Ilari, Brannon System, 2436
At first, Dr. Sacha Dalton is simply curious about the prisoner of war admitted to her med-lab...until she sees who it is. For Commander Kai Yang—the commander of the battleship Valiant Knox—has long been thought dead. Killed in action. But after almost a year and half, he's returned home. Returned to her.
Kai is recovering from his ordeal and under the watchful care of Sacha, his childhood friend and the widow of his best friend. Only now, their friendship has grown and deepened into something far deeper, and far more complicated. Yet as Kai's body recovers, his psyche remains broken. How could he ever be the man he was, and the man Sacha deserves? But an intergalactic war has a way of forcing a man to be the hero he was always meant to be...
Each book in the Valiant Knox series is a standalone and can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Escape Velocity
Book #2 Damage Control
Book #3 Cover Fire
Book #4 War Games
About the Author
Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn't deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, one ball-obsessed border collie, and one cat who thinks he's one of the kids. Learn more about Jess at www.jessanastasi.com
Read an Excerpt
A Valiant Knox Novel
By Jess Anastasi, Robin Haseltine
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Jess Anastasi
All rights reserved.
May, 2436 Ilari, Brannon System
The precise scratches on the wall across from him tapered off into a dim blur toward the far corner of the cell where the light didn't quite reach. There were far more marks than Kai wanted to count. Time had distorted into an immeasurable haze ever since the heavy, steel-reinforced door had clanged shut and locked behind him. Having a record of how long he'd been in here made his skin crawl, but damned Amos had carefully scored a new mark every time the sun came up and sent a teasing shaft of golden light through the paneless barred slit of a window.
Kai shivered under his ragged coat and breathed in the hint of fresh coldness over the revolting dank and rotting dungeon-esque smells. The brief slant of sunlight made an appearance and he lifted his head to look over at Amos, huddled on his side against the opposite wall. Any second now, his friend would sit up and drag himself over to add another score to the tally.
Muffled banging echoed from outside the cell. Slop time, right when the sun came up, just like every other goddamn morning he'd awakened here.
"Amos, get your lazy ass up. No sleeping in on my time, Sergeant."
The door to their cell made a series of clicking noises and then swung outward, but Amos didn't move.
Two black-robed figures appeared in the doorway. One stood back while the other walked in and dropped two bowls of gray swill in the middle of the rough concrete floor.
"Enjoy your breakfast, Commander." The one in the doorway sneered. "And don't forget to pray before you start. The Lord God is watching."
Kai clenched his jaw over the words "screw you and your psychotic religion" but that'd only get him another beat-down, just like it had the other twenty or so times he'd lost his temper and opened his mouth.
The two men left and slammed the door behind them. He let his head fall back against the cold cement wall and fortified his mental defenses to endure another meal of goo that tasted like manure. Eating the stuff had become a lottery for the damned. Some days it made them so sick they'd barely get it down before it came back up again. Sometimes the slop was drugged and it'd knock them out cold for a few hours. Mostly it just tasted bad and left him feeling queasy. But refusing to eat it was not an option, not if he wanted to survive.
With a determined exhale, he sat forward and braced for the pain of moving his damaged leg. A couple of a-holes had broken it early on in his confinement, and without any type of medical attention, the bones hadn't healed right. He could still get around on it, but if any of the Christ's Sunday Soldier jerks wanted to torture him, all they needed to do was get him to walk laps of his cell. The ache would be all right for a while, but eventually he'd start sweating and getting light-headed from the pain. Of course, being half-starved and dehydrated didn't help any.
With a sideways dragging kind of movement, he shuffled over to the two bowls, which also put him in poking range of Amos. Lazy sonuvabitch. He'd missed the whole three minutes worth of sun they got to see every day.
"Come on, grub's up. It's a four-star serving of crud. With any luck it won't be poisoned today."
Amos still didn't respond and with a muttered curse at having to move farther, Kai lugged himself over to his sergeant and grabbed the man's shoulder.
