Nick has been a slave his entire life and freedom is something that belongs to other people. He was raised and trained in a secluded village and his master already is determined. Nick’s never met his master, but the man has sent him letters and books and small gifts. Nick can’t help hoping he might be kinder than those who have raised him.
Todd Ruger didn’t want a slave, but a friend convinced him that he and Nick would make perfect partners working as sentries. Being a sentry is a dangerous job, but Nick has skills no one else does and they may make sentry work a bit easier.
The rules regarding slaves are absolute and no matter how Todd treats Nicky in private, they’ll have to conform to society’s strict policies. But those rules don’t prevent love and they don’t prevent two men from finding a measure of peace amongst the madness.
Marked Yours is the first in Elizabeth’s Noble’s Sentries series. Some of you may know of the books from their previous release. Basically, thanks to a series of natural disasters, humanity has been forced to reset itself. Technology is gone and the world is divided into protectorates, some of which support slavery and others that do not. Slaves are, as you might expect, property and little more. Nick has been raised and trained to be a sentry, even though he doesn’t know what’s expected of him. But because of his unique skills, if a sentry hadn’t bought him, there wouldn’t have been much point in letting him live. Todd’s ownership means escape from the village Nick’s come to hate and a chance at something new, and hopefully something better.
The characters are relatively dimensional. I felt that Todd needed more of a backstory, or at least more fleshing out. He claims to want a partnership with Nick, but the reality of slavery is always between them and while that aspect believable, it doesn’t always make their romance feel equal. Because no matter how Nick wants Todd, it’s not like he has any real choice in the matter. There’s never an issue of non-con, but it’s definitely a fine line. Their relationship is certainly sweet, but it’s too fast moving. It’s as if the letters they shared are supposed to serve as expansion of their romance, but we don’t have access to those, so instead it reads as very abrupt and rather like insta-love.
The world building really needs bolstering in Marked Yours. We don’t know how slavery developed or why it exists some places and not others. Todd is allowed to claim Nick as his mate (though it doesn’t change his slave status), but it isn’t clear if there are social mores for or against this practice. Sentries deal with the paranormal, but we aren’t told anything about their history or why they seem so important now. Given the changes to which humanity has been forced to adapt, a lot more details and background information would have gone a long way. Some of this may happen in future books, but it’s an area that’s lacking in Marked Yours.
I think this series has potential, but I definitely want some additional development of the world surrounding Todd and Nick. Their relationship is full of sweetness and they’re a good couple, which is a positive. It should be an interesting series going forward.