Monday, July 8, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2, an anthology by Erin Kellison, KC Klein, & Jessa Slade

I love science fiction! Blend it with romance and I’m in Seventh Heaven – well, that’s what you get when you dip into the anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2 with three fabulous stories by Erin Kellison, KC Klein, and Jessa Slade. This is a continuation of the stories introduced to us in their first anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE, which I reviewed over three days in February 2012. If you’re interested in reading my reviews, simple click on the author’s name above to go to the review of her story. Since I have limited time on the blog lately, I’m going to review all three today. I loved them all and don’t want to skimp on my thoughts so it might be longer than usual. By the way, the lovely Jessa Slade created this awesome cover.

***eCopy provided by authors in exchange for honest and unscripted reviews.

GOLD LIKE THE SUN by Erin Kellison

Blurb for GOLD LIKE THE SUN:

It’s the wedding of the millennium! Princess Pilar Sol and Hakan Frust are celebrating their union with sector fetes full of celebrity and pomp. Theirs is an arranged marriage to preserve the vital commerce of the Nyer Transit Hub, and yet Pilar is madly, unreservedly, passionately in love. She has all the excitement she has long dreamed of—and a little more than she bargained for when she discovers that Hakan’s grasping family wants her dead.

Hakan has done everything in his power to save his inheritance—the bustling but impoverished Hub—including marrying a wealthy princess for her dowry. His heart isn’t supposed to be part of the deal, but Pilar has all the beauty and joy his life lacks. When Hakan runs afoul of his uncle’s associates—criminal in nature, violent in approach—he refuses to risk Pilar, not for money, not even for his life.

But Pilar is not so easily cast aside, and negotiations turn into a gamble with the future of the sector in the balance. Hakan is about to learn about the high stakes his bride will hazard, as he now has far more to lose—and win—than he ever believed possible: a future brighter than gold.

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Pilar married Hakan because she loves him and believes he loves her not just because it’s a political union that will benefit both sides, yet Hakan has put her on a ship heading home to Sol in the midst of their wedding celebration. Not willing to just leave without giving Hakan a piece of her mind after his family tried to kill her, she and her trusted companion and protector, Reina, return to the Nyer Transit Hub and discover that Hakan has become the victim of his power hungry uncle, Victor. Now on the run, looking for aid from even Hakan’s less than trustful cousin, Barton, they are determined to learn exactly who is pulling the strings on Victor and why.

GOLD LIKE THE SUN by Erin Kellison is an action-packed adventure through the back streets of Nyer as Pilar and Hakan try to figure out how to save themselves, two worlds, and figure out whom they can truly trust. Their love for each other, their families, and their home worlds drive this story of forgiveness, discovery, and a future greater and safer than either expected for the innocent.

I highly recommend this exceptional scifi romance, filled with danger, and a bit of unexpected violence. It is a wonderful sequel to Erin’s story, ALL THAT GLITTERS, her original story in the first anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE.  It’s not an absolute necessity to read the first story, but I greatly suggest you do.


TO KEEP A WIFE by KC Klein

Blurb for TO KEEP A WIFE:

In the shards of civilization ruined by a global war, Lake has gotten the life she never dared dreamed of—a safe haven, and the love of a good man, her husband, Hudson Black Creek. But Lake’s hard-won happiness doesn’t last long when powerful Elders lay siege on Black Creek Manor in retaliation for a past defiance. As Lake watches everything she loves go up in flames, she sacrifices herself for the chance to keep Hudson and her brother alive. Syon, a diabolic Elder with his own agenda, will push Lake to her breaking point, forcing her to compromise—heart and soul— in order to survive.
Hudson wakes from a head wound to find that his whole world is reduced to ashes. With no memory of why he’s sacrificed everything for a woman whose name is tattooed on his chest, Hudson is determined to make his heart match the emptiness of his mind, and wipe out everything except the hatred for those who are to blame—the Elders and the wife he sought to protect.

As evil and fear spread across a war-torn land, Lake and Hudson are tested like never before, and both will have to forgive betrayals and risk greater heartbreak if they want a chance at saving their lives… and their love.

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We met Lake and Hudson in KC’s story in the first anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE, in TO BUY A WIFE. A man who has a wife is revered with respect, envy, and believed to have great prestige in this war-torn society. We catch up with Lake, Hudson, and Lake’s little brother, Vonn, in the midst of an attack on the farm. Lake realizes that the Elders want her and will stop at nothing, and will spare no one, to get her in their clutches. She convinces a wounded Hudson to protect her brother, let the Elders take her, and come for her later. Things don’t work out exactly how Lake had hoped. Now a prisoner of the maniacal Syon, too much time has passed for her to believe that Hudson is ever coming for her. It’s just her again, alone to fend for herself, and her unborn child.

