Reviewed by Mandi and Tori
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
Mandi: Wow – book seven of the Beyond series and it’s still going strong. I do recommend reading these in order, as the world and even the relationships build upon each book. Beyond Ruin is a foursome HEA. Any other book or series, a threesome+ HEA makes me nervous. How will they all fit together? How will they deal with jealousy and living in the real world with multiple partners. But those worries don’t exist in this series for me. Kit Rocha has developed a dark and gritty world but the relationships are open, honest and warm. Four people loving each other? No problem! It makes sense in this world.
This book not only takes on a Mad, Dylan, Jade and Scarlet romance, but with a lead up to a war with Eden, these four must look back at their sectors, and the ones they love that are still there, and choose their course of action.
Tori, let’s start with Mad and Dylan. Mad, full of emotions, and guilt left in Sector One. He is in love with Dylan, the intense, colder doctor from Eden. How did you enjoy the two of them?
Tori: Mad + Dylan = YUM. Such intense raw emotions flow off of them. The chemistry between them is a heady explosive mixture of lust, love, and guilt; all compounded by the danger they live with daily. Two strong, broody men fighting for their lives and relationship in and out of bed? SWOON. Their attraction to one another is never in doubt but there is something…someone(s) missing from their relationship.
“She smelled like cinnamon and vanilla. She smelled like she‘d just crawled out of Jade’s bed.”
Throughout the series we have watched as Dylan and Mad have developed into complicated characters whose animosity gradually turned to love. As you said Mandi, Mad is a mess of guilt and shame over his ties to Sector One. A prince in a religious cult-like family, he left his heritage behind after a tragedy left him doubting his family and their agenda. A born protector and “fixer”, Mad maintains a strict control everywhere EXCEPT in Dylan’s arms. With him he can fly free with no guilt. Dylan is a dominant and gives Mad the peace he desires by taking over control in the bedroom. This drug addicted doctor whose upbringing and life in Eden was far darker than anyone has suspected has lived in Sector Four for a while but keeps himself separate from the others-that is, from everyone but Mad. Dylan NEEDS Mad for his own redemption from the demons that ride him.
“Sex was a way to pass the time. Games could be fun or frustrating. But Mad-he was beautiful. He burned with light and righteousness, burned so hot you could feel it even through the anguish and guilt.”
Scarlet and Jade are the missing pieces. Like Mad and Dylan, Scarlet and Jade each gives the other what they want but more importantly, what they need. Extreme opposites, Scarlett grew up poor in Sector Three while Jade was raised in a gold gilded cage as an in Sector Two. The daughter of a former mistress and patron, Jade was “given” to a madame and trained in the art of seduction and espionage. She has seen and done so much, she feels like if she shows her true self to anyone, no one will love her anymore. Her guilt, like Mad’s, is soul draining. Similar to Dylan and Mad’s relationship, Scarlet is the protector their relationship. The problem is, Jade isn’t really broken. She isn’t the glass blown fragile victim everyone sees. There is a core of steel in her that becomes visible once she takes opens to the door to her past and embraces it. A core that shocks her lovers.
“No. I’m done being treated like some broken toy you wish you didn’t want to play with.”
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
While the book is structured primarily around this foursome and their journey to completion, I couldn’t help but feel Jade and Mad were the only ones we really get to know intimately. The romance was believable which surprised me. I’m not a fan of polyamorous relationships and not many authors can actually make it work well in my opinion. Lightning hot chemistry and a realistic look at the issues that encompass a relationship consisting of more than two people kept it flowing along smoothly but I had one issue. Scarlet and Dylan are fleshed out but not nearly as much as Mad and Jade. Maybe because they had yet to come to an understanding with the guilt they carried. What did you think, Mandi? Did you feel the four of them revealed equally?
Mandi: Yes, I agree – I think a little more emphasis is put on Mad and Jade and their backgrounds, although I don’t feel cheated out of getting to know Dylan and Scarlet. I feel like I know them, we just go a little deeper with Mad and Jade. They each have unique, strong personalities, but the author blends them and shapes them in a fashion that isn’t too heavy on details or weighs the story down.
Can we also take a moment to comment on the sex scenes, because holy cow there are some sex scenes in this book. I was fanning myself from the very beginning.
The world froze. This was a personal moment, an intensely private one, and Scarlet willed herself to look away. But she couldn’t. She was a part of this already, and she could only watch as Mad drained the second cup and let it drop to the floor.
It bounced softly on the rug. The thump of Dylan’s back hitting the door was louder. Mad groaned and kissed him, wrapping his fingers so hard around Dylan’s upper arm that they bit into flesh.
Scarlet’s smoldering arousal burst into flame, kindled not by the kiss, but by the desperate ferocity behind it. She’d never thought that Dylan could feel this much, this hard. Mad did, of course—it was who he was, just like Jade—but Dylan had always seemed vaguely cold. Bored.
He wasn’t bored now. He gripped the other man’s hips and dragged him closer, close enough to tear his mouth away and sink his teeth into Mad’s shoulder through his shirt. Mad slammed his free hand to the door and ground against him. “Then stay with me. Stay with us.”
Dylan urged him back, away from the door—and toward the bed. “All this talk,” he murmured, “and you still don’t listen.”
Mad jerked at Dylan’s belt. “We’ve never been good with words.”
Dylan captured his lips again, and Jesus Christ, was Mad ever wrong. Because even with their mouths fused, they were saying so much. Scarlet watched as every touch stripped away something—a piece of clothing or an inhibition, a hesitation or a doubt—until they were naked in front of her. Completely exposed.
Growling, Mad threaded his fingers through Dylan’s hair. One rough jerk dragged Dylan’s head back, the raw possessiveness evident as Mad closed his teeth over the other man’s pulse.
At times (and don’t kill me) I thought maybe we could have done with a little less sex and a little more emphasis on the world. I wanted to see outside the bedroom just a little more.
Now for the world and what is going on – oh boy. Things are happening! Tori, how do you feel about the escalated tension with Eden and the promise of war on the horizon?
Tori: I most certainly will not kill you because I agree. While the sex scenes were all that and more-the strength these four used to carry themselves in public and the way they allowed themselves to be taken care of in private was a potent experience to read-this book wasn’t as world heavy as the others. The romance is the primary focus, as I stated earlier, and I think we lose some of the action and suspense that is normally present. The basics are covered in arc advancement and Rocha does a great job of setting up additional story lines and character hook ups; I just wished the balance had been better.
As for what we did learn-YIKES! The war we have been watching slowly develop is here. The sectors and Eden are at odds and how it will play out no one knows. The tension was outrageous. Much more emotional than I was expecting. So many plays and players have been in motion with seeming no real purpose are now coming together and making sense. I really felt for Dallas in here. His kingdom and people are in danger and he is struggling with the knowledge that some may not make it. You can feel just how heavy that weighs on him. I’m not ready to face that possibility myself. :(
Even with the unbalanced aspects, I love this world and enjoyed watching these lovers learn to look beyond their own perceptions to really see the ones they love. Unlike previous couples, in here it wasn’t the sexual freedom that is needed to be found but absolute trust and respect. Rocha once again gives us a dark and thrilling ride through a post apocalyptic world where love, friendship, redemption, and hope are the shining lights that brighten it. With the hints given in here, I am more then ready for book nine.
“So much life. So much potential. So many bright lights snuffed out before they’d had a chance to taste freedom, all because Eden couldn’t tolerate having less than everything.”
Mandi: Although Rocha gives us a dark world (which I love) they also give us characters that make this have a comfort-read feel for me. It’s a comfort read full of boners. Cheers to that.