Before previewing a list of potential books for review, I had never heard of the name Sherri Hayes. While scanning the synopsis and marketing copies that we get sent to review books, the title of Hayes’ book, Slave, caught my eye. It made me shudder internally for a brief second. You see, Slave is about the BDSM D/s lifestyle. This lifestyle is often portrayed very poorly in entertainment mediums because the people writing about it have no clue what they are talking about. This can be seen in books like 50 Shades of Grey and movies like Secretary (although the latter is much better than the former).
Still, knowing that this book had been written made me want to read it. I was skeptical as I began reading. I was curious how much knowledge Hayes had and how it would translate to the page. More than anything, I was curious if she would take a particularly interesting dynamic (a Dominant purchasing a slave to “save” her) and fuck it up with something as trivial as sex.
I am happy to say that Hayes has a way with words. The story, told in intertwining narratives, is about Stephan and Brianna. Stephan Coleman is a Dominant and has been for about five years. He seems to be generally in control and focused about the things that he wants and the world around him. The one thing that throws him off is his newly acquired slave, Brianna Reeves.
Brianna was purchased, not because Stephan believed in that portion of BDSM, but because he knew that she didn’t want to live with the person she was being forced to call Master. In short, he purchases her to save her. She’s damaged goods, at best, and it is his job to take this delicate flower and will her to grow.
Stephan has lived the lifestyle of a Dominant for five years. After several rebellious teenage years, it gave him the stability and control he had been seeking after his parent’s death.
As president of a not-for-profit foundation, he knows what his future holds and what he wants out of life. All that changes when a simple lunch with his college friend and Mentor, Daren, leads him to buying a slave.
Thrust into a situation he never thought he’d be in, Stephan can’t walk away. He is compelled to help this girl in the only way he knows how.
Brianna knows only one thing, she is a slave. She has nothing. She is nothing.
Can Stephan help Brianna realize that she is much more than just a Slave?
I was so impressed by Ms. Hayes’ portrayal about the BDSM lifestyle that I can only assume she either did her research incredibly well or she has firsthand knowledge. Either way it doesn’t really matter to me, I was just happy to read something that didn’t make the lifestyle look like it was filled with horny teenagers and bumbling fools.
Better still, Hayes writes characters that you want to care about. You want to see Brianna come out of her shell and you want Stephan to help her. She also writes some pretty amusing secondary characters, as well. Lily is one of my favorites, so when the moment comes when she loses her voice (due to a punishment) I couldn’t help but laugh just a little bit longer than I needed to. Although, I think the thing that was funny was Brianna’s response to that particular situation and the fact that it affected her so much.
The lone downside to this book, and it’s certainly not a big downside, is that Slave is part of the Finding Anna series. As you can probably guess that means the story ends on a cliffhanger of sorts. We are left with a severe cliffhanger, in fact. Had I been reading the paperback I might have thrown it. Instead, when the last sentences were being read and there was nothing else on the page, I let out loud groan.
How could it be over? What is Brianna going to do? How could Hayes do this to me?
It all seemed so unfair. And yet, it is a credit to her as a writer that I cannot wait to tear into book two of the Finding Anna series, Need, in order to discover what happens between these two delicious characters.
If you’re looking for new reading material and you like stories about kink this probably won’t satiate any need that you have. However, if you’re interested in reading a solid drama with undertones of romance and a healthy dose of sexy frustration this is just what you’re looking for. I recommend this one for people interested in how Dominant and submissive relationships should be portrayed and for anyone looking for a good book to get lost in where they can become heavily invested in the characters. Slave will offer you that and more, at least until you get to the ending.
Then again, every good BDSM scene leaves you wanting more, so perhaps Ms. Hayes knew exactly what she was doing.