Luke Sicinik travels the galaxy performing dirty missions for money to send home. Born on a desert colony abandoned by the empire, he has no love for imperial soldiers. He spent his childhood in a monastery which taught the evils of anything impractical or sentimental. Yet when he crawls from the destroyed spacecraft, his first instinct is compassionate: he drags Villam's unconscious body free of the wreckage. Stranded together on a wild planet, Villam and Luke know that survival means cooperation. A truce becomes trust, and trust turns to passion, as they struggle to find a new life together -- just the two of them against an entire world.
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Villum is a student of philosophy... steady, loyal, cool under pressure, capable, and driven, this man is more than merely likeable: he commands respect, and is the kind of man I'd want by my side as a friend, lover, or colleague. Raised in a poor society that experiences such a high mortality rate that they condition their children to cut themselves off from emotion, Luke is a monk trained as an assassin, a thief, a pilot... whatever job he can get to bring income to his destitute colony. What should be a simple mission, capture the imperial officer and deliver him to the contact, becomes a battle for survival and a clash of wills as these two remarkable men realize they must work together or die. This story slowly and meticulously pulls away layer after layer... from the characters, from the intrigues of political mechanisms, from the relationships and beliefs that make up the soul of a people... to reveal love and humanity in its basest form, without deceit or distraction, only truth and acceptance. What starts out as a survival story slowly becomes an exploration of what makes us who we are and the boundaries we must all cross to reach unconditional self-acceptance. There is love, yes, and sex, but foremost this is a journey of the soul on a slow simmer, riding on the shoulders of two men from vastly different upbringing and mindsets. The pace is leisurely, the introspection meticulous, and the environmental detail vibrant and expressive in unique and visceral ways. Storms and Stars is not a particularly quick read, nor is it overtly sexual. This is not one of those stories that shines a giant spotlight the sexual orientation of its characters; it doesn't focus on that aspect, giving you just enough tantalizing glimpses into relationships (current and past) to complement and support the story. Now don't get me wrong, this book has sex, and it's pretty hot, but it is neither gratuitous nor excessively explicit. These people love who they love, and all have their own unique sexual preferences, without it having any extra importance to the story. There is no discrimination, no bigotry, only camaraderie and respect. I also liked that while the main characters are in shape, largely due to the demands of their professions, there is no extra emphasis on how drop-dead sexy they are or their rampant sex appeal. Their physical appearances are described through the eyes and feelings of their contemporaries, and their personalities are as important as their looks. This story has a whole lot of heart. It's not just another romance adventure; it's a trek through the annals of the human soul, catching up survival and all our base emotions to spin them into an unbreakable web of desire and need and companionship. This is a novel for a rainy day or a lazy afternoon. Read it slowly and enjoy Ms. Jaydon's artistry and insight into what makes us tick when we've stripped away all the polish, responsibilities, and societal expectations. Storms and Stars is a recommended read! Original review by DaVinciKittie of GraveTells Reviews *Review copy provided by publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions expressed are the honest opinion of the reviewer, and are not influenced by outside factors.