Tamelik has been a pleasure slave for 15 years, sold into slavery after rebel soldiers murdered his family. Despite the tragedy, Tam lives a happy life with his Master who is good and kind to him. Tam has been in love with his Master for years and enjoys the close relationship they have, even though he knows the man will never truly love him back. Yet Tam’s life is filled with more comfort and security than he ever experienced as a child and he is happy with his position caring for the man he loves.
Tam’s life is stirred up when his Master instructs him to buy a new slave. There are many to choose from, but Tam is drawn to the strength and fight of a handsome solider not much younger than him. Tam knows the man will be impossible to train, given his age and military background. But he also knows what the other masters will do to the man to try to break him, and Tam can’t bear to let that happen.
At first Kai is almost feral in his rage against what his life has become. As much as Tam reassures him that their Master is a kind and gentle man, Kai can’t bear the idea that he is now property and subject the whims of another. Tam does his best to help soothe Kai, but Kai remains reserved and distant, especially from their Master. Yet their Master gives Kai time, giving him a chance to slowly acclimate to his new life and not forcing Kai into anything sexual with him. However, he does make it clear that he wants Kai and Tam to be friends, companions, and ultimately lovers. And while Kai is initially resistant to doing anything that Master wants, slowly he and Tam begin to fall for one another.
Tam is so conflicted as Kai begins to have a place in his heart. He has loved his Master for years and he can’t understand how he can love both of them. Yet he finds his heart has opened to both men, and he only wishes that Kai would let down his guard and give in to his feelings for his Master as well. Even as the three men grow closer, however, outside forces threaten their safety. The country has been at war for years and the situation is only escalating. Master is away for longer periods as he is drawn into the conflicts and working to protect his people. Kai and Tam both fear for his safety and can’t imagine their lives without their Master in it. Even as these men are finally finding a happiness that includes all three of them, the war grows ever closer and threatens them all.
Wow, this one just blew me away you guys. I pretty much jumped on this book once I saw master/slave and threesome elements and it did not disappoint me at all. There is something about the master/slave trope that just appeals to me. The power dynamic is so fascinating and it is a challenge for an author to pull off a romance that feels real in that kind of situation. I will say Kate Aaron really did an amazing job with that here, and gave us some really compelling relationships between all three of these men.
First off, we have Tam, a man who has been a slave since he was a young child. Although he remembers his old life, living with his Master and being his pleasure slave is really his sole focus. Tam loves his Master and even loves his life. He has comfort and freedom and even possessions and lives far more easily than he ever did as a poor child on a nomadic tribe. Tam gets such pleasure out of serving his Master that he is happy despite the fact that he is not free. Although this isn’t a BDSM story, there is almost a submissive vibe to Tam; he gets such pleasure out of being needed, out of serving his Master and seeing him happy. Aaron does a fabulous job here of making us really believe Tam’s feelings are genuine. It could have come across as over the top, this happy slave who loves his life. But Aaron really made me believe in Tam and his feelings.
It sets up this fascinating set of relationships then as Kai enters the picture, for a variety of reasons. First off, Tam has a bit of jealousy over the fact that Master is bringing in another slave. He is hurt and worries he will be replaced. This is just exacerbated by the fact that Master is clear that as much as he cares for Tam deeply, he can never return Tam’s love. Then we have Kai who does not want intimacy with his Master, nor can he see why Tam does. He can’t understand how Tam is ok just giving himself to their Master, how this is something Tam truly wants. At the same time, Tam and Kai are slowly falling for each other. At first, the two men are pushed together by their Master (for reasons that unfortunately I never found totally clear). Kai rebels against anything that he thinks is coercion and he holds out basically just on principle. But slowly Kai and Tam begin to fall for one another and it is really sweet to see Kai let down his defenses and fall for Tam. At the same time, this leads to even more conflict for Tam as he feels torn between his love for both of these men. Aaron just gives us such richness and depth to these characters and these relationships, especially Kai and Tam. And when we see Kai opening up to their Master and the three men together, it is really beautiful and rewarding, not to mention super sexy in every combination.
The story is told in Tam’s first person POV, but it is so much Kai’s story as well, especially early on. Aaron gives us a really interesting dynamic between these two men. We are in Tam’s head as the experienced, happy slave who is settled into his life, and seeing Kai through his eyes. Kai has a long period of adjustment to his new life where he is angry and resentful about the loss of his freedom. We really get such a good sense of his loss, of how he had a life and plans for a future and suddenly it is taken away in a heartbeat. Despite Tam’s assurances that Kai ended up in the best possible place given his situation, it doesn’t make Kai feel much better. So it is really interesting to see this dynamic between them and I loved the contrast between the two men and how Tam gives us this window into Kai’s experiences.
This story is really character focused and most of the book remains very insular into the little world of Tam and Kai’s lives. We know there is a war being waged and we know things are getting more serious, but we are seeing it only through their Master’s absences and increased work load. As the story reaches its end, however, that outside world begins to encroach further and danger is clearly being brought to their doorstep, just as the three men are beginning to find happiness all together. It is a thrilling ending, and one that does leave us on a pretty intense cliffhanger. At this point I am DYING for the next story! It just came together so well and in such an exciting way.
So I will say I was hugely impressed with this story. Aaron gives us such incredible depth and complexity to these characters and it is all just perfectly unpacked throughout the book. I loved all three of these men together and I truly enjoyed seeing their relationship grow and develop. They are sweet and oh so sexy and I can not wait to see how their adventures continued. So I absolutely loved this one and highly recommend it.
Cover Review: So can we talk about the hotness of this cover? I love how perfectly it captures Tam, especially his signature long blond hair. Just beautifully done.