Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1) by Kelly Jensen

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?

Rating: A-

Kelly Jensen’s Uncommon Ground is book one in her Aliens in New York duology, a story that combines mystery, science fiction and a bit of action with a tender and poignant romance between two people who don’t really fit anywhere – until they find each other.

Dillon Lee has always felt like an outsider.  He’s gay, he feels disconnected from his Korean heritage and his unusual looks have always marked him as a bit odd.  He doesn’t let any of that get him down though, and embraces his “oddness”; he dyes his hair purple and has facial piercings, which always get him a few funny looks wherever he goes – but that’s who he is and stuff anyone who has a problem with it.  He’s returned to New York City for the first time in fifteen years following the death of his conspiracy-theorist grandfather – with whom he used to spend his summers when he was a kid, but hasn’t seen since he was fifteen – to meet with lawyers about his grandfather’s will, but also to take his ashes on a sentimental journey around the city’s landmarks to say goodbye.  Dillon has stopped in at a coffee shop after an unsuccessful attempt to visit the top of the Empire State Building, when he notices a very well-dressed, attractive man staring at him from the queue.  At first Dillon thinks it’s the usual – someone eyeing him because he’s weird-looking – but then realises it’s not that at all when the guy takes a seat behind him and seems about to start a conversation.  But before they can exchange more than a few words, someone moves between them, grabs Dillon’s backpack (containing the urn and ashes) and runs off with it – and Dillon immediately gives chase.

When Steilang Skovgaard  – Lang – sees the guy with the purple hair sitting in the coffee shop he has to remind himself to stop staring.  But he can’t help it.  The lanky build, the large, wide-set eyes and distinctive facial features… he’s  gorgeous and there’s something about the colour of his hair that reminds Lang unaccountably of home.   When Dillon rushes off after his stolen backpack, Lang goes too and eventually manages to cut off the thief and retrieve the bag, injuring himself quite badly in the process.  Given he’s not human (not a spoiler – it’s in the synopsis) Lang doesn’t want to go to a hospital, so despite the injuries he’s sustained – which should start healing soon courtesy of the repair cells in his body – he sneaks away from the scene, only for Dillon to catch up with him. He insists on taking Lang up to his apartment – the one his grandfather left him – to help him to clean up a bit before making his way home.  In a lot of pain (his repair cells aren’t working as quickly as they should), Lang takes Dillon up on his offer.  And gets another shock when he gets a good look at the urn he saved and sees it engraved with a symbol he recognises as belonging to the Wren, one of the three clans from his home planet of Jord.  Clearly, Dillon’s eccentric grandfather wasn’t what or who Dillon believed him to be – but how can Lang find out the truth without revealing exactly who and what he is?

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

TBR Challenge: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies — what chance does love have?

Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion — someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything — even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

Rating: B+

The last few times the “Something Different” prompt has come up in the TBR Challenge, I’ve found myself picking up a Science Fiction romance.  I don’t know why I don’t read many of them – I like the genre in TV and film – and I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve read, so this prompt is always a good opportunity to read another one!  I chose Kelly Jensen’s To See the Sun for a couple of reasons; firstly, I really enjoyed her recent This Time Forever series, a trilogy of novels in which a group of men in their late forties finally find their happy ever afters and was keen to read something else of hers, and secondly, my fellow reviewer Maria Rose put the book in her Best of 2018 list, so that was a strong recommendation. Plus, it’s a variation on the mail-order-bride trope, and I haven’t read many of those, so that also worked for this particular prompt.

To See the Sun is set on the remote colony of Alkirak, a terraformed planet on which humans carve out their homes from the rock in the crevasses which provide shelter from the largely inhospitable surface. Ex-miner Abraham Bauer is stretched pretty thin keeping everything going on his small farm, but least he’s working for something that’s his rather than risking his neck day in, day out in the mines.  It’s also a lonely life, and Bram longs to find someone to share his life and maybe even build a family with, but that seems almost impossible.  Finding someone to have sex with isn’t difficult, but Bram wants more than that, he wants connection and affection, maybe even love – and that’s much harder to come by.  When he hears about companies that arrange things called companion contracts, he doesn’t hold out much hope – after all, there are millions of people just like him out there, and who on earth would want to come and spend their life on a remote outpost with an unstable atmosphere for what little Bram has to offer? – but he signs up anyway… and on logging on to the site one evening is captivated by the video of a beautiful young man whose shy, considered manner and obvious sweetness strike a chord deep within Bram that is more than simple lust.  He dares to hope that he might just have found what he’s been searching for.

