FOUR HEARTS--Well this was a fun little ride...
New to me author Asta Idonea delivered a cool little tale about a lonely bartender and a service Bot, named Jo-E in the not too distant future in a little town you might've heard of called London.
"You make me feel so many things, Fane. When I think of you, my cogs clench and my gears grind. Electricity sparks inside of me, and power pools in my chest and groin, pulsing there, desperate for release. Do you not experience the same?"
Fane, a bartender at a seedy gay bar named Spunk. An orphan just barely scraping by sees what he thinks is a body in a dumpster and ends up winning a jackpot in the bot lottery. An expensive prototype called Joe-E that was damaged by able to be fixed by Fane. Fane fixes the Bot, but something is different. Bots are made to serve humans, not in the sexy way because it's illegal. But he can't help his attraction no matter how hard he fights it. And what's more curiouser is Jo-E reacts and feels like a human. The lines are beginning to blur.
Now, I'll admit. I read the blurb and I jumped to read this because robot sex.
You know you were thinking it too.
Well maybe not this image exactly...
"Uh, Jo-E, probably best not to tell the guy you were making love to that you were thinking of other things while he was jerking you off."
"I do not understand, Fane. Only 15 percent of my capacity was assigned to the problem. The remaining 85 percent was focused on you."
This story does deliver one erotic scene but what's more important is the sexual tension and budding desire between Bot and human. The author thankfully wrote alternating POV. Fane is a good guy who just didn't win the life lottery. The struggle is totally real in his case. But Jo-E was the one who clinched it for me. Reading Jo-E's thoughts and processes were a delight.
"Hours passed as Jo-E pondered. Outside, the sky turned from #58D3F7 to #F5BCA9 to #0B0B3B."
I actually looked it up on the Color Hexa (color encyclopedia) and it was accurate! How cool was it to describe time changes in code. (BTW, #F5BCA9 is a fave color of mine) Reading him become human like (well as close as the AI could do), reacting to Fane and being the pursuer in their relationship was pretty damn cool.
Sadly, the story wasn't just about man and Bot falling in love. There was a little suspense too. Jo-E's original owner wanted him back and did a few shady things to get Jo-E back in his greedy clutches. Eh...the villain and that plot point, the main idea of it was needed but it could have been a little sharper for me in some aspects.
The villain, an evil, overweight professor who doesn't like to get his hands dirty but loves the food. *sigh* The fat jeering: eats so much cake, looks like a "doughnut", etc...it got old pretty quick. Thankfully, it wasn't a major part of the story, but it stuck out for me. I think the villain could've been a little more detailed. He's a genius, right? He's worried more about eating and ordering others around instead of handling the retrieval himself. Or at least in charge more instead of being so lazy.
Even with the lamer villain, the story and the romance was a nice one. I really enjoyed the concept and the main theme. The HEA was tied up in a neat bow. I'd definitely read more from this author.