A Science fiction/romance series written by British-born author Lisanne Norman.Humanity has finally colonized a planet around a distant star. They soon discover that they are Not Alone in the universe. Then, things go downhill. Things get a little complicated from there when the Sholans, a race of intelligent, mostly bipedal felines with advanced technology show up on a rescue mission.The series currently consists of eight novels:
Between Darkness and Light
Shades Of Gray
...With a ninth book currently in the works, to be titled Avatar.
The Camarilla is at least a mid-level Class II; they have the capability of not only opening instantaneous-travel portals through space, but time as well. While they do bemoan the energy expenditure required for this, they are further stated to be capable of using this technology to transport their planet to another suitable star system, albeit by forcing its current sun to go supernova and harnessing the energy it produces in the process to fuel the transport.
Celibate Hero: Kaid repeatedly turns down female advances thanks to a problem with a past bedroom scene gone horribly wrong which he does not want to repeat. He does his best to avoid the woman he loves, even after he's had her once, because he does not want this to happen with her, and because he thinks having a relationship will make him weak.
Charm Person: This series is loaded with these due to the main characters being mostly strong telepaths.
In the second and third books, Ghezu is Made of this trope.
T'Chebbi, Rezac, and Zashou as well, but none to the same extent as Kaid.
Data Crystal: Sholan computers make extensive use of removable data crystals. When the lead characters are preparing to return from their trip to the past, One of the ancient locals points out the location where they've hidden an important data crystal that is later recovered in the present.
Designer Babies: The Valtegans steal samples from our captive heroes and use them to create Human/Sholan hybrid cubs, which they then place in growth tanks to quickly age them to about 10 years old.
Did They or Didn't They?: Readers have to frequently speculate as to whether or not a couple of characters have had sex or not. The author cleverly keeps mum about it, leaving it up to the readers to decide for themselves.
One big example is Kaid and Kusac.
Does Not Like Shoes: Sholans in general. They're digitgrade felines with 4 sets of retractable claws.
Doorstopper: The first book came in at under 300 pages. From the second book on, they average over 650 pages.
Double Entendre: There are some instances of this in the series, although not so many you feel overwhelmed by it.
Duel to the Death: Sholans still practice this. Bare handed yet. Remember: 200+ pound felines.
Several duels are fought during the series. Most end in the death of the challenger, one way or another.
The Empire: The above-mentioned war turns out to be two of four Valtegan home planets. The other two are much less warlike.
The End of the World as We Know It: Some Sholans believe this will happen with the introduction of the Humans to their society, but a much more drastic version of this trope is hovering over the heads of just about everyone while The Chessmasters play their games.
It already happened for real to 2 Sholan colony worlds just before the opening of the first book.
Express Delivery: Human gestational period of 9 months is overruled by the Sholan gestational period of about 6 months. In addition to this, Kashini is born early due to the effects of her parents experiencing time travel.
A couple of babies are born prematurely due to unforeseen and/or natural circumstances.
The Human/Sholan hybrids that resulted from stolen DNA are created in test tubes and have their growth accelerated in tanks to approximately 10 years of age in a few weeks time.
Fantastic Arousal: Kusac finds himself on the wrong end of this while bathing in a hot spring.
Chocolate has even more Interesting effects on Sholans.
Yet Kusac still offers some to his son at one point in the eighth book.
God's Hands Are Tied: Played with with Vartra in the seventh book. The Camarilla are mortals, but they still tie Vartra's hands.
Goo Goo Godlike: Kashini is born with her telepathic abilities fully awakened after her mother time travels while pregnant.
The Directorate's 8 Human/Sholan hybrids are brought out of growth tanks at approximately the age of 10 with their telepathic abilities fully awake and trained thanks to sleep tape training.
Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The Humans living on Keiss don't believe in telepathy, and therefore think Carrie is a freak. This results in people close to her trying to either convince her to act more normal, or act like she can't read minds at all.
Head-Tiltingly Kinky: While there are SOME details included in the more intimate scenes, the author has kept them somewhat vague, leaving the nitty gritty details up to the imagination of the reader. Enjoy!
Nearly the entire fan base still seems to dislike him, although many grudgingly admit he's more of a Noble Demon than a complete meanie. He could also be evolving toward being a Noble Bigot, which is slightly less evil than the Noble Demon in that he is trying to do good (whereas the Noble Demon does good in spite of himself), but he's still a nasty individual.
Humans Need Aliens: The human colonists on Kiess found themselves under the heel of the overpoweringly aggressive etc etc Valtegans. Without the help of the Sholans, they would have continued to be in that situation even with the arrival of the second wave colony ship, still enroute during the first book.
