22 September 2014

Bonded by Jaymi Hanako

 Jaren Caradoc nearly lost his ship and his life when he fell under the spell of a black widow sorceress, but for the timely intervention of her personal slave. To repay the young woman, he plans to purchase her freedom when he finds she's being auctioned off as a virgin sex slave. Required to consummate the relationship on the grounds, he's soon caught in a web of attraction, guilt, and feelings he thought long-dead.

Taimi has adored Jaren from the moment he married her treacherous mistress. When he buys her contract, she thinks it's a dream come true. But after their one night together, instead of becoming his lover, she is asked to be an employee – a medic on his spaceship. With her newly acquired knowledge of his kiss, his touch, can she really pretend her feelings don't exist?

Hearing he is back on the Lorus system, Jaren's ex-wife, Lady Ethlinda, breaks out of prison. Officials impound Jaren's ship, leaving them stranded during the system's notorious Festival of Fertility – and vulnerable to Ethlinda's plans for revenge.

Bonded was a really good sci-fi romance. In Lorus, people own slaves, but Jaren is from Earth where the practice has long since been done away with and he finds it quite distasteful. I enjoyed the way in which Ms. Hanako had the captain deal with the cultural differences of the world he married on when he had to purchase the slave who saved his life. His dislike of the situation is worsened when he learns that Taimi is being sold as a virgin sex slave and he must consummate their new “relationship” within the confines of the auction house so that he cannot later claim her to not be a virgin and demand his money back. Because she is a slave and has no right to refuse him, Taimi has to convince him that he is who she would have chosen to give her virginity to before he is comfortable with the situation.

After giving Taimi the best night of her life, she is devastated to learn that the Captain intends to give her her freedom. Quickly realizing that having been born a slave and she has nowhere to go, Jaren offers Taimi a position on his crew. Deciding that it is better to have him in her life as her boss than not having him in her life at all, she accepts. Even as they both are dealing with this change in relationship, they are faced with yet another blow as they learn that the Captain’s ex-wife has escaped prison and his ship is being detained so that it can be searched to insure that he isn’t helping her escape. I found the idea that a man would divorce the woman who had tried to kill him would then be a suspect in helping her escape quite laughable … silly bureaucrats. Oh yeah, did I mention the homicidal ex-wife is a witch, literally? That adds some rather interesting twists to the story. Fortunately for Taimi, the ships detainment means she gets more one-on-one time with the captain and I’ll just say that having gone two years without sex equaled a LOT of pent up sexual need ... lots of steamy scenes!!

Ms. Hanako has produced an enjoyable sci-fi romance with the right amount of action and steam that it kept me engaged from beginning to end. Actually, I got interrupted right before the showdown in chapter eleven and to say I was ticked at my interrupter is putting it nicely. I had to know if the witch got her revenge (yeah, because she’s the victim – darn you Captain for not dying when she tried to kill you). Or if Taimi got her man. There was plenty of action and I was not disappointed with the ending at all. Bonded is a great sci-fi read and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Hanako’s work.


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