Staged (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
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:
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!!