Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Val Roberts - The Valmont Contingency

Tasha Ocasek is having a bad day. First, her father forces her to meet the son of the ben Khalid ship-building cartel to secure a marriage contract. Then she gets stood up by ben Khalid, and sold off like a common whore to a psychopathic pharmaceutical magnate. Threatened with a life of drugged servitude, Tasha stows away on the first available ship.
Garrick ben Khalid has returned from chasing smugglers and information on the corbies, derelict ships with zombielike crews. Without question, the corbies trump dinner plans with some socialite geisha. But when Rick discovers the same geisha on his ship posing as medic Marie Valmont, he knows the sexy stowaway is nothing but trouble.
After she saves his life—and shares his quarters—Rick learns there's far more to Marie Valmont than Tasha Ocasek. He needs her help, but will she agree once she learns his true identity?

Comment: As soon as I came across a reference to this book at a message board I usually visit, I knew I had to get it because the blurb seemed really interesting. I suggested and convinced my book club to give it a go too and this month, this was it.

This is the story of Tasha Ocasek, a young woman that learns at the beginning of the story that her father sold her for a business deal but she knows that will be her end, for the man who bought her is ruthless and keeps his women drugged.
Tasha wouldn't be in this position if only one of the richest families in the galaxies had accepted her marriage to their son but he didn't show up at the reunion where they were meant to meet and her father reacted badly. Tasha's only way out is to escape, which she does but fate has it and she is caught in the spaceship she chose to hide in. Eventually her medical abilities are put to use and she can' help but liking the crew and especially their captain, a mysterious man but someone she slowly starts to trust and care about. But her father still ants to get her so he can get hi business deal...

This is a sci-fi romance and I absolutely loved it. I mean, it's not perfect and I would change some things but overall, I had a great time reading and couldn't put the book aside.
This is my first book by the author but I have to say I was impressed by it. The story is mostly well developed, it's not too big but I found the author used her space wisely and didn't go to paths she couldn't manage. But at the same time I'd have liked to see more interactions between the characters, more development on them...

The plot is pretty simple, some things are quite obvious and expected but I liked how the author inserted all sci-fi talk and elements and despite not being as broader as I'd have liked, it was quite enough to have an idea about the world and the way everything happened within this society/world. All the space shift conversation and details, the little things characters did and had were realistically done if we are to think this is a story set in space.
The villain is caught, the problems are averted and solved but we still have a glimpse of possibilities for the following story.

The romance is obviously one of the best parts in this and I was always eager to see Tasha and Garrick together. I liked how things were at first, both were wary but their relationship developed very quickly. I think it was a little too quick at a certain stage but considering the page count, i don't think it was as bad as in so many other books. The relationship was balanced at the end and I really liked that. It was great to see apparently though characters like Tasha and Garrick to feel romance and to be in love... The HEA was good but I surely would have liked an epilogue or something where we could see them a few years after, already fully established and simply happy.

All in all, almost everything about this little story seemed well done to me. The pace was great if not the rush from one point to another in the big scheme of things.The secondary characters also intrigued me and I confess I wish I could read more about them!

Apparently, there are more stories but because this is an author with different publishers and books most of them aren't available everywhere. I really feel bad about it, because I'd like to buy the rest of the series but it's only available through amazon and other specific sellers and I refuse to download an ebook through those platforms. Why can't books all be available in all places?
Hopefully, things can change in the future but in the meantime I'll just cherish this one and dream about what could be in the others....
Grade: 8/10

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