The Slave is the second book in the Marketplace series. Originally published in 1994 by Masquerade Books and then republished in 2000 by Mystic Rose Books with an added short story. New publisher, Circlet Press, will provide a print-on-demand edition of the book in 2010.
The second novel in the Marketplace series focuses specifically on the experiences of Robin Cassidy as she is recruited into the Marketplace by Ken Mandarin, her training regime under the hand of Chris Parker, and her life as a Marketplace slave. The story is almost entirely from Robin's perspective and her internal reflections about becoming a slave in the Marketplace. Robin's back-story, including her early forays into s/m as a child, during college and at soft world fetish events are all confessed to Chris Parker as she undergoes the accelerated training regime that he has assembled for her. Prior to signing her first contract, she meets Marketplace slave; Robert Grafton and later crosses paths with Brian Cohen, both of whom were featured in the first book of the series, The Marketplace.
The Slave is a particular favorite of many readers, because of its intimate look into the crafting of a Marketplace slave and the growing intensity of the relationship between Robin and her Trainer, Chris Parker. The doubts and joys that Robin experiences give greater depth to novel than its predecessor, and offer the reader more insight into the Marketplace universe.
"You should attempt from this moment to behave as though you were my property - your body, your responses, your services, your mind, your thoughts. You will eat, drink and wear what I give you, sleep where I direct, and do whatever work I assign. You will accept my directions in all things, and never hesitate to inform me of any physical or emotional limitation which may hamper you in the performance of your duties. Is that understood?"
When Robin is sold, her new Owners turn out to be a gay male couple. This turn of events reinforces The Marketplace rule that slaves do not get a choice in either who purchases them, or for what purpose. In Robin's case, she has been purchased primarily for her soft world expertise in art appraisal and that she has been made the sole female in a house of (mostly) gay men is of little concern to her new owners. Nevertheless, she finds pleasure in her service, as well as opportunities to serve the other slaves and her Owners' party guests.
Unfortunately, things sour when Robin is set up by another slave in the household, and is believed to have stolen from her Owner's guests. Instead of being turned over to law enforcement, she is beaten mercilessly by her Owners, who then call Chris Parker to retrieve her. The accusation is proven to be false, and Robin learns another lesson - Owners are not expected to apologize to their slaves. She continues her contract, and is rewarded for her loyalty when her owners "lease" her for the remainder of her contract to their friend Monica; a situation that works out well for all involved.
There is an added short story in the Mystic Rose and Circlet Press editions, "A Familiar Ring." The title has multiple meanings. The story takes up a few years after The Slave ends. Monica has threatened/promised Robin a piercing and finally has someone come to the house to put it in; however it is poorly done by the practitioner. This causes ongoing and constant discomfort for Robin thatMonica disregards a bit too easily, telling her to just bear with the pain for a few more weeks to see if it will subside. Her ambivalence foreshadows how Robin herself might be disregarded someday.
Additionally, in the same short story, Robin is loaned to a lesbian couple, Khim and Judy who are friends of Monica. Their subtle use of Marketplace terminology "outs" them as being affiliated with the society which, in turn, gives Robin a sense of comfort.
She remembered Chris talking to her one day about being asked to top. "It's unlikely that you will be,"
he had said, while she knelt at his feet, taking her eternal mental notes. "You are young and inexperienced....
But you never know if you will be acquired by an owner who wants to create a top from nothing - or that your
owner's tastes might change, or that they may want you to work with them on another slave, upon a guest,
or on some free lover of theirs. When that time comes, you must pay as much attention to those tasks as
anything else, and above all, strive to please..."
In the Circlet Press e-book addition, there is an additional short story entitled "That's Harsh." The story takes place at an all-male party hosted by Jimmy Appleton and Eric Parese. Robin is cross-dressed and participates in the party as a bootblack.
She never could place the exact moment when the chore turned into an act of eroticism. She thought it started
when a man’s hand lingered as he gave a gentle cuff against her cheek in thanks for her brilliantly popped spit shine;
she kissed the lingering fingers out of instinct at first and then moaned at the taste of his hand and lashed her
tongue against the three deep creases in his palm. He laughed and patted her cheek, saying, “Down, boy! I know you
must be dying for some cock about now, huh? Well, give those boots another swipe instead like a good boy.” And he
pressed her head down, where she eagerly dug her tongue against the warm leather.
