I thought I’d talk about a few “first in series” science fiction romance novels. I wanted to talk about some series I haven’t mentioned before or not lately.
One series I don’t talk about enough is E. G. Manetti’s Twelve Systems Chronicles, a ten book completed series which has the world building and galactic sprawl of space opera, with a strong, slowly building romance at its heart. The mix is very satisfying and the author balances space battles with the more intimate scenes. Here’s the blurb from the first book The Cartel: “Where passion and duty collide. A woman in peril. A ruthless warrior with a hidden agenda. A society where honor is revered and trust a dangerous luxury. Raised to wealth and privilege, Lilian’s future was shattered when her father was convicted of terrible crimes. By law and custom she should have followed him into death to redeem her corrupt genetics. Desperate to avoid execution for crimes not her own, Lilian accepts an indenture contract with a powerful warrior. For three years he will have total control of her body, will and intellect. Lucius Mercio commands one of the most powerful Cartels in the Twelve Systems. As clever and ambitious as he his ruthless, Lucius’ wealth, influence, and power are place him among the elite of the warrior caste. It is not enough. Lucius intends to take his Cartel to unimaginable heights with the aid of Lilian’s brilliance. He faces only one obstacle. Lucius must keep Lilian alive.”
The recently released final book in the series, Thorn Bearer, ties up the entire adventure and has been extremely well reviewed.
For a less classic but enthralling scifi romance, there’s the USA Today Best Selling Author husband-and-wife writing duo Tiffany Roberts and their Spider’s Mate series. Yes, the hero of the three novels is indeed an alien spider. I’m normally not a reader who enjoys nonhuman heroes. I like my romance between humans or at least humanoids, and my steamy scenes the good old fashioned way, to put it politely. These authors are such excellent writers, however, that they can draw me in and make me care deeply about nonhuman characters, which they have done with Ketahn, the hero here. In book one Ensnared, he has quite a set of problems, as per the blurb: “Ketahn did not want a mate. Fate has a different plan for him. When the queen he despises declares her intention to claim him, he retreats into the jungle. What he finds there changes his world. Small, delicate, and pale skinned, Ivy Foster is nothing like the females Ketahn has known. She’s not of his kind at all. Yet the moment he sees her, he knows the truth in his soul—she is his heartsthread. And now that he has her, he won’t let anything take her away. Not the jungle, not the gods, not the queen and her warriors. Whether Ivy agrees or not, their webs are entangled. No one will ever sever those threads.”
The third and final volume, Bound, was recently released. I wouldn’t recommend this series to anyone who doesn’t enjoy dark themes and complicated “bedroom” scenes. Tiffany Roberts has a number of other series with more humanoid heroes which a reader could try first before moving on to the Spider’s Mate.
The Stryxian Alien Warrior series by Ella Blake is a scifi romance reader favorite (with great cover art too). The series stands at six books and I think she may write more in the future but each book can be read as a standalone. Bonded to the Stryxian was the first book and here is the blurb: “Humans made a deal with the Stryxian males: Help us defend Earth, and when the war is over, we’ll send you women to help rebuild your dying species. Now, the war appears to be over and Trinity Bentzer’s number has been called in the lottery. Only, instead of winning a boatload of money, she’s getting some badass winged alien she’s never met. Trin’s not thrilled to be shipped off and matched up, until she meets Raig. Maybe she hit the jackpot, after all.
Commander Raig Thanor’s job is to supervise the females’ move to their holding chambers until they are sent to their final matches, but the moment he meets Trinity, he knows she’s his. If only claiming her didn’t risk sparking a war within his own people.”
Reviewers compare the series favorably to those by Ruby Dixon and others and I’m always happy to see a new release. In the Stryxian universe.
I have a long running series myself, the Badari Warriors, about genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, whose DNA includes alien predator influences, and their human fated mates. The series is at seventeen books and still going but I recently began a spinoff, Badari Gladiators, with the first book being Kyden. The concept is that over the centuries of the Badari experiment, a few unscrupulous scientists sold off individual Badari to become gladiators in various interstellar communities where staged arena battles are fought for the entertainment of the masses. Kyden is one such unfortunate who has actually done well for himself but can’t obtain his freedom. Then by chance he meets his fated mate Elara, who is a senator’s daughter and therefore out of his reach. Or is she? I had a great time writing this book since I always loved the old sword-and-sandal movies about gladiators and it was fun to update the trope to futuristic scifi.
I’m hard at work on the second gladiator book now and hope to have it released in the next month, before turning back to the original Badari series to continue the story there.
VS: Two series I didn’t have space for in the original RDR post:
For a more light hearted scifi romance approach, there’s Cassandra Chandler’s Department of Homeworld Security, with fourteen books to date. Book one, a novella, was Gray Card and here’s the blurb: Is he after her heart or her planet? Evelyn Chambers is a nerdgirl and proud of it. When she finds out that her drop-dead gorgeous best friend is an alien general with only three days left on Earth, she has to wrap her head around too much at once. Aliens are real, and if she wants to keep hanging out with one, she’ll have to marry him! Adam Smith has never seen a planet as beautiful as Earth or a woman as enticing as Evelyn. His government wants him to re-enlist, but when Evelyn suggests marriage to help him stay, Adam realizes that what he really wants is her—and he’ll sacrifice everything to be with her. Can he convince his government—and Evelyn—that he’s looking for more than a Gray card?
Then there’s Raider Warlords of the Vandar, by Tana Stone, with six books to date. Full of steamy scenes and suspense! The first was Possessed and here’s the storyline: I sacrificed myself to save my sister’s ship. Now the raider warlord owns me. It was my own fault. I was the navigator of our ship, and I’m the one who led us straight into Vandar territory. We’d heard rumors about the Vandar raiders—everyone in the galaxy had. Terrifying and ruthless, they were a scourge on the Zagrath empire and destroyed everything in their path. Few had actually laid eyes on the Vandar or the notorious warlords who led their fleets of warships—and survived to talk about it. So, when the ruthless aliens boarded our ship intent on destroying it and killing the crew, I did the only thing I could do. I gave myself to the dark and menacing warlord. In exchange for allowing my sister’s ship passage out of the Vandar territory, I must share his bed and travel with his crew of deadly raiders. Even though the sight of the huge, battle-scarred alien terrifies me. But as I adjust to my new life on a savage warship, I discover that the dominant alien warrior wants more than just my body. He wants to possess my soul. And he’ll make a new deal with me to get it.
Wishing you many hours of happy reading in 2022!