Gael Sonnen ekes out an existence on Zhemozen, a beautiful planet at the opposite end of the galaxy that’s a paradise – if you’ve got money.  But Gael and the millions like him who are poor, live hand-to-mouth in the crowded, squalid undercity, a place with “dark streets, bitter air, and water that tasted like sweat.”  When he falls foul of a powerful criminal family, Gael’s only option is to run – and the farther away the better.  With no money, it seems his only option will be life as an indentured servant, until a friend suggests another possibility.  Good-looking as he is, Gael will have no trouble getting a companion contract somewhere far away from Zhemosen;  and a year’s contract as companion – or more – to a lonely farmer at the other end of the galaxy seems as good a way to escape as any.

Bram and Gael are decent, likeable characters, ordinary men who just want to make a quiet life with  someone with the same wants, needs and outlook.  Bram is in his late forties and used to being alone, which has probably made him a bit set in his ways;  while Gael is younger (twenty-nine) and has had a tough life, didn’t know either of his parents, and struggled to bring up his younger brother, who was neuroatypical and for whose death Gael blames himself.  He’s a good man and is determined that Bram won’t regret his decision to make the contract – although an unexpected event may have scuppered Gael’s chances before he can even get settled.

But he wants very much to help Bram and not to take advantage of his generosity. Gael is a natural caretaker, and I loved the small ways he starts to make a place for himself in Bram’s life, whether it’s cooking a meal, helping on the farm or just sitting quietly, listening to Bram talk or watching a video with him at the end of the day.  Their relationship is incredibly touching and really well developed as they learn about each other, work alongside one another and start to fall in love.

There are a few dramatic events along the way to keep things moving, (although the last act ‘black moment’ kind of comes out of nowhere and is resolved very quickly), but ultimately, this is a character driven, sweet story about things we can all identify with; wanting to make a personal connection with someone, or escape a hopeless situation, or make a family and being prepared to fight hard to keep it.

Ms. Jensen’s worldbuilding is superb.  She incorporates details about Alkirak and Zhemosen seamlessly into the narrative in such a way as to enable the reader to build clear pictures in the mind’s eye – of the dark, underground city on Zhemosen and of the austere, hostile surface of Alkirak, the acid mists, violent storms, and most of all, the dangerous but beautiful sun that so fascinates Gael and makes the clouds glow and colours the sky and the horizon.  The dangers of daily life in such a place are brilliantly contrasted with everyday things like eating a meal or watching TV, and the slow-burn romance between Bram and Gael is beautifully done.

To See the Sun may be set on a distant planet at some unspecified time in the future, but at its heart, it’s a story about two lonely people finding something in each other they’ve been missing and yearning for.  It’s sweet and gorgeously romantic and I enjoyed every bit of it.

In the Wreckage (Metahuman Files #1) by Hailey Turner (audiobook) – Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

A Marine with honor.

After surviving a horrific chemical attack that turned him into a metahuman, Captain Jamie Callahan got a second lease on life. For three years he’s been working for the Metahuman Defense Force and leading Alpha Team – all against the wishes of his family. The job requires his full dedication, so it’s no surprise Jamie doesn’t have time for a relationship. An enticing one-night stand with a gorgeous stranger is all it takes to show Jamie exactly what he’s been missing. When a mission to take down a terrorist cell brings that same stranger back into his world, Jamie’s life gets complicated.

A soldier with secrets.

Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan was only looking to relieve some stress after a long mission. He didn’t know the hot guy he picked up at a bar was the leader of the MDF’s top field team. When Kyle and his partner get seconded to Alpha Team to help fight a terrorist threat, he has to balance his desire for Jamie against his duty to keep his secrets safe. That gets harder and harder to do amidst regulations both are tempted to break.

Two men trying to survive.

