After her father falls ill from a nearly fatal alien virus, Leith McClure leaves school to run McClure Shipping. Though it is illegal, her father has been dealing with the Zi, a reptilian race engaged in war with the Crucians. J'Qhir, the Zi Warrior, meets with Leith and Steve Hancock on Arreis to pick up much needed cargo from McClure Shipping. During a tour of the McClure's new carrier ship, Hancock captures both J'Qhir and Leith.
Frustrated by her lack of response to his romantic overtures and angered by her father's decision to hand the company to her instead of him, Hancock maroons them on Paradise, a planet in the Arreisian Neutral Zone, hoping they will die.
Because of their injuries, J'Qhir's physiology and the doubt that they will ever be found, he and Leith search for shelter and learn that they must rely on each other to survive.
Leith is a young human woman with little experience in both her new responsibilities at McClure Shipping and in romance. J'Qhir is the Warrior of his people, meant to ensure their survival especially in times of war. A spark of attraction existed between them from the moment they met, but only the greediness and treachery of Hancock allowed them to come together.
The history of this universe works well to propel the story as well as maintain its place in the science fiction genre. The differences in the cultures of Leith and J'Qhir make the personal relationship they develop uncommon and demonstrative of how two people are able to overcome obstacles in their lives.
Parts of the novel, especially their first physical encounter, seemed somewhat forced in both pace and atypical of the characters as the reader has come to know them by that point. However, this does not reduce the appeal of the novel. In fact, "Starkissed" would be an enjoyable read even for those who are not typically inclined to read science fiction. Lanette Curington truly leaves her audience starkissed.
--J. Anne Mauck-- Inscriptions Magazine
Inscriptions Magazine (Vol. 4 Issue 10)