Pros: A whole lot of wild sex and great characters!
Rating: 5 out of 5
I like erotic romance well enough, but I prefer it when it’s combined with another genre such as SF, fantasy, or, as is the case in Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, post-apocalyptic. Beyond Control (Beyond, Book 2) takes place 40 years after solar storms wrecked much of civilization. It picks up not long after Beyond Shame left off. Sector Three is in disarray without a leader, and Dallas will have to meet up with the other sector heads in order to figure out how to bring it to heel without setting off a war between the sectors or between any sector and Eden. Confusing the issue is the current state of the relationship between Lex and Dallas. It’s taken a leap forward–Dallas has finally collared Lex–but it happened in the heat of the moment, and the two of them have some negotiating to do before they can find their balance. Both of them are strong people who like to be in control, and that sometimes causes them to butt heads. It gets complicated, though, as Lex needs to find ways to stand up to Dallas without making him look weak in front of his gang. The meeting between gang leaders is to take place in Sector Two, the place that Lex escaped from years ago, and she’s not looking forward to going back at Dallas’s side.
Yes, this is erotica/erotic romance, so there’s lots of explicit, creative sex. (Seriously, if you’re an author wondering how to keep writing lots of erotic content while keeping things varied and interesting, these books are a great example.) There’s m/f content, f/f, m/m, and even mmmmff. Nearly everyone seems to be bisexual, which fits in with the very permissive sexual culture of Sector Four. There’s dom/sub sex, literal orgies, and just lots of great sexual content.
Watching Lex and Dallas, who both have serious things for each other, try to negotiate how to be both together and yet also independently strong is wonderful. It’s particularly an issue at the moment as Dallas needs Lex’s help with the meeting in Sector Two. He knows his counterpart there, Cerys, is up to something tricky, and it probably involves Lex. The politics of the sectors intrigued me, and the various sector heads are an interesting and highly varied group of people.
The characters are every bit as wonderful as in the first volume, and once again we get to see a wide array of people and relationships. Noelle and Jasper are back and have a strong role in the story. Ace, Maddox, Bren, Rachel, Cruz, Six, Amira… there are plenty of characters at different stages of development and in different stages of relationships, sexual or romantic. This is a very well-populated world, and I enjoy it very much.
I’ll warn you ahead of time, there’s a place where inevitably it appears that Dallas and Lex’s relationship is over. I find that moment of “this relationship is broken, isn’t it?” really painful to read after having gone through a divorce. It’s worth getting through, however.
“Which one of us is in control now? I never fucking know.”