Auctioned by Cara Dee
Genre: Gay Romance
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Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/amuk-auction
Gray Nolan’s biggest problem in life was the torch he carried for his closeted coach. He was just another happy-go-lucky dude, a college student and hockey player, when his ordinary existence was interrupted, and he became a human trafficking statistic.
He and seven other young men were taken aboard a luxurious yacht where they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Gray was beaten, shattered, and almost defeated by the time his buyer stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke.
He was Gray’s new owner.
Darius Quinn had vowed never again to find himself in a situation like this. His days as a private military contractor were over. No more missions, no more risks, no more personal attachments. Yet, here he was, after weeks of searching, face-to-face with his broken prize.
It was time to get the knucklehead back to his family.
Quick and easy was Darius’s plan.
Then everything went sideways.
They were saving Gray for last.
With each guy they hauled out of the room, he grew more despondent and withdrawn. He’d managed to get on his feet again, but he could barely move without an explosion of hurt unfurling inside him. So he stood silent, face impassive and smeared with blood, eyes unseeing, as another guy was up.
The worst part was when they screamed wherever they were. Gray guessed a deck or two above him.
Were they getting raped yet?
He knew it was coming.
He stiffened as the door opened once more, and this time, it was Cole’s turn. His features were set; he’d braced himself for whatever was to come. Or so Gray hoped. He couldn’t imagine any of them had a clue what they were in for.
Least of all Gray. Were they gonna kill him? He’d watched enough movies to know what “make an example of someone” usually meant.
Milo was next, and he looked pleadingly at Gray. “Please do something,” he whimpered. “I’ve never—I can’t—please, Gray. P-please!”
Gray clenched his jaw and said nothing, because what the fuck could he do? The door was shut, leaving him alone. He listened. He couldn’t not listen. Compelled and beating himself up, he strained his ears to hear every torturous plea.
It was quiet for some time, and then…then the screaming began. It mingled with muffled sobs and sharp, choking sounds. And low rumbles of laughter. There was even applause. Gray’s stomach revolted and tightened. Nausea crept higher and higher. Milo was being abused, and low-life perverts found that funny.
The world became a dark place for Gray. Hope had dwindled enough that he couldn’t see it anymore. He lost faith in humanity and sent a glance skyward as his eyes welled up. Mom, I love you. Gage, Gideon, Gabriel, Aiden, Isla, the little niece or nephew I never got to meet…I love you, and I’m sorry.
When the door was opened a final time, Gray was resigned. Benny stood there with sinister glee in his eyes, and of course, the brute wanted his fun, too. Gray accepted two fists to his face before he fell back against the wall, pain spreading like wildfire. Memories from better times that had been rolling past slowly gained speed as if he somehow knew time was running out.
Two men had to support Gray’s weight on the way out of the cabin. His head hung, flickers of memories battling against fatigue and hurt. He couldn’t see where they were going, and when they encountered a set of stairs, he stumbled and lurched. He focused on the faces of his family. Mostly, Mom and his three brothers. The recent additions were his stepdad—Aiden—his daughter Isla, and Isla’s fiancé, Jack. Gray loved the expansion of their family. The day he’d learned Isla was pregnant, he’d been so fucking thrilled. Now he’d never get to spoil his niece or nephew.
Something warm trickled down his face. He didn’t know if it was blood or tears. Maybe a combination of both.
Gray was shoved into a large room, and the first glance with blurry vision made it look empty. Then he blinked and noticed there were booths along the far wall. The lighting was poor and focused on the middle, shadows cast everywhere. And he didn’t care anymore. He gave up registering things.
“Your toy, sir,” Benny said gruffly.
Vanya approached from the sidelines with a playful little smile, and the meatheads dropped Gray in the middle of the floor. He swallowed hard, his bleary gaze getting stuck on spots of red on the gray carpet. Once he saw a couple splatters, he noticed more. They were all over the center of the floor. Blood, then blotches of darker gray—maybe tears, sweat. Semen. The room reeked of it. A long silk robe came into view, the red fabric dancing around Vanya’s feet. He squatted next to Gray and patted his head.
“There, there.” Vanya’s voice was still angelic and impossibly sweet. “Maybe we’ll get to play more in another life. Mother said you’re a bit of a moron.”
Jesus, he was deranged.