- Robin Cassidy, Marketplace slave
- Ken Mandarin, Spotter and Owner, and her slaves, Celia, Yaro, and the wicked and sexually voracious "twins", Andy and Cindy
- Chris Parker, Trainer
- Master Bob, Cutiepie, Destiny, Lola, Mark Peggy, Ray, Roy, and Thea, people on a phone sex line that Robin frequents.
- David and Pete, Robin’s cousins and, unknowingly, her first "tops".
- Donna, Robin's college roommate. Her boyfriend's name is Ramon.
- Greg Carneson, Robin's first lover in college. "tall, with raggedly cut blond hair and a tight t-shirt that displayed his team number." Blue eyes.
- Marty, Robin's boyfriend who “taught her to suck cock.”
- Taylor, a work colleague of Robin's who attends some of the same parties she does.
- Maria, Robin’s first serious girlfriend. "Her hair was cropped cruelly short, and was the intense, thick color of fresh cream. Her lips were slightly pursed, drawing their natural tightness in to a sensual knot of crimson flesh."
- Troy, Robin's soft world master. "Troy looked like a slightly absent-minded mathematician whose friendly eyes and carelessly groomed hair guarded a steel-trap mind with a strong appetite for misdirection and games of torment."
- Barry, a friend of Troy's: Robin is loaned to him.
- Joe and Susie. Friends of Robin's and Troy's. When Troy breaks up with Robin, he ends up with Susie.
- Dave and Mike, gay role models at the soft world Fetish Frolic who look so natural together. Originally appear in The Catalyst
- Dr. Emil Kauffman, a psychiatrist and Owner who owns Dr. Greta Mueller, a physician and Marketplace slave
- Rachel, a dear friend of [Chris Parker"]'s
- Gordon Reynolds, an Owner and his slave Leon, who live in the apartment building where Robin is receiving her training
- Glen, a hairdresser. Gets Robin groomed and styled for the slave block on the day of her auction.
- Teralia, a physical trainer who preps Robin for her auction. A "Stern-looking, powerfully built, dark-skinned woman whose hair was shorn close to her scalp, except for a row of dreads that topped her skull like a rooster's crown. She was dressed in dark Danskins, with an artfully ripped sweatshirt falling across her wide shoulders and hanging suspended over her taut stomach."
- Eric Parese, and Jimmy Appleton, Robin's first Owners
- Carl, Jeff, Raul, and Steve (aka Muscledog), the other Marketplace slaves with whom [Robin"] serves
- Monica, a friend of Robin's first Owners who eventually becomes Robin's Owner
- Ali Cruz, a Spotter and her “latest project:” “a shorter and more buxom woman who was making her way through the crowd. . . quite substantial, but all in proportion to the woman’s other gifts. Rubanesque would actually be accurate for her.”
- Alexandra Selador and Grendel Elliott, co-trainers at the Long Island Training House
- Mistress Janelle, a friend of the woman who owns Robert Grafton
- Robert Grafton, a Marketplace slave now owned by an unnamed Mistress
- Brian Cohen, a Marketplace slave now owned by a vintner in California
- At the party for the 50th anniversary of the New York auction: a soft world associate of Robin's, sees her, and later recognizes her on the auction block. Also: “an unnamed architect who designs sleeping and living quarters for human chattel, and had also designed some very stylish and durable torment devices.” “two women who were fashion photographers. They also took the artistic and necessary photos for a slave’s personal file, and for the catalogs used in the larger international sales. One of them had achieved some attention recently for her advertising work, now featured on billboards and kiosks throughout the country.” the unnamed regional director of the New York fall/winter auction and the unnamed auction house manager of slaves at the New York fall/winter auction. There is also an unnamed major domo who directs the slaves at the party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York fall auction. “He was dressed in a working tux, but his collar chain was draped over his white shirt, the lock centered on his chest like a European order.”
- There are “two types” of slaves at the party celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York fall auction. Half are dressed modestly for black tie service; the others provocatively. The second group also serves at the auction where Robin is sold.
