Heat Stroke: Banished

Heat Stroke: Banished by Alice Gaines
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy, Futuristic
Length: Short
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Xeranth

For the crime of belonging to the wrong family, Disa is banished to a desert planet for twenty years. When a man comes to her as a mirage, she thinks she’s lost her mind. Paullus’s species disappears without social contact. The sexy shape-shifter has only one chance to seduce the woman he’s been watching. If he succeeds, they can spend her sentence exploring sensuality together.

Warning: Contains Shifter sex scenes some readers may find disturbing.

Heat Stroke: Banished is a very quick read and one that condenses a ‘meet and greet’ life saving event, a hot and sensual cure and optimism for a better future.

Disa is a woman who has spent months alone and is very afraid that her punishment is truly going to be worse than death. Like a stranded wanderer in the Sahara, mirages remind Disa what she’s lost and what she may never have again. The weight of despair is palpable.

Paullus’ dilemma is that death is a surety. Despite his fears, his desire to live causes him to make one last desperate choice – to reach out to another and risk final rejection of not only his heart but his life.

These two characters could have hated each other or mistrusted each other so easily. But the will to live, to survive, to beat the odds that want to destroy them is a strong fire that burns within each of them. It allows Disa and Paullus to embrace their unvarnished and base desires – one of which is quite different.

I know of certain cultures in today’s world where sexual exploits do not preclude inter-specie dabbling. Since this story takes place in outer space, mores are different and stringent protocols are bent. Paullus is a shifter and he gives Disa’s deepest erotic thoughts a glimpse of reality. She knows what it could be, she’s seen it on her home world, but never indulged. This story makes me wonder; if you trusted your lover, if you had feelings for him/her, how far would you be comfortable in experimenting? Where would you draw the line? I was comfortable with this scene because at one point I felt what she saw was an illusion. The mind is a pretty powerful tool and can interpret things as one would wish, not necessarily as they were. I kind of think Paullus was that smart. He knew the line and danced the fine edge. Because of my interpretation, I enjoyed this story.

If you like to flirt with the wild side then Banished is a story that will take you there. It will also leave you with the feeling that Disa and Paullus’ HEA is a given –a must for any romance story, no matter how short.

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