Take me to a different place particularly a different place in time and I will undoubtedly have a blast. This is true of this Sci-Fi Romance that offers a romantic suspense-style plot set on a planet system that bares resemblance to earth, but with enough differences to make it curious and fun.
This is a first book in a series about the various races of people that live on the planet or on the moon of Jorda. Their livelihoods are driven by a mined mineral that is used as a resource and defense material. It is so potent that there is a group made up of the leaders of all races that pass law and regulate its distribution and use. One company based on the moon, Rica, does the mining, processing and distributing along with maintenance of the regulatory laws amongst the distributor companies from the planet kingdoms.
Ambition, intrigue, power struggles and greed all flow beneath the surface of a relative peaceful arrangement until someone pushes even harder against Cassandra Wiltmore and her family’s mining company.
Cass is heir to the Prince of Rica and head of operations for the Rica Balcite Mining Company. Her protector needs to retire and now she must have a new one. Cassandra’s activities and position both as company head and heir leave her vulnerable so her protector must have the ability to protect both her mind from assault by other strong telepaths and the ability to provide physical protection as well.
Kernan Radaton is a hero for saving a king’s life, but now he must leave his post with the king’s royal guard due to the lasting physical injury he sustained that leaves him ineligible for military duty. He is returning home to the moon Kingdom of Rica hopefully to get a job as the RBMC head’s protector. He also feels its time to settle down and start a family possibly with Hera Wiltmore.
A chance meeting at a party shows Cassandra and Kernan that they have chemistry and this is driven home further when Kernan is hired and they achieve a sympatico mental connection without any practice at all when they investigate a situation at the warehouse when some enriched Balcite goes missing. Both strive to keep things professional as they follow the clues to a huge conspiracy set to topple Cassandra and her family’s company. Anything of a relationship between them seems impossible because Cass’ status, a prior suitor to Cass, Kernan’s feelings of not being good enough, and the machinations of another who is not afraid to lie to have Kernan to herself. But the danger from a conspiracy escalates and they may have run out of time.
This was my first time reading this author’s books and it definitely won’t be my last. It wasn’t the most creative worldbuilding I’ve read in a Sci-Fi Romance, but I enjoyed it all the same. The worldbuilding was good, but the intrigue and character interactions were the book’s strengths. I liked getting the interactions between rivals, business acquaintances, family, and love interests. The story had two plots going on like in a romantic suspense. Both aspects were strong and well balanced.
The pacing was that of a typical first book of a series in ways. It took some time to build a strong foundation explaining who everyone is and where things are at before jumping into the exciting part of the plot. Not that the set up was boring, but just in comparison to what came after it got moving.
The characters were most times simplistic and of a type, but they grow and have flaws to make them rather engaging too. Cass is the dedicated workaholic that doesn’t see herself well and jumps quickly to conclusions about others thinking she has a good grasp of the other person. Kernan is the quintessential confident, capable, loyal, strong and passionate hero, very much what you see is what you get. The King who is friend to both Cass and Kernan along with Diana, Cass’ sister, are favorite characters for me so I hope they get their stories too since one of the villains is still on the loose leaving things set up for more.
The romance between Cass and Kernan developed through the story. They are attracted, but don’t do anything about it for a while. Once they do, an unexpected series of barriers are thrown in their way that look to derail things badly. Things aren’t easy for them and there are some twinge moments particularly involving Kernan and Hera. There isn’t a love triangle just a manipulative woman that takes advantage of Kernan’s trust. Their passion is spicy, but not as explicit as some romances. I loved these two as partners in their mission and in their relationship.
In the end, I found this new Sci-Fi Romance series satisfying particularly the world of Jorda, the characters and the intrigue mixed with romance. I have no trouble recommending it to other fans of this type of romance and look forward to the next installment in the series.
My thanks to Escape Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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