This is the first installment in the “Dirk Moorcock” series. That is correct; the hero of the book is named “Dirk Moorcock.”

In a way, I could end the review right now, and you would know everything you need to know about this book. I mean, what kind of book do you think would have a hero named “Dirk Moorcock?” I suspect whatever book you imagine, you won’t be far from the mark. If you need another clue, look at the cover. I know, I know; we’re not supposed to judge by those, but in this case you would be fairly safe in doing so.

But it would be an abdication of my responsibilities as a reviewer to let it go at that. So let me go on a bit. In terms of plot, this is a standard sci-fi adventure. The hero (whose name, let me remind you, is Dirk Moorcock) goes to a remote world to fight space pirates. Things proceed as you’d expect from there. The bare bones of the story are not that different from, say, a Henry Vogel book.

Except, it’s way, way more risqué. Commander Moorcock is like a spacefaring James Bond only more so, with the campy dialogue and the double-entendres dialed up to 11. And if you think the naughtiness stops at wordplay, you would be quite wrong. There are some very, er, lovingly described intimate scenes.

Remember 9 Lovers for Emily Spankhammer? This has the same sensibility, only in space and with more laser battles and parodies of Star Wars. It made me think of Buck Rogers, as well as some other, similar-sounding words.

It’s also funny as hell. This book is not to be taken seriously, and it reminds you of that at every turn. Even attempting to take it seriously could result in injury. This is a goofy, silly, sexy, and deliberately cheesy adventure story, that makes no pretense of being anything else.

If you want thought-provoking sci-fi on the order of Asimov or Clarke, look elsewhere. But if you want something that’s irresistibly amusing and you don’t mind a heavy dose of bawdy sex comedy with your sci-fi adventure (or vice-versa), if you want something that calls to mind the carefree, unashamed ribaldry of pulp; then this is the book for you.

ForbiddenI don’t read a lot of romances. Even less do I read modern romances. On those rare occasions that I venture reading any romance, it’s usually in a historical or fantasy setting. But this book caught my eye because it’s a modern military romance.

I’d never heard of a military romance before. But, we have military sci-fi, so why not military romance?

Forbidden Kisses is told from the alternating perspectives of two people: Layla Matthews and Ethan Parker. The two meet and quickly fall in love–unfortunately, so quickly that neither realizes the other is in the Navy. Layla is a petty officer, Ethan a lieutenant. Military regulations forbid a romantic relationship, but the two can hardly stand to be away from each other.

The book is short and sweet. If there’s one thing I find tiresome in many romances, it’s when the two people who are obviously perfect for each other break up for contrived reasons. Happily, there’s none of that here–it’s just a story of two people in love, caught between the age-old struggle of passion vs. duty.

There is a part of me that would have liked to see the two of them try to control themselves while on a ship out at sea. (It’s high time–or is it tide?–that the nautical melodrama made a comeback.) But as it is, the two have plenty of romantic encounters while ashore.

It’s a fun book. It’s nice to read about two good-hearted, nice, decent people in a wholesome relationship. Especially in a time when escapism is very welcome, having two co-protagonists who are easy to root for is really pleasant to read.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if Layla and Ethan figure out a way to overcome the rules prohibiting their relationship? Well, read the book and find out!