04 January 2015

Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz

 Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company that’s owned him since childhood, decides to lease him privately on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.

Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason someone would pay so much for what little free time he has. But dark memories of past sexual service leave him certain he won’t survive it again with his sanity intact.

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him when it comes to ordering Daniel into his bed. Carl can’t seem to take what he must want, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, affection just might flourish over fear and pain. Carl holds the power to be an anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, but if he isn’t careful, he’ll end up the weight that sinks his slave for good.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This is a heavily revised and expanded second edition of Anchored, originally released by a different publisher in 2011. Over 10,000 words have been added.
This is a difficult book to review. I gave it three stars because it was well executed and I liked that everything was from the main character’s POV. But in any romance book, even one labeled erotic romance, there should be an HFN (happily for now) at the very least, if not an HEA (happily ever after). I don’t think Anchored reached that.
The book is about legal slavery in a United States where all non-whites are slaves and many whites as well. Supposedly there is a ‘slave gene’ that makes the individual soulless, thus allowing their owners to treat them like crap. Well let’s face it, in real life that’s exactly the kind of thinking slave owners think – that their slaves have no feelings and no soul.
So we have Daniel who has, as far as some slaves are concerned, a pretty posh life. He’s owned by New World Media and is the star anchor on the evening news. That looks good on the outside. But we see how things are for him. From the severe abuse he received as a child, to the horrible punishments New World does if he even leaves a second or two of silence on air. Suddenly, he’s been ‘sold’ for every night and weekend to a man because the company needs money. Instead of escaping to his dorm and having free time, he has to submit himself completely to a new master. The main problem? Daniel is terrified of sex and of making any mistake that would make New World mad at him.
A set up for disaster? You bet. Especially when you add in a jerk of a boss who hurts him in every way possible. But there is a light, somewhat dim, at the end of the tunnel, for his nighttime/weekend master, has no intention of letting that happen again. Can he control what New World does to Daniel? With money, yes. I’m hoping there will be a #2 where maybe Carl will buy Daniel, but even then, I don’t see an HEA in the works unless the author wants to have a civil war where the slaves rise up. Because even though Carl loves Daniel, Daniel can’t feel the same way. After all, he’s owned, property, a slave.
And that’s where I disagree with this book being called a romance. I don’t feel any hope that Daniel’s relationship or future have much light. He’s trapped.
Also, it’s a personal thing, but I don’t get why the author kept referring to Carl as ‘the master’ in the narrative. When Daniel spoke directly to him, it was, “Master” but when the author referred to him outside dialogue it was always ‘the master’. I actually found that annoying. New World was Daniel’s owner, and maybe the first time he referred to Carl as his new master, I could understand the ‘the’ but after that, I wished I could reach into the book and pull out every ‘the’ that existed before the word ‘master’.
The book was too depressing, to be honest, though it was executed well, thus the three stars.


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