For the final spotlight of 2022, a few favorite blog posts from the past year.
In Badari Gladiators, a spin-off of her highly-rated Badari Warriors series, Veronica Scott has combined two of my favorite alpha-heroes; aliens and gladiators. And, as with all Ms. Scott’s books, her heroine’s do their fair sharing of rescuing and battling villains.
Kyden is the top ranked gladiator in the Five Systems but he’s hardly there by choice. Unscrupulous guards faked his death in the lab where he was created and sold him into slavery in the galaxy’s hinterlands. He has no idea where his home is or how many years have passed since he was condemned to a life of endless combat. Kill or be killed is the rule and a Badari never gives up. He’ll fight to stay alive until the Badari goddess sees fit to decree his death.
Elara Vasclavian is the daughter of a senator, as far removed from the life of a gladiator as a noblewoman can be until through the machinations of a political enemy, she ends up in terrible jeopardy. Abducted and given to a group of drunken gladiators for their amusement the night before the games, Elara vows to put up a fight but there’s no real hope of saving herself.
Until Kyden steps in, responding to the goddess’s commandment to protect those who are smaller and weaker. And discovers she’s his fated mate.
Rescued, Elara returns to her life of privilege but she can’t forget the man who saved her life. The gulf between their places in the Five Systems is unbridgeable, no matter how much Kyden longs for even a glimpse of her in the arena audience. No matter how much she feels the pull to be by his side. As matters stand, they cannot be together…Or can they?
A fan of Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Enterprise sci-fi series, I was curious about her contemporary mystery series set in New Orleans, The Big Uneasy .
As with the sci-fi books, I find this series to be imaginative, well-crafted, and the romance well developed relative to the overall story. The second volume can be read as a standalone and is on sale through New Year’s.
Be careful what you dig for…
A forensic surgeon in the New Orleans Coroner’s Office—and part of her dad’s Baker’s Dozen—Hannah Baker thought she knew where to dig, how and what to slice, and when to walk away.
But when her big brother gets her involved in the exhumation of a couple of old coffins, she realizes the past can’t be ignored. Not when its been simmering up a big pile of trouble for longer than Hannah’s born days.
Only New Orleans could produce a “Baked” gumbo of the mob, shadowy figures from the past, annoying figures from the present, murders, attempted murders, and a really cute detective who is technically off limits on account of he’s her big brother’s partner.
Good thing NOPD Detective Logan Ferris doesn’t know the meaning of “off limits,” cuz once more the Big Easy is getting mighty uneasy.
Nancey Cummings entertains with an excellent riff on the alien-abduction trope. The abducted heroine is rescued in what amounts to a sci-fi train robbery by the bandit; setting the stage for a a ‘love on the run’ story.
Stop me if you’ve heard this story before. One minute Alice is camping, trying to connect with nature, then there’s a blinding white light. Gravity must have quit because Alice and her sleeping bag are floating off the ground.
Classic alien abduction.
She wakes up on an alien planet full of, you know, aliens. Outlaws. Rules are optional and people are property. So not cool. Then there’s a train robbery and she’s getting abducted. Again.
But this guy? He’s a giant lizard man, just a solid wall of muscle, scales, and bad attitude. He’s dangerous and he’s gone into a mating fever, which he says is her fault.
So what is she going to do about it? Better question, what is tall, dark and grumpy going to do about it?
Two decades ago Faris was exiled to this prison planet. Only the strong survive here. He’s too old for a mating fever, but his body has other ideas. The human female was not part of the plan, an ordinary smash and grab, but she’s his now and he does not share.
Romantic suspense is among my favorite go-to subgenres with the main characters finding love amidst the chaos. The first volume in Riley Edwards‘ Gemini Group series has the requisite deadly military hero and intelligent, indomitable heroine.
Former Navy SEAL Nixon Swagger is home. After twelve years of service and twice as many deployments, all Nix wanted was quiet. He’d sought the solace of the land he’d grown up on and found the peace he needed to silence the noise and figure out his next move. Nixon’s stay was supposed to be temporary. He wasn’t supposed to meet a feisty, head-strong woman who made his pulse race and set his body on fire. Falling in love hadn’t been part of his plan. Taking a government contract to stop a homegrown terrorist group hadn’t been either, but when the organization threatens to attack Philadelphia, he had no choice but to accept.
McKenna Wilson was living. Every day was the same. Raising her two teenage siblings didn’t leave time for much else. Most days, she was okay with that. Then she bumped into the sexy war hero and, in an instant, her world changed. She had no idea falling for Nixon would be so dangerous. Now she was going head-to-head with the small-town’s dirty sheriff who was hell-bent on ruining Nixon and avenging a fifteen-year-old grudge. She’d lost her heart, but losing her life wasn’t part of the plan.
Nixon Swagger had learned a few things as a Navy SEAL—adapt, improvise, and overcome were among the many. In the middle of an inferno, so ominous even Dante wouldn’t buy a ticket, Nixon must adapt to his new surroundings and overcome multiple threats before he loses the woman he loves.
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