Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Double Dose Of Deception

Here's a sci-fi romance double feature for you: DEEP DECEPTION by Cathy Pegau and NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU by Jessica E. Subject.

I was drawn to NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU because it's f/f. Lesbian SFR is still extremely rare so it tends to appear as a prominent blip on my radar.

This title is #2 in the author's The Underground series. It's probably best to read the stories in order. I forgot to check that detail going in (darn it!) and I'm guessing the setting was established in more detail in NEVER GONNA LET YOU GO. Anyway, I was keen to read another f/f sci-fi romance. Even more interesting was one part of the blurb, which I bolded:
Determined to find and bring back her girlfriend, Brook enlists in the next mission to the foreign planet, Airondelle. But the deception at Planet Core continues, and Brook doesn't realize the depth of her father's involvement until he orders her terminated. Struggling to stay alive, she quickly learns nothing is as she believed.

Will she ever find Melina? Or will Brook be stuck light years from home, alone, and with a fierce predator hunting her down?
Upon noticing the "deception" angle, the plot thickened for me because Cathy Pegau's DEEP DECEPTION, also f/f SFR, was already on my TBR pile. Did you notice the word "deception" is in the title? And guess what word shows up in the blurb?

Colonial Mining Authority agent Natalia Hallowell doesn’t always play by the rules, but she wouldn’t compromise a case either. Put on administrative leave under a cloud of accusation, with no support from her boss, Natalia seeks a little anonymous companionship at her favorite bar. But she’s surprised when the woman who catches her fancy starts buying her drinks.

Desperate, Genevieve “Gennie” Caine had no choice but to seduce, drug and tie Natalia to the bed to get her attention. With the Reyes Corporation after something she has, Gennie needs Natalia to open an investigation and distract them long enough for her to get off Nevarro.

Natalia doesn’t trust Gennie—despite the growing attraction between them—but the corporation’s suspiciously high profits convince her that they must be hiding something. But she has no idea just how deep the deceptions run….

[emphasis mine]

My goodness, look at all the deception afoot. It was a sign, I tell you! So I had some fun reading NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU and DEEP DECEPTION back-to-back.

NEVER GONNA DESERT YOU is a short story (appetizer!), while DEEP DECEPTION is novel-length (main course!). The stories are worlds apart, but interestingly, each plot involves the protagonists traveling to an unusual place. And both titles feature steamy love scenes. These tales are also more character-driven than tech/plot driven.

As expected, the theme of deception plays a key role in both stories. Deception is disruptive for the characters. It steals them away from their normal routines. And danger--not just the physical kind, but emotional as well--is everywhere. These ladies either don't know who to trust, when to trust, or how to trust--and sometimes all of the above.

Deception plays havoc with their love lives. It puts the characters in both stories on edge and on the run, which makes nurturing a relationship a huge challenge. I also enjoyed reading how the stories intertwined deception with family issues. There are multiple layers of deception at work. (I'm also seeing how many times I can mention "deception" in this post. 15 and counting, heh heh.)

But what really struck me about these two stories is one aspect of the social commentary. The protagonists face off against corporate villains. It's all about grrrl power sticking it to "The Man." LOL! I jest somewhat, but seriously, how can you go wrong with that? Because, you know, groovy empowerment subtext.

Joyfully yours,