Topaz Dreams
by Marilyn Campbell, fantasy (1992)
LoveSpell, $4.50, ISBN 0-505-52181-4


If you ask me whom I'd consider the best authors in futuristic romances, I'd name Marilyn Campbell among the select few. She had written one of my favorite series, the Innerworld series, of which Topaz Dreams is the second book in the four book series. Maybe I should give a little background first.

A colony of humanoid aliens called the Noronians are living in some sci-fi city right in the center of the Earth today. Yeah, that's right. And they are way more advanced than us, using technologies than can prolong life and travel through galaxies. If you want to visit Innerworld, you need to find doorways such as the one in the Bermuda triangle. It's that simple.

Thing is, the Noronians want to keep a low profile, so busybodies can just kiss off.

The plot of Topaz Dreams is a spillover from the first book Pyramid Of Dreams, but it can stand alone. In POD, its human heroine Amber and her buddies accidentally stumbled into Innerworld, where Amber marries the ruler, but not before some escape from a very nasty human mogul called Gordon Underwood. She left behind a ring that could be used to coordinate teleportation from Innerworld to our Earth surface.

In Topaz Dreams, the unthinkable has happened: Gordon Underwood, having kidnapped top physicist Karl Nestermann to help him discover its secrets, intercepts an Innerworld android that spills everything she knows about Innerworld. To stop further damage, empath Falcon (he can read minds and emotions) is sent to retrieve the android as well as the ring.

But not so fast. Stephanie "Steve" Barbanell is your kick-ass private investigator who has been hired by Nestermann's wife and employer to find that man. When she and Falcon collide and later cooperate, they are going to experience the ride of a lifetime.

And ooh, I love this story! It is a nicely-plotted, fast-paced story where the science isn't just window dressing. And the romance is just as strong as the suspense. And Falcon can beat those oversexed Dara Joy catty familiars anytime. Yeah, Falcon is a man who is also leonine in nature. With iridescent eyes which he hid behind contact lenses and a tawny mane of golden hair, he makes Steve's hormones go a-busting into overdrive. And it's quite a nice twist that this time, it is the hero who is sexually inexperienced. In his species' age, he is just undergoing puberty. And when Steve comes by and his hormones go into full swing, ouch.

Steve, in her own right, is also an amazing heroine. She has kids and a loving mom as well as a lousy ex-hubby, but she never lets the ex take her down. He's gone, it's his loss, too bad. And while she is wary of Falcon, she isn't above taking a peek here and there. And sex? No problem. When she finds out that Falcon is a virgin, she could just stop breathing. There's a very naughty scene where Falcon demonstrates just how a creative hunk can use his tongue so-oo-oo well that can fog up the windowpanes.

That's the fun of this story. It's very sexy as well as exciting. It's like a slam-bang adrenaline rush of a story with a strong hero and a marvelous heroine. The downside is some inane skanky scenes involving the bad guy, but at the end of the day, this book is a winner. Falcon and Steve sure rock, I tell ya.

Rating: 90


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