Feature book: The ES Siren series, books 4-6
The ES Siren Series, books 4–6
The overall series was excellent at showcasing sci-fi romance, the technical aspects of the sci-fi related to day-to-day activities and shouldn’t put off anyone who doesn’t like the spaceship type books. There are no ‘beam me up Scottie’ transporter moments here, and the most sci-fi type weapon is an electric whip type of arrangement (an excellently thought out idea for use where you don’t want holes in the hull as you would get with projectile weapons aka guns).
The roughly one hundred page individual tales varied according to which part of the story they were telling. Book One contained a lot of set up, but not demonstrably a first-book-only, the story was complete in and of itself. The great thing was that although different relationships were being explored in each book, the overall feel of the series was maintained in each instalment. There’s an overarching menace in the type of society Earth has spawned with such a considerable divide between the rich and the everyday people and a feel of the Wild West in the colony of Solitaire they are heading towards with its privations and survival on the edge.
Each author brings a slightly different feel to their tales and accordingly the different books will appeal to different people. They all have happily ever afters, the tone is different in each and you should read them all for the rich tapestry they provide for their canon, although if you are not in the mood for menace, space (see what I did there) them out a little between other books. After all it’s about six hundred pages you are committing to.
Silke Rask is a fully qualified and experienced vet hiding her past and enjoying working with animals. She is on the mission to Solitaire as a result of helping poor people treat their ailments; it was either that or prison back home. Her father is a high-ranking ambassador and she could have lived a relatively luxurious life but chose to earn her keep. She’s told no-one of her past and is keeping a low profile.
Vance, a high-risk white-suited prisoner, has a major sentence ahead of him and, although his crime was murdering three people, he’s considered a low risk of re-offending. He murdered three wealthy young men in revenge for their sprees of gang rape and dumping broken young women, including his fourteen-year-old sister, amongst the poorer people. He is trying to better his position by earning veterinary nurse qualifications and he’s flexible in his sexuality. He’s kind, has a sense of humour and has made his peace with his place in life.
Grady, Air Force Captain, is making his third and final trip to Solitaire. He won’t be making the return journey; he’s had enough of the military life, he wants to find a wife and build a life (cue the ‘No Life without Wife’ song from Bride and Prejudice). He’s a fully qualified mechanical engineer and knows his way around a blacksmith’s forge. He’s a fair man, unlikely to break the rules, although he values doing the right thing. He’s intelligent, thoughtful and believes it’s essential to learn new skills to survive on Solitaire.
This is a ménage-type story with Silke in love with Vance and liking Grady. Both Grady and Vance love Silke, although only Vance is sure of it. Vance, having a twenty-year sentence, is altruistic and pushes Silke towards Grady, who treats him like a person rather than just a numbered prisoner. Silke is wary of being rejected by Grady due to her past and doesn’t want to destroy her working relationship with Vance by starting something they can’t maintain.
This was an enjoyable sci-fi romance, complete with micro-meteor shower. All three of the participants in the ménage act in a considered and compassionate manner and with respect for the other parties. If you don’t like threesomes, the book may not be for you, although it’s light on ménage sex with only one scene at the end of the book. The characters and relationship building were enjoyable.
Newly promoted Master Sergeant Alanna ‘Sandy’ Sanderson decides to celebrate by having a scorching one-night stand before her one-way tour on the ES Siren. She’s choosey; she wants someone a little wild, but not too young and no military personnel. It’s slim pickings. Then some eye candy catches her attention. At first he seems outside her age range, then she looks into his eyes and the slick operator glints there. She introduces herself and a wild night ensues.
Peter Stanton, birth name Paul de Witt (possibly), has just finished closing a major scam on some very wealthy, very greedy and highly immoral people. He’s very polished and appears to be from the upper strata, although he’s literally dragged himself up from the slums. He’s celebrating his success when a challenging woman introduces herself and asks to sit down. He buys her a drink and an uninhibited night follows.
Morning seemingly sees Sandy and Peter go their separate ways; however, Peter’s scam was discovered due to a boisterous and uncharacteristic exhortation. He’s now a prisoner on the ES Siren. Sandy sees him accidentally one day; he’s been keeping out of her way. She then avoids him until he makes it impossible to continue doing so. An unexpected occurrence has them working together in a dangerous situation.
This story concentrated on the interactions between Sandy and Peter and didn’t focus as much on their different ranks and sides of the captor/prisoner divide. They were working together against outside forces and both used their abilities and rank to support each other. The sci-fi technical aspects were integral to the story line (sorry can’t explain as it relates to an important plot point) and as has been typical of the series, written as part of the everyday activities of the characters and so very enjoyable.
Lucinda Farrell is a prisoner working the laundry room. She has long blonde hair that she keeps tied up and back, is unconsciously pretty and tries to make herself as unnoticeable as possible. She refused the advances of a high-ranking and wealthy Earth guy, which resulted in her being falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to Solitaire. She only has three years to serve before being released. With the increased load of people from the disabled sister ship, tempers, space and food are in short supply. Lucinda’s only bright spot in her long, hard days is seeing the delicious pilot, Jarred, when she delivers laundry to the flight deck area.
Jarred Cooper, one of the pilots, is gorgeous, hard bodied and self-contained. Women lust after him and men either want to be him or stay away after seeing the steel in his gaze. Unbeknownst to everyone he is married, but presumes his wife is dead as she was attacked and kidnapped by a roving band of men whose sole purpose appeared to be the rape of women. Jarred has a secret: he tracked almost all of the men involved in his wife’s abduction and murdered them. He’s got a thing for Lucinda, she’s the only one apart from his wife that he’s had any sort of physical response to.
Jarred approaches Lucinda about a sexual relationship. He’s upfront about possibly being married. There’s some miscommunication between these two stemming mainly from them second guessing each other. They are trying to be honest but wary of being hurt. Jarred shows some interest in BDSM through pillow talk and is a bit of a lust bunny once he ‘gets it on’ with Lucinda. There’s some foreplay in the form of fruit privileges and Jarred spoils Lucinda with his bountiful shower benefits. He is always gentlemanly towards Lucinda and isn’t ashamed of being seen with a prisoner.
Being a one-hundred page book, the relationship develops quite quickly to the horizontal lambada stage and there’s quite a bit of sex in this story with Jarred well-endowed and being forceful with his use of his, ahem, equipment. There’s also a minor girl-on-girl scene between Lucinda’s cell mates and some self-love on Lucinda’s part. For those that appreciate face fuzz (according to Lucinda) Jarred rocks his goatee. Jarred’s an interesting mix of high ranking without being self-important and walk-softly with the occasional smack down. Lucinda is fairly well balanced, she’s tired of the drudgery, but conscientious about pulling her weight. An enjoyable, relatively upbeat story.
Reviewed by Gina
Review copies of these books were provided by the authors.