With her steamiest book yet, author Diedre Knight brings back all the major pairs from her previous `Parallel' books. Knight wraps all the loose relationship threads here with a nice little bow, but leaves the series with the battle kicked up a notch and no resolution. And if this is truly the final book, I found that a bit dissatisfying hence the 1/2 star drop in the rating.
Parallel Desire is science fiction romance with a paranormal feel set against a secret battle between two alien races, one out to enslave the earth and steal our bodies and another to protect us. The good guys have the power of time travel but there are no worries about paradox here, because time travel is to a parallel universe.
In the last book, Parallel Seduction (Midnight Warriors, Book 3), we met both of the leads, Jake and Shelby. Jake Tierney is a traveler from a parallel future, who travels back to kill the man who murdered his beloved wife/soulmate and unborn child, a loss which destroyed the man Jake used to be. If you've read the previous book you will know Jake's original identity, if not it sounds a bit confusing but he uses the hated power of his alien race to become Jake Tierney by taking the murderer's identity after stealing the murderer's body and out of self-loathing he discards his original name and assumes the murderer's. Jake is truly tortured and immersed in grief, and loosing this universe's version of his wife in the last book - this time not to death but to his younger self - has only deepened his pain. Now he lives on the verge of stalker-hood, calling her again and again just to hear her voice, envious of the happiness he once had. Happiness his younger self now enjoys. There is really nothing left to Jake but his crusade to find the Jake Tierney here in the past and kill him to save his 'wife' in this parallel time line.
The heroine Shelby, with her own heart scarred by loss, has her own triangle thing going on. She took care of Jake's original identity younger self and half way fell in love with him, but now finds herself deeply attracted to his anguished Jake incarnation. Jake and Shelby are both deeply sensual people and when Jake finds himself caught in a powerful attraction to Shelby, he sheds his celibacy with a vengeance. I expected their relationship to stay purely physical for longer in the book, but these two have shared pain and a soulmate connection -- Shelby quickly seeps into the cracks of Jake's broken heart and begins putting life back into his lifeless existence.
I really liked the relationship between the two leads, but there were a few things that didn't flow in the way the characters and their relationships were set up. A few more words from the author, Knight, could have smoothed out these rough spots. In addition to the body stealing ability, Jake's people are also shape shifters and their natural form sounds to be somewhat monstrous. Shelby had a very traumatic past experience with members of his race in shifted form and yet Knight has the two getting intimate while Jake is trapped in a shift. Shelby was alien too, so I didn't have a problem with them being intimate in that form, but my problem was that the chapter starts out in the middle of the scene with them already in bed and with how freaked out Shelby was with the other shifted aliens, and by her awful memories, I just couldn't see how Jake and Shelby would have ever gotten to that point of attempting intimacy in that situation.
My other issue with the book, is the that the overarching plot that carried through the books doesn't get resolved here. If this is truly the final book in the series, Knight could have used Shelby's very cool time-walking ability and her relationship with one of the major bad guys to have somehow turned the tide and left us knowing that the good guys would succeed and save the Earth. But I suppose, that by leaving the world in peril Knight has left the series open should she ever want to jump to the future a bit and pick up the story.
Even with my minor issues, I really did enjoy this book and the series. If you haven't been fortunate enough to discover the little connected short, Parallel Fire (Anna and Nevin's story), available here on Amazon, I recommend that you do -- it's a great opportunity for one last steamy foray into this wonderful parallel world.
The other books in this series not mentioned above are:
Parallel Attraction (Midnight Warriors, Book 1)(Jared &Kelsey)
Parallel Heat (Midnight Warriors, Book 2)(Marco & Thea)