Review: Thrill-Kinky by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Review: Thrill-Kinky by Teresa Noelle RobertsThrill-Kinky by Teresa Noelle Roberts
Format: ebook
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction romance
Series: Chronicles of the Malcolm #1
Pages: 216
Published by Samhain Publishing on May 12th 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Sexual freefall is like a game of chicken: except the first one to let go wins.
"Chronicles of the Malcolm, Book 1"
Humans may have expanded to the stars, but they still have the annoying need to work for a living. Which is why Rita, crew member of the space freighter "Malcolm," is stuck collecting recyclable slag rather than attending her favorite festival celebrating love and sexuality.
Things go from boring to interesting when she discovers a badly injured man who s been thrown into a recycling bin to die. The catch, he s gorgeous, winged, and "naked."
Drax Jalricki, reformed (mostly) art thief and reluctant covert operative, is on an undercover mission to protect three planets when someone in his own government brands him a traitor. By virtue of association, Rita and her crew are going down with him.
From their first, hide-in-plain-sight quickie, the erotic spark between Rita and Drax is fueled by danger and adrenaline. But their growing suspicion that there s more to their connection than lust may not matter if they don t live through the night.
Warning: Hero and heroine who straddle the line of criminal behavior and definitely violate public indecency statutes. Exhibitionist, dangerous sex. Dark, sordid pasts. Wild risk-taking. Giggly cat-girl sidekick who s not just another pretty tail. And the greatest risk of all: true love."

My Review:

For a TV show that ran for 14 episodes (plus one movie) Firefly is a show that is turning out to have a very “long tail” when it comes to influencing SF, particularly science fiction romance. And that the show’s influence seems to show most strongly in SFR rather than hard SF or space opera probably says something about its appeal and what fans see as its underlying strengths.

Getting down off soapbox now. Well, sort of.

Thrill-Kinky is the first book in at least two that the author has set in the future world of the tramp space freighter Malcolm. Malcolm, like the Firefly-class ship Serenity, is crewed by a bunch of verging-on-criminal misfits who mostly do good while occasionally carrying enough freight to barely pay the bills and docking fees.

bad kitty by teresa noelle robertsHowever, unlike in Firefly, the crew of the Malcolm is made up of multiple species, a polyglot that only gets more poly as the story continues through Thrill-Kinky and into Bad Kitty.

The captain Mik is human, but his first-mate/business partner/husband Gan is not. The mechanic (and star of Thrill-Kinky) is the very human Rita, but her best friend Xia is definitely felinoid. And the final member of the crew is Buck, an ex-soldier with a few mechanical body parts and a whole lot of PTSD.

The story begins with Rita out picking up garbage on a planet that sounds like Risa on steroids, during the planet’s annual festival celebrating sex and love. The entire crew of the Malcolm is partying except Rita, and Buck. Buck’s PTSD doesn’t like crowds.

Rita likes them just fine, but the slag she is picking up is a cash crop on a planet famous for its neuro relays. Supposedly they are paying extra to get the crap picked up during the multi-day festival. Of course, anything too good to be true, like the payoff they will get for this surprisingly simple and totally legit job, turns out to be not true.

Rita finds a Banjali tied up and severely bruised inside one of the dumpsters she’s supposed to, well, dump. Drax is an agent for his planet of flyers, and he’s on planet to prevent an interplanetary incident between his people and the local government. Obviously, he’s been betrayed.

Fortunately for Drax, the crew of the Malcolm and especially Rita are exactly what he needs to thwart the bad guys (and girls, and others) and protect the cultural artifact on loan from his planet. He was planning to catch the thieves in the museum red-handed (or pawed, or whatever) by flying in through the skylight and waiting for the baddies to show up.

Instead, Rita climbs through the skylight, and the cat-girl goes all predator on the assassin who is out to take Drax (or pieces of Drax) in. And while everyone chases down the baddies and tries to stay alive, Drax discovers that it is possible to fall in love in just a couple of days – if the person you fall for is wired to the same thrill-kinky strain that you are.

Will true love conquer all, or will Drax return to his planet, his people, and his suddenly boring life as a secret agent?

Escape Rating B: Thrill-Kinky is fun and surprisingly fluffy for a romance about two people who like to have sex while threatened with death and dismemberment. Rita and Drax both get off on being in danger, and the high that comes from surviving it. This is actually fairly normal for Drax, after all, his people have sex while flying. Both because they can and because it aids conception. But sex is distracting and flying is dangerous and the combination is definitely a thrill if your heart can take it.

The romance here is of the lust at first sight persuasion. Drax and Rita set each other off from the moment that they meet. That they are being chased by bad guys in a speeding (and shooting) vehicle just adds spice to their first encounter.

The plot device of the Malcolm crew needing to handle Drax’s assignment without his skillset or his high-end tech toys is a great way for readers to get to know the crew and just what they are capable of.

While the action, and therefore the thrills, never let up, Rita and Drax discover that they are made for each other in every possible way, except one. Rita is a spacer, and Drax is an agent for his planet and people, willing to give his life (which he very nearly does) to protect his home. Also the Malcolm is definitely on the low-end of space freighters, and Drax is very used to a high-living, “smoothstyle” life. Rita is pretty much from the wrong side of the tracks. And Rita is all too aware that whatever they have can’t last, and probably can’t even be real, because there isn’t enough time, and there isn’t going to be enough time, to make it real.

Unless Drax is willing to gamble his whole life for the ultimate thrill – with Rita.

SFRQ-button-vsmallOriginally published at Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly

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