Ali Reads... Space Romance
This month, Ali Williams brings us the ultimate form of escapism with a selection of her favorite romance novels set in space. Start the countdown!
Remember, just click on the cover and a link will take you there.
I've always been a sucker for a space romance. I blame Firefly with its multiple pairings and the best couple to ever grace our screens!
But there's something about flying out into the great unknown, the ship a small dot on the horizon, which makes those human interactions and relationships all the more poignant. Plus, I've never quite managed to shake my love for the fact they often feel like pirates in space, and I am here for the space pirates. So ready yourself for an intergalactic list of recs this month, taking you to infinity and beyond!
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.
Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.
When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.
But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for...
Erstwhile by H. E. Trent
As an adamant opponent of Terran settlement on the planet Jekh, Owen McGarry made his family name synonymous with “traitor” on Earth. Lobbyists standing to profit from off-world colonization hinted that the Jekhans were preparing to declare war. Nearly twenty years after Owen’s supposed death, his granddaughter Courtney wants to learn the truth—even if she has to travel to the far-flung colony to do it.
Court soon learns that not only was her grandfather right about the Jekhans, but that conditions on their world are far more hostile than she feared. Terran forces decimated the population of the resident human-alien hybrids, and the people who remain seem to be all out of fight. That is, except for the pair of men Court finds hiding in her basement.
Fugitives Murki and Trigrian see a future in Court. On a planet where so few women remain, she has the potential to be the mate the lovers need. And more, she could become the advocate for their people that her grandfather didn’t get the chance to be.
When the corrupt local government seeks to punish Court’s friends and family for her actions, she has no choice but to make a stand. If it takes a riot to make the people on Earth see that they were misled about Jekh, she’s more than willing to start one. After all, her reputation couldn’t possibly get any worse.
Relaunch Mission by Robyn Bachar
Living mission to mission on the fringes of civilized space, Captain Lindana Nyota has managed to keep her crew paid and her ship in one piece. Barely. The privateer's life of stealing Soviet supplies for the Alliance is taking its toll on everyone. Down a crew member, she now has to take on a new intel officer and hope it's someone she can trust.
Lieutenant Gabriel Steele knew Lindy wasn't expecting him to walk out of the air lock and back into her life, but he didn't think he'd get his nose broken. As an intelligence agent for the Alliance, Gabriel has spent his career in deep cover, his sense of self crushed under layers of deceit—starting with the lies he had to tell Lindy years ago when he left her. A fresh start is all he wants, but the Alliance and his secret orders have already jeopardized that.
When an infamous pirate and friend of Lindy and her crew is reported alive and in possession of knowledge of a powerful Soviet weapon, finding her before the enemy does is paramount. But Gabriel can't do it without regaining Lindy's trust—and hopefully rekindling what he once sacrificed in the name of duty.
Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau
Liv Braxton's Felon Rule #1: Don't get emotionally involved.
Smash-and-grab thieving doesn't lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn't met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it's easy to follow her Rules.
Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.
Until Zia Talbot, the woman she's supposed to deceive, turns Liv's expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.
Until corporate secrets turn deadly.
But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…
Empire of Light by Alex Harros
Damian Nettoyer is the Empire’s go-to gun. He kills whoever they want him to kill. In exchange, he and his rag-tag gang of crooks get to live, and Damian’s psychokinetic partner and lover, Aris, isn’t issued a one-way ticket to an Empire-sanctioned lobotomy.
Then Damian’s latest mark, a suave revolutionary named Raeyn, kicks his ass and demands his help. The first item on the new agenda: take out Damian’s old boss—or Raeyn will take out Damian’s crew.
To protect his friends and save his own skin, Damian teams up with Raeyn to make his revolution work. As Aris slips away from Damian and his control over his powers crumbles, the Watch catches on. Damian gets way too close to Raeyn, torn between the need to shoot him one minute and kiss him the next.
With the Empire, Damian had two policies: shoot first and don’t ask questions. But to save the guy he loves, he’ll set the world on fire.
Liar's Game by Kait Gamble
Rumors of Aurelia Popkiss's death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, she and her crew have been drifting through the big black, scavenging to survive since the day she "died." Yet after years of being on the wrong side of less than favorable odds, they never thought that finding a young girl stowed away on their ship would prove to be among the worst things to happen to them.
