Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle's military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father's ship, and she's once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn't what he pretends to be.
As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin's cross-hairs. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can't afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He'll stop at nothing, including her destruction, to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his.
Political intrigue, titled aristocrats, duels, xenobiology, and starship captains feature in Burnard's over-the-top SF romance debut. Capt. Ari Idylle lost her command after being imprisoned, tortured, and inexplicably released by the alien Chekydran. When a small band of men seizes her father's ship while it's engaged in a scientific expedition, Ari butts heads with the band's captain, Cullin Seaghdh, who proves uncannily capable of manipulating her. Ari finds Cullin both arrogant and attractive as they work together to evade a Chekydran ship hot on their trail, but when Ari learns that her former commanders have placed a remote-controlled bomb in her head, she no longer knows who to trust. The ending is marred by a grotesque scene of sexualized violence, but readers will love the powerful emotion and futuristic costume-drama trappings.