Absolutely Galacticly CAPTIVATED–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review for a M/M space opera adventure romance from A.C. Thomas. CAPTIVATED is the second book in The Verge adventure series and I couldn’t put it down. Check out my review for RESTRICTED, the first book in this series. So good!

Captivated coverAbout the book:

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

My Review:
Dr. Theophrastus Campbell is a resident of Brittania, one of the Core planets stuck within the Verge, a force field that prevents marauders from attacking the main planets. He’s an extroverted linguist–one of the best in the Core–and that’s my Captain Park Jun-Seo, from the Restricted Section beyond the Verge has come to his office to kidnap him. Theo scribes out a hidden message to his twin brother, Dr. Aristotle Campbell, a pre-eminent geologist, and decides to take Captain Park’s kidnapping as a bit of an adventurous lark, one that could net him some fascinating linguistic opportunities as well as some sexy-time with the delicious, if gruff, man.

Jun is a beast of a man, tatted and augmented to help keep him alive in the desolate and dangerous areas of space he’s grown up in. But, there might be a way to bring a new energy source to the planets beyond the Verge, which would open trade routes and perhaps help those of his family still exist beyond the Verge. If only Dr. Campbell wasn’t so lithe, and clean, and verbose about his sexual desires. Jun needs Theo’s help deciphering the dead language that hides these galactic secrets. If only the young, gorgeous academic could keep his sexy, tempting mouth shut.

Well, all of Theo’s suitors had felt the same, so he’s going to make the most of his forced proximity to the virile and forceful captain.

This is a unique and engaging world that’s a bit of a mix with Victorian sensibilities and the space exploration tech. As with the first book in the series, I really loved the story, and the originality of the plot twists. Theo is cheeky and fun, absorbing his captivity with salty aplomb, and teasing the heck out of Jun. He’s brave and bold and unashamed of his attraction to Jun. They develop a rapport that feeds the sexual tension growing between them. Jun is really a decent man, stressed to all lengths to achieve independence for himself and his followers. Their part of space is continually ravaged by marauders, and he wants to level the playing field, so there can be more than a subsistence existence beyond the Verge–where plenty of beings live. Even his initial resistance to Theo’s overtures is admirable, if frustrating!

Their adventures are risky, putting Jun in position to be captured by his former captain/owner and maybe scuttle the entire mission. For those who’ve read the first book, you know that Ari is doggedly trying to save Theo from his captors–and their reunion is so joyful. Captains Jun and Orin (who helped Ari locate Theo) are outmatched, but never outclassed, by this dynamic duo of intelligence, the Doctors Ari and Theo Campbell. It seems that the stage is now set to liberate the energy needed to power the planets and outposts beyond the Verge, but the story ends pretty much with a plan to go on. I flew through both RESTRICTED and CAPTIVATED, adoring the adventures and the romances, and I SO HOPE we will have a third book to complete the story arc. If so, I look very much forward to reading it.

Interested? You can find CAPTIVATED on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon. I read a review copy courtesy of NetGalley.

About the Author:
A.C. Thomas left the glamorous world of teaching preschool for the even more glamorous world of staying home with her toddler. Between the diaper changes and tea parties, she escapes into fantastical worlds, reading every romance available and even writing a few herself.

She devours books of every flavor—science fiction, historical, fantasy—but always with a touch of romance because she believes there is nothing more fantastical than the transformative power of love.

You can catch up with A.C. online on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Rescuing Himself While RESTRICTED–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review and giveaway for a new M/M space opera adventure romance from A.C. Thomas. RESTRICTED is the first book in The Verge adventure series and I loved it LOTS!

Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
Dr. Aristotle Campbell is a desperate man. His twin brother has been abducted, and Ari will do anything to find him. Forced out of the comfortable solitude of his laboratory, Ari must leave their home world of Britannia and search the farthest reaches of space for his other half. He hastily equips himself with a flawlessly tied cravat, a handful of clues, and his small science vessel. Now, all he needs is a pilot to get him across the Verge, a barrier separating the civilized world from ungoverned space.

Pilot Orin Stone is a desperate man. No ship, no pay, no prospects. He spends his days barely scraping by in the rough colonies lining the Verge interior. When he gets an offer from a frantic, upper-crust professor in need of a pilot, he has no choice but to take the job. He just can’t believe it when the professor turns out to be the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen and that his offer includes a ship of Orin’s own. If Orin can keep his heart (and other portions of his anatomy) from leaping every time sweet, innocent Dr. Campbell looks at him, this should be his easiest job yet.

Rugged Orin and aristocratic Ari work together to navigate the lawless areas of space beyond the Verge, soon discovering that they work well together in all areas. Their immediate and intense attraction to one another is an obstacle to their plans that neither saw coming. More than sparks will fly when they break through the force field and enter restricted space, all alone together for the perilous journey, leaving barriers to their growing attachment far behind.

In their search across the stars, can two desperate men find their home in one another?

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
“You want me to do what?”