"Wake up." He shook him, gentle at first, and then harder when the guy didn't rouse. A spike of gut-clenching apprehension took hold deep within him as he rolled Amos over.
The sergeant's lips were blue, his skin waxy and gray.
He slapped a trembling hand to Amos's neck, searching for a pulse, for a sign of breathing, any little spark of hope. But he felt nothing except the rubbery post-rigor-mortis flesh of a dead man.
"No!" The hoarse yell ripped deep from within his chest as he pounded a fist down on the sergeant's shoulder. The impact jarred his hand as he struck bone. He focused on the pain, drawing in short ragged breaths as his lungs seized.
Since the religious zealots had grabbed him and Amos, each day had been a living hell. But the two of them had strengthened each other, had made a pact to survive and get home. Except Amos was dead, and inside, Kai could feel himself crumbling.
He sucked in another strangled breath and turned away from the body, only to come face to face with all those goddamn marks on the wall. Fury blazed, burning through him like a sun going supernova.
Reaching down, he found Amos's limp, cold hand. "I can't believe you up and goddamn died on me, Sergeant. Cutting out wasn't an option. I'm sure as hell not spending another night here, not alone. When those CSS dicks come back for the bowls, I'm taking them down and whatever happens after that ..."
His mind went blank and he tightened his hold on the sergeant's icy hand. It didn't take a genius to work out what would happen if he went on the attack. Beneath his fingers, the bones of Amos's hand dug into his palm. No, not bone. Alloy. A few years back, his friend's hand and most of his arm up past the elbow had been crushed. Nearly all of the bones had been replaced with a lightweight alloy.
He glanced down at the hand and then over to the vacant face, a horrible idea coalescing in his mind. You should feel guilty. He searched for the emotion, for even an ember of remorse. Instead, survival instincts were pushing him, telling him Amos would understand. Hell, he would probably get a kick out of it. The bastard had always had a twisted sense of humor.
He pushed the sleeve of Amos's tattered uniform up to examine the forearm. With a careful movement, he set the limb down and then leaned over sideways, stretching to reach the thin plastic bowl the glop had been served in.
He tipped the foul-smelling slime onto the floor and then smashed the bowl down with shaking arms. The plastic cracked, but didn't shatter. It took a few snaps to break up the dinnerware and get himself a useable piece.
Stomach clenching, he straightened and turned back to the body, forcing himself not to look up at the face. He wrapped one hand around the upper forearm, just under the elbow, and started hacking.
With single-minded focus, he set about retrieving the length of alloy in the forearm. After a few minutes, he started sweating cold. Shivers spasmed through him every now and then, but he didn't pause in his task. The CSS guards could come back any second.
Time did that distorting thing again. When he at last sat back with the length of metal in his hand, minutes could have gone by, or it might have been hours. With a surge of icy satisfaction, he shuffled over to the wall and braced himself against the cement to climb to his feet. Breathing harsh over the pain, he maneuvered himself next to the door and let the frame prop him up. The room spun, so he closed his eyes and focused on the sure feel of the alloy rod in his hand.
The familiar clicking noise sounded in the door's lock. Kai snapped his eyes open and forced his head up, tightening his grip on the measly weapon. The door swung outward and a figure loomed.
Kai swung his body weight around, putting every single pound he had in the momentum behind his hand. He stabbed the rod into flesh and then slammed into the robed soldier. They both went down, Kai ramming the bar home as he came out on top.
A different hand grabbed his shoulder as a shout reverberated in the enclosed space. With a sharp wrench, Kai pulled the alloy free and launched up from his knees. Pain screamed through his bad leg, right up into his back with a near-paralyzing intensity. But it didn't stop him from shoving the bar into the neck of the other soldier.
He collapsed in a tangle with the second robed man. Drained, Kai rolled into the corner where the floor met the wall, waiting for one of the CSS guards to get up and end his wretched existence. His leg and lower back throbbed, while his brain sloshed around his skull with a sickening force.
