Sophie Kisker is one of my favorite authors, and she’s an all-around nifty person. Hi, Sophie! That would be why she shows up here a lot. Today, we’re talking about one of her books from her backlog. Fear and Desire used to be known as Captive of Fear and Desire, but Amazon is run by a bunch of pearl-clutching prudes, so she had to drop the Captive part. Luckily, she didn’t have to change the book, and we get a book full of non-con/dub-con goodness. F&D also shows up on my Top Ten dark and fucked up books list. I had just read it for the first time a few days before that post, I think, so this was a reread, so yay!
So, let’s just dive right into this one, shall we? Fair warning, this one is pretty dark all the way through.
Dan is an undercover Fed working on busting a human trafficking ring. There are a couple of reasons why he was chosen. One is that he’s from the area where The Farm, the group’s training facility, is based. The other is that he’s a Dom. The powers-that-be think that makes him perfect for training women to be sex slaves. The bosses don’t get the difference between consensual BDSM and forced training to be a sex slave. Pearson, the guy in charge? Is a massive douche of douchian proportions. Every time I’ve read the book, I’ve wanted to just reach my hands into the book and punch the guy and then strangle the shit out of him.
Anyway, Dan and his partner Josh, also a Dom, do what they can to help the women, including changing up the the “training” program so that the women can actually have something survivable and aren’t just beaten, raped, and broken. They both know that what’s happening to these women is going to cause psychological damage, but they are doing what they can to make it less.
Dan meets Laura for coffee on Saturday nights, after her shift on the OB ward. They were childhood friends who grew apart, but now that they live in the same area again, they’ve been getting closer and closer. One Saturday, Dan asks Laura, who doesn’t know for sure what he’s doing, if she’ll go away with him in a few weeks. What neither of them knows is that Marco, the incompetent nephew of the head of the ring, is spying on them. He’s got it out for Dan because he thinks he should be in charge.
The next thing we know, he’s kidnapped Laura and brought her to The Farm. His stated thought is that he’s doing it for Dan so that Dan has someone for him to use.
This is where we are going to part. Since I have things to say about this book, there will be spoilers. This book could be triggery in regards to rape, so be aware of that. Sophie has been careful in the way that she handled the situations, hopefully, it doesn’t trigger anyone because it is a good book. It is dark, it stays pretty dark, but when you get through that dark fucking tunnel, you do get an HEA. It’s on KU, but it’s only $0.99, so grabbing your own copy isn’t going to break the bank.
When Laura figures out that Dan is there, she tries to run away, not to really run away but to make sure that Dan sees her. However, that means that she has to be punished, and it’s a pretty brutal one to her feet. That punishment also brings her to the attention to the big bad guy, who decides that he wants her, and he wants Dan to train her. He has very specific plans for Laura, and he wants her broken. If Dan won’t do it, then the nasty fuck nephew will. Dan is left with no choice.
Dan manages to get Laura away from the base, at least long enough to talk to her, under the guise of physical training. He explains to her what he needs to do and that it will be hard. She gives him her consent to do whatever it takes to get them both out safely. So, here’s the thing, can she truly be said to have given consent? While yes, she was willing to let him do what needed to be done, was it true consent since she really had no choice otherwise? It can’t really be consensual non-consent because that’s a voluntary thing. She would’ve entered into the relationship willingly, they would’ve discussed limits, punishments, likes, dislikes, so on and so forth. That’s not anything that could’ve happened in Dan and Laura’s situation. I suggested to Sophie back when I read this the first time, that maybe informed non-consent was a better phrase for it. Dan told her what she was going to have to live through, so she knew, but she can’t really consent, thus informed non-consent.
The last part of the Laura and Dan’s journey is terrible, just terrible, and intense. I was glad to get through it the first time and every other time, even though I knew what was coming up. I still got teary and all twitchy over it.
I think that all of Sophie’s stories are really good. I always look forward to the newest ones, and I like to reread the older ones fairly often. F&D is one that really grabbed me the first time, and it has grabbed me every subsequent rereading. Anyway, if you like dark, non/dub-con, but with an HEA, try out Sophie Kisker and check out this one.
Tomorrow, Breaking Grace by Rose Deveraux.