After she and her mother escaped their home world where they were little more than possessions, Laleh grew into an independent woman. But now that she is on the brink of graduating and starting a new life, her past has come back to haunt her. It seems a clerical error was made when she and her mother were granted permission to live on Earth, and her time is up. With her maniacal brother pursuing her to honor an engagement made when she was a child to a sexual monster, she’s panicking and scared. And then she meets Pike Grayson.
Pike is drawn to Laleh the minute he sees her in the crowded bar, and sits and talks with her. When she reveals her story he’s overwhelmed with sympathy and a desire to help. But how? When he sees someone following her as she heads home, he springs into action and follows her. Shocked to find her hurt, he does the only thing his conscience will allow. He offers her a marriage of convenience for her naturalization papers. When she asks to clarify what he expects, he’s honest and tells her he desires her. But he vows not to rush her. That may be the hardest promise to keep that he’s ever made. While he trusts Laleh, when she make a friend of a special ops soldier he struggles with his blossoming feelings of possession.
As they get to know one another, the feelings between them quickly grow. They believe she is safe, but has her brother really given up his quest to return her to her fiancé? And once she’s "ruined" will he pursue an honor killing?
This was a wonderful story! Pike was hero material from the start, and even though he was sometimes thoughtless and clueless he was always caring. Laleh, while she needed help, wasn’t a shrinking violet afraid to pursue what she wanted. The chemistry between the two was awesome, and while the introduction of another man interested in Laleh created tension, it was a tool used by the author to bring Pike and Laleh together. The description of Laleh’s home world culture and the way her brother acted towards her was absolutely horrifying, and somewhat reminiscent of what we read about in the Middle East. The story moved along quickly, wasn’t completely about sex, and provided a truly engrossing read.