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 have been featured in posts over the last few weeks. We’ve come to the last of the books on that bookshelf.
Today’s post features two awesome books by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Both of these books demonstrate Ms. Fisher’s talent for combining fascinating speculation about other worlds/universes with passionate romances.
In my February 5 post, I mentioned that there were three books I read last year that I consider to be my SciFi Romance favorites for 2015. The first was Laurie A. Green’s Inherit the Stars. The second of those three books is Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher.
Echo 8 has a very unique premise. Parallel universes are not new to SciFi, but Ms. Fisher’s treatment of them is fresh and captivating.
Book Blurb: Three lives. Two worlds. One chance to save them all.
As a parapsychologist working for Seattle Psi, Tess has devoted her life to studying psychic phenomena. But when doppelgangers begin appearing from a parallel world that’s been struck by an asteroid, nothing in her training will help her survive what’s to come.
After dislocating to Seattle Psi from the other Earth, Jake is confined by a special task force for study. But when he drains life energy from Tess, almost killing her, it causes a ripple effect across two worlds – and creates a bond neither of them expected.
Ross is an FBI agent ordered to protect Tess while she studies Jake. His assignment is not random – he and Tess have a history, and a connection the Bureau hopes to use to its own advantage. By the time Ross realizes his mission could be compromised, it’s already too late – he’ll have to choose between his love for Tess and his duty to protect the people of his own Earth.
This excerpt is Chapter 1 from the Echo 8:
The man on the floor was transparent.
He tracked Tess as she crossed the room, stopping a couple meters away from him. He studied her, and she knew he was trying to understand. Trying to remember.
Her heart ached for him. He was human, after all. At least he had been.
“How do you feel?” Tess asked, taking another step toward him.
“Close enough, Doctor.” The low, cautioning voice came not from the fading visitor, but from the FBI agent who’d moved to stand behind her. Tess did what she usually did when Ross McGinnis spoke to her in that tone. She ignored him.
“Where . . . am . . . I?” The visitor’s voice scraped like dry leaves blowing across pavement. “Who are you?”
“I can answer those questions for you, but . . .” Tess swallowed. “It’s going to come as a shock.”
He blinked at her, and his gaze slid around the lab. The equipment had been removed, leaving nothing to look at but the exposed brick walls, painted ductwork, and gleaming hardwood floors.
“Where am I?” he repeated.
There was no time to make him understand. He had maybe an hour to live. But he deserved what little explanation she could offer.
“You’ve come here from a different Earth.” His gaze snapped back to her face, and she could imagine what he was thinking. “There was a catastrophic impact event—an asteroid. The destruction knocked some of you loose from your own reality. Brought you to ours. We don’t know how or why.”
He stared at her, long and hard.
“Who are you?” His voice was stronger now, more insistent. But it still had a hollow, echoing quality.
“My name is Tess. I’m a parapsychologist.”
One corner of his mouth twisted. Tess started to ask if he was in pain—but then realized the half-dead transparent man was smirking at her.
“This is a joke, right?”
She frowned. “I’m sorry. No.”
Tess debated about how much to tell him. Compassion for the dying man warred with her sense of duty. She had a responsibility to glean as much information as she could from him. The lives of people on her own Earth depended on it.
“What’s your name?” she asked as he continued to study her.
“Jake, I’d like to ask you some questions.”
“How about you answer a few first. Like why do I feel like a pile of grated cheese?”
“That’s complicated.” She knelt on the floor so he wouldn’t have to look up at her. “Your dislocation left you unable to sustain life energy.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“I’m afraid I don’t have a more scientific explanation for you. The impact somehow relaxed the laws of physics as we understand them. Weakened boundaries between our universes, which allowed some of you to pass through to our Earth.”
“I got a D in high school physics,” said Jake, “but I’m thinking that shouldn’t be possible.”
“Some scientists believe we might one day be able to communicate with parallel worlds, and communication is just an exchange of energy. But the short answer is since you’re here, it’s possible. And without the connection to your own world, well . . . you’re broken, for lack of a better word.”
“Yeah, I noticed that.” His eyes searched around the room. “There are others like me?”
“We know of as many as twenty. And more keep popping up.”
“Where are they?”
She studied his face, which was little more than a ghostly residue. “They died, Jake.”
“I’m dying too.”
“Without a transfusion of energy, yes.”
He gave her a tired smile. “I don’t think my insurance covers that.”
“I’d help you if I could. Unfortunately the effects of—”
“Doctor,” interrupted the agent, “I think you’ve told him enough.”
The Echo’s ticking clock, and her compassion for his situation, shaved a slice off her already thin tolerance for the Bureau’s interference. Glancing up she said, “Agent McGinnis, please do your job and allow me to do mine.”
The agent’s dark eyes registered no surprise. From their first handshake—months ago at the International Echo Summit in Washington D.C.—they’d generated neon sparks of animosity that had singed anyone within a three-meter radius.
As she glared at him, his gaze cut back to Jake. The agent frowned. “Doctor . . .”
She returned her attention to her subject—or to the spot on the floor where he had been.
“No,” she groaned. She stepped toward the empty corner, kneeling.
“Careful, Doctor,” warned the agent.
