An act of desperation and the beginning of seduction...
Spaceship captain Tara Rowan has her secrets. One is her Rider, Zie—an organic symbiote, like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara's physical abilities. But Zie is no ordinary Rider, and Tara can never risk anyone discovering Zie's true origins. Especially not the sexily dangerous stranger who appears out of nowhere and makes Tara's pulse race...
Except that "Trace Munroe" isn't exactly who he says he is. He's in fact a Holy Knight, who does everything by the book, and Tara is his only lead in tracking down a kidnapped princess. And Trace will do whatever it takes to get that information—including blackmail. But a blazing attraction to Tara is definitely complicating things...especially when Trace realizes that following his code of honor means destroying the woman he's falling for.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||4 MB|
About the Author
In her family of Kentucky "ridge runners," telling tales was a tradition that everyone loved. From candlelit tellings of scary stories to fan fiction in high school to using her writing talents on the job, Lynda has always had a flair for and joy in words. She has placed in or won many writing contests including the RWA Golden Heart, the Golden Pen, OTFS (On The Far Side from the FF&P Chapter of RWA), but the best prize is seeing her work published.
Lynda lives in Michigan with her husband, her fluffy alien kitten, Wookie, and her darling golden retriever, Skye.
Visit her at www.LyndaKScott.com
Read an Excerpt
Riding the Odds
By Lynda K. Scott, Gwen Hayes
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Lynda K. Scott
All rights reserved.
"Full house," Tara Rowan purred, fanning her cards face up on the table. Three glorious kings and two queens grinned at her opponents. So did Tara. "Pretty, aren't they?"
The boisterous chorus of disgust and growls from the other players nearly drowned out the syrupy background music. Around them, the bar patrons, both couples and lone boozers, added their own catcalls and jeers. On Empyrea, the planet below, religious restrictions made drinking and gambling illegal, but on Heavensgate Space Station, especially at Mean Joe's Tavern, beer and poker were community sports.
Raking the pot toward her, Tara nodded happily to the crowd. After five weeks in deep space, the raucous sounds of other human voices, the yeasty smell of beer, and the aroma of crispy fried foods filled the empty places inside her. Mean Joe's, with its dim, smoke-filled interior and giant holovision display in the far corner, topped her list of places to be.
Zie, her Rider—a skiff of organic cells that formed the image of a dragon on Tara's skin—fluttered, her wings sending a trill of sensation around Tara's throat, chest, and down into her spine. The Rider asked, Tweenies?
Money was tight, but since she was always lucky at cards, Tara had used her last ten creds to stake herself to the game. No one used a cred tab, a digital money account, for cards or some of the less savory entertainments. Those like Tara would exchange them for ducats that could be used in other interstellar nations. She wasn't sure what the men at her table would do with theirs and didn't really care.
She placed half the winnings in her belt pouch and decided she could afford to get Zie her favorite treat. Sure.
The little Rider swirled over her face and around her head in gleeful anticipation, and lashed her long serpentine tail. This, of course, fanned an itchy, prickly sensation between Tara's shoulder blades, a spot Tara could never reach. Hey! Cut that out.
"Shit, Rowan. Does that thing have to do that? Makes me dizzy," Andy Mazaheri, with more curly black hair on his chin than his head, complained. She'd been surprised by that facial hair. Most cargo handlers kept a clean face. Easier to deal with E-suits and harnesses when you didn't have hair getting in the helmet's control pots. It made her glad she wasn't a man. Her below-the-shoulder length hair was enough of a trial, but Zie liked it. Zie also liked the single, dangling, starburst earring Tara wore on her left ear, with its matching cuff-style bracelet on her right hand. Queen Riders had their own sense of femininity.
Andy studied her. "It got to take a dump or somethin'?"
"Riders don't dump," she said, trying to ease the ongoing itch against the back of her chair. Zie settled down, taking up her favorite position with her head on Tara's left cheek.
Things were looking up. She had enough creds for tweenies and, maybe, enough to pay dock charges for an extra day. After three days of trolling for a cargo at the Freight Commission, it looked like she'd need that extra day.
Tara sent Zie an image of a canine voiding its bodily waste. Zie's head moved to angle a glare at Andy. Tara didn't need a mirror to know that Zie's fanged jaw had dropped open and her pink tongue had stuck out in disgust.
"I know you Traders are used to those things but, shee-it, my skin crawls just watchin' 'em," Andy added.
"Yeah." The thin, weasel-faced young man who'd been trying to play footsie with her nodded vigorously. "Don't it hurt? Looks like a freaking live tattoo."
Not hurt Tara, Zie protested. Never.
"Tickles some." Reluctant to divulge Rider-lore to these outsiders, Tara kept her answer simple. "Itches occasionally."
Tickle good. To prove it, Zie swirled over Tara's face, a dizzying swath of blue, green, and violet that set her nose to itching. The men watched in abject fascination. Tickle fun.
Tara rubbed her nose. You'll make me sneeze.
"Not many Independents got Riders, do they?" Andy asked. "Where'd you get yours?"
The lie, after all these years, came without thinking. "She's a cull. Out of the Rexin branch."
