To wrap up my recent foray into cyberpunk romance, I’d like to tag Jeanette Grey's UNACCEPTABLE RISK for you. To refresh your memory, here’s the story description for this e-novella:
She may learn to live for love…if vengeance doesn’t kill her first.
Plix spends her lonely, gritty life trying to solve the mysteries her father left behind. Armed with a variety of cybernetic enhancements and a talent for getting into places she shouldn’t be, she searches for clues to his murder—and who’s responsible for poisoning her city.
Waking up on a street corner with her brain wiring fried to a crisp, she figures she must have gotten close this time. There’s only one man she trusts to pull her back from the brink: a tuner who can retrieve the evidence hidden deep in the recesses of her mind. A man she dares not let too close to her heart.
When Edison downloads a secret SynDate schematic from Plix’s burnt-out circuitry, he knows with dreadful finality that nothing—not even the fiery kiss he’s been holding back for years—will stop her from pursuing her quest past the point of insanity.
All he can do, as he helps her plan her final mission, is ease her pain, watch her back…and hope one of them doesn’t pay with their lives.
Here are my non-spoiler tags, in no particular order:
*Bleak, post-apocalyptic setting; environmental disaster
*Story scope: narrow. UNACCEPTABLE RISK has a narrow scope in that it focuses on a specific time period in Plix’s quest. It felt like the final act in a much larger drama. There are pros and cons to this approach depending on how much worldbuilding you like in your sci-fi romance. Speaking of...
*Worldbuilding: The cyberpunk elements were front and center and played a key role in the story. They were smart but also accessible.
There are only hints of how the general society in this world operates. It felt a little fuzzy to me as I wasn’t sure of the relationship between a cybernetically enhanced person such as Plix (e.g, were there many others like her? Or was she a prototype of sorts?) and general society (e.g., do non-cybernetically enhanced people know about her or others like her? If so, do they accept them or view them as inferior?). However, if you prefer more of a character-driven romance, then that aspect might work in your favor.
*Entire story is told from heroine’s point-of-view
*Heroine is non-traditional for romance in that her body does not resemble a Victoria’s Secret model in any way. Physically, she’s extremely scarred and that detail contributes to the overall gritty feel of this story.
*Highly introspective; low action-adventure quotient; atmospheric
*The maintenance of the cybernetic enhancements is described in all of its gory, glory detail
*Beta hero is a computer expert with a side helping of medical expertise
*Friends-to-lovers romance with lots of angst
*SF-romance ratio: about 60:40 (the story is driven largely by the external plot, plus we don’t get to know too much about Edison beyond his devotion to Plix)
*Who saves who: both hero and heroine score heroic moments
*Heat level: non-erotic; low-key sexual tension; sensual
I hope my tags for UNACCEPTABLE RISK enhance your science fiction romance adventures!