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.
Dom went down with the second blow, and Jasper supposed it was too much to ask for him to stay there.
He didn’t really want it anyway. His whole body was tight, jittery, and even the run out to Sector Three had provided no satisfaction. Quiet, uneventful, and now he had to sate his appetites on nothing more rewarding than Dom’s face.
Jas had been in worse spots.
Dom spit blood as he staggered back to his feet, uglier for taking the hit. His insults hadn’t gotten any more original, either. “You punch like a pussy.”
“Hard enough to put you on the mat.” Jas stretched his neck and circled, not bothering to guard with his fists and arms as he faced the other man. A matter of time, that was all, and he’d lunge in, desperate to land a punch on an unprotected area.
“Gave you that one,” Dom lied, feinting left with a quick jab. “Figured I’d let you hit something, since you can’t get it up for that that sweet city ass.”
“Christ, is that your game? Bore me to death because you punch like a little boy?”
Dom rose to the bait, charging toward him with a bellow. His hook came slow, so slow the man wasn’t just telegraphing his moves, he was sitting down to write them fucking love letters. Jas took the hit, using the distraction to drive a fist into Dom’s midsection.
When he doubled over, wheezing, Jas grabbed Dom’s hair and kneed him in the face. Bone cracked, and he hit the ground again, blood gushing from his broken nose.
Jas kicked him for good measure, a light tap to the ribs. “You’re not even trying, man. Get up.”
That brought the man to his feet again, snarling and rabid. He lunged forward and rammed Jasper against the side of the cage, and the watching crowd roared.
Still no match for straight-up brute strength. They grappled, and Jas lifted Dom off his feet and slammed him to the mat with a growl. Dom drove his knee into Jas’s hip and tried to roll them, but he couldn’t get the leverage.
Neither of them wore shirts, so Jas grabbed at Dom’s hair again instead of sweat-slick skin. “You better tap out before I pound your fucking face in, shithead. I’m in a mood.”
Dom tried to twist and then slapped his open palm on the mat with a snarl. “You fucking fucker.”
Jas considered pressing a foot to the man’s throat, just to teach him a lesson, but backed off. “You’re welcome.”
“Fuck off, Jas.” Dom pressed a hand to his bleeding face and rolled to his knees. “Next time, I’m smearing you all over this mat.”
“You’re gonna try.” A redhead—one of the dancers, maybe—opened the cage door and offered Jas a towel and a smile as he walked out. Noelle, on the other hand, stood at the fringes of the cheering crowd, a beer in one hand and a bewildered look on her face.
If that had been all, Jas would have kept walking. But a fire burned in those big eyes—admiration and even pride, but not fear.
He took the beer from her hand and drained it. “Like the show?”
“It was…” Her fingers hovered over his chest before brushing the spot where Dom’s fist had abraded his skin. Worry creased her brow, along with something darker. An edge, possessive and angry. “You must have let him hit you. I saw how fast you can move.”
He caught her hand, pressed it to his skin. “It doesn’t hurt for long.” Unlike the rest of him, which was throbbing thanks to her simple touch.
As if the words gave her permission, she smoothed her other palm up his side, fingers slicking over his bare chest, past his new tattoo and up to his shoulder. “You’re so strong,” she whispered, tracing his biceps with something damn close to reverence. “Powerful. Raw.”
“Hungry.” He didn’t even look at the throngs of people milling around them. “You keep touching, and I’m bound to think you want to do more.”
Her touch drifted lower. Over the curve of his elbow and along his forearm. “Like what?”
He slipped his hand into her hair. “Like try out some of the stuff Lex showed you.”
She licked her lips like she could already taste him, and her sharp breath made it clear she wanted to. “Right here? In front of everyone?”
If he said no, she’d pout. If he said no, his own body would murder him in his sleep. Jas untied the top of the new leather corset she’d bought from Stuart and dropped to the nearest free couch. “Show me.”
Q: What would you like readers to know about the book before they read it?
A: This book is not for the faint of heart! Along with explicit sex with themes of BDSM and multiple partners, there’s a lot of violence and darkness, as can only be expected when your good guys are a liquor running post-apocalyptic gang. (That makes most of the bad guys pretty awful, too.)
Q: What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read the book?
A: An interest in these characters and what’s going to happen to them. The O’Kanes aren’t perfect people. They’re flawed and criminal, but they’re open and uninhibited about their sexuality and they love each other, even if that love is raw and gritty and painful sometimes. I hope readers can take a little of that imperfect love with them.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
A: I am not supposed to confess to favorites…but it was totally Ace. He’s foul and says the most ridiculous things, but I can’t help it. I love him.
Q: Is there a character who gives you fits and makes you want to go ninja?
A: I want to punch Dallas in the head. Always. He and Lex together are enough to make an author rip out their hair.
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from this book?
Ace flipped him off, but not without a grin. “They like tattoos, I like blowjobs. It’s good math.”
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: As Kit Rocha, we’re working on the next Beyond book, BEYOND CONTROL. Hopefully that will be out early next year. As Moira Rogers, we’ve got a new werewolf romance out in January–a return to our Sanctuary series–and more Wild West gunslinging vampire hunters coming up in April. We keep busy. 😉
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