Heat Factor: Once with the whole group, and then Taryn has a one-on-one interlude with each alien
Character Chemistry: They treat Taryn well, except for that whole lying to her thing
Plot: Taryn meets some really hot people and bangs it out with them…only to discover that they’re aliens who want her blood
Overall: Goes some unexpected places, which I liked, but the relationships could have been a tad more developed
Meet Taryn. Taryn is a software engineer who moonlights as a cryptozoologist, and Taryn has just been dumped by her boyfriend. However, Taryn is at a Con, and she’s determined to have a good time.
Enter Aiden. Aiden is just, like, unnaturally hot. And he is very interested in spending time with Taryn. They go to a talk together, and then Aiden introduces her to his friends Wes and Sara, who are also, like, unnaturally hot. There’s something a little bit weird about them, but Taryn is enjoying being fun and spontaneous, so they have some really hot sex. (There is a very weird tension in this part of the book where Taryn explicitly ignores her gut instinct because she’s having fun—and since we know that she’s hanging out with aliens who are Up To Something, this narrative choice is effective at building tension. It is odd from a character perspective, though.)
Now the weekend is over, and it’s time to part ways. Except Aiden, Sara, and Wes would like Taryn to come with them. To their home planet. Because they need her blood to make a cure for a wasting disease that’s decimating their people. (Also they like her and want to continue having all the sex.)
Anyways, that’s the plot of the first half of the book. Taryn, unlike human women in many alien romance novels, FREAKS THE FUCK OUT when she first sees these guys in their alien forms.
There’s screaming and fainting and running away. She’s being abducted by Grays! There’s also some inter-alien drama, since Wes wants to just kidnap Taryn and Aiden decides they definitely need her consent. Of course, Taryn does eventually consent, which sets us up for alien spaceship sex.
I suspect that many people who read this book pick it up for the alien sex, so let’s talk about that a bit. It all happens in the second half of the book, and Russo gets pretty inventive, so it’s fun. Sara is not a Gray, but rather some other kind of alien, who Taryn finds immediately attractive, so Sara eases Taryn in to the whole alien-sex lifestyle. And uses a probe as a sex toy, which, ok, that tracks. (Yes, that kind of probe.) And is kind of hilarious.
Things get really interesting with Wes, since Grays don’t have genitalia; rather, they experience pleasure as their partner does. In other words, he can only orgasm when Taryn does. (Talk about alien smut as wish fulfillment around female pleasure!)
(Aiden likes hanging out in his human form, so the alien sex with him is pretty standard MF fare.)
Here’s the thing with this book. I think it didn’t quite hit the balance right because it’s trying to do too much in too short a space. It’s not quite sexy enough—or perhaps, not got enough weird alien sex in it—to really scratch the itch for someone who wants full-on alien erotica, though this is how it’s marketed. But the characters aren’t quite developed enough for it to hit as a romance, though I felt that the book was moving in that direction. I think that if we had seen a bit more individual personalities of the different alien characters in the first half of the book, the conflicts in the second half of the book, which center on whether Taryn will go with them, and then whether she’ll stay with them, would have felt more earned. There’s an additional challenge here because we’re working with a poly quad, where each member has a relationship with every other member—and that’s a lot of relationship building to work into a single (short) book.
Is this a perfect book? No. But I did enjoy reading it, and I liked that Russo took some risks with the storytelling.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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