Title: Scorpius Rising
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Scorpius Syndrome #0.5
This was a wonderful introduction to the Scopius Syndrome outbreak. Microbiologist Nora Medina is taken from her vacation in Hawaii to the CDC headquarters in D.C. where she finds out that a new bacteria is spreading. The virus either kills or changes a person to a more obsessive and destructive version of themselves. As she is racing the clock, she is also fighting against falling back into her ex-husbands bed.
“We’ve forgotten that living and surviving are two different things. They require different skills.”
While this is a short introduction novella, a lot happens and it feels like a full story. Nora and Deke were married when they turned 18 but the military and her career pulled them apart. Now years after their divorce they are getting a second chance to be together. The outbreak is just making them realize how much they still love each other and how short life is. I really loved these two. They had a lot of chemistry and their love was still strong. Nora was an extremely smart woman who struggles to let anyone close. She let Deke in once before but his PTSD and anger issues pushed them apart and now she is afraid of a repeat of that. I enjoyed watching her fight her fear and give Deke a second chance, especially after everything that was happening in the world.
“I’ve loved you since I was sixteen years old, and I don’t want this life, any life, without you.”
Deke is an alpha male who is a career military man. He recognized his PTSD and anger issues pushed them apart and worked hard at overcoming his past. He recognizes that he doesn’t want to continue his military career but this virus means that men like him are needed. I really loved how Deke went slowly with Nora but also fought to keep her safe. He was all in for Nora and I loved that. Their relationship was steamy, intense, and also very sweet.
The situation with the scorpius outbreak was interesting. It was like a zombie plague but instead of brain eating dead, it’s more like survivors turn into smart, obsessive, and dangerous plague carriers who just want to spread the bacteria. Overall, this was a very good mixture of world building and romance and I want to reread the rest of the series now. This whole plague is very interesting but it also makes me realize that this could be real life, especially after the past few years of the COVID pandemic.
Trigger Warnings: mention of PTSD; pandemic; rape (background characters); assault; kidnapping; threat of rape;