This is a romantic science fiction book and I recommend it to anyone who likes both genres. Unfortunately, I was a wrong reader for it. I tend to not really like reading about courtship phase of romances and I was under the impression that this would be the first book in a series. I was hoping that there would be at least one more book with the main characters as an established couple. But it’s a stand-alone.

In the classic style of romances, the book has two point-of-view characters; the male and the female of the paring. Trilby Elliott is a captain of an old space freighter, the Careless Venture, which is always threatening to fall apart. She keeps it together with the help of her ‘droid co-pilot, Dezi who resembles quite a lot C-3PO because he talks a lot and the humans keep constantly interrupting him. Trilby is an excellent mechanic, pilot, and programmer. Of course she has to be, because she’s an independent cargo hauler and so has to keep her small ship in shape. She also does some smuggling on the side.

This time she has stopped on a remote planet to make repairs and sees a ‘Sko fighter coming down. She investigates and finds an unconscious male. However, the male seems to be an officer of the Empire while she’s a citizen of the Conclave. Their governments were in war just three years ago but now both are being harassed by the alien ‘Sko’s fighters.

Trilby takes the man into her ship so that he can be healed by the sickbay’s systems and she might get a reward out of him. However, the man wakes, thinks that he’s still in a hostile ship, and tries to take over the ship. He does calm down when Trilby explains the situation and introduced himself as a Lieutenant Rhis Vanur who has just come from a very dangerous and secret mission and needs to get back to his fleet as soon as possible.

Trilby agrees to take him to a space station where she’s also going to get a lucrative shipment deal and he can get someone else to take him home. However, on the way they are attacked and Rhis manages to convince Trilby that they have to get to the fleet. Their journey is made more exciting by the fact that they feel immediate mutual attraction to each other.

However, Rhis is not who he says he is and he’s far more desperate to get back to his fleet than Trilby realizes. In fact, he’s also a very good programmer and he has managed to put programs into the Careless Venture which would make the ship obey his commands and not Trilby’s. This, of course, wouldn’t endear him to the freighter captain. But Rhis is equally desperate to keep the connection that he feels is growing between them.

The story’s about half romance and half space adventure and intrigue. The setting is quite well made and I’d be interested to see more books in the same setting. There are at least two human nations which war with each other. The alien ‘Sko’s have also warring factions. The aliens themselves aren’t seen much and seem rather alien when we do see them.

Sinclair writes well and she manages to avoid some of the more obnoxious romance troupes. Unfortunately for me, she still uses some of them. Unlike romance readers, I don’t find jealousy, possessiveness, and borderline stalkerish behavior to be romantic.

Captain Trilby is a very spirited and endearing heroine. She’s fiercely independent but makes mistakes because of her emotions just like the rest of us. She’s also in her early thirties and no wide-eyed innocent about the ways of the world. Rhis definitely fits into the mold of Alpha male but he’s a bit too possessive and jealous to appeal to me.