Red sauntered closer, her thin metal cane ready to be used if needed. She didn’t treat Gray as gently. Fisting his hair, she yanked him up on his knees, to which he hissed through clenched teeth.
They faced the darkened booths.
“Dear guests,” Red purred, “I value my customers more than anything, and I would never lie to you.” She slid the cane under Gray’s chin, lifting it slightly. “This young man is more trouble than he’s worth. Should you make a bid, you need to know you’ll be getting a mouthy, rebellious hellion.” With a sharp rap of the cane against his stomach, she ordered Gray to stand up.
He did so on wobbly legs. He’d reached his limit for torture for the moment and didn’t want another bruise to his name.
“If there are no buyers on this animal,” Red continued, “I’ll offer him up as a treat for anyone and everyone—provided that you don’t take him to your staterooms. He’ll be available here in the central den throughout our journey.” She paused. “Now. Let’s see if there are any takers first. Starting at two hundred thousand, this wild boy could be yours. He’s got gorgeous skin that scars nicely, doesn’t he?” She shifted the cane along Gray’s torso, and he swallowed against the vomit that rose. “As you can see on the menu, he is twenty-one years old and built for hot, sadistic grapples. He’s six feet tall, weighs in at one hundred and eighty-nine pounds, and has the temper of an Irishman. If you keep him chained, he could bring you immense pleasure for years.”
Gray steadied his breathing. Aside from a few barely there sounds of rustling and a throat clearing here and there, he wouldn’t know there were people sitting in the booths.
“Lovely abs…” The whisper came from Vanya. Gray had almost forgotten him. Then the psycho kid from hell was tracing the muscles on his lower stomach. “My last toy called them come gutters.” He giggled in delight.
Someone coughed. “Two hundred.” That someone was British and had a meek voice.
“Ah, we have a bidder.” Red sounded both surprised and pleased. “Two hundred—”
Gray swung his tired gaze to the corner, the first booth there, and tried to see who it was. That man’s voice was like low thunder doused in whiskey.
“Two hundred and seventy-five,” the Brit said impatiently.
“Well, well,” Red purred. “Three hundred for the handsome Mr. B.”
The British man got irritated. “Three hundred and twenty.”
Red ordered Gray to kneel again, and he merely dropped.
There was an insufferable huff coming from the booth where Gray believed the British man sat, but nothing else.
Gray didn’t know what to think. This was his life. His freedom. Yet, two men were bidding on it. It was incomprehensible.
“Going once,” Red said in a teasing tone. After a pause, it was made clear. “Mr. B, the heathen is yours. We hope to enjoy your show.”
Oh fuck. Gray connected the dots. The auction was through, and once his life was no longer his own… It’d happened to the other guys. Eventually, he’d heard most of them scream in terror and agony.
A large man stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke. Gray’s eyes flicked between his briefcase, bespoke suit, and cut jaw. The rest was hazy. He couldn’t focus. A headache was beginning to pull him under, and it was gonna be a big one. Mr. B didn’t speak. Under the low light, his brown hair took on a lighter shade.
A stool appeared, delivered by a goon who quickly backed off. The man who now supposedly owned Gray set his briefcase on the stool and flicked open the lid.
Red and Vanya backed away, too.
Gray had lost all his strength. He remained kneeling on the floor and averted his gaze. This was it.
Mr. B approached and stood before a defeated Gray. There was a grip on his jaw, and Gray was forced to look up. His double vision prevented him from registering anything other than a set of hazel eyes brimming with severity and determination. He swallowed weakly as the man dipped and leaned in close. There was a whisper in Gray’s ear.
A heartbeat later, Gray took a hard blow to the temple that shot his head sideways and knocked him out.
I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An amazing start to a new series from Cara Dee! I couldn’t put it down and read through the night in a few short hours.
Auctioned tells the story of Gray (previously from Power Play) and how his seemingly normal life gets ripped away from him and turned upside down in the blink of an eye. Thrust into a world of devastation, torture and heartbreak, Gray doesn’t see a way out.
Enter Darius. Very mysterious and straight to the point. He is hired by Gray’s family to do whatever it takes to find him and bring him home although he doesn’t anticipate helping the ‘strays’ too.
This book is far from a romance or a HEA at this point in the story but it’s a brilliant set up for what is to come in the series. Cara’s writing sucks you in from the first page, all of her books are always very well written and Auctioned is no exception.
A very well deserved five stars!!