Talon is the elite of his kind, one of the proud, beautiful Kuryeen. So he cannot understand how he ended up under the command of barbarian Earthbreed Liam Grey. Ace fighter pilot Liam is the sort of untamed brute that Kuryeen females pretend to have no interest in —but they always look.
Talon finds Liam’s so-called boyish charm childish. Liam is brash, brazen, shameless — qualities not valued by the Kuryeen. To the warrior, pride is everything and Talon would choose death before shame. Talon is afraid of Liam and cannot say why. Friendly, cheerful Liam is no one his wingman should fear. So why does Talon’s guard go up the first moment Liam brushes near him? Talon only knows that his commander presents a threat to him beyond his ability to resist.
Talon is a Kuryeen and what a specimen he is. Gorgeous, red-bronze skin with tattoos in alien patterns in strategic areas on his body, even the most intimate parts, and the longest black hair that Liam had ever seen. When Liam is told that Talon would be his new wingman he thought nothing of it other than getting the job done, although he felt that Talon took himself too seriously and was too good looking for his own good, but this was a trait of his proud race. As the days pass and they get to know each other Talon tries not to get close to Liam, which is difficult living in such close quarters and being responsible for each other’s life and safety.
Liam noticed that as time went on Talon was getting increasingly remote and averse to being touched by him, until eventually he locked himself in his cabin and refused to eat or come out. When Lian breaks his door down he finds his wingman on the point of committing a Kuryin ritual suicide. Apparently Talon wanted death before dishonour because he had imprinted on his desired mate or life partner, Liam, and since this was unacceptable because homosexuality was unheard of among his caste, Talon’s horror and shame required that he remedy the situation the only way a high caste Kuryeen would, by killing himself.
The first book I read by Jez Morrow, Shadow of a Wolf, illustrated her lovely prose and she did not disappoint me this time either, as her language was just as poignant and discerning. The two protags were great characters – Liam is the typical alpha male, big, brash, open demeanor, oozing brazen self confidence – the kind of man other men like and to whom women are drawn. Talon on the other hand is aesthetic looking, classical good looks yet untamed with all of his caste tattoos – definitely a haughty warrior. When these two personalities clashed it was the typical rock and a hard place. The secondary characters were three dimensional and they were all likeable. The world building was incredible and even the battles were realistic given the constraints of this short format, and if you like the genre you will appreciate the action sequences.
I wondered how this author would pull out a HEA for this couple with the major obstacles to their romance, and I was pleased that she didn’t sell out but came up with a conclusion that did not negate the integrity of the story.
I really like this book and if you are a lover of the genre I think you will too.