Cassie Gordon is up for sale on the notorious flesh auction block of the Fortis Cluster. The man who pays a fortune for her promises to deliver her to sanctuary. His only demand is for payment in kind--rescue from an untenable situation. The price--marriage. The rogue trader who travels the shadowy byways of questionable commerce in three star systems may not be what he seems. Sebastian Asteril's past begins to surface as Cassie builds a new life for herself in the Crestar System. How could her husband have once been a high-ranking officer in the elite Seventh Fleet of the mighty Mariltar Nation when all the evidence points to his illegal trade in shlil dust? The mission that has consumed him becomes an intolerable burden when Sebastian learns that the evil that delivered Cassie to the auction block stalks her still. Somehow, he has to keep her safe. Somehow, he must protect his wife from the vicious alien force that wants her back.