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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Black Dragon by Vijaya Schartz

Black Dragon by Vijaya Schartz
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (61 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Foxglove

A dandy is cheating in a gambling den of the Borealis space station, and Lieutenant Zara Frankel intends to catch him in the act. She always gets her man, but this one could prove more than she can handle.

Captain Czerno Drake, code name Black Dragon, intends to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, on the Borealis space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow TPP enforcer. When Zara realizes that she’s been used by a shrewd but seductive rebel, however, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.

I love the world of the Borealis Space Station. Unlike most, this is not a bright and shiny place to live and work, but a villainous, dark and decrepit pit, falling apart and inhabited by some of the dregs of the universe. I found the characters created by Ms. Schartz fit perfectly into this world, and I enjoyed following them all on this adventure.

In orbit around Sestus-3 sits an aging space station under the control of the Trans Planetary Protectorate. The Borealis is slowly falling apart as the TPP funnels its massive resources into the border wars and keeping the outlaying systems in line. The Borealis is a hive of villainy where anything can be bought or sold -- anything or anyone -- if the price is right. This is one tale of the people on both sides of the law, the beings who inhabit the Borealis.

Captain Czerno Drake has arrived on the infamous space station, intent on furthering his reputation as a skilled and lucky gambler at the casino. With his massive space yacht, Providence, and his fancy clothes, he appears to be the very image of the rich and successful dandy he wants everyone in the TPP to think he is. But there is a hidden agenda, and nothing is as it seems to be. Captain Czerno Drake is also the notorious rebel leader, Black Dragon, and he is on a mission to rescue his deeply religious and innocent uncle, wrongly imprisoned on Borealis.

TPP Lieutenant Zara Frankel believes Captain Drake is a cheat, and sets out to prove it, going undercover to try and get the evidence she needs to trip him up. Zara joined the TPP to do good, but she is no longer the wide-eyed innocent who believes in the goodness of the Protectorate, but she intends to do her job to the best of her ability. But Czerno Drake gets under her skin, and soon, into her heart. When she learns who he really is, will she help in his quest to free an innocent religious man? Can she turn her back on her life with the TPP, and join the rebel cause? Can she trust this gambler with the biggest prize of all-her heart?

I like the balance of humor and danger in this story, and the action kept me glued to the pages.

Zara Frankel is an officer in the TPP, but she is not sure that she can continue to blindly go along with thing as they are. I like her strength, and her determination to do the right thing, even if the right thing conflicts with the goals of the Protectorate. I enjoyed watching as she discovered nothing is as it seems, and loved her surprise at seeing who was willing to confide in her to help Czerno rescue his uncle.

Czerno Drake, AKA the Black Dragon, is strong and determined to get to his uncle and get him off the Borealis. He has no plans to fall in love, and he certainly didn’t plan on meeting the one woman who could tame the Black Dragon. Czerno is loyal to friends and family, and that eventually grows to encompass Zara in the small but elite group of confidants. I like his sense of humor, and his ability to think and act quickly. I also loved his choice of pets, his white angora cat, Marshmallow, who travels everywhere with the Captain.

This is a gentle love story, filled with twists and turns, and danger for our intrepid hero and heroine. There is a hidden agenda from the Protectorate, and a surprise or two uncovered along the way. I enjoyed watching as suspicion turned to admiration, and admiration became the first flickers of love between Czerno and Zara. Do these two find the strength to be together and fight for the cause together? Pick up a copy of Borealis: Black Dragon by Vijaya Schartz and enter a world of adventure, romance and a spoiled cat named Marshmallow.