A Great Love Story!
For me, this story is about one thing – Love.
Love fought for.
But, of course, it isn’t that easy. From the very beginning, Teah Riuda and Eidan Cozad are at odds…because of the officious Eidan, who is more than a little upset over his new assignment as sheriff on Rusk, a ramshackle, unregulated mining planet where rain and mud are the norm. Once a respected and conscientious law enforcement officer on his home planet of Eleon, Eidan is suddenly transferred after being a little too good at his job…and naming fellow officers guilty of theft from items taken in as evidence.
Teah’s route to Rusk is more positive. Growing up in a group home on Earth with little to nothing, Teah takes the exam for Collective Service, passes, and is appointed postal officer on dreary Rusk, arriving only months before Rusk’s newest sheriff. Who, by the way, receives the appointment because the last sheriff was found dead…under suspicious circumstances.
As the Eleoni and human grudgingly adapt to a working relationship, life on Rusk goes on. The planet’s residents see no reason that their protection rackets, illegal brothels and betting parlors should cease to function simply because “there’s a new sheriff in town.” And, they’re not above kidnapping and attempted murder to prove their point. (Can’t we all just get along?)
Teah and Eidan awkwardly reach out to each other, but never at the same time. LOL! The scene where Teah visits Eidan’s home under the pretense of warning him of impending trouble with the planet’s rougher crowd, but he believes she’s there to have sex with him cracks me up! They are so NOT on the same page…or are they?
One of my biggest pet peeves with romance stories is the lack of verbal communication between the H/h. That is not the case here. Teah and Eidan DO talk to each other…the problem is they do not know HOW to talk to each other! Everything out of Eidan’s mouth sounds like a condemnation, and Teah usually takes it as a challenge. Even when they seem to be of one accord…they’re not. It’s awkward, a little painful, and yes, even funny to watch their stilted steps turn into a beautiful dance.
When these two realize they’re in love, they’re both so in shock at the thought, they say nothing. Love was not on their radar, much less with someone of a different SPECIES! Of course, this leads to a misunderstanding, which allows the Rusk ruffians to interfere with yet another dastardly plot. Can Teah and Eidan come through it unscathed…and alive?
This is such a well written story! The characters are so well developed and humanly flawed. (Sorry, Eidan!) The scenes where Eidan’s vulnerability breaks through his stern persona made my chest tighten! The world building is progressive. There’s no multi-page setup at the beginning. It’s flows though the story, and it isn’t confusing or distracting. By the time I finished chapter one, I had more than enough trust in the author to lead me through the journey.
My one stumbling point? Teah. (WE HAVE A RUNNER!) OMG! This woman rarely left a room calmly…and walking. Upset? Run! Angry? Run! Scared? Run! Sign this broad up for the Olympic 4×100 metre relay in Brazil! She was making me dizzy! But, she won me over and I forgave her after her steadfast devotion to Eidan during his recovery. Everything she did was secondary to being at his side. Then he messed it up! Men!
There are several supporting characters to the story, but Brita Cozad, Eidan’s sister, is the standout. She’s dealing with her own sense of loss, caused by following her brother to Rusk, but that doesn’t stop her from being a bright spot in the story. She’s open, direct, and humorous, and usually the wise voice of Eidan’s conscious. She would make a great heroine in her own story, especially since she’s not just Eidan’s older sister and deputy – she’s his bodyguard! What man/humanoid would be worthy of her? LOL!
In the end, there are no decades old secrets, villainous exes, long lost relatives, or a billionaire stepbrother anywhere in site. It’s just two “people” trying not to fall in love…and failing miserably.
I did not know of J.J. Lore before this book, but she’s definitely on my radar now. I was initially given an ARC-copy of ‘Beyond Love” in exchange for an honest review, but I knew I had to OWN this book, so I dashed over to AllRomance and snagged a copy. Grab a copy from your favorite retailer. This one’s a keeper and a definite re-read!