Title: Shattered Heart
Author: Nikki McCoy
Publisher: Totally Bound
Pages/Word Count: 185 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: In a world of devastation and slavery, two men must find the courage to overcome the pain of their pasts and fight for what they believe in–or fall, forever lost, to the ravages of war.
Biochemical war has devastated the landscape. Societies have fallen to territorial battles and new laws have arisen, of which leaders were made by blood and force, and slavery was condoned.
Markus is a man who has lost everything. Cold and precise, he rules his territory with an iron fist. Nothing could break through his barrier of control. Until he meets a boy who challenges his emotional restraint.
Corin, born from rape and forced to work as a pleasure slave, has suffered through pain and degradation for as long as he can remember. His will to live has been all but destroyed by the hatred and abuse of his parents. Yet, he survives on the love of his sisters and the hope for a better life.
That hope is nearly ended, however, when his parents sell him to Markus. Now in the hands of the most feared man in the territory, he must find a way back to his sisters. But that path is not so easily taken. Under Markus’ control, he learns that being a slave is not about losing oneself, and that having a Master to show him the seduction of submission might be something he’d been searching for all along.
As the seeds of love grow unexpectedly between them, a war brews on the horizon. Can Corin trust that Markus would do anything to keep him and his sisters safe, or will he deny that which his heart cries out for?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of BDSM, violence, slavery, sexual abuse, non-consensual sex and gang rape.
Review: Before providing the review, I’d like to reiterate the Reader Advisory. This book contains brutality, sexual assault, scenes of BDSM, slavery, non-consensual sex, and gang rape. If any of these topics disturb you, you will not enjoy this book.
In Shattered Heart we follow Marcus and Corin. Marcus is the leader of several districts in a sort-of post-apocalyptic world. Society as we know it has long since been destroyed and in its place, a system of controlled anarchy exists. There are work slaves and pleasure slaves. There are free people, some with money, many without. People not living within the structure of the districts are at serious risk of several maladies.
Corin is the product of his mother’s rape, never wanted from the moment of his conception and sold for his body to pay debts incurred by his stepfather. The only thing in his life that anchors him to his miserable life is his two sisters. When Corin’s step-father incurs a debt he can’t pay, Corin is sold to Marcus as his pleasure slave. Separated from his sisters and robbed of his meager freedom, he longs to escape, find his sisters, and start over.
As Marcus and Corin’s relationship unfolds, Ms. McCoy delves into the master/slave culture and provides explicit details of the punishments the master doles out to train his headstrong slave. When the leader of a rival district challenges Marcus, Corin has to make a decision. Does he stand by Marcus’s side or accept the freedom Marcus offers him and his sisters in order to keep him safe?
This dynamic between master and slave is skillfully illustrated. Beyond the physical domination and submission dynamic, the author weaves the emotional tethers binding both master and slave. She demonstrates through provocative narrative, the incongruous roles each partner plays; the slave holding as much control as the master, just in a different way.
The language is charged, highly sensory, and lifts the story events from the page, placing them in the reader’s heart. This was a book to enjoy for the beautiful construction of words as well as the plot development of the story line.
Unlike the previous book I read by this author, Crimson Mate, which had a fast-paced action plot, this story is filled with more angst and character development. From beginning to end, Ms. McCoy allows the reader to learn both characters and to journey with them through pain and experience, until both have grown and evolved by the end.
With that being said, readers who enjoy fast-paced, tight storylines may find the pace of this book a bit slow. For readers who enjoy the slow and emotional journey of two characters struggling to grow and accept their own inner conflicts and, ultimately, learning to grow together, this story hits the mark.
This is the second story I’ve read by Nikki McCoy, and I am a huge fan.
You can buy Shattered Heart here: