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Jump Then Fall by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ An unabashed, unapologetic romance with lots and lots of sizzling, superhot sex. Yummy! Ika and Ree work in a multinati...

Hunter's Way by Gerri Hill, Performed by Abby Craden (Audiobook)

⭐⭐⭐

This is one of the classics in lesfic. It was first published way back in 2005 when lesfic was still in its nascent stage and most writers were just crossing over from writing Xena fanfic to publishing independent books. A lot of books of that time are clearly Xena fanfic and Hunter’s Way is one of them.

Tori Hunter, a homicide detective, is abrasive, aggressive, moody, broody and decidedly antisocial. No partner lasts with her for any length of time. After her last partner is severely injured while trying to jump out of a second (or was it third?) storey window behind Hunter, she is assigned a new partner, Samantha Kennedy, who has just transferred from Assault. Hunter is not welcoming. In fact, she tries to keep Samantha out of the case assigned to them – quickly piling up brutal murders of young women. Samantha doggedly struggles to get it into Hunter’s thick head that they are partners. Reluctantly Hunter let’s Samantha tag along but jumps into situations recklessly without the least consideration for her partner’s abilities, wishes or words. On the personal level Samantha is engaged to Richard but that relationship is not too great. Though Richard doesn’t make her ecstatic, Samantha is and has been content in the relationship. While working together, Samantha starts feeling an attraction to Hunter and her feeling are returned.

Hunter, or the Xena character, follows the pattern established by the cult serial. She is practically invincible, a loner and quite awful to Samantha, or the Gabrielle character. In the serial Xena spends time doing her own thing all the while being rude to Gabrielle and Gabrielle follows Xena blindly, jumping into scrapes and ending up being targeted and physically hurt. In the serial, Gabrielle is raped – so in this one Samantha is raped – and to make it really awful, the rape isn’t even necessary for plot development or movement. It doesn't even involve the main antagonist. It was an extraneous plot line. In the serial Xena is constantly saving Gabrielle – ditto the book. The Gabrielle character is always kind, soft, friendly -- sunshine -- who creates a positive atmosphere, humanises the Xena character and improves relationships. Samantha does that in this one. The Gabrielle character starts off straight, has inexplicable mad attraction to another woman (the Xena character) and realises she is not quite straight after all -- so always a toaster oven romance. Also, the Gabrielle character is the one who has to make the first move. Yep, pattern followed here. However, the sex scenes are gods -- so good.

Given the period the book was published in, the language isn’t polished or politically correct. Neither are the characters particularly woke. But that is entirely explicable by the time context.

The voice performance by Abby Craden is excellent. She gives personality to each character and brings in emotion and depth to the narrative. She is one of the artistes who make you want to listen to an audiobook despite have read it earlier.

This book is fairly good but suffers from being dated in terms of the butch-femme binary, Xena-typecasting, attitudes and word choices.

⭐⭐⭐

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