Jaren wants just one last thing from the Ranvara system: to finalize his divorce from the woman who tried to kill him. When he discovers that the young woman who saved him—his former wife's personal slave—is about to be auctioned off, he knows he can't leave her behind. His only intention is to buy her freedom, but the position she is being offered up for means that things aren't quite as simple as he had hoped.
Taimi thought she had made peace with her fate, willing to pay any personal price as long as she knows Jaren is alive and safe. When he buys her contract, she thinks it's a dream come true. But after the one night together required by the slave market, he makes it clear that she has no place in his life as a lover. She can either join the crew of his spaceship as an employee or say good-bye to him forever.
Then Jaren's ex-wife breaks out of prison. Suspecting that Jaren and Taimi might have assisted her in her escape, Ranvaran officials impound Jaren's ship, leaving them stranded. Vulnerable to a mad sorceress' revenge—and their own growing feelings.
(Author's note: this title was previously published and there are some minor changes from the last version.)
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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. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!