Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
Genre: Romance, Science-fiction, Adult
Published: August 28th 2012 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin. Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live.
Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek.
Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game.
As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave.
Honestly, my first impression of the cover—which honestly is my selling point of a novel; fickle I know—is that this book was about mermaids or underwater creatures. Truthfully, it’s pretty far from the truth, we’re set in a world that’s riddled with secrets and corruption and a new disease released by a terrorist group that is striking down the population. However, I was so glad to find all this along with a romance that is scorching, but sadly seemingly doomed from the start. Our protagonist is wily, determined and intelligent and to throw into the mix we have the shirtless smooth captain who ties you up in riddles. I loved it!
HTN4 is a virus strain that’s a more modern version of the ‘Black Plague’ and is striking down the population quickly and it’s deadly. Not only that, but a terrorist group released this virus and they’re using it as a biological weapon to up the intensity. The novel clearly drags in politics in the future setting of 2053 with the UN needing to find a cure, and the terrorist group closely on their heels. In the middle of this all, we have our protagonist Elyse and she certainly has a lot of problems to deal with. However, she’s not about to break so easily, but she gives us some entertainment along the way.
“This must be the Information Extraction Room. Pushing back fear, I examined my surroundings, searched for the torture devices. The concrete walls were a stark, institutional white. No tools or straps hung from the ceiling, no eerie hooks protruded from anywhere. Of course, I couldn’t see behind me—maybe everything was placed out of sight, in case they could get me to talk without torture. I had, after all, confirmed my name without so much as a paper-rock-scissors.”
Elyse from the moment I met her had wrapped herself around my heart and refused to let go because she was such a character. She’s not the perfect Mary-Sue nor the moulded cliché protagonist for the romance genre, she had an individual personality to her. She’s clearly highly intelligent and her efficient planning and work ethic really push the novel in multiple directions quickly to keep our attention engaged. She also has the most unhealthy addiction to chocolate—a quirky characteristic that really rounds her character. Ultimately her relationship with the other characters of the novel is what makes her truly entertaining because she maintains this professional distance, but then slowly and not always with her consent they slide under her skin and into her system. It really builds the novel up the different directions the story gets drawn out into and the plethora of secondary characters behind her and The Captain really sustain an entertaining romance read.
“Captain Marek made me forget my name by catching me when I fell—at a time when I was emotional, vulnerable, kidnapped, for God’s sake. It didn’t mean he could undermine my ability as a doctor. Besides, I didn’t even like the man. He was about as compassionate as the flu. And like the flu, I’d get over him and his feverish touch. Right?”
Elyse comparing a man to the flu really had me. If Captain Marek was my flu, I’d want him all year around, because he certainly makes you hot. He’s an educated, well-versed man of authority who’s bossy, smart-ass and his use of persuasive methods are clearly the way to go with the opposite sex. From the moment he is introduced I was a puddle at his feet. His back story begins to unravel and Elyse’s total ignorance to his background really adds to the novels twists and turns that make it so much more than just a romance. Captain Marek may be a hot body, but he’s also a smart brain. And he makes an impression upon his introduction.
“Instead, my cheek smacked against Captain’s chest, forcing him to wrap his arms around me to hold me steady. There, pressed against him, I wondered if the dock wouldn’t have been a softer landing. Everything hiding under his shirt was solid, hard, planed. I tried to convince myself that the heart ripping through me was just from embarrassment. But myself didn’t believe it. Gentler then I expected given the circumstances, he pried me from his chest and peered down at me, his deep brown eyes smoldering in what looked like disbelief.”
Anybody else want a fan? I know I need one. He’s just so serious. However, not everything about him is serious, we see this as the front of him, but then you get to know him and he’s one of those men with two sides. The front he has to show to the world and then who he actually is and seeing this unveil is really sweet.
“Oh!” I said, infuriated anew. I tried to grab the papers from his hand, but he stood and held them over his head. Even jumping, I couldn’t reach them.
“This behaviour is not very becoming, Dr Morgan.” He laughed as I punched him in the gut.”
Two fabulous characters are then added to by the developed, complex plot that draws in the reader from the very first moment with it’s fast pace, and unique ideas. There is so much to uncover and I don’t want to spoil it, but you get a little bit of everything. I think romances, fantasy and science-fiction lovers alike can find something to enjoy from this novel. I found the strengths in the characters and the dynamics and the political correctness of this novel between characters clearly had me smiling at the social structures. I think this book has so much to offer, my only complaint was the ending. It was too soon and rather unexpected. I wanted further development into some of the loose threads the author had about some of the other characters, so I do hope we get a second novel (which I haven’t seen any plans for at this moment) to explore some of the secondary characters.
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