The endless galaxy of new science fiction romance releases for your reading pleasure continues.
Anna Hackett has now brought part of her Galactic Gladiators series to a close with Imperator, the story of the head of the House of Galen. But never fear, she’s going to pivot to the House of Rone next, whose cyborg gladiators are close allies of Galen’s, ensuring much action yet to come. Not to get ahead of ourselves, however, the current book features a ton of arena and fight-to-the-death action in this eleventh entry of the series. Here’s the plot of Imperator: Thrust into a lawless desert arena, Sam Santos has done terrible things in order to stay alive. As the Champion of Zaabha, she’s been fighting to find a way out. Everything changes when the Imperator of the House of Galen sacrifices his freedom to help her. The hard-bodied, fierce man has vowed to help her escape, but getting out of Zaabha is only the first deadly task they face.
Galen was bred to be a royal bodyguard and protect his prince. With his planet now destroyed, he’s grown powerful and forged his wealthy gladiatorial House on the desert planet of Carthago. All Galen knows is honor, service, and sacrifice. Now his life depends on working with one battle-hardened woman of Earth as they fight together to survive. But Sam Santos is not what he expected. Tough, yes. A brilliant fighter, for sure. But there is a softer side to the woman as well. And Galen finds himself irrevocably drawn to all of Sam’s captivating facets.
Then they uncover a devious plot by the Thraxians that could bring down the foundations of the Kor Magna Arena and all they hold dear. Galen and Sam will stop at nothing to defeat the evil alien slavers, even if it means war. In amongst the fighting, Sam may finally show a man who lives for everyone else, that he deserves more than just honor and freedom, but love as well…if they survive the coming battle.
In Pauline Baird Jones’s Project Enterprise series, the humans have discovered troves of ancient alien technology, including ships and space stations. They’re working hard to figure out how to use all this technology but of course there’s a lot of interstellar political complications the humans have blundered into. In Lost Valyr, the seventh volume, the work and adventure continue. (Each story is standalone but it’s helpful to have read the earlier books as many characters reoccur.) The book also has the biggest baddest alien spider anyone has ever seen. Seriously, if you have arachnophobia, this villain will give you nightmares! The plot: Dr. Rachel Grant knows her way around the Garradian tech on the Kikk Outpost. But the technology she encounters in an alien medical lab stumps even her brilliant mind. With a little help from her scheming parrot sidekick, she manages to push the right buttons and transport them to an uncharted planet…where they find a recently defrosted alien, who heats up Rachel.
Valyr wasn’t going to warm up to the bright-eyed scientist anytime soon…not after she pried centuries of cryosleep from his cold fingers. But waking up in the wrong century is nothing compared to the robots targeting his still-frozen team. And their situation only gets worse when he discovers the spiderweb of destruction trailing in the robots’ wake. With their backs against the wall, Valyr is blown away by Rachel’s determined passion in the face of impossible odds… but they’ll need more than a chemical reaction to survive what is headed their way.
The Queen’s Gambit (Rogue Queen Book 1) by Jessie Mihalik promises more action, politics and a strong heroine. The blurb: When the Quint Confederacy and the Kos Empire went to war—again—Queen Samara wisely kept her Rogue Coalition out of the conflict. But staying neutral in a galactic war doesn’t pay the bills, not when both sides refuse to trade with neutral sectors.
With her people on the brink of starvation, Samara hatches a daring plan to snatch the kidnapped Kos Emperor from the Quint mercenaries holding him. The Kos Empire will pay a fortune for their emperor’s return, enough to feed the Coalition’s citizens while they wait for the return to a begrudging peace.
But when her plan goes sideways, Samara finds herself evading Quint mercenaries with the very man she intends to capture. And the more time she spends with Valentin Kos, the more she realizes that he’s not the coldly indifferent villain she imagined. Torn between duty and desire, Samara must decide if saving her people is worth giving up the one thing she’s always wanted.
If you like steampunk with a dash of humor, for a complete change of pace, Gail Carriger just released Competence, book three in the Custard Protocol series. The story: All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.
When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life’s most challenging questions:
Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?
Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?
And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?
Still in the ‘change of pace’ mode, Jenny Schwartz just released Space Deputy, which is described thusly: A millennium into the future, the Saloon Sector is where the Wild West meets the 1950s, in space, with robots. It’s where careers go to die.
Thelma Bach graduated top of her class after four years at the Galactic Justice academy. But she’s a Rock Sector citizen. The core worlders were never going to let her transcend her background. So she’s been assigned to serve her seven years as a deputy in the Saloon Sector. The message for the Federation’s out-world citizens is clear: you’ll never be our equal, so don’t even try.
The stuffy bureaucrats of the Galactic Justice service chose the wrong person to push around. Thelma will subvert her interstellar sheriff, charm artificial intelligences, fight bandits and hunt the legendary Eldorado Cache. But with the frontier region holding secrets of its own, she needs to choose her new allies wisely because a scary, business-suited enemy is hunting her.
Back to more classically based science fiction romance, let me mention Helldive by Alexis Glynn Latner. Her plot: Hidden inside the Starcross Nebula is a place of interstellar shipwreck. It’s like a Bermuda Triangle half as old as time. It harbors malicious monsters and dangerous mysteries.
It’s a hell of a place to attempt a rescue mission.
Captain Zilka Devreze and her crew on the starship Guardian Angel must race against time to find shipwreck survivors in mortal danger. They’ll use Zilka’s genius grasp of the intricacies of fast starflight to get in and back out again.
Mission specialist Jack Mistry was an accident investigator in the Solar System in his previous life. Abruptly revived from stasis in the starship Aeon, he agrees to join the unprecedented mission. When he fled from Earth on Aeon, what he expected to find on the other side of the stars wasn’t an interstellar accident scene like this. Or a woman like Zilka.
Always as singularly alone as she was brilliant, Zilka discovers that this can change. But first she has to learn how to lead a very assorted crew. And Jack has to learn to follow his heart. They will all learn how death and life, hell and hope, and danger and love intersect in the Starcross Nebula
Yours truly has a new release in my Sectors New Allies Series, Darik. I put in a few nods to some of my favorite science fiction classics like ‘Puppet Masters’ and ‘Aliens’, with a dash of ‘Outbreak’. The blurb: Nicolle James is far from her home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments. Her only hope might be a mysterious soldier she’d glimpsed outside the laboratory fence. She’d managed to sneak a few words of conversation with him when her captors weren’t watching but now the aliens were taking her inside the lab to begin the experiments.
Darik, a warrior of the genetically engineered Badari pack, is on a solo recon mission to check out a mysterious new lab high in the mountains. His orders are strict – do not engage. But when he has a chance meeting with the woman who might be his mate, he vows not to abandon her, orders or no orders.
Can he get inside an underground lab, find Nicolle and rescue her without getting captured himself? And when he learns the lab’s deadly secrets, can he get word to his pack about the new dangers?
Because the ruthless alien scientist running the experiments wants to get her hands on him too and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals.
Happy reading and I’ll be back in August with more titles for your To Be Read List!