PANDORA by Marguerite Labbe
Sentenced to life on board a space salvage cruiser, Riff Korra and Zed Jakobsen find themselves drawn together out of mutual need. But when an epidemic of violence and insanity consumes their ship, will their bond give them the strength they need to escape?
BOARDED by Annie Nicholas
Liaison Sadie Beckit must accompany the mysterious Ambassador Nual to Central Station. Sounds easy enough, but the lawless void of space holds many dangers. To make things worse, Nual seems determined to make Sadie lose her professional control.
FORSAKEN PLANET by Elise Logan
Luci has gone, literally, to the ends of colonized space in order find some peace. Marooned on a desolate planet with limited supplies, Luci needs to learn to trust her team leader, Sakir Khyne. Together they must take out hostile forces and try to survive.
DARK IMMORTALITY by Kim Knox
Captain Andros: pirate, vampire, all-round bastard. When he takes Madelen Ariel as his own, his crew sees an opportunity to mutiny. They’re about to find out just how much of a bastard he really is.
FREEKER by Ella Drake
On the run, convicted murderer Chara stows away on a ship piloted by a big, sexy alien. Warrant puts the safety of his brothers above all else but the violent and sensual Chara makes him question the price of risk.
Pandora is a story set on a prison salvage ship in space and from the outset, it's clear the captain is a sadistic zealot with no feeling for his crew or prisoners. When they find an abandoned vessel drifting, a small group is sent to investigate but what they find brings horror to their mission. Expect a feeling reminiscent of such as Solaris or Event Horizon as the author brings a dark side to the story. Although she does throw in two strong, likable characters in Riff and Zed, the interaction seemed a little forced.
Now I do tend to associate Annie Nicholas with paranormal stories so her blue alien was a lovely surprise. Interesting mixture of technology with the heroine, Sadie, being more than the average human but unfortunately her past is about to smack her right in the face! Protecting Ambassador Nuel should be simple but that annoying male has secrets he just refuses to share! Lively interaction, but the love came just too quick for me.
Okay, Forsaken Planet really steps up with the scientific element as it's a story that sets the two main characters on a mining planet. This could have been pretty nasty as the hero, Sakir, has quite unusual tentacles which could well muddy the romance, but luckily for him, Luci is turned on! Luci is caught in a difficult position with family issues looming over her head but her courage shone through and even though I thought she was too much of a pushover when it came to Sakir, it's a romance that had me intrigued about what could happen next.
Kim Knox came up with what I thought was the most unusual angle. Vampires have been done to death in romance but hers are really completely different! Yes, there's blood involved but also metal that bonds to them. This is a very gory story but the most unusual part was just what the hero, Andros, can do with machinery. Add in a special woman he can't resist and an adventure is born. I particularly liked the latter part of the story as explanations helped make sense of what was to me a shaky start.
Finally, Freeker, with its bloodthirsty cast! Very unusual animalistic aliens that are the closest family ever! It's clearly part of a series and I already want to read more. Here we meet Chara, a convicted murderer, but she's on the run and hides out on Warrant's ship. Not the worst thing she could do because Warrant really wants a taste of the tiny female but with hunters after her and Warrant's family more than happy to throw her out a hatch, just who can be trusted?
So the first story, which is the longest, does almost feel like a horror story. Perhaps it would have been better placed further down the list as I'm a little concerned the tone might put some readers off. That being said, I did finish all the stories within this book but if you are expecting naughty smut all the way, then maybe not the anthology for you. Intimate scenes abound with Forsaken Planet perhaps having the most foreplay (constant interruptions anyone?) and I've discovered new authors so not a waste of my time. Difficult to rate though!
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review