Samhain Publishing, $6.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-802-4
Sci-fi Romantic Suspense, 2009
Virtually Hers is a genuine sequel to Virtually His, published by MIRA back in 2007. The same characters are back, with pre-existing relationships with each other, so you may want to read Virtually His first before you tackle this one. At any rate, do read the review of the previous book to catch up with the background story. I try not to include details here that may spoil the previous book, but I can’t promise that I won’t accidentally slip up, so you may want to read this review after you have read the previous book.
Speaking of which, I know some people are confused by the similarity of the two titles. I know I was, until I remembered that behind every man is a long-suffering, er, good woman, so it’s Virtually His that comes first, then Virtually Hers.
Where we left off, our heroine Helen had finally come in full contact with her trainer Hades, if you know what I mean, and she is pretty certain that she knows his identity: Jed McNeil, martial artist, undercover assassin, and pouty lover boy. Her training under the Covert-Subversive (COS) commando unit continues, but this time there are some hiccups along the road. Helen experiences what could have been a violent side-effect to an experimental serum designed to turn her into La Femme Terminator. Meanwhile, some spoilsport villains are on the loose, wrecking havoc and causing trouble for the COS Command Center. It is not something poor Helen would like to have happen to her when she’s already feeling as if her head will explode.
Where Virtually His is more of an introduction to this futuristic romantic thriller, Virtually Hers ramps up the romance, eroticism, and action. I’m in fact reminded by the story here and there of the relationship between Nikita and Michael in the old TV series La Femme Nikita, and I mean this in a good way.
Jed is cold, ruthless, and efficient in what he does, but while he may be as cold as ice when he’s going to kill you, he definitely past boiling point where his attraction to Helen is concerned. I was pretty indifferent to Jed when he was a shadowy puppet master in the previous book, but here I find myself taking notice of what a charming fellow he is. Helen is still Helen, strong and proud and tough as always.
I personally would have preferred the author not mixing this series with her other series, because there are enough acronyms here without throwing in more details that could serve as distracting clutter. Still, I find Virtually Hers pretty easy to comprehend. Perhaps it’s a case of different editors at work, I don’t know, but where there were the long exposition and techno-jargon found in abundance in the previous book, here I feel that the details blend into the story very well.
I will repeat what I said in the previous review: if you don’t like your romantic thrillers to be very conceptual and peppered with jargon, you may want to approach this series with caution. But for those who have read Virtually His, Virtually Hers will demonstrate that the party is just starting.