Wed
Oct 18 2017 2:00pm

Life Is a Cosmic Cabaret

Cosmic Cabaret, a Sci-Fi Romance Anthology

Cosmic Cabaret is an exciting new sci-fi romance anthology, newly released in October, with thirteen SFR stories by different authors, all set on the LS Quantum, a luxury spaceliner where pretty much anything in the way of love and adventure can happen.

Opening this set of enticing reads, I decided to sample a few of the stories for you and share my thoughts—no spoilers though.

First up I read Starlight by Kerry Adrienne, where the action takes place on the less desirable decks of the big ship. Apparently even in space, there are better neighborhoods and then the low rent district. Hero astronomer Dr. Andrew Mann is the ultimate nerd and introvert but he’s had to come on this cruise to give a paper and further his academic career. Dancer/bartender Stella is a refugee from an alien planet that was destroyed, now indentured to a lowlife thug who owns the bar concession in this part of the ship and has other rackets going as well. Stella has some not-so-hidden powers that draw Andrew like a moth to a flame.

Adrienne paints the scenes vividly and the descriptions of Stella’s dancing alone make the story worth reading–amazing passages using all the senses to draw the reader into the moment. Andrew isn’t happy to be forced by his boss to attend the conference icebreaker in a seedy bar. “The only voyeurism he wanted to be known for was staring at a star through a telescope.” Until he sees Stella, who “…resembled the fairies from his favorite childhood book.”

Both Andrew and Stella are trapped in different ways by their circumstances but together they form a formidable team, fumbling their way through the dangers besetting them to the HEA ending. I enjoyed the story and would love to read more about this couple in the future someday. Stella’s unique gifts are intriguing and only Andrew could appreciate them fully.

Since author Jayne Fury came up with the original concept of the ship and the framework for the anthology, I decided to read her story Stars Shining Bright Above next. No one is exactly who they seem to be in this tale, from the ship’s medical examiner Dr. Caleb Zane to heroine Astra Faraday, rising star of the Le Mouche Cabaret (a Cirque du Soleil-like aerialist show of the future). Everyone has secrets, most connected with author Fury’s ‘Freedom Road,’ a top-secret way for people to escape their indentured servitude with the evil Cordoba Conglomerate. One of the most appealing aspects of the story is how much of a family the Mouche troop members are for each other, which makes the tragedy that strikes early on that much more poignant.

Dr. Zane’s past was tragic and traumatic, but he’s been quite a playboy since coming to the ship. Now he’s become Astra’s “…most unabashed fanboy” and no other woman interests him. Going to watch her and the rest of the troupe perform every evening is the highlight of his somewhat aimless days on board. Apparently not too many people die on this cruise ship, which is reassuring. He’s really got it bad for Astra.  “Her graceful presence made him feel like an ancient knight.” Awww! He even scores a date with the wary lady – finally! – and author Fury describes the mouthwatering food on this date so sensuously, I really wanted to be there.

I’d love to ask author Fury about her research into the details of the aerial performance scenes because they rang very true to me and enhanced the overall story nicely.

There’s a well thought out murder mystery, a lot of suspense, some hot sexy times between Astra and Caleb and a few revelations about various characters we meet along the way. I loved Astra’s other abilities besides her skill as an aerialist and it was very enjoyable to watch the trust build up between the couple.

Since I don’t have the luxury of talking about all thirteen stories for this post, I let a random number generator pick my third story to read, which ended up being Vordol’s Vow by Dena Garson. This actually turned out to be my favorite. The tone was a bit less dark and the central theme was a sort of reality show of the future, an interstellar “so you think you can perform burlesque” contest. The hostess was a totally delightful character known as Ms. Ruby Rose and her bodyguard was the hunky Vordol of the title.

He was all business all the time, totally immersed in protecting Ms. Rose, who besides being an interstellar celebrity had been the target of terrorists due to incidents in her earlier life. It was clear she was like an aunt to Vordol, not a love interest – I’d enjoy seeing her in a story all her own someday because she was fun. Vordol had no intention of forming any permanent romantic attachments, overly worried that no woman could ever accept the nature of his dangerous, roving lifestyle as a security expert.

Until he runs into heroine Pitannah Lorento, daughter of his former mentor, now fallen on hard times and waitressing on board the ship. Then his focus becomes dangerously divided, which was fun to watch. I really liked Pitannah and her two girlfriends, and their almost Cinderella-like plan to get her entered into the burlesque contest, as a way of paying for her sick mother’s one hope at treatment with the prize money. The details of how the trio comes up with the three elaborate costumes she needs were inventive. Did I mention Pitannah is hot and also a trained dancer?

As for Pitannah’s reaction to meeting Vordol again – “Seeing the object of your fantasies come to life after almost six years…especially when that fantasy had grown bigger, darker, and if possible, sexier…” sets her heart to hammering and awakens other parts of her as well.

The plot mixes the contest, a jewelry thief, terrorists, murder and one bullying stage mother who’d stop at nothing to keep Pitannah from winning. Author Garson blends all these ingredients skillfully, besides giving us some very steamy scenes between the hero and heroine along the way and a happy ending that was just right.

I can’t wait to read the other ten stories in the anthology!

***

Learn more about or order a copy of Cosmic Cabaret, a Sci-Fi Romance Anthology, available now:

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H&H Editor Picks:

4 Science Fiction Romance Best Bets for September 2017

11 Books H&H Reviewers Couldn’t Put Down in September 2017

October 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

 

 

 

 

 


Amazon best-seller Veronica Scott is a three-time recipient of the SFR Galaxy Award, and has written a number of science-fiction and fantasy romances. Her latest release is Trapped On Talonque. You can find out more about her and her books at veronicascott.wordpress.com

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5 comments
Kareni
1. Kareni
And now I have the tune from Life is a Cabaret playing in my head .... This sounds like an entertaining anthology, Veronica; thanks for sharing.
Laurie A. Green
2. Laurie A. Green
Very intriguing review! I fed my Kindle. And I agree with Kareni on the subconscious theme music. :)
Laurie A. Green
3. Selene Grace Silver
Thanks for checking out our SFRShootingStars anthology, Cosmic Cabaret, Veronica! I'm currently reading the wonderful stories in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2!
Laurie A. Green
4. Rosalie Redd
Thank you for sharing our anthology on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog!
Laurie A. Green
5. Dena Garson
You're so awesome! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing for us!!
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