Silence fell and nothing moved. He lifted his head and looked at the two unmoving CSS guards. Blood seeped from underneath both men and crept across the concrete floor toward him. With teeth clenched, Kai forced himself up and closer to the fallen pair. Had he killed them? He didn't care and couldn't muster the energy to check. Instead he yanked the alloy bar, slick with blood, from the second soldier's neck.
Now what? His thoughts were thick and sluggish. He hadn't considered he might bring down the guards so easily. The door creaked in the icy dungeon draft and he dragged his gaze up to the opening.
Clarity exploded into his mind hard enough to give him an aneurism.
Kai wasn't going to sit there and wait for more guards to turn up. He'd probably still end up dead, but at least this way he'd go out with a fight, instead of dying in the tiny, bare cell that had been his only reality for too many months.
He dropped the bloody alloy rod and it clanged loudly on the concrete floor. Lowering himself beside the nearest soldier was almost as hard as getting upright. Trying to maneuver himself down while keeping his bad leg straight was awkward; one shift in the wrong direction and he'd end up flat on his back, immobile with pain.
Once he'd gotten down, he yanked at the soldier's robes. He didn't expect to find anything useful like an electromagnetic pulse gun or a three-phase stunner pistol; the CSS didn't believe in technology. However, he did find an old-fashioned semi-automatic pistol. It took him a second to find the mag release on the outdated weapon, and a check revealed there were seven bullets in reserve, plus one in the chamber. He secured the cartridge and then shuffled over to the other soldier. A quick search revealed a dull knife and nothing else. Obviously the prison guards didn't expect much resistance. Then again, the CSS weren't exactly the most reliably fitted-out army. The only reason they'd held out in the two-decade-long war had been through superior numbers and sheer tenacity.
He shoved the knife into his belt and tightened his grip around the semi. With a short puffed breath, he pushed himself up again, using the wall to steady himself.
The walk past the two dead soldiers and through the doorway seemed to take forever as he strained to hear over his panting breaths, to listen out for any more guards coming his way. There wouldn't be any monitors to avoid, considering the CSS shunned as much technology as they could, apart from the things they deemed necessary to fight their war, but in place of the cameras, there'd be more guards patrolling at frequent intervals.
He and Amos had amused themselves for a few weeks trying to work out the guards' pattern. Initially it had seemed somewhat random, but then Amos had realized it was periodically and purposely haphazard. There was a pattern in the apparent disorganization of the patrols. It had taken another few weeks after that, but they'd memorized the pattern and found the holes. He'd never dared hope the information would come in handy.
Just outside the doorway in the empty corridor, he paused, trying to remember when and which way the last patrol had gone. The hallway was almost darker than the cell had been. One torch sputtered in the cold draft farther down the passageway, sending weak snatches of light flickering along the rough concrete walls.
The prison had been built to double as a bunker. If the CSS needed to go to ground in this area, they simply killed the least valuable prisoners to make room for their soldiers. One such culling had happened a few months after he and Amos had been captured. He still couldn't decide if he'd been lucky the CSS had deemed him valuable enough to live, or if the ones who'd been mass-executed were the fortunate ones.
Voices echoed from somewhere to his right; impossible to tell if it was other prisoners or the patrolling guards he needed to avoid. He pushed off from the wall and limped along the corridor to the left, walking deeper into the shadows. Doors marched along either side of him, identical to the one he'd walked out of a few moments ago. Occasionally he'd hear snatches of whispered voices, and the commander within him stirred, reminding him that it was his people behind those doors, possibly even people from his ship, the Valiant Knox, people he should be helping set free. But he hadn't even considered grabbing the keys from the dead soldiers and, despite the guilt that heaped on top of the burn of leaving Amos behind, he wasn't going to turn around for the keys. Goddamn it, he could hardly hold on to his own survival, let alone take the responsibility for anyone else's.