Beside her, big, burly Eamon Stokes, a member of Andy's crew, swigged his beer in a long gulp and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "Heard one time ... a bunch of kids, orphans, see? From that Risien Plague? Got stranded on Eridani Prime. Linked up with wild Riders, you know?"
For an infinitesimal second, Tara froze. Her heart and stomach lurched as if she'd leaped into the Zone. Without Zie or her ship, the Rowanhawk.
Weasel Face gathered the cards, shuffled, and dealt another round. The other players leaned back in their chairs, waiting for the story, and the cards, to unfold.
"Yeah, well, the pilot and church people died in the crash. Bunch of kids did, too." He looked around, his beetled eyebrows forming a single dark line over even darker eyes. "The oldest kid was a ratter, you know? Jack Brown was his name. Been on the wrong side of the law since he could walk. He took charge. Wasn't hard to do, see, since the kids was mostly younger than him." He motioned for the waitress to bring another beer. "Didn't have much food. Wasn't supposed to be a long haul. So Jack, he made 'em ration what they had. Smart. Gotta give him credit for that. Gave 'em a chance to wait for rescue." He shook his massive head. "Only it never came."
Of their own accord, Tara's fingers inched toward the knife sheathed in the thigh pocket of her one-piece. Her breath grew shallow, and it took all her control to keep her gaze from flitting about the room, looking for escape. Zie stilled, aware of Tara's distress.
"Then ... Jack, he caught a wild Rider. Now, the wild ones, they ain't like your typical Riders, like that one you got there." He jerked his chin at Tara. "They're strong. Smart. Got to be to survive. Eridani Prime's a hellish place, see? Been outlawed for what? Eighty years?"
"Longer than that," Andy rumbled from his side of the table. "The planet's been under lockdown since the Holy Wars when old Revered Pope Ferdinand decided the wild Riders were a threat to humans." He turned a jaundiced eye on Tara and held up his hand, thumb and first finger almost touching. "Came that close to banning all Riders until the cartels promised to breed them tame."
Eamon shot him a peeved glare and, raising his voice, said, "I was saying this Rider, the one Jack Brown caught, it sees him wastin' away. Turning skin and bones. It wants ta live. But the boy, Jack, is getting weak without food. He's gonna die. And if he dies, then the Rider dies, see? 'Cause that's how Riders get their nourishment. From their hosts. So ... it makes the boy eat."
Tara fought the crushing sense of grief and resentment. These men didn't understand. No one did. And she couldn't explain the horror, the desperation, of Eridani to them. If they knew or even suspected ...
Zie crooned, a sound meant to comfort and reassure. The little Rider was her best friend and only true companion since she'd left Jackson and the others so many years ago.
Weasel Face leaned forward, morbid eagerness in his pale eyes. "Thought they didn't have no food."
"Didn't." Eamon shook his head. "And what little they had, the boy ate, see? When it ran out ..."
He surveyed his audience for a long moment, letting the tension build. "He killed and ate the smallest kids. Said as how they were gonna die anyway. Just meat, you know?"
A silence as deep as space settled over the table.
Fight? Zie positioned herself over Tara's eyes, strengthening the link that gave her control of Tara's body. Smells came stronger, sounds louder. Tara could see the slow, steady pulse of Eamon's blood, smell the excitement rolling off Weasel Face, and hear the rapid beat of Andy's heart.
No. Relax. She forced her fingers off the knife, used that hand to lift her beer to her mouth, glad to see it was steady. She barely wet her lips on the now warm brew.
"I remember that. About fifteen years ago, wasn't it? Scout ship coming back from Horsehead caught the distress signal." Andy looked around the table. His gaze settled on Tara. "Whatever happened to him and the other kids?"
"Big stink about that." Eamon wasn't ready to give up the limelight. "The scout, he called for rescue, see? But Jack, he knows what's gonna happen. Been on the outs with the law enough. Knows the Church takes a dim view of murder, that the Holy Knights are gonna come after him and the other kids as got Riders. Somehow, he gets control of the scout ship, see? Does a one-eighty outta there. Gets clean away. Slick as snot and him only sixteen years old. But"—Eamon paused and looked over his shoulder as if to make sure he wasn't overheard—"they say he's a big crime lord now, see? Took over Santiago's operation. Drug running. Smuggling. Even kidnapping, see? Heard tell the Shields think he's got HRM Anthony's daughter, the Princess Katerina."
Tara's resentment turned to anger. From here to the other side of the galaxy, if something went wrong, they blamed Jackson. She snatched her cards up, stared at them unseeing.
"You're full of it. She's off on vacation. Said so on the news." Andy picked up his cards, looked at them, and grimaced.
"They want him. Just haven't found him yet is all." Eamon glowered. "Old Jack is smart, smarter than them anyways. He knows how to hide."
"You sound like you admire him. I sure ain't got no use for him and his pack. They're the reason the Church cracked down on all of us. They'd like to close the ports, make us all into little goody two shoes who have to ask permission to take a dump." Andy nodded toward Tara. "Only reason they haven't yet is you Outlanders and the money you bring in." He looked at his cards again. "Who dealt this sludge anyway?"
"He's probably sitting on a royal flush." Weasel Face giggled. Nervously. His eyes darted around the table.
"Damn Church is going to control us all. Mark my words."
