Tue
Oct 10 2017 8:30am

First Look: Embrace the Romance, Pets in Space 2 Anthology (October 10, 2017)

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 Anthology

Carol Van Natta, Alexis Glynn Latner, Jessica E. Subject, Sabine Priestley, Michelle Howard, et al.
Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2
Cats, Dogs, and Other Worldly Creatures / October 10, 2017 / $3.99 digital

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 releases on October 10, 2017, and in addition to loads of futuristic pet fun, this sci-fi romance anthology will help support a good cause. Here's the blurb:

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

So, what can romance readers, pet lovers, and romance reading pet lovers expect from Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2? Pull up a chair and I'll fill you in!

This anthology has a good variety in terms of characters, settings, plots, and (m/f) romance tropes. The stories will pretty much take you all over the known universe and I personally liked not knowing what to expect with each tale because it kept the reading fresh. Many of the stories are tied to the respective authors' existing series but stand on their own just fine. That said, most of the stories involve either dog-ish or bird type pets. So, if you're a dog/bird/flying reptile lover you're especially in luck!

Below are highlights from a few of the stories so you can get a taste of this anthology's flavors (no spoilers!).

Pet Trade by Carol Van Natta features an interracial romance, disabled characters, and diverse secondary characters, all of which made for an inclusive futuristic setting. Plus, the menagerie action is off the hook! This story features many inventive, adorable pets and explores themes related to genetic engineering and the horrors of animal exploitation. Another standout feature is the emphasis on the importance of consent as well as how challenging it can be to navigate falling in love when one half of the couple is still working through past trauma. It's a thoughtful story with a tender romance and fully detailed world.

The pet of Alexis Glynn Latner's Mascot is another inventive pet, primarily because it's a combination of—well, you should really discover that intriguing detail for yourself. Jesse Greenfinger's unusual nature fits in perfectly with the story's setting. Star Corner Station has seen better days and is run by a ragtag crew, but it plays an important role in a game of galactic chess, one driven by rival political factions. A looming hostile takeover makes it challenging to find time for romance, but Daya and Rik are determined to try. One neat aspect of the story is it delivers a strong sense of being on a vast, perilous mining station, one inhabited by all sorts of interesting characters.

Gib and the Tibbarby Jessica E. Subject is kind of like if Cinderella met a space warrior instead of a prince and had a cute ball of white fluff for a companion instead of mice. The setting mixes a medieval flavored culture with futuristic elements. The hero may be a big, bad Alpha soldier, but he's not afraid to get his hands dirty—in more ways than one, heh.

Sensate by Sabine Priestley tackles the premise of a sentient A.I. who wants to be a pet rather than a human. Only the heroine, a scientific genius, has the resources and knowledge to take on the challenge of transforming the hero's longtime A.I. companion into a flesh and blood being. Nothing in science is 100% certain, however, which places Ru's existence in jeopardy the moment the project begins. Marco and Zara circle around each other, wondering if they should rekindle their romance from a decade earlier. Zara has every reason to be wary since Marco, an Earth Protector and unapologetic playboy, left her high and dry because he fears commitment. She still holds a torch for him against her better judgment. Ru's desire to become real in the tradition of Pinocchio brings the two back together again, making for an interesting launching point for a second chance romance.

Wired for Love by Michelle Howard features a heartwarming angle on the concept of “man's best friend.” It stars a genetically enhanced, cybernetic dog who fell on hard times after losing his former partner, a human soldier. When smuggler heroine Narelle brings the sickly mongrel to the hero's bar, the encounter raises the specter of old demons that haunt him. Hunter is a grizzled war veteran with a heart of gold and while he's in love with Narelle, he's reluctant to connect with a dog he thinks could never truly be his. Honestly, this story is ultimately more about the bond between human and pet than anything else. I mean, come for the steamy romance and hero-saving-the-heroine action, but stay for the joy that comes with having a loyal, loving, and fiercely protective pet.

Star Cruise: Songbird by Veronica Scott* is a little bit like the film The Bodyguard—if the singer was a performer in the vein of Lady Gaga! The hero is a security officer for the space cruise ship Nebula Zephyr. He's attempting to get his bearings after departing the Sectors Special Forces. Heroine Karissa Dawnstar is in the clutches of an evil manager who's trying to control her music empire. It's a recipe for a forbidden romance and features Grant's nifty pet Valkyr, a majestic bird with an unusual pedigree. Along with a mystery element, the story has fun with depicting the Karissa's colorful, over-the-top outfits and gravity-defying concerts. The last line of this story especially is oh-so-romantic and a perfect encapsulation of the anthology's theme.

And there you have it—a sampling of the adventures you can expect from the sci-fi romance anthology Pets in Space 2. Happy reading!

*Veronica Scott, in addition to being an author is also a reviewer for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

***

Learn more about or order a copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 by Carol Van Natta, Alexis Glynn Latner, Jessica E. Subject, Sabine Priestley, Michelle Howard, et al., available now:

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Heather Massey seeks out sci-fi romance adventures and writes about them for Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.

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4 comments
Laurie A. Green
1. Laurie A. Green
Thanks for that wonderful sampling of stories and for help getting the word out to help Hero Dogs!
wsl0612
3. wsl0612
Even though I'm firmly on TeamCat*, this sounds really good. Thanks for sharing!

*don't tell them but I contribute to all animal causes ;-)
Kareni
4. Kareni
This sounds like a fun anthology. Thanks for the First Look!
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