This past week's reading has been such a delight that I wish there had been more than three stories in HOTTER ON THE EDGE. This science fiction romance anthology is a wonderful compilation of three talented authors' writing abilities. Science Fiction is not an easy genre to write, it takes not only imagination and skill but knowledge of scientific workings to pull it off convincingly. These three authors did it and did it well. Ladies, thank you for that.
The last story in the anthology is ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT by Jessa Slade.
Blurb for ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT:
Transformed by empathic crystals into the perfect paramour, Benedetta Galil is the last treasure of her fading world. When raiders attack—seeking to corrupt the crystals and conquer all of charted space—she gives herself as a prize to the one man in the universe who values freedom over power. Mercenary sheership Captain Corso Deynah left oppression behind him on a burning planet and has no use for a sex slave, even one as seductive as Benedetta. But while he stubbornly resists her body, her fierce spirit tempts him, and he will risk everything—his ship, his seclusion, the very stars—to win not just her passion but her love.
Crystals that infuse into your body and make you sensual beyond sensual - where do I get me some of that?
The blurb for ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT is one of the best I've ever read. It summarizes this story in a few lines just as Jessa Slade has taken a full-length story and condensed it into about 117 pages. ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT is capturing, it's imaginative, it's so well written that by the time I finished reading it, I really had felt like I had read a full-length novel instead of a novella.
Qv'arratz is a planet on the edge of destruction and Corso Deynah knows the destruction of whole planets all too well, he bears the scars to prove it. When he gets a call for assistance from the last keyed l'auralya of Qv'arratz pleading with him to give them protection from possible Universal Union raiders who are determined to steal their planet's greatest treasure, the crystal qva'avaq, Corso immediately refuses. He's fought too many lost wars and his freedom to roam the universe is too important to him to risk losing. But the l'auralya, Benedetta, is already two steps ahead of him and threatens to have his ship, Asphodel taken away from him. He now has a choice, risk losing his ship to battle with payment being only a not big enough sum of credits and the offer of owning a l'auralya or risk losing it to a conniving pleasure slave who holds the threat of decommissioning it over his head.
Through the two-way visual comm, Benedetta and Corso have seen each (in the case of Corso, Benedetta has seen more than she expected but it was well appreciated) but neither expected the intense physical attraction that bounced between them upon meeting in person. Once the decommissioning edict is voided, Corso agrees to hear what Benedetta and two other elder l'auraly have to tell him. Not really knowing why, Corso agrees to at least learn who the raiders are that intend to attack the vulnerable population of Qv'arratz until they give up and surrender the stunning crystals that infuse a person's nervous system leaving them capable of being enslaved. The crystals cannot fall into the hands of those who will make a weapon out of it. Corso understands that freedom is the last treasure of the universe and anyone who holds such a weapon would enslave anyone who gets in their way, including Corso.
Corso and the crew of the Asphodel soon discover that they are not alone in the battle. Benedetta and the other l'aurlya have skills and abilities that aid them in a way that their weapons don't. Working as a team and facing danger rocketing from the sky, the crew of the Asphodel and the people of Qv'arratz don't give up. Corso learns that freedom isn't what he thought it was and Benedetta discovers that freedom truly is the greatest cost.
ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT is a truly wonderful reading experience. Jessa Slade has brought to life an imaginative world with triple moons, thin planetary rings of icy dust and caves of sharp dangerous crystals of intense beauty that can kill. These crystals, when blended or keyed with a person who can survive it, create a being so sensually sensitive that sex literally becomes an out of this world experience. Jessa packed more story into this novella than I've read in some full-length novels. Brava, Jessa, for taking this reader on a trip to a far off world wrought with danger, intrigue, and passion. I highly recommend this novella for anyone who has enjoyed science fiction romance in the past or would like to experience it for the first time now. Oh, and Jessa, your plot bunnies can come live at my house any time.
HOTTER ON THE EDGE, an anthology of novellas by Erin Kellison, KC Klein, and Jessa Slade is packed full with action, danger, intrigue, and passion. These three authors have pooled together to create an adventure into science fiction romance that I hope will be repeated again and again.
HOTTER ON THE EDGE, a science fiction romance anthology featuring novellas by Erin Kellison, KC KLEIN, and JESSA SLADE. Published by Hotter Edge, released on February 2, 2012, ASIN: B00757WOT6. Ebook format. Available at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Limited time: you can get it for $.99.