Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Stranded with the Cyborg by Cara Bristol

Book coverStranded with the Cyborg by Cara Bristol
Purchase link: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - All Romance - Amazon UK - Amazon Canada - Amazon Australia

My rating: star starstar

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame

Penelope Aaron, the former Terran president’s daughter, regrets how she got Agent Brock Mann booted from the security force. But now that she’s an interplanetary ambassador about to embark on her first diplomatic mission, she still doesn’t want him tagging along. Especially since he seems to be stronger, faster, more muscled, and sexier than she remembers. And pretending to be her husband? This mission couldn’t get more impossible!

Ten years ago Penelope Isabella Aaron had been a pain in Brock Mann’s you-know-what. Much has changed in a decade: “PIA” as he code-named her, has grown up and is about to attend her first Alliance of Planets summit conference, and Brock has been transformed into a cyborg after a near-fatal attack. Now a secret agent with Cyber Operations, a covert paramilitary organization, Brock gets called in, not when the going gets tough, but when the going gets impossible. So when he’s unexpectedly assigned to escort Penelope to the summit meeting, he balks at babysitting a prissy ambassador. But after a terrorist bombing, a crash landing on a hostile planet, and a growing attraction to his protectee, Operation: PIA may become his most impossible assignment yet.

I want to start off this review on a positive note, so I'm saying upfront this was an entertaining read, the writing was good and I like sci-fi romance. I tend not to delve too deeply into the science part of the sci-fi because I allow for the impossible and the suspension of my disbelief, after all I'm a mad keen Marvel fan and I love all the superhero movies and TV shows.

I love the idea Brock is man and machine, a cyborg. I would love to have his enhancements and have a wireless computer in my brain I could use to connect to anything, anytime. Very, very handy. And that database in his brain? Can I please have Wikipedia in mine? Better yet, how about the entire internet and a Google search engine without having to type and I can just think it? My heart ached for Brock, for his isolation and his loneliness, for him thinking he was unlovable because he was a cyborg instead of a full human. I'm thinking being a cyborg makes him extra special.

Pia on the other hand lives up to her codename: Pain in the ass. Seriously! She was annoying right from the get go and I have a special dislike for people like her, be they male or female. Instead of me ranting about her, I'll just let my status updates as I read speak for themselves.

15.0%     "Should have known from the blurb that Pia would be a brat. I hate brats. Irresponsible. Selfish. Bratty. They have nothing to recommend them."
30.0%     "So she's less of a brat now but I still haven't found anything to like about her."
52.0%     "Way to finally realise the stupid!!"
69.0%     "I don't hate her anymore."
72.0%     "Well, there goes the little bit of like I had built up."
74.0%     "Pfft! Stupid girl."
88.0%     "Yep, that's right. Naive and stupid. Behaving like a rebellious teenager. I'm quoting here'"
95.0%     "Sheesh! After all that, that was just a little too easy."

If you don't have a special dislike for heroines like Pia, you will probably like this book a lot more than I did, but even then, as I said upfront, it was entertaining. Ms Bristol didn't make their ordeal too easy to overcome and she threw in an interesting twist of what Urgak, the bad guy was. I did, however, take exception to how easy the relationship part of the story was resolved. That was a little too pat and a little too easy. Maybe she hit her word count and needed to resolve the story quickly, since this was not a particularly long story. I don't know. I just felt that Pia, for all the hurt she caused Brock, got an easy out.

One other thing which jumped out at me, and it's something I tend to notice, I don't know if others will, is Ms Bristol did not address the safe sex / protection / birth control issue. I don't know what it's like in the future, if they have managed to cure all disease and no longer have STDs and have some kind of universal prevention of pregnancy thing all women or men are inoculated with, but I totally noticed it. This is kind of a big deal for me, it's not a deal breaker, but I always notice it and it throws me out of the story a little while I'm reading when it's not there. I do understand when it's not necessary, like in a historical, or in most paranormals, though even for paranormals, if it's set in contemporary times, there tends to be a small mention of it.

I think this is the start of a series for Ms Bristol, and if the heroines are less like Pia in the other books, I am interested in reading more.

View all my reviews



Warning: This excerpt is rated 18+ and has explicit content.

Different, my ass. At the Interplanetary Shuttle Port, Brock leaned against a pillar outside the arrival gate of Pia’s incoming flight and erased from his face all indication of how steamed he was. Pia had lived up to her former code name. She hadn’t changed a bit. He’d have been really pissed if he’d gotten all the way to Terra and then been informed his protectee had gone AWOL. Fortunately, he hadn’t yet boarded his shuttle when Cy-Ops had received word through a secure channel Pia was headed for the ISP. All he had to do was round her up.

All I have to do. He snorted. Nothing involving Pia was ever easy.
The computerized voice announced the landing, but Brock remained where he was and scrutinized the crowd for potential threats. After the craft taxied to the dock and locked to the terminal bridge, passengers began to disembark.

A carryall slung over her shoulder, a naked Pia sashayed into the terminal. She wasn’t technically nude, but Brock’s cyber-enhanced vision could see right through her travel uniform. Only a cascade of blue-black hair streaming to her waist impeded a full view. As she moved, her hair swung, giving him a peep show of generous breasts tipped by rosy nipples. Nothing obscured the tantalizing mound of her sex, the curls trimmed to a neat vee.

Brock yanked his gaze to her face. Thick lashes framed violet eyes over high cheekbones and a cute little chin that masked her stubbornness. The gonna-be-pretty-someday teenager had transformed into a stunning, breathtakingly beautiful woman with a flawless, creamy complexion.

Blood rushed south, and Brock immediately activated his nanocytes to cool the heat. She had no enhanced vision, and his uniform wasn’t transparent, but his erection would be obvious if he didn’t control it.

She was his current protectee, a former accuser, a spoiled, entitled, vindictive hellion who’d derailed his CPO career, all facts his body continued to ignore. This was Carter’s fault. If the director hadn’t interrupted him before he could avail himself of the services of a Darius 4 pleasure droid, he wouldn’t be reacting this way. If his former friend and current superior officer hadn’t forced this assignment on him, he wouldn’t be here at all.

Fuck it all to hell. Brock shoved off from the post.

Pia stopped dead, blocking disembarking passengers. Her jaw dropped, and her huge violet eyes widened more. “Agent Mann?” She hadn’t gotten any taller—she didn’t even top his shoulder.

“Ambassador,” he growled, mad at her, angry with Carter, and furious with himself.
She licked her lips. “W-what are you doing here?”

He took her arm and led her out of the traffic flow. “Is that a question to ask your…husband?” If she was his wife, his real wife, he’d make damn sure she never wore another travel uniform. It didn’t matter that only machine scanners, droids, and cyborgs could see through it.

She jerked and snapped back her head. “You’re my bodyguard? No, absolutely not.” She wrenched her arm out of his grasp. “Despite what my mother believes, I don’t need a babysitter, and certainly not you. You may return to whatever other duties you have,” she said like she was dismissing an android.

“I don’t take orders from you,” he said. “I issue them. You’ll do what I tell you to do.” He leaned in. The scent of her hair swirled around him. “My orders to ensure your safety supersede your assignment. If that means tossing you over my shoulder and putting you on the first flight to Terra, so be it.”

About the author

auMulti-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 20 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and spanking romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Newsletter

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