Published by Entangled Publishing
Copy for review provided by Entangled in exchange for an honest review.
Specialist Amanda Sumner is one of the first to make contact on the Earth-like planet Harp and discovers she's the only Earthling, who can hear the trees sing in the strange forest. Determined to remain and learn more of the planet’s secrets, Amanda sets out to become part of the elite Guild there...
But there is a secret involving some Guild members–one that could get her killed.
Shifter Rhodry de Mendoza wants the Earthlings off his planet before they destroy it—even if that means denying what he feels for the fierce and lovely Amanda. The pair is thrown together in what becomes a fight for their lives. And they might just lose everything–including each other–in their battle for the right to live in peace
This exciting romance, a blend of science fiction and paranormal fantasy is the story of Amanda and Rhodry. When Amanda’s starship discovers that the earthlike planet Harp contains a colony of earth descendants, she’s the first in line to want to explore the new world, her ship bound status something she’s never quite gotten used to despite being born there. At every opportunity, she’s explored the new worlds they’ve discovered and this one looks especially intriguing, even more so because the lush green forests seem to be speaking to her on a personal level. She’s the only one on her ship who appears to have the ability to telepathically understand the Green as it’s called and to commune with their nature. The earth descendants they find are an intriguing blend of Irish and Spanish heritage and some carry a secret that she discovers – genetically altered men who can shift into the form of giant cats, a protection developed by earlier generations to ward off the dangerous animals on the planet. Rhodry, a mountain clan leader and shifter who is in the main city at the request of his king, holds the opinion of many on their world, that the last thing their planet needs is some interfering humans who might take their peaceful existence and destroy it. When Amanda makes it clear that she’s here to stay and learn more about the planet, including joining the special Guild that protects the Green, like all the other men he is skeptical of her intentions and her abilities. But Amanda is determined to prove them all wrong. When her mission gets sabotaged, it’s Rhodry who heads to her aid – but his own political enemies aren’t far behind and it will be a ruthless fight for survival for them both, amidst trying to deny the strong attraction they feel for each other. Can they survive long enough to contemplate a future together?
I really enjoyed this story! I found the blend of sci-fi and paranormal to be a really interesting mix of genres. The majority of the action takes place planet side, but Amanda’s character is greatly influenced by her shipboard upbringing, her drive to understand and explore new planets part of her desire to enjoy solitude and life outside of a ship. She has an absentee father who was said to have a green thumb, and this goes a long way to explain her unexpected ability to ‘hear’ the trees, and sense the life in the forests on Harp. Amanda comes across as a feisty, strong and independent woman. She’s always had to fight for what she wants and on Harp, this is no exception, her desire to join the Guild that protects the forests something that becomes almost an obsession for her. Rhodry is an equally engaging character, a strong, tough, mountain man who is mired in political intrigue as a result of the inheritance of his clan position from his grandfather. He’s loyal to his king, but not particularly pleased with being asked to serve him in the city, as it leaves his clan without their leader and vulnerable to internal attacks by those who would love to see him out of the picture. The two of them together made for an interesting pair, but I loved seeing them work through their attraction, and the respect and admiration that Rhodry develops for Amanda is heartfelt and honest. The romance between them is a slow burn, and things don’t heat up between them until later in the story, but it is set up with enough sexual tension that it keeps you turning the pages waiting for them to finally succumb to their attraction. And when they do, the scenes are steamy and emotional. Amanda’s fight to be accepted into the Guild and the tasks required therein lead to some tense and dramatic scenes, with lots of action and suspense. I found the whole story to be a real page turner.
There were several interesting secondary characters introduced in this story, and I’m really hoping that this is the start of a series, as at the end of the book I just wasn’t ready to let them go! The world building was wonderful, well detailed and easy to picture. If you’re a regular reader of sci-fi or paranormal romances and like some sexy scenes and intrigue on the side, this is definitely a book for you. 4.5 stars.