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Take a deep breath before you start reading this book, because it hits the ground running and never lets up! If you think a good romance needs long skirts, carriages or castles, then you should try Gabriel’s Ghost! Captain Chasidah Bergren, framed for a crime she didn’t commit, is rescued from a hellish prison planet by a ghost – one Gabriel Sullivan, intergalactic pirate, space marauder, and supposedly dead person. He’s also the one man whose lips awoke a mysterious feeling in Chas once – a long time ago.
Sully needs Chas and her piloting skills for a dangerous mission – someone is breeding the phenomenally dangerous Jukor creatures – a practice that is bringing death to innocents and may mean the complete obliteration of a race of telepathic creatures – the Storloth. Sully and his associates manage to free Chas and set out on their quest to destroy the illegal breeding project and expose those in high places who have condoned the practice. It’s a well-thought out plot, which is simple yet offers great opportunity for adventure and excitement. And trust me, it fulfills those promises – and then some!
Chas is a wonderful blend of militaristic precision and skill (honed during her years as a Fleet captain) and troubled woman – afraid of the seductive effect Sully is having on her, yet relishing his slightest touch. Sully is everything we could want in a hero – clever, strong, flirtatious, and with obsidian-dark eyes that glitter when he looks at Chas. The perfect male – or is he? What could have been simply a cute sci-fi romance, becomes much more as the chapters progress. Issues of prejudice, humanity and awareness are raised – humans have regarded the Storloth as savage mind-killers – and Chas has to do some serious attitude readjustment as she learns more about her crew. Sully, by turns sensual, passionate and mysterious, becomes ever more complex – like the layers of an onion, the more Chas learns about him, the less she really knows.
Their interaction, both physical and mental, is everything a splendid romance should be, hesitant at first, yet building into a towering passion that cannot be denied. Sully’s unique skills make this a romance that could have been destined for disaster – but Chas’s strengths keep it balanced and between the two of them a partnership is forged that could well save the Galaxy! Yes there are aliens present – but their presence doesn’t become distracting; Ms. Baker has managed to cleanly integrate them into the story and their names are simple – not that terrible jumble of consonants many writers feel essential for alien races. My one complaint? It was a “Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back” kind of ending... one where every single word is screaming “sequel – pleeeese!”
I highly recommend this book – romance fans and science fiction fans alike will love it! I am very excited to have found such a perfect marriage between the genres – don’t deny yourself this treat, let Chas and Sully put your reading habits on red alert status!!
(I must add that Ms. Baker has kindly informed me that a sequel is definitely coming out in 2003 - watch for Chasidah's Choice! Also, this eBook has been published in paperback - now available from Amazon.com. Thanks for the updates, Megan!)