Kassa's Reviews > Hot Cargo

Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett
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Aug 29, 09

The blurb is not only misleading but it’s not a good representation of a book that is entertaining and highly erotic with a BDSM kink neither too heavy nor overwhelming. Blaise Risner is a privateer that has turned to smuggling as a way to make ends meet when legitimate shipping fees became too much for him to continue legally. Blaise is caught when Admiral Peter Keller’s ship starts to crack down on pirates, blaming them for recent unprovoked attacks on planets, ships, and innocent scientists.

Peter is in space for long periods of time and gets his sexual needs filled by taking prisoners on board and forcing them to serve him as his sexual submissive in place of their punishment. As it’s been a while since he had a sexual slave he decides to assign Blaise to his ship for the duration of his “punishment” and begins a BDSM tinged kinky journey with the pirate. Soon though, both men are enjoying the connection and are only playing at keeping up the pretense of who is in charge and who is submissive. For those uneasy about the BDSM component, it’s not very heavy other than Peter’s clear domination and Blaise is a willing partner for the most part.

The book seems to be divided into two parts and unfortunately Peter is not a sympathetic character or ultimately a likable one for the first half of the book. His initial use of Blaise was discomforting, though his captive enjoyed the sex Peter was clearly the dominant and didn’t allow Blaise the choice of saying no or disagreeing with anything Peter demanded or ordered. As their sexual relationship continues, Peter clings to the illusion of being in charge and therefore takes advantage of Blaise numerous times. Peter often “punishes” Blaise as a way to work through his own frustration and anger and although Peter recognizes this as wrong and occasionally feels bad, it doesn’t prevent Peter from repeating this pattern often.

Furthermore when Blaise is shaken and hurt from a nightmare, Peter’s selfish response ranges from unreasonable jealousy as Blaise recounts the death of his close friend to anger that Blaise didn’t give him information about the space invaders sooner ~ let’s not focus on the fact that your lover is recounting a humiliating and painful torture he received at said invaders’ hands ~ then finally Peter falls asleep because he has better things to think about. His lover’s emotional and mental health is clearly not important to him, a theme that is repeated throughout the story.

The authors attempt to show Peter as someone hiding from past experiences and afraid of his own reaction and feelings to Blaise. While this certainly came through, Peter’s unrelenting selfishness overwhelmed his weak justifications. He never once questions his own actions when faced with the knowledge of Blaise’s past treatment, instead is jealous of the man who took care of Blaise and helped him recover. Peter’s single minded focus to find the space invaders never once takes into consideration that these creatures tortured his lover and thus Blaise is understandably uneasy. Peter focuses on the fact that Blaise should be willing to help him unconditionally if only Blaise truly cared.

These miscommunications are riddled in the first half of the story; yet disappear completely in the second half after Peter becomes injured. At this point, both the subplot of the space attacks and the relationship between Peter and Blaise seem to drag with the majority of the relationship building having taken place within the erotic sexual encounters between the men. As there is little interaction outside the bedroom, Peter and Blaise’s feelings build through their mutual chemistry and desire. They seem to communicate through sex and thus the sudden lack of both their sexual encounters and fast moving fights, the story seems to drag until they meet up again and live happily ever after. The subplot of space invaders is ignored with a few references to an easy resolution and the story in general would have benefited from being shorter with a tighter, more defined pace and progression.

Blaise’s character was well defined with his charming and engaging personality. His strength and charisma created a likable and relatable character with his range of emotions from desire to more depth inviting as his feelings became deeper. His past was somewhat vague but just enough to give a fuller image of the man with his fiery temperament. Although his attraction to Peter is initially based on mind-blowing sex, his reasons for attaching himself to the older man are clear, even if Peter’s actions appear uncaring. It’s evident why Blaise sees through Peter and tolerates his actions, as disagreeable as some are. Unfortunately Blaise seems to fall apart slightly in the second half of the book with his notable personality falling flat and becomes alternately insecure and demanding. One moment he needs reassurance, the next he already knows the truth and doesn’t need to hear it anymore.

Overall this book definitely had high points and while it certainly had its share of overly flowery prose, the story was easy and readable, if slightly too long. The dichotomy of the character’s personalities between the first and second half of the book led to a disjointed feeling and Peter was not a shining example of a wonderful character, yet most of the story was fast paced, engaging and highly erotic. The science fiction/space setting didn’t add much to the story so those not wanting a heavy space epic won't be bothered. This story satisfies those looking for scorching hot sexual chemistry with combustible personalities adding a splash of BDSM and science fiction thrown in for flavor.
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