Instead, he pushed himself onward, reaching out to touch his fingers to the damp wall as the darkness expanded. Was he heading deeper into the prison? He'd been half out of it from a brutal interrogation when they'd first brought him down here, and he had no idea which direction they'd come through the maze of corridors.
The wall he'd been tracing dropped from beneath his fingers. He groped for the adjacent side of the corner and carefully stepped around it. Something skittered across his feet—a rat or one of those fist-sized cockroaches that dwelled down here. He'd become acquainted with both over the months, and the sight of them didn't bother him anymore. He and Amos had tried to catch rats for extra food every now and then, but apparently even the rodents had been too smart to touch the slop served at each meal in the prison, and they hadn't found anything else to tempt the creatures with. As for the cockroaches, no matter how hungry he'd gotten, he couldn't stomach the thought of eating one of the giant bugs.
An eerie moaning sounded from somewhere ahead of him, making the hairs on the back of his neck prickle. Glancing up, he saw a square of light at the far end of the corridor.
Quickening his steps, he headed toward it, his breath catching in his chest at the largest slant of sunshine he'd seen in a long time. Halfway there, another corridor intersected into his, the echo of boot steps and low conversation heralding the end of his luck.
He paused at the corner and peeked around. A torch was set in the wall, blocking his vision, so he bent down a little. Four guards farther along the hallway— two carrying torches and two carrying semi-autos like him, which probably meant they had sixteen bullets to his eight. The only advantage he had was surprise. He could shoot the two with the guns first, taking out the immediate threat before moving on to the pair with the torches, but the sound of gunfire would bring every other guard within the prison walls. And the six bullets he might have left wouldn't go very far against a garrison worth of men.
He leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes as dizziness threatened his balance. His nutrient-starved body wasn't used to this much activity. Pain throbbed like a constant smolder in his bad leg, sporadically forking up into his back. Icy sweat trickled down his spine and dripped down his face, stinging his eyes, while his exhausted muscles clenched, not quite trembling, but on the verge of breaking into a weakened quaking.
His short-lived freedom was about to end.
Dull anger pushed at his exhaustion. At least he'd taken a couple of the bastards with him. He shifted, trying to lessen the pressure on his injured leg, and his foot knocked into something. He squinted down in the shadows to see some kind of bucket-sized tin can. Closer inspection revealed it had oil or fuel in it, probably whatever they used to keep the torches burning. Possibly not the best idea to leave it sitting so close to the torch just around the corner. One stray spark and—
He glanced back down and told himself he'd lost his mind. Solving his little patrolling-guards problem with an explosion was ridiculous. If a few gunshots would bring the rest of the prison guards down on him, then what would a detonation do? Plus, he didn't know how volatile the stuff was. He'd be just as likely to blow up himself or the entire goddamn prison complex. Except the fatalistic side of him didn't care. The pessimistic part of him that had already decided he was going to die here told him to light up and blow as many of the CSS bastards to hell as he possibly could.
