Title: Bane (Strain #2)
Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 21, 2015
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 279
Reviewed by: Brooklyn
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.

Rhys Cooper’s unique immunity to all three strains of the virus that nearly annihilated humanity has brought him the unwanted attention of Clean Zone scientists. They’ve summoned him for testing—ostensibly in the hopes of finding a vaccine—but Rhys’s partner, Darius Murrell, has good reason not to trust any government. He and his comrades in Delta Company were unwitting test subjects for Project Juggernaut, the military experiment that gave them superhuman abilities and unleashed the pandemic. Doubting the government’s intentions, Delta Company refuses to let Rhys go alone.

Fear of infection has kept Zach Houtman and his lover Nico Fernández apart for a decade. They meet rarely, just long enough to coordinate their spying on the head of the government’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood is a vicious predator, and they suspect he’s trying to acquire the strain of the virus that would make him superhuman. To stop him, they need the perfect bait: Rhys.

For Rhys, helping them might cost him his relationship with Darius—or his life. For Zach and Nico, even if their plan succeeds, they still face the ultimate question: can infected and uninfected people ever live together safely?

While this is book two in the series, there are two books that precede it in series order. The first two books can be read in any order, but I highly recommend reading this book after reading the other two.

While this book focuses primarily on Rhys and Darius from book one, Zach and Nico from Juggernaut (#0.5) play important roles and we do get to see more of their story.

Rhys and company arrive at the Clean Zone, because they are “interested in studying him” after learning he is immune to all the strains of the Bane virus. There, he meets Zach and Nico, and learns that they have been trying to find out what the evil Secretary Littlewood is doing. When Rhys agrees to go in as bait to learn more, he discovers there is a worse evil than the one Delta Company saved him from. But this time around he’s able to defend himself. During his time in the research facility, he finally comes to terms with who he is and finds acceptance in himself.

Zach and Nico’s story is bittersweet and let me tell you! My heart about dropped at one point when I thought this couple was doomed. I’m so glad it didn’t go that way. After a scare of infecting Zach, Nico has pretty much stayed away from Zach for the past ten years. They have only seen each other once or twice a year and have not touched in all that time. What a horrible way to live! Zach finally convinces Nico to let whatever will happen happen. And it’s so great to finally see them together again.

And I loved how Amelia resolved Zach and Nico’s predicament. I just knew she wouldn’t leave this couple hanging and it worked out for everyone! Such a hopeful ending for all involved.

I didn’t want the book to end where it did. There was no HEA, but a definite possibility with a good HFN.

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Advanced Review Copy

An ARC of this book was provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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