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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

***** Parallel Heat by Deidre Knight. Contemporary paranormal romance.

Wow, wow, wow. A million thanks to Ms. Knight for bringing these to my attention. Or maybe just for writing a series that pushes my buttons so well. Either way.

Parallel Heat lives up to the promise of its predecessor, Parallel Attraction, and then some. It picks up where the previous book left off... well, allowing for the changes due to mucking about with time and parallel realities.

Marco, the royal protector and redeemed traitor from Parallel Attraction, meets King Jared's cousin Thea, and they're unexpectedly attracted to each other. It's a different thread of time--things are happening differently than they did in Parallel Attraction, but both Marco and Thea get disturbing visions of themselves and each other from other realities--visions of being lovers, and of being bitter and angry.

Those visions are only one of the factors keeping Marco and Thea apart. Thea is still rather heartsore from the loss of her presumed match with Jared, though she's slowly starting to respect and like her new queen. Worse, like Jared, she's a rare dual being, and she needs someone who can accept both sides of her, something experience has taught her not to expect. For Marco, there's a conflict between his duty as royal protector and the fact that Thea is royalty. Worse, he has a secret that's made him vow to remain celibate.

The romance, complex though it is, is only part of the story. The Antousians, the other alien race (our heroes are Refarians), are set to invade Earth. The humans, however, don't know the difference between the races, and Jared's people have to try to protect the humans while protecting themselves from the humans. Jared's right hand man, Scott, is taken prisoner, but they get help from an unexpected source: Hope, a blind human linguist.

We'd been talking elsewhere about romance trilogies and how the main couple in each book gets the spotlight, often making the other characters seem dull in comparison. That doesn't happen in this book. The romance is between Marco and Thea, but neither Jared and Kelsey (from Parallel Attraction) nor Scott and Hope (from, please, a future book) get short shrift. Their scenes are just as developed and their characters are just as interesting as Marco and Thea's. In that respect, this is more a science fiction series with romance than a romance series with science fiction.

Which is not to remotely suggest that the romance/YEC takes a back seat. It's just that we get in-depth, realistic emotions from all of these characters. Kelsey learns what it means to be queen, and she and Jared deal with the problem of fertility, and the issues of their alien/human pairing. Scott has issues about his Antousian/human background, and Hope deduces on her own that they are aliens, as well as dealing with her rapidly impending blindness.

Again, I absolutely loved the parallel realities and time travel. And I loved how pivotal events still occurred, but with different motivations, different meanings. It's like mental coffee: addicting, irresistible, and stimulating.

I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief that Parallel Seduction is due out in April. To say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement.


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Sounds like a book I would enjoy, thanks for the tip.
You guessed my name right last week! see today's TT :)
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