Series: Aldebarian Alliance #1
Published by Dianne Duvall on April 21, 2020
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall brings readers the first novel in a thrilling new sci-fi series full of action, intrigue, humor, and romance.
Taelon searches the galaxy for his younger sister, who mysteriously disappeared while on a diplomatic mission. When an ally reveals that she was seized and is being held prisoner on Earth, Taelon descends upon the blue planet, intent on freeing her and exacting vengeance. However, all does not go as planned. Before he can find her, Taelon is captured and becomes the subject of torturous experiments. For what feels like an eternity, all he knows is pain and fury… until a mind tentatively touches his own and a woman’s voice forever changes his world.
After suffering tragic losses, Lisa is finally beginning to carve out a future for herself when chance sends her to the Anomalous Cognition Research Institute. What at first appears to be a benign organization seeking participants for a psychic study instead turns out to be a government facility harboring a much darker intent. Lisa discovers this too late and soon becomes the unwilling subject of a terrifying experiment. Just as fear and desperation threaten to consume her, a deep, compelling voice penetrates the looming insanity and lends her hope.
Having seen only the worst of humanity, Taelon is shocked when Lisa risks everything to free him. Together the two make their escape, and Taelon finds himself fascinated by the small human woman who—despite all she’s suffered—can still laugh and tease and lure smiles from him. Friendship swiftly grows between them as they work together to evade soldiers intent on capturing them and find themselves hunted by mystifying preternatural beings. Through it all, Lisa steadfastly remains by his side, stealing more of his heart each day while she helps him unravel the mystery of his sister’s fate. Can they find his sister before the hunters find them? If they survive their quest, will Taelon have to bid Lisa farewell… or can he coax her into leaving her planet and joining him for the adventure of a lifetime?
Dianne Duvall once again weaves her magic giving us a tale filled with excitement, romance and introducing us to new friends in a galaxy far away.
Spoiler Alert. There are spoilers from this and previous stories discussed.
After all this time, we finally have a name for the man who baby Adira, even in the womb, would see being tortured. Even Seth never realized what the connection Adira had to this mystery man which would make her visions so strong. Taelon came to this planet to find his missing sister, only to find himself falling prey to the same butchers who tortured her endlessly, dissecting her and cutting off toes. But unlike Ami, whose silent screams drew Seth and David to her rescue, Taelon’s torture and Adira’s visions of it left them frustrated and confused and left Taelon to suffer endless procedures for years.
But it isn’t just space aliens who have to fear the U.S. government and their secret labs, Lisa Holt was just trying to make a little money to help her supplement her income while she as attending college. She had signed up for several silly test groups already when she found the one to study psychic abilities. They were offering good money and she hoped she could get at least one paycheck before they figured there was nothing special about her. Lisa went to the Anomalous Cognition Research Institute and never realized that there was anything fishy about their program until it was much, much too late. She woke to find that she has lost several months of her life and being kept locked in a room being told one story after another, each of which she knew instinctively were all lies.
When Lisa hears a voice calling out to her, it takes her a moment to realize that she is hearing it in her head and another moment to realize it was actually real. Lisa and Taelon both promise that they won’t leave the other behind if an opportunity arrives to ever escape. After years of torture, Taelon never imagined he would find compassion on this barbarian planet. Unbeknownst to either of them, the Immortal Guardians were about to take over the lab to rescue their own and give them an opportunity for escape. But not knowing that the parties attacking could be trusted, Lisa and Taelon make their own escape while the battle rages around them.
Even after days on the run, Taelon is still not healing like he should and he still can’t contact his ship, but he isn’t leaving this planet without finding his sister, and as his feelings grow toward Lisa, he hopes that he can convince her to come with him when he returns to Lasara.
We know how Death in Darkness ended so we also know that any encounter Lisa and Taelon have with the “men in black” (the Immortals and the Network) isn’t going to get them the help they need and we have to wait to see how they find their way to David’s doorstep. It is quite emotional when Taelon finally does find Ami. We know from the end of Night Reigns that Marcus told Ami that he would be willing to leave with her if she ever had an opportunity to and wanted to return to her home planet. Would Ami take Marcus and Adira and go back with Taelon? Would Lisa agree to go? If they decided to stay on Earth, would Taelon stay here with them?
