Beauty and the Beast—Space Opera Style
“… if you're looking for a romance that's not another of the cookie-cutter offerings out there, this is a great place to start.” --Nights and Weekends reviews
“Ms. Sweeney always creates stories that are thrown miles outside the box, and Sinbad’s Wife is no exception.” –Margaret Marr reviews
“…the dramatic sh'en Singh family dynamics…in this book makes for a truly wonderful read” –Two Lips reviews
Many years ago, I was intrigued by a TV show called Beauty and the Beast. In homage, I wrote my own spin on that story: The Adventures of Sinbad. My Beast isn’t simply a man who by some quirk of birth looks like a lion. He is a lion, a native of Felida where the inhabitants evolved from a feline species instead of simians. Sinbad’s Last Voyage was published in 2016, with Sinbad’s Wife, the story of his courtship and winning of his Beauty, published in January of this year.
My Beast is Sinbad sh’en Singh, a half-feline smuggler, a man wanted on seven worlds of the United Terran Federation, with more than a million Credits bounty on his head. That was all right with Sin, because he intended to thumb his nose at the UTF for as long as he could—and then he met a little Terran named Andrea Talltrees and got shot right out of orbit…in flames.
His Beauty is Andrea Talltrees, a feisty little woman, raised by the Navajos after her father is killed in the Terro-Felidan War and her mother dies of a broken heart. When her husband is accused of being a spy in yet another war and is arrested, she doesn’t just sit around. She goes to the one person her godfather suggests might help…a certain Felidan smuggler who hates Terran women almost as much as he hates the Federation…
…And that’s the way they meet. It’s a culture clash of epic proportions with a disturbing explosion of instant attraction as Andi and Sin try desperately not to fall in love with each other.
The current story is Sinbad’s Pride, Novel #4 in the series.
When Andrea Talltrees married Sinbad sh’en Singh, she knew they would have problems. All newly-weds do, bBut married life with a part-Felidan ex-smuggler seems to be nothing but one crisis after another.
Now that Sin’s been pardoned for his, he whisks Andi and his ready-made family away to his home planet, where he wants his expected daughter to be born. There he finds he has more adjustments to make other than those of married life.
Being law-abiding simply isn’t part of Sin’s lifestyle and he’s already found a way to legally restore Felida’s pre-war glory by making it a prime smuggling planet—and the Federation can’t do a thing about it! In order to do that, however, he needs the cooperation of the second and third most powerful prides on Felida, and they in turn want to cement the deal through a family relationship.
Felida is a male-oriented planet, chauvinistic to the nth degree and the fact that Sinbad sometimes consults his wife and concedes to her wishes doesn’t sit well with his grandfather or any of the older males in the Pride. Andi being a hated Terran doesn’t help, either, and the feisty little Navajo finds herself forcefully striving to act more like a Felidan female and less like her usual independent self. In other words, the newly-reinstated heir and his spouse have a lot going against them and only their determination to be accepted going for them.
That’s why Sin finds himself with a very angry Prime Wife, as he tries to explain to Andi why he’s taking not one but two concubines though he swears he loves her and wouldn’t be unfaithful in a million years. If he doesn’t handle this right, Sin is facing a future which may involve sleeping on a sofa until he’s an octogenarian.
In the meantime, sons Cash and Adam are growing up and becoming men—in every sense of the word—though Sin sometimes thinks sense doesn’t enter into their actions. When a former smuggling associate declares war on Sin’s new criminal efforts, the two youngsters are brought into the fight and the decisions they make soon lead to a tragedy threatening to tear Sin’s newly-made family apart.
Sinbad’s Pride is a play on words. A Pride on Felida is made up of various clans loyal to one chief. Sinbad is the heir to the largest pride. He also has plenty of pride in the usual sense of the word, and occasionally he has to decide when to let that pride go and when to balance revenge with mercy.
It’s also a story about family, and how, in the face of crises usually blasting a family apart, a man who has lost everything must now keep together those he’s now blessed with.
Sinbad’s Pride is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic adventure, very occasionally erotic, and one I think readers will enjoy it.
Being a family man can’t keep a smuggler on the straight and narrow.
Sinbad sh’en Singh returns to his former occupation, with help from a loophole in Felida’s treaty…which means the Federation can’t do a thing about it.
