Rating: 4.4 stars over 25 reviews
Description: She needed a ship to escape pursuers; he a companion on a trip to the stars. The deal seemed straight-forward, but neither told the other everything.
Jaswinder Saroya believed that her research in the area of Hyperspace Field Theory would benefit everyone: Family Traders, the InterPlanetary Corporations, Earth's Colonies and governments alike. She erred in not considering commercial and political consequences. Now, someone wants to steal or bury her research and, perhaps, her with it. With no way to fight this unknown foe, Jaswinder knows she has but one chance--complete her research and publish. To do that, she has to stay alive and stay free.
Pilot Johannes Yrden desires a courtesan, someone to keep him company on the 8 month trip to the planet Liberty and back. He wants someone not from the Yrden Family spaceship and to hell with his brother, Captain Matt Yrden, who believes the TransPlanetary Corporations will stock his line-up with spies.
Yrden's plan runs afoul of circumstance, which throws him together with one 'Jazz Saro', a woman on the run. Forced to run with her, Yrden allows her to convince him to sign her on as courtesan. He needs a companion; she needs a ship, a place to hide. It seems a simple enough arrangement.
Jaswinder thinks she's found her perfect solution: a hiding place in hyperspace, where she can complete her research using the ship as her laboratory. Unfortunately, she hasn't reckoned on the possibility of one of her pursuers booking passage, forcing her to maintain the fiction of her alias. The pilot's family, with troubles of their own, grow suspicious and it becomes apparent she cannot complete her research openly. That leaves her the choice: Do what she needs to do to in order to save Jaswinder's life or become Jazz Saro.
Reviews: ""Courtesan" has a particularly lively start, a solid science fiction premise, a talented and intelligent heroine and hero, and some richly-human dilemmas, and is set in a well-imagined future world. Pretty much every important character has ample nuance, good and bad qualities, so you can really wonder how the conflicts will be resolved, instead of assuming everything will have to go the heroes' way because they're perfect. As a side benefit, I also appreciate when the writing (as here) is sufficiently empathetic that the author's gender is not obvious. In sum: definitely worth your time and dime."
Get your copy of Courtesan now!