Tropical Desires by Vivian Arend, Lexxie Couper and Jess Dee

Tropical Desires
Grade-B
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-Mild Kink
Series-Bandicoot Cove #1-4
Genre-Contemporary
Reviewed by Kate

The manager of Bandicoot Cove, an Australian resort, has invited some of her close friends and family to be guests at the resort’s soft opening. And apparently, there’s something in the air or water at Bandicoot Cove. Something that induces a tendency towards threesomes.

Paradise Found by Vivian Arend
Paige has been working in Australia for a while now, but will be leaving the country soon. When she does, her casual affair with Trent and Mason will come to a screeching halt. They knew from the start that there would be an end to the triad. But even though all three of them are secretly hoping for something permanent, they know their stay at Bandicott Cove will be their last time together.

Tropical Sin by Lexxie Couper
McKenzie and Aiden have been close friends since childhood. Aiden has also harbored a secret crush on McKenzie for just as long. Taking the advice of famous rocker Nick(who they meet for the first time at Bandicoot Cove), Aiden finally tells McKenzie how he feels. McKenzie realizes she’s loved Aiden all along. Then Nick knocks on the door and asks if he can join in.

Island Idyll by Jess Dee
Sienna is using her trip to Bandicott Cove to recover from a broken heart. Her ex-fiancé, Ben loved her but loved his work more, so she broke it off. While at the resort she meets Josh, her high school crush. After spending a glorious day with Josh, Ben shows up at the resort determined to win Sienna back.

First off, let me say that this book of three stories was a hot, hot read. But I think you need to understand that I am at heart a reader who looks for that HEA. Even in my ménage books, meaning I like all 3 to have a HEA-together. For that reason, Paradise Found was my favorite of the three stories. Tropical Sin and Island Idyll did not end with all three participants together.

I also had issues with Tropical Sin and Island Idyll that I just didn’t feel comfortable with, although I understand not every reader has the same issues I do. I didn’t like that in Tropical Sin, a threesome was created with someone they knew for only a few hours, and the decision was made without any conversation between the couple. In Island Idyll, I didn’t care for the sense of competition that occurred between the two men and I didn’t like that one of them felt completely uncomfortable with the situation but went with it anyway. Again, those are just my issues, and they might not bother you. Despite my issues, together these three authors have managed to create a resort that I look forward to visiting again.

So now you know my hang-ups with ménage books. Do you have any make-or-break issues in your reading?

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A Prior Engagement by Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement
Grade: B+
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Special Forces #4
Reviewed by Anne

I have decided that Karina Bliss is an author I do not read enough of.  I need to read more of her books.  I started this one during the RT Convention and stayed up waaaaay too late reading it.  In that wonderful way that really good books have, it just pulled me in and I didn’t want to put it down!
 
Lee, an SAS (Australian Special Forces) soldier who was thought to be killed in battle has been found alive.  His return home is more challenging than he expected.  Everyone has moved on with their lives, except his ex-girlfriend.  Even though she turned down his proposal on the eve of his deployment, she now appears to be one of his family.  They think she was his fiancee.  He wonders what is going on and why she would deceive his friends and loved ones.  
 
Jules knows that Lee will be furious with her for lying to his SAS buddies and family who have now become *her* friends and family.  She figures they may hate her, too, once they hear what she did.  And all of this is made even more complicated because Lee appears to have amnesia and claims he can’t remember what happened between them before he deployed.
 
This isn’t a set up that would normally pull me in, but I’m SO glad I read this book.  I don’t like big misunderstandings or lies between the main characters, but this really worked for me.  Jules is pressured by medical and psychiatric experts to take it easy on Lee.  She is determined to tell him the truth and explain her motives behind the lies, even though she doesn’t expect him to forgive her.  She just wants him to find his footing in his life before her revelations do further damage.  
 
Concentrating on getting even with Jules gives Lee something to focus on in a world that seems so different to him.  Interestingly, because he wants Jules to pay for lying to his friends and family, he’s willing to let her take care of him.  He thinks he’s unworthy of her and he thinks if they really loved each other he’d hit the road rather than have her seem him struggle to recover from his captivity.  But because he’s upset with her deception, he’s willing to impose on her in ways he wouldn’t if they were being honest.  That is very interesting!
 
I think the PTSD and recovery from Lee’s captivity is very realistically portrayed.  We’re in Lee’s head a lot, so we see how mixed up he feels, but we also see his actions, which could be confusing to outsiders.  Jules and the rest of Lee’s friends work very hard to anticipate Lee’s needs, and this drives Lee crazy when he realizes what’s going on.  
 
In the middle of this very real feeling personal conflict, Karina Bliss writes some believable humor and friendships.   The guys especially are funny together.  

“Ross took a casual swig of his tea, then dug in his jacket and produced a protein bar, which he held out. ‘You haven’t eaten in what… five hours?’
‘What are you, my babysitter?’ Hemmed between his friends, he felt like he was being observed, watched.  Notwithstanding their benevolent motives, Lee had to keep reminding himself they were on his side.  His nerves only recognized that they were elite soldiers.
Ross waved the bar in front of his nose. ‘Take it.’
‘You’re being anal.’ Reluctantly Lee accepted. ‘How the hell did you get a free spirit like Viv to say yes anyway?’
‘I’m loose in bed.’ ” (A Prior Engagement, p 164-5)

 
The whole book is really well done.  A little slow moving at times, but that doesn’t bother me.  This is the fourth in this series of books.  I read the first one and enjoyed it (despite it’s over the top ending) but I haven’t read the second or third.  This fourth one stood alone pretty well.  There is a large circle of friends, along with both names and nicknames that got confusing at times, but I kept up pretty easily.  I do want to read the two books I missed now, though!  If you’re looking for realistic drama with a dose of humor, Karina Bliss is the way to go!