Are you still here? (Psst…spoilers)
My only disappointment with this story was that there was so much to cover that some aspects were a bit rushed. Between Taelon’s capture and torture, what leads to Lisa’s capture and what she goes through, escaping and running from all possible threats, trying to find Ami, Taelon and Ami’s reunion, the time he spends a David’s house and finally…you are still reading so…their travel to Lasara which isn’t without danger of its own. It was a lot of story to get to and some things were rushed, such as Lisa and Taelon’s bonding and promise to free the other if they got loose. I expected to have a get-to-know-you while suffer endless torture continuing for a while but that was quickly covered. I guess is you are locked up and tortured and someone whispers in your head that they are locked up and tortured too, you are a big jerk if you get free and leave them behind. Really, that’s it for my complaints about this story, except my mental monologue of “They can help you. You can trust them.” each time they encountered the Network or the Immortal Guardians and then ran the other way. And don’t think I didn’t notice that there were not one word about Cliff who was on the edge of a psychotic break in DoD.
Everything about this story was amazing. We had escaping the lab in the middle of a battle. We had being on the run. We had sibling reunions. We had romance. We have travel into the stars and meeting a whole new cast of characters. We even end with a few pages of Book 2, which I shouldn’t have read because NOW I NEED BOOK 2!!!! YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE ME THERE! OH MY GOD! GIMME, GIMME, GIMME!
Dianne Duvall never disappoints. I have fallen in love with each and every character she has written for us. Every story from Dianne has been amazing whether it was an Immortal Guardian or a Gifted One and now the Aldebarian Alliance. I am excited for each and every story she gives us and can’t wait for more.
HAVE I MENTIONED SPOILERS!
When she opened her eyes, moisture glimmered in them. “You’re so damn sweet.”
“Not sweet,” he denied. “Just concerned about you. Please, don’t weep.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just…stupid hormones.”
He didn’t know what that meant, but didn’t wish to distress her further by asking. “Don’t apologize. On my planet, tears are not viewed as a weakness but as a natural expression of one’s emotions and an ordinary response to pain or stress.”
“Your planet sounds pretty awesome.”
“It is.” He flashed her a grin. “Except for the no-touching part.”
She laughed. “Yeah. That would suck.” Drawing in a couple of deep breaths she seemed to calm. Her tears receded. Her shoulders straightened as she again met his gaze. “Okay. You know they took samples from you, right? The doctors you call butchers?”
“Yes. And they are butchers. No medic on my planet would purposefully inflict such harm on another.” The Earth doctors were apparently no better than the Gathendiens, who were considered the scourge of the galaxy.
“And you know they took all kinds of samples, right?” she continued. “I mean…all kinds.”
He frowned. “Yes.” He hoped she wouldn’t ask for a list or a description. Some had been beyond humiliating.
“Well…” She chewed her lower lip, something he now realized was a nervous habit. “They, uh…” She cleared her throat. “They put one of your samples in me.”
He stared at her, uncomprehending. “What?”
Her hand tightened around his. And he could actually feel her anxiety increase even though he wasn’t an empath. “They impregnated me with some of your sperm,” she uttered starkly.
Taelon’s mind blanked.
A full minute passed.
“Taelon?” Lisa prompted tentatively.
She smoothed her free hand over her belly. “They impregnated me with your sperm. I’m carrying your baby.”
He lowered his gaze to the large mound. When her meaning finally sank in, his heart stopped, then began to slam painfully against his ribs. “You’re breeding?”
“You’re carrying my child?” he asked, needing to ensure nothing was lost in translation.
“Yes,” she admitted, voice husky.
Awe filled him as he stared at the mound that sheltered his child. His child!
The Gathendiens had unleashed a virus on Lasara almost a century ago that had rendered almost all females either infertile or incapable of carrying a baby to term. Were their people not so long-lived, they would be nearly extinct. Taelon’s mother was one of the few who had retained her fertility and bore him twenty years later, then Amiriska thirty years after that. He had never in his lifetime seen a pregnant woman. Not on his planet. Not in person. Only in pictures when his instructors in school had taught them about reproduction. Any woman who managed to conceive was immediately transported to a medical facility run by their allies, the Sectas, who were more advanced medically than his own race.
Even when he ventured to other planets for war games and on diplomatic missions, Taelon spent most of his time with warriors and negotiating with other rulers and diplomats. And when he did manage to secure time to rest and fraternize, the women who pursued him were all single and covetous of the prestige bonding to a member of the Lasaran royal family would bring them. None were already mated or breeding.
Releasing Lisa’s hand, he reached toward her belly, then hesitated. He glanced up. “May I touch it?”
Taelon gently settled a hand on the mound.
Her lips twitched. “It’s okay. You don’t have to be so careful.” Covering his hand with her much smaller one, she pressed it firmly against her.
Something thumped against his palm.
He sucked in a breath.
Her lips twitched. “The baby kicks a lot.”
Shifting onto his knees, he scooted closer and cupped her belly with both hands. Again, he felt movement. A startled laugh escaped him as he looked up at her. “That’s really my baby in there?”
“Our baby,” she said. “They fertilized my egg with your sperm.”