Moonlust by Kallysten
In space, no one will hear them moan.
A Men in Space story.
The job was supposed to be an easy one for Captain Kar and his two-man crew: land the Danaus on the deserted moon, appropriate a few boxes of precious chromore, and jump out of the system before the Guardians could get to them. Even Will and Jay’s inability to keep their hands off each other for any length of time should not have been too much of a problem.
They discover too late it’s the laineards’ mating season. The resulting sexual pheromones begin to affect them as soon as they step off the ship. With Will and Jay losing their minds to lust, and Kar himself blinded by visions of the two men he has wanted for months, things suddenly get muchharder than expected.
Their only hope for not ending up in jail is to get out of there before the Guardians find them. Except an open loading dock contaminated the air inside the Danaus. And Kar will have to resort to drastic measures to keep Jay and Will apart long enough to escape…
Moonlust is part of a 3-part anthology of sci-fi/space stories, with each novella sold separately. Some of the novellas are better than others and this particular offering is the weakest of the trio. The world building and characterization is scant and unexplored while the main focus of the story, the ménage, doesn’t really answer any relationship dynamics. The ending is a happy for now, so those readers wanting a strong happy ever after ending may be disappointed. Overall this is a decent, quick read but not interesting or fleshed out enough to be memorable.
The plot focuses on traders that are asked to steal a rare mineral called chromore. It just so happens that a festival is occurring and the planet where the mineral is mined and stored is empty. Thus allowing the traders to swoop in, steal the mineral, and be on their way. Of course nothing is that easy as it’s mating time on the planet and the traders get influenced by the strong pheromones leading to rampant sex.
The characters in the novella are all briefly explained and given enough background to differentiate them from each other but they never fully develop beyond flat, two dimensional characters. Kar is the pilot and owner of the ship while Jay and Will are crew members. All three men want each other but only Jay and Will gave in to their desire until pheromones of this planet let Kar delve into his fantasies of both men. Each man is given a hint of more but their past, present, and future are all largely unexplored. The reasons each man has to doing what they are and their choices are not fully explained and beyond sex with each, their purpose in the story is weak. The character of Jay is perhaps the most developed but he plays off the stereotype of a rich childhood rebelling against the family dynasty.
Just as the characters lacked substance, the world building is rudimentary and plays on classic science fiction/space odsessy tropes. There is very little external world building and instead the familiar themes and gadgets associated with popular science fiction litter the story. This makes for an easy read with few new ideas but still leaves the actual dynamics of this setting unexplained. There is a ruling body called The Lodge that has some connection but the details aren’t fleshed out. Additionally the space adventure is actually a sexual one so the action portion is pretty much how will the three men get it on and how many times.
The problems are confounded by the head hopping in the story and the point of view changing frequently. This is rarely confusing so much as frustrating that the story attempts to keep the POVs separate with page breaks yet head hops in the middle of a scene to show all thoughts of the men. Readers who dislike such changes will be frustrated by the number of them here. Mostly, the length is perfect for a quick, easy story about some sexy men in space with a dash of pirating. The ménage relationship is questionable, as is the lasting nature, but for men that don’t mind and just want some great sex – everything works out. Not exactly a memorable story but very little to really turn off readers.
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