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Staged (Belonging #3) by Kim Fielding

Staged by Kim FieldingStaged (Belonging #3) by Kim Fielding

Released on July 18, 2016

Published by Riptide Publishing

Pages/words count: 255 pages, 67,600 words

Categories: romance, sci-fi, alternate world/alternate universe, m/m, multiple partners

Blurb:

Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.

Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.

A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:

dubious consent
explicit violence
non-consent

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Riptide Publishing  •   Amazon

Our thoughts:

Having read both previous novels in the Belonging ‘verse, I was anxious to see what Kim Fielding would bring to the world that intrigues and saddens at the same time.

The Belonging ‘verse began with Collared by Rachel Haimowitz. That novel haunted me for days after reading it, but it sets the stage for readers so I believe it is a good place to start, in this series of three individual standalone novels.

This world is a cruel one. There are freemen and slaves. If you’re a slave, you are made to believe you have a genetic defect. A flaw that predestines you to a life of slavery. If one parent is a slave, you are a slave. You can never buy or earn your freedom. Born a slave, die a slave. A slave has no soul and is incapable of free thinking, deep feelings, or even taking care of themselves. At least that’s what free folk tell themselves to push away any guilt they might have over years of legalized slavery.

Sky Blue was born to a slave women in a brothel. Rumored to be the son of a famous singer, Sky has spent his whole life a slave, singing for his owners. His third owner decides to sell him off and thus begins his journey into the unknown.

Treated like a scourge, or worse, Sky is held in a warehouse in deplorable conditions until his new owner buys him. The man is a mystery. Not really telling him much about what he expects from Sky or what the new rules are. Sky’s new master seems nice but also harsh at the same time. He also seems wealthy. He’s even kind. It’s like he’s never owned a slave before. The lack of direction leaves Sky off-center. Before he knew the score. Sing. Entertain. Sing. Now, he’s clueless.

Morgan Wallace is doing a job and he must acquire a slave to get in the door with some new clients. That’s how he comes to acquire Sky. This is just a means to an end. Hopefully in a few weeks, the job will be done and Sky can go somewhere and live the rest of his life singing in a leisurely club or something. Unfortunately, two things happen. One, Sky must endure torture and rape at the hands of the clients Wallace must get in good with. No matter how sorry Wallace is, he’ll never be able to forgive himself for bringing Sky into this situation. The last thing is that he’s falling hard and fast for Sky. He likes his company. He likes his singing and his gentle way. He enjoys seeing him discover new things. Sharing a bed is glorious and they don’t even have to do anything but hold each other and be together.

In an effort to keep him safe, Wallace (Mac) doesn’t tell Sky anything details about his mission so you can imagine how terribly bad this has the potential to get for everyone involved.

I think the trust is where it’s at for these two. Even through the secrets and bad meetings Sky endures with Mac’s contacts, there’s trust. Sky has to trust that there’s a reason why Mac does what he does. Mac has to trust that Sky will come out of this alright and that the ends justify the means.

I loved seeing Sky become ‘free.’ He gets to discover his world for the first time, thanks to Mac. He’s also given the chance to choose for himself and even speak out and act out. The dynamic is definitely pushed past what was expected. I was even surprised in the end when Sky doesn’t just fall and blindly follow. He does what he wants and gives himself time to process.

A profound addition to the Belonging ‘verse. I’m thrilled there was an addition to the series and hope to see more in the future.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Chained (Bound Gods #2) by Adrienne Wilder

Bound Gods: ChainedChained (Bound Gods #2) by Adrienne Wilder

Published April 5, 2016

194 pages

Kindle Unlimited Amazon

Blurb:

Leo has been sent on a mission to find a missing doxie. And after weeks at Leo’s side, Kaleb is suddenly alone. Free of the cruelty the Chimera, he should be rejoicing. But instead, he becomes aware of a void in his heart, he never knew was there until Leo wasn’t there to fill it. When Leo returns Kaleb is faced with the choice of disobeying Leo—forcing him to take ambrosia—or risk losing him forever.