Andy glanced at Eamon. "You're too right. And if they let loose those motherless sons of Bittersweet whores, the Holy Knights, we're all gonna be in pain."
For the second time, Tara froze. Her heart skipped a beat, her mouth went dry. She couldn't stop a rapid scan of the bar; this time just to make sure there wasn't an HK present.
Andy leaned forward, dropping his voice. "You want to keep it down. I heard Sinclair is on station."
"The Executioner?" Weasel Face's voice went up a whole octave.
"Piss off," Eamon said without heat, taking his cards in a large fist, but he was noticeably quieter. "The day a man can't say what he wants is the day I head out to the Far Side."
"That could be sooner than you think, the way things are going." Andy arranged his cards in his hand, then looked up. "Hey, what's with the dragon face?" He cocked his head at Tara as a sly smile settled on his mouth. "That's a fighting posture, ain't it?"
Tara quirked her stiff lips. Breathing softly and slowly, she released the pent up tension in her body. She gestured with her head at a Trader across the room. The man's Rider, a fox, masked his face, glaring at her and Zie. "Territorial. She doesn't like Mosley."
"Who does? Never a decent word for us dock monkeys." Andy cast a dark look at the Trader. "That sludge accuses us of cheating him." He finished off his beer. "Me and him, we're gonna go a couple rounds yet. Wait and see."
As the conversation turned to other, safer, subjects and the game continued, Tara relaxed. She'd been wise to stay calm, to not run or blast a defense for what had happened on Eridani. She had nothing to hide. Rather, she had nothing to hide that they'd ever be able to find. She wanted desperately to leave, to return to the safety of the Rowanhawk, but she feared if she left so quickly after the story, the four men would start to speculate. She didn't need that. She, Jackson, and the others were innocent, but no one would ever believe them. Not then, and not now.
"Well, I got to visit the dooley. Back in a few." The man on her left pushed away from the table as Andy won the round, and headed to the men's lavatory. Across the dark, smoky room, the bartender tuned the holovision to the planetary news.
Andy waved a beefy hand at a waitress. "Gimme another Red, sweetheart."
"Me, too. Want a fresh one, Tara?" Weasel Face put a sweaty hand on her shoulder. "I'm buying."
She recognized the glint in his eye, the too-friendly smile that said, You wanna? She didn't, so she leaned slightly away until his hand fell, and then said, "No, thanks. I'm still working on this one."
Tara glanced up, scanning the crowd. Two licensed companions, a male and a female, lounged at the bar, sipping layered drinks of blue, yellow, and white. Pretty, from Zie, could mean anything from the dangling, sparkling earrings the male wore to the sleek white and red uniforms on the Jack-sliders on the news. It could mean the band of neon blue light arcing around the bar. Or—Tara tried to follow the direction of Zie's thoughts—it could mean the shadowy form of a man in the far booth.
Tweenies? Zie shifted subjects, impatient now.
Tomorrow. Tara studied the man in the shadows for a moment longer. He appeared to be watching her table, though from this distance, and without Zie's help, she couldn't be sure.
The talk turned to gossip about the station and the dearth of good union jobs, about Empyrea, the planet below, and the political shift to the far right. Only half listening, Tara covertly studied the shadowy man. Something about him ...
Light glimmered off the data port just behind his ear. His clothing and hair were dark, making his face a shadowed oval in the dark booth. Those same shadows delineated features both noble and arrogant and she—
Now, now, now, Zie moaned. Want.
Tomorrow, Tara repeated firmly. The man's teeth flashed, briefly, acknowledging her attention. Her own mouth curved, reflexively, and she made a decision. "Well, it's been a long day, guys. I'm out. Maybe I'll catch up with you tomorrow—if I don't snag a cargo."
After scooping up her credits, Tara dropped them into her belt pouch with the others and stood, the creds a comfortable weight against her hip. She was sure there was enough to pay a day's dock charges. Maybe two days. The thought added a sparkle to her grin. Tara raised her beer with a graceful salute to the men and drained it. "Always a pleasure taking your money, boys."
"Sure, take our money and run," Andy rumbled. He angled his head around to address the bar at large. "Need another player."
A balding man she didn't recognize hastily leaped up, almost upsetting his table in the process. "I'm in."
She sidled around the table. Her gaze connected with the shadowy man's again. Then the female companion sauntered up and leaned a svelte hip against his booth. As Tara walked past, the woman slid onto the bench beside him.
Tara sighed. Lucky in cards, unlucky in love.
* * *
"Come on, Blake," Tara urged, trying not to sound desperate. For the fourth morning in a row, she stood in the Freight Commission office, begging for a cargo. "There has to be a shipment going out of here."
"Look, Rowan." The flustered man shot her an aggrieved look. "The only real cargo leaving in the next week has been given to the big boys. Pierson. Rouliard. Hasek. Laronge. Those family ships got contracts. You don't. And I've told you every time you've come in here, there's nothing on the books for you."
She pressed her lips together. Then, despising the necessity, she leaned close, letting him take in the full extent of her cleavage. When his pale blue eyes fell on the opening at her neck, a tiny little victory dance jiggled in her stomach. She gave him a flirtatious moue, then cajoled, "Nothing? Not even a live cargo?"
