Veral’monushava’skahalur is an oddity among his species, a lone Argurma cyborg divorced from his own kind by choice and to escape termination as a malfunctioning unit. Wandering the fringes of space as a salvager, he comes across a planet beyond the boundaries of the federation, rich in metals remnant of a dead civilization. Or so he thought. Confronted by cannibalistic mutations of the indigenous species, his salvage has suddenly become a lot more complicated. Even more so when he encounters a female surviving on her own. She is strong and fearless, begrudgingly earning his admiration. Terri is hardened by a life of hunger and watchfulness, and yet is moved by a compassion that he’s never possessed. When his admiration turns into the first signs of a forming mate-bond, he knows his fate is sealed. Unlicensed mating is forbidden—if his malfunctioning wasn’t already a death sentencing, taking her for her mate would be. Yet, he finds that letting her go is no longer an option.