A desperate woman in need of a miracle—A bad-boy prince in need of redemption
She was playing with fire...
Jemm Aves battles to keep her dreams alive on a dead-end world. Working for the mines by day, she’s a successful bajha player at night, disguised as a male to be allowed to compete in the colony’s dangerous underworld where club owners will go to extremes to retain the best players. Every win puts her one small step closer to her goal: saving enough to escape Barésh with her family. When a nobleman from one of the galaxy’s elite families recruits her to be a star player for his team, it's because he doesn't know her secret. Her ruse proves to be her most perilous game yet when it puts both their lives—and her heart—at risk.
Prince Charming he was not...
Prince Klark is eager to reverse his reputation as the black sheep of the Vedla clan, a family as famous for its wealth and power as it is for being a bastion of male-dominated tradition. If his bajha team can win the galactic title, it would go a long way toward restoring the family honor that his misdeeds tarnished. He travels to Barésh to track down an amateur who’s risen to the top of the seedy world of street bajha, offering the commoner a chance of a lifetime: a way off that reeking space rock for good. But his new player comes with a scandalous secret that turns his plans and his beliefs upside down. He sets out to win a very different prize—his champion’s reluctant heart.
Yes, Klark has always known his brother Che is heir to the throne which makes him the spare! Not really what any honourable male wants to consider himself but Klark unfortunately has a lot to make up for. Helping his nation's bajha team win the galactic cup is his chance and there's nothing he won't consider. So if travelling to a back water planet searching for raw talent is what's called for then bring it on, but the player he discovers will turn his previous notions upside down!
Jemm Aves has dreams of escaping Baresh and taking her family with her. Prepared to do anything and if pretending to be a lad is what it takes then she is fully onboard. Her lifeline is her talent for the street version of bajha, a sport only played by males traditionally. Yet she gets the chance of a lifetime to go off planet and play for an elite team. So okay then, time to leave Jemm behind and fully embrace the (male) persona of Kes but that's proving tricky as there's just something about her new employer Klark that's proving hard to ignore. What started out as a hopeful dream rapidly escalates into a scandal and caught in the eye of the storm? Jemm and Klark!
As usual it's a fast paced read that just pulls the reader in. It's so easy to root for Jemm with her humble beginnings because she is brimming with self-confidence and just doesn't see herself as less or low. Yes, she accepts she is considered a commoner and not an elite noble, but it doesn't dampen her spirit or love of life one iota. You go girl!
Klark initially comes off as quite jaded and it's only his passion for his beloved sport and fondness for his youngest sister that brought him to life. His place in the hierarchy of the monarchy is changing and he needs to prove he is mature, not only to his father but indeed himself as well. I truly enjoyed seeing him come to terms with change and whilst he is a traditionalist, he never felt biased or prejudiced in any way. It would be too easy to view him as chauvinistic because frankly, he is far more open to ideas then he initially believed. Such a juxtaposition as this noble and somewhat conventional male acknowledges that long established and historic customs are just that, traditional and restraining
Yes, it's essentially a Sci-Fi romance, but it's not full of gobbledygook or too much technology. Yes, it does feel futuristic but strangely it never feels alien. There's a realism here that surprised me. Pairing up a gutsy heroine with a hero struggling with self-doubt worked beautifully. Klark has made mistakes and wishes to atone and as he starts to really see the reality through Jemm's eyes he opens himself up to a world of possibilities. I'm not really sure who saves who here but I was entertained by these likable characters. Speaking of characters, Klark has a somewhat brusque uncle and Jemm has a devil may care brother who both have sad back stories and I am kind of hoping Ms Grant will let her readers catch up with them and hopefully see them get happy ending too.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.