Blake's gaze turned speculative; his tongue swept his lips, leaving them wet and glossy.
Tara continued quickly, "I can deal with the mess. You know I can. I've got a fast ship. I can get live cargo anywhere—"
Excerpted from Riding the Odds by Lynda K. Scott, Gwen Hayes. Copyright © 2015 Lynda K. Scott. 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I find that I enjoy space odyssey types of books and after finishing “Riding the Odds” by Lynda K. Scott can say the book thoroughly entertained me. There was suspense, good world building, and a steamy love story. What more can a girl ask for when wanting to escape between the pages of a fun read? The main character, Tara, is a ship captain who takes independent contracts to move shipments of goods between planets. She works alone, and has only a small number of people she trusts. Work is scarce since she has to find work from port to port, and she is barely scraping by financially. Her background is sketchy to say the least, and is a main plot point throughout the story. Enter Trace, a very handsome (and wealthy) author who is doing research for his next book and wants to interview Tara to get a real-world feel for the main character. His offer of big bucks for the interview triggers all of Tara’s red flags as too-good-to-be-true and she rejects him. His motives are not as they seem, and he is definitely hiding a big secret. The story progresses from there and weaves a tale of loyalty, family (the kind you are born into, and the kind you make when you have no one else), and love. One of my absolute favorite parts of this book was the relationship between Tara and her rider Zie. The author did an amazing job of creating this abstract notion of a parasitic creature, or a “rider”, and making it one of the most loveable and amazing characters of the book. The interactions between Zie and Tara as well as the details about riders and how they work really made this book for me. I loved the creativity of it, and how well Linda K. Scott really developed the character of Zie. She made me want a rider of my own! Even though I really did enjoy the book, I need to add that is one aspect of the plot that bothered me a little. Tara is a very smart and independent character who has had to be extremely aware of her surroundings and “in the know” since childhood. These skills were critical to her survival. They are an ingrained part of her. She travels alone from planet to planet, her own keeper per se, and is not a naïve person. That being said, everyone (and I mean everyone) knew who Trace really was from the moment they saw him except for her! From the lowest of the lowlife to the highest official, as soon as they saw Trace they knew exactly who he was. She is the only person we meet in the book who has no idea who he is. This bothered me because it seemed so out-of-character based on everything else we see from her. Her ignorance of his true identity lasts for about 50% of the book. The love story between Trace and Tara is a slow burn. I actually loved that the author didn’t have them jumping each other two chapters in. Their love and affection grows through experience and time together which was so refreshing to read. They do not actually have a sexual relationship until around the 65% mark of the book. In truth, Tara is very put off by his behavior for most of the first half. I really enjoyed their banter, and how she made him work for her affection. This was a good book. The plot is well developed and fast paced. The story is juicy, and the book is a very nice length. I would love to read more stories from Lynda K. Scott in this colorful and unique universe she created. ~An advance reading copy of Riding the Odds by Lynda K. Scott was kindly provided to me by Entangled: Select Otherworld Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.~
Hope there is more.
Tara Rowan is an independent ship's captain. She and her Rider, Zie, travel the galaxy looking for jobs. She has to keep moving. Her secrets are too dangerous. Can she escape the horror of her past? Apparently not. Trace Munroe is blackmailing her. He needs her help finding his kidnapped sister. He doesn't give her his real name or tell her what he does. He thinks nothing of blackmailing Tara, even though he is attracted to her. Can they beat the dangerous odds? Tara is a feisty woman. She's suffered greatly and keeps her pain deeply buried. She cares for people and will do everything in her power to help those who need her. Trace has always followed the rules. He likes Tara but he won't trust her. Tara agrees to help. She wants to protect "her family". The danger ramps up when they go to Bittersweet, a pirate base. This book pulls you in with interesting characters and non-stop action. This story is a roller coaster ride filled with twist and turns. Zie made me laugh when she kept calling Trace "Pretty". Lynda K. Scott has done a wonderful job creating a future world that requires determination and skill to survive. I hope there are more books. I want to learn more about Jackson and Drummer.
This was an amazing sci-fi romance. It had everything!!! We had spaceships and distant planets, strange and deadly native animals, and riders. I really want to have a rider - if I say pretty please will someone go find me one? This was a great addition to the story and allowed it to really blossom and go in so many great directions. A rider is a creature - sort of like a 2 dimensional mini-dragon - that lives on your skin. And they bond with you and talk to you and make you stronger and better. How awesome is that! Tara is an independent trader. She doesn't work for one of the big families so she struggles to make ends meet and stay out of trouble. But it seems to find her. In this case, trouble comes in a really nice looking package named Trace. Now, he doesn't tell her the whole story when they first meet or she would have turned tail and ran in other direction. Instead they find themselves caught up in a search for Trace's sister that uncovers a much bigger plot that could have serious consequences for the universe overall. Their journey was a very interesting one. Trace has a huge handicap that I don't want to say too much about because it's a pretty big deal. It almost ruins everything when Tara finds out the whole truth, but I forgave him for the lies and deceit because he really did have a good reason for them. Their romance was an odd one, with both taking a long time to truly trust each other. The world building was amazing and the history of the characters was so developed that you couldn't help but just believe in them. I wish there was more to this story because I just don't want to let it go. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
This is the kind of story I just love to read. Tara is an independent space captain. She know how to survive her world, and is certainly helped by a symbiotic creature named Zie, dragonlike, and always hungry. Her path crosses with Trace, not accidently, and they tumble into danger and adventure. Sci-fi, fantasy, and very imaginative. The hot romance scenes don't hurt either.There is closure, but I do hope a sequel will follow. I did receive a copy from Entangled Publishing for an honest review. It is one of my favorites this year.
