Adrian Maddox fled his royal life—and tragic past—in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O’Kanes. For years, he’s lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He’s managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched—until now.
They couldn’t be more different—Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he’s ever met.
Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.
Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations—and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It’s the biggest fight the O’Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted—or lose it all. Including their lives.
I received an ARC of this book from the author(s), this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
This is a series that I adore. Dark and gritty, sensual with a biting edge, and in my opinion, feminist erotica. Post -pocalyptic dystopian, which I can’t get enough of. And characters you just have to love set in an intricately built political world. You really can’t just jump in here at the 7th book. It won’t work. Start at the beginning and dig in. Fair warning, the first ones are skewed mostly to the erotica side, but as we go along Kit Rocha builds this whole world and political system that is kind of a darker, and way sexy, Panem.
And this particular story is one that we readers have been clamoring for. For one thing these are some of the most mysterious characters, and for another, after the triad the authors pulled off, how would they pull off a quad? Mad, Dylan, Scarlet, and Jade have serious demons, and this particular story is erotic /fic in just about any configuration you can think to make. And it is intense, and explicit, and not to be missed or skimmed over, because it redraws the terms and boundaries of their relationships and their souls. And for just how sexy it is, it also feels a bit like a cuddly puppy pile, especially at first, because it is also about comfort and caring. And the remarkable thing is that they analyze why they are broken, and what in them is “them”, and what in them is what they were made to be. And as a quad they are whole, and they shore each other up, and they SEE each other, because some things you simply can’t fix…you just have to live with who and what you are now. So it is heady being inside their heads.
On the political/societal front, things come to a massive head. Outright war is on our doorsteps. But sometimes that isn’t even the worst of it. The lives Eden twisted and destroyed and turned into their twisted playthings are PEOPLE under it all, not nameless, faceless things, people…and as I’ve said, sometimes people can’t really be fixed. But sometimes they can remake themselves, and that is often the theme in this series. And if Ashwin Malhotra doesn’t get his ever loving redemption, if not a full-fledged happily ever after, then I WILL freaking riot.
But that is a side thing (but I am serious Bree and Donna, so, so serious), and we have to focus on the now.
And here is what I mean by this being feminist erotica. Yes, there are sexual power plays, and yes, some characters ink collars and cuffs on each other (and that is predominantly women). And yes, there is a ton of sexual submission going on, and what some might argue is coded language. But the flip side to it is, who has the power if sexual submission is what you like and want? And that isn’t all women are in this series. The sexual games are titillating, but if you care to look, the rest is often powerful. Women can be healers, and power brokers, and powers in their own rights. Women can be Sector Leaders, and some of that is because even in the midst of the chaos women can teach their daughters powerful lessons “…how to tell right from wrong, and how to use whatever power she had to protect those who had none….because her mother had loved her enough to tell her she could do anything.” And the powerful men in this series don’t take that for granted, they don’t diminish it, and whatever sexual games they might play-they recognize that the sex (submissive or otherwise) isn’t the defining feature of the women. And there isn’t any BS about the men having to have equal outside power to count, or holding extra internal power to compensate, they just are who they are and they respect each other.
And the love story here of 4 broken individuals who remade themselves, and reshaped themselves-for themselves- somehow made themselves into pieces that fit together perfectly, a puzzle that might not make sense to anyone but them. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about how well a quad would work, how they could balance so I felt that everyone gave and got what they needed, so no one was lesser. But it turned out beautifully, and I can see this relationship working for all of them.
That ending though, war, and not everyone has made it out alive so far, and the future looks pretty grim. We have a title, Beyond Ecstasy, and our two new main characters are revealed. But so far, no date, though it is listed as 2016, so hopefully not too long, I can’t wait.
If you haven’t picked this series up, here’s chance to score a digital copy of a bundle of the first 3 in the series.
BEYOND SHAME (87,000 words, 354 pages)
All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain. But ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms.
Those ruins house the corrupt and the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. He’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life, but no fight prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.
Her innocence is undeniable, and so is their attraction. But if she wants to belong to Jas, she’ll have to open herself to a world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.
BEYOND CONTROL (100,000 words, 398 pages)
Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude to become one of the most influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang–and for its leader. But she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.
Dallas fought to carve order out of the chaos of the sectors. Danger threatens his people, but his liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire–and no one says no to the king of Sector Four.
Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.
BEYOND PAIN (89,000 words, 350 pages)
Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.
Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.
In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.