In the Void by Sheryl Nantus
Series: Tales from the Edge #2
Book two of Tales from the Edge
Catherine Rodgers doesn’t like Mercy spaceships, or the courtesans who work on them—not after her husband left her for a Mercy woman. But after her luxurious transport ship gets blown up to prevent her from cracking the lid off a corporate scam that’s left hundreds dead and a few people very rich, the only vessel around to save her is the Bonnie Belle.
Sean Harrison has worked as one of the Belle’s courtesans for years, bringing happiness to countless women along the space lanes. When he’s asked to look after Catherine while the Belle brings her to safety, it should be just another job. Somehow it’s anything but.
Sean is captivated by Catherine’s sense of justice and responsibility. And Catherine finds a softer, more emotionally intelligent man in Sean than she expected. Drawn together in darkness under the threat of death, they find the beginning of something lasting. But with pirates after the Belle and a price on Catherine’s head, that beginning might be all they get.
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I was completely hooked by IN THE BLACK, the first book in Sheryl Nantus’ Tales from the Edge, so I was over the moon (yes, space pun intended) when I found out that the next story in the series was coming out so soon.
IN THE VOID takes up back to the Belle, but now we’re focused on Sean, one of the most endearing characters from IN THE BLACK. He and the rest of the crew get tangled up in some big-stakes industrial crime when they rescue Catherine, the only survivor of a shipwreck that looks extremely deliberate. Luckily for Catherine, the Belle is in the area and pick her up. Not so luckily, she’s forced to deal with her prejudices against courtesans (which are not at all baseless) and the crew of the Belle is also forced into a confrontation but it’s one with life-or-death consequences since they know that whoever was after Catherine will be sure to make more attempts.
The plot kind of reminded me of a western standoff because you have the Belle fighting against an unknown but definitely stronger enemy (she has no weapons), fighting because it’s right and the crew has no other choice. It felt like a showdown but also a race against the clock as they try to make it to a safe haven so that Catherine can testify before her enemies can take her, and the ship, down. There’s a real sense of urgency to IN THE VOID and it gave the book a great sense of pacing.
Have no fear, though, because the blossoming romance between Sean and Catherine does get its due. Nantus once again delivers some steamy chemistry and strong personalities and it was great to see Sean and Catherine fall for each other. I found Sean’s side of the story particularly touching because we learn how he ended up on a mercy ship. I won’t tell you how (spoilers!) but I will say that it’s a tragic backstory and you can see how it’s shaped him into the person he is in the series. As I said before, Catherine also has a personal journey but it’s not as deep as Sean’s, in my opinion. Catherine had to re-evaluate her perceptions of mercy ships and their crews but this didn’t touch me as much as Sean’s.
I truly hope we’ll get another Tale from the Edge soon because this is one series I can’t get enough of!