Krystali enchantress Belle of the House of Arlyn stands accused of spying and has been banished from her community. The truth would exonerate her but she doesn’t dare tell it. As a Kyrstali enchantress she can provide for herself except when it comes to defense. For that she needs a worthy warrior.
Zarronian warrior Ronin Hughson recognized Belle as his mate the moment he met her. Eager to bond, he approached her and was immediately turned away by her spoiled behavior. After consulting with the starship’s doctor, he believes the planet of Krystali will produce a kinder mate for him. In the meantime, he feels drawn to protect Belle.
Belle makes sure he knows she doesn’t want him anywhere near her while Ronin makes sure she knows no other warrior was willing to protect her. Resigned to traveling together they try to ignore each other but Ronin’s mating fever and Belle’s troubles set them up for a destiny they can’t avoid.
I strongly suggest you read this whole series in order before you get to Ronin’s story. While you will understand what is going on as a standalone, you will miss the emotional impact of Belle’s truth when you read it. The author had my heart twisted and excited throughout this book. I have not been a huge fan of Belle in this series but Mardi Maxwell was able to make me see the real person beyond the deeds.
All along Belle has been seen as the betrayer, the enemy to the warriors and their mates. Spying for her mother, she has now come face to face with the “court” that is determined to make her confess and pay the punishment for her deception.
Ronin knew Belle was his mate but his honor refused to allow him to bond with a woman who would lie and put his people in danger. Being the warrior he is, he refused to allow them to send Belle out into the wilderness alone to take care of herself so he vowed to protect her.
With his feverish need and her life depending on being with someone who loves her to survive, we watch as they both give and take to keep the other alive without giving into the need to mate/bond. Mardi’s books are usually full of suspense and emotions but I think this one could be the most heart tugging one so far.
When the truth comes out about Belle’s behavior I was excited to see how others would take the news and what her fate would be from that point on. This is a quick read, written smoothly and with enough depth it will keep the reader captivated till the very last page.