Return to Dark Earth by Anna Hackett
Series: The Phoenix Adventures #5
Published: September 7, 2015 by Anna Hackett
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
His career plan never included becoming one of the galaxy’s most infamous treasure hunters. And it certainly never included his one weakness: Nera Darc.
Astro-archeologist Niklas Phoenix loved his job studying and safeguarding artifacts at the Institute of Historical Preservation…until he learned that it was all a lie. Forced out of the Institute, he joins his treasure hunter brothers, but now the Institute is trying to lure him back for the ultimate treasure hunt–a return to the planet that seeded life throughout the galaxy. But only one thing convinces him to go–his deadly, seductive rival has joined the expedition.
Dangerous and enigmatic, Nera Darc has made a life for herself where she calls the shots and bows to no one. Niklas Phoenix has become her dark obsession and on the lethal mission to Earth, they are compelled to join forces to survive. But Niklas threatens to tear down Nera’s internal walls and melt the ice around her heart…but she knows caring for someone is just a weakness others can exploit.
As Nik and Nera strip away each other’s secrets, a brilliant passion is unleashed, but the dangers of Earth strike from every side, and a darker enemy is closing in.
We’ve heard a lot about the Terran war and what happened to Earth afterwards so I was really excited for Return to Dark Earth. The Institute of Historical Preservation is sending a team of treasure hunters to Earth in hopes of finding some amazing artifacts and though Nik has a bad history with the Institute, he can’t pass on the opportunity to see Earth. Nik is a scholar at heart and I loved the slightly nerdy side of him but he’s also a great alpha hero! Nik has been fascinated by Nera from the beginning and now that he has a chance to spend time with her he realizes what his feelings really mean.
“I’m not friendly.”
“You are to me.”
“Not really, but you just seem to like my brand of unfriendliness.”
I was worried how things would go with Nera since I’ve been conflicted since her first appearance. On the outside, Nera comes across as brash, selfish, and possibly unethical, but on the inside there’s a streak of honor and when it comes to Nik, Nera will do anything to protect him. With a better understanding of Nera’s past, we can see why she’s made the choices she has and why she’s pushed everyone away. But Nik has found a way through her hard shell and though trust is hard, they find a way to trust in each other. One of my favorite parts about Nik and Nera’s relationship is that Nera holds a lot of the control and Nik is perfectly comfortable with that. He appreciates Nera’s strength and he loves her for exactly who she is.
I also really liked that Jonas Solomon was in this one and I can’t wait to hopefully get his book sometime in the future. He’s got such swagger and bravado but you can tell it’s hiding something deep and likely painful.
**Reader Safety: Heroine was abused in the past (referenced, off page); Morally ambiguous Heroine
4 stars – it was enjoyable
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