"An Exciting Beginning to a New SF Romance series"
Tessa Camen is a woman of skill, and the Secret Service
Special Agent in charge protecting the President of the
United States. During a public address Tessa recognizes a
potential threat and throws herself bodily upon her leader.
As shooting and the resultant pandemonium ensues, Tessa
removes the President from the scene. Her maneuvers are to
no avail, because as their car leaves the scene it becomes
clear that they have been betrayed by one of their own.
Tessa's last thought as she throws herself in front of the
bullet meant the President is that she's failed in her duty.
Tessa awakens to find herself naked in the arms of a hunk.
She's pretty sure she's died and gone to heaven but her
first thought is for the life of her president. Kahn
informs her that her quick action had saved the president
in that instance, but that in fact she has been dead more
than 300 years. He tells her that seconds before the
assassins bullet would have killed her, she had been
transported to the future and that the current government
of Earth had chosen her as their best candidate to perform
a challenge that would win aid for their now polluted
planet. Success would also win full membership in the
Federation for his own world which had been mostly
destroyed by nuclear warfare. That was to be his reward for
training her for "The Challenge". All he had to do was to
bring out her psi ability. Tessa is skeptical of the whole
scenario and speculates that this could be a terrorist
brainwashing tactic. Time travel wasn't possible and she
certainly didn't have any psi ability.
Kahn is disgruntled at having to train a woman to perform
the challenge. Women on his planet were protected and
respected. Bring out a person's psi required them to be
highly frustrated, and he would have to use different
methods on Tessa than he would on a male contestant. The
method went was totally counter to his own beliefs. Rather
than using his considerable combat skills he would have to
frustrate her sexually but, he knew that the needs of his
world must come before his personal integrity.
However distasteful the training would be, Tessa fit all
the criteria. She was selfless, a virgin, and had no living
relatives, something which had complicated previous
challenges. But Khan hadn't taken into account that Tessa
was not a docile or obedient Rystani woman. She was a
warrior. Rather than frustrate her and bring out her psi,
his methods make her quite brazen. It isn't long before
Kahn realizes that he's met his match and that in order for
her to succeed in the Challenge he's going to have to adapt
as much as she does. A change of tactics is definitely in
Of course no good science fiction romance is complete
without and evil enemy to make the quest more challenging.
Jypeg is evil alien with a vendetta against Khan. He had
killed Khan's wife in a raid on Rystan and bore the scars
of Khan's fury. The scars were a subject of mirth on
Jypeg's planet and he will do anything to destroy Khan for
the insult, even if it means breaking the laws of the
Federation by interfering with the Challenge.
The cast is rounded out with Dora, a sentient computer,
with an affinity for Tessa, and sex on the brain. She stirs
the pot by providing the information Tessa needs to deal
with her circumstances, often to Kahn's complete
As the two cultures collide, Tessa and Khan will find much
to admire and respect in each other's customs. The
greatest challenge after all is of the heart. When you
throw an alpha male and an alpha female together there are
bound to be fireworks, and that's what makes this story so
much fun to read. Sparks fly as the two go from being
combatants to becoming soul mates. The sexual tension is
palpable, but the best part of all is the love and respect
that Tessa inspires in Kahn and his people simply by being
herself. She is a being unlike anything they've ever
encountered but her courage and heart will be a lesson for
them all. The story ends with a preview of the sequel, "The
Dare," and I suspect that Dora may just get a chance to try
her feminine wiles out on a real man after all. The result
is bound to be hilarious. I can't wait.
Copyright © 2006
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted October 30, 2006