Amaryllis and Orchid, by Jayne Castle

>> Monday, December 23, 2002

First of all, a repost. Some of this is not showing up in my archives, so I'm afraid it'll be lost when the posts leave the front page. So bear with me, here it is (first posted on Dic 17th):

I did manage to read something this weekend: 2 of Jayne Ann Krentz's St. Helens trilogy: Nº 1 - Amaryllis and Nº 3 - Orchid. When I started, I was sure I also had Nº 2, Zinnia, but after a long search through all my shelves, it appears I was mistaken. Bummer, I'll have to wait a couple of months until I can read it!

Plot summary for Amarillys:

In the futuristic city of New Seattle on the Earth colony of St. Helen's, love and passion bring together two very unlikely people. Amaryllis Lark is a prism, able to focus the power of a psychic talent. She's also one of the best psychic detectives working for Psynergy, Inc. She's cool, proper and completely professional-- until Lucas Trent gets past her defenses. Lucas is head of Lodestar Exploration and wants Amaryllis to help him track down a corporate thief.

This should be just another job to Amaryllis, but it turns into something much more as the rugged adventurer touches her heart and mind. Someone is betraying Lucas and he intends to find out why. Used to living life on the edge, Lucas has no interest in the prissy Miss Lark, even if her prism ability is a match for his off-the-chart talent. What starts out as a simple corporate security situation turns into a murder investigation that puts both Lucas and Amaryllis right in the middle of the danger. Lucas doesn't count on being attracted to Amaryllis, but when their minds touch, passion takes over. The unlikely duo discover that there's more to appearances than meets the eye!

Plot summary for Orchid:

This romance and mystery revolves around Orchid Adams and Rafe Stonebraker. Rafe Stonebraker is a very powerful strat-talent. His ability heightens his senses and creates an awareness of his surroundings that normal talents cannot fathom. At this point in his life, Rafe is trying to take the reins of his grandfather's shipping firm, but having been the family outcast for years, his return is looked on as less than favorable in many people's eyes, and there may even be a fight for the CEO slot. The one thing that might clench his acceptance is a proper wife. Bypassing the matchmaking agencies that seem reluctant to help, Rafe sets out on his own to find the wife he so desperately needs.

Contracting with Orchid Adams to help with some private investigation work he has, he quickly realizes he has found what he wants. Orchid's ice-prism ability more than matches his talent, and the focus that they achieve is far greater than anything either of them expects...and she likes his house. But marriage? Can it be that this primitive, all-consuming fire that burns between them is more than a hang-over effect of the prism/talent link?

When a strange alien artifact is stolen by one of Orchid's friends, a tangled web of danger and mystery weaves itself around Rafe and Orchid. A mad killer is trying to cover his tracks, but Rafe and Orchid are fast on his heels. More than once, bullets fly and the body count rises. Once the danger threatens Orchid, it will take all of Rafe's talent and then some to protect this strangely linked pair.

I give an A- to both stories. I adore St. Helens. JAK has a very good idea here: many of the ideas are what humanity might evolve into, but setting this in a world where most Earth technology has disappeared allows her to have a forward-thinking people with no high-tech gadgets. Plus, the psychic talents, which are also fascinating.

Both Amarillys and Orchid are great heroines, and Lucas and Rafe were great for them. Their relationships were lovely, and I didn't mind the fact that they seemed similar (actually, they were similar to most JAK relationships.

The suspense subplots were light and didn't overshadow the love story, just the way I like it. I'm looking forward to reading about the discovery of the alien relics in Zinnia.

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