By: Moira Moore
This is the third in her Shield and Source series, told from Shield Dunleavy Mallorough's point of view. Like the first two novels, there's a fair bit of comedy associated with the opposites forced to work together motif. In this book, the pair are sent off to a southern island where they must find the off shoot relatives of the queen. Unfortunately, the islanders don't follow continental laws, and they expect the pair to pay for things (which tradition states they should receive for free). Needless to say, our rather unskilled heroes must use drastic measures to ensure they've got food and shelter. Enter: Leavy the Flame Dancer!
And Shintaro is not happy about it.
Here's the spoiler area. If you haven't read the book yet, don't read this or it will ruin a major plot twist for you.
Against the rules of their order Lee and Taro finally succumb to their attraction. I'm glad the author wrote this scene the way she did. In the segment where Lee is under the control of music and comes close to sleeping with Taro she would have had a perfect excuse to discount the entire affair. But I think that would have crushed Taro's already fragile self-esteem, especially with the treatment he was getting from the islanders. I like the fact that Lee sat down and examined her motives and decided that if she went ahead with this, she should do it with her eyes open, accepting of the possible consequences down the road. I think this acknowledgement is the reason Taro is willing to forgo his flirtatiousness at the end of the book (that and I think he honestly loves Lee. Here's a woman who's opinion matters highly to him and who accepts him as he is, whether he looks immaculate or disheveled. And given his upbringing he's likely never encountered anyone like her before). Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the Moonlighting effect will set in. Once characters sleep together the sexual tension, and the verbal sparring that comes from it, inevitably tones down. Even if conflict arises and they break up things can never go back to the way they were before.
Still, I'm looking forward to the next book to see how their new relationship works out once they're back in High Scape where what they're doing is against the rules.