When the hero is a shape shifter. And not the human to animal kind.
In BODY MASTER by C.J. Barry shape shifting aliens have crash landed on Earth and taken on human identities to blend in. They manipulate their DNA to transform, but they must first sample human DNA to replicate it. The process isn’t an easy one, so they don’t run around shifting into new forms with abandon. Once they adopt a form they stick with it, but they can shift back to their Primary form without too much trouble.
Seneca, the heroine of the book, is one of the few humans who can see them for what they are and she has a few other tricks up her sleeve, making her the perfect Shifter hunter. Being forced to take on a Shifter partner, Max Dempsey, rubs her all wrong—until he starts to get under her skin in a very different way.
We know Seneca is in trouble with this little twist on the familiar ‘just of out the shower’ scene:
At that moment, the door swung open and her brain cells kind of froze at once from the shock of Dempsey with a towel around his hips, held up by one hand. The rest of him was wet and really nicely humanoid. Wide shoulders, deep chest, narrow hips and… She suddenly realized that she was working her way down, and he knew it.
I love the “really nicely humanoid” part! And a little later in the story we realize her heart is lost:
She scanned his formidable Shifter body. No injuries that she could see, and for that she was grateful. He looked powerful, and for the first time, she realized there was beauty in his Primary form.
Body Master is full of amazing face-paced action, riveting emotion, high stakes, and a touch of C. J. Barry’s wonderful humor.
That great wit is evident from page one:
“Wait ‘til I tell my wife we got Jack the Ripper.”
Seneca looked over at her partner, Riley, sitting in the driver’s side of the surveillance van.
She said, “A little premature, don’t you think? We haven’t even seen him yet.”
Riley turned to her, the lone streetlight illuminating his balding head and cocky grin. “Never say premature to a guy, Seneca.”
The first chapter is also action packed and intense. You can read more of the first chapter and the synopsis and find a trailer and buy links on C.J. Barry’s website.
This is C.J.’s first book in a new series after writing several paranormal romantic suspense novels under the name Samantha Graves. I highly recommend all of her books, but I have to admit I’m thrilled she is back to the C.J. Barry pseudonym and futuristic romance. They are calling this paranormal romance, but IMHO aliens make it sci-fi romance and I’m sure you all know that’s my very most favorite genre.
What I loved about the heroine: Seneca is tough, funny, compassionate, and smart.
What I loved about the hero: Max is focused and loyal and all male in any form. He definetly proves the point in my Yes, aliens are sexy! post.
Other cool stuff: There is a nice touch of Native American mythology to explain some of Seneca’s abilities.
Genre: Futuristic masquerading as Paranormal Romance
Primary format: Trade Paper
Publication date: August 2010
Publisher: Berkley Sensation