Giving into passion could cost both their careers. Abiding by the rules will only result in heartache. An attack on MDF headquarters brings with it a choice Jamie and Kyle can’t escape – duty, or love?

Rating: Narration – A+ : Content – B

I know what you’re thinking. “Huh? A military-themed, dystopian sci-fi novel about humans with superpowers set 250 years in the future? That’s not Caz’s normal cup of tea is it?” Well… no. And yes. I like sci-fi in movies and on TV, although I don’t read (or listen to) much of it; but I picked up In the Wreckage mostly because I’m on a narrator glom – and because I’m on a bit of a m/m military romance/romantic suspense kick, so this sounded like a good fit.

Set around 250 years in the future, In the Wreckage is the first book in the Metahuman Files, and plunges listeners straight in to the thick of things, introducing the central characters and the concept of metahumans in the course of an action-packed battle scene. In this version of the future, a deadly chemical agent called Splice – which kills 95% of the people it infects – has led to the creation of a small number of metahumans (the other 5%), changing their DNA and giving them enhanced powers. When recon marine captain Jamie Callahan was exposed to it three years earlier, almost his entire unit was wiped out, leaving him one of only five survivors; and now he leads the Alpha Team of the MDF (Metahuman Defense Force), the deadliest, most badass (and most efficient) team on the force. The powers exhibited by metahumans are diverse; telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, precognition and teleportation to name just a few, but they’re random and it’s impossible to tell what powers someone will have until after infection. Jamie – whose enhanced power is incredible physical strength and endurance – chose to continue to serve after he became a metahuman, in spite of the disapproval of his wealthy and influential family. His father is a powerful senator with presidential ambitions who wants Jamie to quit the MDF and be part of his campaign, but Jamie isn’t interested. He is dedicated to serving his country and his team is his family – and he’s not going to abandon them.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Entropy (Atrophy #4) by Jess Anastasi

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Captain Qaelan Forster is used to trouble. He lives on the wrong side of the law and he’s on the most-wanted lists. He’s mixed up in his cousin’s mess who has problems on a cosmic level—like shape-shifting aliens who want them dead. But Qaelan’s not prepared for the cheeky kind of trouble called Camille Blackstone, whose infamous father has any man interested in his daughter executed.

After Camille drags Qaelan into an impulsive act of rebellion, she finds herself trying to defend the sexy captain from her overprotective father’s wrath, even if she has to handcuff herself to the captain to keep him alive. However, it soon becomes apparent there are much more dangerous things lurking in the dark corners of the universe than a vengeful pirate lord. And she’s just landed in the middle of it.

Rating: B

Entropy is book four in Jess Anastasi’s Atrophy series of Sci-Fi romances, and the first thing I’m going to say is that it’s not really a standalone. While each of the books has a self-contained plot and different romantic pairing, there are long-running storylines begun in book one (Atrophy) which impact on each subsequent title, and a newbie would most likely have a bit of trouble working out what’s going on.  The good news is that the other books are enjoyable and well-written, so if you like the genre, then reading them is no hardship.

Disillusioned with life in the military after seeing first hand its disregard for some of the most basic human rights, Captain Qaelan – Qae – Foster resigned his commission, bought a ship and has lived on the wrong side of the law ever since, hiring out the Ebony Winter for whatever dodgy deals are up for grabs.  He’s got a reputation as a maurauder other pirates shouldn’t think about messing with, a smart mouth, good looks and charm by the bucketload.  He’s on galaxy-wide most-wanted lists, and his problems have been recently compounded by the fact that the Ebony Winter is now home to his cousin, Captain Rian Sherron – one of the most feared men in the galaxy – and the crew of his ship, the Imojenna, which was stolen in the previous book.

In the year since Qae and Rian teamed up, they’ve been taking jobs from notorious pirate Rene  Blackstone in between chasing down mostly dead-end leads as to the location of the Imojenna. Sitting in his favourite bar one night pondering the fact that the ship is probably so much scrap metal by now, Qae’s musings are interrupted by the entrance of a stunning young woman  whose presence clearly makes the other patrons uncomfortable.  The barman tells him that she never leaves the bar with anyone – which is like a red rag to a bull; Qae is never one to resist a challenge.

