Lots of new books from some of my favorite science fiction romance authors to talk about for this post!
Anna Hackett released Levi, book fifteen in her Hell Squad series about post-apocalyptic Earth and the ragtag band of humans fighting the dinosaurlike aliens. The author amazes me with her ability to come up with new plot twists as the series moves on. She doesn’t rest on her laurels or do ‘cookie cutter.’ Here’s the story: Levi King has always lived rough. Raised by a biker dad, he fought for everything he had–including being president of the Iron Kings motorcycle club. But when the aliens invaded, he lost it all. Now he wades through the muck with his fellow berserkers, fighting to protect the last of the human survivors. He fights hard and parties harder, and follows no one’s rules but his own. But then he finds himself fascinated by a mouthy, auburn-haired mechanic who isn’t afraid to give him a piece of her mind.
Chrissy Hagan survived months of alien captivity and now she’s found a purpose at the Enclave–as mechanic in charge of the armored Hunter vehicles. She keeps her babies purring…and hates every scratch the soldiers put on them, especially when a certain arrogant, cocky, and annoying biker is responsible. Did she mention annoying? What about tattooed, man-bunned, and far too sexy? Chrissy and Levi do more than strike sparks of each other…they start full blown infernos, and she isn’t afraid to use her wrench on his hard head when required.
But then a vital mission requires Chrissy to step out of the safety of the Enclave, and sabotage and steal an alien vehicle. Working side by side, desire burns white-hot. Levi discovers he will give everything he’s got to keep Chrissy safe and claim her as his…if they both get through the deadly mission alive.
Michelle Diener gave us Shadow Warrior (Sky Raiders Book 3), which has been an interesting blend of alien invasion, home planet politics, medieval folks fighting an advanced civilization and a touch of the fantastic with the power the locals can command. Here’s the plot: Taya and Garek have survived the worst of what the sky raiders and their own fellow Illians have thrown at them. But now, they’ll have to deal with both their enemies working together.
As three of the Illian states close in on what they see as the weakness of West Lathor, Garek and Taya have to shore up their defences, call in favors, and forge friendships with whoever they can to protect their friends and family. When the signs that there is an alliance between an Illian liege and the sky raiders becomes harder to ignore, they have to face the fact that they may be defeated.
The arrival of a new group of sky raiders, looking for information and help, opens up a new possibility. Garek sees no choice but to make a deal with the devil, but the gamble is, will the enemy of their enemy help them, or betray them?
Cynthia Sax writes sizzling cyborgs and also darkly sexy, bloody and action packed tales set in the Refuge, where a group of genetically engineered warriors has holed up to avoid the evil Human Alliance that created and abused them. Dark Strength is the third in the Refuge series and I read it in one sitting. The book’s blurb: Balvan, the Refuge’s Gatekeeper, is huge, green, and has a reputation for crushing skulls. He’s a modified humanoid, genetically designed to be the ultimate warrior. One of a kind and considered monstrous by many, he never expects to find his mate, the one female meant for him.
Elyce, snatched from her home half a solar cycle ago, has finally escaped her brutal captors. She arrives at the Refuge barely alive. Only a blood transfusion from the largest male she has ever seen will save her life. But it will also bind her to him forever. Staring up, up, up at him, she wonders why she wants to be free. His gentle touch revives yearnings she thought dead. His lips set her skin ablaze. His massive muscles make her feel safe.
That feeling could be an illusion. Elyce’s captors want their slave back and they won’t stop until they have her. To give his mate her freedom, Balvan might be forced to give up everything he has – his role as the Gatekeeper, Elyce’s love, and his life.
Anna Carven, author of the wonderful Dark Planet Warriors books, has started a fascinating new series with the recently released Destroyer (Hidden Planet Book 1). This book had so many unexpected turning points in the plot that I kept turning the pages (well swiping to the left on my e reader) until late in the night. What was the story that kept me so engrossed? A hair-raising ambush. A malfunctioning ship. A distant, uncharted part of the Universe.
Calexa Acura and her crew of misfits are lost, and their ship is in desperate need of repairs. When a massive spacecraft appears in their radius, they’re helpless to resist its magnetic pull.
The terrifying ship is bigger than any craft she’s seen in her life, and somehow, she doubts its occupants will turn out to be the friendly sort.
First Encounters are always better when they’re amicable, but if necessary, Calexa and her crew will fight.
It’s what they’ve always done…
And the blurb only gives you about half of the details, folks, so I recommend signing on for the ride which includes a sentient ship and alien zombies, among other things. The book stands alone perfectly well but there are so many plot hooks for future adventures – I can’t wait!
Ruby Dixon took the occasion of book 15 in her Ice Planet Barbarians series to explore the question of anxiety disorder, its effects and how a human woman could possibly deal with the condition under the circumstances prevailing on the primitive world where she’s now marooned. I felt the issue was well handled in Barbarian’s Beloved and the story told very well. Here’s the bare bones blurb from Ms. Dixon: My tribemates don’t understand her. The other humans think she’s weak. But no one knows my mate like I do. They don’t see her gentle heart or her brave spirit. I know why she struggles. I know how strong she is. And I know I’ll do anything to make her smile.
But can I convince her that she can be happy in this strange new world with me?
This story explores the long-awaited romance of Ariana and Zolaya.
Yes, Ms. Dixon included all the sexual tension and steamy fulfillment for which the series is famous but the topic at the core of the novel was unique for this kind of story.
I released the second book in my own new series, Mateer: Sector New Allies Book 2. The plot: Megan Garrison, a doctor at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown, strapped to a table in an alien lab, destined to be the subject of terrifying experiments. Granted a brief reprieve, Megan and the other kidnapped humans are released in the middle of a forestlike enclosure on this unknown world and told to survive as best they can for now.
Her only hope is Mateer, the genetically engineered alien warrior imprisoned with the humans. He knows more than he’s sharing about this planet, their captors and the fate of other humans, including perhaps her own sisters. Turns out everyone from her colony has been kidnapped by the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the human-led Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.
Mateer, a tough Badari enforcer, now a rebel, is captured while infiltrating the lab to help his pack bring it down. He’s also been ordered by his leaders to search for Megan and save her life at all costs. Tortured by the enemy, he’s offered one chance at survival – convince Megan to become his mate and assist the Khagrish with further experiments.
As the situation at the lab grows worse, Megan struggles against her deep attraction to Mateer, while she does her best to shield the other humans from the terrible Khagrish experiments. For his part, Mateer knows she really is his fated mate and despairs of being able to keep her safe, as the rebel attack is delayed and she fights the truth of their bond.
Will they be able to work together to defeat Khagrish plans and preserve human lives until the promised rescue happens? And what of their future together – will Megan accept Mateer as her true mate, or walk away if she’s freed?
Many, many more books out there of course, with new titles releasing daily. I’ll be back in two weeks with more new worlds to explore. Till then, why not tell us what you’ve been reading?