Grace Warner wants to be an erotic slave. So much so that she's been considering moving to a private island where it's legal...and binding. She's been communicating with Lucas Stone, a resident of the island nation Eleu, for almost a year. He wants her to come out and be his slave, but she's just not sure she's willing to give up her citizenship and become his legal property. After they have an argument and quit communicating, she realizes it is what she wants and agrees to go to him.
What happens once she gets to the island is not at all what she'd envisioned - he's a vicious and sadistic master. Eight months into it, she barely recognizes her beaten, bloodied appearance or even her own name. Then, when she thinks things can't get worse, he sells her to Asher Collins, a man reputed to have killed his last slave.
What Grace doesn't know is that Asher didn't kill his slave, but feels responsible for her death anyway. His guilt has prevented him from purchasing another slave,until he sees how Lucas has been treating Grace. He sees in Grace a chance to atone for his mistakes and save a life where previously he did not. But has Grace been tortured beyond repair? Can she unlearn the lessons taught by such a sadistic master as Lucas was? And is Asher a strong enough master to save her?
Kitty Thomas writes darkly erotic novels that are not easily forgotten; Tender Mercies is no exception. Her psychologically disturbing yet erotic stories take the reader on a journey of submission and trust as a way to fulfillment. Comfort Food, Guilty Pleasures, and Tender Mercies all explore the slave/master dynamic, but she manages to make the story different and intriguing each time. Her stories are well-crafted and even though the scenarios are fantastical in a kinky, masochistic sense, I don't have any trouble falling right into her stories and becoming fully vested in the characters and their experiences. I am slightly disturbed by how much I enjoy her books; as if something this dark should not be enjoyed, but I do. Very much.
Note: This book contains non-consentual sex scenes, so if you have difficulty reading those types of scenes, this may not be the book for you.