I love a good post-apocalyptic story with well-thought-out world building behind it, especially one that’s set in a future not too far ahead of our own present and that deals with issues that are close to home. It helps too if the world feels normal – or normal enough – to the characters, and the author has the confidence to drop hints as to what’s happened in the recent past and how things are in this present, rather than foisting big info-dumps onto unsuspecting readers. Of course, there’s still the potential for readers to get confused or for authors in these cases to use common tropes that then feel rather tired, but there are always fresh twists to be found in even the most common themes of the genre.
Mari is a gun for hire, who specialises in retrieving lost and stolen technology, working mainly in a North America with rather different country boundaries to those with which readers are familiar. Texas has seceded from the United States (something I’ve seen before in the genre), while Canada appears to have joined to form a mega-nation. We don’t learn much about what caused these political upheavals, nor about the status of the nations on other continents, but there have obviously been great technological advancements as well as major societal catastrophes. When her latest job goes wrong, with fatal consequences for the spouse of an influential politician, Mari is forced to go on the run with her current handler, Heron, a man she has lusted after for months but has kept at arms-length following the disastrous breakdown of her previous professional and personal partnership.
Heron has feelings for Mari too, but he has his own reasons for being cautious about a more intimate relationship; severely injured in a past mission that ended badly, he was rebuilt by a powerful rogue AI and now feels himself to be as much machine as human – and Mari seems to be greatly to prefer less enhanced humans for her casual hook-ups. With the pair trying to both keep one step ahead of their pursuers and to discover who set them up – and why – as well as doing what they can to prevent war breaking out in the diplomatic fallout from the murder, Mari and Heron find themselves flung ever closer together. Enemies are all around, however, and include Mari’s ex – in every sense of the word – amongst them.
Fortunately, Heron has a wide range of allies he can call upon from all levels of society, and it was a lot of fun watching Mari interact with a diverse range of new-found friends. At times, the sex and romance in this story threatened to overwhelm the plot, but I’d still like to see more of these characters and their world – not to mention see them come closer to solving the mystery of just what deep political intrigues are lurking behind the deeds of their various adversaries.
A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places…
Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.
Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…
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