This is a hard review to write. There was nothing really wrong with the writing style other than I really don’t like first person narratives. The author did make notes of which character she was speaking from as she switched, so you got both the hero and heroine’s side of this story.
What I generally had problems with the true thought that a person can be forced into this lifestyle and raped, beaten and sold. While I know this does go on in the world, it is hard to actually read about it. It is also very hard to accept when the slave, Brianna, is barely 18 years old. So she must have been enslaved when she was a minor. I read about 50% of the book so if the author goes into how she got into this situation, I didn’t find out. Not that that really matters in the whole scheme of this book.
We meet Stephen as he is having lunch with a friend. The friend has singled him out to buy a slave that he saw and knew was not in the lifestyle willingly. Stephen goes out and ends up buying her to help save her, but Brianna is broken. I don’t say this harshly, but every thought of her own has been beaten out of her and she does nothing of her own unless explicitly told to. She is constantly kneeling around him, never looks him in the eye and does not speak unless asked to.
I sort of understood why Stephen didn’t go to the authorities but in reality I don’t understand how he thought he was going to bring her back to herself when he is a business man. He is a Dom, but not the kind for total slavery. He brings Brianna back to his house and goes about slowly trying to right the wrongs done to her. He does take her to a doctor, who is his uncle. There is a lot of tension there, but a total lack of understanding from the uncle’s side.
When we switch to Brianna’s mind, she is pretty simple. That is to be expected for the tragedy she has gone through. She is set on making Stephen like her and want to keep her. She isn’t beaten, she is fed, clothed, has a bed to sleep in and allowed to read.
Where I really ran into problems was when Stephen collars Brianna. Brianna is constantly afraid Stephen will send her back to Ian, her previous owner. Stephen is also starting to be attracted to her. She is 18 for heaven’s sake. 18 with the mind of a child. I estimated he was in his late 20s. While I don’t have a problem with age, this all felt so wrong.
While I continued to read, there was only one sexual situation, which I can’t blame on Stephen at all. So don’t get the wrong idea. Stephen does start to have an attraction to her. They kiss, but it doesn’t really go further than that. I applaud Stephen for not crossing that line. Through it all I really felt Stephen really need to seek out external help with a psychologist or some type of therapist. I just don’t feel he was qualified to do it on his own. But I also understood that if he took her somewhere it would reflect badly on him for having bought her and brought her into his home.
So overall, I can say this was well written, I just couldn’t finish it wanting so much more for Brianna than being put in the BDSM lifestyle after so much abuse. BDSM doesn’t always have to be pain or even humiliation, but she needed more help than I felt Stephen was able to give her.
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