Excerpted from Escape Velocity by Jess Anastasi, Robin Haseltine. Copyright © 2015 Jess Anastasi. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Warning: Torture Though not as great as her Atrophy Series, this one was still an interesting start to a new series. I loved what we learned about the world and the war that’s going on. This is mostly a military based science fiction romance with a war between those embracing technology and those abhorring it. A little more information on the war between the UEF and the CSS would have been nice. We’re thrown into the middle of the war and there wasn’t a whole lot of context provided, it almost felt like I missed a prequel or something. I loved Kai and his inner strength; he’s so determined to return to normal and be with Sacha but he struggles with his return to the Knox. After everything he’s been through I just wanted to hug Kai and make it all better. Sacha’s struggle was very real and genuine. She wants to make sure nothing interferes with Kai’s recovery but she also wants to embrace having Kai back in her life. I wish that Kai’s physical recovery hadn’t been so easy, as crazy as that might sound. This futuristic world has medical technology that heals Kai’s year of torture, malnutrition, and injuries in about 48 hours. I guess having him recover so quickly just seemed to lessen what he went through. It just didn’t work for me. His mental recovery was more on target though with his PTSD and anxiety attacks. I liked that Sacha and Kai were friends who are just now realizing their attraction. They loved each other as friends but weren’t friends just because they couldn’t be anything else. Most friends-to-lovers stories have the characters already wildly attracted to each other and hiding it but this time they were just friends. Subconsciously their feelings might have been deeper but their friendship was true and honest. But personal opinion, I’m really not crazy about the best friend’s widow story line so I struggled with that. Sacha has a lot of guilt over moving on from her husband’s death; her feelings are completely warranted because she loved Elliott and it hasn’t been that long but she comes to realize that she loved Kai first, she just didn’t know it. Losing Kai also made her numb and by the time Elliott was killed she couldn’t really feel anything else. I thought compared to most I’ve read that Anastasi handled the situation really well, it’s just not my thing.
It's been some time since I've read any romantic science-fiction story, but reading Escape Velocity has me itching for more! Jess Anastasi's Valiant Knox series starts with an emotional bang as former commander of the Knox escapes imprisonment. His longtime friend, Sacha Dalton is in charge of his recovery and the dormant attraction between them surges to life. While Kai struggles with PTSD and finding a place on the Valiant Knox, Sacha is determined to find a way to heal his mental scars. Even if it means keeping their relationship professional. As they rekindle their friendship, the war outside the Valiant Knox continues. Kai continues to block out the torture he endured by the hands of the Christ's Sunday Soldiers, their enemy, but suspicious activity on the ship causes him to believe they're planning a big attack. So not only does Escape Velocity weave readers through the sexual tension between Kai and Sacha, but there's a little action as Knox soldiers defend themselves on the planet Ilari. Anastasi gets to the heart of the story quickly and throughout there isn't a solid well of information about the intergalactic war, or it's heavily mentioned CSS soldiers. They kind of become like a phantom evil presence, because there's no backstory about them and they don't feel like a looming threat even though that's their main role. The story doesn't focus on them at all unless they're being reinforced as the enemy. On one hand, I didn't care because this story is all about the romance, but I also think answering more detailed questions about the decades long war would've given it more substance. Plus, I'm a sucker for in-depth world building. Hopefully the world setting will be built up more as it continues. I imagine fans of Battlestar Galactica will appreciate the setting as it's primarily on the ship and there's a crew of fighter pilots. There's more to explore on the Valiant Knox and I'm ready to jump into the next installment Damage Control! Jess Anastasi will surely continue to bring the sexy to science fiction. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
Commander Kai Yang has been a prisoner of the CSS for over a year. Their cruelty and abuse didn't break him, but the death of his friend, Amos, in this prison did. Kai took action and escaped. Now he's back on his ship, the Valiant Knox. He's lost until he sees his best friend, Dr. Sacha Dalton. She touches his heart and mind. She's now a widow and alone. He husband was killed in combat right after Kai went missing. Can they help each other forget their pain and make a life together? I was pulled into this story from the first page. The emotional intensity is amazing. Both of these characters have endure so much loss, but the didn't let it stop them. I liked and cared for them. They broke my heart. The setting may be in the future but the story is timeless. It could take place now. Jess Anastasi wrote a wonderful story about second chance and redemption. This novel is filled with intense emotions, desire and sacrifice. I'm looking forward to the next story in the Valiant Knox series.
An excellent story that kept me entertained throughout. Kai thought to be dead turns up in the medical lab of his childhood friend and the person who kept him fighting to return. Sasha lost her husband and her childhood friend but now that Kai has returned her feelings for her childhood friend have changed. The chemistry between Sasha and Kai is great and the story is exciting an all-around great read.
