Title : The Pawn
Series : Against The Odds, Book #1
Author : Kate Sherwood
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction
Length : 216 pages (e-book)
Published : March 1, 2013
Adam Challoner was born a member of the wealthy elite, but he can’t forget that his power and comfort come from the suffering of the vast underclass—people oppressed by the very regime that keeps him safe. Living with that knowledge is uncomfortable to say the least. When Adam meets Remy Stone, his discomfort becomes intolerable.
Get in, seduce his target, give him all he could ever dream of, then get out—that’s Remy’s assignment. No man has ever been able to resist Remy before, but Adam Challoner is unlike any of Remy’s previous clients. In a world where Big Brother is always watching, Remy needs to perform his assigned duties in order to survive, but Adam seems to be as oblivious to that as he is to Remy’s charms.
Luckily, Remy’s determination to accomplish his mission piques Adam’s interest. But just when Remy’s hard work starts to pay off, a rebel bomb attack interrupts their would-be tryst. Unforeseen circumstances force them apart, then throw them back together. And just as they discover new reasons to live, they realize some things are worth dying for.
The newest offering from Kate Sherwood is The Pawn. It’s the first in the Against the Odds series. It’s quite unlike her previous books as it contains no horses. The stables described herein are full of whores. I admit, I have a soft spot for whores in fiction. I don’t think it’s any stranger than liking fantasy. Really! Anyway, Remy Stone is a whore in a futuristic, unequal society. He uses the name David. His pimp sends him to the hotel suite of Adam Challoner. Adam won’t have sex with “David.” He doesn’t even want him there at all. Remy uses all his seductive wiles and years of skill to at least manage a blow job. Then terrorists attack the hotel. Remy happens to know one of them. He spends days in interrogation, gets released and is immediately sent to work. It just so happens he’s sent to the estate of Adam Challoner. Who let’s him sleep. Then for the next two days Adam feeds Remy, lets him relax, teaches him chess, and refuses to have sex with him. In short, Adam spends two days treating Remy like a human. Remy can’t just go back to sex work after that. He also can’t refuse to go back to sex work after that. Drugs are his only solution to make continued work as a whore bearable.
Two different clients of Remy’s think the new drugged out Remy shouldn’t continue to work as a whore. One of them is Adam Challoner. Mr. Baryman, Remy’s pimp, absolutely hates Adam Challoner and sees in Remy the means to destroy him. Little does Mr. Baryman know Adam is part of the terrorist group that bombed the hotel. Remy didn’t know either, and boy is it awkward when the two of them meet and learn who they really are! Remy now has a lot of knowledge that he simply shouldn’t have. That doesn’t bode well if the government ever decides to interrogate him again. Despite the awfulness of the first interrogation it could have been so much worse. Adam tries to get Remy out of the country and to safety. Remy refuses to leave. He wants to be a part of something that matters. He wants to stop being a person for whom decisions are made. It’s time for him to take a stand against the extreme exploitation he’s been subjected to since the age of nine.
I have no idea why this depiction of North America was so dystopian. There was no “info-dump” to clue the reader in. We saw what Remy saw and understood what he thought and felt. For this book I think it worked beautifully. Remy wasn’t educated and likely didn’t know the evolution of his society and how two distinct social classes came to exist. After a few pages of curiosity I realized I didn’t need to know it either. It wasn’t the point. The point was showing someone who had ceased to see himself as human learn what it is to be human. Remy’s physical responses were frequently dictated by chemicals while his emotional responses were faked to make his clients or Mr. Baryman happy. The only real response he has is fear and he’s unable to show it for his own self preservation. Not only does Remy not realize Adam is falling in love with him, he doesn’t realize he’s fallen in love with Adam.
In true Kate Sherwood fashion this book had great potential to be incredibly depressing. Part of what prevented that was Remy’s unawareness he was depressed. He was either working or on drugs. He really had no time to wallow in any feelings even if they hadn’t been incredibly repressed. The other thing that kept this from being depressing was the hope that their plan would work. These people had a goal and being suicidal, drug using whores at the end of their usefulness wasn’t going to stop them!
Like I said, this is the first of a new series so there is no HEA. Fair warning. There is the closest to that Remy can get at this time. I’m certainly eager to see where they go from here and would easily recommend buying this book to anyone.
Check out my review of Book 2, HERE
Rated 4.5 stars by Faye