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
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.