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Friday, December 14, 2007

Review: Love’s Beguiling Healer

Love’s Beguiling Healer
By Angela Verdenius

Take one Argon healer, add one maddening Felys male, a hefty pinch of sexual attraction, mix in some sass, a dash of dislike, stir well and watch the sparks and hisses fly.

Now add Death and a deadly secret. Can Tera and Illam stop the fur flying long enough to save a whole species from extinction?

Tera is an Argon healer, a woman from a very sensual race who doesn’t believe in mincing words when it comes to her thoughts and feelings, or the health of others.
She is a very strong woman, comfortable in her own skin and in her place in society. She makes no apologies for who or what she is, and can become rather incensed with any who try to judge her, including with a particular Felys male who constantly makes her want to yank his proverbial tail.

She accepts the assignment to travel to Scytha, the Felys’ home planet, to try and help the people of that culture as they struggle to figure out why so many of their young are born as “runts”. The problem is urgent enough that the leaders are worried that their race is dying out, which is why they seek the Argon’s help, a race that is more advanced than their own. As she journeys to this new world, she finds herself falling in love with it’s amazing and versatile people, as well as with one specific male she can’t seem to get out of her system.

Illam is the Felys male intent on driving Tera, and himself, to distraction, without really meaning to or understanding why. The proverbial fur flies as he fights his unusual and seemingly unreasonable reaction to the “difficult” healer who rubs him the wrong way. And what cat likes to have his fur rubbed up the wrong way? Illam is also from an intensely sexual race that has more feline characteristics than most people are comfortable with – they are almost more feline than human. Illam is a protector by nature, and a bit more reserved with “Outworlders”, as he calls them, than with his own kind. He doesn’t quite know what to make of Tera, although she is just as strong as the women of his own species.

The main reason she rubs him wrong, I believe, is that he is so attracted to her… and doesn’t want to be. Everyone else around Illam and Tera can see what is really going on with these two, and are perfectly delighted to sit back and watch the sparks fly as two very strong individuals clash with one another. I loved the about-face in his attitude when he realized that fighting his attraction to Tera was futile, and only making himself and those around him miserable. As he starts stalking Tera instead of avoiding her - the sparks really fly!

This story has an amazing amount of world-building that had me entranced, and consequently looking for the author’s backlist of stories. It also had a great deal of humor that had me laughing out loud at the main and supporting characters’ antics and playful bantering. Ms. Verdenius has quite a way of building the tension between her characters and I found I was holding my breath each time that Tera and Illam were near each other. I have to say that I also got a kick out of the internal dialogue of the main characters, as I find that I have said the same things to myself, if maybe not in as funny a way. This author has a real way with words, and I could see the different worlds and situations in my mind’s eye, which is exactly what we all want from a great book.

We can’t have a good story without some conflict, and there was just enough provided. As everything came to a head near the end, I found that I was glad that it had been building slowly throughout, with the reader not really sure where it would all go in the end, or even if we would get a full resolution when the end came. I found that all my questions were answered in a more than satisfying way. All in all, this was a riveting love story, with fantastic worlds to explore and new people to get to know. This will go in my keeper file, and I’ll be looking for any of Ms. Verdenius’ other stories.

Reviewed by Viscaria