Sci Fi Futuristic Romance Read- good premise ****A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*** The premise of the book sounded really good. Sci fi with romance spliced in. The blurb sounded great. But , in my opinion, the book came off as a 3.5 star read instead of the 4.5 star read as the blurb sounded. The story is set in the future-in the year 2436 Ilari, Brannon System. Dr. Sasha Dalton gets really curious about the POW admitted to her med-lab then gets the shock of her life when she finds out who it is--Commander Kai Yang—the commander of the battleship Valiant Knox—who has long been thought dead. Many thought he had been KIA, but after almost 2 years, he is returning home. To Sasha, he is a childhood friend, and a friend to her late husband. In the story, their friendship deepens and grows far complicated. Due to the terrible treatment and forced to survive at the hands of the enemy, Kai is coming back from a deep well of emotional breaks- I would call it PTSD. He is suffering some lasting physical and emotional damage. At times, I loved where Kai and Sasha’s hearts were- but it seemed as though they were going in different directions. Sasha had a hard time taking the doctor out of her and learning to just BE Sasha while Kai was just really completely, lack for better word, “damaged” severely . It seemed he would get so far before he would just fall 5 steps back. I would love to read more in this world because it is very interesting. Overall, great concept. My rating: 3.5 stars ***
*** I received a free copy of Escape Velocity from Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for an honest review*** WOW! I absolutely loved this futuristic world, but Escape Velocity isn't just about a world of flying warships and travel to other planets. It is a love story behind it all. Yes, there is plenty of action, an active war going on and a central part of the story, but what develops between the two main characters keeps the rest of the story moving forward. What begins as a life-long friendship blossoms to something entirely blazing hot when Doctor Sacha Dalton reunites with her friend and former Commander Kai Yang. Kai ends up escaping the dank dungeon where he'd been kept as a POW for over a year and a half. Sacha had mourned his death, but didn't realize the intensity of her feelings until she discovers that Kai is in her Med-Lab. Jess Anastasi has done a remarkable job drawing the reader into her world, separating the ugly truth of war and those that suffer from PTSD. I sat on the edge of my seat as the plot unfolded and each time I thought I knew what was coming next, I was thrown into an 'Oh no way.' This is an amazing read for the Romantic/Sci-FI adventurer.
Escape Velocity was a terrific Sci-Fi read. Set in the year 2436, there's action, battleships, romance, and great writing. I'm fairly picky when it comes to sci-fi books and I didn't want to put it down. For the last year and a half, Commander Kai Yang, believed to be dead, has been a prisoner of war. Forced to survive in unspeakable conditions, he finally escapes CSS, suffering from physical and emotional damage. The only thing helping survive were thoughts of his oldest friend Sacha, who also happened to be married to his best friend. “There'd been days in that CSS cell when the only thing he'd wanted was to see her again. Her memory had stayed with him a lot longer than anything else of his former life." Dr. Sacha Dalton can’t believe her eyes when she sees her Kai alive. For the last year and half she’s been in mourning. First for her childhood friend who she’s always harbored feelings for and then for her husband who died a few months after his disappearance. Now back in her life, she’ll do anything to help him. But her feelings are muddled. While she should have still been in mourning for her husband, her real pain stemmed from the lost of Kai. Sacha is struggling to separate her feeling for him and treat him as his doctor and push her feeling for him aside. Added to the fact that the sexual tension is high between these two and neither one knows what to do with these feelings. "One of these days, you're going to lose control. I'm going to make you lose control." But with Sacha believing he's suffering from PTSD and Kai frustrated with thoughts of how his life has changed, trying to figure out where he fits after having been gone so long, these two butt heads. Tensions are high between the two and at times, I wanted to sleep them both upside the head, Sacha especially. There were few moments that I thought this might end up being a cliff hanger and we'd get another book to resolve their issues but I'm glad it had an HEA. I'm also hoping this expands to a series, as I found the technology, and the action a lot of fun to read. I'll definitely be looking for more books from this author.
