Hunting Kat

Hunting Kat - P.J. Schnyder Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews
4.5 Stars
As a mercenary, Kat Darah doesn’t have to pass for a normal human. On the edge of the solar system, she’s just another biped. Most of the time.

Right off the bat we know that merc Kaitlyn Darah has suffered a violent violation at the hands of men and it has (understandably) resulted in her overtly antagonistic attitude towards the male gender. She completely lacks social skills and sends off aggression vibes in waves. The only man in her life, Captain Devron Rishkillian, was there with her when she suffered a great loss and is the only man who knows how to handle her and not antagonize her. Dev sends her on a messenger run looking to expand her skill set from one of violence, to one of negotiation and diplomacy. It becomes apparent that both Captain Dev and her fellow-shipmate, Skuld (with her ferret, Chester), are very affectionate towards Kat and want her to find happiness and take a break from the solitude and loneliness she has sentenced herself to out of fear.

“Is it time, Kat?” Dev’s voice brought her back to the present, using the personal nickname he’d given her as she grew into her place as one of his crew. He’d bled for her back then, earned the right to use it. “You ready to go looking for a smile?”

She lifted her lip in a snarl. “I’d sooner take a hole to the head.” pg. 14

I enjoyed the dialog between Kat and the other secondary characters she meets as she arrives at the Dysnomia Station. I loved the techno-geek Boggle, her first “friend” made upon her arrival to deliver Dev’s message. He immediately geeks out on her:

Nerd-boy watched her approach. Not in fear, but shrewd assessment. “Speed, plus three. Agility, plus three. Appearance, definitely plus five. Intimidation, minus two—even with the visible boot knives and combat knife.” He pulled the goggles off his broad forehead and began to clean them with the hem of his shirt. “Ever consider laser-or sonic-based firearms? Maybe ballistics?” pg. 21

Talk nerdy to me! He is physically gross, and kinda creepy, but respectfully fascinated with Kat and genuinely wants to help her seek connections independent of Captain Dev. His motivations become clearand prove to be genuine later on in the story. He’s good people.

Enter Lieutenant Christopher Rygard just coming off a long-term relationship ending in (being the recipient of) a Dear John letter and a broken heart. Kat appears in the same bar he is already seated at, plowing her way through a huge nasty bar brawl, laying all the participants on their arses. As she sits down at the back of the bar for a glass of scotch, he immediately has to buy her a drink, only to discover how shyly she reacts to him. He is stunned that such a confident skilled brawler can be so timid when it comes to his advances.

Seasoned, profitable mercenaries capable of wreaking the kind of damage he’d seen, just to get to a glass of scotch, did not sit tucked up on a bar stool blushing like schoolgirls. But here she perched, sleek as a cat and cute as a kitten. pg.37

He plays it completely cool, not pushing her too hard, but flirting with her nonetheless, and she actually finds herself happy. And holy moly, was the sexual tension awesome. Sit on the edge of my chair awesome, as they very delicately shared their scotch. It is very clear where their playfulness was headed, and I loved every second of the journey this Sci-Fi-PNR story took me on! Because this is a shorter story, 80 pages, I don’t want to go in to any more of the story, but I found Hunting Kat to be a fast, charming, tense, hot, and very engaging read. I highly recommend it.