The Whiskey With My Book blog header is currently featuring a picture I took of my bookshelf. On it are several SciFi Romance and Steampunk Romance titles. These are all favorites of mine and wonderful 5-star adventures, so they will be featured in several posts over the next few weeks.
First up is Pauline Baird Jones. To date, I have read or listened to 10 books written by Pauline. I’ve never been disappointed. It is her sense of humor that has me hooked, but in addition, she tells a great story.
The Key is SciFi Romance Military Space Opera. Yes, all those things. The first book in the Project Enterprise series, it is also my favorite Pauline Baird Jones book. I think it would make a great movie! Starring Jason Momoa. I don’t have an opinion on who plays Sara Donovan, but Jason should be Kiernan Fyn.
Book Blurb: When Sara Donovan joins Project Enterprise she finds out that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger…
An Air Force pilot – the best of the best to be assigned to this mission – Sara isn’t afraid to travel far beyond the Milky Way on an assignment that takes her into a galaxy torn apart by a long and bitter warfare between the Dusan and the Gadi.
After she’s shot down and manages to land safely on an inhospitable planet, Sara encounters Kiernan Fyn – a seriously hot alien with a few secrets of his own – he’s a member of a resistance group called the Ojemba, lead by the mysterious and ruthless Kalian. Together they must avoid capture, but can they avoid their growing attraction to each other?
A mysterious, hidden city on the planet brings Sara closer to the answers she seeks – about her baffling abilities and her mother’s past. She has no idea she’s being pulled into the same danger her mother fled – the key to a secret left behind by a lost civilization, the Garradians.
Here is an excerpt from the The Key.
Sara schooled her face as she waited for her adversary. It was almost insulting when he finally came in. He was about her height, with a sandy complexion and a sturdy build. He didn’t look happy. Unless he had hidden depths, this was going to be a cakewalk. She exchanged a glance with Fyn. His eyes warned her not to make assumptions. She gave a slight nod.
“Captain.” Xever walked up to her, his face lighting up when he saw her.
Sara had her hands clasped behind her back, just in case he got grabby again. “Good morning, sir.”
“This is Hama Colec. Colec, this is Captain Donovan.”
Colec’s head sort of moved, but he didn’t speak. His eyes dismissed her. Apparently no one had warned him not to make assumptions.
“Would you like a few minutes to warm up?” Sara asked him.
His brows arched. He looked down his nose. “I am ready.”
“Really? We thought you might like to—”
“I am ready.” It clearly annoyed him to have to speak to her twice in one minute.
Sara looked at Carey and Halliwell. They both shrugged and nodded. Sara gestured for him to step out on the mat.
He nodded sharply and turned his back on her. He shouldn’t have. Sara hit him on the back of the neck with her elbow. He went down without a sound. She waited a minute, but he didn’t get up. She hadn’t really expected him to.
Kilburn sputtered a bit before he managed to get out, “That was hardly fair—”
Sara just looked at him, one brow arching, then looked away, rolling her eyes.
“He said he was ready.” Carey signaled to a couple of men to move him off the mat. “First rule of the throw down, never turn your back on your opponent.”
Sara knew Xever was looking at her. She could feel it.
“He probably needs a doctor,” Kilburn said.
“It is a hard head,” Xever said, clearly amused. “It will recover more quickly than his pride.”
“If you’d like to see the Captain spar with someone who is ready for her,” Halliwell said, “we’ve got time before she goes on duty.”
Sara looked at Fyn, and he nodded, moving out onto the mat.
He didn’t make the mistake of turning his back on her.
Sara, showing off, did a series of back walkovers to her spot across from him.
“But he is—” Xever sounded shocked.
“He won’t hurt her much.” Carey had his feet planted and his arms crossed over his chest. He looked prepared to enjoy himself.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, sir.
“Ten bucks says I can knock him down.” Sara started to circle. She knew she couldn’t keep him down without doing more damage than the moment called for.
Fyn grinned, but Sara noticed he shifted his shoulders, as if to loosen them up.
“I’m in, too,” Halliwell said.
“I’ll put ten on Chewie to stay on his feet.”
Sara wasn’t sure who was talking and couldn’t afford to look and see. It was enough to know they were all betting against her. She was at her best when she had something to prove.
“My ten’s on the girl.” That was Briggs. She wasn’t surprised he’d bet on her. He’d seen her knock Fyn down already. Fyn made a move and she managed to dodge it and his third arm didn’t get her this time. She knew his moves better. He thought he knew hers.
She did a few things she’d done before, hoping to lure him into a false sense of security. He didn’t seem too lured. He sent her flying. She was up again and going back in, watching and waiting for the right moment.
Finally she got it. She did a hand stand, just like before, like she was trying to catch him on the chin with her feet, but he sent her sailing through the air—again, like before, only a little higher this time, thank you very much. She did the mid-air somersault, but when her feet hit the mat, instead of a spring forward, she put her hands on the mat, whipping forward, but with her body bent, her legs well below his hands, like a side ways windmill.
Her feet came together just right and hit him hard in the mid-section. Even a tree—or a Chewie—goes down with the right hit to the right spot.
The plan was to sail on past him.
Fyn had other plans.
