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Book Critique – Flirtation of Fate (Psy-Changeling #12.25)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

My Recommendation: Another good novella that would give the readers a glimpse into the Psy-Changeling world, filled with Psy, Changeling and Humans, who are living together, ruled by Psy but the other two races making the playing field even. Of course there is romance, passion, war, friendship, loyalties and betrayals along the line. 

Flirtation of Fate is the tenth novella in the long running Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh, published in August of 2016, as part of Wild Embrace anthology. The primary plot revolves around Kenji Tanaka and Garnet "Jem" Sheridan - both SnowDancer Wolf Lieutenants. 

Psy-Changeling series focuses on three races living side-by-side on Earth - Psy who rule the world braving the fall of Silence; Changelings becoming more prominent; and Humans having decided to level the playing field. The series takes the readers through the downfall of Psy, their drawbacks, why all three races are needed for survival of each other, and above all finding mates across races thus disintegrating the walls further.

In continuing with the series that intrigued when I picked it's spin-off, Psy-Changeling Trinity Series, here is my take on the last novella so far published in the parent series. The story is set near the end of Heart of Obsidian but before the novella Secrets at Midnight.

In Shards of Hope, Nalini had concluded this arc of the Psy-Changeling series with a promise of four cute novellas along with one big plot of all the ensemble. We read and enjoyed the ensemble in Allegiance of Honor. Now on to the fourth and final one of those fun novellas that were published later in the same year as the big plot.

We met Kenji Tanaka in Play of Passion and although we met Garnet "Jem" Sheridan officially in Kiss of Snow, she was briefly mentioned in Branded by Fire in Riley's musings. And from the time we have met both of them together, we have been seeing sparks flying between them. Finally Nalini spins a tale for them.

Seven years ago Kenji had hurt Garnet and broke her heart. Now working as Lieutenants for the SnowDancer pack, they have managed to be working colleagues. But the fire between them hadn't died at all. But can Kenji figure out a way into Garnet's heart again without breaking her? Can Garnet forgive him and accept him back?

Two powerful dominants will have equal personalities and don’t necessarily bow to each other. That is what we see with Garnet and Kenji. Yet, they both are equally humble enough to bend a little, reach a little, to meet mid-way. 

I am glad Nalini didn’t make the plot like walking on egg-shells for Garnet and Kenji. Instead she made it as a journey for them to find each other all over again and fall for each other. Would be fun to see how things would unravel for SnowDancers considering two of the lieutenants who handle two different regions are mated.

This tense tale comes with hints of love and romance, filled with shades of trust and finding each other, while ending happily in Garnet and Kenji's arms. She has very less of repeat paraphrasing and hardly any sub-plots or inconsequential details that she normally leaves though.

Another sweet little tale that gives the readers more insight into of this fantastic series. A good novella that would definitely intrigue the readers to pick up the series.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Sub-Plots: 

a. For all Psy Designations mentioned in the series go here.

b. Psy terms:

i. Honeycomb Protocol - PsyNet connected by Empaths to all Psy; missing human element with only three known Psy-Human bonds; disintegrating slowly unless humans join without coercion.

ii. The Consortium - headed by The Architect, formed of Psy, Human and Changeling power hungry people taking advantage of the fallen Silence at the cost of lives. The Architect plans to assassinate the top members of the Trinity Accord, including Silver Mercant.

iii. Trinity Accord - consists of Ruling Coalition; Devraj Santos; Bowen Knight; Lizbeth Shafer (head of a humanitarian group called Hope Light); Miane Leveque.

iv. United Earth Federation aka UEF

v. Emergency Response Network aka EmNet - The world-wide rapid response network as the first line in any critical situation; headed by Silver Mercant.

c. Various Psy:

i. Ruling Coalition: Nikita Duncan; Kaleb Krychek (mated to Sahara Kyriakus, an F-Psy, in Heart of Obsidian); Anthony Kyriakus; Ivy Jane Zen; Aden Kai; Lucas Hunter (rep. all Changelings)

ii. Empathic Collective - formed by 5 empaths incl. Sascha Duncan, Ivy Jane is President; Sahara Kyriakus as specialist; Alice Elridge as Consultant.

iii. Ex-Councilors: Ming LeBon; Shoshanna Scott

iv. Other Psy: Latham; Sione; Juniper; Gia Khan; Silver Mercant (Kaleb's sr. personal asst., introduced in Caressed by Ice); Lenik (Kaleb's admin asst.); Samuel Rain; Keisha Bale; Tanique Gray (Faith's brother); Chang; Concetta; Teri; Dechen; Isaiah; Brigitte; Pax Marshall; Payal Rao; Ena Mercant

v. Psy Couples: Clara Alvarez & her human mate Patrick; Gwen Jane & Carter Hirsch (Ivy Jane's parents)

vi. Kaleb has a vision for the square beneath his official buildings. A short story perhaps. 

vii. Amara, Ashaya's twin, gets distracted by one of the males working in her lab in Tangle of Need.

viii. In Heart of Obsidian:

1) To avenge Sahara, Kaleb imprisons and tortures ex-Councilor Tatiana Rika-Smythe.

