by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Here at Lady Smut, we *love* Kit Rocha’s super sexy Beyond series. I wrote at length about the erotic romance series in May, Elizabeth Shore talked about the series’ smokin’ bad boys and badder women last February, and Madeline Iva broke the news over Beyond Shame way back in 2012. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to get an early glimpse of the newest novella installment, Beyond Possession, which releases November 10th. Here’s the blurb:
Tatiana Stone has worked hard to establish herself as one of Sector Four’s most skilled crafters. All she wants is peace–but the sins of her father haunt her. He ruled the sector as a petty tyrant before the O’Kane takeover, and plenty of people harbor bitter memories of his cruelty. Especially now that Tatiana’s beloved baby sister has fallen in with a man who wants to start a revolution.
Zan failed his boss once, and it won’t happen again. So when Dallas O’Kane asks him to defuse the rebellion brewing in the sector, he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done–including seduce Tatiana. It’s the perfect opportunity to get closer to the pretty crafter and complete his mission. But what he discovers is a fiery, passionate woman–and an affair that could destroy them both.
As the eldest daughter of the deposed former leader of Sector Four, Tatiana has never been able to relax in Dallas O’Kane’s new order, always aware that her every move is being watched by both the O’Kanes and those who want to kick them out of power.
Jasper probably knew exactly the sort of shit Wallace was saying. By tomorrow, Pam would have provided him with the precise, damning details. The O’Kanes had always treated Tatiana well, but she was under no illusions. They watched her, too. Other people could prove they were loyal. Everyone was waiting for her to prove she wasn’t.
An O’Kane enforcer, Zan’s had a thing for Tatiana for a while now and being the one to collect her protection money has given him the excuse to stay close, until a gun battle leaves him sidelined with an injury. Now on the mend, Dallas has deployed him to monitor Tatiana and her role in the growing unrest in the sector.
It left Tatiana caught in the middle. Tatiana, who tried so damn hard to be brave and independent, even when it wore her down. And it did. He’d been making the runs to her shop for more than a year, and she always had the same air of exhaustion and desperation about her. At first, he’d started chatting her up and bringing her little gifts just to ease some of the tension bracketing her eyes. Before long, his reasons for showing up once or twice a week had become decidedly more selfish. He liked looking at her. More than that, he liked talking to her, making her laugh. She was a good person, a decent one, and she didn’t deserve any of this shit.
Tatiana is too experienced in Sector politics not to know what Zan and Dallas want from her, but she values her hard-won independence more than her life and is unwilling to put herself under the rule of a man again…unless it’s in the bedroom. A secret affair with Zan could give her the chance to cede control to his strong hands in that arena…or blow up both their worlds.
Novellas are by definition a more condensed story, so coming into the action with the players already acquainted goes a long way in creating a complete story with emotional and sexual resonance that also has plot relevance to the larger action going on in the series. I enjoy these Sector Four novellas because they give readers a chance to explore the outer fringes of the O’Kane world in between the full novels of the main cast. But I’m a book series hore, so I prefer when the novellas in this series focus on characters who’ve been more demonstrably present in other installments, like the Beyond Temptation novella that finally gave us Noah and Emma’s story. I gobbled that one up in one stay-up-till-4 AM bite and then re-read it the next day.
Tatiana has lurked on the fringes of the Sector Four main action for a few books now as purveyor of a shop that sells homemade personal care things like shampoo, soaps, and oils (and sometimes lube) to the O’Kane men and woman. Her role as the daughter of Matt Stone intrigues–the deposed princess now one of the disgruntled masses–but for me she lacks the sheer presence on the page of the other O’Kane heroines. That may be because she has such little direct impact on the series prior to this novella.
Since her father was deposed, Tatiana’s struggled to carve out a place among the people he persecuted. She’s as protective of her store as she is her younger sister. Tatiana is more than capable of being bloody when needed but uses violence only as a last resort. She holds her emotions on a tight leash lest she give the wrong people the right idea of how she feels. Her previous efforts to relinquish that control in a sexual relationship were ultimately unsuccessful, lost in a confused misunderstanding of the depths to which her earlier lover took play and power games. Zan makes her want to try again if they can first lay down the right rules.
Zan has had more of a presence in Sector Four, most memorably when he was shot up trying to save Trix from abduction at the end of Beyond Jealousy. Tatiana touches the soft spots within him. “She smiled when he came through her door. Laughed at even his worst jokes. Listened to his stories and watched him hungrily when she thought he wasn’t paying attention. But he was always paying attention.”
Zan is a loyal O’Kane, though, and as much as he wants a relationship with Tatiana, what Dallas O’Kane requires comes first. He feels somewhat torn with using his relationship with Tatiana to get the inside scoop on the brewing rebellion, but not enough to stay out of her bed. Tatiana sees this as a chance to give up control in a confined space with the understanding that it doesn’t cross the bedroom threshold.
That was how it worked with someone you could trust. But it felt like giving in, like it turned all those other words she’d said–the ones about needing her independence, and to be strong–into lies. But this was what she wanted. Weak or not, shameful or not. It was what she needed. “I want to be selfish. I want someone to take care of me.”
“But you have rules.” It was an observation, not an accusation. “Explain them to me?”
He’d respected the last boundary she’d drawn. Hope seized her, swallowing the ache of loss as her heart began to beat faster. “Only when we’re upstairs. And if something makes me uncomfortable, I’ll tell you.”
He took a step back, his expression more intense than ever. “Show me.”
Any book that lets me play in Sector Four makes me happy. Beyond Possession is a steamy, emotional story that includes cameos of some favorite O’Kane men and women. Ultimately though, it made me even more hungry for the next meatier story in the series. Which isn’t coming until 2105. Damn.
Beyond Possession is available to buy from all major vendors on November 10th. Click the picture above to pre-order.
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