As he went back his arms locked around her, bringing her down with him. They both hit the mat hard. Should have knocked what wind he had left out of him, but he used her own momentum to turn her, so they were eye to eye when he reversed their positions and pinned her to the mat.
She was down for good.
But so was he.
“Nice move,” he told her.
She was panting a bit. “Thank you. You had some new stuff, too.”
Carey leaned over them both. “I thought you had him, Donovan.”
“I’m optimistic that I’ll get him in time, sir.” There was getting and then there was getting. And sometimes losing was winning.
Obviously I liked The Key, but if you want to know a little more about my opinion on this book, here is a link to my review on Goodreads.
In Tangled in Time, Ms. Jones brings in the elements of Steampunk and time travel. Book three in the Project Enterprise series, it is also the shortest. The others are long. Really long, but in a good way. But back to the short one. Tangled in Time features Colonel Carey with delightful Miss Olivia Carstairs. This book is a lot of fun. My favorite line: ‘Cause he wanted to kiss her like it was his job.’
Book Blurb: Colonel Carey (from The Key and Girl Gone Nova) takes a test “flight” through the Garradian time-space portal, but an unexpected impact lands him somewhere and somewhen unintended. As he attempts to get to Area 51, he crosses paths with Miss Olivia Carstairs. With a mind as crisp and orderly as the stays of her corset, Olivia has a transmogrification machine powered by steam and lips he’d like to kiss like it was his job. Can he convince her to join forces with him before she shoots him with her derringer? Can they elude the villainous Professor Smith??
Excerpt from Tangled in Time:
“You’re more than the professor’s assistant, aren’t you?”
She gave a slight shrug. “In my world, all I can ever be is an assistant. Perhaps if my family had a higher social position or more money, I could have attended a university.” She hesitated. “You said she used a needle?”
Should he tell her that much about the future? Course he’d already spilled some beans. “The doc is a woman. Hell—sorry, heck of a woman, too.” Now that Olivia had “come out” she looked different, a bit more like the doc, while retaining that air of innocence. “A lot of things have changed for women in my time. They vote, serve in the military, hold office.”
Her smile was like the best sunrise he’d ever seen from his Dauntless. He wasn’t sure she realized she reached out her hand or was aware he took it.
“We did it.”
He had no clue who her “we” was, but he nodded. “Yes, you did.” He hesitated, not wanting to be a buzz killer, but he heard some sounds he didn’t like from the direction of the airfield. He took a quick look over the ridge. Yup, the army was moving into a search pattern out there. He didn’t have to be a genius to know that his interacting with this time was a bad idea. If this was the past, he couldn’t be caught by the local guys wearing 2010 tech and carrying 2010 ID. Which meant the encampment was off limits and they were on their own in what wasn’t the right time for either of them. “Any ideas how we can get out of this?”
The smile modified, though didn’t completely fade. She took a look, too. That killed it. “Oh my. Do you think they are looking for us?”
“Or what caused the explosion.” He hesitated. “The United States is at war right now, if this is ’44. It would make them a bit paranoid.” Maybe that was too much information. Her jaw dropped a bit, though she was still cute.
She snapped it shut. “Well, now that I know what caused the failed function, I might be able to fix it, though it is…”
“Not a sure thing?”
“And if you can’t get it moving?” And if she did, where would it go? Could she transport them both to 2010?
“There is another way, though it is also full of risk.”
“You seek capture. You appear in the time record. Your doc claims the portal traverses space and time. When she fails to find you in space, she will most likely look for you in time.”
“But won’t my presence is this time be risky?”
“Very. We must do what we can to minimize your impact.”
“I was just thinking that.” He frowned. “Why isn’t your presence damaging to the time line?”
“It is, but to a lesser degree, since I lack the power to alter the future. Everything I am and have is from the past. A transmogrification machine is nothing special now, I would imagine.”
“You imagine wrong. It’s pretty unusual.”
“Unusual? When you have traveled to another galaxy?”
“If you managed to create a stable wormhole in 1894, then the news didn’t get out and it wasn’t out in 1944. I work with people who would know.” Carey rubbed his face, trying to think. This time travel crap was not his skill set. Needed something blown up, he was the go-to guy for that. “We need to move, get back to the machine. A search will take time, but eventually they will stumble across your machine. I’d rather it wasn’t here.”
Since they were using Olivia’s route, the hike down wasn’t as hard as it would have been. Still not easy. Should he stash his gear inside the machine in hopes she fixed it in time, or bury it nearby just in case? He’d decided on digging a hole about the time they reached the small valley he’d landed in.
“The transmogrification machine should be just the other side of this small rise,” Olivia said, increasing her pace.
They rounded the outcrop together and stopped together. All that was left of her machine was a dent in the ground where it had been. Wasn’t even an oil spot.
For my review of Tangled in Time, please visit Ramblings From This Chic. By the way, I also name Tangled in Time as one of my favorite Steampunk novels read in 2015 at Smart Girls Love SciFi Romance.
The books in this series have been both bundled and serialized. If you just want to stick your toe in, part one of the serialized books is available for the very low price of FREE.
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. Seventeen of them, actually. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get free stuff for subscribing to her newsletter) at: paulinebjones.com
Pauline would love to have you visit her website or blog or connect with her on the social media of your choice.