Trust in Me - Skye Warren My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

The 2nd book in Skye Warren’s Dark Erotica/Erotic Non-Con series, Trust In Me is about a prostitute and her life story, living with a crime lord and his minions. This book also explore the very sensitive issues of rape, abuse, torture and human trafficking, about women who are sold as sex slaves.

But most of all, this is Mia’s story, told from her POV.

Even as I’m trying to write this review, I can’t help feeling a little sick of thinking about the things I read in this book. No, I’m NOT regretting that I read it. I’m actually glad that I did. I’ve also read Keep Me Safe, where the heroine Rachel was kidnapped by the same gang and the undercover FBI agent, Zachery saved her. That book also had rape, torture and abuse... but Trust In Me exceeds that book by a big mark.

Mia has been a victim of sexual abuse even when she didn’t know what sex was... started by the hands of her own father. Years after years of being abused and having no help whatsoever, Mia runs away at the age of 16. After living in the street for a few years and selling herself for a bit of food, she was discovered by the crime lord Carlos (also appears in Keep Me Safe), who took her in and made her his whore. Mia has been living with him ever since. It’s been a few years though I’m not sure exactly how many.

In her childhood, Mia had a crush on the golden boy of the barrio she lived in, Tyler, who was 6 yrs older than her 12 yrs old self. Now, there are bits and pieces of her time with Tyler revealed throughout the book. Tyler has always been kind to her but didn’t know the extent of abuse she’s been suffering. Mia, even in that age, knew that she had to trade her body for food and a roof over her head. And she also knew she can’t confide in anyone. One night, as she spies on Tyler, who lived next to her, having sex with another girl. Mia is crushed and jealous. As they quarrel, Mia sort of blurts out about her father and Tyler got the picture. In the meantime, her drunk as a skunk father comes out and they break into a fight. But Tyler also had some troubles keeping him from saving Mia. Mia, heartbroken, just resigned to her fate that this is what her life would be and there would never be anyone to save her from this, ever. And she always, ALWAYS thought herself the dirty whore, who has no worth in this world. And Carlos, the dirty sadistic pervert made this notion permanent with his abuse and torture. Mia, when saved by Carlos, thought him to be her savior, a misguided notion as it was. But to Carlos, she was nothing but a play toy. Something he owns and would discard as easily. To him, he ‘made’ her what she is today. Now, Mia knew she’d have to pay for her food and keeping with her body, and she does that too at first. But in a few days, the extent of Carlos’s perversion comes into light. There were things he made her do, I can’t even imagine. If it was only about sex, I would understand, though I do not condone prostitution. But it was outright torture, beating her to bloody pulp, letting other men use her like dirty dishrag, forcing her to perform disgusting blowjobs anytime, anywhere, in front of anyone... There are other things I don’t even wanna think about; things to degrade her beyond imagination. I cringed, I felt miserable, I felt numb (at one point, otherwise I knew I won’t be able to stand it anymore) and I cried as I read pages after pages of the misery that Mia called ‘life’ living with Carlos.

And the book only got darker as I read on.

Trust In Me takes place a few months after Keep Me Safe. Mia knows about the human trafficking. Even though she thinks her life is worth nothing (the trauma she goes through every day, I don’t even know how she got by) but she would help saving the other women who are somewhere under Carlos’s guard. Mia is working for Zachery in secret, though she knows if Carlos gets one hint, she’s dead. But she doesn’t care... until one day, she sees Tyler in Carlos’s bunch. I can’t explain the scene how they met after all those years because she was ‘servicing’ Carlos at that moment, who liked having it publicly, while discussing business with other men. He even lets them have her service and if they aren’t happy, it’s Mia who pays for it. After seeing Tyler, Mia, after a longtime in her life, felt utter shame and disgust about herself. She can’t believe Tyler saw her like this and believe me, even after what she went through, I felt her shame and the crushing despair. I also have reservations calling her a ‘whore’ though she calls herself that at least 8-10 times in every page. She was a victim as any other who are forced into sexual slavery. She still is but she has taken her lot in life as an unavoidable circumstance. She has no self-worth to talk about (it comes back over and over again) and no hope for life beyond Carlos’s clutch.

