Project Alpha

Again, I’m bringing you a series rather than a single book. And yet again, this is sci fi rom. If you’re a regular here and at Sunlight Sucks, you’ll know that the sci fi rom is my newest favorite thing to read. As usual, if you don’t want any spoilers at all, don’t read my reviews! I try not to give everything away, but I always seem to say too much.

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The Project Alpha series by N.J. Walters is a futuristic story with an Armageddon storyline. In these three books, Earth has gone through the “Great Change” and much of the world is contaminated, polluted, and basically destroyed. On the part of the planet where the series takes place, the rich and powerful created an inner city behind the Gate where the air is pure, flowers and grass grow and everything is pristine…on the surface. However, the underpinnings of this society are corrupt and evil.

In the outer city, the air is polluted and often smoggy and foggy like the London of Jack the Ripper’s day. Buildings are in ruins and the trappings of the 21st century society litter the rubble…burned out cars, televisions, etc. The people who live outside the Gate are desperate to survive which can make them dangerous.

The plot of all the books in this series is similar. Thirty years before, the rulers of the inner city had scientists create the perfect soldier. The Piedmont Corporation created genetically enhanced men with microcomputers in their brains.  These men were called Alphas. Midway through the project, most of the Alphas were destroyed for various reasons – they weren’t developing fast enough, they botched their assignments, etc. When the remaining two Alphas figured out how to bypass some of their programming, they were slated for execution too, but they escaped.

The corrupt General who runs the inner city seeks to destroy these two Alphas while the Alphas, in turn, seek to destroy General Caruthers and the Ruling Council. They believe clean air and plentiful fresh food should be available for everyone, not just the rich and powerful.

In the first book, Embracing Silence, a tracker for the Resistance trails a strange man through the outer city. The strange man is Tienan, Alpha One, and he knows he’s being tracked. Eventually, he decides to capture his tracker and is surprised to find that it’s a woman.

Silence is an orphan who was named by her adopted brother Adrian when he rescued her at age twelve. She’s smart and resourceful, but no match for an Alpha. Tienan is shocked by his instantaneous sexual attraction to Silence. He keeps her locked up for several days as the sexual tension between them grows.  When this couple finally comes together it’s explosive.

What happens afterward isn’t exactly what the reader expects yet it’s not unexpected either. Betrayal, overwhelming sexual attraction, undeniable love, sacrifice, and the unveiling of long held secrets all lead to the HEA shared by Tienan and Silence. It also leads to an ending where the reader knows more in this world is coming.  General Caruthers is still after them. The Resistance is on the move. And there’s another Alpha – Tienan’s friend Logan known as Alpha Two – still out there.

The second book, Have Mercy, takes up the story by following Logan as he is pursued by the security police from the inner city. Unfortunately, he’s shot by them and although he eludes them, he passes out in a shack. He’s found by two teenagers who take him to a woman healer.

Logan awakens tied to a bed but bullet free with his wounds neatly stitched up. His attraction to the healer, Mercy Dockins, is instantaneous and mutual. The two share a quick, incendiary encounter in a pantry, setting up the rest of the story in a similar manner to Embracing Silence. Lust turns to love almost immediately with Logan’s Alpha genes telling him right away that Mercy belongs to him.

Logan discovers that Mercy lives in a community beyond the northern border of the outer city. Her house is filled with orphans from the city. Their community is walled in and they have animals and vegetable gardens.  Logan’s longing to belong and Mercy’s longing for a family dovetail as each realizes how much they want to be together and how impossible that would be.

The ending of Have Mercy is a little more surprising than the end of Embracing Silence.  How Logan and Mercy get their HEA isn’t that predictable. But it also sets up the reader for the third story in this series that leads to the battle against the inner city and General Caruthers’ forces. There is yet another Alpha who needs a HEA, after all.

In Sweet Charity, the third Alpha is Adrian whose secret (that he’s an Alpha) is revealed in Embracing Silence. In Have Mercy, we discover that he’s actually Alpha Ten. Here in his own story, we find him matched with his enemy’s daughter.

Abused both mentally and physically by her father, Charity has spent her life as the General’s pawn. She knows nothing of love and affection from men, yet when she meets Adrian, that changes. Escaping from the inner city, risking her life to take a dying man’s message to Adrian, Charity takes control of her destiny for the first time. And the instant Adrian lays eyes on her, he knows she belongs to him.

