Sometimes the heart leads and the mind must follow.Ardra has no idea why she’s been abducted and thrown into a Roimarian interrogation room.
She is simply a Tetch botanist on her way to a distant planet, not an enemy spy. She’s scared of the piercing eyes of the mind-reading precept assigned to uncover whatever secrets her mind might be holding. But even more worrying is the strange soul-deep connection between her and her captor.
Jackson Deimos excels at slipping in and out of someone’s memories to retrieve military intelligence deliberately hidden away—even from an unwitting carrier. But Ardra’s brain is a labyrinth of defenses he’s never encountered before. Plus, her beauty shouldn’t be this much of a distraction.
As their battle of wits and wills wears on, their emotions are the first to betray them.But if Jack can’t break through Ardra’s barriers, his superiors will turn her over to someone who will—by force. Leaving Jack having to choose between doing his duty or following his heart.
Warning: Contains a plant expert whose brain is carrying around the seeds of rebellion, and a mind reader whose heart gives him a case of psychic dyslexia. Contains reference to attempted suicide and love scenes not appropriate for little sprouts.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
Oh, this book. So much promise, so little… anything. I had high hopes for a fun space tale involving some sort of terraforming botany and a battle of conscience. Instead this book was just a bit boring. Ardra started out as a naive dupe, who became this secretive warrior who knew what to destroy before getting caught and wouldn’t give up anything under interrogation – where did she come from? I was expecting one woman, ended up with another and then was left scratching my head wondering just who she was.
As for Jack, well, he was disappointing. He’s struck by insta-love and proceeds to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the story except wring his hands and tell everyone to leave Ardra alone, when really he should have been worrying about the enemy information. Well, that’s not completely fair, because he does think about that, but for a man who was forced to flee while an entire planet was taken by the enemy, he’s surprisingly reluctant to push Ardra – even when she’s been foolishly stubborn.
As for the war… just what was that war about? The Tetch are tech-mad, the Roimarians are more natural, but they’re both human and there’s a huge galactic war going on. I think. Maybe. But why? And how can a whole planet be taken over in one strike? The world-building is almost non-existent and there’s no history, not just to the conflict, but to everything else – planets, people, space expansion. It was all rather a letdown.
The plot itself crawls along without anything really happening, and when the ending comes, it’s sadly predictable, leaving me wondering why so many words were needed to get to it.
This may only be a short tale, but it felt longer. The characters aren’t particularly well developed, the romance has no real spark, the plot doesn’t go anywhere and there’s no attempt to flesh out any of the background details. It’s readable enough at times and I did manage to get to the end without too much effort. I love a good bit of sci-fi romance, and don’t mind if it’s fluffy and light, but this sadly didn’t tick any of my boxes.
A Stellar Affair is out July 28th!
Visit Laurel Richards for more details.