First of all, it was a great surprise to read this sci-fi romance and adventure book., I enjoyed it and liked it. And what a well written book. I was at first quite lost in the story, it jumped into an unknown era, place, time and characters. But as the story moved on, pretty quickly, I understood that Tara and Zie were two entities in one. A rider in a host and Tara and Zie were not the only one. What a Rider gave to the host. The differences were quite set between people without Rider and those with Rider. Than came who Tara was, her story and friendship. Skipping those backgrounds information which would be in depth with further reading. A writer, Trace, came to her but he wasn't what he pretended to be, because he was in a quest for searching his adopt sister, a princess. Trace was a male, with rule because he was a Holy Knight. So combine Holy + Knight it sounded more than a police or FBI.... scary, rule, loyalty etc.... The story wasn't just a quest but also love. Love between Zie and Tara, it was just so sweet. Zie was just pure , innocent, a little sister but also an older sister where you can ask advice, someone who appease you. A love without boundary. She is just Zie, happy Zie, fewer words but bigger impact. Love between brothers/sister. Loyalty and sense of humanity. Then for sure love. Where this book would not be for young reader. That was where I liked it more. It wasn't young adult. But adult quest, feeling, love. So reading this book was a great choice. Some would not like it because not their genre but it felt right for me
4 stars Tara Rowan is a host to a Rider, a dragon shaped symbiote named Zie, that lives within her and is visible on her skin. Zie is also wild and therefore illegal. Tara is captain of a cargo spaceship and Zie enhances her physical abilities, superhuman strength and reflexes and how she flies her ship. She also has a past from which she is hiding. While looking for cargo Tara stumbles into pirates, a missing princess and an mysterious writer who she finds irresistible. Trace is a holy knight of the empire who has resigned his commission to look for his missing sister, the princess. He has one link to her possible whereabouts, Tara Rowan former plague orphan, pirate and associate of the legendary Jack Brown. Trace blackmails her into helping him find his sister and also leading him to Brown who he believes is behind it all. Trace didn't count on the attraction to Tara and the guilt about blackmailing. I enjoyed this book. The world building is spectacular. I want to know more about the empire and the knights, the failing terraforming and the cargo families. I want to know about the planets and the riders and the pirates and slavers. I was fascinated by the whole thing. I also liked the plot. Tara has a past and she is going straight. That past was because her parents died and the ship she was on crash landed on a deserted planted filled with wild riders. Trace is part of the group that accused Tara and her friends of cannibalism that made them wanted by the government and forced them into surviving on the run. I liked that Trace and Tara came from opposing sides. It was an interesting clash. I also loved Zie!!!! She was awesome and the relationship between Tara and her made the book. My one hand up on the book was the romance. The book is more romance oriented then sci-fi. Trace and Tara both thought that the shouldn't be with the other and then they kept coming up with new reasons why. It was super annoying. Then they sleep together and keep doing it. There is a point when Tara is basically told who Trace is and she flat out ignores it. She doesn't ask, doesn't think about it, just ignores it. Then Tara looses her temper with Trace and tells him her past and he's just like okay. They didn't talk about it. He never actually came clean with her. It drove me nuts. I also thought that it ended abruptly and didn't answer all my questions. I think that there needs to be another book. I want to see what happens with the pirates/slavers because that wasn't delved into. I want to see Drummer and Jack cleared. I wanted more info about String and how Trace got it. And what about the Holy Knights. Its got corruption and it need to be dealt with. There were quite a few unanswered questions. Overall the sci-fi aspects were fantastic. I really enjoyed the book and I would totally read any potential sequel.
**disclaimer: I received an e-ARC copy of Riding the Odds from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The fact that I did not pay for this novel does not change what I thought of it.** Riding the Odds is sci-fi at its best. We have a female spaceship captain (an Independent so she’s on her own out there in the void of space) – a feisty, charming symbiote who steals not only hearts but the story – and a Holy Knight, who is deep undercover in his search for his missing sister, a kidnapped princess. Read on for my thought on Riding the Odds. No true spoilers, promise. Tara Rowan is a spaceship captain, an Independent who is not part of the big guy companies, so she has to scramble to find cargo hauls. She is a survivor, in far more ways than being a one woman crew. Tara has a past, an infamous past, that she has worked hard to put behind her. But life doesn’t always let the past lie.. in the past. Trace Munroe is a former Holy Knight. He has resigned from the organization in order to search for his missing adopted sister who has been kidnapped. He has more secrets than Tara, and is trying just as hard to keep them from being discovered. Zie is a symbiote, a Wild Rider who is attached to Tara in the form of an elegant, moving tattoo. She is charming, childlike and speaks to Tara through their shared mental link. Zie is a creature of few words, and they aren’t always the correct words but she gets her meaning across to Tara easily. But don’t be fooled by Zie’s charm. In a heartbeat she will put Tara in a defensive stance ready to increase her power and strength to fight anyone or anything that threatens them. The search for a missing princess will take them all into parts unknown, as well as a past best left in the past. There we have the main characters of Riding the Odds. I completely enjoyed this novel. I found it easy to follow, yet enough clues were spaced out (not a pun) throughout the story to not give away too much too soon. I don’t want to know the entire story by chapter 4 – and Riding the Odds kept me searching for information all the way through to the end. In the same thought – this is as far as I will be going into the story. This is one you must read to form your own opinions of, to enjoy the full story and to, quite frankly, fall in love with Zie. (you won’t be able to help yourself on that one). I found Riding the Odds to be fast paced action, with characters that I rooted for (even when they were being dumb) and wanted Tara and Trace to have their happy ever after. Did they? You tell me – after you’ve read the book. :) I would recommend this one to friends and family without pause. It was a great read, one that I believe you would enjoy as well.
