by Kiersten Hallie Krum
We’re coming to the end of Kit Rocha’s bestselling “Beyond” series, a series I’ve been an avid fan of for some time now. Beyond Ecstasy is the penultimate installment in the series and the first book after the game-changing events of Beyond Ruin.
Look! A blurb!
The O’Kanes have a reputation for working hard and playing harder—except for Hawk. He joined the gang with one goal: to ensure his family’s survival through the impending war with Eden. It’s been years since he had the luxury of wanting anything for himself. Now, he wants Jeni. From the first moment he saw her, he’s been obsessed with making her his. Not for a night—forever.
Jeni’s been lusting after the former smuggler for months, but he keeps shutting her down. She’s almost given up on getting him in her bed when he offers her the last thing she ever expected—a collar. Accepting it means belonging to him, body and soul. It’s a reckless gamble, but Jeni can’t resist the chance to slip under Hawk’s armor.
The only thing more shocking than the dark, dangerous pleasure they discover is how right it feels. But falling in love is even more reckless when forever is far from guaranteed. Because they aren’t just at war, they’re out of time—and every breath could be their last.
Now that Eden has bombed the holy hell out of Sector Two, attempt to assassinate one sector leader and successful assassinated another, the O’Kane’s and their allies are shoring up their defenses and preparing for the inevitable worst: an invasion of the sections by the forces of Eden. Tensions are high, crime is up, and people are starting to despair, even those who are loyal to Dallas O’Kane. For the last several books, Hawk and Jeni have been circling around one another. Hawk hails from Sector Six, where massive farms produce the majority of the food that feeds Eden. Where other sections get birth control piped into their water, in Sector Six, fertility drugs are pushed so that the multiple wives of the farm owner’s can produce more workers on a regular basis. So Hawk comes with a host of stepmothers and half sisters and brothers, all of whom he left behind when he helped Finn and Trixie escape the tyranny of Sector Five back in Beyond Addiction, cinching his entrée into the O’Kanes.
Jeni is a dancer at the Broken Circle and one of the elite prostitutes of Gia’s famed house, the same house where Ace and Jasper both once plied their former trade. She has a picture perfect memory, so Dallas sets her to work unraveling and vetting coded messages to find out who in their sector might be betraying them to Eden. Sexually, she’s been playing with Dallas and Lex for a while as their submissive, but as she’s seen other O’Kane’s pair up to find happiness, with a front-row seat to Dallas and Lex’s own perfectly balanced union, she’s realized this is the kind of love and partnership she wants for herself, not to always remain an accessory of another’s pairing. She thinks she might find this with Hawk, who snagged her attention and interested from the moment he arrived, but she can’t seem to make it past his taciturn shields.
Hawk’s been holding out on Jeni for several reasons. While he holds no judgment, the free-wheeling sex fun of the O’Kane’s isn’t really his bag. He wants the real thing, and when Jeni finally gets him to admit how he feels about her, he warns that he’s not into her for a hook up, he wants her to wear his mark from the get go, a collar he’s already had made, because it’s the end of the world so why waste time, ya know? Since he has a point, and she’s been wanting him for a long time, Jeni signs on for a trial run.
Except this is Sector Four, so naturally, it’s not as easy as that. Hawk returns to his home sector as Dallas’s envoy–and takes Jeni with him to meet the extended fam–so he can advise them how to prepare for the coming invasion. It’s while they’re there that Hawk and Jeni begin their relationship, getting to know each other while exploring limitless lines of pleasure and pain together.
Jeni and Hawk are basically trying for one last chance at love and happiness before the world ends. Hawk needs to believe there’s a future to fight for while Jeni is looking to enjoy what time they have left, two philosophies that may not be able to coast along together no matter how much love they may feel for one another. And when Eden makes its forceful hand known, Hawk and Jeni get caught up in the aftermath, leading them to a heart-breaking, all or nothing situation from which only one of them will survive.
Beyond Ecstasy isn’t the calm before the storm, it’s smack in the eye of it. Each Beyond book widens the depth and breath of this world and this time around, we’re back to get more of Sector Six while there’s also a sprinkling of hints of what’s to come in the final clash between the O’Kane’s/the Sectors and the might of Eden. After the bedroom gymnastics to accommodate a union of four in Beyond Ruin, focusing on only two people in Beyond Ecstasy was a relief. Maybe this is why Beyond Ecstasy feels somewhat sweeter and less complicated. Or it might be because Hawk’s family farm in Sector Six is a more traditional venue with green grass and barns and extended family who are actually related to one another, as though the gritty, urban series was transported to the Heartland before it’s destroyed (or is it?). The world-building has all its usual sublime intricacy and all of the favorite suspects make appearances to check us into their statuses. All around, Beyond Ecstasy is another sexy and satisfying romp with the O’Kanes, chock full of heart-stopping action and shocking revelations, centered around a couple trying to hold off the end of the world by holding on to each other for just a little while longer…if they can.
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Writer, singer editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel Wild on the Rocks is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.