Author: Cara Dee
Release Date: June 28, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary/Age-gap/Dark Theme/Abuse
Page Count: 207
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Gray Nolan’s biggest problem in life was the torch he carried for his closeted coach. He was just another happy-go-lucky dude, a college student and hockey player, when his ordinary existence was interrupted, and he became a human trafficking statistic.
He and seven other young men were taken aboard a luxurious yacht where they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Gray was beaten, shattered, and almost defeated by the time his buyer stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke.
He was Gray’s new owner.
Darius Quinn had vowed never again to find himself in a situation like this. His days as a private military contractor were over. No more missions, no more risks, no more personal attachments. Yet, here he was, after weeks of searching, face-to-face with his broken prize.
It was time to get the knucklehead back to his family.
Quick and easy was Darius’s plan.
Then everything went sideways.
“Kill me,” Gray whispered raggedly. “I don’t wanna live anymore.”
Not in a universe where this sort of thing happened. The world was a horrible place.
My rose-colored bubble has burst.
Seriously. I need a dose of unicorns and rainbows and all the happy things I can think of.
It was amazing and awful, and I wanna talk about it with everyone.
But not everyone will read this. And I get that. In fact, take every trigger warning that ever existed in the romance genre, and apply it to this book.
Gray is targeted and abducted by human traffickers specifically for his “type.” Athletic, young, and gay. There are buyers who request any and all “flavors” of slave.
From a purely abstract standpoint, human trafficking is vile. During the times I’ve thought about it, I can’t think of people more evil in the world. But that’s in the abstract.
There is no abstract in this book. You LIVE this experience with Gray. Told exclusively in his POV, we not only experience what he goes through with him, but we see, through his eyes, what he observes that happens to the other slaves at the auction, and the months leading up to it.
Darius, whom we met in Power Play, is a mercenary-type professional (maybe?) who is hired by Gray’s family to find him. And he becomes the man who buys Gray.
This is a mindfuck when it comes to the romance. There is attraction, sure, but how much can that be the focus when you’re experiencing these horrific things while gaining a little bit of hope when Darius reveals who he is?
I thought the limited romance was done well, and it really couldn’t be done any other way.
The book generates all kinds of ethical questions for me –
1. If you had the chance to escape this kind of torture, would you make your run for it and leave the others behind?
2. If you couldn’t escape, but you had the chance to end someone else’s (or your own) misery with a bullet, would you do it?
Cara Dee goes where few will go, and the writing is phenomenal. I can’t say that I enjoyed this book, but I am definitely looking forward to the next book now that the auction is over and the romance can really start.
I’m gonna go hug my kids now and have a cocktail.