Series: Aldebarian Alliance #3
Published by Tantor Audio on January 18, 2022
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Length: 11 hrs 30 min
Source: Tantor Audio
I received this book for free from Tantor Audio 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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Ava has always been different. Born with strong telepathic abilities, she lives a very isolated life until she is offered a job with an obscure network that aids powerful Immortal Guardians in their quest to protect humanity from the psychotic vampires who prey upon them. Suddenly, she doesn't feel so different. For the first time in her life, Ava has found a place where she belongs. She's happy. Life is good. And when her employers invite her to join a group of other gifted ones and a handful of Immortal Guardians on a journey to another planet, it becomes absolutely fantastic.
In no time at all, she is speeding across the galaxy aboard a Lasaran warship manned by two amazing alien races. It's the dream of a lifetime... until a vicious attack by a mutual enemy of Lasara and Earth lands her alone in an escape pod with no habitable planet in sight and only one ship within range: one that carries the enemy who wants to know why the bioengineered virus they released on Earth long ago didn't exterminate humanity and leave the planet ripe for their claiming.
Jak'ri doesn't know how long he has been a prisoner aboard the Cebaun, but he fears the enemy's twisted experiments will soon lead them to a virus that will eradicate the Purveli people. Despair grips him until a female from Earth is taken captive and reaches out to him telepathically. The gift that Ava said caused her such misery in the past soon becomes his salvation as the two of them form a fast friendship. Determined to distract each other from the horrors of their existence, they immerse themselves in telepathic communion during the day, then seek solace and adventure together in shared dreams. As their friendship deepens into love, the two hatch a daring plot to escape their captors. But the enemy will not let them go without a fight.
Can Ava and Jak'ri stand against so many and emerge victorious?
Dianne Duvall creates so many unforgettable characters and such impressive world building. I simply can’t get enough of her Immortal Guardians and now her Aldebarian Alliance.
Before the Larsaran Warship, the Kandovar, is destroyed while traveling in the ghov’rum (wormhole), Ava makes it to an escape pod. But somehow Ava ends up all alone in her pod and after the explosion Ava’s pod is thrown far from any Alliance world or ship. She is drifting for weeks hoping for some kind of rescue but that rescue comes in the form of an enemy ship. The Gathendiens have found Ava and have brought her on their ship. She tries fighting them off but as simply a gifted one, she lacks the speed and skill of an Immortal Guardian, and is swiftly outnumbered by the Gathendiens.
Centuries ago, the Gathendiens released a virus on Earth in an attempt to kill of all the life forms and take over the planet and its riches for themselves without bothering with a messy battle. That virus is what created the vampires and Immortal Guardians. They attacked the Kandovar to get their hands on the Earthlings traveling to Lasara. Now they have Ava in their possession and they want to find out why their virus has failed to kill off the Earthlings as planned. Ava knows why their plan failed and what they will find once they start drawing her blood but there is nothing she can do to stop them from learning why gifted ones are different from the other humans on Earth.
Ava isn’t the only one on the Gathendiens’ ship being experimented on. Jak’ri and his brother Zev’ri were abducted from their planet Purvel. As is their usual plan, the Gathendiens are trying to create a virus to release on Purvel to do what it failed to do on Earth. They have been experimenting on the brothers for awhile. Jak’ri and Zev’ri have given up trying to escape the Gathendiens torture. Every time they tried, they failed and then the Gathendiens would use pain on the other sibling to punish them. They have even dosed the brothers with a drug to keep them from mentally communicating. Jak’ri’s only escape from his pain are his dreams of his home world and spending time at his favorite spot on Runaka Point. What he isn’t expecting as he falls into his favorite dream, is to find an Earth woman wandering around and waiting for him there.
As a gifted one, Ava has the ability to communicate telepathically, but as someone so young, she cannot control being pulled into someone else’s dreams when she falls asleep. She is amazed to find herself on a lovely planet which is clearly not Earth when she remembers being in a prison cell. She is surprised to find out that she isn’t the only prisoner aboard the ship. Being able to communicate with Jak’ri and his brother helps dampen Ava’s fear and spending time with Jak’ri in his dreams keeps them both sane.
When they finally have a chance to escape, Jak’ri and Ava take it, but they know it won’t be long before the Gathendians come looking for them and their only hope is that an ally will also hear their distress call and get to them first. They just have to survive long enough on the planet surface for someone to find them.
