When Brandy Trentler’s wealthy family insists she marry the jerk who cheated on her, she signs up for the Stryxian mate lottery. Who knew her number would be drawn in the first round? Nothing goes right after that—the transport ship is attacked, she is captured by the enemy Morr-ta aliens and thrown in prison.
When a gorgeous Stryxian warrior rescues her, she thinks she’s won freedom and her fated mate, but he has some big, bad secret and apparently, it’s a deal breaker for him. Kando Cardax probably shouldn’t go back into the enemy’s lair to rescue the human female, but he cannot leave her to certain death. He also cannot hide his metal cyborg parts from her forever, especially since with each passing moment, he’s falling in love with her.
Passions flare as the two take refuge in a hidden section of the enemy base, but a discovery that could upend the Morr-ta war makes their odds of survival slim. Kando will do anything to protect Brandy as they fight to flee the enemy base, even if it means revealing himself as a cyborg to save her. All he’s known is fear and aversion to cyborgs like him. Why should he expect Brandy to react any differently? And how will he let her go when he is asked to make the ultimate sacrifice to save both the Stryxian and human species?
The first several chapters of this were glossed over, catching you up on the story, in a somewhat removed tone. Once the hero and heroine were together, it improved. Unfortunately the insta-love was strong, I wish they had spent more time together upfront. The heroine’s character is somewhat reduced to “nice to kids and animals” for the most part. The middle of the book is my favorite part, where he’s getting repaired and she’s left to fend on her own on an alien space station where no one speaks her language. This has less heat than the previous book. I thought the ending was better than the first book, in that they worked together to achieve their goals, and what happened to her even if it strained credulity.
The cover is better on this one than the first book, but did they photoshop his waist skinnier? His ribcage looks so skinny! I like the type for “Styrxian”, kind of video-game-y.
I also read the tie-in novella Stranded with the Styrxian, which was much too short, with a rushed ending.