Ari straightened his shoulders, hands folded together on the table between them, suppressing a wince as his skin stuck unpleasantly to a thick smear of residue best left uninvestigated.

Somewhere behind him the sound of glass breaking was followed by a bowel-shaking roar, a meaty impact, scuffling sounds, and hearty guffaws.

Definitively best left uninvestigated.

He sniffed quietly, regretting the action as the odor of stale beer and unwashed bodies assaulted his senses. Forcing himself to meet his companion’s bored regard, he cleared his throat before speaking in as firm a tone as he could manage.

“In the interest of saving both of our time, I’ll cut to the chase. I require a pilot capable of navigating uncharted areas with immediate availability and a willingness to negotiate a flexible pay schedule.”

Mr. “Call me Orin, honey” Stone slumped back in his seat with careless, sprawling grace, the edge of one enormous scuffed leather boot sliding across the floor to rest a millimeter away from the polished black toes of Ari’s spats.

“So, just so we’re clear— You’re asking me to find you a pilot ready to jump right across the Verge into the deepest, slimiest dark, for—and this is the bit that really sticks in my throat, pumpkin— You want me to find you some sap willing to do all that for, apparently, no pay.”

Keen bourbon eyes swept Ari from head to toe, that restless boot finally edging just close enough to touch.

“You’re cute, sugar. But you’re off your rocker.”

Ari’s chair scraped against the floor as he jolted forward in his seat, one hand closing around the fraying cuff of Orin’s greatcoat.

“This is a matter of utmost urgency. My brother is—” He paused to clear his throat after an embarrassing crack in his voice. “My brother is missing; he has been abducted by an Outlier fiend, and I am utilizing every resource at my disposal to ensure his safe return. My inquiries led me to you, with the assurance you could facilitate a jump with immediate effect. Now I demand that you either provide said assistance, or you cease wasting my time.”

Orin fixated on the white-knuckled grip holding his sleeve. The coiled strength of his thick forearm underscored Ari’s awareness that he could break free at a moment’s notice with very little energy expended.

“What kind of resources are we talking, here?” Orin’s eyes narrowed under a heavy brow, the sweep of space-black lashes unexpectedly elegant against his brutish visage.

Ari drew a long breath, attempting to steady his resolve.

“I possess a three-year-old Xalanthe Explorer model 953V. It is in exemplary condition, and I am prepared to offer it as payment upon my brother’s safe return to our home on Britannia.”

Before he finished speaking, Orin sat up in his chair, the full extent of his imposing size suddenly evident even while seated. He turned his hand in Ari’s grip, long fingers wrapping easily around his thin wrist.

“You’re trading your ship. A brand-new ship. To any asshole willing to fly it? Just to finish a little game of hide-and-seek with your brother who—no offense, Red—sounds like he ran off with a bit of strange?”

Aristotle bristled, slim shoulders rising to his ears as the heat of an angry flush spread from the unfortunate ginger of his precisely parted hairline down to the white of his starched collar points.

“He did not ‘run off’! He was abducted. I have no more time to waste with your nonsense, sir. Are you able to assist in my endeavor, or shall I continue pursuing a pilot on my own?”

A lopsided grin spread across his companion’s face, revealing a hint of prominent canine and a surprisingly charming set of dimples. Orin gave another insolent sweep of his gaze, ticking to the length of Ari’s throat rising above his cravat. The rumble of his voice dropped low enough that Ari had to strain to hear him above the surrounding chaos.

“Hmm, that depends, Red. That blush go all the way down?”

The clatter of the cheap aluminum chair against the cracking concrete floor was lost in the cacophony of raucous laughter, clinking glasses, and blaring synth music that characterized drinking establishments on the rough ring of colonies lining the Verge. Ari wrenched his arm away as he stood, breaking free.

He turned his back, adjusting his waistcoat with trembling fingers as he wracked his brain for alternative solutions. He had only taken a half step away from the table when a firm grip on his coattails wrenched him backward. He swung around, fists in a pugilist’s stance, raised to the smiling face of Mr. Stone.

“Whoa now, slow up there, professor. If you’re wanting to trade a whole damn ship for the temporary services of some sleazy sack of shit with a pilot’s license, I got just the guy you need.”

Knees weak with relief, Ari nearly attempted to sit before remembering he had overturned his chair, which was now likely glued to the filthy floor of the saloon.

“Excellent. Where can I find this person?”

That lopsided grin opened up into a full-blown smile, revealing rows of white, uneven teeth. “You’re looking at him, sweetheart.”

Ari twitched at the endearment, unaccustomed to the way they seemed to drip from the pilot’s every phrase like butter melting off the plate.

He turned fully to face him, coattails twining around his narrow hips as Orin maintained his grip, tugging once with a waggle of thick brows at Ari’s resulting unintentional pelvic thrust before releasing him with a flourish.

Orin pushed off from the table, broad shoulders rising up and up to just above Ari’s line of sight. Ari swallowed an obvious comment on the pilot’s intimidating height, realizing how much he’d underestimated the man’s size.