- Owners at the auction in The Slave: “They were as varied as the slaves they were coming to see, old and young, Anglo-Saxon and European and Asian and in all shades of skin tone. Their voices rose in admiration and scorn and in calling each other for greetings, recognition and praise, and English was not the only language they spoke. They were beautiful and poised and they were dead common and brash.” A television news man attends and purchases a set of twins. Robin “found herself looking at an elderly man, white haired and slender. His eyes were hard though, with a light of fanaticism, and as he turned her head to one side and then to another, she felt afraid. When she shuddered, he smiled. But without a word to her, he simply walked away, not even looking at her papers.” Also attending are a couple that appear interested in Robin at the auction block. “He was tall, and had a dome shaped head that was losing its hair. His eyes were a watery blue under heavy lids.” (She never sees the woman) Later during appraisal, a stout man with a southern accent beats Robin at the auction block; a prince (no physical description), who Chris Parker calls him "Your Highness," strides by. Two women who consider Robin at the auction block eventually pass; a black man with long dreads and a lilting accent is seen as well. He purchases a slave with heavy tattoos.
- Marketplace slaves at the auction: "a young man, dark skinned and wiry. His head was shaven, and gleamed in the bright light of the room, and he was pierced with silver rings in his nipples and through the head of his cock. He knelt tall, with a straight back and tightly held legs and arms." "....a pair of (female) twins was posed, pale-skinned redheads with dancing bright eyes and playful wide mouths." "A man in his forties, his hair cut in a standard business style and his body a network of decorative body modifications. Tattoos wound up his back and around his legs, and the clean lines of old cuts in his skin showed as pale scars and raised white skin marking off patterns of careful, painful artwork. . . ““Tall, crowned with a silvery mass of hair that came down her body in waves. . . . although the slave had beautiful, upswept breasts topped with pert nipples, between her legs was a man's cock."
- Frequent party guests at Eric and Jimmy's house include Eve and Tom Panski, Owners; April, a friend of Monica's; a television actor "the cover boy of countless teen magazines," who fucks Robin in her office; a client of Jimmy's who is dead drunk but still tries to fuck Robin; a friend of Jimmy's who likes to get his butthole licked for hours; a woman who likes to cane blondes; and a woman who claims to be straight, but enjoys having sex with women. Old enough to be Robin's mother; she has an ex-husband in Phoenix and three children.
Mentioned in The Slave
- Lawrence and Nancy, Owners who loan Chris Parker their apartment for the duration of Robin's training. He fills their fridge with expensive goodies in thanks and has Robin scrub every inch of the place as well.
- Taylor, a man who works in a soft world auction house. Robin likes his attitude.
- Ray, a man in the soft world gallery community who throws parties.
- A pair of men in full horse drag, with Ken Mandarin at the Fetish Frolic.
- Claudia and Sharon, two of the clients in Book One. Robert Grafton asks Chris Parker about them.
- Mr. Lu, Jeff's Trainer
- An unnamed male slave with piercings owned by the brother of Ken Mandarin, who traded him for Celia.
- An unnamed male friend of Leon, “who’s with some folks that like to see him eatin’ outa their hands at dinner, begging for food, but he always gets to eat as much as he wants when he’s in the kitchen.”
- An unnamed man who assists Monica in her paperwork. Robin will work with him.
Characters Who Only Appear in the Story, A Familiar Ring
- Judy, a retired Marketplace slave
- Khim, a retired Marketplace slave
- Arcadia, a piercer Monica brings to the house to give Robin a triangle piercing. “Although her current tormentor had the ink black dyed hair of the teen Goth crowd and the sweet face of a middle class former Catholic school girl, she was solidly in her twenties, just a few years behind Robin herself.” Arcadia works at a shop called Radiance, a soft world business.
- Nicky, a professional (and competent) piercer at The Lance, a soft world business.
- An unnamed woman who attends a party with Khim and Judy. Described by Monica as butch and very well behaved.
- A slender, black haired man studying a tattoo magazine by the counter at The Lance when Robin returns there.
- Two other retired Marketplace slaves living in the D.C. area known to Khim and Judy.
Characters Who Only Appear in the Story, That's Harsh!
None of the additional men in this story are given names. However, there is a “handsome black man who must have been one of Eric’s model friends, dressed in brief rubber shorts and a body harness that caressed his lithe body so elegantly he made the garments seem almost formal,” who is Lamont, the narrator of a short story in The Academy.