Hmm...I don't know...the blurb makes Daniel sound a lot more... belligerent (I guess?) than he really is, which totally changes the dynamics of the story.From what I infer, he's been a slave if not for his entire life, then at least since he was 10, and that's a pretty significant time.Anyway, Daniel seems more like a poor lost little boy who's expecting punishment (or maybe something momentous), not quite sure what exactly it will entail, not quite sure if it will come at all, and doing his damn best in the meanwhile not to invite any extra attention to himself that might invite the attention of the authority figure (whoever that may be - in this case, Carl whatshisface) and remind said figure that he might possibly be due some kind of punishment (he has no idea what to expect, but he's heard it hurts, even if "they're not trying to be mean," ergo, it sounds like punishment).Actually, in many ways, his mentality does reflect that of a much younger child (e.g. the Hotwheels car episode...maybe more like vignette). He kind of reminds me of an abused puppy sometimes. (He's come from a bad home and into a new one, but the owner is kind of gruff and frankly not sure how to handle this poor abused puppy that he really does want to help.) (And hey, look. They lampshaded it.)Except Tim didn't bother to finish that sentence, because there was never a happy reason for Mr. Foster to pull a slave from work. Which meant it had to be about his new master. The man must have called, complained. And didn't that just piss Daniel off, because if the master wanted him punished, he should have been man enough to do it himself. What kind of weak, weaselly, pathetic little man was Carl to do this, to play at master but shun the responsibilities of the title, to pass him off like some . . . some fucking unwanted dog he couldn't be bothered to train, let alone discipline, as if he worried Daniel might try to bite back, or maybe just have the audacity to bleed when he struck him. The master obviously had no stomach for it, thought buying lives was some kind of game; or maybe he was just some bastion of bullshit left-wing liberal guilt who couldn't bear to do his own dirty work but had no questions of conscience when it happened out of sight.Jesus fuck, he was furious.Tim must have mistaken Daniel’s rage-induced shaking for fear, for he cupped Daniel's biceps in a steadying grip and said, "I'm sure it'll be okay. I'll come with you, okay? I won't leave you alone."Daniel barked out a strained laugh that deepened the worry lines on Tim's face.And sometimes it annoys me how stupidly gruff and unable to express himself Carl is. I mean, this could all be resolved if Carl wasn't one of those "strong silent type" (rolls eyes) people. But then, I guess the story wouldn't be quite the same, and that's kind of the point.Also, why is he angry? If he's been a slave his entire life, shouldn't it have been...trained out of him, or something? Meh, I guess I could see how it would not have happened, but I just feel like he should be more...passive. Unless you want to argue the nature/nurture (bah, "nurture"...more like "upbringing," in this case) thing, which I certainly do NOT.I think I've made it clear that I don't particularly like the blurb. It seems like it tries to make light of it, or soften the blow of its content (e.g. the warning "...including a violent rape that is NOT committed by either hero") when it's not supposed to be. I mean, the author (or whoever wrote this blurb) sounds apologetic. Like, "I'm sorry this rape scene happens, but hey, it's not done by the main characters." *tentative smileThe entire thing just...fell short. I mean, I see what the author was going at, but there didn't seem to be ample explanation as to why the MCs were so different from the "norm."After reading the reviews, I realized whoever said it was right. I read the entire thing expecting, waiting for some glimmer of personality from Daniel. He...really didn't have one...It actually kind of reminded me of something I read once (was it Derekica Snake?) "What you are feeling is not love; what you are feeling is mastering" or something like that (cue the ominous music).And the way it just ended...I mean, it was almost like it was trying to glorify the whole slavery thing with a "love definitely conquers all 8-|"I actually think it reads more like a rapefic/darkfic than a standalone. Some of the concepts it explored were rather interesting, but I do feel like it needs to be less apologetic about what it is.The "squishy bits inside" line was a bit too much, though...I don't think I was meant to suppress laughter at that "big reveal." Anyway, this book just brings to mind a large variety of tropes (I've exercised restraint and only included 1 link in this review), which is definitely NOT a good sign for any author. Unless it's a deconstruction or satire, which this is clearly not.I understood what the author was trying to get at, but since she didn't quite get there, I was resistant to buying into it. I mean, yeah, I could make a bunch of excuses for it, but they'd only be weakly supported by the text at best and that's not something I feel like I should do. Make excuses for the story/characterization (or lack of it?), that is.I also have issues with the BDSM label, because it's not. I mean, would you call the enslavement of African Americans in antebellum U.S. BDSM? Seriously.