At the end of his obligated commitment to the Space Service, Frey Berger decides to stay on Earth to further experience human emotions rather than return to Ginnun where his intended has already mated with another. Looking for real love and someone to accept him for what he is, Frey enlists in Madame Evangeline’s popular dating service. Although he does not understand the concept of a one-night stand, he hopes to find his perfect mate. If he fails, he risks being alone on Earth for the rest of his life. Carrie Cooper’s husband divorced her for another woman who could provide him with children, leaving her with little self-confidence and no desire to let a man hurt her again. When her best friend convinces her to join a dating service, Carrie decides one night of passion is harmless since there’s no commitment after the night is over. Although several misunderstandings nearly derail them before the date even begins, Frey and Carrie end up closer than they ever believed possible. Still, Frey needs to convince Carrie her perfect mate isn’t human at all, and that one night can lead to a forever love.
Celestial Seduction is one of the short stories in Decadent Publishing’s 1-Night Stand series. Don’t be deceived, these aren’t your typical one night stands, they are arranged by the mysterious, and possibly magical Madame Evangeline whose goal is to find partner for her one night stands. This time she might be a little in over her head though as her subjects aren’t your average clients.
Frey is an alien from the planet of Ginnun, where his fiancé has thrown him over for his former best friend. Not only does he not want to go home because of that, but he has another reason, he likes having and showing emotions, something frowned upon on his home world. Frey is determined to stay on Earth, and, much to his commanding officer’s disgust, to mate with an Earth woman. Searching for the perfect companion he goes to Madame Evangeline for a one night stand, but what will happen when his one night stand finds out he’s really an alien.
Carrie has been through a difficult divorce and has suffered a terrible blow to her self-esteem, she seeks out Madame
Evangeline hoping a one night stand will help jump start her recovery process and get her out into the dating world again, but Carrie wasn’t counting on how having s one night stand would make her feel.
I really enjoyed Celestial Seduction. There was just enough backstory to make it interesting from then on the characters moved the story forward effortlessly. I liked the characters and I liked that in his natural form Frey was obviously alien, but also very much a male humanoid. His reactions were the same as any red-blooded human’s would have been and he was a genuinely likable character. You immediately felt a sense of connection with him and you couldn’t help but empathize with poor Carrie who has been through so much and then has the date that is supposed to help her jump-start her life show up hours late. The foundational tension was all put in place well and naturally and built incrementally throughout the story until the final pay off.
I would recommend Celestial Seduction to fans of romance, science-fiction, and short stories. I liked it enough that I’m going to look into adding some other titles from the series to my library. If they write as well as Ms. Subject they should offer some interesting reads.
Reviewed by Tracy Riva
“What do you mean, you want to stay?”
Frey balled his fists and watched the Mission Commander’s face turn from blue to purple to red. But he refused to step onto the ship. “Exactly that. I don’t want to return to Ginnun. I’ve spent one rotation around the sun here, established myself in their culture, and lived like one of them. And I’ll continue to do so. This is my home now.”
“One rotation is hardly long enough to call this place home. Besides, you’ve sworn your life to the Space Service.” As his MC’s eyes hardened further, Frey noticed all the wrinkles in the man’s once again blue face. His white hair stood up straight on an oversized head. If he remained with the Space Service, the stress of the job would age him exactly the same way.
“This is my last mission. I’ll be discharged when I return.” Frey wouldn’t receive any compensation for this mission, but Space Service credits were of no use on Earth.
“The only way to get out of the Service is to apply for mating. Won’t Tandee be waiting for your return?”
His stomach clenched upon hearing her name. “On the day we left, she confessed to already mating with Brand, my supposed best friend.”
The Commander only raised his eyebrow. Frey didn’t expect any compassion from him. “Ouch! So that’s why you failed to keep your emotions in check on the trip to Earth.”
He looked away. Even after his time on this planet, the memory of that day still stung. She’d flaunted her admission without a hint of regret.
“There are many other females on Ginnun who would take you as a mate.”
Frey looked back to the Mission Commander and shook his head. “I don’t want an emotionless relationship. When I choose a mate, I need to want to be with her. I want a mate for more than just procreation. I want to love.”