Over the course of the story, we get more and more explicit description of Mia’s torture and abuse on the hands of Carlos and his men. Some comes out of her thoughts on the past and what Carlos made her do for her subjugation. I can’t explain in words how horrifying some of those things were and how at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe reading about those. After meeting Tyler, she didn’t know if she could trust him at all. And then, there was the fact of her ‘life’ and her still lingering attraction towards him from the childhood. She is at first hurt, thinking Tyler is disgusted to see her as she was because the abuse and torture doesn’t stop while Tyler was there. Mia keeps ‘serving’ Carlos’s whims throughout and more than once, with Tyler present. It was just heartbreaking, this whole situation, made worse by Tyler’s very apparent attraction for her. They also have sex, more than once, but most of those were more of a performance born out of circumstance than actual lovemaking.

One of the real heartwrenching moments for me doesn’t even involve Carlos. As she was skeptical about Tyler, Mia secretly calls Zachary and he confirms that Tyler wasn’t their agent. Mia is shocked. But she is more shocked by the name of the undercover man sent by Zachery, who was still working for Carlos under a code name. I’m not sure if this guy was FBI or just an informant but what struck me was that he was also one of those men who abused and hurt Mia, more than once. The whole thing was so horrifying, he working for the FBI, I would’ve thought this man at least won’t... I just didn’t know what to think and Mia just dropped the phone in the toilet and flushed it out. I felt her misery and despair to my own bone. It was such an indescribable feeling!

Tyler proved to be a sweet hero, much like Zachery and he wasn’t a he-man-who-saved-the-day kind. He had his flaws and he regretted never saving Mia from that hell of a life under her father. He came back later, only to find her gone. He didn’t know how to trace her, no idea where she might’ve been or if she was dead already... until that day, with Carlos. And he tried his best, also trying not to blow his cover with Carlos, to help Mia. He was more hopeful of the whole situation than Mia ever was, as he kept on telling her to ‘trust in him’. That everything will be alright in the end. But for Mia, she was sure that her misery would only end in death because a body can endure only so much. The only question was when and how.

Mia does help saving the lives of those women in the end, with her own freedom too. Carlos actually set her free with Tyler, even after knowing they were betraying him, working with FBI, though he tortures Mia beforehand. Why? I have NO idea. As the author’s note says, the ending is what you can call a ‘happy ending’ but I can’t help thinking, could Mia actually get over the trauma of such an elongated life of sexual torture and abuse? Could she have a more ‘normal’ life? They did exchange ILU in the end, with a promise of marriage but could it be all for a ‘normal’ life for these two? I don’t know the answer but I hoped that they do find some happiness somehow.

Then there was Mia’s ever misguided delusion of Carlos being her savior, even as the story ended she thought of him that way and I don’t know why. It bugged me to no end because Carlos was a m*********er who needed his balls chopped off, alive! As I said, if it was only sex and if Carlos didn’t let other men use her the way he did, I would at least try to find some ground here, something to even delude myself. But what he made her do, what he did to her and let others do to her... I just kept thinking, how could you think him as your savior after everything Mia? HOW????

In my review of Keep Me Safe, I said that I tried to look at the whole issue from a realistic POV. Same goes for Trust In Me. We all know that there are victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking all over the world. We just can’t imagine the extent of what they’ve suffered or still suffering, even as we speak. I would like the thank SW for her strong and unapologetic voice once again and forcing me to have a glimpse of that ‘extent’. I wasn’t fascinated by this book but rather shocked and really depressed. If I be honest here, I had nightmares while I was reading it. No one ever has to go through the things in life as Mia had.

Just about NO ONE in this world.

4.25 stars. I’ll definitely be picking up the next installment Hear Me.

Warning: If you do not like non-consent stories, stories of rape and violence, torture and abuse along with some incest, this is NOT the book for you.