Humongous Mecha: In the eighth book, the Sholan military has recently introduced a mecha called the MUTAC. (Think multi-ton quadruped-x-biped powered armor. Design is based on the feline Sholan.) It even appears on the cover of the eighth book.
Idiot Ball: Who's idea was it to make torturer priest J'koshuk the interface between the Primes and the crew and passengers of the Rryuk's Profit?
IKEA Erotica: Averted. The handful of sex scenes in each book (starting with the second one; there were none in the first) are either rather well-written and convey a good impression of the characters' emotions; or the act itself is skipped (the literary version of a Sexy Discretion Shot), focusing instead on the build-up and aftermath.
La Résistance: The human colonists are trying to get rid of tech-superior and more numerous Alien Invaders. They eventually get the help they need.
There's even one on the primitive planet of Jalna. Some local lords trying to improve the fairness of the trade balance.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Most of our heroes can't be bothered with the trouble of being pregnant and/or raising cubs at the moment, usually due to some professional demands on their time. Thanks to But I Can't Be Pregnant!, this happens at a couple of inopportune times. Conversely, characters who DO want to reproduce together seem to occasionally run into snags such as being from different genetically incompatible species.
Mind Over Manners: While Sholan telepaths have a strict code of ethics they follow when using their Talent, the Humans they hook up with tend to be a bad influence, often breaking the rules and eventually influencing their Leskas to do the same.
Mistaken for Pregnant: In the early days, Sholans unfamiliar with Human female anatomy would mistake them for pregnant due to the fact that Human women have breasts all the time, whereas Sholan females only have them when pregnant or breastfeeding.
The eighth book, Shades of Gray, does end fairly neatly. But there is still some hook.
Space Station: There's a major orbiting station above Shola that plays a minor part in the series. There are also hollowed out asteroids orbiting distant stars that play vital plot roles in the later books.
Subspace Ansible: The Sholan Alliance has found one and put it to very good use.
Survival Mantra: The Brotherhood of Vartra's Litanies, which are designed to help one overcome various mental/emotional hurdles.
In no particular order, they are the Litanies for Pain, Relaxation, Fear (inspired by the one from Dune), Clear Thought, and Preparation. They're never actually spelled out within the narrative, and in fact weren't more than named/mentioned until the seventh book in the series, where they were included on otherwise blank pages between chapters, spaced throughout the book.
Side-note: they were actually written by members of the books' fan club.
Time Travel Tense Trouble: "I have a daughter alive in the past!" Unfortunately, someone rather brutally points out that, since she's in the very distant past, she's also been dead for millennia, and there's nothing he can do.
Title Drop: Usually word-for-word, but occasionally merely almost exact. Some even Title Drop the titles of other books in the series, usually that of the following book...which probably counts as some degree of Foreshadowing.
Triang Relations: Not to be confused with the Love Triangle, wherein someone usually has to go, this series has many Triang Relations which can sometimes lead to Triads when Leskas are involved. Sholans play it loose with fidelity, but they don't have all of the lies and deceit a lot of adulterous Humans have, so they seem to be cool with their partners taking lovers and so forth. Carrie having two husbands (Kusac and Kaid) at the same time, who may or may not also be sleeping with each other as Sword-Brothers, is a fine example of this trope. Don't forget to mix in Kaid's recognized Companion, T'Chebbi, who also sometimes sleeps with Kusac when Carrie and Kaid are getting busy. It can also be speculated Carrie and T'Chebbi have been intimate, although the degree of intimacy is never specified. Ah, love. I suppose you could classify it more as a Love Dodecahedron, but that seems to have just as negative a connotation as the Love Triangle, and once again, in this series all involved are totally cool with the sleeping arrangements ... 99.9% of the time.
Too Dumb to Live: The Valtegan Empire (In Name Only) suffers from a coup; the new leader wishes to return his species to power and subjugate all the other "slave races". Unfortunately, those same slave races had just signed treaties with his predecessor (whose legitimate heir is off-world), and they're not happy.
Apparently, his Link with Carrie gave him a boost and some incentive.
Touched by Vorlons: Kusac gets some of this in Stronghold Rising and it finally surfaces in Between Darkness and Light.
Vartra himself seems to have gotten a little of this. or maybe it's because he IS a God.
Touch Telepathy: Sholans have a strict "No Contact" policy in place to protect their Telepaths. This is because physical contact creates an unblockable link between the telepath and anybody touching them.
Training from Hell: Kaid is an expert at this, and applies it to friends (Kusac) and enemies (under duress) quite expertly.
The Sholans call this state Kzu-Shu, the red mist.
Victorious Childhood Friend: T'Chebbi held a flame for Kaid after he saved her from the Packs, but never felt comfortable staking any claim on him until a later time. He was not opposed to her advances and they are a legitimate item, even though he is part of a Triad.