A Lick And A Promise
by Ann Wesley Hardin, paranormal (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-4199-1225-2


Dove Hansen has an interesting problem. Whenever our heroine takes a nap, even if it's a short afternoon nap, she'll dream of being ravished by this hunk most spectacularly. These dreams are distracting her to the point that she's starting to believe that they are some kind of manifestation of her admittedly dry social life. Maybe she needs to date more guys or see a shrink. Little does she know that her dream lover is none other than Probabilist Anthros, the alien fellow now trying to kidnap Michael, Ava and Arnie's genius kid for the sake of the home planet. You see, Anthros' home planet is dying due to generations of failed eugenics experiments and Anthros is going behind his Queen's back to collect Michael whom he believes will help replenish the gene pool back home, so to speak.

I'm sure you're probably wondering who Arnie, Ava, and Probabilist Anthros are. A Lick And A Promise can stand alone, but the characters in this story first appeared in Out Of This World. Feel free to check out that review for a refresher course on things. In this story, Dove is Michael's nanny. Michael, being a gifted prodigy, is hot property among the eugenics-crazy aliens that his parents are part of. He also has a psychic dog, Laika, that he communicates to by sign language. That kid is lucky that his parents are aliens who can afford governesses or he will have a terrible time trying to fit in with the other kids in a public school.

When Probabilist Anthros makes an appearance in the Simpsons' lives in an entry worthy of the fellows in The Terminator, little does Dove know that he's her dream lover. His unorthodox introduction into her life however has her convinced that he's a junkie of some sort. The Simpsons however are taking him in and therefore Dove is going to be seeing "Mark Arianos", Michael's cousin according to Ava and Arnie, often, whether she likes it or not. Oh, and she likes it, naturally. Unfortunately, real physical intimacy with Dove will cause Anthros to feel all these turbulent mental upheavals that will alert Queen Win's people of his whereabouts and he cannot have that.

"You can stay here as long as you need to. It's the least I can do for a... cousin who's come from... so far.Ē Ava lurched forward, gave the surprised man a quick, awkward hug and, with lips pulled back tightly over clenched teeth, turned to Arnie. "Let's get him inside, hmmm? Tsk. Tsk. What are we going to do with him?Ē

Arnieís head reared back and he stared into her eyes. Then he blinked. "I suggest coffee is in order."

"Coffee?" Mark looked perplexed.

"Itís a drink. A drink we have here in America." Ava glanced at Dove and murmured, "Mark is from a small star..."

"Starbucks?" Mark perked.

Ava jumped as if someone had pinched her. "A star-t-l-ingly small tribe..." she drew a deep breath. "Tribal village.Ē She coughed and braided her fingers in front of her. "Off the Mediterranean coast. Yes."

"We donít have Starbucks," Mark complained.

Needless to say, this is an over-the-top comedy rather than a serious romp.

"Heís trying to get his visa so he can teach statistics at the university," Arnie said with a smirk.

"And a MasterCard," Mark muttered. "Or American Express. I need money."

Arnie slapped him on the back. "Donít we all."

"To buy coffee at Starbucks."

Being a former junkie herself, Dove is shocked when she believes that Ava and Arnie are going to keep "Mark" in the house instead of getting help so she feels that she has to interfere for everyone's sake. Little does she know that she's going to be the drug that "Mark" will get addicted to, heh. On Anthros' part, he's a Han Solo-lookalike whose body unfortunately prefers nitrogen to oxygen and therefore the oxygen poisoning he experiences upon arriving causes him to be most disoriented about his surroundings.

A Lick And A Promise is a hoot. This one makes me laugh because it's one of those "I don't know what is going to hit me" stories where the one-liners come hard and fast. The story that can be erotic, but even when it's erotic the author will still make me laugh with sentences like "The hot, soft point of his tongue probed every sensitive crevice, popping in and out and swirling around as if dancing to a pornographic Hokey Pokey."

This story isn't deep and the characters are pretty superficially written, with the romance being one of those soul-mate things that even Dove and Anthros pooh-pooh at. However, this story is too much fun for words and I have a wonderful time laughing so many times during this story. The characters are adorable, the secondary characters are wacky but fun rather than annoying, and the author manages to balance wacky humor and sensuality very well. I love these wacky aliens. I hear there's a next book in this series, so I just can't wait.

Rating: 88


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