I should be reading fantasy books and here I am reading sci-fi after glorious sci-fi. I didn’t regret picking up Riding the Odds though, hell, not for a minute. Frankly, I didn’t expect it to be as engaging as it was; I found myself lost in between the pages right after I started reading it. The reason why I requested this book on NetGalley was because I loved the concept. A female spaceship captain and a space knight (how cool is that) go searching for a missing princess – I read the synopsis and I just couldn’t ignore the existence of this book anymore… Thank God. The descriptions of the space stations and planets where the story was set were very vivid. The characters were extremely well-written and I loved how detailed their backstories were. Knowing about their previous ordeals, it was easier to understand their ambitions and their reactions to certain events. The chemistry between Tara and Trace was very strong but – thankfully – they didn’t jump into bed with each other too early (like it happens in many romance novels). Their relationship developed nicely as they crossed the universe and experienced hardships together. I loved how gender stereotypes were busted in this book. Tara is a very feminine woman, but at the same time she knows how to fight and her favourite free time activity is playing poker with a bunch of men at a smoky bar at some distant point of the galaxy. Trace (whom I call space Jamie Fraser, because physically he resembles Jamie a lot and he used the words aye, lass and lad often – don’t mind me), though otherwise a very manly man, is afraid of the sight of his own blood. The part where it turned out was hilarious. He is very tender and all in all a good man and an enjoyable character. I cannot fail to mention Zie here, because she’s basically the third protagonist of Riding the Odds. Zie is Tara’s rider, a tattoo-like creature that lives on Tara’s skin. She was totally adorable. I wouldn’t mind having a rider myself, because it means you’re never alone, there’s always someone there for you. Tara had a very close relationship with Zie, which was heartwarming to read about. My favourite secondary character was Drummer, who was like a brother to Tara. I enjoyed the dynamics between him and Trace, I liked to see how their opinion changed of each other as the story developed. Before you pick Riding the Odds up, acknowledge the fact that it is a (sci-fi) romance novel with erotic bits in it. The book is not overstuffed with sex scenes though, which was another pleasant surprise for me – it’s getting harder and harder to find an erotic novel that has an A+ plot and doesn’t solely focus on certain physical activities. I recommend Riding the Odds to those who loved the tv show Firefly and generally to anyone who likes sci-fi and doesn’t mind if their reading material is spiced up with a bit of romance.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. The cover and the mention of a symbiote dragon got my attention to this book and I knew I had to read it. Weirdly enough the whole dragon symbyote thing is also the thing I loved most about this book. All in all it was a fun and enjoyable book and I am happy I read it, but there were all these little issues I had with the story. For example the whole drug plot line seemed a bit redundant to me, it left a bad taste in my mouth and then it didn't add anything to the story. Then there was the whole we love each other, but we can't be together thing and they never really talked about it, because while they did have time to have sex, but have no time talk as then suddenly the plot starts moving. And there was a scene involving wildlife that only seemed there to further the romance. I did like the story, but when at the end we figure out what was going on and it's just a bit lame. I don't know I just hoped for more. And while the events were fun to read, the main plot just wasn't all that interesting. I can't really explain it better, but while it was fun, it just wasn't great. The characters are a fun cast, but Zie, the dragon symbiote was definitely my favourite character. Tara and Trace are both nice characters and I admired some things in them, but I never really cared for them. They are both very loyal and will do everything for those they love. I did think it was a bit weird both their names started with a T, it makes it easier for me to differentiate between characters when they first letters differ. The side characters were mostly that side characters, they had some motives and personality, but not enough to make me really care about them. Beside Zie ofcourse. I did love the connection Tara and Zie had and it added something very unique to this book. It was definitely my favourite part of the story and if only for that it was worth the read. They have a very unique bond and are like best friends that do everything together and the whole interplay and how Zie could enhance Tara her abilities was interesting. At first I was a bit confused whether Zie was a real dragon, but it becomes obvious soon that she is more a sort of tattoo that can move over Tara her skin, it was very cool and almost makes me want to have a rider of my own. While this is a sci-fi book I would definitely classify it as a romance first and sci-fi second. The romance was the focus of this book and it was done well with the sci-fi elements in the background. While I liked the romance, I didn't really feel it at times. And it's a bit of an enemies to lovers trope, which didn't completely work for me. The transition was a bit too fast and I just missed the tension between them. The world building was pretty well done. While the romance is the focus, the sci-fi made a great background and while nothing is explicitly mentioned or explained the world building was interwoven in everything and it made for a sci-fi world I love to read more books in. The sci-fi elements definitely gave this book a nice touch and the whole jump and rider aspects were a nice and unique addition. While I would've loved to learn more about this world, there was the right amount of world building for the story and it just fit well with the story. To conclude: This was a fun and enjoyable read, but I had some issues with it as well, some plot liens didn't work for me, but in general I enjoyed reading it. My favourite part was the dragon symbiote Zie and her bond with Tara. The world building was also done well, very subtly, but it was still enough to give a distinctive flavour to the world and story. I would love to read more books set in this world as I really liked the setting and the idea of riders.
