by Dara Joy

November 1998
ISBN: 0-8439-4446-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

There is no doubt that Dara Joy creates just about the most sensuous heroes in the entire known Galaxy. After Lorgin, Knight of the Charl (Knight of a Trillion Stars) and Rejar, powerful Familiar (Rejar), we now meet Gian Ren, also a Familiar, but chained to the wall of a foul cell on a distant world. About to be used as a pawn in a dastardly plot to rid the galaxy of Familiars once and for all, Gian Ren is in serious trouble.

Jenise of Ganakari learns of Gian's captivity in the privacy of her chambers where her archenemy Karpon has come to tell her of his plans for her and her people. Karpon cold-bloodedly intends to have Gian Ren take Jenise's virginity, thus rendering her suitable only for a consort for Karpon, rather than a ruler in her own right. He gives her the choice - a Familiar with his reputation for sensuality, or Karpon himself who has a reputation for savagery. Jenise is caught - the plot is almost foolproof and she realizes that she must depend on the unknown familiar if she is to escape with her life and her freedom.

Well, sure enough, Gian comes through for her.... (no surprise there), and the two escape Karpon's clutches through the intergalactic wormholes that connect different worlds. Once again, Dara Joy has created an environment where Gian's sensuality is emphasized with just about every move he makes and every word he speaks. Jenise, a strong-minded woman in her own right, is no match for this master of seduction and finds herself strongly attracted to this amazingly unusual creature who sets her whole body trembling with a look or a touch.

But Gian has some secrets he is not sharing with Jenise, indeed he cannot, and even when his cousin Traed appears in the nick of time and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Gian Ren against raiding enemies, Jenise is unaware of the hidden facets of her lover. She is concentrating on reaching a place of safety where she can begin a new and free life. Gian is determined to keep her by his side - he knows with absolute certainty that Jenise is his mate.

The plot is complex and it's certainly an advantage to have read Dara Joy's other two stories before reading this one, but it is definitely worthwhile! If there is any kind of a fault, it would be in the resolution of the conflict between Jenise and Karpon - a vengeance-minded reader could have wished that there had been a better accounting between them, and Karpon truly punished for his abysmal behavior. However, the charm and sensuality of Gian Ren, like his predecessors, is abundant and makes this tale an absolute pleasure to read. I would have to add that the heroes are so strong that they run the danger of overwhelming the heroines in these stories, but luckily Jenise is pretty much able to hold her own against Gian Ren. However, looking at all three of these books, it is definitely the men we remember - their boundless enthusiasm for life, love and the pursuit of the female of the species. Ms. Joy has found the pulse of many a romance reader when it comes to heroes - she gives us men who are larger, stronger and more gorgeous than life, men who are intelligent, possessed of unusual abilities, and men whose sensual talents are truly out-of-this-world! This is what fiction is all about - make-believe heroes who are everything a romance reader could ever wish for! Just tell me which galactic cluster I have to visit to find one?

Reviewed in December 2001 by Celia.

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