All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.
The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.
Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, and to a world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.
My first reaction upon finishing this book was “Wow” – it is unlike anything I’ve read before. I usually steer clear of stories set in dystopian or post-apocalyptic worlds, and avoid those with BDSM or multiple partners. So why did I read this? I’d seen reviews of its sequel, Beyond Control and when people whose opinion I value are wanting to give that more than 5 stars, I thought “OK, time to step outside my comfort zone and have a go at this”.
So very glad I did. Beyond Shame is a deliciously filthy read, full of strong characters and plentiful amounts of explicit sex. Often when I’ve read books that are highly explicit in terms of sexual content, it can feel as if the sex is just there for titillation or to say “Hey, I’m an erotic novel, look at me”. Not with Beyond Shame – while it is rather full-on, the sex becomes part of the story, part of who these people are, not just something they do.
The relationships in this book are fantastic. The male characters are ALPHA, ALPHA, ALPHA – hard, violent but fiercely protective of what is theirs and of those they love. I particularly love how women are portrayed in this book. They’re in control of themselves, their sexuality and are not made to feel ashamed of this
Noelle, the heroine, has been cast out of her home behind the walls of Eden and finds herself, in more ways than one, in Sector Four. She is able to discover who she is and what it is she really wants. And that is Jasper. What I liked about Jasper was that despite the desperate and intense attraction between himself and Noelle, he doesn’t push her or force her into anything. He allows, and in fact wants, her to discover who she needs and wants to be.
Despite the prevalence of multiple partners, you are never left with any doubt as to who the story’s focus is: Noelle and Jasper. As it is the first in a series, you are introduced to others, such as Dallas and Lex, who are going to be explored in future titles. I cannot wait to get my hands on Beyond Control now – it has a tough act to follow in this book.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Release Date: 2 October 2012
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Kit Rocha via NetGalley in return for an honest review.