It took me a few chapters to get into. And once the story really started to pick up, everything started to feel forced to move the plot in the direction the author wanted the book to go rather than it feeling like natural circumstances that would/could happen. I liked some of the characters, Zie and Tara were great, but Tara and Trace, their relationship really felt forced. It wasn't bad for a stand alone, but I kind of would liked more information about the general world early on in the book, it might have helped me get into it faster.
Riding the odds was given to me as an advanced reader copy by Entangled Publishing, for an honest review. I am not being paid in any way, these are my honest and real opinions on this book. I'll be honest I picked this book because of the cover, I thought it looked really interesting and beautiful. I had no idea it was a romance until I was half way through it and decided to go back and check. I don't usually go for romances, they make me feel uncomfortable, but this book was actually quite good even with all the romance. I really loved the characters in this book, especially Tara's rider Zie. I fell in love with Zie only a couple pages into the book. I even found myself rooting for Trace and Tara to fall in love! I also really enjoyed the settings, I am a sucker for spaceships, space and weird planets! Now the downside, why this book lost a star is because I was really confused for the first couple chapters, the author didn't seem to explain a lot of the strange words that were put in the book, for example them using "Creator" as a bad word. Obviously, I eventually figured it out but at first I was like -- does this belong here? Is that a mistake? Why are they saying that? -- I don't like to be confused in books, I would rather the author explain what it means. The other thing I didn't like about this book, and this is based purely on my own preference is the fact that this story is told from two different view. I know a lot of people who enjoy that in books, but I didn't like the jumping around as much. Both Trace and Tara get a viewpoint. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! For those who love romance novels, or even someone who is looking for something new to read. Riding the Odds isn't jammed back full of romance, there is a lot of mystery, action and interesting details. I did enjoy this book, more than I thought I would!Thank you again Entangled and Linda K Scott for the ARC of this book!
This was a great sci-fi romance involving an uptight hero and an independent woman. Tara comes across Trace while waiting for a cargo to transport. He claims to be a writer looking to shadow her for a novel he’s working on. However, he’s really the prince and a former Holy Knight. Tara’s not just a transporter either. She’s a legend, she’s one of the few kids who survived a death sentence on a deadly planet. Tara was the perfect heroine. She was strong, resourceful, loyal, and could take care of herself. So when Trace comes along pushing his way into her life, she pushes right back. She stands up for those who need help and she’s compassionate to those less fortunate than she. She’ll put her life on the line if it means saving someone she loves. “Trust didn’t come easy, not since the day the scout, Larsen, had found them on Eridani. Not since she’d learned that instead of rescue, she, Jackson, and Drummer would be executed for surviving when they had no right to survive.” Tara’s never alone though. She has Zie, an alien life form that’s pretty much a parasite. Zie is a Rider. Rider’s need hosts to latch onto. If the host dies, the Rider dies. Riders take on a shape and look like a living tattoo that shimmer and move over their host. Zie was a fascinating creature that took the shape of a dragon on Tara. She was always moving around Tara’s body and talking telepathically to Tara. When Tara needed an extra boost from Zie, Zie would move to Tara’s face and mask her to give her special powers. Zie was probably the best thing in the whole story. She was so unique and fascinating. “The little Rider swirled over her face and around her head in gleeful anticipation, and lashed her long serpentine tail. This, of course, fanned an itchy, prickly sensation between Tara’s shoulder blades, a spot Tara could never reach.” The romance between Trace and Tara is slow building. At first Trace is just using Tara because he knows who she really is and he knows that she can help him find his sister who was kidnapped. So he pretends to be interested in her in order to try and get close to her, when that doesn’t work, he pushes his way into her life and pretty much blackmails her into helping him. However, the romance was a complicated one. More so than just two characters from opposite sides coming together. Nope, over a span of time Trace’s memory gets wiped causing him to “reboot” his memory without any of the attached emotions. So he wakes up knowing Tara, knowing they’ve been intimate, but feels nothing for her or the thought of having a relationship with her. That definitely added a twist to the story. “If there’d been anything between them, any soft emotion, he’d lost it along with his memory of it. And he’d lost any right to reclaim it. So yeah, you get some awesome sci-fi in this one. Between the Riders, Trace’s drug, Trace’s secret of being a Prince, Tara’s secret of being “The Dragon”, and her and Trace’s adventure of finding his kidnapped sister…. there was never a dull moment. This is a full story, there are no cliff-hangers. However, if the author does decide to turn this into a trilogy or series by writing about the other two who are Tara’s childhood friends and nest-mates, I will definitely be tuning in for them.