There are some twists and turns to the battle that ends this book. They are all related to the General, his machinations, Charity and Adrian. I’ve probably given enough spoilers about this series so I’m not going to divulge anything about the battle. You’re all smart enough to know that Adrian and Charity survive otherwise we’d have no HEA. However, I’m not about to tell you the how.

What I will tell you is that this book is a timeless tale of an abused woman who risks torture and death for the man she’s come to love. It’s a journey from her past filled with pain and fear to her present where she takes control of her life by offering it up to save another while facing down the biggest demon she has…her father.

Sweet Charity has all the elements any reader of romance could ever want. It will make you bite your nails, ache with tears, and laugh along with the characters as they find happiness at last. It leaves you with the promise of love everlasting as the hero and heroine truly do conquer all.

The theme of good versus evil, illustrated by a beautiful city that seems so perfect but is actually more polluted than the one outside it’s gates is a compelling one. The evil underpinnings of the inner city make it more ugly than the ruins that comprise the outer city where good souls just seek to survive. The theme of steadfast love that grows quickly and strongly in the harsh environment of fear and betrayal parallels the two cities. And over all lies the notion that this could be humanity’s fate if our society continues to leech our planet of its resources.

This is a gritty series, but the passion between each set of lovers is intense. I preferred Embracing Silence slightly over the others if only because of the climax between Tienan and Silence when she thinks he does not care about her and thinks her adopted brother doesn’t trust her. I’m a sucker for a heroine who lifts her chin and puts one foot in front of the other despite being ravaged by heartbreak and the overwhelming sense of being alone and unloved. N.J. Walters does this really well and that ending gives Embracing Silence 5 Valentines.  Sweet Charity with it’s gripping battle and the answers to so many questions raised in the first two books comes in next with 4.75 Valentines. Have Mercy may only rate 4.5 Valentines, but it’s still an amazing story, sexy and incredibly sweet. The series as a whole rates a 5 from me. If you like sci fi rom, you should read these.

5 Valentines

Project Alpha: Embracing Silence

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Blurb:

Earth 2133

Tienan is an Alpha—an assassin who has been genetically and computer enhanced. He has escaped from the lab that created him and the Ruling Council that controlled him. He is now outside the Gate—a high-tech shield that protects the enclosed city from the contaminated and lawless land outside. Tienan must constantly evade security forces sent to eliminate him, his only goal to destroy his former masters.

Silence is a tracker with the Resistance on the trail of a dangerous stranger. The hunter becomes the hunted and when Tienan kidnaps her, she thinks her life is over. But both captor and captive are enthralled with one another. Desire and need ignite each time they touch. Enemies become lovers.

Treachery and mistrust drive them apart. But nothing can diminish the sexual heat smoldering between them. With enemies all around, they must confront each other one final time. With time running out, sexual longing and trust battle with betrayal for supremacy.

4.5 Valentines

Project Alpha: Have Mercy

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Blurb:

Earth 2133

Logan is an Alpha—a genetically enhanced assassin—who has escaped from the lab that created him. He is now outside the Gate, a high-tech shield that protects the enclosed city from the contaminated and lawless land outside. Shot while evading security forces sent to eliminate him, Logan’s only goal is survival.

Mercy Dockins is a healer. Her world is shaken to its foundations when a stranger is brought to her near death. As she heals him, her body and soul respond to him, overwhelming her with sexual desire. With little more than a look and a touch, passion flares out of control, consuming them both.

But this stranger is dangerous to not only her well-being, but also to the safety of everyone she loves. And he has brought the security forces right to her door.

4.75 Valentines

Project Alpha: Sweet Charity

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Blurb:

Earth 2133

Adrian is an Alpha—a genetically enhanced assassin—thought dead by the people who created him. Living outside the Gate, a high tech shield that protects the enclosed city from the contaminated and lawless land outside, he is the leader of the Resistance, living only to bring down the Gate and the people who sought to kill him.

Charity Caruthers is the daughter of one of the most powerful and brutal men in the inner city—the General. She risks everything sneaking outside the Gate to get a message to Adrian.

Passion explodes, ripping apart the foundations of both their lives. Charity begins to understand true sexual desire as Adrian teaches her the passion to be found in dark fantasies. Loyalties are tested and trust pushed to the limits as the final confrontation is at hand. Some will die. Some will live. And Adrian and Charity’s fragile relationship could be the final casualty in this war of retribution and freedom.

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