Hidebound synopsis (Thanks, Sandy):
Anfissa Scarvan is on the passenger ship, St. Catherine, when it’s attacked by The Combine. She ends up in a lifeboat with Varn Koss and his bodyguards, and they crash on Snakebite. Fissa and Ferenc, Koss’ remaining bodyguard, fight their way towards a relay station,
On their trek across Snakebite to the relay station fortress, they find a sea of caustic plants, attacking insects, and vicious grass. With no water and meager rations, and after she’s attacked and weak, Ferenc offers her a remedy unique to his planet. (This is foreplay on his planet…)
So, now they’ve endured a journey across a hostile planet, made it to the relay station fortress (it’s a really hostile planet), and been rescued–more or less. Fissa doesn’t reveal her now intimate relationship with Ferenc, and they are separated because he’s useful and a target because of his amazing strength and innate abilities.
Ferenc’s unique abilities make him a valuable commodity; and Anfissa must fight to keep him safe. However, Fissa takes steps to see that they will have a future together; that’s her plan anyway. Then Ferenc confesses what he’s done to her. That’s impossible! What can I do? Will I survive? So she must return to her home planet and stay under her family’s protection–and that of her hybrid guard dog, Freki. And wait…
Hidebound (24,700 words) was first published in The Fifth Di– 1997 (serialized) and then in Once Upon A World May 1999 and was a contest winner twice.
Hidebound is on sale at Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/82218 The coupon code is: VN93J