And now we’re on to the second review of the week. Aren’t you excited? Well, I am. This one is a review of Her Mate and Master by Renee Rose. This is the 6th book in the Zandian Masters series. In this series, humans have been scattered through the galaxy and are slaves.
The current living Zandians are remnants of the Zandian people who had to leave their planet when the Finn invaded it. Zandia is home to some powerful crystal. The Zandian people primarily use them as a power source for their bodies. They don’t need to eat very often, the crystals give the Zandians most of their energy. Male Zandians use small bits of crystal to mark their mates. The females have piercings that the crystals are set into. How many piercings depends on how many crystals the male can afford and where they are placed. Generally, some are placed in somewhat intimate areas. The point of the crystals used this way is that they can be used to sustain a mate and children. These crystals can also be used to power spaceships. Understandably, the Zandians don’t really want to sell a whole lot of them, so in swoop the Finn to invade Zandia, eradicate the Zandians, and mine all the crystals possible.
At the end of the last book, we met Talia, Master Seke’s long lost, thought dead daughter. She was being hostage by the Finn, on Zandia. The Finn say that they’ll let her go if Prince Zander gives himself up. Tomis, a warrior, sees Talia on the screen, and he knows that he has to be the one to go rescue her. So off he goes.
Meanwhile, Talia, who didn’t know that she was even Zandian until a few days ago and spent most of her life thinking she was a lavender skinned human slave named Ray, is hanging naked chained to the wall in the throne room on Zandia, all day long. Each night she gets marched past all the cells filled with prisoners, still naked, until she gets to her own cell. When Tomis gets to Zandia, he’s thrown into a cell and talks to his cellmates about her. They tell him that they have seen ALLL of Talia, just wait until she walks by again. When she does, Tomis sees what they mean, but he’s careful to try to keep himself out her sight. A power outage that he arranged happens, and he goes to get Talia and rescue her.
Tomis tells her that she is the last living Zandian female of childbearing age, and as such, she belongs to the prince, and he’ll decide what happens to her. Meaning who will father her children or whatever. What Talia hears is that she is going to be going from one set of slavery to another, only this time as a brood mare. So, she runs away from Tomis. When she gets caught, Tomis punishes her, which he enjoys, and it turns out, so does she.
So, here is where we break off before I get into spoilers. Being a Renee Rose book, there is sex, and lots of it. There is also spanking, and lots of that. If either of those things offend you, then this isn’t the book for you. However, those things don’t bother me, obviously, and I really enjoyed this book. It’s a good love story, with a HEA. There’s also a hook for the rest of the series, which I enjoy. You really can’t read this as a stand-alone, just because you really need to have the backstory from the other books to understand where this book is.
OK, so now we can get into the nitty-gritty, or at least the spoilers. We find out that, no, Talia isn’t the only living Zandian female of childbearing years. Talia and Tomis find another female, living with 3 men, who attempt to kill Tomis and rape Talia. That woman has 3 children, so there is a new generation of full-blooded Zandians already started.
Tomis has a hard time, because he really wants to mate (and mate with) Talia, but he’s standing in his own way. He doesn’t see himself as good enough, and he feels like it’s his duty to deliver Talia to the Prince and her father, so they can make the decision as to what will happen to her. However, his actions really hurt Talia. She knows what she wants, which is him, but when they get close, he always says something that makes it sound like whatever happens is temporary. Even when they do end up fucking, she has to remind herself that it’s only temporary because Tomis has made it clear that she’s nothing but a brood mare. She does get him to promise that she will be able to make her own decisions about her life after they get off Zandia, but she still doesn’t want to have her decisions taken away from her.
Let’s talk about the Zandian breeding cycle, for a minute. Zandians have a breeding season, which just happens to be when they are on the planet. It’s not something that Talia has ever had to deal with before, because she wasn’t exposed to the crystals. But, when she is on Zandia and exposed to the crystals, it triggers her. And it triggers Tomis. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sacred waterfall. That scene is hotter than hot. It’s my favorite for the whole series, I think.
Tomis finally gets his head out of his ass and realizes what he’s been doing to Talia, who managed to leave the Prince’s pod to go back to the tavern where she had been a slave. She wanted to go knock around her old slave owner, which she did. Tomis came to find her and told her that he was a big old idiot, and that he was wrong. She was the most important thing, and he would sacrifice it all for her.
I love everything of Renee’s that I’ve ever read. She’s one of the authors that I automatically read, no matter what. I own a good chunk of her books, and the ones I don’t own yet are on my to be bought list. If you want more Renee Rose, check out the other Zandian Master books. You won’t be sorry.
Standard ARC disclaimer: Yup, I got one. Yup, this is voluntary and honest.