2) Nalini connected every knick-knack in Kaleb's home to a shared memory between them except for a single piece of twisted metal. A short story for it?

ix. In Shield of Winter, Isaiah and Concetta seem to bond, although Isaiah is injured in that plot.

x. Since Shards of Hope, a relationship is brewing between Anthony and Nikita.

d. Arrow Squad:

i. Aden Kai - Leader. Mated to his Commander Zaira Neve in Shards of Hope

ii. Commanders: Vasic Zen (mated to Ivy Jane, an E-Psy, in Shield of Winter); Cristobel Rodriguez; Amin; Axl (sparks fly between him & Tamar, financial genius, in Shards of Hope)

iii. Members: Gutierrez; Suhana; Alejandro; Sione; Ella; Tavish; Mica; Nerida; Beatrice Gault; Yuri; Pip; Carolina;  

iv. Other Couples: Stefan Berg married to Tazia Nerif in Echo of Silence; Marjorie Kai & Naoshi Ayze (Aden's parents); Abbot (Bonded to Jaya, an E-Psy); Bond seems to form between Cristobel and Amin in Shards of Hope.

e. Forgotten Psy - Introduced in Caressed by Ice:

i. Devraj "Dev" Santos - leader, marries Ekaterina "Katya" Haas, an M-Psy, in Blaze of Memory.

ii. Members: Rangi; Dr. Glen Herriford; Jonquil "Jon" Alexi Duchslaya; Noor Hassan (Keenan, Ashaya's son want to marry her); Aubry; Aryan; Tag & Tiara; Cruz; Maggie; Dr. Connor; Eva; William; 

iii. In Heart of Obsidian, one of the female Forgotten assists the EmNet; who is mated to a DarkRiver male. Who is she?

f. Humans:

i. 18th Century Territorial (Changeling) Wars - Adrian Kenner had help draft laws that ended the war.

ii. Bowen "Bo" Kinght - Introduced in Branded by Fire. Human Alliance Security Chief; striving to make the Alliance a strong and powerful one along-side Psy and Changelings; 9 other men and women support him.

iii. Members: Sara; Lily (Bowen's adopted sister); Alice Eldridge (Introduced in Branded by Fire; Consultant to Empathic Coalition); Trooper Michel Benoit; Allie Livingston; 

iv. Other Couples: Father Xavier Perez & Nina; Lisette & Emil; Isaac & Jesse

v. In Tangle of Need, Bo and his top aides get The Human Alliance Implant planted in their brains. In Allegiance of Honor, they find a fatal flaw that could give them only few more months to live.

vi. Stories:

1) Max Shannon - Security Chief for Nikita Duncan, married to Sophia Russo, a J-Psy, in Bonds of Justice.

g. Changelings:

i. DarkRiver Leopards (Territory: San Francisco)

1) Lucas Hunter - Alpha. Mated to Sascha Duncan, an E-Psy, in Slave to Sensation. In Kiss of Snow, they have a girl, Nadia "Naya" Shayla Hunter.

2) Packmates - Kit & Rina Monaghan; Zara; Tara; Nico; Cory; Jason; Nicki; Aaron; Mia; Sarah; Lysa; Cian; Jamie; Barker; Joe; Keely; Owen; Monroe; Nicki; Sage and Grey (Mercy's remaining brothers); Anu; Issy; Behali; Bryan; Sonal

3) Sentinels - Nathan "Nate" Ryder (mated to Tamsyn "Tammy" Mahaire, healer, have twin sons Roman and Julian, Story in Beat of Temptation); Vaughn D'Angelo (mated to Faith NightStar, an F-Psy, in Visions of Heat); Clay Bennett (mated to Talin "Tally" McKade, a human, in Mine to Possess); Dorian (mated to Ashaya Aliene, an M-Psy,  in Hostage to Pleasure); Mercy Smith (mated to SnowDancer Lieutenant Riley Aedan Kincaid, in Branded by Fire; have triplets in Allegiance of Honor (two male wolf pups Acton "Ace" Lucas Smith-Kincaid and Michael "Micah" Hawke Smith-Kincaid; one female leopard cub, Isabella "Belle" Maeve Smith-Kincaid).

4) Other Couples: Harry & Meenakshi (Desiree's parents)

5) Stories:

a) Emmet, mated to Ria Wembley, a human, in Whisper of Sin; have an infant daughter, Mialin Corrina, as of Allegiance of Honor.

b) Zachary "Zach" Quinn, mated to Angelica "Anne" Kildaire, a human, in Stroke of Enticement, have an infant boy Rowan Kaleb Quinn as of Allegiance of Honor.

c) Bastien Smith, Mercy's brother & financial genius, mated to Kirby Rosario, a Lynx Changeling, in Secrets at Midnight.

ii. SnowDancer Wolves (Territory: California)

1) Hawke - Alpha. Mated to Sienna Lauren, an X-Psy, in Kiss of Snow.

