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REVIEW

"Story intertwined science and paranormal fantasy with an engaging romance"

Megan Cooper is a driven and intelligent woman, the owner and creative genius behind Virtual Delights, an enterprise geared towards fulfilling her clients' fondest fantasies through virtuality. She is a woman used to dealing with scientific, cold hard facts, firmly entrenched in the school of seeing-is-believing thought. On her guard, and with good reason, she agrees to a meeting with her main business rival Jake Mason over dinner.

The child of two gifted telepaths who made it their business to nurture and help hone their children's innate ESP abilities, Jake Mason is just as driven and sharp as his competitor, with just as strong motivations behind the creation and potential success of his company. Jake's approach, however, towards the same goal, is a bit different, more organic, than Megan's; he intends to make use of his customers' inborn psychic abilities by tapping into and amplifying them to create a virtual world from their dreams.

Mark Newhouse is Megan's assistant and one of her best friend's since college. He's a little envious of Megan's experiences in the Meta Room with virtuality and her possibly garnering all the glory when Virtual Delights goes public. Mark is also hopelessly in love with Megan, and in a desperate attempt to make her notice and see him as more than just a confidant and brotherly-type, he infiltrates Megan's virtuality systems and sabotages the programs. If all goes according to his plan, Mark will be able to rescue Megan from virtual trouble and be the big strong hero in her eyes. But as happens in situations such as this, the best-laid plans don't always turn out according to schemes.

Both Jake and Megan are missing one basic element from their initial experiments with virtuality -- he, Megan's scientific innovations with sensors and computers, and she, Jake's good old natural emotion and telepathic brainpower. But neither realizes how much they need each other's knowledge until one day in her Meta Room during a test run, things go awry and Megan is trapped in virtuality. Simultaneously, and on the other side of town, Jake has begun a test session in his V-Room, so keenly, psychically connected to Megan's aura, that his consciousness is sucked into Megan's virtual world where he becomes a tangible presence in her Meta Room as well as a prisoner to Megan's virtuality.

Business rivals on the outside in the real world, Megan and Jake must learn to trust each other if they are to figure out how to survive their virtual creations and get out of virtuality in one piece.

Through sabertooth tiger attacks, raging floods, volcanic eruptions, the dangerous seductress song of a mermaid, alien space invasions, the frozen Himalayas and Yeti attacks, Jake and Megan experience a lifetime of danger and adventure in a little over an hour of virtuality. And during their adventures, they bond -- psychically and physically -- and learn important things about their world views and each other.

Ostensibly, Jake and Megan each are trying to provide a service to potential clientele in search of their ultimate fantasies. Deep down, they are each trying to assuage the pain of guilt and loss. Jake for his loss of innocence at the hands of an unscrupulous psychic who used her ability to harm the young and vulnerable in unspeakable ways; Megan for the loss of her older and much-admired sister to a tragic accident on a space station when Megan was a teen.

Years later Megan yet blames herself for Rita's death, as she was the one who'd goaded her sister so severely until Rita joined the astronaut program just to get away from her younger sister's taunting. Jake, on the other hand, is trying to get over the shame at being the victim of a sexual predator when he was a young child. Through virtuality and an essential psychic link, both Megan and Jake are able to defeat their own personal demons once and for all.

This story was very well executed and worked for me on several different levels, two of which were the creative world building and the way Ms. Huxman so seamlessly intertwined the worlds of science and paranormal supposition to co-exist believably on the same plane. I especially enjoyed the character interactions and development. Jake and Megan were a well-delineated h/h whose chemistry was off-the-page engaging, their story a fast-paced, gripping and sensual romance.

A definite keeper and one-sitter.

Reviews for PNR Reviews by Gracie McKeever, Author

Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted April 12, 2003

SUMMARY

In the technological mecca of 21st century Colorado Spring, Megan Cooper is in the business of virtual reality gaming. Her competition, Jake Mason, comes from a family of genetic telepaths. An electrical mishap traps Megan and Jake in the virtual world. They must cooperate to find the way out. In the process they fall in love. Another unforeseen mishap separates them just before they unlock the key to their return. Will they find each other again in the real world, or was their romance just a condition of virtual hearts?

 

Virtual Heart
by Karin Huxman

New Concepts Publishing
June 1, 2002
ISBN #1586085735
EAN #9781586085735
Trade Size (reprint)
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Other Books by
Karin Huxman

From the Deep
The Commitment
The Talisman
Entangled
Virtual Heart


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