The summer onslaught of hot new science fiction romances continues (were you in any serious doubt?) and I have more to share this week.
I was very excited to see Calling the Change by Michelle Diener arrive. She’s one of my favorite authors and this is the second in a new series that mixes a planet at roughly the Middle Ages and alien invaders, known as the Sky Raiders. The humans have a secret ability, however, that helps them hold their own. Here’s the story: He rescued her despite impossible odds — Garek has rescued Taya and the rest of his village from the sky raiders, but their return home doesn’t bring easier times. The sky raiders aren’t simply going to go away — they still need the shadow ore they came for, and they want the ships Garek stole from them back. But they aren’t the only threat…
First she was in danger from the aliens who abducted her, now she’s in danger from her own people — Taya’s been rescued, but she isn’t home a week before she’s taken again, this time by men who walked the walls with Garek. They’ve taken her as a consolation prize of sorts, having failed to get hold of Garek himself. They think Taya’s value to the people they’re working for is her relationship to Garek, but they are wrong…
Garek and Taya never gave up on each other before, even when the distance between them was impossibly far, and they aren’t giving up on each other now. As Garek searches for her, and Taya engineers her escape, they discover the motivations behind the new attacks on them are darker than the endless reaches of space they’ve just escaped from.
Moving up considerably on the technology timeline, we have The Daragh Deception (Conclave Worlds Book 1) from Kenley Davidson. Anytime a book description starts off with the words “corporate colony world”, I’m already excited and in the mood to read on. Here’s the full blurb: Daragh is Emma Forester’s last hope.
A corporate colony world on the outskirts of explored space, Daragh is the perfect place for a woman on the run to hide from her terrifying past. All Emma wants is to do her job and be left alone, but before she can disappear into her new life, she attracts the attention and the suspicions of brusque, handsome corporate soldier Devan Rybeck.
Devan is convinced Emma is hiding something, but finds himself increasingly driven to protect the fragile-looking newcomer from the harsh realities of a colony world. Her distracting presence complicates his mission and his feelings, until a vicious attack reveals that neither Emma nor Daragh are all they pretend to be.
Emma’s subsequent flight into the dangerous and unpredictable wilds of Daragh proves just how much steel she’s hiding beneath her quiet exterior, and just how far she’s willing to go to protect her secrets. But Daragh has secrets of its own, and Devan must race against time to bring Emma home before her staggering discoveries trigger a Conclave war.
If he fails, there will be no escape from the coming darkness, either for himself or the woman he would die to protect.
I also always gravitate toward good post-apocalyptic type tales. It’s also interesting to see someone bucking the long standing SFR trend toward covers with stock photo elements by using original artwork. Here’s Dustwalker by Tiffany Roberts: A Synth searching for purpose…Walk. Scavenge. Destroy. Trade. A simple cycle that’s suited Ronin for one hundred and eighty-five years. With no clear grasp of his programming, the barren wasteland known as The Dust offers him purpose, a place where his armored undercasing, amped-up processors, and advanced optics can be put to use. The ramshackle towns on the edges of the waste serve merely as resupply stations between increasingly long treks. But one night — one human woman — makes him question everything.
A womaan who brings him to life…Lara Brooks struggles to survive under the strict rules imposed by the bots in Cheyenne. With her sister missing, she’s been on her own for weeks, and fears the worst. Her only hope comes from Ronin, a bot she catches spying on her. He promises to provide for Lara and search for her sister. All she has to do is dance. It should be easy; she’s done it before. But the longer she spends with Ronin, the harder it is to see him as just another bot.
A sanctuary hiding dark secrets…In a city where humans are relegated to live in squalor, Ronin discovers a threat greater than any in the Dust — Warlord, Cheyenne’s tyrannical leader. When Ronin ignores the rules, he unwittingly puts Lara in danger. Warlord is as intolerant of disrespect as he is of mankind.
Anna Carven’s Dark Planet Warriors is one of my favorite series and she’s recently released book 8, Brilliant Starlight. The two lead characters describe the plot thusly, in lieu of a formal blurb: Abbey — We’re back on Silence, orbiting the Dark Planet while my husband handles unfinished business on Kythia. For some reason, he seems a little bit tense. According to Tarak, Kythian politics can be complicated. I just hope things don’t get too complicated, because I don’t want to be stuck here for too long. A warship isn’t really the best place to raise a child.
Tarak — The only way to keep Abbey and Ami safe is to bring down the Empire. Afterwards, it is the statesmen and scholars who will rebuild our civilization. I’m just here to provide the muscle, but above all, I’m here to keep my mate and my child safe. If anything or anyone dares to threaten them…
They know how I will respond.
The problem is that not all enemies can be taken down by force.
If you prefer to go dark and edgy but sexy, you can’t do better than Cynthia Sax, who just released Dark Flight (Refuge Book 2). Here’s the summary: His mission. His challenge. His forever.
Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission — escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.
Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.
Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.
I’m noting a lot of winged men in SFR lately, must be the next trope to be upon us! It’s one I love — who wouldn’t like to actually fly?
Sagitta (Star Guardians Book 3) from Ruby Lionsdrake doesn’t feature an avian hero, but he is a hunky alien determined to do his job, even with romance as an obstacle. The blurb: Dr. Tala Matapang thought the most challenging part about getting kidnapped by slavers from another planet would be escaping, not butting heads with the obstinate Star Guardian captain who rescued her. She’s been working in his sickbay, and it’s refreshing not having to deal with the politics and bureaucracy she faced as a surgeon back home, but Captain Sagitta is as infuriating as he is handsome. He’s got this crazy plan to take her and the other women home against his government’s wishes, and he didn’t even consult them about it first.
Captain Sagitta “Sage” of Dethocoles believes in doing the right thing. That’s why he’s defying his government to take Tala and the other Earth women home. Unfortunately, he has a couple of problems. First, his government is sending a surprisingly aggressive pursuit after them. Second, he’s having a hard time imagining dropping Tala off and never seeing her again. She’s a capable doctor and is doing an excellent job heading up his sickbay. More than that, he’s attracted to her and is starting to care about her. Too bad he’s better at barking orders than sharing feelings, and he seems to argue with her every time they speak.
With trouble stalking the ship from behind and obstacles blocking the route ahead, Sage and Tala will have to form a bond and learn to work together, or neither of them will see their home worlds again.
Other new and noteworthy SFR titles out are Game on Askole by Gail Koger and Barbarian’s Tease by Ruby Dixon (yup, another chapter of life on the ice planet where the blue barbarians roam).
I’m hearing rumors that Linnea Sinclair, one of the big names in SFR, may have news soon about a new book! I’ll keep you posted…