2) Packmates - Dalton; Lucy; Kieran (a human); Joshua; Brace; Sylvia; Maria & Lake; Riordan; Simran; Ines; Mariska; Sam Baker (a human); Mack; Nell; Shawnelle; Ivy; Becca; Pierce; Vivienne & Todd (Twins); Daniel; Margo; Vitoria; Sebastian; Paul; Elizabeth; Diego; Revel & Pia (siblings); Baker Family - Iain & Enid; son Nash; daughter Willow (Lynx family tied to pack); Heather; Dani; Madison; Louisa; Steele Sheridan; Jasper Sheridan; Lorenzo; Emi; Eloise; Gavin; 

3) Lieutenants - Judd Lauren (an Arrow Psy, mated to Brenna Shane Kincaid, in Caressed by Ice); Riley Aedan Kincaid; Indigo Riviere (mated to Andrew "Drew" Liam Kincaid, a Tracker, in Play of Passion); Riaz Delgado (mated to Adria Morgan, a SnowDancer Sr. Soldier, in Tangle of Need); Cooper "Coop" Shaw (mated to Grace Burke in Declaration of Courtship); Alexei; Mathias; Tomas; 

4) Other Couples: Tai, dating Evangeline, Indigo's sister, since Kiss of Snow; Elias, his mate Yuki & daughter Sakura; Greg; D'Arn & his human mate Sing-Lui; Spencer & Ava Stone, their son Ben (wanting to mate with Marlee) & daughter Elodie; Shamus Lopez & his mate Emma; Tarah & Abel - Indigo and Evie's parents; Melina and James - Grace's adopted parents; Aisha & Mack - Lara's parents; Riordan dating Noelle, Zach's, a DarkRiver Changeling, sister since Texture of Intimacy; Ruby Sheridan, Tex & their new born; Yejun & Sabrina; Shane & Athena

5) Drew and Indigo are set to take over Alexei's sector in a month while Alexei to come back to the den as of Tangle of Need. 

6) Stories:

a) Walker Lauren, a Tp-Psy, mated to Lara Knight, healer, in Texture of Intimacy, is pregnant as of Allegiance of Honor.

b) Felix Grady, a submissive, mated to Desiree "Dezi", a DarkRiver Leopard Dominant Sr. Soldier, in Partners in Persuasion

7) In Texture of Intimacy, Lara and her assistant Lucy are looking for a dedicated admin person.

8) In Shield of Winter, Hawke and Sienna's plan to eliminate Ming is put on hold temporarily.

iii. BlackSea Changeling Coalition - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow. Members: Miane Leveque (Leader, introduced in Tangle of Need); Malachi Rhys (Security Chief, Introduced in Tangle of Need); Emani Berg; Olivia Coletti & her daughter Persephone; Leila Savea; Costas; Andres; Dr. Night

1) Approx 21 BlackSea water changelings are missing; the hunt for them would no doubt slip and slide to several future plots by Nalini.

2) Malachi Rhys is evolving and now he is getting added to my list of characters that I want to read more and more about - Hawke, Kaleb, Aden, Bowen

iv. BlackEdge Wolves in Moscow. First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Selenka Durev (Alpha); Gregori

v. RainFire Leopards in Smokies. Introduced in Beat of Temptation. Remington "Remi" Denier (Alpha); Finn (Healer); Lark, Angel & Theo (Sentinels); Jojo (future alpha); Jasper

vi. WindHaven Falcons. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Adam Garrett (Wing Leader); Naia (healer); Jacques (second to Adam)

vii. Rats Changelings. Introduced in Mine to Possess. Members - Teijan (Alpha); Suyi; Zane; Aneca

viii. AzureSun Leopards in Brazil. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Isabella Garcia (Alpha. Grandmother of Mercy); Eduardo and Joaquin (Sentinels).

ix. IceRock Lynx Changelings in Calgary. Introduced in Secrets at Midnight. Members: Kiya Teague (Alpha)

x. PineWood Hyenas - First mentioned in Caressed by Ice. Members - Kevin; Mahal; Lou-Ann

xi. SilverBlade Leopards. Introduced in Branded by Fire. Members: Hamilton (A Sentinel)

xii. WinterFire Leopards in North Dakota. First mentioned in Play of Passion.

xiii. StoneWater Bears - First mentioned in Kiss of Snow.

xiv. WhiteSteppe Wolves in Siberia. First mentioned in Tangle of Need.

xv. WaterSky Eagles in New York. Introduced in Shield of Winter.

xvi. SkyElm Ocelots in Texas. Introduced in Allegiance of Honor.

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