From the moment Aurelia finds Kateryn concealed in her cabin, Auri knows she's hiding something. But even Aurelia can't imagine the true reason for the stowaway's sudden appearance in her life.
Kateryn's past is as convoluted and murky as Aurelia's own. The girl is out for revenge and nothing is going to stop her from destroying Aurelia and her crew—including Keys, Aurelia's fellow shipmate and the man she's secretly in love with—to get it.
The Kinsmen Universe by Ilona Andrews
Family is everything. Talent is power. And revenge is sweet.
In a distant, future world Kinsmen-small powerful groups of genetically and technologically advanced families-control vast financial empires. They are their own country, their own rulers, and their only limits are other Kinsmen. The struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport: in business, on the battlefield...and sometimes in the bedroom.
Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.
On the planet Rada, Meli Galdes' family is of minor rank, and were relying on her marriage to Celino, the razor-smart, ruthless leader of the powerful Carvanna empire. When he abruptly breaks their engagement, he ruins her family and guarantees that Meli will never marry, as no suitor will oppose the rich and influential Carvannas.
But Meli has a rare, secret, lethal-and valuable-talent. As a melder of energy, she's capable of severing anything in her path. So she 'leaves' her family and trains to become one of the best and most lethal of assassins, all the while covertly guarding her family's interests. Now she's ready to quit; but she has one more assignment.
To kill the man who ruined her life.
Claire Shannon is a killer...and her weapon is her mind.
Born on a planet torn by war for over 300 years, Claire is a soldier: a psycher, with the ability to read, control, and destroy the minds of enemy psychers and to infiltrate the biological network where they battle to death.
When Claire's faction loses the war, she barely escapes extermination from both sides, as her talent brands her as too dangerous to society. By so-deeply burying her ability that she avoids detection, Claire is instead deported to Rada as a refugee, where she must find work to remain. She finds a job as personal assistant to Venturo Escana, a premiere kinsman; one of Rada's most wealthy entrepreneurs—and most powerful psychers.
She thought she had left war behind, but now she must hide her skills and her growing feelings from Venturo...and this battle might just cost her everything...
A Mere Formality
The leader of the fierce Reigh people expires during an intergalactic summit, putting 30 million colonists' lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. When the new heir to the Reigh throne, Lord Nagrad, demands restitution, the phrase "'a life for a life" turns the intergalactic calamity into an arranged marriage contract between Lord Nagrad and sharply intelligent diplomatic analyst Deirdre Lebed... and the negotiation of terms becomes anything but formal!
Protostar by Braxton A Cosby
As the Torrian Alliance continues its age-old mission of hunting down Star-children, King Gregorio Derry reluctantly agrees to send his only son, William, to planet Earth on a mission to bring honor back to the Royal Family name.
The target: Sydney, a young teenage girl, unaware of her alien heritage.
When an unforeseen accident delays the assassination, William begins to realize a connection forming with Sydney and struggles to follow through with his orders. With the fear of Civil War imminent back home, William must make the ultimate choice between his irrevocable duty and love, sacrificing everything he believes.
But as a hidden menace emerges to secure a vested interest, and impossible odds begin to mount against them, William and Sydney wonder if a connection between two starcrossed lovers is enough to save them from destruction.
Warp Gate Concerto by Dorian Graves
Nulani, Ashua, and Silna are alien soulmates on the run from their oppressive homeworld. When their past catches up to them, they find themselves lost and separated on a deadly jungle planet. To survive, they’ll have to face everything—from floral reptiles to pain-eating scientists—with only their wits and mind-altering music on their sides.
But they soon learn they aren’t the only ones in need of rescue. An underground laboratory houses genetically altered superweapon Kozrin, who is not only a reminder of the war they left behind…but is also their soulmate!
Can this ragtag group of polyamorous space pirates reunite, rescue their new love, and escape this deadly planet alive?
Time Taken by C. B. Lewis
Time travel is a precarious business at the best of times, but when Qasim El-Fahkri’s mission to the past ends in violence, it has a ripple effect through every level of the Temporal Research Institute.