Camille – Cami – Blackstone is sick of being told what to do and where to go by her over-protective father, even though he has good reason for his fears for her safety.  She’s had a shitty day and just ducked into the bar to avoid a confrontation with him – and the comments she’s overheard about how she’s the “demon princess of hell” with a reputation for being a stuck-up, callous bitch are the last straw.  The infamous Qaelan Foster is dark-haired, blue-eyed temptation incarnate, so she decides to scotch those ice-queen rumours and kisses the hell out of the seriously hot captain right there in the middle of the bar – and then heads out with him into the night.

Of course, it’s not long before news of his daughter’s involvement with Qae reaches Blackstone’s ears and also of course, he’s not pleased.  But fortunately for Qae, Blackstone owes Rian big time, and instead of having Qae killed, decides he wants financial compensation – and he wants it in two week’s time.  It’s a nigh on impossible task if Qae is to continue to fly under the radar and avoid attention from the authorities; but it’s either that or forfeit his ship, and that’s something he can’t afford to do.

This confrontation is what kick-starts the plot ‘proper’, which sees the Ebony Winter heading off in search of the small fortune Qae has to deliver and following up on a solid lead as to the Imojenna’s whereabouts.  The relationships between the characters are all well done, and there’s some great snarky dialogue along the way, much of it between Qae and Rian and Qae and Cami, but I have to say that I wasn’t really feeling them as a couple.  They’re cute, but the way their romance starts – with a (not quite) one-night-stand – doesn’t allow for much build-up and there’s not a lot of chemistry between them.  Their storyline comes off as a sub-plot really, because much of Entropy is given over to the continuing storyline featuring Rian, who is such an overwhelmingly charismatic and interesting character that I was far more interested in him than in Qae and Cami, who were more like a fun, quirky diversion from the darker aspects of the novel.

I’m not complaining, though.  The books in this series are space opera ensemble pieces – comparisons with TV shows like Firefly are inevitable – and I like that about them.  But there’s no getting away from the fact that Rian is the star of the show in pretty much every book, so if you’re expecting a more traditionally focused romance, then you might be a bit disappointed.

Rian is a badass of the highest calibre, a former officer who was abducted by an alien race of shapeshifters called the Reidar and experimented upon .  He managed to escape and has been dedicated to exposing the Reidar – who have been gradually replacing key members of Earth’s industry and government with their own – and then destroying them when the time is right.  He’s a complex, flawed, damaged man; he’s volatile, bitter and prone to violence, although he is gradually learning to cope with his almost ever-present rage, and tries hard to keep control of his emotions.  In this, he is sometimes helped by Ella, the enigmatic Arynian high-priestess he was hired to transport in Atrophy; these two have terrific chemistry and something has been building between them since the beginning.  Rian is unsettled by her telepathic abilities and coolly controlled demeanour and tells himself he’s not attracted to her; Ella finds her attraction to Rian similarly inconvenient. They try to keep their distance, but it’s obviously becoming more and more difficult, and a surprise development here makes it practically impossible for them to do so any longer.  I admit that I was far more interested in his story than in the Qae/Cami romance, which is fairly lukewarm. But I expected that going in, so I didn’t find it as irritating as I might have done in other circumstances, and I really I hope Ms. Anastasi isn’t going to make us wait too long for Rian and Ella’s story.

Entropy is a thoroughly entertaining, fast-paced read with plenty of high-stakes action, snarky banter and some steamy scenes along the way.  I enjoyed it and zipped through it in a couple of sittings and would recommend it to other fans of sci-fi romances and space operas – with the suggestion that you consider picking up at least one other book in the series to smooth the way a bit.

Forbidden Stranger (The Protector #3) by Megan Hart (audiobook) – Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Nina Bronson and Ewan Donahue have put their love to its limits. To Ewan, she’s the only woman he wants to be with for the rest of his life. To Nina, whose memories have been ripped out of her, Ewan is her kind and generous boss who’s helping her recover after an accident she also can’t remember. The more time they spend together, the more she begins to feel for him, but Ewan knows the truth – she loved him once.

