Review: Collision Course by Zoe Archer

April 4, 2011

Collision Course

Author: Zoe Archer
Series: None
Publisher: Carina Press
ISBN: 9781426891458
Date Released: April 4, 2011
Format Reviewed: ePub
Source: ARC provided by publisher for review
Length: Novella (46.4K words, 326 KB in Kindle format)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction Romance

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Online blurb:
Mara Skiren is a scavenger, a black-market dealer. Blackmailed into helping Commander Kell Frayne infiltrate a treacherous corner of the galaxy, Mara learns that her biggest danger is from her sexy, by-the-book partner. She’s a loner with more than a few battle scars on her heart, but something about Commander Frayne stirs up her long-buried need for an intimate connection.

An ace pilot for the elite Black Wraith Squadron, Kell’s mission is to rescue a lost pilot and ship. Unable to deny his attraction to the beautiful, rebellious Mara, he decides bedding her would cool his ardor. But one taste is not nearly enough, and he finds himself sharing more of his real self with her than he has with anyone.

With deadly criminals on their heels and an increasingly dangerous assignment to complete, he’s starting to wonder…if they survived, could he let her go? And will Mara want to stay? (from publisher)

My opinion:
Mara was captured in a bar by the 8th Wing and blackmailed into carrying out a mission with Commander Kell Frayne, the best pilot of 8th Wing’s Black Wraith Squadron. Mara has only worked alone since she was able to buy her ship, the Arcadia, and desperately wants to keep it that way. Her history has given her a loathing and distrust of anything labeled “duty” or “expectation” but threats to imprison her and destroy her hard-won ship force her to go along with 8th Wing’s plan. While Kell is a handsome eyeful and she wouldn’t mind some nighttime recreation with him, she’s a scavenger and he’s 8th Wing and the two just don’t mix.

Kell has developed a protective shell of honor, duty and mission in which he lives his life ever since he joined 8th Wing and remade himself. He’s willing to work with the little scavenger, Mara, to carry out his mission but he’s determined to not let his nearly overwhelming lust for Mara take over. But when stuck inside her small ship for an extended period of time, Kell and Mara get to know each other in ways neither had anticipated and discover maybe scavenger and military pilot are not at such opposite ends of the spectrum. Could there be a way to succeed at their mission without losing each other?

In Collision Course, Ms. Archer does a great job of portraying Mara as a strong female who is completely equal to any man and more than many without crossing the line into the land of the “too strong to believe” Mary Sue heroine. I like that Mara is independent and likes it that way and isn’t shy about trying to keep control. She has fears and anxieties but hides them pretty well under her guise of being a hard-as-nails, highly successful scavenger.

Kell is a strong, elite pilot who fought his way up the ranks from literally nothing. He puts duty before self and starts out hating the idea that he would have to compromise with Mara but learns she makes a worthy adversary and a trusted partner.

Collision Course drew me in quickly and kept me reading, unwilling to put my reader down until I finished the story. There’s a lot of well-portrayed battle scenes as well as hot sex scenes throughout the story and Ms. Archer does a great job of portraying two strong personalities who take each other by surprise. All this in the midst of a science fiction universe that includes everything from scavenger bars to space anomalies to military shakedowns and to underdog freedom fighters. I really enjoyed this book and hope Ms. Archer writes more in this universe.

Collision Course does have a few things that kept it from being even higher rated for me but they are relatively minor overall and tended more toward overuse of foreign/made up terms that distracted more than built world immersion and that I thought a few things were a bit too stereotypical. I also had some questions about physics. My quibbles are, though, minor to the story overall which was fun, fast, sexy and immersive read.

I am always looking for good science fiction romances to review and I’m glad the blurb for this book caught my attention.

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