Fortune’s Hero (Soldiers of Fortune)
Entangled / November 13 (digital) & December 1, 2012 (print) / $14.99 print, TBA digital
Quinn Conlan had it all: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, money, and adventure around every bend. That was before he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the besieged planet Marica. Now he’s stuck in the prison colony on Marica-3, enduring weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.
When opportunity strikes, Quinn takes Elsa, a Rhenian med tech, hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon where he formulates a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit. But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3?
Jenna Bennett has written a number of cozy mysteries under the name Jennie Bentley, but Fortune’s Hero is her first science fiction romance. I know I should probably start telling you about smuggler hero Quinn and doctor heroine Elsa, but I’ll get to them in a minute. Bear with me because I really gotta dish about the Marican night crawlers.
One of the phrases that jumped out at me when I first read the blurb was “the inhospitable interior of the small moon.” I love visiting harsh alien environments in my reading and especially when a story pits a romance couple against such dangerous landscapes. Each sci-fi romance of this type offers something different. They also underscore the meaning of “love against all odds.”
Elsa and Quinn are up against a particularly brutal environment in Fortune’s Hero and I especially enjoyed being squicked out by some of the locale’s indigenous creatures:
“But bad as the snake venom had been, the worst creature he’d encountered in the past few months—excepting the Rhenians themselves—had to be the worms that tunneled inside human skin and burrowed their way to the heart. Marican night crawlers…
…Roughly the size of the earthworms Quinn used to see after a good rain on Old Earth, and the color of overripe tomatoes, the night crawlers killed you, too, but a lot more slowly, not to mention painfully.”
Boo-yah! Doesn’t that just make you want to book the first space ship to Marica-3? That scene reminded me of this one time on a hot summer morning when I discovered a thick, slimy snail nesting for Buddha-only-knows-what-reason in a mesh bath sponge in my tub. OMG that thing was HUGE! Talk about a freak out of epic proportions, but here’s the thing: I was oddly fascinated by that sneaky snail at the same time. The nice aspect about Marica-3 is that I could relive that mix of fascination and repulsion with none of the real life risks.
The question, of course, is how can true love bloom amid such a barren, dangerous world? Quinn and Elsa are not only up against a harsh alien environment, but they’re also enemies who come from different worlds. The story piles lots of obstacles in their path to romance. Marican night crawlers are one of many tests they must pass in order to earn their Happily Ever After.
So if you enjoy romances featuring strange alien worlds, night crawlers, smuggler heroes, action-adventure, night crawlers, softhearted heroines, space opera, and night crawlers, then Fortune’s Hero might be the destination for you.
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.