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Parallel Heat    by Deidre Knight order for
Parallel Heat
by Deidre Knight
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Deidre Knight concluded her debut novel, Parallel Attraction, with a nifty cliffhanger that saw Refarian king Jared Bennett and his bride barely taking their marriage vows when a mysterious stranger materialized in their bedchamber. Marco McKinley bears a message for his King, one that he hopes will correct a disastrous betrayal. He has been trained from birth as a Madjin, or royal protector, of his King and his Queen. Ancient Refarian law forbids that he ever experience emotion or love. Even so, Marco cannot resist falling in love with his Queen and that single traitorous and unforgivable act could have catastrophic consequences.

In his current Earth-bound timeline, Marco McKinley has no idea that this single action by his alternate persona has already compromised this timeline. He is content to keep his real identity as Madjin a secret until the moment is right for him and his fellow protectors to reveal themselves to Jared and his rebel followers. However, when Jared's cousin Thea Haven tracks Marco down, both experience shockingly intimate memory flashes that confirm that their destinies have collided before, and with disastrous results. Thea had been Marco's soul mate and confidante and been equally responsible for the downfall of the royal house. Now, as both work side by side to save Earth from imminent invasion by the fierce Antousians, they also re-discover their former fiery and undeniable attraction. But neither can be sure where their present relationship will take them. Will their former traitorous alliance win out - or will they correct the timeline and right wrongs?

It's always refreshing when an author chooses to side-step current trends, and offers readers a story with an intelligent and complex spin. Parallel Heat is just that kind of book. A combination of fine characterizations, great pacing, action-packed plotting and a truly imaginative take on the dizzying intricacies of alternate realities makes for a very worthy sequel. Not only does Knight deftly juggle all these aspects, she also gives readers not one, but three emotionally satisfying love stories, two of which are far from resolved and will have readers clamoring to find out what happens next - and also hoping that Ms. Knight continues exploring her intriguing premise in at least one more trilogy.

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