Slave (Finding Anna) by Sherri Hayes
Stephan has lived the lifestyle of a Dominant for five years. After several rebellious teenage years, it gave him the stability and control he had been seeking after his parent’s death.
As president of a not-for-profit foundation, he knows what his future holds and what he wants out of life. All that changes when a simple lunch with his college friend and Mentor, Darren, leads him to buying a slave.
Thrust into a situation he never thought he’d be in, Stephan can’t walk away. He is compelled to help this girl in the only way he knows how.
Brianna knows only one thing, she is a slave. She has nothing. She is nothing.
Can Stephan help Brianna realize that she is much more than just a Slave?
I received Slave as an advanced readers copy for an honest review. I've actually had Slave on my TBR List for quite some time but I've been hesitant to purchase it because I wasn't sure what to expect... and to be honest I was a little afraid that it would be something I wouldn't be able to handle reading. So when I received the ARC I was excited but also still a little on the reluctant side... I made sure I went into it with an open mind, especially since I've read Sherri's work in the past and I really enjoyed what I read... She has this way of turning a story about a broken woman into something beautiful... and that is exactly what she did with Slave!
At this point I still don't know how to react towards Brianna... the poor girl is so broken that all I want to do is reach in, pull her out, and just hug her until she sees the beautiful woman she's meant to be... obviously that's not possible. Brianna was in an extremely horrible situation... she was forced into sexual slavery before she even turned 18... she was a fighter, but the man that bought her (Ian buying Brianna was never confirmed... this is my guess) went to every extreme possible, to break this beautiful girl. And break her he did. It was heartbreaking to watch Brianna have a panic attack, I'd get tears in my eyes and a sinking feeling in my belly whenever Brianna would talk about her past... but through it all she ended up with one good thing... one absolutely amazing person, who would do just about anything for her... Stephan.
Stephan is one of those male characters that I absolutely adore. Even though the entire situation made him sick, he knew that buying Brianna was the right thing to do... yes I said buy her, more than anything, his heart is in the right place... and then when he saw her, he couldn't help the overwhelming urge to protect her. His patience was astounding... and I say that knowing full well that Brianna deserved every ounce of patience available... but I know most people would not be that understanding of the situation... okay understanding is the wrong word, because a lot of people would be understanding and want to show her all the patience in the world.. but actually doing it would be quite difficult... for anyone.... and that is why I adored Stephan. Then when he began to fall in love with her, I fell even harder for him. There were so many times that Stephan could have fully taken advantage of the situation.. and he never did... her trust was the most important thing... and he was determined to work as hard as it took to get it... so when she admits the level of trust that she has in him... even if it is just a little bit... seeing his reacting and knowing how thrilled he was to even have that tiny bit, made me fall even harder... Just a fair warning, by the end of this book I was so in love with Stephan that I wanted to pull him out of the book and give him a big smoochie right on the lips for all he did for Brianna!
Watching Brianna get her footing and adjust to her new life with Stephan was difficult but also heartwarming. She saw Stephan for the man who was kind to her, good to her, and all she wanted was to please him. She began to gain confidence in herself as the days wore on... She also began to gain confidence in the man that held her life in his hands and with that confidence she found a comfort... his touch was soothing and calming to her... his voice reminded her of her safety... and his presence, physically or the "collar" (necklace) he placed on her, helped her remain grounded when it would have been so easy for her to emotionally slip away.
I can't help but feel the urge to dive right into Need (Finding Anna #2)... I'm at this point where I am anxious to know what happens next for Brianna and Stephan. I have unanswered questions, I have extremely high hopes, and my curiosity for Brianna's emotional well being is through the roof. Sherri has a unique way of telling these stories that start off with woman in these absolutely horrible situations and then finding themselves in the presence of these men who feel the urge to protect them like they've never felt before. It's always hard to read a story where abuse... emotional or physical... and to me, it says something special about an author who can tell that story with out causing awkward or uncomfortable feelings... especially to an abuse survivor.
Slave (Finding Anna) by Sherri Hayes is an emotional book... but so very good. It's an eye opener for sure, because of the sexual slavery aspect but it's more than that.. it's a book about a broken woman who is given the chance to start over by a man who at any turn could have easily taken advantage of the situation and her emotional turmoil.... it's a story about gaining a persons respect the right way and cherishing the fact that you got it in the first place. Like I said before, I can not wait to begin Need (Finding Anna #2)... I'm anxious for the story, for the creative writing style of Sherri Hayes, but most of all... I'm anxious to see how Stephan manages to keep and continue to build the trust that Brianna has already given him.