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Rich continues to settle into life aboard the Reliant, a life far more “normal” than his time on his previous posting aboard the ship from hell. One of the little pleasures of his new existence is the occasional visit from Liam, a very much friends-with-benefits relationship. On one of these visits, Liam floats the idea of being Rich's “toy” for the day. Rich can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, with Liam, who Rich already knows has an almost insatiable sexual appetite.
Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the first book of this series, there's no way to review this installment without revealing key developments of the previous volume. Having been sold by their captors to the Kríe king, Alec and his team have to adjust to life in the palace as “pets” of King Zercy, who has taken a special liking to Alec. The team captain is determined to fend off the king's advances while holding out hope of a rescue party reaching them.
Leo is having a pretty bad day. A glitch with his lease means he has to move out of his apartment on 24 hours notice. He's planning to ask his boss if he can use the spare room over the flower shop where he works for a few days while he looks for a new place, but when he arrives he finds the shop has burned down. Somewhat fed up with people, Leo decides he'd rather camp out for a few days rather than spend money on a hotel.
Lem is trying to settle into life aboard the star ship Teapot with her new alien friends, but she feels uncertain about her place. Unlike her crew mates, Lem doesn't think she brings any skills to support the running of the ship. Then the ship answers a call to help evacuate a colony that will otherwise be wiped out by a large asteroid impact, and Lem's skills as a project manager are tested to their limit.
Wesley is a talented software developer, working on video games. But his work is mostly on short term contracts that never turn into full time jobs, so he lives from contract to contract with hardly anything saved up and no idea how he's going to pay the mortgage on the house he inherited from his parents. In a way, getting kidnapped by big blue aliens may be the best thing to happen to the young man who has always dreamed of exploring the stars.
Zac is certain he's a submissive, but he's never had a chance to explore those feelings. As the son of a wealthy businessman who has been the target of kidnapping attempts in the past, he can't just visit any old BDSM club and take his chances with just any Dom he meets. Fortunately, Zac has a good relationship with his father, who also has some experience in the scene, so he understands what Zac needs, and he can afford to give his son the very best introduction to BDSM, which naturally means The Retreat.
Lucian, “Luc”, is kidnapped by aliens along with three earth women. They are held captive on a space ship along with two other aliens, who seem to be attracted to Luc, even though he can't understand anything they say. When an opportunity to escape presents itself, the aliens prove quite useful in freeing Luc and the other humans, and getting them off the ship. They all survive a crash landing on a nearby planet, and Luc gets attracted to them more and more.
Bedros was once a high flyer at court, a favorite of the king. All that came to an end when he saved the life of a man he considered an enemy, but who was unjustly accused by the court of high crimes. As punishment he was banished to Castle Rehm, at the furthest reaches of the kingdom. Bedros has nonetheless made a life he's happy with, taking care of the people and keeping the peace.
Michael Collins is the ship Padua's “mechanique”, a member of a humanoid species that bonds with the octopus-like species that pilots the ships for interstellar flight. His bond allows him to communicate with the “ship's heart”, forming a bridge between the crew and the cephalopod pilot. When the Padua encounters an abandoned ship's heart in space, the captain orders Michael to leave the ship to guard the heart, even though mechaniques are not supposed to leave the heart they're bonded to.
Jem returns with Cador and a few other members of his clan to the mainland of Onan, determined to set things right for the suffering children of Ergh, but equally determined not to risk ever losing his heart again by trusting Cador. But when they arrive, things aren't quite what Jem expected. It leaves the young man wondering who he can trust. This second part of the Barbarian Duet picks up right where the first book left off, so of course you need to have read the first book before tackling this one.