Shari read the first book in this series and it put the author and series on my radar. I love a good cyborg romance with a strong amount of action and intrigue. I took the chance that I could jump in with book two and it ended up working out with brief references to the hero from book one.
The story starts out with Kai Andros, a Terran cyborg, deeply embedded in a shadow ops mission on the space station of an alien terrorist race. He is thought to be the bodyguard android of the general’s youngest daughter, Mariska. It is the best chance anyone has gotten so far to infiltrate and gain intel on the terrorists that will hopefully lead to gaining the location of the race’s enigmatic and powerful leader. So far his mission hasn’t produced any significant information. The girl is just a mission until he learns what her evil father plans for her.
Mariska is a pariah amongst her people and an embarrassment to her own father. Her physical deformities are kept hidden behind head scarves and she is hidden away. Her lonely existence changes when her father calls her to him and tells her that he is sending her to another race as a concubine in exchange for the possibility of establishing a base in the other race’s territory. Mariska is excited to finally have the chance to make her father proud and maybe be accepted so she eagerly embraces her new circumstances.
Kai knows that the mission is critical and that one woman’s life against the potential of many lives saved shouldn’t be considered. But knowing the fate of this innocent young woman weighs on him particularly since her own father is the one sending her to her painful death. Kai may be cyborg, but he is still also very human. He chooses to defy his orders and save Mariska. He will now be hunted by friend and foe. But as he gets to know Mariska, he knows it is worth it.
Alright, so this is fairly typical of its type- sexy cyborg soldier, vulnerable woman, a mission, exciting battles, the rescue, the forbidden passion and romance- yep, all good. I eat this stuff up.
But that said, the author took the time to develop the world around this pair and give them backstories with depth. Kai has knocked around the galaxy and seen it all. He stays pretty open-minded about stuff until he encounters a race that aren’t just narrow-minded but insist it is their way or else. Mariska totally drank the Kool-Aid about her own race and culture even if it’s oppressive and many suffer under the regime. She isn’t cruel and hasn’t harmed anyone, but she believes that she deserves no better. Honestly, the situation was something going on in our world right now- religious extremists, terrorism, opposing ideals…ring a bell? And this does play a strong role in the story.
Mariska is a bit of an innocent because of being kept ignorant and sheltered, but the one piece of education she does get? Seduction and pleasure. Oh yeah, Kai wasn’t disappointed by how well she learned those lessons.
And Kai, he’s an honorable soldier and loves what he does, but he has a crisis of conscience when he must choose between his mission and Mariska’s certain death. He is exciting and passionate- the total hero who will take the consequences for his actions, protect the innocent, and fight hard. He is good for Mariska because he challenges her thinking without being intentionally cruel. He has great camaraderie with his fellow cyborg soldiers. Incidentally, I would love to get Dale’s story.
So, I was well pleased by this cyborg romance and would definitely read more of the series. Those who enjoy encountering alien races, strong sexy cyborg soldiers, and passion amongst the stars should give this one a go.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #26 Sci-Fi Rom
Literary Pickers #26 Alien/Human
New to Me #13 author/series
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