Ari stared straight ahead at the hollow of Mr. Stone’s throat, bronze skin left exposed by the open vee of his collarless shirt. A few dark, curling hairs peeked out of the opening, inches from Aristotle’s nose. A strange fluttering sensation swept through his abdomen at the sight.

Recognizing the sensation as inappropriate at best and disastrous at worst, Ari turned on stiff legs and led the way out of the saloon, doing his utmost to avoid brushing up against the rough clientele. Heads swiveled to follow Ari even as they ignored the much larger figure of Mr. Stone following close behind his every step.

Ari ducked his head as they emerged into the daylight, squinting against the intrusive brightness before heading off toward the nearest dry dock, zeroing in on his ship after a few minutes’ walk. Mr. Stone was a silent shadow at his back, footsteps shockingly light for a man of his size.

The small exploratory vessel stood out among the busted-up freighters and speeders cluttering the dock. Clean panels of riveted steel shaped the subtle curves framing the centerpiece—a large frontal view screen. The only unnecessary ornament was that of the exaggerated dorsal fin, the sight of which had caused Aristotle’s brother to laugh out loud when they first purchased the ship.

Ari’s back stiffened at a low whistle, two familiar notes usually directed with prurient interest.

Mr. Orin Stone was circling his ship, one hand, large and square as a shovel head, trailing long fingers over the surface with surprising reverence.

“What’s your name, beautiful?”

He directed his inquiry to the ship but turned to Aristotle as though expecting an answer.

Ari cleared his throat. “As I have previously mentioned, it is a Xalanthe—”

Orin cut him off with a rude sound pushed between full lips. “She.”

Ari opened his mouth to reply, mistaking a brief pause for the conclusion of the pilot’s statements.

“Ship’s a she. And she’s a pretty little thing, deserves a name. If you don’t have one for her yet, I can think of something fancy to call her. Something with a bit of glitter to it. Little lady like this one deserves to shine.”

His eyes in turn glittered at Ari, sparkling with amusement and apparent satisfaction upon viewing the small science vessel.

Without looking away, he spat into one rough palm before holding it out to Aristotle as if to shake.

“You’ve got yourself a deal, Red.”

Ari recoiled from the offered hand, curling his own into protective fists at the notion of sealing a verbal contract with an exchange of bodily fluids.

“That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.”

Orin’s throaty laughter rang out against the polished metal panels of the ship exterior, echoing across the shipyard.

“Is it now? Well, stick with me, sugar; I could really expand your horizons.”

My Review:
Dr. Aristotle Campbell is a resident of Brittania, one of the Core planets stuck within the Verge, a force field that prevents marauders from attacking the main planets. He’s an introverted geological scientist, who is dedicated to his outgoing twin brother Dr. Theo Campbell, which is why Ari is now frantic. Theo has been kidnapped by a ruffian from the Restricted Section beyond the Verge. Ari screws up all his gumption and pledges his own spaceship to a Verge pilot, Orin Stone, who promises he can get Ari out to the Restricted sector.

Orin Stone is a “Verge trash” man who happens to be a huge and imposing person, compared to lithe and delicate Ari. He’s so uninhibited and coarse, and shocking in his open desire for Ari, whom Orin finds to be completely appealing–even more so because Ari is a complete innocent.

This is a unique and engaging world that’s a bit of a mix with Victorian sensibilities and the space exploration tech. Ari and Orin develop a sweet friendship, that Orin is quick to offer more. Ari is so tentative, and concerned about his lack of experience, and his fears surrounding Theo. Ari thinks he’s a fraidy cat, especially since he’s always allowed outgoing Theo to lead the way. Orin believes Ari to be so brave, though, and his constant reassurances give Ari the confidence to take what he wants, for himself.

I really loved the story, and the originality of the plot twists. It was such a fun and engaging adventure, watching Ari develop his inner strength, and fall head over heels for Orin, who doesn’t believe himself worthy. This is a dual-narrated story, so we do get into Orin’s head a bit, and that was so sweet, because we can easily see how captivated he is by Ari, and the admiration he has for the ship–that he names Delilah. His bawdy humor cracks through Ari’s refined persona and really settles Ari’s nerves by his sheer confidence and competency as a pilot. It’s a fun love story for these mismatched lovers, but they are both dreading crossing into the Restricted Space–because Ari’s plan is to leave Orin and the ship, to save Theo himself. The resolution is so joyful, when Ari and Theo reunite and Orin finds that he’s not surplus to the situation. I cannot WAIT for Theo’s love story…

Interested? You can find RESTRICTED on Goodreads, NineStar Press, and Amazon.

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Click on this Rafflecopter link for your chance to win a $10 NineStar Press GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
A.C. Thomas left the glamorous world of teaching preschool for the even more glamorous world of staying home with her toddler. Between the diaper changes and tea parties, she escapes into fantastical worlds, reading every romance available and even writing a few herself.

She devours books of every flavor—science fiction, historical, fantasy—but always with a touch of romance because she believes there is nothing more fantastical than the transformative power of love.

You can catch up with A.C. online on her website, Facebook, and twitter.