"The Healer's Kiss" by author Donna McDonald is a science fiction take on a romance novel with the elements of space opera and paranormal added. I truly believe this book is the best of the "Forced to Serve" series -- "The Demon of Synar", "The Demon Master's Wife", and "The Siren's Call" -- which is saying a lot since I love the whole set. "The Healer's Kiss" is the fourth book in the series.
The crew of the Liberator have been tasked with rescuing a High Ambassador's daughter from a planet called Lotharius, where women are nothing more than abused slaves. Boca Ador -- rescued from the planet in "The Demon Master's Wife" -- has volunteered to go back to help rescue the daughter. But her would be mate (at least to him and sometimes to her when she'll bother to admit it), Dr. Chiang, has great trepidation about that. And there begins the romance part with these two former supporting characters taking the stage in their combative courtship.
I admit it -- I have a serious literary crush on this author. For someone who just woke up one day and decided she wanted to write books, Ms. McDonald has certainly mastered the art of the craft. All of the elements of great fiction are here -- her plots are tight and the subplots weave around the main plot keeping the action always going. And believe me, there's quite a bit of action in this book -- both in the bed and out. And there's some serious heat happening when they aren't getting ready for the rescue.
Her characters could quite easily leap off the pages, stepping into reality as if they belong in the real world. McDonald's characters have distinct personalities -- Boca is small in stature and makes up for it with a feisty personality. Chiang reminds me more of a lovestruck Mongo (from "Blazing Saddles") with a brain. The rest of the crew, including the leading characters from the previous books, complement each other, as well.
But my favorite character is the so named "Demon of Synar", Malachi. Over the series, he's been changing from the thoroughly unlikeable entity that was prone to violence and taking delight in it to a bit of a rogue with a wicked sense of humor and a healer. There's something so appealing as the redemption of a character, and a sexy one at that.
An easy read, "The Healer's Kiss" is still full of twists and surprises in a plot that is multi-layered with well written characters. I can recommend spending the weekend curled up in your favorite reading spot, with your favorite beverage, and enjoying a great series of stories.
The entire "Forced to Serve" series is available through all online booksellers -- in ebook format as well as paperback.
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