Some tropes are timeless and pirates definitely fall into that category. We used to have only the swashbuckling ocean-going pirates of the Spanish Main (or the Caribbean if you prefer) to entertain us but nowadays we also have a thriving space pirate subgenre in science fiction romance as well.
I recently read an extremely good book Pirate Bound: A Prequel (Telepathic Space Pirates) by Carysa Locke that was exceptional and left me eager to get my hands on the next in the series, which won’t be out for a few months. Some of the characters she created really appealed to me, these aren’t your ordinary pirates and I’m sure the further adventures will be exciting.
Here’s the story: Sanah would do anything to protect her little sister, even if it means taking refuge with ruthless pirates. But the psychically Talented pirates terrorizing Commonwealth space are not quite the monsters she has been led to believe. When Sanah’s empathic gift shows her the truth behind the stories, she is no longer certain who the villains are in her world.
A race on the verge of extinction…
Dem’s only goal is to protect his people, especially since a deadly bio-weapon decimated their population. Only a handful of women survived, and every day is a fight to rebuild. With Sanah’s empathy and her sister’s rare ability to heal, they could be the salvation Dem and his people have been looking for.
A dangerous secret that could destroy everything…
But how can Sanah trust Dem with her life? Especially when he’d kill her if he knew the truth.
I’ve talked about Frost Station Alpha by Ruby Lionsdrake in the past, as another novel I really enjoyed, especially the twists and turns the hero and heroine are required to take and the ethical dilemmas each must work through. The villains aren’t the stereotypical pirates but close enough to include here (also because I loved this book!).
Here’s the story for this novel: Lieutenant Tamryn Pavlenko wants to make a name for herself in the GalCon Fleet, so naturally she requests an assignment on the infamous Frost Station Alpha, where pirate attacks are a way of life. The remote research outpost holds secrets that many are willing to kill for, and Tamryn is prepared to protect it from brigands, mobsters, and mercenaries—or whatever the galaxy throws at her.
The brochure, however, failed to mention the genetically engineered super humans who were supposed to have all been killed in a war that ended more than a century ago. It seems they’re not only alive, but they want the station. Oh, and one of them decides he wants Tamryn too.
This powerful warrior might be sexy and intriguing, but he was bred to kill, and she can’t let herself forget that he’s the enemy.
The Guardian Angel of Farflung Station by Ed Hoornaert mixes various themes including pirates, as this short blurb suggests: When pirates conquer Farflung Space Station, security chief ‘Duke’ Dukelsky fights back with only two allies. One is Lockey, a kick-ass princess who lusts for Duke’s body. The other is Sandrina, a mysterious and alluring waif with more secrets–and secret powers–than the rest of Farflung Station put together.
Some of Sandrina’s secrets might free the station and Lockey’s repressed needs–yet at the same time, enslave Duke’s heart forever.
Ed is one who can always spin a good tale.
Mako’s Bounty by Diane Dooley is an older SFR novel with enduring popularity in the community and well worth checking out. The story: For nine long months, at the behest of the evil Ravenscorp, Mako Dolan has been hunting the space pirate they call The Saint. Now she’s finally lured her prey to a one night stand with a mysterious woman—herself. But Vin Sainte is not at all what she expected. Far from being a ruthless space pirate, his main occupation seems to be rescuing nuns, adopting orphans and praying like a champ.
For nine long months Vin Sainte has been fleeing the bounty hunter from one temporary refuge to the next. Now he’s got Mako exactly where he wants her: weak from gravity sickness and ripe for conversion. Problem is he didn’t expect a foul-mouthed, hard-as-nails bounty hunter to be such a devoted daughter. His head on a platter is Ravenscorp’s price for her mother’s freedom.
They have less than twenty four hours. One will win; one will lose. Mako might be a fearsome predator, but Vin has the Lord on his side. Who will win the bounty?
Author Eve Langlais has a new series starting in June with Pirate (Space Gypsy Chronicles Book 1) that looks good. I was just on a science fiction romance panel with Eve at an authors’ convention and she is so delightful, has a wicked sense of humor and she can really spin the tales. So keep your eye out for this book to become available.
If you do a search for “space pirate romance” in Amazon, you’ll get quite a few pages of titles about women being abducted, desired, pleased, capitvated etc., by space pirates of all types. Reader reviews indicate that these books tend to have high heat levels (lots of sex scenes) and focus more on the physical relationship between the two main characters than on the science fiction world building. There’s an avid, devoted readership but you’re on your own to explore there – I haven’t sampled enough in the specific subgenre to make recommendations. Feel free to leave book suggestions in the comments!
One final book recommendation fro me – Once A Pirate by Susan Grant, which mixes the classical pirate of the bounding main with some science fiction time travel and romance. I really enjoyed this one, capped by the ingenious ending.
The story: When Navy Lieutenant Carly Callahan is forced to bail out of her fighter jet during a freak storm, she plummets into the greatest battle of her life—two centuries before she was born. Rescued by a pirate captain who believes she’s an heiress, she learns she’s the pawn in his plan to exact revenge against his sworn enemy. Convincing him of the truth pulls them closer as enemies threaten to tear them apart.
Nobleman turned pirate Andrew Spencer has one goal: to ruin the man who destroyed his life. But the strangely garbed blonde he hoists onto his deck not only refuses to admit she’s his highborn target, but insists she’s from another century entirely. The more time they spend together, the more he wants to believe her talk of flying machines and the future. Her bravery and fire is enough to melt his cold heart and convince him to reconsider his plans. A desperate bid to fulfill their dream of a life together is their only option…if they can find each other again through time.
Can’t leave this topic without discussing one of my favorite space pirate movies of all time – the 1984 romp “The Ice Pirates,” starring the late Robert Urich as the swaggering leader who doesn’t take anything too seriously; Mary Crosby as the strong willed princess and a pre-Academy Award Anjelica Huston as a fierce warrior. Ron Perlman and Michael D. Roberts are also key members of the pirate crew. There’s romance, action, adventure… “Ice Pirates” is a movie of its time all right, so some of the humor is dated now but I recently rewatched it and had fun all over again.
Thanks for adding more books to the list!
I really dig space pirate sci-fi romances and enjoyed your
Here are a few other SFRs with space pirates:
Cinnamon Burke’s LADY ROGUE
Susan Grant’s SUREBLOOD
Karalynn Lee’s SLIP POINT
Karin Shah’s STARJACKED
I also wrote one: Once Upon a Time in Space