Welcome to Strange Bedfellows: PNR Reviews ~ Speculative fiction with romance themes ~ What strange fellows do you get in bed with?


Taking Command

Taking Command by Jennifer Leeland
Command series, Book 1

Liquid Silver Books, 2008
Through all those years of watching Star Trek: the Next Generation, you know you were thinking it. You wondered if they ever used the holodeck for sexy time. Admit it. There no shame. We were all there with you. After all, Riker always had that shifty gleam in his eye that made you sure he was a closet perv. And that little, bearded smile of his -- very suspect.

And that brings me to Taking Command, from Jennifer Leeland's Command series. (I mean the sexy holodeck escapades, not Riker's pervy beard.) Taking Command is a futuristic story set on a spaceship, off on a colonizing mission. Prolonged time in space is rough on the psyche, so the passengers and crew typically blow off steam with visits to the virtually fantasy room. Daniella Pierce seizes the opportunity to indulge in some fantasies she's never been able to explore with the men in her life. She has no reason to think that the sexy man from her reality is real, much less the captain of the ship.

Captain Jake Tarune has some ghosts in his past, and the ship's VFR is the perfect way to exchange tension for pleasure. But when he realizes the lover responding so perfectly to his fantasies is not a hologram but rather a flesh and blood woman, he's consumed with a new kind of frustration. He's determined to find his fantasy lover, even if she doesn't want to be found. 

But things aren't as easy as that. While Jake and Dani come to terms with their attraction, other problems hit the deck. Someone on board doesn't want the ship's crew to complete its mission. It will be up to Jake to uncover the traitor in their midst -- no matter who it might be.

So, as you may have guessed, this isn't paranormal romance. More like sci-fi romance. And purists might say it's romantica rather than "proper" romance. But whatever. Moving on...

This book isn't shy; it dives right into the action, and I do mean the good stuff. There's a significant BDSM flavor here, which the title suggests. I wouldn't say it's crucial to the plot, but it does provide the foundation for the relationship between Dani and Jake, so if that's not your thing then stay clear.

Still with me? Good. But let's talk technicalities (sorry if you were hoping to talk bondage -- maybe next time). The pace of the book did feel a little rushed, but it hit a certain stride about a quarter of the way through and progressed more naturally from there. Jake and Dani have an intense interaction, which sort of grounded the story with more substance. Then things really picked up as the plot expanded beyond their relationship, and Jake proved to be not just a bad boy but also a badass.

I can't say that I ever connected to Dani. She never really took life of her own; rather, she seemed like the vehicle for developing other characters. Following her narrative brought her us into contact with side characters like Paul, Sashina, and Troy. And, of course, Jake. So while I did enjoy this book, I wonder if I would enjoy other books from this series more. But then, I imagine that kind of curiosity is good news for the author.

This booked was received courtesy of NetGalley and Liquid Silver Books.

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