To read an interview with the author, please see the June issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
A woman who lost everything.
Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all—fame, wealth, men—until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the medical outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet.
A man desperate for redemption.
Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine, and flames his body to ash.
A planet at risk.
When the outpost is attacked, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon. As a fragile trust blossoms between two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.
A whirring buzzed at her ear. She slapped at it, knowing she’d never catch the offensive creature. Metal bugs, that looked and sounded like bees, hovered anywhere the guarded classes congregated, recording everything for Coalition and Corporate intelligence.
To avoid the crowds, she dodged into an alley which would take her to a side door StormTech built for Board members to enter and exit clandestinely when needed. She had ten steps to go when a young girl grabbed her hand.
“I wanna be a racer too,” she said as she pulled at Elaina’s fingers. A soft, innocent touch—bold in the way only a child can be, unaware of societal norms—wanting only what it wants and reaching out and taking it. It tugged at her heart. Children should never suffer. Not like Devon.
Elaina never ignored a child. She squatted to look the girl in the eye. Setting her helmet down with a thud, she pushed a brown lock that had escaped the child’s ponytail back behind her ear, exposing a series of white scars, erupting along the hairline. “Oh, you do, do you?”
“Yes.” Her large chocolate eyes, too big for her emaciated brown face, glowed with hope. Her stomach rumbled.
“Selena, come away from there.” A deep, anxious voice, leaked out from the human huddle.
Selena ignored it, her small hand remained locked onto Elaina. “My dad says I can’t be a racer. Do you think I can?”
“What does your mom think?”
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I lost my mom, too.” Selena wrapped her arms around Elaina’s neck. Elaina closed her eyes and basked in the warmth of the child’s embrace. Selena smelled of talc and milk, like Devon did. Devon also had given her the biggest, tightest bear hugs. Each and every one meant more to her than the trophies she collected. Now, those hugs and the trophies were gone.
“Selena, you should not have done this.” The deep male voice vibrated with anger. Selena was yanked away. A chill, where the child’s body heat had been, wrapped around Elaina.
“But daddy, it’s Elaina.”
“It’s fine, really, Mr.…”
She looked up into the face of a skeletal-thin, sepia-colored man. Faded blue overalls with a white Grimes casino logo over the left breast pocket hung lifeless on his body. He would barely make enough to keep Selena clothed and fed. Drome access, flying lessons, race fees—not in Selena’s lifetime. Elaina volleyed her gaze between Selena’s bright-eyed hopefulness and the tired, defeated stare of her father—the look of a man who knew his and his daughter’s future were already lost.
She couldn’t help Devon, but maybe she could help Selena. “We women pilots have to stick together. Grid access, open.”
“I will not accept help from you.” Mr. Kumar spit out every word through gritted teeth. He shoved Selena beyond him, out of Elaina’s view.
“Why ever not?”
“Xinia Chanda.” His body folded up in what look liked grief. Whoever Xinia was, she mattered to him.
“Who is she?”
“We’re leaving, Selena.” Misery in his eyes, Mr. Kumar turned, grabbed Selena’s hand, and walked away.
“Damn it, man. I’m offering your daughter a future,” Elaina yelled at his back.
“You can’t give her something you’ve already destroyed,” he replied without stopping. The crowd swallowed them up.
Uncaged Review: This is a book I wasn’t sure I was going to like. SciFi books are hit or miss with me most of the time, but this one had enough originality and action to catch me off guard. Elaina is a celebrity racer for her company StormTech, but her board wants her to take a break, so Elaina goes undercover as a med supply runner which she excels at with her experience as a top-notch storm racer, and when she finds out what the board members of her company has really been up to, then it’s a full on suspense with lives on the line. Along with Erik, the Commander of the Green Movement, she’s on a mission to right the wrongs of her company.
The world built by the author is quite fascinating, and this book isn’t overly long, just under 200 pages, so the book doesn’t clog down, it maintains a nice pace. I wasn’t sure I liked the romance between Erik and Elaina at first, but when they finally settled down and admitted that they truly cared about each other – then I rooted them on. If you like a SciFi with suspense, action, danger and a hot romance, you should pick this one up. Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars