Rescued by gladiators on the desert world of Carthago, Winter is doggedly working to embrace her new life. But two of her friends are still missing and she’ll do anything to help get them back…even if she has to work alongside Nero Krahn: hunter, barbarian, gladiator. The scowly, brooding man is too big, has too many muscles, and pushes all her buttons.
Nero is the House of Galen’s best hunter and tracker. Raised on a barbarian world, where strength and might are prized, he was bred to hunt and fight. Now the arena is his home and his loyalty is to his imperator. He knows he can use his skills to find the two lost women, even if that means protecting a small blind woman who takes every chance to misjudge his words and lash him with her sharp tongue.
But as they follow a dangerous trail to save their friends, a new enemy emerges—one who wants Winter. The pair find themselves reluctantly attracted to each other, uncovering a scorching desire that shocks them both. As Nero fights to protect Winter, the barbarian gladiator will discover the true meaning of strength from the small Earth woman he wants to claim as his.
Winter is one of the human women abducted from the Fortuna space station by the Thraxians. Left blinded by their inhumane experiments, she has escaped the underground fight rings only to be separated from her two friends. Luckily, those of the House of Galen are determined to help her rescue the others but one gladiator in particular is pushing all of Winter's buttons!
Nero is not exactly tactful and his barbaric attitude and taciturn ways have earned him no favours. Winter knows he considers her weak and as a doctor is determined to prove she's not the piece of useless fluff he imagines. Oh yes, there's tension between this couple but as Nero has mad tracking skills perhaps it's time to work together?
This is Sci-Fi romance that knows no boundaries. I particularly enjoy that Ms Hackett lets her imagination have free reign and introduces creatures and situations that are truly fantastical. Having a character visually impaired meant the author could introduce intriguing alien technology, but she's also written it in such a way that as a reader, I could empathise with Winter's plight. Plus, she might be small compared to Nero but this gal has real backbone and I loved that she took no nonsense from him.
The overall arc expands in this book with new characters and situations introduced. I'm particularly interested in a new Imperator who got some page time as it offers up all kinds of possibilities. I know many readers want Galen to get a book and as this instalment ends, we discover the whereabouts of another woman held prisoner, so who knows what is planned. Like many, I'm hoping Blue and Mia are next up and perhaps he isn't quite the animal he thinks he is? For now though, it's all about Nero and Winter as the barbarian finally finds his heart!
This voluntary take is of an advance copy and my thoughts and feelings are honest and I believe fair.