"Tell me you want to give yourself to me-here, now, tonight."
ebook, 356 pages
Published March 8th 2006 by Ellora's Cave Publishing
Krisa Elyison is a bride-to-be—bought and paid for by a stuffy aristocrat. Though she secretly longs for just one adventure all on her own, she knows the reality of her life—she is destined to be the wife of the elderly and pompous Lord Radisson.
Kurt Teague is a prisoner—a galactic criminal wanted for multiple murders. He is also Feral, a proud and savage people known for their indomitable wills to survive and their fiercely possessive natures. His tortured past has turned him into a ruthless killer—an unthinkable fate to the innocent, sheltered Krisa.
Resigned to her destiny, Krisa boards the starship that will take her to another planet and her loveless marriage. In the cargo hold, she stumbles across Teague—so fierce a prisoner he's blindfolded and chained to a wall. Even so, her heart jumps at the sound of his deep, gravelly voice.
When the ship crashes onto an uncharted jungle planet, Krisa has no choice but to trust the menacing convict with both her virginity and her life. Yet, on a world filled with ravenous telepathic beasts and cannibalistic natives…Krisa discovers that the gorgeous and mysterious Teague may be the most dangerous animal of all.
There's just something about a woman's first introduction to our would-be hero while he's in chains that gets my heart amped up for one hell of a story.
Before there were the Brides of the Kindred, there was the Bride Planet, where girls were sent in hopes of one day being purchased by a man of wealth to be a wife. Krisa's contract was sold when she was only thirteen to Lord Radisson. Her destiny was clear and certain. But despite her willingness to sacrifice her body and spend the rest of her life as a dolled up slave, she is equally appalled to learn they plan to take her mind, and that of her free will with it.
Aboard the Star Princess, the ship that will deliver her to her intended husband, Krisa becomes fascinated by the prisoner chained up in the luggage hold. Blindfolded, he can't see her. But he tracks her movement despite the impairment. And her starved need for adventure pulls her closer.
When Teague escapes while the rest of the ship is in stasis, he crashes the Star Princess into Planet X, a world renouned for its dangerous wildlife and savage, cannibal races. A victim of a defective stasis chamber, Krisa awakens to find herself one of three conscious passengers, including Teague and her would-be rapist.
When the man tries to rape her a second time, Teague violently ends his life. From there, Krisa has little choice but to follow Teague into the jungle of Planet X, in a race to find the savage tribe Teague is all too familiar with, and his old shipmate, who has founded a smuggling business upon the peculiar planet.
With her virginity intact, and the certificate to prove it in hand, Krisa's goal is simple: lose the embedded chip in her neck, ensuring her free will remains, and return to Lord Radisson to fulfill her contract. Escaping the latter part doesn't even enter her mind.
The entire story is told through Krisa's point of view and does an amazing job of carrying the adventure. Teague, very much an antihero, is both manipulative and deceptive... in the very best of ways. And authoritative in the most delicious of them. He wants her. He's all but claimed her, but still she refuses him her virginity. In desperation, he goes as far as to mark her and still she fails to relent.
The erotic nature of this book comes in the form of dreams for the greater part of the story. Right up until they find the legendary Yss tribe, where cannibalism and exhibitionism abound. Krisa evolves, shedding her desire to meet the expectations she'd been raised to meet, and decides to go into her life of servitude with the very best of memories to sustain her. Starting with the man she has come to love. She can't, in good conscious, give him her virginity, but she can give him the opportunity to take it. Tomayto, tomahto. But yeah.
It was a perfect five star, up until the near end. Up until the memory wipe. Striking characters with amnesia is an easy scapegoat that I've never responded well to. Finding it here rather pissed me off.
It was all so good. So thrilling. So suspenseful. Easily could have eclipsed the Brides of Kindred altogether. An old story (circa 2006) but a must read for all erotic-scifi readers out there!
4 out of 5 stars.