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REVIEW

"Gut wrenching and heart warming - Grant's new space romance is a keeper!"

Susan Grant introduced us to Aviation Romance with strong female aviator/role models such as Jas Hamilton (THE STAR KING) and Jordan Cady (CONTACT) and Earth to alien cultures. Like CONTACT which dealt with terrorism in the aftermath of 9-11, Ms. Grant's latest novel MOONSTRUCK is very edgy dealing with the scars left by war. This is a tale about an injured but strong woman, an honorable man who had been her sworn enemy and the healing power of love. Did I say that I simply love an edgy paranormal romance? I really adored this one.

In MY FAVORITE EARTHLING (Otherworldly Men series: Book 2) the Goddess herself, Queen Keira of Sakka, had killed the Drakken leader and with the help of thousands of Draaken faithful who had worshiped the goddess in secret, had put an end to the brutal galactic war between their peoples. Earth, the backwater home of Keira's consort Prince Jared, had been declared a holy untouchable Shrine. The Coalition government and their former enemy the Drakken Horde were no more. Instead the two would unite, along with Earth, to form the new Triad government. And they all lived happily ever after, right? Not quite.

Not everyone was happy about the new arrangement. Admiral Brit Bandar, commander of the Coalition Space Ship Vengeance had spent her career hunting down Hordish pirates, among whom she'd earned the name Admiral Stone-Heart, and protecting the Coalition worlds from the Imperial Armada . It had been a name well earned for her heart had turned to stone following the Massacre at the Arrayar Settlement which had taken her beloved family from her. To Brit the only good Drakken was a dead one. Vengeance even more than a sense of duty had spurred her to become the most successful commander in the Coalition forces, winning more battles than any other. Her business with the Horde was far from finished. No one other than Prime Admiral Zaafran knew of her secret pain, a pain she both buried and revived on shore leave in the pleasure dome of a resort planet. It is there that she is contacted to report to the Ring to receive her new assignment -- a diplomatic assignment. Peace wouldn't last, of that she was certain. Imagine her chagrin upon arriving at the Ring and smelling -- Horde!

Drakken Warleader Finnar Rorkken, of the former Imperial Fleet, had been summoned to the Ring as well. Prior to his promotion he'd been a notorious pirate tagged The Scourge of the Borderlands. Although he is not certain whether the trip indicates a new assignment or a trial for war crimes he is optimistic for he has very little to lose. He and his crew are on the verge of starvation. Brit had come close to capturing Finn several times. He'd respected and admired her as a worthy opponent and was more than a little intrigued by his rival. She had held a secret admiration for her adversary as well and she fully expected to make him pay for that. Imagine her dismay to learn that her new assignment would be a diplomatic position as the Captain of the Triad Alliance Ship Unity, commanding a crew consisting of Coalition, Earth and Drakken, with Rorkken as her second in command!

No, she couldn't relegate the Drakken crew to menial tasks as far from her sight as possible, they were to be integrated and if she didn't like it she would be reassigned to dry dock. For the first time in her life duty would have to come before her need for vengeance. Her career was her life. But nothing could have prepared her for the shock of meeting Finn or his resemblance to an older version of her dear departed husband, the love of her life murdered by his kind.

Finn sees the assignment as an opportunity. Orphaned as an infant in a Coalition attack, he'd been rescued and then abandoned on another world and raised by other homeless children. His crew was his only family and he would do anything to convince Brit to take them aboard the Unity. He's floored by their first meeting. He'd admired Brit before but couldn't reconcile Admiral Stone-Heart with the woman he'd kill to have in his bed. Brit is shocked and dismayed at the medical reports that reveal his meager beginnings, the last thing she had wanted was to see him as human. With both hiding their feelings, working together is NOT going to be easy! It's not long before she realizes there is only one way to get him out of her system. She was going to hate herself in the morning, or would she?

Brit wasn't the only one dissatisfied with peace. When communication is lost with the Cupezikan science outpost in the Borderlands, the Unity is sent to investigate. What they find is a brutal slaughter. Has Brit gotten gotten her wish or have time and Finn finally healed her wounds?

Oh my! The interaction between these two star-crossed lovers is as complex as it is heartwarming. Brit's feelings are raw and heart wrenching, due to her devastating tragedy that has stolen her faith. What begins as admiration, curiosity and intense attraction for Finn quickly becomes a need to know the woman he's come to love in every sense of the word and to do whatever it takes make her whole again. For that to happen, Brit must let go of both her pain and her hatred. The result is a touchingly beautiful romance filled with courage and heart that was pure pleasure to read.

On a final note, I very much enjoyed the secondary thread, the adventures of Admiral Bandar's assistant Lt. Keyran. Hadley is a true innocent who hero-worships Brit. Brit sees her own strong potential in the girl and plans to toughen her up on this assignment. In the meantime the hopeless romantic from a planet of hopeless romantics becomes caught up in a romantic triangle between Rueben Barrientes a.k.a. Tango, a big time player from Texas and Battle-Lieutenant Bolivarr, a shy former Drakken Wraith assassin who has amnesia due to a near fatal injury. She's swept away by the smooth talking Tango but the mood ring he gives her has other ideas. This side story brought humor to an otherwise intense situation. I do hope we see Keyran and Bolivarr again.

For me a keeper is a gut wrenching, edge of the seat novel that makes you laugh, cry, and sigh, one that you can't put down until you've finished the last word, and then want to read all over again. MOONSTRUCK is a keeper!

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 7, 2008

SUMMARY

**2008 PEARL NOMINEE - BEST FUTURISTIC ROMANCE**

b>PEACE IS FOR LITTLE GIRLS.

And Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar is one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn't sure that she was through spilling it! But now a peaceful accord has made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second-in command on her starship - and through some grand cosmic irony - front and center in her thoughts...and her heart.

WARLEADER. PIRATE.

Either title sat easily on Finn's battle-hardened shoulders. Though second-in-command to "Stone-Heart" Bandar? That would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war, so he'd comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy's tentative truce turned into all out war?

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Futuristic

Visit "The Borderlands" Website

 

Moonstruck
(The Borderlands: Book 1)
by Susan Grant

HQN
May 1, 2008
Available: May 25, 2008
ISBN #0373772599
EAN #9780373772599
384 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Susan Grant

Sureblood
The Warlord's Daughter
Mysteria Lane
How To Lose An Extraterrestrial in 10 Days
Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred, Season 2: Fangs Again
My Favorite Earthling
Your Planet or Mine?
Mysteria
Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred: Season 1
The Scarlet Empress
The Legend of Banzai Maguire
The Star Princess
The Only One
Contact
A Mother's Way
The Star Prince
The Star King
Once a Pirate


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