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Review by K. J. VanHouten

Review of Beloved Enemy

Beloved Enemy starts with a crash – literally as Cat Sinclair, our heroine, crashes her escape ferry onto an unknown planet. It doesn’t get any better when she exits her damaged craft and hears blaster fire. At least they aren’t firing at her though. A bit hesitantly, and at a distance, she joins the fire on the side of 3 unknown humans facing a larger group of unknown foes – who may or may not be unfriendly planet inhabitants. Her rationalization is that she needs these people to help her get off the planet. As the fight nears its end, two of the humans are able to make an escape, leaving the third man to continue the fight, although he also succumbs in the end. When the firing finally stops, Cat creeps forward to see if he’s alive. Of course she discovers he’s the one man in the galaxy that she’s been searching for, the man responsible for the death of her half-sister. Kerry Marchant regains consciousness at find a beautiful redhead standing over him. At first he’s confused, as she bears a strong resemblance to the woman he loved, the woman who died protecting him. But once he shakes off his first reaction, he noticed the differences.

And this is how Cat and Kerry find themselves stranded together. Kerry’s companions had returned to their ship in orbit, planning to get medical help before returning to the planet surface to pick up Kerry. Unfortunately, something is interfering with communications and Kerry can’t call his crew for help. Cat’s crashed ship is beyond repair. Kerry does not know who Cat is, and Cat doesn’t make her desire to see him dead known, as she’s hoping she can use him to get off the planet first. There is definite tension as the two settle in for the first night, wary of each other but recognizing they need to work together.

Beloved Enemy continues as a rather fun plot of two strangers – enemies actually, if only Kerry knew why Cat was so distrustful of him – who find themselves helping each other survive a number of life-threatening incidents, including a booby trap, aggressive indigenous lifeforms, and capture by Cat’s former lover, an officer of the governing Union that is on a ruthless path of expansion across the galaxy. For another twist, this officer is aided by a woman from Kerry’s past, a woman he thought dead, who he discovers is Cat’s supposedly dead half-sister. Seeing her sister alive throws Cat into a whirlwind of confusion and she discovers she isn’t the beloved sister she thought she was trying to avenge. Adding to the confusion is a growing attraction and reluctant trust she is developing toward Kerry. Beloved becomes enemies, enemies become beloved. Nice, fun, satisfying story.

And then the book takes an unexpected turn involving a superior race of beings, inexplicable teleportations around the planet as well as on and off Kerry’s ship in orbit, and a trial for humanity’s future. (Which, along with some wild realistic hallunciations gave me a flashback to Star Trek: The Next Generation when Q puts the crew on trial as representatives of humanity. As a Trekkie/Trekker myself, I have no problem with Star Trek connections in stories, lol.) Cat and Kerry find themselves as pawns in a larger game, trying to make sense of what is happening, bearing the responsibility of humanity’s future, and struggling to overcome their own reasons for not wanted to give in to the feelings they are developing for each other.

Turns out Beloved Enemy is book 3 of The Destiny Trilogy. I’m not sure how it fits into the series – if it’s continuous or not. It was fine to read as a standalone, but there were definitely references to people and situations that I wondered if I’d have gotten deeper meaning from if I’d read volumes 1 and 2. (At one point I did stop and get book 1 on audio, but I was distracted by the narrator and realized that I wasn’t really hearing the story, was totally lost about a third into the audiobook, at which point I stopped.) Beloved Enemy is definitely a fun read, and it’s a good bet that I’ll end up getting books 1 and 2 to read soon.

Note: The author provided an e-copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

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