A dead bulb in the overhead light flickered on, and she jumped. Glancing down at the floor she noticed something that looked like chalk dust. She reached out and touched it with the tip of a finger.
“Tess!” the agent shouted. But it was too late.
White heat seared up her arm, and she screamed.
Sharp pains slashed down her body, a riptide of razors. Tess’s life gushed out of her and into Jake, who rematerialized before her eyes. He gave a long, low moan, and Tess felt him strengthening, pulsing with her energy.
He rose to his knees as she fell back onto the floor, head striking the hardwood. He crouched over her, hands sliding up the outsides of her thighs. She gave another cry of agony.
From far away she could hear Agent McGinnis shouting. But Jake’s arms coiled round her like serpents, and Tess knew she was beyond help.
Last year, I joined the blog Smart Girls Love SciFi Romance. I was so excited to be able to become a part of that team! Echo 8 was my very first post for them. If you are interested, is here is that review.
Ghost Planet is another highly imaginative story by Sharon Lynn Fisher. The mystery of the nature of life on an earth-like planet was thrilling!
Book Blurb: Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world–a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy–creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone–oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love–Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
Based on the blurb, you might realize that there is a BIG reveal early on, that of Elizabeth realizing she died in a crash. If you truly want to avoid all spoilers, skip this excerpt. But I assure you, in Ghost Planet this excerpt is only the tip of the iceberg in the category of ‘reveals’:
We retraced our steps all the way to the transport terminal and I followed him in, my hair and clothes damp from the steady, misting rain. He’d practically jogged the whole way, and I couldn’t help wondering if he had been running from me, hoping to avoid another confrontation. Even in my agitated state, I felt a pang of regret for the lost opportunity. He was bright and charming. Friendly and likable. I’d been looking forward to working with him.
Murphy stopped at the service desk, and I caught up in time to hear a terminal employee telling him, “The security team has set up on the tarmac.”
Murphy thanked him and spun toward the sliding doors.
Outside on the landing pad, the scene was a striking contrast to my first few minutes on the planet. A pair of hoverlifts swung into view, and we stopped to watch them light like hummingbirds on the opposite end of the tarmac. At center stage was a crippled passenger transport, green-uniformed officials buzzing around its hulk. The cockpit had partially separated from the passenger compartment. I shuddered to see water trickling from the gap, collecting in an already substantial puddle below.
Somebody’s transport had most certainly gone down.
Murphy approached a cluster of people standing near the wreckage. I followed.
“I can’t answer that yet, folks,” said a harassed-looking man with a clipboard. “We know there was a storm. That’s all. Our first priority is notifying family members and making arrangements to send the victims home.”
“Is it true the ship’s emergency evac failed?”
“I can’t answer that either. You’ll know more when we do. Now if you’ll excuse me . . . ”
As the man pushed his way through the knot of reporters, Murphy drew him aside. “I was asked to come here and sign release papers for one of the victims. Can you tell me who I should see?”
“They shouldn’t have sent you out here,” muttered the official. “They’ve set up a desk inside for processing paperwork. We’ve got our hands full prepping these people for transport.” He glanced over his shoulder and my gaze followed.
My breath stuck in my throat as I saw the neat row of dark zippered bags, inert amidst the hurricane of activity. A tunnel of silence connected me with those bags, and a pull in my chest drew me across the tarmac.
I gazed down at the first of the oblong, lumpy forms. A strip of white tape stretched across one end of the zipper. Something had been written on the tape in black marker.
I walked slowly down the line, my eyes moving from tag to tag. Only three more to go . . . and suddenly I stopped.
A voice broke through the silence. “Hey, move away from there!”
Blood surging in my ears, I bent and gave the zipper a yank, ripping the white tape in half. I peeled back the edges of the bag.
Vertigo knocked me backward onto the tarmac. I couldn’t breathe.
I’d expected blanched, waterlogged skin. Purple lips. Sunken eyes. But she looked peaceful. Like she was sleeping. I crouched over her and grazed her cheek with my thumb, then recoiled at the temperature of her skin.
Someone pulled me away from the body and started shouting in my face. I couldn’t make sense of anything coming out of his mouth. Murphy moved into view and spoke quietly to him. The official’s words froze on his lips and his gaze darted to the unzipped bag, then back to me.
He released me abruptly, like I was coated with biocontaminant, and both of them moved away.
A boxy cargo ship roared in over the trees and settled like a fat hen next to the passenger ship. Big block letters on the rear cargo door read, “Cold Transport.”
For my review of Ghost Planet, please visit Goodreads.
Do either of these books sound interesting? Purchase Links:
Sharon Lyn Fisher’s Bio: An RWA RITA Award finalist and a three-time Golden Heart Award finalist, Sharon Lynn Fisher writes stories for the geeky at heart — meaty mash-ups of sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and romance, with no apology for the latter. She lives where it rains nine months of the year, and she has a strange obsession with gingers (down to her freaky orange cat).
Echo 8 and Ghost Planet are the last two featured books from the blog header photo. I hope you have enjoyed this series. I have really liked revisiting favorite novels. I think I will have to take some more photos so I can continue with On the Bookshelf.