Thursday, February 7, 2013

Caught in Amber Book Review *Cathy Pegau*

Recently out of rehab, Sasha James is determined to keep her head down, complete her parole and never touch amber again. The chip in her neck controls her cravings for the highly addictive drug, but also tracks her every move. Not that she goes anywhere other than work and the halfway house she calls home—a far cry from her luxurious former life as lover of the mining colony's top drug dealer, Guy Christiansen.

Agent Nathan Sterling has no desire to see Sasha fall back into amber, but his sister has become Guy's latest conquest and the unexpectedly attractive Sasha is the key to getting her back. So in exchange for an introduction, he offers Sasha the one thing she can't refuse—her freedom. From the chip, her parole and even the planet if she wants. Though he would be sorry to see her go…

Torn between her growing attraction to Nathan, fear of Guy and the allure of amber, Sasha accepts. But who will save her if Guy refuses to let her go a second time?

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Sci-Fi romance. Linnea Sinclair used to be my “go to” author for everything Sci-Fi, but it’s been a few years since she’s published anything. I may have just found a new author to replace my Linnea Sinclair addiction. It’s Cathy Pegau, and her recent release, Caught in Amber is balls to the walls awesome. Cathy also writes Sci-Fi Lesbian Romance, which was her debut, Rulebreaker in 2011. Caught in Amber is and one of the best Sci-Fi Romances I’ve read in recent memory. 

Caught in Amber takes place in the same word introduced in Rulebreaker (which I haven’t read and must rectify). We’re introduced to the heroine, Sasha, as she’s sitting at a bar having a drink. Sasha has been out on parole for eight months. She used to be in the Nevarro Correctional Rehabilitation Center where she spent the last five years as her punishment and recovery as an amber addict. Amber is a big illegal drug of choice on Nevarro, and her ex-lover, Guy Christiansen is the top dealer of it. Sasha’s more than happy to stay far, far away from Guy because she holds him responsible for her getting to the drug. But then Nathan Sterling forces his way into her life. Nathan needs Sasha’s help. It appears that most of the women Guy has been with after Sasha left him not only look much like her in appearance, but end up dead because of their addiction to amber. Nathan’s younger sister, Kylie works for Guy and he’s afraid Kylie will be another victim of Guy's. Nathan believes Guy is still in love with Sasha, and she can help save Kylie, but must approach Guy about a business deal with Nathan. Sasha is dead set against seeing Guy again but Nathan can reduce to terms of her parole and get rid of the chip in her neck that tracks her and controls her amber cravings. If she’s successful in helping Nathan, she can leave Navarro and her unfortunate past behind.

Sasha decides to help Nathan because she wants to get back at Guy for him throwing her away like garbage. But when she walks into the lion’s den, so to speak, she may have been incorrect in her assumption regarding Guy. At the time she went to rehab, she was heavily under the influence of amber, and what she vaguely remembers is different from what Guy tells her that happens. She sees with her own eyes that Guy does still care about her and knowing the only way she can get Guy to welcome Nathan into the business is to pretend she wants to rebuild their relationship. Guy is more than thrilled.

Nathan isn’t thrilled with Sasha’s act and is worried she could be in much more danger than he first thought. He no longer believes that Sasha is an end to a means and doesn’t want her hurt. At first he isn’t sure she can pull the ruse off, but she surprises himm but both must stay in their roles or suffer the consequences.

Not only is Sasha being forced back into the world that almost destroyed her, but now she has Nathan who not only can give her the freedom she longs for but the affection she so desperately needs. 

Caught in Amber is everything I look for in a romance. The characters her are very dimensional and rich with their personalities. You really connect with Sasha and the grief she’s going through. Everything is well balanced with her from beginning to end.

Nathan comes across more as a typical hero you find in most romances. But who really shines here is Guy, the villain of the story. I really connected with him and I found myself sympathetic to how he was portrayed because it’s obvious how much he cares for Sasha, although he's this big drug lord who uses people to get what he wants. Part of me wanted to see flashbacks of them together, to get an idea of how Sasha ended up with him, how she became addicted to amber and how she became bitter and lonely.

I really can’t find anything wrong with Caught in Amber. Cathy hit a home run with this one. Her writing is engaging and grabs you from the first page. Also the love scenes sizzle and the chemistry and attraction between Sash and Nathan is very believable.

Caught in Amber is one book I’m recommending everyone read. This is a book I want to hug and I’m proud to say one I wouldn’t mind having babies with. Carina Press has a good thing with Cathy, and if Caught in Amber is proof of Cathy’s writing skills, I can see her taking the Sci-Fi genre by storm. Caught in Amber is one book I’m urging readers to grab ASAP. “It’s so good” is the mantra that kept running through my head as I read. (Carina Press, $5.39)

Final Grade: A-

A few other Caught in Amber reviews:
Diane Dooley
Tracy's Place