…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Ondry and Liam have settled into a good life, but their trading is still tied up with humans, and humans are always messy. When political changes at the human base lead Ondry to attempt a difficult trade, the pair find themselves entangled in human affairs. Liam wants to help the people he left and the worlds being torn apart. He also wants to serve Ondry with not only the pleasures of the nest but also by bringing human profits.
Ondry has no hope of understanding human psychology in general; he only knows that he will hold onto his palteia with the last breath in his body…and he’d like to keep his status and his wealth too. Unfortunately, new humans bring new conflicts and he is not sure how to protect Liam. He does know one thing that humans seem to constantly forget–that the peaceful Rownt are predators, and when their families are threatened, Rownt become deadly killers. Liam is his family, and Ondry will protect him with his last breath… assuming that he can recognize the dangers in time to do so.
A very fun sci-fi romance that develops further the interspecies relationship and love between Liam and Ondry as they try to better understand each other as well as navigate the politics of what being together means for human-Rownt relations.
Heads-up, this is book 2 in the series! If you are new to Gala’s amazing Rownt world, you should head first to book 1, Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts. That’s where this story really starts and how Liam finds himself literary chained to Ondry’s bed, and then realizes how he got himself there (and how it’s actually…kinda…something he really wants.)
What did I dig about this sequel? (Besides the fact that at 69,000 words, it’s twice as long as the first novella? Yay!)
1- Gala’s world-building: Like in book 1, Gala’s world-building is probably one of my favorite parts of the series. The Rownt are so INTERESTING and often very funny as they try to parse out the very illogical actions of the humans stationed on their world. Their love of profits and status remind me a little bit of the Ferengi on Star Trek, except they’re much taller and more purple and have very skilled tails. The descriptions of the Rownt, including how their feelings would often be reflected by their skin tone, were fascinating and lovingly consistent, which meant it was easy to sink into the novel and travel along with Liam and Ondry as they worked through their varies challenges.
2- The solidity—This is less a romance-romance since it’s not so much their journey to be together, but their struggle to stay together. Liam and Ondry, even though they are confused or uncertain about some things, are still very *together* and I loved that. I loved seeing their devotion while they tried to work through problems. I also dug how their sexy times were mutual in the way that they wanted to give each other pleasure, but operated in understandably different ways.
Their relationship is still one that is innately D/s, one that is life-long and surrounding, and which is part of Liam’s role as a palteia, one that serves his Life Partner/Dom, but is also taken care and protected. This is not whips-and-chains D/s with a pleasure dungeon out behind Ondry’s pillow nest, but is more of a lifestyle that is reflected in how they interact and care for each other. It also fits more as a way of life in the Rownt world.
It’s interesting that you could probably take the sex out, and you will still have a very compelling read. (Not that the sex is unnecessary–it’s well-written and not distracting; it’s just Gala did a nice job of rounding everything out so it would still have been strong without it.)
Would I recommend this? Did you like book 1? If so, then YES. It’s a very fun and interesting continuation of the story, and Gala does a good job with the sci-fi. I didn’t feel like she covered up a sex scene with some hastily developed alien wallpaper. I felt like we got to visit a really fascinating world and story where sex was included, but was not the dominating factor that propels the story or their love forward.
If you like sci-fi romance, I would point you to try the first novella, and if that works for you, come check out this sequel. And for me, I would definitely be up for a third visit with Liam and Ondry.