Heading into the holiday season with a few new science fiction romance reads. Warning – I’m all about highlighting the wide variety of plots and tropes this week!
Christine Pope completes her Gaian Consortium series with book 7, The Refugee Ruse. Here’s the plot: A deserter. A grifter. A stolen ship. And one last chance for freedom…
With the remote Zeta Tau prison station about to be pounded into space dust — and with no help coming from Gaia’s crumbling star empire — Captain Landon Beck races to release one particular inmate before she’s abandoned to the tender mercies of the invading pirates and mercenaries.
Thanks to that bit of temporary insanity — or maybe a crusading streak that refuses to die — he has company on the badly damaged, antiquated transport ship he hopes to fly to anonymity and freedom: Dhani Warlow, a small-time grifter, dark-eyed and delicate, with an uncommon amount of sass.
After five years surviving in the underbelly of Gaian society, Dhani has seen the worst of the Consortium’s crimes against man, Zhore, and dozens of other peoples across the galaxy. Even so, in Landon she senses a man of honor beneath the hated uniform.
As they limp from system to system on their quest to reach Iradia and freedom, Landon and Dhani earn one another’s trust and respect, finally taking refuge in the only safe place left — each other’s arms. But as the Consortium crumbles around them, they might not survive one last attempt on their lives….
A gentle, long running series with some very different elements is Robin D. Owens’s Celta HeartMates. I’ve always enjoyed this set of novels so I was pleased to see the fifteenth book, Script of the Heart. Among the elements I particularly enjoy are the FamCats or familiar animals, which can be cats or foxes as I recall. The original settlers of Celta were from Earth so that aspect adds another interesting angle, to see how the society evolved over the centuries. Celta hasn’t always been a kind planet for her new residents. The blurb: Celta, a place of magic, telepathic animal companions, and romance…Script of the Heart, a story set decades ago, of a couple struggling with love and loss…
Giniana Filix, a dedicated Healer, is desperate to raise funds for an experimental treatment to save her dying FamCat. She has no time or interest in a relationship.
Growing up on an impoverished estate as the last of his line, actor Klay St. Johnswort hears of a script of a lifetime, a script he believes will catapult his career to greatness and enable him to restore his home. Appalled to learn the script has mysteriously disappeared, he is determined to reclaim it at all costs.His desire to be close fuels her fear of abandonment.
Her distrust of actors clashes with his pride in his craft. But they discover a connection they can’t deny. Will their attraction be enough to force them to write their own Script of the Heart?
For a complete change of pace, here’s Till Death Do Us Part: A Zombie Survival Reverse Harem by A. J. Lee. I’ve noticed an uptick in reverse harem novels set in a post-apocalyptic environment recently, as well as an increase in the number of zombie plots. The story: Five years…
It’s been five years since the world’s entire female population mysteriously changed into shambling, flesh-eating undead. For Esperanza Costales, that means coping with the loss of her mother, surviving in the Tennessee wilderness with her father and brother, and wondering whether or not she’s the last living woman on Earth.
Esperanza and her family have adapted and learned to count their blessings, but when a group of escaped convicts led by a crazed psychopath named Frankie stumble upon their camp and kidnap her and her father, her new life is thrown into chaos. By taking advantage of a late-night zombie attack, she barely escapes captivity and flees into the forest, alone.
Injured, frightened, and separated from her family, Esperanza nearly loses hope until she encounters a group of four men. Jason, Derek, Roland, and Joseph have survived the world’s end by putting aside old feelings and embracing their harsh new reality, but their routine is shattered when Esperanza enters their lives and brings into question everything they thought they knew about the Apocalypse.
As Esperanza and the men learn more about one another and themselves, will they be able to form a bond strong enough to survive attacks by the undead and pursuit by Frankie’s gang? Will Esperanza ever see her family again? And in a world full of zombies and psychos, will a woman and four men be able to find love through despair?
Next up, a steampunk from Bec McMaster, one of my favorite SFR authors: To Catch A Rogue (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy Book 4). The blurb: An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?
The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.
It’s a job for a master thief, and there’s nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who’s ever been able to outfox him.
He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life…
Lark’s spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can’t ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.
It’s Charlie’s last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark’s keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all…
Damien Benoit-Ledoux spins a M/M tale of superhumans in book 4 of his Guardians series, Ultimate Sacrifice. The story: More determined than ever, superhuman Quinn McAlester navigates the dramas of high school and family life while balancing the growing responsibilities of being the world’s first superhero. Having won over the respect and trust of the authorities who sought to capture him, Quinn unites a team of unique individuals and devises a plan to infiltrate The Order and rescue his best friend, Blake Hargreaves, from the clutches of mastermind Victor Kraze. When the people he loves discover his secret superhero identity, Quinn struggles to keep his friends—and his boyfriend—safe.
Unable to stop the violent, confusing thoughts plaguing his mind, Blake spirals out of control and enacts a violent plan of murder and destruction in a desperate attempt to find his place in the confusing world of The Order, even it if means wiping out the sinister organization. With his hands drenched in blood, an increasingly tormented Blake lashes out against Quinn and Victor, but the duplicitous and charismatic leader is ready for him.
While constantly manipulating the game pieces on the board, Victor becomes desperate to usurp The Order for himself and stop the monster they unwittingly unleashed. He pushes his team to carry out a series of experiments that recreate the freak accident that made Quinn and Blake. Frustrated with their efforts, Victor takes matters into his own hands and sets his sights on destroying both Blake and Quinn forever.
I can hear you now, asking where this column’s cyborg story is – never fear, Elsa Jade has released another in her Cyborg Cowboys of Carbon County series, which is part of the Intergalactic Dating Agency collection by various authors. New from her is Big Bang, a fun read. Here’s the blurb: It’s Christmas in Carbon County, and not a creature is stirring, not even a cyborg…
He was never meant to be awakened. In the matrix of genetically and cybernetically enhanced contract killers, he was the Omega — brought out only the last resort, the final answer, the end times. But crash-landing on the planet Dirt made Cosmo just another cowboy, albeit one with a time bomb in his massive body forever set to 00:00:00:01.
Vic Ray thought she was so smart. As a reformed black-hat hacker, she cracked every code ever put in front of her. Except the one that explains people. But then she found out about aliens. Turns out, though, Cosmo Halley is worse than any people. At least she doesn’t have to be nice to a killer robot to get what she wants: Off this world.
But when an old enemy and a new one join forces to expose the CWBOIs on Earth, Cosmo and Vic will have to figure out what it means to love before everything they know is lost forever. Can the Spirit of Christmas — peace, goodwill, and spiked hot cocoa — teach a cyborg and a misanthrope to believe in a future together?
Last but not least, although not a romance, certainly worth of note – Star Wars Women of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe, foreward by Kathleen Kennedy. The synopsis: They are heroes and villains, Sith and Jedi, senators and scoundrels, mothers, mercenaries, artists, pilots. . . .
The women of the Star Wars galaxy drive its stories and saga forward at every level. This beautifully illustrated, fully authorized book profiles 75 fascinating female characters from across films, fiction, comics, animation, and games. Featuring Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Iden Versio, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, and many more, each character is explored through key story beats, fresh insights, and behind-the-scenes details by author Amy Ratcliffe. Also showcasing more than 100 all-new illustrations by a dynamic range of female and non-binary artists, here is an inspiring celebration of the characters that help create a galaxy far, far away.
May the Force be with you and happy reading!