UNCHAINED by CJ Barry
The Blurb on the author's site for this book wasn't that great - in my opinion - so I'm going to summarize.
Cidra Faulkner's entire family was killed in a brutal massacre in retaliation for a supposed wrong done by her father. She escaped notice and therefore death that night and spent the next 10 years in hiding being trained to be a Kin-Sha warrior. When her friend and mentor dies, leaving her a box containing incomplete but compelling proof of her father's innocence, Cidra is determined to fulfill her duty and gain justice for her family and regain honor for the Kin-Sha. Luckily, her mentor has left her more than leads to the truth of the past, he's also provided the perfect partner with the means to get the job done.... Grey Stone. But as they travel, research and learn more about each other Grey quickly becomes more than a means to an end.
Responding to his former Kin-Sha mentor's request, Grey arrives just in time for the burial but in plenty of time to fulfil his last request - help Cidra find the proof of truth about the millions of deaths blamed on her father. Cynical and distinctly untrusting of women - well, anyone really - Grey nevertheless makes her part of his crew knowing all the while that resisting the combination of beauty, innocence, and warrior-woman that is Cidra will be nearly impossible. And he's right, the passion between them flares so hot and the emotions so deep that Grey finds himself willing to risk everything he cares for - himself, his ship, his crew... for Cidra's mission and safety.
I really, REALLY enjoyed this story! I've read all of CJ Barry's futuristic romances... or so I thought until I ran across this one listed on the New Concepts Publishing website. It was like an undiscovered gem!
The characterizations are awesome - Cidra is strong, sassy, and kick-ass but she is also sweet, vulnerable and innocent. She's very straight-forward, speaking her mind and doing what she thinks is best. I really loved this character - Ms. Barry did an amazing job blending Cidra's almost contradictory traits into a realistic and engaging whole.
Grey is cynical and doesn't trust people in general but not to the extreme that it makes him bitter. He is hardened by life's experiences but intelligent enough not to let it block him from finding love with Cidra. Grey's a great combination of strength and tenderness with a wee bit of naughty rogue and arrogant commander in him (it must come with the territory of being a treasure hunter). I SO fell in love with him - can you tell?
The plot, which revolves not only around Grey and Cidra's relationship but also finding the truth of the past "crime" that Cidra's father allegedly committed. It is very well developed, cohesive, and perfectly paced leading the reader into the action and through various revelations and emotional (relationship) levels with precision- I absolutely couldn't put the book (OK, ebook-reader) down until the end.
Find out more about Unchained and where to buy it in its various forms (it comes in e-book or paperback).
Find out more about CJ Barry.
CJ Barry also writes romantic suspense with a paranormal twist as Samantha Graves.