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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cosmic Cops Collection by B.J. McCall

Cosmic Cops Collection by B.J. McCall
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (175 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed By Buttercup

Cosmic Cops is the nickname for the Galactic Enforcement Agency and the officers of the GEA don't like it, but they have to live with it. What's irresistible to alpha males? Three women packing heat!

Dark Ecstasy
Captain Isabet Renard has just landed every cop's fantasy beat – Club Xs, the most successful adult pleasure playground in the galaxy. But the best part of her new assignment comes after hours. Dark Ecstasy. It's nothing short of addictive.

Dark Pleasures
Lt. Sada Prentiss is a success story. She's hidden her notorious past, joined the Cosmic Cops, and her bravery has made the intergalactic news. But fame has its price and to survive she must revive the Dark Pleasures.

Dark Obsession
Captain Riva Vix has broken cop code and fallen for a criminal. He's a master thief and he's her Dark Obsession. Their relationship has one hard and fast rule: he can't operate in her territory. But as Riva know, rules are made to be broken.

Come and join the cosmic thrill ride that is The Cosmic Cops Collection, an anthology following the lives of some of the Galactic Enforcement Agency's (G.E.A.) most elite agents. Although the G.E.A. agents are generally know as Cosmic Cops, don't call them that to their faces -- they hate the nickname. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories, I only wish that they had been written as full length novels, I didn't want them to end.

Now everyone knows you don't sleep with the boss, but what if you don't know it's the boss your sleeping with? Before starting her new job the next day, Captain Isa Renard decides to visit Club X and partake in some of the club's services. Club X offers a wide variety of services including, for a nominal fee of course, safe and anonymous sex with a like minded human. Interested parties simply sign up, answer a few questions and are matched by a computer. Isa is matched with Commander Ander Slade, her new boss. Before engaging in an sexual acts both parties must imbibe a liquid that will distort their features, and cause them to glow the color of their choosing. So during the day Isa and Ander are commander and captain, but at night know each other simply as Lilac and Smoke. I love the idea of glow in the dark sex, and not only because my favorite color is purple, it just sounds like fun. All women have a favorite color, or dress that makes them feel sexy and powerful -- this would be like never having to take the dress off.

What really made Dark Ecstasy different was the way Isa and Ander's relationship formed. There were some of the basic elements of a menage relationship just without the third person. As Isa and Ander learn about each other during the day, Lilac and Smoke become more attached to each other at night. Although neither is looking for a menage relationship the closer that they get, the more Isa wonders what it would be like to have both Ander and Smoke in her life and in her bed, and the same holds true with Ander about Isa and Lilac. It was great fun watching them both struggle with their desires, wondering how best to broach the subject of a threesome, knowing all along that Isa is Lilac and that Ander is Smoke.

If that were their only problem, it could have been easily resolved, by taking Lilac and Smoke's relationship out of the dark, which they both want to do anyway. But everyone has baggage and Isa and Ander are no exception. Ander's baggage comes in the form of Cyn the owner of Club X, and former lover. Cyn, Ander and Jana, Ander's late wife, had a menage relationship, one that Cyn wants' back, replacing Jana with Isa. The fact that neither Ander or Isa want that does very little to deter Cyn. I know that Cyn is physically beautiful, shallow, scheming, and manipulative, but I can't help feeling sorry for her. She lost the woman that she loved and is in love with a man that never did and never will love her. She is trapped in a world of meaningless beauty and self gratification. Granted her circumstances are of her own making, and there are lots of people who would love to be in her position, but Cyn is just self aware enough to know that her life will not satisfy her forever, what she currently lacks is the ability to change.

Dark Ecstasy is a great and fun read, I love these characters. It works great as a short story, I just didn't want it to end.

Lt. Sada Prentiss is rising in the ranks at the G.E.A. and gaining the notice of her superiors, but not all of the interest is strictly professional. Lt. Brace Ryn has just accepted a dangerous mission, and with only four hours until he ships out he intends to spend them with Sada doing everything he's ever wanted, but as her commanding officer couldn't do.

Dark Pleasures grabs you right from the beginning doesn't let go. How B.J. McCall managed to cram such a wild emotional rollercoaster into such a short story is beyond me, but it is a great ride. Like most stories it starts with a secret, Sada's secret. Sada was a princess who lived on Ibatha, until she ran away. Her planet is ruled by the priests who consider most everything a sin, but most of all sex. The only form of sex allowed is the missionary position, and the woman must be praying the entire time. All other forms of intercourse are forbidden, and if one is found to have engaged in the Dark Pleasures, well then it is the woman who is to blame, never the man. If I lived on a planet where sex was forbidden, I'd run away too.

When Brace's mission goes wrong and he is captured, Sada must not just face her past but immerse herself in it if she wants' to rescue Brace. It's easy to see why these two work so well together, both professionally and personally. There is a bond between them that has only been enhanced by their hours of training and numerous missions together. Of course, like many things about their relationship, Brace and Sada's capture is not exactly what is seems. When the cavalry comes charging in expecting the find torture, and instead find Brace tied up and receiving head from Sada, it is not something he will soon live down. Over time I think that Brace's career will be helped more than hindered by this incident. Lt. Brace Ryn was able to bring down Kradic, kidnapper and human trafficker, by getting a blow job. He will become a G.E.A legend, young boys will hear the story and join the ranks hoping to be so lucky as to be put in a similar position. I can just see some enterprising young man petitioning to have "The Art of Fellatio" added to the curriculum, stating that you never know when it might save your life.

I would have liked to seen more of Sada and Brace, maybe five years down the road, after the initial sensationalism has worn off.

The idea of cops and criminals having secret liaisons is as old as... well, cops and criminals... but it is still a story line that I never tire of. In Dark Obsession Captain Riva Vix works for the G.E.A. and her lover, Landis Eden is a professional thief. The only rule they have is that Landis never works in Riva's jurisdiction. It's a good rule and one that has been easy to follow until Landis gets an offer he can't refuse, so to speak. When Riva gets assigned to case involving industrial theft, she knows that Landis is the thief, even if she can't prove it.

Riva and Landis' relationship walks a fine line between love and lust, the desire for a real relationship and the excitement of the clandestine. As a reader you are thrown into a very pivotal point of their relationship, with no idea of how they arrived there. I would have liked to have seen the beginning how the two met and got together. How they met is not instrumental to the story but would have provided a better understanding of the characters, their motivations, and reactions. Right from the start I got the feeling that Landis was truly in love with Riva and striving to find a way to make them permanent, while Riva might be looking for a way out. As it turned out I was correct, just not in a way I ever thought of. On the surface Riva seems to be very simple and straightforward, but she is more complex than she seems at first glance, I think even more complex than what we are shown.

After Riva finds that Landis has broken their agreement, she completely shuts him out of her life, refusing to talk or even see him. I can understand her anger, but I think she would want to know why he did what he did. Granted, Landis is a thief, but everything about this robbery has been out of character for him. I would think that the cop, if not the woman in Riva would want to know why. Despite the unanswered questions I did enjoy Dark Obsession, but I do think this story in particular would have benefited from a longer telling.

B.J. McCall pulls you in right from the start, with great characters and fantastic storylines. Explore new worlds that make the extraordinary seem believable, and the ordinary more fantastical than it is.

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