Gray was going to college, playing hockey, and crushing on his coach. His family was close and he was just living his life. Until an abduction made Gray not only a statistic, but a victim. Gray was taken with other young men and moved across state lines in horrendous conditions to be placed on a yacht and sold to the highest bidder. The men were beaten and abused and Gray was feeling defeated until his buyer, Darius, promises he is there to return Gray home.
Darius thought his time as a private contractor was over, but he took Gray’s case and after some time searching, he found him. Darius promised himself he wouldn’t get attached to Gray or to any of the other men aboard the yacht, as those men weren’t part of his mission. Darius has a plan to get them out, but things don’t always go according to plan.
The subject matter of this book involving sexual trafficking is a difficult one to read about, but author Cara Dee did not take this story into too many overly explicit scenes—at least not for me. You have to accept how Gray was chosen to be abducted and also how Darius came to be his savior. We get quickly caught up with Gray as he is being beaten, starved, and crated as he’s moved to the auction over the course of a few months. We also meet a few other young men that have been abducted as well. The intimate details of all that Gray has suffered are kept fairly in the background and we are not with him at any time when the abuse is taking place. While this is not a light story by any means and there are difficult scenes to read, I thought this book would be more graphic and tougher to take. There are scenes of violence with the other victims, but since none of it is from their point of view and we are with Gray the whole time, it wasn’t as graphic as it could have been. That’s my take on it, but my threshold is higher than most.
As Gray gets moved and realizes his fate, he cannot believe that there is evil like this out in the world. He is a natural caretaker and wants to protect all of the other victims, but it’s impossible. Gray wants to cling to the hope that Darius is truly there to rescue him, but he can’t be sure of anything. All Gray knows is that if he leaves the yacht, so will everyone else. This book is not a romance, at least not yet anyway, but there is a connection between Gray and Darius. The story is not complete and I have seen that it will be a four-book series. Gray still has to process all that has happened to him and the struggle for survival is still ongoing by the end of the book. There is also still a whole lot to learn about Darius, and his siblings as well. But there certainly could be a romance brewing for the men as the series develops.
The majority of the book is Darius and Gray having to play their parts while on the yacht so as not to arouse suspicion and the pacing was a little slow for my tastes. Darius also came up with the nickname of Knucklehead for Gray and he called him this throughout the entire book and it always felt rather oddly placed for me considering the scenes taking place and it constantly broke the flow of the story.
The ending wraps up only what seems to be the first leg of a rather long journey for these men and I will most certainly be interested in joining them for the next part. Auctioned could be seen as a more emotional read that focuses on a disturbing reality that faces current society and it’s worth a look if you want a book that certainly bends to the darker side.