After Earth suffered an unknown epidemic, the population now finds itself down to one man for every ten women. In this futuristic setting, wherein lifAfter Earth suffered an unknown epidemic, the population now finds itself down to one man for every ten women. In this futuristic setting, wherein life on other planets has not only been discovered but interacted with as if they were only on the next continent, the government has instituted the mother of all dating pools. Women desperate enough to spend $20,000 on a ticket may venture to compatible planets in search of a mate to create a family and new life with. After three years of applying and receiving rejections for various reasons, Faith Reid finally has a ticket in hand.
Year after year, for seven cycles, Torkel has stood upon the traditional sands of Enotia in hopes of securing a mate for himself. Always rejected. Ever shamed. His damning trait is being born of Marenian blood, legendary slavers, despite being abandoned and eventually adopted and raised by loving Enotian parents. A Jutak warrior, much like our own Navy Seals or Marines, he can no longer bare the humiliation of rejection and decides this will be his final year. Should he fail yet again to attract a female, Torkel will remain alone and unbound.
So... at this point you've got the fantasy in mind of two people taking this grand attempt at a final chance at love... possibly sharing a moment, catching one another's eye across the arena's sands and feeling those little butterflies come to life in your belly... and if you do, like me, you'd be wrong. It's so *not* that easy.
This was my first read by Michelle Howard and my nerves were a wreck as I read it. I laughed, swooned, and bit my lip in the face of dreaded scene after scene as Torkel and Faith's joining was challenged time and time again. Most of which is brought on by Faith herself. Just a warning, you're going to want to strangle the woman more than once by the end. Rest assured, though, she's going to suffer for her stupidity.
It's a must read if you like your warriors passionate, quick to kill, understandably cold at times, and justifiably slow to forgive. I loved Torkel, Jaron, and the most by far, Kyele. Bring on the next installment because I'm officially subscribed to this series!
Recently employed by United Research & Technologies, Phoebe is a biomechanic at the research facility where plans are in motion to breed two BlarmRecently employed by United Research & Technologies, Phoebe is a biomechanic at the research facility where plans are in motion to breed two Blarmlings in hopes of giving the population a new pet source now that cats and dogs have nearly become extinct. When the pair fail to produce satisfying results, they are slated for execution and dissection. In response of which, soft hearted Phoebe has no choice but to free the two-Lart and Oolo-and see them safely home to the planet of Blarm.
It's a plan that lands her a bounty that Rigel desperately needs in order to keep his ancient ship from falling apart.
Born of a thief who was tried and sentenced to the prison planets, Rigel may be called a spacer but he's lived by the law all of his life despite the stigma of his upbringing. When he was released at the age of fifteen, he joined the circus and earned enough credits to buy himself a ship, soon finding his way into a bounty hunting career.
And that brings us to the beginning of BD as it kicks off in the heat of a starship battle between the two. When Rigel first meets Phoebe, he's in awe of her. Leaving me to be in awe of him.
I loved Rigel's personality. Here's a guy with images of a blonde hair, green eyed beauty in his mind, with memories of her panty drawer riding the edges, and his first fantasy is simply of her holding him while he sleeps. Romantics out there, prepare to swoon.
Ankari Markovich and her three woman team (including a work obsessed scientist and a self taught pilot) are busy collecting fossilized alien feces forAnkari Markovich and her three woman team (including a work obsessed scientist and a self taught pilot) are busy collecting fossilized alien feces for medical research when they are suddenly taken hostage by a team of mercenaries playing bounty hunters. The price on their head is not only incredibly high, but also insane in its placement. Who the hell would put a bounty on an entrepreneur digging up alien sh*t?
Viktor Mandrake, once called "Willow", is an ex-Crimson Ops soldier, who went out on his own with a strict code he manages to carry into the life of a mercenary. He's not deluded. Only sometimes does he manage to find a job that sides with his own beliefs, but so far he's managed to never betray an innocent. Something he begins to truly suspect his newest prisoner happens to be. As far as the charges against her anyway.
Ankari grew up with her family struggling to survive after her birthworld was destroyed. A pickpocket when necessary, and damn if it was ever necessary, it is now, Ankari's quick hand manages to help her escape her captors more than once. Her never shutting mouth, however, lands her in even more trouble. Thankfully, Viktor is only endeared by her feisty, survival attitude and emotionally forms a connection with her. His own home world was destroyed, too, by the same villains that took hers.
This... is one realistic love affair unfolding in a very true SciFi setting. Moon hunting, prehistoric dinosaur-like creatures, and a man-eating plant collection are just a few of the classic facets pulled together to bring two amazingly well written characters together. And if you're not into lust fueled, tripping-all-over-themselves-in-love protagonists but still crave an all consuming fall into a future of love, then this one's for you!