Every now and then I like to depart from the mainstream of contemporary romances that I usually read and pick up an erotic science fiction romance. These are not to be confused with something of say, an Arthur C. Clarke variety of sci-fi. Generally speaking they are rather irreverent fantasies, products purely of an author’s imagination with very little actual ‘science’ researched for the purposes of the story. However there are certain expectations I have when it comes to such a book. I want something with some decent, consistent and interesting worldbuilding. I want well written sex but not so much of it that it overtakes the story. And I want likeable characters whether they be human or alien – in other words, I want my aliens to have some recognizable human traits. Rayzor’s One, the first entry in Michele Mills’ Alien Bounty Hunters series of novellas, achieves all of these things, and is a sexy and fun escapist tale.
Bounty hunter Rayzor of Twelve knows he’s not supposed to pick up any rare indigenous species while on the trail of his latest prey, an insectoid alien race that likes to drop into backwater planets from time to time for a little feeding. But when the mandible lands on earth and goes after a human female, the latter’s strength and determination in fighting off his quarry make Rayzor take a second look. And then a touch. And that touch shocks him with the knowledge that she’s the one he’s been waiting for, the bride that he thought he’d never find.
Rebecca isn’t so sure about what is happening around her. First she gets booted out of a car by her date who is upset that she isn’t going to put out, and ends up on a lonely forested road in the dark. Then she seems to be stuck in a real life version of a scene from the movie Alien versus Predator. Except that the scary rather buff looking alien who defeats the really gross alien has now turned his attention on her. And for some bizarre reason, she’s okay with him kissing her. But that doesn’t mean she wants to go back to his planet with him! Where’s Mulder when you need him?! Stuck on Rayzor’s spaceship, Rebecca will soon have to choose whether she should trust the one man ..errr… alien… who wants a future with her (and is a wickedly talented lover) or if she should head for an escape pod while she still has the chance to get back to Earth.
Well, this is just what I hoped it would be. That is to say, it’s a fun, irreverent, sexy romp with some laugh out loud moments, eye rolling scenes and a case of alien/human insta-love. Rayzor, a Xylan, is humanoid enough to be attractive to Rebecca, and when he touches her skin for the first time it sends the same kind of signal to her body that he gets too – that she’s meant to be his bride and no one else will do. Both of them are virgins (because in Rayzor’s culture you only get one mate) but for an alpha male he does show a surprising sensitivity to Rebecca as a weaker human female and their first mating proves that he’s going to be careful with her. He also is pretty knowledgeable for a virgin, and Rebecca certainly won’t have any complaints in the pleasure department. (Once you go Xylan you never go back).
Because she doesn’t have a lot of ties to Earth it’s easy to accept the idea that going off with Rayzor in his ship isn’t going to be particularly heartbreaking for her (though she’s rightfully mad about not being given the choice). The worldbuilding is well done, interesting and inventive. Rayzor’s family history is delved into, as well as the current life he’s leading as a bounty hunter and why his feelings for Rebecca are so strong right from the start. Also, I love all the Star Trek and Star Wars references. (I caught that cheeky Han Solo one, by the way ;)). The steamy scenes are well written (as well written as sex with an alien can be) and there is enough conflict to make Rebecca and Rayzor have to make some tough choices if they want to stay together. You have to suspend your disbelief a little but that’s par for the course for this type of sci-fi romance (which admittedly is not going to be for everyone) and it holds up well compared with other stories in the genre. The couple gets their happy ending, and there is a cute epilogue too. I look forward to reading more set in this world.