Cedra Holloway is a hybrid human female, a “fanger,” working her family’s farm on a habited “Star” in the Cancer cluster. The Star has a closed community, so Cedra can’t invite in a living assistant to help with the household tasks, or to make her life less lonely. And, she really doesn’t want to hire another person to come into her home. Cedra’s intensely private after being abandoned by her longtime partner, Rielle. Instead, she orders a Servana 200 bot to manage some of her tasks—and perhaps provide some company. Imagine Cedra’s surprise when her “bot” arrives and it’s a human runaway from Royal One.
Twyla Oboid thought she was really proving herself indispensable as a stylist and marketing agent for her father’s bot company. He’d even modeled their most advanced and lucrative bot after her, but it seems daddy dearest had a political match in mind for his only daughter, one that Twyla couldn’t abide. On the night of her engagement, she dropped into a Star-bound delivery droid to escape the arranged marriage. She’d hoped she’d find a willing host in her new space, but Cedra is less than welcoming. Twyla offers to work for free, if Cedra will only give her a place to stay, and the pair make a grudging agreement. The truth is, Cedra finds Twyla attractive, but she’s sure to lose her heart–at a minimum–if anything were to happen between her and the beautiful young Royal female. Cedra fully expects that Twyla’s parents will search for her, taking her away from the rugged agrarian life of the Star. And, well, there’s no sense getting invested.
Only, Twyla’s such a vivacious person, and she’s trying so very hard to assimilate to life on the Star. She’s very much attracted to Cedra’s enhanced strength, and can’t quite understand why Cedra runs so hot and cold. A chance experience reveals that Cedra has met her match in every sense of the word when it comes to Twyla, and an unexpected love grows despite her better judgement. It’s sweet and sexy and fulfilling, until the mercenaries arrive—and that doesn’t even refer to Rielle!
Stay with Me is a very engaging Sci Fi, F/F romance with a strong futuristic setting and interesting characters. I loved the forced-proximity aspect, with the new world order of it all. Cedra is a great person with a damaged emotional landscape, and Twyla’s so eager and trusting—and sexy! Their passion is fierce and fast, thanks to some enhancements to humanity over the past millenia, or so. Think fated mates. I’m not exactly sure how far in the future this story is set, but the human hybrid lines are many generations into existence, and the “Old Earth” remnants of society all seem long in the past.
I really enjoyed this! There isn’t a ton of world building, just enough to get a good sense for how society is now, and the stakes both Cedra and Twyla face for their roles in this conflict. I loved how giving Twyla was, and how she didn’t reflect her identity of a pampered Royal in any way. She worked hard, and showed Cedra she was worthy. And Cedra loved her absolutely for it. There’s a bit of a chase, yet it was resolved satisfactorily and with a definite happy ending. I’m looking forward to another romance set in this world soon!