Cissy Salter is more than ready to shed Earth’s repression when she moves to the planet Kalquor. She leaps headlong into drinking, partying, and liaisons with young alien men. She would be having the time of her life if not for the disapproval of a certain rich, gorgeous Dramok she can’t avoid. She’d love to despise him, but her heart has other ideas.
Dramok Diltan sees the bawdy, unrefined Cissy as a thorn in his side. The last thing he needs is a woman who drives him crazy every time they meet. Yet the spark in her eyes kindles a fire he can’t ignore. His enthralled clanmates Wal and Rolat are determined to get the two to stop fighting, at least long enough to explore the possibility of making Cissy part of their clan. When they discover Diltan’s past misdeeds, Wal and Rolat issue an ultimatum: help them seduce the Earth woman or face punishment.
As Cissy and Clan Diltan discover each other’s true nature and love blooms, the long-hidden secrets of Kalquor’s leadership are revealed. An old conspiracy brought to light shatters Kalquor’s peace, driving the Empire apart … and tearing Cissy from the arms of the three men she can no longer live without.
Oh boy, shit just got real in Kalquor folks! Alien Indiscretions may just be the most action-packed installment in the series to-date, or at least on level with Alien Salvation and the aftermath of Earth’s self-inflicted Armageddon. Which is rather appropriate as it also brings Dramok Diltan back on the scene as a potential suitor for another of the Empress Jessica’s relatives – Cissy Salter. As I haven’t read Alien Salvation in quite a while, Diltan’s name didn’t ring any bells until the incident between him and Lindsey is brought up and boy did I remember him then. So between Diltan’s past encounter with Lindsey, his unwanted attraction to the brash and in-your-face Cissy, the uncovering of the secrets regarding the original abduction of Earther Mataras (pay close attention to the Prelude to a Scandal pre-chapter), and the Kalquor people on the brink of civil war, Alien Indiscretions was a page-turner of epic proportions and not because of its length.
The author begins the book like most in the series, with the focus on the Earther Matara. In this case, we’re actually treated to two because Cissy and her identical twin sister Tasha are being escorted to Kalquor to be reunited with their cousins Jessica (Empress) and Lindsey. As they too had a Buddhist upbringing like their cousins, Cissy and Tasha are not as repressed as many of the Earther females have been and it’s made clear that they enjoyed their time on the transport ship with the numerous Kalquor men escorting them. You go girls! But they are ready to be off the ship so they can enjoy spending time with their cousins and life NOT under Earth’s religious fanaticism. Unfortunately as they are considered royalty, they must suffer through (in Cissy’s opinion) a diplomatic welcome. It is during this reception the Cissy and Diltan first bump heads and sparks fly – but not the good kind. Neither makes a good impression on the other and Diltan’s interest in clanning with Tasha would be fine by Cissy except she’ll be stuck interacting with the arrogant arse on holidays. I have to say that I found the first encounter between Cissy, Wal and Rolat hilarious, which only made Clan Diltan’s dates with Tasha even more painfully boring. Fortunately for Diltan, his Imdeko and Nobek take matters – or should I say Cissy – into their own hands and Diltan is provided the opportunity to see what he is passing up due to his snobbery. This is where Cissy’s Buddhist upbringing comes into play – she’s not saddled with the sexual repression that many of the Earthers are so she’s far more adventurous in the bedroom. It turns out that Cissy was made for Kalquorian bedroom games and she is very well-matched with Clan Diltan. This makes for some out-of-this-world hot sex scenes throughout the book. But with all that is going on in the Empire, clanning between Cissy and Clan Diltan is not as simple as it should be.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t re-read the series in a while, but I felt like we got to know Wal and Diltan far better than previous clan mates. This is largely due to the other main focus of Alien Indiscretions – the secrets behind the Earther Matara abductions that led to the war with Earth and its ultimate destruction. As a Royal Councilman and a member of the Ethics committee, Diltan was chosen to review former Emperor Zarl’s records and it was within these records he found the order for the Earther Matara abductions – an order everyone knew was given, but no one had been able to find evidence of who had given it. Understanding the potential ramifications of the documents, Diltan was at a loss of how to proceed – protect the Empire or adhere to rules of transparency. When he consults with a fellow colleague as to what to do, he unknowingly gives the opposition the “smoking gun” that could be the end of the Kalquorian Empire. As all of this is going on when his clan begins to court Cissy, we spend a good deal of time in Diltan’s presence and get to know him as he grapples with the enormity of his misplaced faith in a colleague. Once Diltan makes the former Emperor’s records public, we get a much closer look at Wal as he is one of the judges who must preside over the hearing regarding Zarl’s records and who else was involved. St. John gives readers a rather in-depth look into Kalquor’s governing bodies through Diltan and Wal’s jobs and their involvement in the case. But rest assured that in-depth does not mean boring. I was absolutely fascinated with both Diltan’s discoveries, the proceedings that Wal oversaw, and the emotional and ethical issues both men faced while carrying out their duties. Much like the Kalquor people, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the verdict would be. I was both shocked yet not by the decisions. Yet I wasn’t prepared for what took place in the Royal Council just days later. While St. John does provide the happy ending for the relationship between Cissy and Clan Diltan, the author has left the future of Kalquor hanging in the balance. I cannot wait to see what happens next and hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.