Happy Valentine’s Day all! In the spirit of the day I thought I’d bring you some of my fave couples (in no particular order) to grace the pages of SF/F/UF.
Maggie and Rowan-Speaking of the sexy, if you haven’t read Barbara Ashford’s Spellcast, you really should get on that. 32 year old Maggie Graham is having a bit of a mid-life crisis, and in the midst of this crisis, heads to rural Vermont where she joins the cast of the Crossroads Theater. It’s there that she meets the mysterious director Rowan Mackenzie. Spellcast and its followup, Spellcrossed, tell the story of a very adult romance. I don’t mean that in the dirty way, although there are some pretty sexy scenes. I say that because Maggie is, well, what most people would consider middle aged, no longer a twenty something free spirit, and these books reflect a woman coming into her own at a time when most women her age are married with children. Complex, delightful, and yes, sexy, these are reads that will make the world fall away.
When Maggie Graham lost her job and her apartment fell to pieces, she decided to flee New York City for a while and hide in Vermont, at the Crossroads Theatre. She hadn’t planned to audition, yet soon found herself part of the summer stock cast. But her previous acting experiences couldn’t prepare her for the theater’s unusual staff-and its handsome, almost otherworldly director.
Cat and Finn-The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke is, indeed, a love story between a human woman, Cat, and an android named Finn. Think this scenario has zero chance of being sexy? Think again. The author manages to pack so much longing and desire into this book that you may need a cold shower after, without all kinds of I-didn’t-really-want-to-know-that detail. This is one of the sexiest, and yes, human, love stories that I’ve ever read.
About THE MAD SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER:
“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”
Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.
But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
Joanna and David-Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series is one of my fave UF series out there, and when it ended with Total Eclipse in 2010, I admit, I had a sadz. However, I’ll always have the memories, and Joanna Baldwin’s relationship with hottie Djinn David is such a heady, rollercoaster ride over the course of the series, it just might leave you dazed.
About ILL WIND (Weather Warden Bk. 1):
Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now, she’s trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So, she’s resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life…
Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful warden known. Unfortunately, he’s stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn-making him the most wanted man on earth. Still, she’s racing hard to find him-before the bad weather closes in fast…
Kate Daniels and Curran (the Beast Lord)-Another one of my favorite series is easily Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series, and Curran’s pursuit of Kate is one of the best romances in urban fantasy, in my opinion. Kate is one strong willed lady, and it’s taken a lion to tame her (see what I did there?.) Their courtship is fraught with angst and frustration, and Kate and Curran definitely meet their matches in each other. Makes for quite a bit of fun!
About MAGIC BITES (Kate Daniels #1):
Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…
Jane Yellowrock and Rick LeFleur-Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock is one of the most complex and rich urban fantasy series out there, and another favorite of mine, so it’s no surprise that skinwalker Jane’s relationship with now ex-cop Rick LaFleur is rather complex as well. Jane tends to have issues when it comes to men, and it takes a very strong, and very different man to crack her shell. Rick does that, but so many obstacles are thrown in their way that you never really know if Rick and Jane will get a happily ever after, and as frustrating as that can be, I kind of like it.
About SKINWALKER (Jane Yellowrock #1):
Jane Yellowrock is the last of her kind-a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can turn into any creature she desires and hunts vampires for a living. But now she’s been hired by Katherine Fontaneau, one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans and the madam of Katie’s Ladies, to hunt a powerful rogue vampire who’s killing other vamps…
Sirantha Jax and Marsh-Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series is what made me give SF a chance. Seriously. Sirantha Jax has a gene that enables her to jump through grimspace, making her a hot commodity, and she starts out the series being a devil-may-care party girl. She soon meets pilot Marsh and begins a tentative courtship chock full of emotional push and pull, desire, and enough longing and uncertainty to fill a spaceship. By the time you get to Endgame, Jax is far from the party girl in Grimspace, and the future for her and Marsh has been uncertain for quite a while. But, ohhh, the fireworks to be had!
About GRIMSPACE (Sirantha Jax #1):
As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun’s not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her…for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.
Rachel Morgan and Kisten Felps-If you’re a fan of the Hollows series by Kim Harrison (starring feisty witch Rachel Morgan), and if you’re caught up on the books, no doubt you’re still swooning from vampire Kisten and Rachel’s relationship. For those that haven’t read the series, I’ll avoid spoilers, but I leave you with four (ok, 7) words: emotional, sexy, complex, and just plain wonderful.
About DEAD WITCH WALKING (The Hollows #1):
All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.
A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ‘em back alive, dead … or undead.
Eugenie and Dorian-Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series ended with the fourth book, Shadow Heir, in 2011 (has it already been a year??), but thoughts of shaman Eugenie Markham and fairy king Dorian still linger in this fan’s heart. Dorian is powerful, complex, arrogant, calculating, and hopelessly in love with Eugenie, but their happy ending is a long time coming and involves plenty of setbacks, which is part of what made this series so damn fun.
About STORM BORN (Dark Swan #1):
Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants. . .
Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl’s got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy–one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie’s first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.
Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne’er-do-well, and the ones who don’t want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her. . .
Jessie Leigh and Silas Smith-I’m a fan of Karina Cooper, period. She hasn’t yet written anything that I haven’t loved. That said, one of my favorite couples in her Dark Mission series (so far) is Jessica Leigh and Silas Smith from Blood of the Wicked, the first book of the series. Silas Smith is an agent of the Holy Order and he’s hunting for Jessie’s brother Caleb,a witch who’s at the top of the Order’s hitlist for crimes against humanity. Jessie is on the run from the Order, but when Silas tracks her down, there are fireworks that Jessie ultimately can’t resist. You can start with pretty much any book in the Dark Mission series, but if you haven’t read it yet, you can’t go wrong with Blood of the Wicked. Karina Cooper knows how to bring the sexy, without a doubt.
About BLOOD OF THE WICKED (Dark Mission #1):
When the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she’s been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.
A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what’s left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother. Silas doesn’t know that Jessie’s his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her . . . and must protect her until his final breath.
Chess Putnam and Terrible-Last but not least is a couple that I know causes quite a stir with fans of Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. Chess is an insecure, drug addicted ghost hunter and witch for the Church of the Real Truth,and Terrible is the tough, very rough around the edges enforcer for her dealer. Through 5 books, from Unholy Ghosts to Chasing Magic, we’ve watched Chess and Terrible dance around each other with tentative steps, eventually coming together, but Chess’s insecurity and self loathing has derailed their romance more than once. Is a happily-ever-after in the cards for these two? I prefer to think yes, yes there is.
About UNHOLY GHOSTS (Downside Ghosts #1):
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
What are a few of your favorite SF/F couples?