I thought I loved Master Marcus; he's been replaced with Master Raoul!
It has been a while since a book has left me an emotional wreck. I have come to care for these characters from the first page of the first book, but this one really got to me. It's really difficult to explain. The first page brings us back to Kimberly. We learned of her in the previous book, Make Me, Sir, as Gabi's best friend who had been kidnapped by slavers. Now we finally get her story, and we'll learn exactly what had happened to her.
In the last book we learned that Subs were being kidnapped to be sold as slaves to sadistic Doms. Master Raoul agrees to go undercover for the FBI and pose as a buyer at a slave auction. He is supposed to gain the Overseer's trust, and the hope is that he will get invited back to the "big" auction. Once there, he's shocked to find Gabi's friend is one of the slaves to be sold. She's damaged but not broken, so he makes the split decision to buy her.
Kim's hopes of freedom come true when Master Raoul purchases her. However her freedom means leaving two other women, her friends, behind. But the ordeal isn't over for her yet. The Overseer demands a followup visit with them in exchange for an invitation to the bigger auction. Then there's also the matter of helping the FBI with their new plan. To help the other women, Kim will have to agree to submit to Master Raoul so that when the time comes, the Overseer won't get suspicious of her behavior. And thus begins her training.
After the first few pages I got the general idea of how much Kim had suffered. With that in mind, I couldn't imagine how the author was going to get her to stay in close proximity with Raoul and learn to submit to put on a believable show for the monster who had tormented her. Of course, put her into an impossible situation and bank on her humanity and loyalty, and the problem is solved. It may sound much to simple, and we can argue all day long that a recently abused woman would never be able to handle that task, feel aroused or even feel love for a man who will be reminding her of her torture. However I believe that each person is different and handles things differently than perhaps we would. So keep that in mind while you read the story. Also, Raoul has the advantage of being an experienced Dom. To them it's not just about kink and sex. In a way they're almost like sex therapists/psychologists in their approach. They can read signs that most men just can not do, so I believed she was in the most capable hands.
As Kim blooms under Master R's training, she begins to have feelings for him. It becomes a problem when Raoul wants a full-time submissive, and Kim can't see herself letting anyone have that much control over her. Then there's also the matter of Raoul thinking that she's only having these feelings towards him out of a false sense of gratitude for saving her. How will they figure it out?
This was Sinclair's darkest piece in the MotS series thus far, but it was also the one with the most heart and soul. I'm still overwhelmed by the emotions the author managed to evoke, both the good and the bad. She delivered us some bad guys that were so despicable, it was hard to tamp down the rage whenever they made an appearance. I hated the sadistic Doms more than the organization. Without demand there would be no supply. I was also surprised by Raoul's family. I suppose the BDSM lifestyle ranks up there with being gay in terms of acceptance. My heart broke for him when his past with his ex-wife and his mother and sister comes to light. I can't believe they believed a woman over their son/brother.
I hope we'll get to read Sam's story next, and that he'll be able to find Linda and right his wrong. I'm also hoping that brief scene with Sally and the two FBI agents, Galen and Vance is a hint that perhaps we will get their story also. For now though, I don't see anything getting better than this.
The ending was so beautifully written and emotional. I'll never forget this story, and I'll wonder about the many women who are victims of this sort of crime in real life, today.