BREATHLESS STARS by Tyree Campbell
By the 25th century, faster-than-light travel will make it easier than ever to enslave people. Interstellar corporations, publicly disavowing slavery, make extensive use of it privately to supply the workers needed to develop other worlds. The corporations' dirty little secret is about to be exposed. But can slavery be stopped?
Five people are going to try.
Cooter Hayes, a reclusive expatriate who lives on the fringe world of Sapierre. With a dubious past, Hayes is a man for hire for almost any project. But a simple assignment turns out to be far more than he had bargained for . . . and far deadlier.
Tyronza Joiner, called Teej, a young black woman who barely escapes a raid in which the town's population is abducted and taken to another world as corporate laborers. Saved by Hayes, she soon discovers that he means more to her than just her rescuer. But can she save him from his past?
Marie Lepanto, a TransCorp admin assistant hoping to cash in on a stolen data ball that contains a suspicious cargo manifest. Attempting to get away from her world, she finds herself abducted and sold.
Putty Garsong, a diminutive crime lord and old comrade of Hayes, and his new personal assistant Elin Dovan, who has a secret agenda with regard to Garsong.
Opposing these five are the corporations and their resources . . . and their hired killers. How can Hayes and Teej and their allies possibly win?