With a single flower, Leo is back under the control of the Association. And what kind of punishment is suitable for a doxie who disobeys his Master, even though it saves his life? Leo has a list of ideas, starting with Kaleb’s first visit to a Gathering.

At the Gathering of the gods, doxies, and mortal men, Kaleb first lays eyes on Aaron. The beautiful doxie is presented by the god Sol. There he will be fed the ambrosia, Awakened to his journey of immortality, and then serve his god, Sol, for all to see. Only the horror of Aaron’s treatment by Sol makes Kaleb realize monsters come in many forms.

And not all of them hunt doxies.

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Our thoughts:

The Bound Gods series just keeps getting better and better! The intensity revved up several notches as Kaleb is trained harder, longer and without mercy. Leo and his inner Chimera are determined to beat Alton at his own game. Using Kaleb to trap Leo into service by getting him hooked on ambrosia again will not work to Alton’s advantage. Creating Kaleb, Alton doesn’t know that Kaleb is producing ambrosia in as pure a form as the flower itself. With Leo’s training, Kaleb’s limits are pushed beyond humanly possible. The ambrosia he’s producing is so pure and intoxicating that soon Leo will be the only person that will be able to contain Kaleb and drink the ambrosia. He’s sealed Kaleb to himself. Exactly what I was hoping to see happen as this series has progressed!

Kaleb has been tested and pushed a lot in the second book. He’s discovering more about life as a doxie, life with Leo, and the cruelty underlying it all. A monster is attacking doxies. Until it is destroyed, no one is safe, not even the gods. At the first gathering Kaleb and Leo attend together, events unfold that impact everyone.

There’s a lot of play and sex this time around. Kaleb is starting to understand the game and give into the desires he feels towards Leo and the beast within. Their dynamic has changed and intensified. I like how protective Leo is of Kaleb, while also being the Master of him. Again, it’s that give and take that just makes the heart race and conscience become torn over liking the guy.

The only character I’m not able to get behind is Sonny, Kaleb’s brother. I don’t like how he’s constantly saying he’s a god. He’s already becoming a cocky bastard and for some reason I just don’t care for him. Kaleb is too nice to Sonny, he should put Sonny in his place. Afterall, he’s the reason Kaleb agreed to become a doxie for his father’s debts. Kaleb saved Sonny. Ungrateful much?!

One thing is certain, Adrienne Wilder has ruined me! I’m not sure I’ll be able to enjoy other books as I wait for the next installment in the Bound Gods series!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!!!

The Chimera (Bound Gods #1) by Adrienne Wilder

Bound Gods: The Chimera

The Chimera (Bound Gods #1) by Adrienne Wilder

Published by Adrienne Wilder

Released March 27th 2016

Page count: 147 pages

Available through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon

Blurb:

Kaleb Holten’s father’s debt to an underground group The Association has just been called in, and the man can’t pay the loan. Instead of turning over his wealth, he releases his son and Kaleb finds himself thrown into a world where a class of men see themselves as untouchable. Going so far as to call themselves gods.

After the Great Economic Collapse there are no laws that cannot be broken. And Kaleb is forced into a ten-year sentence of servitude where he will have no say, no rights, no value and yet be coveted and protected as if he were a priceless treasure.

Leo Roan, has slipped the noose the Association bound him with by breaking his addiction to ambrosia and Kaleb Holten was supposed to be his last assignment as a doxie Master. But something about the boy begins weaving a new net that will not only ensnare him but the conscious darkness inside, that craves pain, agony, suffering, and death.

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Our thoughts:

It’s been awhile since I’ve been pulled into a story involving servitude so I was anxious to delve into this fantasy world and the reasoning for the doxies. Servitude can be tricky due to the dubious consent involved; however, it can make for a powerful relationship dynamic for the two invloved. The give and take, the push and pull. It’s very intense in this fantasy world where the god Leo Roan and his inner Chimera are training a new doxie, Kaleb Holten.

