Author: Nicolette Hugo
Bought is the third instalment of the Unchained Vices series by Nicolette Hugo. The stories are loosely linked but all stand strongly on their own. The Unchained Vices series takes an up close and personal look at the BDSM lifestyle and it is HOT, it is graphic and it is intense.
I guess I’m past that point of being able to say that I don’t really read erotic fiction because I have read quite a few for review now. It is still not my genre of choice and I still always go in a little hesitant, not knowing what to expect and knowing I have to keep an open mind. There have been times that I have found it hard to find or follow a storyline because it’s been more about the erotica than the characters.
The Unchained Vices series has definitely not left me with that problem. I’m not sure if it’s the BDSM element and trying to understand how it fits in with the characters that keeps me involved. I can almost see past the erotica to analyse the characters because it’s not as simple as I like pain or I like power. Hugo’s characters are complex and tortured so their stories take the forefront of the narrative for me.
Scarlet Bailey is kidnapped to ensure co-operation from her wealthy husband in shady dealings, through no fault of his own he is late and things go horribly wrong. His wife is further injured and he takes a bullet trying to save her. The two survive and surgery leaves Scarlet looking almost unblemished from the outside, but it leaves chasms between the two personally and emotionally.
We know that everyone deals with trauma and with grief differently, it’s part of what makes us all unique. Part of Scarlet’s coping method is touch so the fact that Killian has distanced himself from her physically is making the whole situation even harder to deal with. Scarlet ends up calling Dom for Hire Jerricho Black, figuring that if anyone can make her feel he can; and she gets a little more than she bargained for – they both do.
Scarlet pays for her time with Jerricho via credit card, knowing that it won’t be long until Killian discovers the charges but she never for a second expected him to react the way he does.
The sex is intense, it’s graphic and it is very much BDSM, and there’s lots of it. But I found myself paying more attention to what the scenes were telling us about the characters than to the actual acts.
Killian and Scarlet are still very much in love, their marriage has been fractured by the kidnapping and the heartache they suffered before that. Instead of losing themself in each other and healing together, and reconnecting through touch, they find themselves adrift in their big house alone with no intimacy and no connection yet both drowning in their own solitary pain, and Killian in his guilt.
Jerricho Black is a complex and tortured character in his own right. He is being blackmailed and money is only part of the issue. Jerricho is on the run from a crime he didn’t commit, living under the radar and off the grid, always ready to move on. He needs money to pay off his debt, though he could always work it off instead but that is something he refuses to do so he can’t refuse Killian’s offer to hire him for 40 days.
Bought delves into the into issues between Killian and Scarlet, shows us the way in which they reconnect and begin to heal the internal scars left by their traumatic year. It explores Jerricho, his past, his Dom nature and the connection he finds where he least expects it.
There is enough mystery in the story to keep you guessing trying to work out where the pieces fit and there is one nice and juicy twist at the end that was a lot more than I expected.
Bought is an intriguing story with characters who made my heart bleed, there were times I was nearly in tears for the situations these characters have faced and that’s not something I would have expected in a book of this genre. I am beginning to suspect the kids have melted me into a gooey puddle of drop of the hat tears.
If you have read The Arrangement and Exhibition then Bought will be a fantastic addition to the collection. If you haven’t read the previous Unchained Vices stories then Bought is a great start with complex and intriguing characters that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of lust, pain, intimacy, heat and love. Definitely worth the read.
Bought is book #18 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.