Alexa Parrino and Dallas O’Kane have danced around each other for years, giving and taking pleasure but never quite crossing the line that would entangle them forever.
Then Dallas gets his collar around Lex’s throat, and their lusty game of cat and mouse heads down a rocky path they aren’t sure they can navigate and remain whole.
When I read Kit Rocha’s Beyond Shame, I was intrigued by the scenes of Lex and Dallas together, wondering why they wouldn’t bow to the heady sexual tension and just fuck already. Now I know why. Because sleeping with Dallas O’Kane isn’t just another dance between the sheets. Not when you’re Lex. Not when you’re the queen of Sector Four.
Once the leather is buckled on, things happen quickly. There’s no slow build up to their first coupling, and that’s how it should be. They’ve waited years for this. Holding back and taking their time is beyond their capabilities. But their relationship isn’t limited to the bedroom. Lex has always had a certain amount of control and authority within the O’Kane gang, and now, with Dallas’ claiming, she has more. A trip to her old sector, Sector Two, sets events in motion that will mean a lot of sleepless nights for Dallas and his lieutenants, and re-ignites his desire for more power. His lust for more is a bone of contention between the pair, one they shadowbox around because it’s easier (and ultimately more frustrating and painful) than trying to articulate their thoughts.
After years of denying themselves their deepest needs, Lex and Dallas are rendered almost incapable of communicating what they truly have to have, and this leads to more than one heartbreaking moment. At one point, they’re so broken, you have to wonder if they’ll come out stronger, or if the compromise they reach is just that: a compromise. One that satisfies everyone for now, and leaves open the possibility for animosity and mistrust to rear up and slap them in the face.
But not all the heartbreak belongs to Lex and Dallas. We were introduced to Six in Beyond Shame, and here we get a few more glimpses into her and her previous life. There’s steel being forged in the emotionally broken woman from Sector Three, and her tentative feelers reaching out for comfort and affection will put a few cracks in your heart. She sees the world of sin and darkness around her and sees the pain, and none of the pleasure.
That’s not the case for Lex and Dallas. Pain and pleasure and sex and lust and need and obsession are all one and the same, intricately knotted together in a web that they can’t free themselves from. And they don’t want to. This is the life they’ve chosen, and they revel in it.
One of my favorite parts of Beyond Control was delving deeper into Sector Four. It’s ink and leather and chains, cage fights and liquor, civilized barbarianism with a healthy dose of true affection. It’s a place where you could be completely and utterly debauched and still hang on to your soul, because while Dallas might be ruthless when it comes to controlling his empire, he’s just as fierce when it comes to protecting the people under his control. He wants them happy, and happy is those small touches and hugs that lend support to the knowledge that Dallas will protect you.
The writing team of Kit Rocha does an excellent job weaving together the layers of need, fear, trust, and desperation that are alternately built upon and stripped away as Dallas and Lex fumble their way toward their happily ever after. The relationship between Lex and Noelle deepens and evolves, and you can’t help but grin at the former princess from Eden delighting in all the new ways she can indulge in previously shameful activities. Dallas lets down his guard and shows us more than the gang leader who built his empire with sweat and blood and violence.
C’mon. Do I really need to spell it out for you? You want to read this book. You really want to read this book. You won’t regret it.