Leonessa dan Ranul; a 22 year old Shielder woman, who seeks the approval of her people. Abandoned and outcast at the age of 12 because of a medical condition that shows itself in seizures, she lived for the last 10 years on her own in a cot next to her city. On top of that she is disfigured by a severe leg injury that left her with a limb. Her only visitor in all that time was her brother.
A deathly virus threatens the Shielder people and she volunteers for a dangerous mission to save her people, which involves an injection with the virus and 4 weeks to get to secret lab on another planet in hope to develop an antidote. If she fails it’s her death sentence.
Shadower Captain Chase McKnight; a gruff, harsh and grumpy man with an mysterious past and only one thing on his mind: vengeance. He’s a bounty hunter and on his way to catch the really bad dudes. And he is supposed to be her enemy.
On his way to earn another bounty he receives Nessa’s distress signal after her spaceship crashed and reluctantly decides to take her with him after she tells him she’s a pilgrim on her way to religious festivities. He promises to get her to a spaceport, which is in the vicinity to the planet with the religious festivities and the planet with the lab.
Since she can’t tell him the real reason for her journey and the urgency to get to her destination in time and his reluctance to make a beeline for the spaceport, they are bound for a whole lot of trouble, misunderstandings, developing feelings and other complications. (I especially loved the fun Nessa’s pet brought on board. Specifically that one time when they thought it was dead and he tried to replace it. He totally missed that these pets bind to the first person that touches them, which proved to be a problem, since he was allergic to them.)
I also liked the interactions with Sabin. He also kept secrets from his friend Chase. At first he was kinda hostile against Nessa but I thought after a while that he might be a case of tough on the outside, soft on the inside, same as Chase, because he kept her secrets and kind of supported her.
I loved this book and how the author slowly developed the bond between the two main characters. I loved the back and forth created by both their secrets but eventually everything worked out fine.
What I disliked a bit was that at the end, after the virus breaks out in Nessa, everything felt rushed. Granted we get to know Chase’s past but how they were able to cure her case of Orana and how they developed the antidote is handled within a few pages. Could have been handled better.
I also disliked her visiting her colony and parents again with Chase and the children to see if they approved of her success. That simply rubbed me the wrong way.
I would recommend it to people who like science fiction with a good romance ark, fantastic world building and a whole lot of aventures and action.