Daw, Aug 2009, $24.95
The Harmony Empire of planets has been secluded from the greater universe for a long time due to its remoteness. Lovers High Priestess of Harmony Laudae Sissy and Confederated Star System Agent “Military” Jake know the remote inaccessibility is coming to an end. With that in mind they travel to Labyrinthe VII space station; better known in this sector as The First Contact Cafe hoping to negotiate diplomatic and economic relations for their confederation with the outside governments as they know the outsiders are coming anyway to obtain precious Badger Medal.
The Confederated Star Systems want the Badger Medal to build starships so will do anything to regain control of their former colony and the other planets that make up the Harmonic Empire. With war in the sector seemingly imminent, Harmony wants a fair price for its most precious asset. When someone tries to assassinate Sissy, she becomes fearful that her efforts to restore the covenant to the goddess Harmony will fail; Jake risks his life to keep her safe, but also knows as the planet’s liaison to the outside he must continue the negotiations to save the empire from a hostile takeover from without and within especially when an alien vessel apparently deliberately crashed into the Harmony wing of the space station.
Besides dealing with a mass murdering serial killer and an insane spy chief, all Jake has to do is negotiate, investigate and protect fragile Sissy. The story line is fast-paced due to his ability to juggle all the balls though some do fall making his tasks more complex. Fans will enjoy the sequel to HARMONY as C.F. Bentley provides a strong space opera starring a brave hero and the fragile woman he cherishes, who surprises even him with her courage to enter the hellish fray though completely frightened as she is a "Depends" female; you can depend on her to do the right thing though she wears rubber underwear.