Traisdan Munroe (Trace) is the adopted son of of the King of Empyrea, who adopted him when Trace's father, his best friend died in a plague. Formerly a Holy Knight (something like Templar Knights? They enforce the law & are deadly, trained fighters) he resigns when his adopted sister, Princess Katerina is kidnapped. In desperation to find leads to locate her Trace has resorted to taking an illegal drug, String, which enhances the ability to correlate disparate facts into a comprehensive whole but the side effects are total memory loss whenever he sleeps and has to restors his memory each time using his P.A. With the help of String, Trace narrows his investigation to Pirates and straight to Tara Rowan, a beautiful Independent Trader and poses as a writer researching the life of a trader to get her to take him on her next flight. When Tara refuses, he stowaways on her ship. This book was amazing. A thrilling plot with 2 amazing, strong, protagonists with pretty explosive chemistry. Witty, entertaining dialogue and just the right amount of sexual tension. Yes, there's sex but it was a nice compliment to the story and never just gratuitous. Tara has secrets, & in protecting them she doesn't dare let herself get too close to Trace no matter how attracted she becomes. She's quite a kick ass heroine but with a vulnerable side that makes her all the more likable. I loved her relationship with Zie, her rider. Zie has amazing capabilities yet is very child like and innocent. It's so amusing that they all seem very moral (swearing is frowned upon! as is lying) & chastise their hosts accordingly! As the story progresses, the author tantalizes with little bits more of Tara's history & background. There's so much going on: suspense, mystery (who kidnapped the princess & why?), action & never forgetting the totally swoon worthy burgeoning relationship between Tara & Trace. The ending is beautiful & poignant (I cried) with the depth of love between Tara & Trace. This is the 1st I've read of this author & I can't wait to read more. I hope she writes a series. Love the Riders & their hosts. Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review** 4 ½ stars! When Spaceship Captain Tara Rowan first meets writer Trace Monroe, she immediately feels a spark of attraction. But she can tell he is hiding something, especially seeing as trust is not something Tara Rowan gives easily. In a competitive business of hauling cargo through space, Tara has an advantage that few others have – she has a “rider” named Zie, an organic symbiote—like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara's physical abilities and gives her flight benefits. Not only that, but Zie is an illegal wild born rider, not a legal bred one. Zie has protected Tara for years and helped her to get herself straight in the face of diversity after her parents were killed from the Risien Plague that killed many other as well. In efforts to protect herself and Zie, she never has gotten into relationships or close to anyone, finding that simply having Zie is enough as her companion. But Trace stirs something frightening and wonderful inside of both Zie and Tara – something she is willing to run the other way from…far, far away from him. Only Trace isn’t willing to give up so easily – he’s looking for his missing sister, the Princess of Empyrea, Katerina (Trace was adopted by the King and Queen upon his father’s untimely death, also from the Plague) – and through his research, he’s learned that Tara is linked to Jackson Brown, a known pirate. He will stop at nothing to join Tara on her ship and investigate what she knows and how he can get close to Jackson – even if it means lying to Tara. Unfortunately for them both, the pilot has been lit, and going through several live or death situations together ignites a powerful flame. But can they get past each other’s indiscretions and be together, or are their other forces that will tear them apart? First off, I just loved Zie – her child-like look on situations is refreshing and seems to help guide Tara’s moral compass. They are dependent on each other for everything – from food to protection, but you can feel the love they have for each other as well. And Zie is a great judge of character – when she first meets Trace, he tells Tara he’s pretty…not that Tara disagrees. Then there is Tara herself, whom is strong, smart, and very resourceful. While she doesn’t easily trust, once she does she is so with wild ferocity – as she does with Jackson. Trace is not only a beautiful specimen of a male, but he loves his adopted family – not because of their position in life, but because they always treated him as their own. So when you add two strong personalities together, add some heat, and sparks are going to be flying – lighting everything in their path on fire! I really enjoyed the story – it was a relatively quick read and did throw out some surprises and twists along the way. Strong characters, strong relationships, and mostly-strong story = good sci-fi YA read with a little steam to wind down (or UP) any evening!
“Riding the Odds” was a sci-fi romance book that had me hooked from the start. This sci-fi has remarkable world building and the concept behind the Riders—beings that are live tattoos that enhance human abilities—is so intriguing. The world kept getting more interesting with new developments and the different sci-fi elements. The romance part of the book was equally as satisfying. Tara and Trace have such great chemistry despite their best efforts not to have it. Tara is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t let anyone push her around. Her dedication and loyalty is very aspiring because no matter how much her life is in danger, she will do is right. Trace… while his character was pretty interesting and I really shipped him with Tara, his character kind of bother me some. There are decisions he made that I didn’t entirely understand. The whole memory situation to me felt kind of irrelevant, though I understand why it was used, especially near the end when I nearly had a damn heart attack. Overall this sci-fi romance was a highly satisfying quick read and I would totally recommend it with a solid four stars. -I would like the thank the wonderful team from Entangled Publishing for sending me an ARC of this story. I’m so thankful for having the chance to review this book.