No one on Erebus escapes alive...
Twelve years on the prison planet Erebus makes a man long for death. The worst part for Tannin Everette is that he was framed for murder. He's innocent. When the ship Imojenna lands for emergency repairs, Tannin risks everything to escape...only to find himself face to face with the captain's undeniably gorgeous sister.
Zahli Sherron isn't planning on turning Tannin in. In fact, she actually believes him. Sure, he's sexy as every kind of sin, but he's no criminal—so she hides him. But no one escapes from Erebus and lives to tell about it. With every day that passes, Zahli further risks the lives of the entire crew...even as she falls in love with a man she can never have for herself.
Author: Jess Anastasi
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Damage Control, Quantum, Diffraction
Published by Entangled Publishing Source: Author
Published: December 7, 2015
Genres: Sci Fi Romance
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
I’ve always been a lover of sci-fi stories. Adventures of space travelers boldly going where no man (Or woman!) have gone before, discovering new planets, and all that jazz has always been a fun escape for me. Unfortunately, they all seem to be lacking one thing: Romance. Why, I have no clue. All that flying around in space together, colonizing new planets and what, people can’t connect and fall in love? Then I found author Jess Anastasi and read her Valiant Knox series. Yes! Followed up by Atrophy and I knew I finally found an author who could scratch the Sci-Fi romance itch. Snoopy dance time!
After reading the Atrophy and comparing it to the blurb I realized, there is so much missing. The blurb in a nutshell:
Tannin has been on prison planet for a crime he didn’t commit. When a ship lands on the planet needing repairs, he sees an opportunity to escape. He meets one of the female crew, who thinks he’s attractive and innocent, helps him escape and the live happily ever after. The end.
Let me tell you what is missing from that. The action, the intrigue, the suspense, and most of all, Rian!
When I first started reading I initially thought this is going to be a fluffy romance. Tannin helps rescue Zahli and in turn she helps him escape the prison planet. Mutual saving equals insta-love, HEAs, yada-yada-yada. However, in this case there was a added bonus of Rian and NOTHING is ever simple, or what it seems, with him in the mix. I’ll get back to him in a moment. Tannin and Zahli, great couple here. They’re both tough as nails with a vulnerable side – his coming from being in prison and hers from an overbearing brother. The build-up of there is romance is sweet and spicy as it weaves in and out of what’s going on around them. HEA? Of course, but there is one heck of a cliffy and then there is Rian.
So let’s put the romance on the back burner and let me get to, IMO, is the meat of this story. Rian and the Reiders. Rian is Zahli’s older brother who also happens to be a war hero. He is crazy, dark, and suicidal all served with a heavy dose of PTSD from having been a prisoner of the Reiders. Reiders are shapeshifting aliens and no one seems to believe aliens exist. WT??? You’re traveling in space and you don’t believe in aliens?! Whatever. Anyhoo… The Reiders had captured his ship and killing everybody aboard and tortured Rian. Now he has this vendetta going on to unmask them and destroy them and NOTHING will stand in his way. That’s were all the crazy and psycho-ness of Rian comes into play. There’s so many plot twists you don’t see coming because of his actions and that’s on top of the assortment of interesting secondary characters, which are part of Rian’s crew (Think the movie Firefly) on the Imojenna. I know this is supposed to be Tannin and Zahli’s story but for me, Rian and his hunting the Reider are the star of this book.
So a quick recap – Great book filled with action and suspense, outstanding characters and the best part, it’s a sci-fi romance. The only thing that could make it even better is if Atrophy was a series. I read the book from cover to cover hoping to catch a hint if it was. Ms. Anastasi – if you’re reading this, PLEASE, pretty please make this a series!
In the diffused glow of her cabin, her eyes looked almost black and her tousled hair a rich deep gold. She smelled like summer-storm-rain on a hot day back home on Barasa, bringing another sting of innocent days past. He could feel her lush curves yielding against him, though tension ran through every line of her body.
She knew he was onboard now. The only way he’d be getting off this hellhole of a planet was with her cooperation. If she would agree to hide him. His heart tripped over itself. It’d been a long time since he’d trusted anyone besides himself, and she almost literally held his life in her hands.
“I need your help.” His voice came out uneven and he swallowed against the tightness in the back of his throat.
She shook her head, pressing herself harder against the wall, her nails digging into the skin on his forearm.
“Please, just listen. I need to get off Erebus. I know you have no reason to trust me, especially now. It’s asking a lot, I know that, too.” Helpless emotion he’d long thought dead and buried tightened his chest. For once, he needed something in the universe to go his way, for this stranger to give him the chance the IPC justice system hadn’t. “I just need a little faith here. So I’m going to take my hand off your mouth, because I don’t want to hurt you, and I don’t want you to be afraid of me.”
With a short breath, knowing with almost total certainty that his one chance of freedom was about to be blown, he dropped his hands away from her and stepped back.
She didn’t shift, didn’t run, and didn’t scream for help, just stood there with fingers locked on her necklace, her chest rising and falling rapidly.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Tannin Everette.”
Fatigue started catching up with him as his body finally hit the adrenaline wall and splattered into a jelly-like mess. His limbs heavy, he walked to her unmade bed and dropped onto the edge. He scrubbed both hands over his face, swallowing again around the tautness in his throat and stared unseeing at the floor. Would he really allow himself to be killed rather than return to a life on Erebus? Panic blended with grief in a sickening whirlpool of misery. He wasn’t brave enough to die, rather than stay on Erebus. Survival instincts reared within him, despite the depravity he’d be facing out in the general population upon his return.
“You’re the guy who came in after that officer attacked me.”
Her bare feet appeared in his line of vision, toenails painted gold and a petite, graphite-colored ring on the little toe of her left foot. She crouched down and touched his chin, bringing his head up.
“What happened to you?”
No one had ever asked him what happened. As far as everyone had been concerned, the case had been cut and dry, no need to ask any questions when the apparent evidence was so overwhelming.
Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, one ball-obsessed border collie, and one cat who thinks he’s one of the kids.