Summer’s not officially over yet but it always feels that way to me once we move past Labor Day in the USA and school starts up again. The flow of science fiction romance continues unabated as always!
We have quite a few cyborgs in the new releases this month so I’ve winnowed through the pile to recommend just a few. First up is The Cyborg Bounty Hunter: In The Stars Romance from USA Today Best Selling author Miranda Martin. The plot: Lily needs to earn enough credits to get to the one station where her past won’t look for her. But the first gig she lands is funded by the same monster she’s on the run from.
Once, before the enhancements, Cole was human. Now he’s more machine than man—intense, demanding, and concerned only with facts. No matter what it takes, the bounty is all that counts.
Lily is the only lead the cyborg bounty hunter has to his target. She’ll work with him because he’s not going to give her a choice. But neither of them were prepared for their connection or the way fate moves.
The Project DEEP series by USA Today Best Selling author Becca Jameson has an interesting premise – a group of scientific researchers has been frozen for ten years, awaiting a cure for the disease they’d all been infected by. Now, one at a time, they’re being awakened and adapting to a new life. The latest is Reviving Zeke and here’s the blurb: Zeke is the fifth person to be reanimated after being cryonically preserved for ten years. But he wakes up to a world that resents his very existence. Everything he worked for is in danger of being destroyed. The last thing he needs is a well-meaning scientist with her own agenda.
Michelle would rather work with anyone besides the surly scientist she’s been partnered with. The man desperately needs an attitude adjustment. Too bad his penetrating glares also manage to hit a long-buried place inside her. It doesn’t matter because there’s no way she’s going to enter a relationship with a coworker. And after his disastrous marriage, he has no interest in letting any woman get under his skin.
Even in their standoff, sparks fly. Eventually they will have to face the truth because curing disease isn’t their only job these days. Staying one step ahead of whoever would rather see them dead is equally important. They need each other, and it would be much easier if they could get along.
Even better if they could find a way to let the other into their hearts.
Going back to cyborgs, Antibody is the latest in the Love and War series from USA Today Best Selling author R. A. Steffan. I’ve been enjoying these books, each one featuring a different member of the underground rebellion. This third entry featured an unusual take on cyborgs and emotion, courtesy of intervention from a telepathic ambassador, which I thought was a nice twist. The story: Vithii military cyborgs never go rogue. At least, that’s the official line.
How could they, when their emotion centers have been ripped out and replaced with tech?
No, cyborgs are only good at three things—following orders, destroying whatever target you point them at, and walking calmly into the vaporization chamber when it’s time for them to be decommissioned.
PX-12—better known to his friends as Pax—adequately performed two of those functions during his stint in the Ilarian military. D-8, his unit-sibling, performed all three exceptionally well. For that reason, when D-8’s unique distress beacon activates some seven years after Pax saw him destroyed, it would doubtless be quite surprising if Pax were still capable of being surprised.
Someone in the Regime is recycling the minds of decommissioned cyborgs, turning them into weapons even more horrific than they were before. To stop it, Pax will need the help of telepathic Vitharan ambassador—and part time spy—Nahleene Veila’ana, a woman whose motivations are as opaque as her past.
Since his escape from his military masters, Pax has operated using a strict self-imposed code based on logic. He never expected to experience emotion again—not even somebody else’s emotions.
Can a fragile mental connection forged in crisis overcome the damage done by a ruthless military research team? To find out, Pax and Veila’ana will first have to prevent an atrocity born from the sins of the past.
Preferably, before it destroys the future.
Another take on cyborgs comes from Marie Dry, with Dawn of the Cyborg. Her heroine caught my interest, as she has martial arts skills, a complicated backstory, runs a huge charity, can communicate in American Sign Language and is the only woman among all the billions on Earth that the alien leader desires. Okay, consider me hooked on the mystery! Here’s the blurb: On a future earth, Aurora has been desperately searching for her long-lost sister, when she is sacrificed to Balthazar, leader of the fearsome Cyborgs who invaded earth. Now she is stuck on an alien spaceship with a crazy Cyborg who thinks she can give him a soul and who has a weird fixation with the way she moves. Aurora is desperate to return to earth to search for her sister while the President of United Earth insists that only she can save Earth from enslavement by the cyborgs. After spending time with the cyborgs, Aurora realizes that the machine she thought would be easy to betray, the machine she has to betray, if she ever wants to rescue her sister from enslavement, has turned into a man she could come to love.
Buku by Jennifer Anderson has an attention grabbing science fiction cover and a dystopian plotline with some unusual elements. I love post-apocalyptic tales and I’d never seen one before where the creation of a new breed of animal – the Hiptartiodactyl, commonly known as the buku, three times larger than hippos and apparently highly dangerous – brings down civilization. The blurb: Iris lives in a desperate world with one last chance for hope. What she doesn’t realize is that it will all depend upon her.
Iris’ village clings to the side of a mountain, and every day they must hunt for food while running from the massive beasts known as buku. Designed in a lab, buku were to be the planet’s salvation. Instead, they destroyed it.
As a medic, she does what she can, but for the people of Camp Five it’s become a matter of what kills them first – starvation, the cold, or buku.
Every day, her world grows closer to destruction until she crosses paths with strangers – Micah and the golden-eyed Oso. Her impulsive decision to help them marks her as a traitor to the tyrant who runs her village and stirs the jealousy of his son.
But Iris learns that the strangers must be protected at all costs. Because they may know the secret to defeating buku.
Beyond Meridian by C. C. Bridges, is a fairly short read and here’s the plot: Captain Rick Raine thinks he’s just picking up a passenger and some cargo when he takes on Karl as a member of his crew. He didn’t sign up for battling privateers, the United Planetary Alliance, and his own heart. But everyone has secrets in space, even a naive kid who knows more than he should.
Karl is on a mission, deep in the heart of enemy space. Sam saved him from a life of servitude and now it’s time to return the favor. For that he needs a ship and someone to fly it. Captain Raine seems like the perfect guy, a good pilot and an honest thief. But Karl doesn’t count on falling for the spacer, not when he has a mission to accomplish and the UPA’s secrets to keep.
I’ll finish with the ever enjoyable, ever steamy USA Today Best Selling author Grace Goodwin and Rogue Cyborg (Interstellar Brides: The Colony Book 6). I’ve greatly enjoyed the Colony series, about a group of former prisoners of war who can never return to their own home planets because of the alien tech left inside their minds and bodies. Here’s the synopsis: Makarios of Kronos is a rebel, a smuggler who reports to no one, not even those on Rogue 5. But one betrayal sends him to a Coalition brig, and to a fate worse than death—capture by the Hive. He escapes but exchanges one prison for another. He now lives on the Colony, contaminated and deemed a risk. He’ll do anything to regain his freedom, including agree to a bargain with a beautiful, cunning warrior with secrets of her own.
Gwendolyn Fernandez volunteered to defend Earth from the Hive menace. For four years, she was a valued member of Coalition ReCon, until the Hive caught up with her, and a strange Nexus creature took special interest in her integration.
Gwen escaped with super-human strength and a will to live that cannot be broken, until the governor of the Colony demands she choose a mate. A bargain with Makarios seems so simple until he conquers her in a way no other has—body and soul—yet the Hive Nexus who wanted her for himself won’t take no for an answer.
Next time I’ll bring along recommendations for Fall reading!