Series or Stand Alone: Alien Affairs, book one
Summary: [from katherinallred.com]
Kiera Smith is not like ordinary Genetically Engineered Persons...
The Bureau of Alien Affairs needed a special GEP agent with empathic abilities to handle their most extraordinary assignments - and a rogue geneticist saw to it that Kiera fit their specifications. But she turned out stronger, faster, smarter, and more impervious to harm than anyone anticipated. A reluctant "superhero", Kiera wishes she were normal, but it is not to be.
On Orpheus 2, the indigenous Buri race faces extinction, a prospect the powerful Dynatec corporation welcomes and, in fact, may be actively hastening. As a special agent for the Bureau of Alien Affairs, it is Kiera's job to protect these beautiful, exotic aliens... and to discover what there is on Orpheus 2 that Dynatec feels is worth killing for.
But the magnetic allure of the breathtaking Buri leader is proving a dangerous distraction. And now, to save Thor's people, Kiera will need a power she's never before possessed - something hidden in the unexplored recesses of her heart.
I gotta admit that this was my first science fiction romance, but definitely not my last! Kiera Smith is a GEP(genetically engineered person) who only wants to be normal. She's not only different from her non-enhanced human counterparts, the Naturals, but she's different from other GEPs as well. It seems geneticist Dr. Gertz created her to be stronger, faster, and much more harder to damage than her fellow GEPs. Kiera works for the Bureau of Alien Affairs. After a new alien species is located and studied, she comes in to help them negotiate with independent trade companies in order to market their resources. She also makes sure that none of these companies try to breach the Equality Edict and take advantage of the newly discovered species.
As the book opens Kiera is on vacation with her ship, Max, whose artificial intelligence doesn't hinder him from having his own quirky personality. Crigo, a rock-cat, is more Kiera's companion than her pet, and he's with them as well. But the vacation is cut short as Dr. Daniels, Kiera's boss, contacts her with a new assignment. It seems that one of the biggest trade companies around has a big interest in a new planet called Orpheus Two. Dynatec wants complete ownership of Orpheus Two, which is something Kiera has never encountered. The only way the company can gain full ownership is if the indigenous species is expected to die out in a period no more than 100 cycles.
The indigenous species of Orpheus Two are the Buri. A beautiful and gentle race very similar to humans. Kiera must find a way to keep the Buri from going extinct and find the true intentions of Dynatec. As she gets to know the Buri she ends up discovering the things she's always been searching for.
I thought the characters were really interesting. When Kiera first meet the Buri she nicknames them because they speak a language full of grunts and noises. I thought that was a really unique idea and I loved seeing what Kiera came up with. There isn't much conversation between the Buri and Kiera through the first half of the book, but I loved seeing things change as the story unraveled.
I really enjoyed the world of Orpheus Two including the environment and the creatures. I'm personally attached to the dragon birds. (= A small, feathered dragon-look a like. They had the cutest personalities. I'm really looking forward to seeing where the next book in this series will go. I'm curious to see if it will continue with Kiera, introduce a new hero/heroine, or continue with a current character.
I want to thank Heather from The Galaxy Express for sending me this ARC. This is my very first ARC and I was so excited to receive it (= Also a huge thank you to Katherine Allred herself for signing my book for me. It was such a pleasant surprise to find when I opened the book.
I definitely recommend giving Close Encounters a read. The book will be released tomorrow, March 31st from HarperCollins.