Author: Rachel Haimowitz
My Rating: A+
Genre: Alternate Universe (m/m)
Series: Belonging #1
Main Characters: Daniel and Carl
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic with non-con and violence
Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason someone would pay so much for what little free time he has. But dark memories of past sexual service leave him certain he won’t survive it again with his sanity intact.
He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him when it comes to ordering Daniel into his bed. Carl can’t seem to take what he must want, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, affection just might flourish over fear and pain. Carl holds the power to be an anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, but if he isn’t careful, he’ll end up the weight that sinks his slave for good.
This book is responsible for the worst book hangover I've had in a very long time. This book is dark and horrific and Daniel is so haunting. I spent much of the book shaking with emotion over what he was having to go through. Wow...so emotional.
This book is set in an alternate universe where slavery was never outlawed. Daniel is one of those slaves. For the first 11 years of his life, he had a cruel master and was raped repeatedly. That's left him deeply scarred, but for the last 25 years, he hasn't had it so bad. He was bought by a media company and now anchors the nightly news. He's still a slave...lives in a dorm, is beaten when something goes slightly wrong on set, is not allowed any sexual freedom...but overall it's better than what most slaves have. That all changes when the media group runs into money troubles and decides to "lease" away his free time...all his evening hours and weekends went up for auction and were bought by a mystery buyer for $6 million. Daniel is terrified. He knows his new master will probably want sex, but all Daniel knows about it is that it's incredibly painful and frightening. His only true experience were his childhood rapes.
It turns out that his new owner is Carl, a talk show host on a rival network. Carl is naive when it comes to slaves. He has a couple, but treats them as family. He doesn't understand how petrified Daniel is especially when Carl has made it obvious that he's interested in him sexually. Carl is not a bad guy...he just doesn't know and watching Daniel and him flounder was so excruciating especially when Daniel is the one horrifically punished for their awkwardness. The media network is NOT going to allow his lease to fail. They need the money too badly and they are not above doing ANYTHING to make sure he cooperates with ANYTHING that Carl wants him to do.
I'll admit that this is a hard book to read just in that the scenes and subject matter are so dark. In this world, slaves are thought to be lesser than...they don't feel things as deeply as others. They aren't at the same level of humanity, but the book shows how Daniel's harsh treatment changes the minds of those around him...most specifically, Carl and then Daniel's handler, Ted. The book is a huge political statement about the treatment of other human beings and how we all feel the same pain, humiliation, and degradation despite our backgrounds. It doesn't matter who you are...humanity is humanity and everyone deserves a certain level of respect for that.
The book was amazing and the story was riveting. I'll be haunted by it for a long, long time to come.
Warning...there is violence including a horrific non-con scene in this. Don't read this one if you have any triggers with those kind of situations. I usually can handle reading violence, but this book left it's mark on even me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.