane blend three very different stories together in a way that offers something for everyone, as long as unique world-building, suspenseful action, and explosive sex is on the agenda.

Kit Rocha’s Beyond Temptation novella is a red hot take on the brother’s best friend/little sister theme told as only the O’Kanes could. Noah and Emma have an almost star-crossed past where circumstances, war, and divided loyalties have kept them apart. Until Noah discovers that the girl he once knew has now taken up residence in the O’Kane camp, Sector Four, and all bets are off. Thankfully, they waste no time acting upon the attraction that’s built for years in ways that would make any O’Kane proud, and while it’s nice to see them give in to what was always forbidden before, their relationship is completely natural.

“Ah.” Emma let her fingers roam, following the trail of hair that narrowed over his stomach and disappeared into his jeans. She unbuckled his belt slowly, giving him time to stop her.

His breathing sped, but he didn’t move until she’d tugged open the button on his fly and was reaching for the zipper. He closed his hand around her wrist, fingers big and broad but careful. “I keep waiting for you to disappear. Nothing I want this much could be real.”

As if she had to be some kind of dream. Emma’s cheeks heated. “I’m not going anywhere, Noah.” She tugged her hand free and pulled his zipper down, the soft rasp shivering up her spine. “I’m right where I want to be.”

“I know.” The words held an edge of sadness, but he covered it in the next moment by sliding his fingers deep in her hair. “I don’t know if I have the willpower to let you put your mouth on me. I won’t last, not tonight.”

It was intoxicating, the thought that he could want her that hard, that much. “So? Come in my mouth, and then show me all the things you’ve wanted to do to me.”

Noah groaned, his fingers tightening until her scalp tingled. “That is a filthy fucking suggestion.”

“Delicate O’Kanes don’t exist.”

This is a world where the men and women are celebrated for embracing their sexuality, and even though they have little difficulty expressing this to their fullest ability, over-protectiveness and the need for control on the part of the males is tempered with the females’ desire to be equal partners in every way. And that’s where the fun always begins. As a short story, it speeds along with all of the best elements we’ve come to expect from the series, as well as greater reveals and developments that move the series along and will surely come into play. Beyond Temptation is not only a worthy, but essential, addition to a series that is completely deserving of its hype, and Noah and Emma are every bit as worthy to join the O’Kane couples’ hall of fame.

Rocky Ride, Vivian Arend’s story, is a spin-off of her popular Six Pack Ranch series. This one starts hot and heavy with its own forbidden tale of bad boy biker Mitch Thompson and straight-laced cop Anna Coleman, two people who should never have found their way together, but when they do it seems there are no boundaries. The best thing here is seeing good girl Anna let herself go with Mitch, even if she tries to pretend they’re just a dirty little secret. Except in a nice twist, Mitch is the one who wants more.

“Tell me you’ve got something wicked planned,” she begged. “I just spent the last hour of my shift rounding up cows with the Laings.”

“Come on over and I’ll show you,” Mitch teased.

“Deal. Warm up the shower, though, ‘cause I stink.”

Mitch eyed his watch. He figured that gave him fifteen minutes to get ready before she arrived at his place. He tossed supper together, thankful again he’d found a place deep in the woods to rent. Privacy he had by the bucket-load. It was the only reason he knew Anna would show up.

Secret affair—the cop and the biker. But if he had his way tonight their secret was getting out.

Though it doesn’t take too much convincing for Anna, the two of them face several conflicts that stand firmly in their way. Mitch and Anna are a great pair, though, that show a strong start to this spin-off.

Finally, as Lauren Dane does best, she once again spins her endless imagination to weave a new futuristic, post-plague society in All that Remains. The Metamorphosis series is set on earth following a devastating wipe-out and rebuilding of civilization, one in which the number of males born so outranks female births that much of the population live in triads. This is a highly unique concept for the basis of a permanent ménage series, and as always, Dane pairs her trio Hatch, Summer, and Charlie thoughtfully. There’s ample consideration here toward the different roles of each partner, and how the monumental history between Hatch and Summer affects not only the beginning of the relationship but forces it to naturally evolve now with Charlie.

“Do you want to pursue her? This is complicated. I have deep feelings for her. A long history.” Hatch searched Charlie’s face. “What we have is important to me. I’m not willing to fuck with it.”

Charlie put his hand in Hatch’s, squeezing. “You know my general opinion of fate, right? What were the chances she’d be here? That I would have been so totally attracted to her from the moment I caught sight of her? This is meant to be.”

Hatch sighed. Charlie. So sweet and sentimental. But maybe right. In any case he was happy the answer was yes because he wanted her. More than he had when he’d driven away from Portland. Wanted her with Charlie.

She had already opened her door and gone inside so they went to her porch and knocked.

“Please?” Hatch asked as he knocked.

“Please what?” she asked from the other side of the still closed door.

Charlie broke in. “I don’t know the whys of this, Summer, but I do know we—all three of us—have something together. I saw the way you looked at Hatch. I saw the way he looked at you. Don’t you want to see what could happen? Or at the very least listen to him?”

She opened the door but remained blocking their entry. “Is that what this is about then? You want to double team fuck me?”

There’s nothing easy about this relationship, but that makes it all the more worth fighting for.

Marked's stories are solid, steamy, and great introductions to already solid or just beginning series.

Learn more or order a copy of Marked by Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, and Kit Rocha, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.

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Nicole Leapheart
2. BoxyFrown
This was a great anthology-and a great FL! I am ahuge Kit Rocha and Lauren Dane fan, and it was my first time getting down to reading Vivian Arend-I'm a new fan of hers, for sure! Can't wait for that whole next KR book...:D
Tiffany Tyer
3. TiffanyTyer
@Kareni and BoxyFrown, thank you!

Same here, I was new to Vivian Arend too but really enjoyed her story, especially hot, tattooed Mitch. And I too am dying for Rachel/Ace/Cruz's story. I have a feeling the KR writing team is going to outdo themselves on this one! :)
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