Rebuilding his life. And rediscovering love... Ilari, Brannon System, 2436At first, Dr. Sacha Dalton is simply curious about the prisoner of war admitted to her med-lab...until she sees who it is. For Commander Kai Yang—the commander of the battleship Valiant Knox—has long been thought dead. Killed in action. But after almost a year and half, he's returned home. Returned to her.Kai is recovering from his ordeal and under the watchful care of Sacha, his childhood friend and the widow of his best friend. Only now, their friendship has grown and deepened into something far deeper, and far more complicated. Yet as Kai's body recovers, his psyche remains broken. How could he ever be the man he was, and the man Sacha deserves? But an intergalactic war has a way of forcing a man to be the hero he was always meant to be... Review: I very much liked this story from this new to me Author. The story was exciting from the very beginning with Kai escaping prison to the end with the bombing on the planet and ensuing fight. It was not all action, there was a great romance in the story too. I liked Kai and Sacha had this unspoken love for each other and now that Kai is seemingly back from the dead, both of there feelings come out into the open. Both have their issues and it is slow going for the romance or both of them as they deal with their problems. I liked that they are both strong and smart characters, I think it made them more likable. This story is set in space and in the future, but honestly it is written in such a way that it could easily be changed and fit into any time period or genre. I think that is a testament to the authors handling of the writing. Great story and will definitely pick up more by this Author! 4Stars
“Escape Velocity” is a sci-fi themed romance novel. This book had me hooked from the beginning. The start was very unconventional and confusing, however, I was so confused, that it left me wanting to read more because I wanted to know the backstory. Told from Kai’s point of view and Sacha’s, the book shows their complex relationship after Kai escapes the CSS, the enemy in this decades long war. My main problem with this story was the sci-fi element of it. I felt like there wasn’t enough world building that went on so that when romance was not the focus in the novel, I found myself at a lost for details. Nevertheless, the sci-fi element seemed intriguing, especially since it seemed that the human race was living in deep space and was in some sort of war. Even though this is a romance novel, I wish the war and everything around it had been given a more thorough setup. The romance element in the novel was next to perfect. The bantering, yearning, and overall tension between Kai and Sacha had me happy or cringing (in a good way) at times. I was rooting for them the whole time, and when one of them did something stupid, I would hope and pray they fixed it. Now Sacha was very reluctant to have a relationship with Kai since she is his doctor, but in the end she makes the right decision. I enjoyed Sacha’s struggle to come to terms with the relationship because it is only right that a medical professional analyze the situation before committing. Adding that detail made me enjoy the book well because the author clearly thought as a professional would. Originally I was going to give this story four stars, however there is something in the end that caused me to drop it down to three. I won’t go into details, but what happened in the end felt like a cop-out to me; it was unnecessary. The book could have taken a completely better route had this not happened. Overall I was very satisfied with this read and I would totally recommend it. You don’t even have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this book. -I would like to thank the team over at Entangled Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book for review. I deeply appreciate it.
I don’t read much scifi, but the premise intrigued me, so here goes: wow! As the blurb tells the gist of the story, I won’t waste any time with that. Ms. Anastasi writes a very cinematographic, vivid, and totally convincing future: nothing is far-fetched, and it is so well described that it feels completely real. The characters: Kai and Sacha are just great: complex, genuine, and flawed. Dr. Sacha Dalton’s husband was Kai’s friend Elliot, who was killed in action and indirectly helps Kai escape from a prison camp, a most memorable escape! I love Kai, he’s a fantastic character, and Sacha is not a wimp! There’s the figurative ghost of Elliot that hovers for a good while, and what a great story it makes! ESCAPE VELOCITY is a fantastic futuristic romance, there’s quite a bit of action, the world-building is fabulous, and the writing is positively spectacular! I often feel that in scifi the writing is somewhat not up to par, but Ms. Anastasi is head and shoulders above most writers. A great story and I’m definitely looking for more from Jess Anastasi!