Agent Provocateur--Delayed Pimping, Part II
Here's another installment of a woefully late plug for a story won during a Galaxy Express give away/promo event months and months and months ago. Please don't hate me, Ms. Gray.
Nathalie Gray's Agent Provocateur (Red Sage, Sept. 2009) is a fast-paced novella set in 24th century, dystopian Montreal. There has been some kind of Gene War fifty years before, giving rise to much animosity between folks that have been genetically tweaked somewhere in their family line (Misborns) and those who have not (Integers).
The hero, Troy, is a former agent for the State who is serving a sentence in the aftermath of an undercover operation that resulted in the death of a lot of people. Basically, his agency set him up as the fall guy. He's told he can receive a full pardon if he captures the leader of the Misborns and brings him in. Mercury is to be his partner, but she has other things in mind for our hero. Troy and Mercury start off with rapid-fire banter and sexual attraction that escalates into, well, let's just say the erotic label is not misleading : ) Troy has no love for anything regarding his former employer. Except for the chance to stay out of prison. And maybe a certain blonde. Mercury is a kick-ass gal who takes no one's crap, and at the same time is vulnerable and unsure of her growing feelings for Troy.
Twenty-fourth century Montreal is dark and gritty. Your senses are completely engaged through the descriptions of the setting, and it should come as no surprise that the author is also an artist. With that amazing sense of place and time, you might expect info dumps to reveal the world she has created, but no. There is enough detail to set the scenes and keep a reader's interest without overdoing it. That is a fine balance few writers can claim. Well done, Ms. Gray.
I felt the idea of the relationship going beyond HFN was a little premature, but I could certainly see these two duking it out verbally and physically as they navigate the path to longer-term happiness. Though I'd suggest they keep the first aid kit handy.