Rhys Griffiths finds himself caught in the wake of the disastrous jump, his own career uncertain. With the Supervisory Board breathing down his neck, operatives demanding answers to baffling questions, and life outside of work bearing down on him, his only respite comes from Qasim’s company.
As the professional slowly becomes the personal, they must confront the echoes of their own pasts to try and move forward in the future.
But another past is waiting for Qasim, and there may be no coming back from this one…
Reign by May Sage
Darkness almost destroyed the galaxy a thousand years ago. He's reborn; and Nalini just saved his life.
A captive at the mercy of the Warlord of their multi-world kingdom, Nalini has learned to hide under a mask, a lie. As far as her master sees, she's his obedient little puppet.
Then, she meets him. The male who can obliterate the entire Galaxy. Her world ends that day.
In the eyes of a young Seer, Kai discovers who he's meant to be. His future is blood and death; but there's a female by his side. A female he'd gladly destroy stars for.
If his destiny is ruling over ruins with her, so be it.
Two souls, worlds apart, under different skies. One destiny.
Spacer's Cinderella by Adria Rose
She comes from nothing. He has everything.
Born on an abandoned colony barely held together by sealant tape and hope, Aurora Sato is at the very bottom of the social pecking order. Hard work and brains got her into a coveted spot in the quadrant’s top university… But her new supervisor is a woman who's not about to let an upstart like Aurora get anything close to a break.
And a break is exactly what Aurora needs right now. Her home colony is dying and nobody is in any rush to save it or her family. Aurora’s research project is their last hope, but only if she can complete it in time — an impossible task.
One night out is all she’ll allow herself. One night to forget her troubles. She never expects to meet a man who dazzles all her senses. Magnus Thorne is a battle-hardened, ruthless cyborg. Rich, respected and powerful, he’s too much for innocent Aurora. For one magical night he makes her feel like a princess, awakening a longing she doesn’t know how to quell.
But Aurora is in more danger than she realizes. And Magnus isn’t about to let her face it alone, no matter how hard she tries to shut him out.
He's determined to break every rule to save her from ruin. But will she trust him enough to let him?
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
A convict and an enchanting rogue hold the fate of the universe in their hands...
Wanted criminal Tess Bailey and her band of merry thieves are desperate and on the run. The most powerful ruler in the universe wants them dead, and while he hunts them, the stolen ship they escaped on is running out of steam. Their one offer of help comes from Shade Ganavan, a tall, dark and arrogant stranger with ambiguous motivations.
At her side is gentle, blind Shiori, Fiona, an ex-rebel fighter with a rage so strong it could bring generals to their knees, and determined Jax and Miko, steering their ship through the depths of space. Together, their friendship gives them strength, but will their bond be strong enough to defeat an enemy whose ruthlessness is legendary?
As their luck runs out, Tess will have to choose an ending to her story - and whether to fight against or yield to a temptation so strong, it threatens to cleave the land of stars in two.
Chaos Station by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke
"You're not real. Felix Ingesson is dead."
The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander's military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn't real.
A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he'd thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.
Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.
Hellcat's Bounty by Renae Jones
The hellcat of Rosewood station is the best of the best. Anelace Rios is a good old-fashioned troublemaker, fiercely independent, and best of all, a steady hand with a flamethrower. Carnivorous amoeba are slowly taking over the half-abandoned mining port, and the freelance exterminator rakes in big bounties killing them off—then she spends those bounties in a grand way. Work hard, play hard.
Meidani Sintlere's reputation is exactly the opposite of her wild friend. She's the station’s hardworking black market doctor. She’s shy. She's nice. She's got a weakness for imported chocolate and pastel dresses. And she gets mad as a sani-vacced cat when Anelace shows up missing chunks of skin.
The hellcat never lacks for a willing partner. Even so, Meidani's got notions to cut to the front of the line and stay there. She upends everything Anelace knows about good girls and the bad girls who don’t deserve them, and in a blisteringly hot night they go from friends to lovers.
But their new closeness forces the kind of reckoning even tough Anelace can't escape unscathed. She thrives on her job, relishes the payoff, but now she's endangering more than her own adrenaline-junkie hide—every run risks Meidani’s happiness. For the first time, Anelace is risking her shot at love.