As Ewan tries to do whatever it takes to get Nina back to herself without putting her in danger, the two of them have to build a brand-new relationship from the ground up. Sometimes, a lie isn’t a betrayal, it’s a lifesaver. Can Nina forgive Ewan for not telling her the truth about why she lost so much of her memories, or are they doomed to never be together again?

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – B-

Forbidden Stranger is the final instalment of Megan Hart’s futuristic Protector trilogy, in which the overarching storyline pairs a kick-ass female bodyguard with a wealthy billionaire industrialist. I loved the premise of the series, the author’s world-building is terrific, the narration is excellent, and the first book is gripping, but sadly, books two and three suffer from the same problems – too much filler, not enough action and final acts that are rushed. On reflection, this story would probably have worked better as a duology, with the events of book two stripped of the filler and combined with a pared-down book three.

Please note that there will be spoilers for books one and two – Dangerous Promise and Wicked Attraction – in this review.

In Dangerous Promise, listeners were introduced to the author’s vision of a near-future coloured by war, environmental damage and cyber-terrorism. Nina Bronson is one of fifteen former soldiers who were technologically enhanced during life-saving surgery, the nano-chips implanted in their brains enabling them to be stronger and faster than normal humans and to control their emotional and physical reactions. The chips also allow the enhanced to have their memories wiped and for them to be reset after sensitive assignments should their clients so wish. Nina is engaged by billionaire businessman Ewan Donahue, the most vocal opponent of enhancement technology, as his personal bodyguard after several failed attempts on his life.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Dangerous Promise (The Protector #1) by Megan Hart (audiobook) – Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld


This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon.

Nina Bronson used to be all human – until the experimental surgeries and internal technology that saved her life and enhanced her as a soldier also forced her to leave the army for private service. Now she and her peers are facing slow, painful deaths unless their technology is upgraded, and the one man keeping those upgrades illegal and unavailable is an obnoxious billionaire. A man too gorgeous for his own good.

A man she’s supposed to guard with her life.

Ewan Donahue is the public voice speaking out against the enhancement procedures of injured soldiers. But when his lobbying leads to death threats, he needs someone to protect him around the clock. He doesn’t want to rely on an enhanced soldier – Nina’s tech goes against everything he stands for. But he really doesn’t want her to be beautiful like she is. Doesn’t want her to suffer like she will. Doesn’t want to succumb to the searing desire he feels for her. As a series of attacks on his life send them to a remote cabin, their close proximity brings them together in ways they never imagined. They know they must prevent the need simmering between them, resist each other at all costs. But when tensions are high and danger is close, passion burns hottest of all….

Rating: Narration – A : Content – B+

Megan Hart’s The Protector trilogy is set in the near future, in a world which has suffered a Second Cold War, massive environmental damage following an abortive attempt to colonise the moon and the near destruction of the planet’s computer infrastructure when an unknown hacker wiped out around ninety percent of the world’s servers and back-up data, deleting bank accounts, personal data and causing untold chaos. It’s a world that is recognisable (and eerily plausible!) yet subtly different from our own, and the author does a fabulous job in Dangerous Promise  of balancing the need for backstory and world-building with the plot and the romance in the story.

I’ll say now that this is a trilogy in which all three books need to be read or listened to in order to experience the complete story and reach the HEA; fortunately, at time of writing, all three books are available so you’ll be able to jump straight in to the whole thing without having to wait months for the next instalment.

Nina Bronson is one of fifteen former soldiers who underwent experimental surgery after being severely injured. In fact, she was dead for seven minutes – and was brought back to life by the implantation of newly invented nano-technology in her brain, technology which gives her greater strength and stamina and the ability to control her physical and emotional reactions and bodily functions. But not long after these procedures were carried out, the program which created it was shut down and laws were passed forbidding any future research or experimentation on the tech, meaning that Nina and her fellow ‘enhanced’ are the only ones like them in existence, and that as the tech eventually degrades, so will they.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Wicked Attraction (The Protector #2) by Megan Hart


This title may be purchased from Amazon

Ewan Donahue has made a lot of mistakes, but making Nina Bronson want to leave him has been the worst. With the initial threats on his life out of the way, he doesn’t really need her protection, but hiring her to take care of him again is the only way to get her back in his life. When Nina shows up ready to work —and nothing else — Ewan’s determined to win her back. If he can break through the walls his earlier betrayal built, maybe they can have another shot at love. When it turns out that this time, it’s Nina who’s being targeted for danger and possibly death, Ewan’s the one who has to keep her safe.

