Gabriel Sullivan – alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue – is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom – for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line – but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.
This story is narrated by Chaz in the first-person perspective, but don’t let this discourage you from giving it a go. The author did a very good job defining all the vital characters (not just the leads) and the circumstances they find themselves in, that the story unfolded flawlessly and I barely noticed the first-person narration.
The sci-fi world/setting is spectacularly depicted and I was drawn in (well, sucked in, more like) from the very first page. The sci-fi aspect is not overdone; it is just enough to realistically set the world for the thrilling space adventure that is easy to follow.
For me, the highlight of this story is its strong romantic aspect, which is incredibly heart-felt and well-developed. This is a surprise because the story is tagged as Science Fiction, yet the focal point seems to be how Sully and Chaz find each other after years of chance meetings, how they work out their insecurities and give their love a chance to grow. There are many tender moments, starting with this:
He sunk his hands into the long mass of hair I’d half-braided and tucked down the back of my robe. He began unraveling my braid. In the mirror I saw a length of corded leather, dotted with shiny silver beads, dangling from his fingers.
“We don’t have time –”
“Hush!” His grin faded, his brows slanting down. Concentrating. Braiding my hair, weaving in the beads and leather.
Making amends for the hair wrap I’d tossed to the jukor? Or remembering that night in Port Chalo? I’m sure it had meant nothing to him. Or maybe he thought a few kisses had earned him the right to taunt me now.
I wasn’t in the mood to be teased. “I can do that a lot faster than you.”
“Hush, hush, hush.” Softly. His voice was not much more than a deep rumble in his throat. His hands were firm, yet more gentle than I would have thought he could be. And warm. A whisper of soft heat played down my neck where his fingers brushed against my skin. I didn’t pull away when they stroked my hair, my scalp, the back of my neck. Instead, I let myself sink into the sensations, bargaining with myself as I did so. What harm was there in letting him braid my hair for me?
My eyes wanted to close. I’d fought exhaustion for hours now. He was so warm. His knuckles brushed my jaw. Fingers traced my lips…
His intimate caress jolted my brain awake. I lurched forward, my hands splaying against the rough-hewn mirror frame. I caught a glimpse of his face, his obsidian eyes half-hooded, molten.
I read this book with two friends, and I thought it’d be interesting to let you in on their comments. Please welcome Kat and Mel.
On the characters and the first-person narration…
Mel: The characters were very well drawn and complex. Linnea did such a good job of letting us see all the characters through Chaz's eyes.
Kat: This book made me speechless, I'm so in awe. I never thought that I'd enjoy a story written in first-person that much. I LOVED it! I don't know where Linnea gets her ideas from and how she's doing it, that all her characters are so unique. I've already read four of her five books and loved them all. I can't say that of any other author.
Mel: I love, love, love Sully!!! I wanted to give him and poor Ren big hugs. I also wouldn't mind seeing Ren get a story; he was such a sad character and I felt so bad for him. I think Chaz will go down as one of my all-time favorite heroines. God, that scene when she walked up behind Sully and wrapped her arms around him and felt him trembling … I almost bawled!
Kat: I really liked Chaz. She was completely believable in all her insecurities and her feelings for Sully. She tried very hard to trust him, and it was so human, when she got scared of him. She didn't know what to think of his talents and every time she stepped back, she grabbed all her courage and took two steps forward. That made her a very strong person.
Sully was just perfect. He loved Chaz so much. That's what I adore in Sinclair's heroes. There's always only ONE woman for them. No questions, no hesitation, they are ready to sacrifice all and die for their women. I'm waiting anxiously for Shades Of Dark to read more about Sully and Chaz. I think they are perfectly matched. (Not to forget Hope’s Folly in Spring 2009 about Phillip.)
Mel: Yes, I like that too about her heroes. They are so devoted and true to their ladies. Goody about Phillip getting a story too. I think there's a good story behind him.
There you have it. Our opinion and rating are unanimous.
P. S. If you want to try a Linnea Sinclair book, I highly recommend that you start with this one.