This chapbook contains two novellas, "Chimera," and "Friend of a Friend." They're both set on Surebleak, and involve none of the Liaden series' major characters.
"Chimera" involves some of the smaller, more intimate aspects of Surebleak and Liadens adapting to each other. Darby's family, especially his brother Farnch, hate the Liadens and the changes they've brought. Darby isn't so sure--and even their sister Jewl wants to take advantage of their school for her twin sons. One night, Darby rescues Kez Rel ter'Ista from a street thug, and brings him home to arrange safe transportation for him. But Jewl is very ill, and Farnch is on his way home.
"Friend of a Friend" tells the story of Villy, Sticks dealer at the Emerald, and haetara at Miss Audrey's pleasure house. He has a mildly disturbing encounter at the casino, that turns alarming when the same off-world Liaden turns up as customer at Miss Audrey's--asking specifically for Villy.
These are both character-driven stories, and one of the characters is Surebleak itself. The world they live in and the clash of cultures that constitutes everyday life for both Liadens and Surebleakers affects how everyone thinks, feels, and reacts.
I bought this book.