Rating: C+

Wicked Attraction is the second book in Megan Hart’s The Protector trilogy in which the three books tell one overarching story – which means there are spoilers for book one in this review.

In Dangerous Promise, the author made a terrific job of building her vision of the world of the late twenty-first/early twenty-second century in which the books are set, and of introducing her two principal characters. Nina Bronson is ‘enhanced’, a human with superhuman abilities that are the result of experimental technology implanted in her brain which allows her to control her physical and emotional responses and bodily functions, and to be stronger and faster than normal human beings. Because of the advantages given her, she – and the other fourteen former soldiers who underwent the same treatment – are barred from returning to the armed forces and the only work open to them is as bodyguards. When Nina is hired to protect billionaire businessman Ewan Donahue, it’s the ultimate irony because he’s the leading opponent of enhancement technology. The laws which have been passed owing to his persistent lobbying and political influence have banned the creation of any more enhanced, and prohibit the application of upgrades – which means that ultimately, all fifteen of them will break down and die. But these laws are unpopular in some circles, many groups believing the experimentation should be allowed to continue; and it’s this belief which led to the mountain of death threats against Ewan from which Nina was hired to protect him.

Even more ironic, however, is the fact that not only is Ewan now a passionate opponent of enhancement, he’s the one ultimately responsible for it. Nina is unaware of this until quite late in the book – and of course, once she discovers the truth, is devastated. She fell in love with Ewan and his deception inflicts the sort of pain she hasn’t experienced in years and had hoped never to feel again. As soon as his safety is assured, she leaves, wanting nothing more to do with him – but fate takes a hand when she is offered a lucrative contract on behalf on an anonymous client. She isn’t surprised when that client turns out to be Ewan Donahue, intent on getting her back into his life by hook or by crook.

Wicked Attraction picks up shortly after this.  With the threats to Ewan’s life neutralised, he no longer needs a bodyguard to shadow him 24/7, and Nina has made it very clear this time, their association will be solely professional.  The problem, though, is that the attraction and deep emotional connection they had built has never gone away, and now that Nina has allowed herself to feel, she can’t just put the cat back into the bag and pretend their relationship never happened.  Ewan has never stopped loving her, and wants desperately to win her back; and the first part of the story consists almost entirely of a ‘one-step-forward, two-steps-back’ dance as they talk and, yes, shag, with Ewan going into full grovel mode and Nina trying – unsuccessfully – to resist him.  I didn’t count the sex scenes, and I know that Ms. Hart is known as a writer of erotic romance so there are, perhaps, more than in the average romance novel  – but well-written though they are,  I began to skim through them after the first few while I waited for some story progression.

The plotline in Wicked Attraction is almost a mirror image of that in Dangerous Promise in that it’s Nina in danger instead of Ewan, and he needs to protect her from an unknown threat, especially as it seems her tech is starting to degrade.  Ewan is conflicted; how can he, who has spoken out so vehemently against enhancement, now turn around and argue that the necessary upgrades should be made available to Nina and her fellow enhanced?   Yet he’s prepared to do it, and is gathering support to ensure a repeal of the law that outlawed further research and development of the tech; the problem is that there are those ready to use it for unethical and unscrupulous purposes – and who will stop at nothing to get it.

Although I was fascinated by the ethical questions posed by the concept of enhancement, and the discussions about the importance of memory are intriguing, Wicked Attraction nonetheless suffers from middle-book-syndrome.  I enjoyed a fair bit of it, but there’s a lot of padding and a lot of time is spent just treading water before the plot really kicks in in the last few chapters – leading to a heart-breaking cliffhanger.  If you enjoyed the previous book and want to follow the story through to its conclusion, then you’ll probably want to pick this up, even if you do find yourself having to skim in a few places.  Although Wicked Attraction didn’t grab me in the same way as the previous book did, I still intend to read Forbidden Stranger (book three) to find out how everything turns out.