Formats available: ebook
Genre: science fiction romance
Series: Phoenix Adventures #5
Length: 213 pages
Publisher: Anna Hackett
Date Released: December 13, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A sexy smuggler + a spit-and-polish Patrol captain = a fast-paced, adventure-filled sci fi romance
Ambitious Patrol Captain Nissa Sander has spent three years at the galaxy’s edge keeping the law and order, and chasing scoundrel smuggler, Justyn Phoenix. But the charming rogue has always outwitted her and she’s had a hard time ignoring his hard body and handsome face. But when one of the galaxy’s most important documents—the US Constitution—is stolen, Nissa finds herself working with the very man she’s been trying to throw in her brig.
Justyn Phoenix embraces life and offers everyone a wink and a smile. He’s also in love with a spit-and-polish Patrol captain. Yep, crazy in love, and he knows she’ll never love him back. But when the opportunity arises to work alongside Nissa on a wild and crazy mission to recover the US Constitution, he can’t resist.
But nothing on this treasure hunt is as it seems. The trail leads them to fake documents, rival treasure hunters, and a millennia old mystery. As the hunt takes them beyond the galaxy’s edge, Justyn and Nissa will face the firestorm of their desire, and soon learn if they can survive long enough to save the galaxy.
If you want a rollicking good time of an SFR series, you absolutely can’t go wrong with Anna Hackett’s Phoenix Adventures. I love this entire series – it’s a terrific blend of sci-fi adventure with hot and heart-stopping romance.
The Phoenixes of the Phoenix Adventures are two sets of good looking rogues who are the opposite sides of one galaxy-spanning family. Brothers Dathan, Zayn and Niklas Phoenix operate a successful relic hunting company on the slightly more settled side of the galaxy, and their cousins Dare, Rynan and Justyn (also brothers) operate an equally successful but slightly less famous convoy-leading company (and smuggling business) out on the galaxy’s edge.
This is Justyn’s story, and it is quite a wild ride. Because Justyn the smuggler finds himself on a dangerous treasure hunt. And it’s all a very elaborate ploy. Justyn isn’t nearly as interested in the artifact he’s chasing as he is in the Galactic Security Services Captain who is chasing it.
Justyn has spent years putting himself in the way of Captain Nissa Sander. She never manages to find his contraband cargo, no matter how many times she stops and searches his ship. She’s completely unwilling to admit to herself that her encounters with Justyn are the high point of her job. She keeps fooling herself that a stellar career in Galactic Security Services is all she wants. And she’s damn good at it. But it isn’t what she wants for herself. It’s what she tells herself she wants in order to please her demanding father, a career GSS officer who never quite made it to the big leagues.
Justyn keeps letting Nissa catch him. He just makes sure she never catches him with anything he shouldn’t have. His ship has way more hidey-holes than Nissa will ever find. So he lets her keep finding him over and over, just so that he can see her. And tease her a bit. He knows that he’s not what she wants or deserves, but he can’t resist arranging those few minutes in her company.
They both believe that they will always be on opposite sides of a very high fence of legalities. Until someone breaks into a museum and steals one of the founding documents of interstellar law and democracy – the U.S. Constitution from old (meaning our) Earth.
The treasure hunt gets even more complicated when they chase down the thief – only to find out that the document he stole was a forgery – created almost a thousand years ago. Does the real Constitution even survive?
Nissa is tasked by her commanding officer to find the real constitution, if it exists, and deliver it to the admiral personally, and at any or all costs. The Phoenix brothers (both sets) enlist the aid of any family and friends they have to track the course of the ship originally carrying the Constitution, and trace it beyond the galaxy edge, outside the confines of civilized space.
Nissa has no jurisdiction beyond the edge, only a powerful motivation to protect her career and especially her father’s pension from the admiral’s machinations. But just as they get close, Nissa discovers that the superiors she has always relied on cannot be trusted. The only people she can count on are the Phoenix brothers who are out there with her. And especially Justyn.
When all hell breaks loose, and Justyn and Nissa finally find themselves on the same side. For once. And possibly forever.
Escape Rating A-: This was a terrific adventure. It had all the elements that made At Star’s End so much fun. Nissa is working for the forces of law and order, just as Eos planned to turn the relics she was hunting over to the Galactic Institute. Both Nissa and Eos were betrayed by the people who should have been on their side. And most importantly, neither Dathan nor Justyn were anywhere near as bad as their reputations were cracked up to be.
Not that Justyn isn’t a smuggler, because he is. But he seems to do it either mostly for sport, and teasing Nissa, or because he’s turning most of the profits over to an array of charities he supports on various convoy-stopover planets. He’s a little bit Robin Hood. He also mostly just carries small luxury items, like cigars or fancy booze. Nothing big, nothing worth killing over.
And he really likes to torment Nissa with the possibility of catching him.
Except for his unwillingness to admit that he’s been in love with Nissa for years, Justyn knows exactly what he’s doing.
Nissa, on the other hand, is kind of a mess. She’s a great GSS officer, but her heart isn’t in it. Her father cuts her to ribbons every single time they talk, and he’s always pressuring her about something. Basically, daddy is re-living his own career through Nissa, and her opinions generally don’t matter. She should be old enough to know better, but she seems to be conditioned to obedience, which really bites her in the ass when the admiral both bribes and blackmails her at the same time.
It was fairly obvious to this reader who the really evil person is in this mess. Nissa should have figured it out a hell of a lot sooner – it would have saved everyone a world of hurt. Of course, if she had, this story wouldn’t contain nearly as much edge-of-the-seat excitement, and our hero and heroine wouldn’t have been forced into close proximity so often that they were forced to acknowledge their mutual feelings.
Those two had enough frustrated chemistry to light the rocket boosters all by themselves. When they finally get close, its explosive.
Originally published at Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly