Book one of Tales from the Edge
When Sam Keller left the military, she ran to the far end of the galaxy. Now she captains the Bonnie Belle, a spaceship full of courtesans who bring a little pleasure to hard-up men on mining colonies. When one of her girls turns up dead, it's Sam's job to find out who killed her, fast.
Marshal Daniel LeClair is as tough as steel and quick on the draw. But when his vacation gets replaced by an assignment to help find the killer, he can't help angling for a little action with the saucy, hard-charging Sam. She's got brains, attitude and a body he wouldn't mind investigating.
Sam, six months lonely, might just indulge him. But the Guild that owns the Belle wants the case closed yesterday. With pressure coming from all quadrants, Sam and her marshal clash over false leads and who's on top. But when the killer threatens the Belle again, romance will have to wait. It's a captain's job to save her crew, no matter the cost.
An awkward mash-up between a murder mystery and a lukewarm romance establishes the spacefaring, politically corrupt setting for Nantus's Tales from the Edge series. Overqualified Capt. Samantha Keller babysits the Bonnie Belle, a Mercy ship carrying courtesans to isolated mining bases. She revisits old feelings of both determination and guilt when one of her charges is murdered on the ship and she must fight with a Guild that would rather see business remain as usual than see justice served. Marshal Daniel LeClair, called in to catch the killer, discovers that Sam's competence makes her both a difficult colleague and an appealing potential conquest. Sam sees Daniel as a possible release after six months of frustration, since working on a sex ship revs her up but she doesn't want the awkwardness or cost of utilizing the courtesans' services. Nantus (Blaze of Glory) bogs down the mechanical plot with generic space setting, stereotypical characters, and romantic leads who are willing to blandly and sensibly wait for passion until the work is done.