Once Zain Strand escaped his hellish existence as a sex slave, he thought he would be free of it forever. But a desperate note from an old friend forces him to abandon his position as second in command aboard the Wyvern and confront his old life. When Zane leaves the Wyvern, he doesn’t plan on anyone caring enough to follow him. But he failed to consider Korbin.
Admiral of the Black, Korbin’s reputation as a fearless and vicious pirate has given him wealth beyond imagining and enough enemies that he stopped getting close to anyone years ago. Except for Zain. Quiet, dependable Zain has been his right arm for five years and when the man suddenly disappears, Korbin doesn’t hesitate to track him down.
Now, secreted amongst their enemies and fighting demons from the past, Korbin and Zain finally give into the passion that has been brewing between them. But their futures are far from assured and it will take trust, courage, and no small amount of luck to find their way out of a seemingly impossible situation.
No Master is the third book in the Bounty series by Christine d’Abo. Though characters from the other books do make an appearance, No Master reads as more of a standalone. So if you haven’t read the rest of the series, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. This book has the same quickly paced action and smooth writing as the rest of the series and it’s has a forward momentum that keeps you reading right up to the end.
Korbin and Zain are both complex and interesting characters, though they didn’t stand out as clearly for me as some of the others in the series. As an ex slave and sex worker, Zain has worked hard to make a new life for himself aboard the Wyvern. He is a natural submissive, but now he serves freely and of his own choosing. In Korbin he sees a man who is worth his whole world, but despite his attraction, he keeps their relationship profession. And Korbin has been alone so long he never dares to hope the friendship he has with Zain could be something more. The give and take they develop is as believable as it is sweet. Despite the fact neither man has a particularly gentle nature, they handle one another with a rather beautiful kind of tenderness. I do feel these two characters were slightly harder to connect with because they had only very loose ties to the world building and character development in the previous books. But they were still well rounded and engaging characters.
My only criticism of No Master is a similar issue I’ve had with the others in the Bounty series. The scenario that ultimately brings Zain and Korbin together is rather contrived and initially feels somewhat forced. Once the plot moves forward, the awkwardness of this evens out, but given this author’s talent for creating interesting plots and intriguing characters, I wish they would have taken a different direction for this aspect of the book.
While No Master wasn’t my favorite book of the Bounty series, it’s probably the strongest of the trio and if you’ve read No Quarter and No Remedy, you will definitely enjoy this installment. Additionally, it makes a great entry point for anyone looking to start the series. No Master was well written and fast paced and possessed a pair of strong characters. Though the initial portion of the plot is somewhat affected, the book rallies and finishes strong. If you enjoy your sci-fi peppered with a liberal dose of action and romance, then check out No Master.