Astro-archeologist Niklas Phoenix loved his job studying and safeguarding artifacts at the Institute of Historical Preservation...until he learned that it was all a lie. Forced out of the Institute, he joins his treasure hunter brothers, but now the Institute is trying to lure him back for the ultimate treasure hunt--a return to the planet that seeded life throughout the galaxy. But only one thing convinces him to go--his deadly, seductive rival has joined the expedition.
Dangerous and enigmatic, Nera Darc has made a life for herself where she calls the shots and bows to no one. Niklas Phoenix has become her dark obsession and on the lethal mission to Earth, they are compelled to join forces to survive. But Niklas threatens to tear down Nera's internal walls and melt the ice around her heart...but she knows caring for someone is just a weakness others can exploit.
As Nik and Nera strip away each other's secrets, a brilliant passion is unleashed, but the dangers of Earth strike from every side, and a darker enemy is closing in.
Nik has no intention of working for the corrupt Institute again but a fabulous opportunity to journey back to Earth alongside Nera is one he can't turn down. Earth is a barren land, a victim of the violent war that changed the landscape forever and yet, the chance to bring back antiquities unites these treasure hunters. Only short visits on the surface are permitted due to the radiation levels but there's more than one kind of danger waiting out there. As Nik and Nera team up, they soon discover Earth is not as uninhabited as they thought and their expedition on the post-apocalyptic planet is fraught with danger!
I loved this story. Ms Hackett took me on a journey that was exciting, downright scary, and full of adventure and passion. Nera slowly reveals her secrets to Nik and hers is a truly heart breaking story. Nik is, at times, quite sweet with his enthusiasm for the ancient world and it was easy to see how Nera fell more and more for his outright charm.
Add in a landscape that's inhospitable, life forms that chilled me, and you begin to see just why I had so much fun reading Return to Dark Earth. If you haven't already started this series, fear not as this book can easily be read as a standalone but why not treat yourself and follow the journey this couple hax been on.
I've enjoyed the other books but this has to be my favourite so far. Sci-Fi romance at its finest!
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.