Review: Kiss of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Kiss of Eon by Anna HackettKiss of Eon (Eon Warriors #4) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #4
Pages: 211
Published by Anna Hackett on September 22, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

When the vital alliance between Earth and the Eon Empire depends on her playing war games with an arrogant, infuriating Eon warrior, what could go wrong?
Terran Captain Allie Borden has her orders. Take her ship, the Divergent, and strengthen the alliance with the Eon by carrying out training exercises with the Eon warship, the Desteron. The only problem…one annoying warrior who gets on her nerves like nobody else. Forced to work with Second Commander Brack Thann-Felis, Allie finds her diplomacy skills stretched to the limit…and her body betraying her with a white-hot desire that’s getting hard to ignore.

Brack Thann-Felis is dedicated to his ship, his warriors, and his job. Watching his parents’ disastrous marriage has ensured that he will never mate or fall in love. Working with feisty, opinionated Allie tests his patience, but the more time he spends with the dedicated captain, the more he finds he can’t stay away from her.

As mysterious, dangerous sabotage events strike their ships, it becomes evident that someone wants their alliance to fail. They might have traitors among their crew and they both know it has to lead back to their enemy—the ravenous insectoid Kantos. Soon, Brack and Allie find themselves in a fight for their lives, with only each other to depend on, and a growing desire that will not be denied.

My Review:

If you blend a bit of fated mates with a touch of “Mars needs women” and stir vigorously with the tentacles of rapacious alien bugs you get something like the Eon Warriors series. And in spite of the tentacle stirrer, the mixture makes for a surprisingly delicious space opera-type science fiction romance.

Back in Edge of Eon, the first book in this series, we saw how it all began. Well, sort of.

Really, it all began several decades ago, when the Eon Empire first made contact with Earth. And the Terrans completely screwed the pooch. The Eons are superior in every way, and the humans acted like they were the totally “the shit” and that the Eons should give them everything they wanted just because they said so.

And the Eons, quite rightfully, told them to go away and grow up – and closed the borders of their empire.

But the alien insectoid Kratos have also discovered Earth, and they think it’s a juicy, ripe plum tailor-made for them to chew up and spit out. It’s what they are, and it’s what they do. Whether the Kratos are actually evil or just obeying a species imperative is up to the reader. But Earth doesn’t have the technology to survive repeated Kratos incursions over the long term. They just haven’t advanced enough yet.

Earth wants the Eons to get involved – on their side, of course. Their methods for involving the Eons, as exhibited in the first three books in the series, do make the reader wonder if the powers-that-be on Earth have learned a damn thing. It feels as if the Terran spaceforce succeeds in bringing the Eons onside in spite of themselves.

But succeed they did. Now that the initial overtures have been made and accepted, it’s up to the actual, serving officers and crew of the Eon Warriors and the Terran spaceforce to find a way to work together – after decades of thinking the worst of each other – to take the fight to the Kratos and kick them out of this sector of the galaxy.

Kiss of Eon is the first story where the action has fully shifted from just getting the Eons on board to truly working together. It’s a bit of a rocky start.

Dedicated Sub-Commander Brack Thann-Felis isn’t sure what the Terrans have to bring to the alliance. Not that they aren’t scrappy and determined, but they just haven’t made the necessary advances to be a real partner. Captain Allie Borden is determined to prove exactly what the Terrans bring to the table – and if she can manage to extract the stick that seems to be firmly wedged up Thann-Felis’ ass along the way, so much the better.

Especially since it’s a very, VERY nice ass. Even when he’s being one.

Allie and Brack strike sparks from each other from the first minute they met. Now they have to work together and overcome decades of prejudice on both sides. While the Kratos are doing their level best – or worst – to drive a wedge into their alliance before it can fully unite against them.

Escape Rating A-: For a relatively short book, there is a lot to love in Kiss of Eon – and not just the shape of Brack’s ass. Not that Allie doesn’t find that quite “admirable” all by itself.

Like many of the author’s previous series (Hell Squad, Phoenix Adventures, Treasure Hunter Security) there is both an individual romance and progress towards an overarching story in each entry in the series.

That overarching story is where my initial comments about fated mates and “Mars needs women” come in. The Eons are only able to naturally reproduce with their “fated” mate. The problem is that the Eon Warriors as a group, particularly the ones who become dedicated to their service to the empire, don’t seem to be finding their mates. Artificial insemination seems to have solved that problem – otherwise their people would be dying out.

However, as discovered in Edge of Eon, the Eon Warriors have discovered that humans are not merely prospective mates, but almost perfectly suited to become so. This seems to have more to do with the scrappy, never-say-die, take-no-prisoners attitude rather than anything physical, but it keeps happening, and the Eon Emperor has noted it explicitly. That an excellent reason for the Eons to help the Terrans is in the hopes that more Eon Warriors will find their mates among the Terrans.

It doesn’t seem to be coercive in any way – which keeps this trope from going haywire. It seems like they have to fall in love first – and THEN the mating drive kicks in, rather than the other way around. But it adds an interesting twist to the stories so far.

The Kratos are the “big bad” in this series. A big part of the overall story is the Kratos many, many attempts to conquer Earth, and the allies constant battles to push them away. This feels like the “long-haul” part of the story, and that conquering or subduing the Kratos will end the series. Eventually. Someday. Hopefully not anytime soon.

If the Kratos and the Gizzida (from the author’s Hell Squad series) don’t turn out to be some kind of intergalactic cousins, I’ll eat someone’s hat. They aren’t exactly the same beyond their function in the story, but there is definitely a “family” resemblance!

And then there’s the individual romance of this particular entry. It’s kind of a frenemies-into-lovers story. Brack and Allie aren’t really enemies per se, they just rub each other the wrong way and begin the story resisting a very strong impulse to rub each other the right way.

Brack isn’t sure what the Terrans bring to the table – but then neither are a lot of the Eon Warriors. Allie is well aware of that attitude, and feels the need to prove herself at every turn. Additionally, Allie is the Captain of her ship, a position that she has earned, and has plenty of ego to bring to the table along with that never surrender, never give up Terran attitude.

In addition to their differences, they also come to their romance from a similar point of view in that neither of them believes in love and that both of them have been dedicated to their careers. They both feel that they have plenty to prove on a personal level and that love only gets in the way of what they need to accomplish.

Watching them learn the lesson that loving someone doesn’t make you weak, but makes you strong, is the heart of their romance and makes their journey lovely to see.

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