Author: Neena Jaydon
Reviewed by: Don
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: M/M Sci-fi
Summary: It’s lonely at the top for Commander Villam Elding, who has always ranked loyalty to the empire and career ambition over romance. He finds it easier to love ideas than people; without military life, he’s lost. Even so, it’s his close relationship with Kardiell, a popular officer, that tears him from his life. Those with competing ambitions try to take Villam hostage to leverage Kardiell’s soft spot for him. In the struggle, Villam crashes the small spacecraft he’s riding. All hands perish except he and Luke, his kidnapper.
Luke Sicinik travels the galaxy performing dirty missions for money to send home. Born on a desert colony abandoned by the empire, he has no love for imperial soldiers. He spent his childhood in a monastery which taught the evils of anything impractical or sentimental. Yet when he crawls from the destroyed spacecraft, his first instinct is compassionate: he drags Villam’s unconscious body free of the wreckage.
Stranded together on a wild planet, Villam and Luke know that survival means cooperation. A truce becomes trust, and trust turns to passion, as they struggle to find a new life together — just the two of them against an entire world.
Review: Villam Elding is totally devoted to the Imperial Empress. He’s following the rules and quickly climbing the chain of command. Ittuluke is a monk totally devoted to the harsh goddess Akuna. Taught that emotions are frivolous, he will take the occasional side job to send money back to his native desert world of Siglidunn. When these two very different and idealistic men come head to head on a kidnapping mission gone wrong and being deserted on an empty planet they can either kill each other or fall in love.
I enjoyed this debut novel and the huge disparity between these two powerful men so lost and alone together. Villam has never known anything but the military and never really took the time to get into a serious relationship. Luke has always relied on himself and lived under the repressive laws learned in the monastery that crippled him emotionally. I found the slow build up of first trust then friendship and finally love to be wonderfully penned. The story never lagged or got confusing and the sub-plot of Kardiell’s ferreting out just who had Villam eliminated wound perfectly around the main story taking place on the planet. The only real problem that I found with this story was the total lack of passion in the sex scenes even after Luke and Villam gave everything up for each other. This may have been intentional on Ms Jaydon’s part or she may just need to polish up her sex scenes. This is an author to watch for in the future as she matures as a writer. I suggest that any fan of sci-fi pick this book up and get lost in the universe.