The Fed may not be a threat, but wife Andi is. She doesn’t want a smuggler for a husband.
Things get even rockier when two of the pride chiefs offer their daughters as concubines to the pride chief’s heir. It’ll take a great deal of sweet talk to make Andi agree to that!
Then there’s that smuggler who received Sin’s territories, and won’t give them up without a fight…
Overconfident as always, Sin’s sure he can handle it all…except for Andi. Bringing her around will be his biggest challenge.
Domestic bliss may soon be a thing of the past.
“I’ve received a message from Salu-Khan,” Murad announced, glancing at the scroll he held. “He’s eager to become a part of your operation, Andrew—so eager in fact that he’s requesting permission to join!”
“Grandsire, that’s great! With Salu-Khan’s participation, we’ll have two-thirds of the Prides behind us.”
“Salu-Khan wants more than a business association, I’m afraid,” Murad went on. He tossed the scroll onto the desk and looked down at his grandson.
“What do you mean, Grandsire?”
“He has a daughter of breeding age. He’s requesting a union with our Den through marriage.”
“Doesn’t he know Amir-Kasdan’s bonded?”
“He wants you for his daughter, Andrew.”
It wasn’t respectful to laugh at his grandfather but Sin couldn’t help it. “Guess he’s out of luck then since I’m already married—“
“—and I’ve sent him my reply, agreeing to the affiliation,” Murad went on, as if he hadn’t spoken.
“B-but I can’t-- Grandsire, I already have a mate!”
“Salu-Khan’s aware of that and accepts the fact that his daughter will be merely a concubine,” Murad went on imperturbably.
“Concu-- I don’t want a concubine!” Sin exclaimed. “Besides, Andi wou—“
He broke off quickly. He’d almost said Andi would never allow it, and that was definitely the wrong thing to say to the Head of the Clan.
“Andrea went through a Felidan marriage ceremony with you, Andrew,” his grandfather reminded him. “She agreed to follow our customs and laws and Felidan law allows a kh’ta concubines. Your mate has no say-so in the matter.”
Murad’s tone made it final, the matter settled, but Sin wasn’t about to accept his grandfather’s command so easily.
“What about my say-so? I say I don’t want another female, either as a wife or a concubine! I—“
“As you just pointed out, Andrew, we need Salu-Khan’s backing. In something this important, there can’t be any dissention among the participants.” Murad was forcing himself to remain calm, since he understood how his grandson felt about his wife, having himself been so in love with his own mate that he’d never thought to take another after she died. “As Pride Heir, you must obey. You have to do this. For the Pride.”
“Forget it!” Sin retorted, turning away and stalking to the window. From Grandsire’s side of the house, he could see the high cliffs rising above them and the trees trembling in the winter wind. He looked back at Murad. “No.”
Just that one word. No arguments.
Murad sighed again. “I’m afraid you have to, Andrew. We can’t afford to insult Salu-Khan’s Clan a second time.”
“Second time?” Sin frowned. “Other than his obvious important, Grandsire, why does Salu-Khan’s name sound so familiar?”
“His brother was the Pride Chief your mother was bonded to, the one your father killed in order to make her his mate and save the unborn whelp that became you, my beloved grandson!”
“Oh.” Sin was suitably silenced for a moment. He stood there without speaking, for once not really knowing what to say, and Murad seized his moment of uncertainty to plunge on.
“The female will arrive here in four days. On that afternoon, the Ceremony will take place. You will receive her and make her your concubine.”
Silently, Sin glared at his grandfather, wanting to argue but knowing there was nothing he could say. Murad sh’en Singh had spoken. The Pride Heir had to obey.
Ducking his head in a quick bow, he answered, “I’ll obey, Grandfather, but I wish to go on record as protesting this union, and state that I’m definitely entering into it unwillingly!”
Before Murad could reply, he whirled and stalked out.
Oh God! How am I going to tell Andi?
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/sinbad-s-pride-detail
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/253-3088958-0513727?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Sinbad%27s+pride+by+Toni+V.+Sweeney
This past December, Toni V. Sweeney celebrated her 74th birthday. This month, she’s celebrating the release of her 74rd novel.
Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) . She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the paranormal Romance Guild, and in 2016 was certified a professional reader by netgalley.com..
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