Kaleb is to serve the gods for ten years, thanks to his father. The man took out a huge loan with underground group, The Association and never once made a payment or attempted to pay the debt he owes Alton. No attempt, just more spending and frivolousness is the face of their broken and torn society following the Great Economic Collapse. The Holten’s are the ones that have, his father wasn’t going to give up a dime of it to save his son, Kaleb. Don’t get me started on how much of a putz Kaleb’s father is.

For some reason Kaleb still has this sense of honor to obey his father and help his siblings, especially his brother Sonny. Kaleb agrees to go with Leo and be trained as a doxie. One year of training with Leo and nine more years of service to the gods. How will this green, virginal boy of eighteen get through the tortures and rigors Leo has planned for him?!

Now back to those pushes and pulls. There’s something captivating about the desire Kaleb feels for his trainer. Leo is harsh, firm, unyielding, yet caring all the same. There’s enough attraction that Kaleb is constantly at war with himself. Give in and please or question and discover what true pain Leo can inflict. It’s an interesting dynamic and the stage is already being set for these two to become deeply attached. Such strong attraction already, I question if Leo will be able to let Kaleb go after his training is complete. Leo just might keep Kaleb for himself. How is it that Alton knew to slate Leo with Kaleb? He fulfills every one of Leo’s and the Chimera’s desires. Kaleb will be his last doxie before being free of ambrosia and The Association forever, right? Maybe Kaleb will be too strong of a temptation, more so than sweet ambrosia.

An interesting world and players within it. I’m left with so much intrigue over Alton and his customers, the gods, Kaleb’s strange father and, of course, what will happen between Leo and Kaleb. A series I’m bound to, until the end!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!!

BLOG TOUR and REVIEW: Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites

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We’re thrilled to host Cari Waites on her blog tour, Stealing Innocents. She explains why she chose to write under a pseudonym and why the content is on the darker side for the collection. Thanks for being here, Cari….I mean Lisa! :)

From Cari Waites:

Hi! Welcome to the blog tour for Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites. Who is not-so-secretly Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Stealing Innocents, and sharing some of my influences, ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!

A few people have asked me why I chose to write Stealing Innocents under a pseudonym. Two reasons, really. Firstly, I wanted to experiment in self-publishing. Secondly, I wasn’t sure that these stories would sit well with the Lisa Henry brand.

The Cari Waites stories were going to be an experiment in absolute bare bones self-publishing. No promo, no advertising, no hitching them to the Lisa Henry wagon. I was just going to put the stories out there and see how they did on their own. And surprisingly, they did okay. Thanks to a few enthusiastic reviews on Goodreads, word actually did get out about my Cari Waites stuff. Mostly words like, “Holy shit, have you seen this?” And eventually that reader-generated interest ended with a contract to publish the stories with Riptide. (I am the worst. Self-publisher. Ever.) So much for the great experiment!

Seriously though, these stories are so much better for having been through the Riptide editorial wringer! So that’s one thing I learned from the experiment: Riptide editors are the greatest. Okay, no, I already knew that.

When it came to putting the stories out through Riptide, we decided that it was time to come clean and admit that Cari Waites was also Lisa Henry. Because most people know that I skew dark whenever I’m given the chance anyway. If I have a brand, that’s probably it. I mean, anyone who’s read Another Man’s Treasure can testify to that. And the way we’ve done it, Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites, is to at least keep a thin line between the stuff that can be classified as romance, and the stuff that really, really can’t.

I’m not sure yet if Cari Waites has any more stories left in her. She probably does. For every sweet story I’m working on in my WIPs, there’s a darker one. And for every darker story, there’s a “Holy crap, even I can’t believe I went there” one.

Basically, I like to mix things up a bit. If there’s a formula to writing stories, I haven’t found it yet. I like to keep surprising readers, if I can. Which probably means my next release will be tooth-rottingly sweet and as fluffy as a bunny. Ha! And nobody will ever see that coming!

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About Stealing Innocents:

Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.

Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.

Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.

