My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it - recommend (B)
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
I received an e-copy of this title from the publisher for the purposes of an honest review.
Brooke returns home after a long day at work, expecting her boyfriend to propose. Instead, she discovers that what he meant by taking "the next step" was a ménage with a female coworker. After kicking them both out, Melina returns to explain that she only agreed to the ménage because she is attracted to Brook. Soon the pair are become friends and much more.
Brook's father is a bigwig at Planet Core, the corporation that controls the city and everyone in it. When he threatens Melina with the secret knowledge of her illegal relationship with Brook, he forces her on mission after mission and uses her to do his dirty work. Unfortunately, that includes sleeping with coworkers to get them removed from research teams.
The first part of the novella is actually a prequel of sorts to the first book in the series, Never Gonna Give You Up. In the first book, we find Melina, a mission commander of an off-world exploration, already three years into her work that took her away from Brook. Soon the novella fast-forwards three years and takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first story.
Although the dialogue reads pretty simply, the premise behind the story is exciting. Corporate coverup and domination. This story reads MUCH better than the first in the series, and one could enjoy it as a stand alone. However, I am glad that Never Gonna Desert You tied the two stories together, bringing back Calla and Erik from the first book and explaining the "behind the scenes."
The focus of the story is the romance between Brook and Melina, which was shared successfully. The pair had to overcome many obstacles, including Brook's diabolical father. Since this was a novella, the author didn't have a lot of room to delve deeply into their issues, but she handled the adversity directly and didn't leave any matters off to the side. Brook and Melina confronted their demons, and this helped create more enjoyable characters.
The coverups and conspiracies hinted around in the first book were brought forward directly in Never Gonna Desert You. We learn more about the Underground and its mission. We find out what Planet Core is really up to. This aspect of the story and series is interesting and definitely NOT over. Planet Core - or at least its leaders - is an evil force that the Underground must take on in order for there to be peace and happiness. I look forward to Brook confronting her father and the Underground taking on Planet Core in future installments.