Dianne Duvall writes such great characters and we love Ava, Jak’ri and Zev’ri from the moment we meet them. That makes it all the worse while we have to watch them all being cut up, experimented on and tortured just like when Taelon was by the Earth scientists in The Lasaran. We do get a break from all the torture and pain while Ava and Jak’ri become close in their shared dream on Purvel. I also like that not all of the aliens we are meeting in this series are simply cookie-cutter humans from different planets. The Purvelis have slightly iridescent scales for skin and as they spend a lot of time in the water, they also have the use of gills and slight webbing on their hands and feet for swimming. While these differences aren’t enough to make it an uncomfortably awkward interspecies romance, it is enough to show that “human” isn’t the default of all planets.
Dianne uses the background of a scifi to create exciting new worlds for us to visit that have their own interesting and sometimes dangerous creatures. Not to say that the Immortal Guardian series is boring, because I am all in for more of those, but that involves normal, everyday Earth/vampire problems. This series allows a writer’s imagination to go wild creating new situations to place her characters and really, almost anything goes.
I loved that we brought our beloved gifted ones and Immortal Guardians into this new world building so we blend the familiar with boundless new possibilities for new characters and new worlds to explore. I am having so much fun exploring the galaxy through Dianne’s imaginative writing.
I am also enjoying listening to the audiobook presentation by Kirsten Potter. This is mostly because this is a spinoff series and unlike the Immortal Guardian series, I don’t already have the characters and voices already fixed in my head.
The audiobook also contained Chapter One of Book 4. I have to say that I have heard authors complain that fans keeps harassing them for the next book as soon as a new book is release. Really, this isn’t a bad problem to have. I also have to declare that they bring it upon themselves when they drop the next exciting chapter and leave you hanging for what will be many months. So it’s like chumming the water and thinking the shark isn’t going to jump out of the water at you. Silly authors. Write faster. We want more!
Authors need to take into account that some of us are driving while listening to audiobooks before they write scenes like this…
He drew his fingers down over her collarbones drifting closer to her breasts. “The muscles here on our women are often as developed as ours.”
Judging by the heated look in his eyes, he didn’t mind at all that she had breasts instead of muscular pecs. “And here.”
Her pulse picked up as he cupped her breasts. “You’re rounder here. Softer. Fuller.” He squeezed them gently and drew his thumbs across the hard, sensitive peaks. Ava sucked in a breath as sensation shot through her.
“Do that again.”
He brushed his thumbs across the tight buds again., toyed with them and gave an experimental pinch. Ava jerked and arched against him.
“You’re sensitive here,” he murmured.
His lips captured hers once more, tasting and tempting as he explored her breasts and ratcheted up her need. She and Jak’ri had been nearly bare with each other countless times in their dreams as they swam and cavorted in Rounaka Sea, but they had been out in the open and the dreams had felt so real that she would never have thought of doing her lustful inclinations there for fear of being discovered. Now, however, they were alone. They were free and the cave enclosing them might has well have been a Honeymoon suite at a secluded resort. So there was no reason for her to hold back. She moaned. Jak’ri certainly wasn’t holding back. The women of Purvel might not have breasts like hers, but he sure as hell knew what to do with them, teasing and tweaking and squeezing until she squirmed against him. Her breath shortening.
“Jak’ri,” she whispered, tunneling the fingers of one hand through his thick hair while she slid the other down his back and rocked against the thick, hard ridge concealed by his pants. “I want you.”
Nodding he trailed heated kisses down her neck. “I want you too.” One of his big hands left her breast and cupped her ass, grinding her against him. “Are you ready to release your eggs?”
Sensation shot through her. “Hmmm?”
“Are you ready to release your eggs so I can fertilize them?” he murmured, clutching her closer.
Her eyes flew open. “Wait, what?” She leaned back.
“I assume your reproduce the same way Purveli’s do,” he said, dragging his eyes up from her breasts to meet hers. “You release your eggs, then I fertilize them.”
She stared at him, stunned. Release her eggs? Did he mean like a…like a fish? Her gaze shot to the barely discernable scales that coated his broad chest and handsome face. Did Purveli’s not have sex the way humans and Lasaran’s did?
His lips twitched as his eyes danced with mirth. Relief filled her.
“Oh my gosh,” laughing Ava shoved one of his shoulders. “You are so bad.”
He laughed. “Apologies, I couldn’t resist. My scales seemed to fascinate you.”