I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hunt The Stars by Jessie MihalikHunt The Stars by Jessie Mihalik
Series: Starlight's Shadow #1
Published by Harper Voyager on February 1, 2022
Genres: Sci Fi Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

The critically acclaimed author of Polaris Rising takes readers on an exciting journey with the start of her brand-new series about a female bounty hunter and the man who is her sworn enemy.

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

I really enjoyed this author’s Consortium Rebellion series a lot, so I was incredibly excited to get the chance to read this one early. You guys. This is what I want from Sci Fi Romance. This is now my Gold Standard of what I expect from the genre.

So, Captain Octavia Zarola is cleaning her ship with her small crew when several Valoffs and one very famous general approach her asking her to take on a bounty. That’s what Tavi does, now that the war is over. She and her crew find things…or people. But seeing not only Valoffs, but General Fletcher standing in front of her, she can’t. War may be over, but it was hell. She wants nothing to do with the Valoffs. Until he offers her enough money to help her crew and make some much needed upgrades to her ship. So, the two of them hash out a contract that involves a whole lot of compromise on both sides, and they head off to Fletcher’s home planet.

Humans and Valoffs are barely at peace, and it hasn’t been long. While Tavi and her crew are able to forge a team and a tenuous truce on the voyage to the planet, something has been bothering her. She’s growing close to the general, Torran. So far, he hunted her down. He offered her a huge contract, he wants her to find something…yet he isn’t giving her any information. She’s growing frustrated with him, because it doesn’t make sense to her.

Turns out she’s right. He’s not just being cagey or withholding information because they barely know each other and until recently were sworn enemies. There’s a whole lot more at stake than just her bounty, and his missing item. But how can they move past years of war and learn to trust each other? Especially when he’s hiding things.

This author has created a beautiful world (universe?) and her characters fit it perfectly. I don’t know if this is set in the same universe as the Consortium Rebellion, or her Rogue Queen, series or if it is its own brand new universe, but it doesn’t feel like it. This feels like something new and special all its own.

Ms. Mihalik has taken enemies to lovers with this new book, and she has upped the ante. The way they interact, they way they handle their crew, every single tense moment, the wanting, the longing, the taking, every emotion they feel…she’s a master at what she does. This author has a gift. I can’t wait to see where else she takes us.

***ARC courtesy of the publisher Harper Voyager via Netgalley