Meet Kyle Sorton, teen, orphan, living a life of no purpose on a space station. Occupation: janitor. Future prospects: none. His only dream is to be someone. Anyone will do.
Wish granted–sort of. An accident aboard his space station forces his flight, and his ship crash lands on an unknown world. Mortally wounded, he uses an experimental healing device called a Clavator to transfer his consciousness to the body of an alien woman. When he awakens, he discovers that this woman not only has special abilities, but that parts of her consciousness still exist. Even more surprising to him is the fact that his new host, named Rinarra, is married to Merat, another woman. She is understandably upset over losing her wife, and initially rejects the new Rinnara.
Confusion reigns, and compounding his problem of understanding his new form is the existence of a hostile alien force known as the Droogs. Large, purple, and utterly evil, Droogs care not about any lives other than their own. Kyle, who slowly begins to not only identify as Rinnara but also to fall in love with Merat, decides to fight the invaders. Windeeri has become a home, and she’ll defend it, even at the cost of her own life.
Publisher: Regal Crest
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: Under 18
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Word Count: 67500
Setting: Space; an alien world
Languages Available: English
Then she kissed me on the cheek. “I am glad that you returned. I was so worried. It is good that you are safe.”
Who is this person, I thought, and what was up with the kiss? Then my inner voice spoke. Merat. Her name is Merat. The second syllable in the name had been stressed. “Uh, Merat?”
“I’m sort of tired. I think I have to lie down.”
She nodded and went over to take the pallet and the blanket. She then searched among the pile of clothes, found an extra pullover, and handed it to me. “Here,” she said. “Change your garment and rest. I’ll wash, we can sleep after.”READ MORE
Fine by me. She prepared the pallet and then went outside, carefully closing the door behind her. I got changed, lay down, and looked around. The only source of light here was the fire and the single candle that burned on the table. For the first time since crash-landing here, I felt a sense of peace creeping over me, along with a pleasant sensation of exhaustion. Sleep would be good...my eyes closed...and then they snapped open. Merat had mentioned something about sleeping arrangements. There was only one pallet, and the way she’d held me before, not to mention that peck on the cheek... Uh-oh.
I tried to think of Rinarra, searching inside my mind. Are you there, Rinarra? No answer, but then again, I hadn’t been expecting one. The door opened, and Merat walked in, hair wet and matted down the sides of her face and on top of her head. She wore only her pullover, and casually took it off and dropped it as she went to the fire to dry off. “Are you feeling warm?” she asked, not bothering to turn her head. She had a slender figure much like mine, but not as toned.
In a quick move, she squatted down to stoke the fire, murmuring something about keeping warm, the nights here got cool in the summer, and that we should enjoy our time together. Wait a minute. Enjoy our time...I’d never enjoyed my time with anyone— ever. I’d had thoughts, but those thoughts had never translated to any action, and now Merat wanted to... Time to leave, but Merat came over to the pallet and slipped in beside me. “You must be exhausted after your battle. Was it bad?” she asked, her hand stroking my hair and then my face. “It was bad enough.” There goes my heart rate, and what should I do with my hands?
“You are so brave,” she whispered. “I could never do what you have done. Then again, I do not have your gifts.” She touched my fingernails. It was obvious she knew of my abilities, but didn’t have the same set of skills. Everything abruptly grew hotter, and it had nothing to do with the fire or the fact that I was underneath a very warm blanket. What to say in this situation? My breath came out shallowly, and right now no useful reply came to mind. “Uh, some of us have it. Some of us don’t.”
If ever there was a lame answer, that was it, but I couldn’t come up with anything else. Things got even more uncomfortable when she slipped her hand under my pullover to gently fondle my breasts. While it didn’t feel bad, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Merat didn’t seem to think anything was wrong, as she gently kissed the cut on my temple, and then her lips whispered lower. “I have missed you so,” she murmured. She caressed my shoulders, and her hands moved down my torso, past my navel, and then slipped around my back to cup my butt. “Please relax,” she said in the softest of all voices. “You usually do for me, but now it is my turn.”
Her lips came closer to my mouth...closer...closer still, and...
Oh, hell, this wasn’t going to work. My heart hammered uncomfortably close to my chest wall and sweat poured down from the top of my head. Even my breathing grew faint, so all this attention was going to either give me a heart attack or send me flying. I wasn’t sure which. Merat finally noticed my discomfort and stopped her stroking to ask, “What is wrong, Rinarra?”
“I have...I have to get some air. ‘Scuse me.” My hands trembled as I threw back the cover and then ran out the door, stopping a meter away from the hut. The village was silent, the night air cool, refreshingly so, and it dried the sweat on my body. I breathed in and out deeply to calm down and my heart began to slow. I had no idea that Merat and Rinarra had been...
Whoa, not going there. No. No.
No. No. No.
It wasn’t as if I had anything against same-sex relationships. It was just that I didn’t know anything about relationships to begin with. Now, I was here, operating out of a woman’s body, and... Check that. No such thing as operating out of another person’s body. This wasn’t a Synthoid or loan program. There was no possibility of a return to my old form. It was dead and buried and here I stood, until the sound of Merat’s voice brought me back to my real-unreal situation. “Rinarra, what is wrong? Have I hurt you somehow?”
I turned around to see Merat in the doorway, shielding her body with the blanket. She looked hurt and confused, and I felt even more confused. “No, you’re, uh, you’re fine. It’s just that after the battle and getting hit in the head, I, uh, need some fresh air.”
“You seemed fine before. You were able to return home, so I took that to mean that your mind was undamaged. Was it something I said to you two days ago?”
“Two days ago?”
The confused look disappeared, replaced by one of exasperation and her voice grew a few shades sharper. “You do not remember, do you? We argued about you going out on your missions. You said this was something you had to do, as no one else could. We argued, one of the few times we have ever argued since we were children.”
Her mouth opened and closed in as much surprise as in anger. “Rinarra, we grew up together. We worked in the fields during the day, studied at night, and then you and I found each other.”
We’d found each other? Oh, Merat meant that they realized they liked each other—a lot. “Well, yes, I remember, but that—”
“Wait.” Merat took a step toward me and brought her hand up to wipe my face. “You never perspired that much before, even when we were together.”
My voice came out in a croak. Now, a coy smile emerged on her elfin face. “When we coupled, of course. Do not tell me that your memories of our love are not there. Do you honestly not remember being with me, the way we touched each other?”
“Uh...” Her smile disappeared, replaced by a look of suspicion. “You do not. I did not think you would. When you held me, you used your left arm. Rinarra always used the other arm—always.”
Well, I was left-handed, so, time for an incredibly lame excuse. “It seemed to be the best way to do things.”
My answer didn’t assuage her in the least. “It is clear to me. Whoever you are, while your voice sounds like Rinarra’s and while you look like her, the words you use and how you use them...your attitude...you are not the woman I love."COLLAPSE
There are so many reasons to love this book. Typical of J.S. Frankel’s books there is a lot of action that keeps the story moving. But the action is not what makes this book exceptional. The book is exceptional because of the interesting concepts presented and the exploration of gender fluidity. One of the more striking quotes was, “Perhaps genders weren’t so rigid, after all. Perhaps they were more fluid, at least for some people, or were they hardwired to be fluid in the first place.” In this novel, that is set into the future, society has risen above the notion of women thinking a certain way and men thinking another way.
There was a recognition that culture played a huge role in that past phenomenon and that was absolutely fascinating to me. In short, this book challenges old views and made me think.
Finally, the main character was so endearing and I loved how he was stronger, more agile, a better warrior as a woman…now that’s turning things upside down in a way that I loved. I highly recommend this book.