This story covers so much in so short a time that you will almost feel like you’re watching a film in your head. Whereas I bullied KC about Lake being on her own too much in TO BUY A WIFE, in TO KEEP A WIFE, KC Klein weaves a wonderful story about the fear of loss, fear of abandonment, and the wonder of how love can pull back loving memories from the darkness and bring a family back together. TO KEEP A WIFE by KC Klein is a the perfect finish to a story that began with a match not exactly made in heaven but ends with a happy ending that will lead us on even more adventures. I hope.

I highly recommend the short story, TO KEEP A WIFE by KC Klein but only if you’ve read TO BUY A WIFE, without that lead-in, the fast paced action of this one might confuse and sully the wonderful intricacy of this tale. Please read TO BUY A WIFE in the first anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE. (It's only 99¢.)


PRINCE OF PASSION by Jessa Slade

Blurb for PRINCE OF PASSION:

When mercenary raiders targeted the empathic crystals that imbue the legendary l’auraly lovers with extraordinary sensual prowess, Icere, the last male l’auralyo, helped destroy the crystals. Rather than let the source of uninhibited pleasure be corrupted into a mind-controlling drug, he allowed his passionate destiny to remain forever unfulfilled. Now, Icere channels his fury into revenge. Tracking the raiders through the interstellar sheerways to a watery world infamous for its aphrodisiac liqueur, he finds a queen—as adrift and alone as he—forced for years into a fate she never desired.

Saya-Rynn inherited duty, command and control from her cruel grandfather and fought to transform her dangerous planet into a paradise for her people—but the price was literally a poison that runs through her veins. Though she feels as ancient as the seas, she finds herself awash in the hot male potency of the young Icere. Still, she resists the chance for indulgence she thinks has passed by her. But when the raiders strike again, Rynn must embrace her troubled legacy, and Icere will find his place as a lover and a fighter. Together, the reluctant ruler and the deposed prince of passion find common purpose, combating the mysterious entity seeking to rule the sheerways, and claim a love as bright as the infinite stars.

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Jessa Slade blew me away with the imagery and science elements in this story about a May/December romance that develops between a Queen and an outworlder friend of her son when he comes to her water world fraught with all kinds of natural dangers.

Icere is the last remaining l’aurylo – a being born, sculpted, and infused with the purest of passions through the l’auraly crystal. He has come to Saya-Terce because he suspects the mercenary raiders, who tried to steal the l’auraly crystals from his home planet resulting in their destruction and the end of life as he knew it to be, were now after the Malac liqueur. There is no end to the dangers of what the aphrodisiac liqueur might be used for in altered forms.

Rynn, the Saya of Saya-Terce is suspicious of anyone wishing to get too close to her, or her children, after her own husband betrayed her home world and so her instincts tell her to question this beautiful young man’s reasons for being in the midst of the Malac Festival, and so close to her son. What she doesn’t expect is how sexually charged she would feel in his presence. Nor the need to which they would succumb to, after an accident during the harvest places them together and under the influence of the Malac liqueur.

PRINCE OF PASSION by Jessa Slade is an amazing sequel to ENSLAVED BY STARLIGHT from the first anthology, HOTTER ON THE EDGE. It’s even more illuminated than the first, with amazing imagery, incredible characters  and creature creations, and the danger that makes Icere and Rynn band together to save Saya-Terce. Their romance is powerful, insightful, and naturally believable. Rynn is a beautiful and powerful ruler with unusual abilities that make her more than just a queen but rather a part of her world. Icere understands her, even if she doesn't understand herself. Two of a kind, both more connected to their home worlds than to others, Icere embraces her, and her talents, in the same way he relates to his own home world and the crystal that is so much a part of him.

I highly recommend reading PRINCE OF PASSION by Jessa Slade, working well as a stand alone, I still recommend you read this entire anthology. For the greatest reading pleasure, I also suggest you start with HOTTER ON THE EDGE, the first anthology, but if you only read the second – HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2 – be sure to read this beautiful, imaginative, and incredible story by Jessa. 

HOTTER ON THE EDGE and HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2 - awesome reading at low prices. Go for it. If you love exciting romance, these are exceptional. 

Happy Reading Everyone!

HOTTER ON THE EDGE 2, an anthology by Erin Kellison, KC Klein, and Jessa Slade, available in ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobobooks, and Smashwords.
***click on links or covers for purchasing information. Awesome prices!

                                              

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