This collection contains three edited second editions stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/stealing-innocents

Meet Lisa Henry:

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Cari Waites is her much darker alter ego.

Connect with Lisa:

Blog: lisahenryonline.blogspot.com
Twitter: @lisahenryonline
Goodreads: goodreads.com/LisaHenry

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Stealing Innocents, Lisa is giving away a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice of title from Lisa’s backlist. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Lisa can reach you if you win!

Our Thoughts:

Please consult the long list of triggers for this collection if you are sensitive to particular situations: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/stealing-innocents

Gamble Everything 

Gamble Everything is an intense telling of how a boy is stripped from his existing life and thrust into one he will not be able to leave.

Danny’s father sells him off to be used for a $12K gambling debt. Clyde knows full well what is about to happen. For some crazy reason, the things Danny has dealt with from his gambling, loser father hasn’t yet broken him. He still feels allegiance and wants to do this to help him. It’s a few months to pay off the debt. He can handle it, right?

From the moment Danny is taken to Archer, his life will never be the same. Archer’s goal is to break him mentally and physically. To rip his layers off one by one and build him back up into who he wants Danny to be. Danny is Daniel and Archer will be his Daddy. All Daniel has to do is release all his fight and give in to what Archer wants. Full trust, full compliance, fully owned.

Gamble Everything is one of those stories that has you turning pages to see what will happen. Will Daniel fully comply? Will he escape. Is this exactly what he wants in life? A pawn in a game he has no idea the rules of, he’s surely not going to be the winner. Even with the non-con and dub-con, this book is intriguing and just enough sadistic to make the heart race and leave you a bit stunned. Great writing in a small package.

Crazy

Drew’s in a mental facility for depression. He doesn’t think he’s crazy, just tired. Then the nightmares start. Being taken from his room into a tiled space. Pushed down, forced to perform and then back in his room by morning. Is it a dream? A nightmare? Why isn’t it a normal nightmare with real fears like drowning or sharks? Why is he having nightmares of something his mind, his imaginations have never conjured up before.

The second time Drew realizes that it’s real, what he thinks is a nightmare is real. He’s determined to make himself remember. To know that it’s real and he’s not crazy. This short is just sad to read. This poor guy is struggling against what he knows is reality and what isn’t. When in a mental facility, one’s going to question their sanity and reality over and over again. Drew desperately wants to believe he’s not crazy, that the events he fears are real. But, is it worse that they’re fake and just a nightmare and Drew is crazy? Or, is it worse that he’s right, it’s real and he’s a victim, stuck in a place to be repeatedly abused? Either way, he’s outvoted.

First And Only

Wow. This short story was one of tragedy from start to finish. David was always being dumped by his wife or lover. His current wife is cheating on him so he decides the best revenge is to seduce her almost 19-year-old son, Sage.

David’s a lawyer so he knows in order to be lawful, Sage must come to him. Set a trap and wait for the prey. That’s exactly what he does. He seduces Sage and takes what he wants from him. Like all his prior escapades, David is traded for another. So quickly too. But, he’s done being the loser. Done being the one taken advantage of and he will get his revenge after all. It just might cost him more than he was willing to give.

First and Only takes revenge into a completely different level of messed up! However, like the rest of the stories in this set, it’s another page turning ball of dub-con.

Falling Angels

Sometime a story comes along that literally leaves you stunned and scrambling for words. Falling Angels is every bit that situation for me. A tough topic and story from beginning to end. Human trafficking and the horror it brings to the innocent victims is told in a dramatic and heartbreaking story of Dima, or Arkady as he was later named by his first tormentor.

Never the recipient of kindness, Arkady would never dream that the hell he first endured was the kindest he would have it. When he is finally given a reprieve, tragedy strikes again.  Arkady’s story was haunting. Many ‘if only’ moments followed the final words. This one made me shed a few tears and was the perfect ending for the appropriately named Stealing Innocents collection.

I like to delve into the dark reads and this collection was exasperating, wicked and decadent all at the same time. Waites is a genius!

RATING: STILETTOS!!!