Queen of Dust

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Pub Date Jan 24 2023 | Archive Date Feb 23 2023

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Anastasia meets The Bodyguard in this riveting, sexy science fiction romance about a seductress forced to guard her heart against the enemy soldier duty-bound to protect her

She should despise him…

Mara Leanor is the last of her kind—the last Balti temptress, a woman schooled in the art of pleasures great and small. She's waited years to return to her home planet only to find that Balti, once lush and beautiful, is losing its battle with the enemy occupation she despises. Harder to despise is Calvy D’Aldiern, the enemy captain turned bodyguard assigned to protect her, who seems intent on breaking down her walls instead.

He should detest her…

Cal has one shot at getting back to his unit: proving he can follow orders without doing anything stupid. Like falling for the woman slipping into his bed to take her pleasures and give none of her self. While Mara discovers how different Cal is from the rigid, self-righteous invaders, Cal confirms that a Balti temptress is impossible to deny.

Their desire threatens them both…

Caught in the planet’s tide of change, with his assignment rushing to its end and her people driven toward revolt, Cal and Mara must decide if their present matters more than her past and his future.
Anastasia meets The Bodyguard in this riveting, sexy science fiction romance about a seductress forced to guard her heart against the enemy soldier duty-bound to protect her

She should despise him…


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ISBN 9780369735140
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 44 members

Featured Reviews

I loved the idea of Anastasia meets The Bodyguard and it really worked. I was invested in the characters and getting to know their world. It was written really well and I was glad to go on the journey with them. H.E. Dare has a great writing style and I can't wait to read more from them.

"Good thing for Cap—now he’s got a second chance at the army. His father must be furious. His soldiers will be glad to see him back. Because of him they only spent a day away from the unit. Instead of rotting in some Theos zoo.”

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Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book for an honest review.

Ugh, this story was just a joy bomb of steam upon steam upon steam upon space travel, and I was so here for it.

I'm such a huge fan of this author. Her debut, All the Best Nights – written under Hanna Earnest – is a spectacular rockstar romance that I'm obsessed with and have reread a million times, which is why I was so excited to get to read her new venture into sci-fi romance.

The main female character in Queen of Dust is Mara Leanor, a badass, mysterious, confident temptress from the planet Balti, the last of her kind. She has a very controlling, off-putting partner, Liam, and is on her way back to Balti for the first time since she was a kid.

When Liam leaves her to go off on a months-long mission, he makes sure that she has a bodyguard who she can seek pleasure from when she needs it – the bodyguard happens to be Calvy D’Aldiern, a captain from the enemy civilization who took over Mara's planet.

On his end, Calvy has to make sure he doesn't let Mara break down his walls as their relationship progresses, since he has to prove he can keep his head down in order to get back to his unit.

The tension between Mara and Calvy was so delicious to read – they had friction from the very beginning and refused to succumb to their feelings for each other (emotionally, at least). Watching them being put through the wringer and fighting their feelings was so fun.

I was a little scared that the romance would get lost amidst all the world-building, but the central storyline never strayed from Mara and Cal and their dynamic. There was so much steam, intensity and tension and banter, I literally read this in one sitting!

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This was a really unique and quick sci-fi x romance read! I enjoyed following Mara and Cal as they navigated their new dynamic as the last-living Balti Temptress and the enemy captain/guard assigned to protect her. The push and pull between these two as they both try to ignore their need for one another was definitely fun to read. I also really liked the addition of side characters like Dannos, Haper, and Iola. Seeing how these characters came together to work together against (view spoiler) was really heartwarming given their dynamics at the beginning of the novel.

Although this is a pretty character-heavy story, there's still an alluring world built into this universe with its fair share of political schemes. H.E. Dare presented the politics of the Dern, of Balti as a planet, and more and a very clear manner. It was super easy for me as a reader to follow along and understand the politics of these groups. Thus, I think readers, even ones who don't enjoy sci-fi, will still really enjoy Queen of Dust!

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If you like steamy, forbidden romance with sci-fi elements this one is for you.

This was such an exciting story, a bodyguard romance in a space traveling setting, count me in!

I loved Mara and Cal, seeing how their characters came together was everything I had hoped for. There's so much tension and intensity between them and the banter was so fun to read. They also have to come into themselves, find their place but I liked how they never lost confidence through the journey.

There is a lot of world and character building having to explain the politics and the background of the planet Balti and the Dern but H.E Dare has a great writing style which kept me engaged and able to follow along easily.

This was my first read from this author but it won't be my last, highly recommend picking this one up.

Special thank you to NetGalley, Carina Press and H.E Dare for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Queen of Dust absolutely exceeded my expectations! Erotic scifi romance, set in space, rival political factions to lovers, bodygaurd + anastasia vibes, with insane amounts of pining and angst! Just an incredible mix with smart prose, great dialogue and a perfect pace.

A reluctant and misunderstood royal is now a stoic virtuous soldier demoted and tasked as bodyguard to an infamously last-of-her-kind Balti Temptress (think high class courtesan without the transaction). They are returning to her decimated planet while her lover (the owner of Tony Stark like conglomerate) makes deals on other planets. He has tasked them to enjoy themselves. And they do. But not without sniping and bantering and hurting and loving one another in the process. It's deliciously angsty and frustrating. The political machinations are wrapped up in an anti-capitalist sentiment that hits just right. There is a freight train of hot smut from page one. And the ONLY thing I would change is a longer denouement, as I would have liked their ultimate triumph and HEA to bask a little bit longer (and could have used one last sex scene).

Queen of Dust is easily going to be on all of the best romances lists of 2023. I couldn't put it down.

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