NOTE: This post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.
Not surprisingly the signs of the Zodiac are often plot points in paranormal romance but some science fiction romance authors have found ways to incorporate them as well.
Starting with my personal favorite sign of the Zodiac because I’m a Libra, Stephanie West has a recent release Loving Libra in the multi author Astrological Mates series. Here’s how the series authors have defined their purpose for readers: “The planets have aligned in your favor. The constellations hold the key to finding a love that burns brighter than all the stars in the cosmos.” In author West’s book, Libra is actually the name of the male main character, an “alien born of dark matter”, trapped on Earth. He and his human neighbor Xen are attracted to each other and have all sorts of challenges to work through before the Happy Ever After ending. And there’s a cat!
Leo’s Captive by Sandra R. Neeley is another in the series and takes place after a huge event known as the Convergence has changed everything about living here. Jaci, an open minded human woman, is enjoying all the new opportunities involved in interstellar relations and trade when she gets into legal trouble and has to go on the run. Kasar, the Leo in question, doesn’t like Earth, doesn’t like humans and is generally grumpy. So guess whose ship Jaci stows away on and who he has to help. And fall in love with. There’s an HEA of course, after much adventure and angst.
Virgo’s Prize by Ella Blake delivers the science fiction adventure as well as the romance when human Lila, the Virgo at the center of the story, who is working at a bar on a space station needs help from an alien prince. It seems her “virgin” blood can cure a terrible disease afflicting his people but of course mutual enemies are in hot pursuit. Readers seemed to really enjoy this fast moving tale.
And the other signs of the Zodiac are covered by the rest of the authors in the series.
Returning to the sign of Libra, Tamar Sloan and Tricia Barr’s Zodiac Guardians superhero series leads off with Libra Ascending and then works its way through the Zodiac in eight more books. In the first novel Brielle, a human woman, finds out she has superpowers and there will be eleven others like her, who together must defend Earth from an approaching danger. Tristan, the new guy in town who is actually an alien, can explain it all to her and the plot arc is off and running. Book one ends in a cliffhanger, as apparently so do others in the series but book eight will be out in March and book nine in December. Reviews cite a Sailor Moon/Avengers feel to this series.
Romina Russell wrote a four book series set in the wider galaxy where the signs of the Zodiac were tied to aspects of the planets the heroes and villains called home. In the first book, entitled Zodiac, heroine Rhoma (Rho) Grace from the House of Cancer has to alert civilization to the menace posed by a mysterious villain. There are definitely space opera aspects to this series, with politics and terrorists and other complications galore. This one is not a romance and the heroine is only sixteen in the first book but readers gave it enthusiastic reviews.
January Bell has written a combination of elements of science fiction and fantasy with the Zodiac and added in romance in her Fated by Starlight series. The first book is Claimed by the Lion and the book’s blurb explains matters succinctly: “Wishing on a falling star is supposed to be a silly family tradition. It’s definitely not supposed to send me and my sisters to another dimension. When I wake, my sisters are gone, and in their place? A prehistoric-sized lion… who shifts into a man. He insists I’m his fated mate. Yeah, right. I’m desperate to find my sisters and get back to Earth. But when his touch triggers magic in me, he’s sure it’s proof we’re destined. Whatever the power is, it attracts a creature out for my blood… and my sisters’. According to Ras, only mating will unlock my full powers and keep me safe.” Currently there are three books to devour, each featuring a different couple.
For something even more out of this world there’s Cherry Pickett’s Flirting with the Zodiac series, which focuses on male alien shifters (the Zodiac is represented by physical characteristics of the aliens), adventure, romance and male pregnancy (Mpreg). The first book is Hook, Line and Sinker featuring Half-Piscean Ty Metzler with “seahorse biology” who attempts to help his best friend Lawrence hang onto his place in the line for a big family inheritance. Currently there are six books in the series, with the most recent involving a bird shifter and the laying of eggs. The author is endlessly creative with the alien characters.
I’ll finish this post with Mina Carter’s Zodiac Cyborgs series. The Zodiac tie-in comes with each “class” of cyborgs and what they were designed to do or specialize in. The first book is kind of a prequel, Cyborg’s Price and I’m like many readers in that I loved it and wanted more but this is a short book. Book two, Cyborg Concealed gets the reader more into the series where the cyborgs are feared, hated, banned, on the run and Johnny Ram an Aries-7000 series hides in plain view as a mega successful male stripper whose best on stage routine is pretending to be a cyborg…because he actually is one. This book has “Magic Mike” vibes for sure. Johnny also pretends to be a sexbot in the course of the novel. And again, he actually is a deadly cyborg.
Ms. Carter writes extremely well, over-the-top hot and spicy and puts it all out there on the page for the reader. (Fans self.) The romance is great in her Zodiac cyborg books but be ready for those steamy scenes and details.