Title: Alien Hands
Author: Storm Caywood
Genre: Sci Fi, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay
Publisher: Carnation Books
About The Book
An interstellar romance awaits you in this scorching hot novella…
Adil Raif is a relief-effort doctor on a space station orbiting a war-torn planet. Disconnected from life on Earth, he’s looking for sex, adventure, relief from boredom–anything but love. Esihle Queran is an alien refugee on the station who never tells the whole truth. He’s given up on ever returning to his planet, and knows that love is for other, better men.
But then, the two meet…
Adil and Esihle’s relationship is one of intensity and lust. Can they find their way home together?
This sexy science fiction romance contains BDSM themes, several scintillating love scenes, and a HEA.
The sex in this book is sizzling hot, but it’s the intimacy between Adil and Esihle that truly stands out. The author does an outstanding job using a series of vignettes to develop the relationship from casual and fun to a deep and enduring bond, using sex as a medium to explore the personalities, needs, and backstories of the characters. Esihle in particular is deeply vulnerable in many of these scenes, and the intimacy that develops from his willingness to let down his barriers and accept care and love is heartfelt and profound. The sex does an excellent job of moving the character development and plot forward, but it is also spicy and hot on its own, exploring BDSM themes, role play, and a deep sense of trust.
I loved that our knowledge of the planet Yalapha was developed mainly through the eyes of the human protagonist. We learn about first contact from his memories of visits with his grandparents, whose blind adoration of the Yalapha are contrasted with the Yalaphan rights abuses that Adil discovers in the news. As we follow his journey through university and medical school, the chinks in the armor become more and more pronounced until Yalapha is in a state of civil war. At the end of the book, the transformation of Yalapha after the regime change allows us to discover that the planet is more diverse than originally thought, and I hope that further books in the series will explore the different cultures and ethnic groups living on the planet.
Both characters have compelling backstories that immediately drew me in. I especially enjoyed Adil’s journey in the prologue, as it gave us insight into both his background as well as the changing view of the Yalapha in the eyes of multiple generations of humans on Earth. In the prologue, we learn about Adil’s struggles with the treatments forced on him by his parents, as well as the impact of first contact on Earth through visits with his doting grandparents. I do wish that the subject of Adil’s treatment had surfaced more later in the novel. While there is a cute scene between the lovers based on his enhanced strength, and the topic is broached briefly in explaining his love of Sherlock Holmes, I would have liked to see more of the effects of this trauma on both his personal growth and his relationships.
Esihle’s story is the focus of the book, and his past has a profound impact on their relationship, his identity, and his place in the new order once they return to Yalapha. Adil’s forgiveness, understanding and support is brilliantly written, and his love shines through in every word and gesture. Esihle’s backstory is intriguing, and the transformation he makes as he confronts his past is satisfying and convincing.
Overall: I devoured this book in an afternoon. It was fun and touching and sexy, and the happy ending was well-earned and extremely sweet. If you like sci fi and romance, you’ll definitely enjoy this story.
Starlight Barque is the author of Service to the State, published by Carnation books (getbook.at/service). When not writing gay erotic fiction, she can be found tinkering with her impressive collection of musical instruments, stopping to pet strange dogs on the street, and pondering tidbits on tumblr such as “when robots take over the world, will the revolution be fought in captchas?“ She plays a mean game of classic 80s mario brothers, binge-watches science fiction like a pro, and is hopeless at cards against humanity. Service to the State is her first work for Carnation Books, and she is hard at work on a sequel.