The Payment Series (Prized, Possessed, Purgatory) by Cassandra Carr


Grade: C
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: High Kink
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary
Published: 5/6/2014
Reviewed by Kate
280  pages

Catrina is so deep in debt that there are no options left for her. Until she hears about “Debt Management Assoociates.”  DMA offers a solution to her problem.  But it means she’ll have to be her “benefactor’s” sex slave for a full year.  She’d have to do whatever, whenever, with whoever he wants.

The first book in the series, “Prized,” takes us through Catrina’s 2 week training period with the DMA.  The second installment, “Possessed,” follows Catrina through her year long sentence of service.  And “Purgatory,” the final book shows us how Catrina copes in the first 2 months after her service period has ended.

I knew going into this one that it would be polarizing for me.  Either the author was going to do a really good job showing that the romance between Catrina and her benefactor, Jared, was much more than the purchase agreement and I was going to love it. Or the author would make me feel dirty for just reading it and I would hardly be able to finish it.  I was surprised and shocked to realize that the author didn’t follow either path I expected.  Instead she provided me with a story that made me think and think and think some more.  This story was raw, graphic, and gritty and made me cringe at multiple times.

My main complaint comes from the fact that this book was tagged as a “erotica, romance” on NetGalley.  So I went into it expecting a dirty, raunchy love story.  Yes.  I read the summary provided and I knew that she would be with multiple men and I guessed that some/most of it would be non-consensual.  But I was expecting the author to weave some sort of story where Jared falls for Catrina and vice versa.  Instead I was left with this chronicle of Catrina’s life during her time in service.  We never got inside Jared’s head and never got a chance to see him as anyone apart from the man who paid mongo bucks to take complete control of her for one year.  On Catrina’s part, it wasn’t so much a love story as one of dependence.

It reminded me a lot of the Story of O by Pauline Réage.  Both heroines had a span of forced submission, however the back stories are a bit different.  I struggled to connect to each heroine.  It was almost like the drastic-ness of their situations made it hard to see them as a person.  And much like the Story of O, I feel that this story will stick with me for a long time, popping into my mind at odd times and making me think.

So how do I rate a book that I hated on one hand-because it absolutely lacked the romance I was looking for-but on the other hand it is one of those rare books that has dug its claws into my brain and feels like it will stick there forever?  I’d have to say it failed as a romance, but gets full marks for making me think and see things a bit differently.

I’m going to be looking into more by Cassandra Carr, because I would love it if she was able to write a romance that made me think as much as this one did.  If you’re looking for a romanctic read this one is definitely not for you.  If you’re looking for a thought provoking read, and you are okay with explicit anal and oral sex, you might want to give this one a try.

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