Without Restraint by Angela Knight

Without Restraint by Angela KnightWithout Restraint by Angela Knight

Series: Southern Shields #1
Genres: Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley on August 4, 2015
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
    add to goodreads
three-half-stars      four-flames

I was in the mood to try a new to me author and a hot romantic suspense so I picked this one up after reading the blurb. Whew, yeah, it jumped right in on the hot stuff and the suspense wasn’t far behind. It was a moderately engaging read that definitely lived up to my expectations.

The story opens with Alex Rogers, Deputy Sheriff and submissive way in the closet attending a Kink party at her friend’s house to meet a potential Dom that Cap vouched for. Alex recently got out of an abusive relationship with a jerk claiming to be a Dom and she is gun-shy of it happening again. One scene with Frank Murphy and she can tell the difference really quick that he is the real deal. He gives off the Dom vibes, but also has a real Dom’s need to care for his sub. He gives her the rough play she wants and needs, but he holds back so not to hurt her and always checks to make sure everything is consensual and that she is fine. She is rattled to discover that he is part of her other life, too.

Ex-Navy SEAL and now new deputy, Frank is thrilled to meet Alex. Things went well and he looks forward to more though he knows he needs to be careful after her last relationship. But then things heat up at work when Alex’s mentor and work partner is killed. The department is rattled by the implications that they have a cop killer on their hands. Frank and Alex are also in the killer’s crosshairs and they pull together since they are now new partners. Meanwhile the killer plans to make Alex hurt over each loss and then pay the final price for his need for revenge.

Alright, so this one was a blend of erotic heat and suspense. I liked it enough to read through enjoying most of it, but not engaging with the story completely.

Things were exciting and moved rapidly without as much development and build up. The author chooses to reveal the killer and his purpose right away so it is a matter of the reader knowing what his plans and wondering how Frank and Alex will end up stopping him. This took away the opportunity for the natural tension of not knowing where the danger is coming from, but knowing its close. I think the killer could have still done narrative bits between Frank and Alex’s thoughts, but just not with the name and obvious stuff revealing exactly who he is.

The relationship was explosive and quick. They weren’t spouting I Love Yous or even feeling it right away, but it wasn’t long before they were feeling it and sliding into deeper relationship thoughts. I wanted to see more of connection outside of their work and the play room, but there was enough that it wasn’t too big of a stretch for the romance. To be honest, I took a while to buy into that working until Frank brought up the fact that she is a switch, not just a submissive, and then her less than submissive behavior made sense. Alex was my first ‘switch’ and it was interesting what that brought to the D/s relationship they were engaging in. She enjoyed being dominated, but there was a part of her that was calculating and controlling and not so much because she wanted to please as she wanted to gain satisfaction for her needs. I understand from what I’ve read that submissive is a power role because it is willingly relinquishing control, but it felt very different with Alex if that makes sense.

The writing style was tough for me and the part that made me only feel moderately connected to the story. I stumbled over the pauses to explain BDSM terms that read like bits from a glossary and having the lifestyle beat me over the head every other word as the story went along. There was a lot of telling in other areas, too. The reader is rarely allowed to be intuitive and it wasn’t as fun having the story spoon-fed to me.

That said, there is some good aspects to the story. Their scening was fun to read. I loved that they could play and there were some creative scenes like the hunter and hunted in the woods. That was so cool, too, how he as a Dom shut that scene down when she wouldn’t and he could see she was uneasy.

I also thought the attention to the setting of their patrol work for the Sheriff’s department felt authentic and was glad that it wasn’t just a minor background detail. It was also a nice layer of depth to include their families and that they came from two very different situations. They are also refreshing characters who have baggage, but they handle their stuff like adults. They are both protective and do impulsive acts to help others, but don’t foolishly pull stupid stunts.

In the end, I was glad to have read it and think those who enjoy mild to moderate BDSM reads with a suspense element would possibly enjoy this one.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #349 ER

Cliché Klatch #211 ‘I approve the view’

New to Me #171 author/series

The following two tabs change content below.
I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Debbie Haupt

    Thanks for the review Sophia Rose and Happy Monday!

    • Hi Debbie! It has been a good day. We had fabulous weather and I got to enjoy it a little.

  • the glossary style of writing is weird, I guess I understand why the author found it necessary

    • Yeah, I thought about it afterward and think a list of terms at the beginning that readers could reference would have been a better way to do it so it didn’t stop the story to explain each time.

  • I do love a great suspense romance, but I tend to be super picky about bdsm elements. So I am stil unsure whether I will be reading this one. I might try one of her other books first.

    • Yeah, it was moderately good for overall story. This would not be one that would make a list of BDSM story recs. It felt awkward and I could quibble with a few uses of terms that have a different nuance from what I understand from those living the lifestyle.

  • Erotic and suspense, hmmm

  • I’ve read a few hot romantic suspense and I think the combination works pretty well! Sounds like a fun set-up with how becomes her new dom and then they need to work together as well. Although it sounds like it could use a bit more development and build-up in some places. Sometimes it’s fun knowing who the killer is and what his plans are, but other times it works better if it stays a secret. It does take away the secrecy and tension of figuring out who is the killer.

    It’s nice that you felt the romance, even though it sounds like things develop a bit too fast and you would’ve liked seeing more of a connection between them. It’s a shame when there is too much telling and the almost glossary style description sounds like it takes a lot of pace and fun out fo the story. It does sound nice with how the setting and characters felt authentic. I am glad this was a good read overal. Great review!

    • Yes, exactly, Lola. It was a good read overall, but not one without its issues for me. I was okay with knowing who the killer was in this one b/c things were still pretty exciting, but there is a part of me that missed being able to figure it out for myself.
      I think this is one where the romance part suffered b/c it was paired with such an exciting suspense part. It was go, go, go and not a lot of time for connection moments. But the moments weren’t totally absent and development was there- like when Frank is figuring out Alex’s submissive needs and she is learning why she likes things a certain way. Good together for sure.

  • I do love romantic suspense and I haven’t read enough of them.

    • I go in spurts. I don’t read them at all and then I grab several in a row. So moody. 😉

  • Oh I love how this sounds. I’m putting this one in my wish list right now.

    • It was pretty hot, exciting stuff. Hope you like it, Mary!

  • I liked this one as well but had issues. It was very BDSM 101 with all of it’s explanations. That got to me. I like when all those concepts are explained in a more subtle manner or worked into the dialogue without feeling so forced. I agree on the villain. I would have loved him to be a bit more mysterious. I still wanna check out the next though so she definitely did some things right 😀

    • Good golly, I missed your comment all this time. So sorry.

      Yes, that’s the way I felt too. Like-able with issues. I wanted the villain more mysterious so a bigger threat for sure. Not sure about the next book, but I’m not closed to the idea particularly if I don’t already have a pile to read. 🙂

      • LOL oh no worries. I was late coming by and know how that goes. I’m gonna give the next one a go and keep my fingers crossed I think 🙂 Hopefully we can both conquer our tbr piles this coming year 🙂

        • I’ll let you be the guinea pig on this one. 🙂 I’ve already got myself knee-high in reviews through February. I had these big plans to slow that stuff down, but the books sound so good.

          • LOL I know how that goes! That was me in Nov. I was swamped! I didn’t get nearly any of my Dec 1 books read then realized I’d not accepted any for the rest of the month so once I get these few read I’m gonna be doing pretty good! Hopefully I can avoid the OMG at my review pile in 2016. Hopefully. lol