"Land's End" by Lauren Dane: The Land's End highway is one of the most dangerous places in the universe. The constant peril of brigands keeps Verity Coleman stuck in Silver Cliffs, dreaming of the open road - and of Loyal Alsbaugh, the tall and silent highway patrolman. When her town is attacked, Verity has a chance to win over Loyal's muted heart. But will his wounded past make him leave her along the road, or can she convince him to take her along?
"By the Sea of Sand" by Megan Hart: Captain Kason Reed was willing to give his life to the Sheirran Defense Forces, but now he can't remember anything but bits and pieces of the war. When his sexual attraction to his caregiver, Teila, causes him to make advances toward her, she becomes the aggressor, urging him with her body to explore the memories of his past-memories that all seem to draw him back to Teila . . .
The two stories are alien-human romantic fantasies. Wherever they are—and they are not necessarily the same place—it seems similar to earth but with alien enemy factions, foods and technologies not found on earth. The romances occur between humans only.
Dane's story was by far my favorite. I enjoyed Dane’s use of what seemed like early American language. It was wonderful to hear the proper and conservative banter between the h and H as “proper” people of that time period would engage and then to watch their coupling unfold where the properness dropped away with lushness. Dane has progressed mightily with her ability to write desire. I’m 43-years-old and listen to plenty of romance and erotica, but I’ll be blushing and fanning due to the steamy parts in her story for some time to come.
The narrator did an excellent job with the h and H. All of the male characters sounded very similar, but it didn’t detract from my experience of this story b/c the other males played much smaller parts.
Hart's story is probably more like 3 or 2.75 overall. In Hart’s story, the author engaged a very creative way to get the sex going at the very start of her story. And there was a surprise twist in the explanation of it. Non-contemporary English language was used at times, but not to the same extent as Dane's. And the dialogue was nothing to comment on. It sufficed. As an aside, I also loved the image of female deity. I've read all but two of Ms. Hart's books on Audible--her first one & her last non-romantic one--and this one is my least favorite of all of her books I've listened to. It was, of course, still good, but on the average side. The sex was short and somewhat detailed. There was a bit of action near the end and a sort of emotional and social mystery that’s hard to explain without spoiling the story. They connect with the world-building and the H. The story made sense, though foreign in some ways, and revealed some interesting aspects to the alien world. Everything was plausible, but nothing inspired me to jump to finish the story. I never thought I wouldn’t finish it b/c I liked it enough, but I was in no hurry to do so. And an incident with the son near the end wasn’t explained and, therefore, seemed sort of thrown in to add drama or something, but, sadly removed some of the plausibility.
Finally, there was some kind of technical problem in the last 30 minutes or so of the story when a few lines of the story were repeated. I was confused for a moment. Surprisingly, for the first time, I might be a little bit more cautious about buying Ms. Hart in the future and less cautious and maybe even pursue future books by Ms. Dane.
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