The first novel in the explosive new Southern Shield series from New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight explores the intoxicating games between a female cop and a Navy SEAL—and the killer instincts of a secret enemy watching every move they make.
Atlanta deputy Alexis Rogers and Navy SEAL Frank Murphy know all about power and restraint, necessary force, and pushing their limits. When they meet in the darkness of a BDSM club, their skills are put to use. With each successive night comes a new adrenaline rush, and while they’re falling into something perilously close to love, their games are still too private, too extreme, and too daring ever to be exposed.
But their intimate lives are upended when a fellow deputy of Alex’s is killed. It’s not a tragic hazard of the job. It’s cold-blooded murder. And he’s not the last to be taken out. Now Alex and Frank have found themselves more vulnerable than ever—and exposed to a killer with a twisted vendetta who turns desire into the most dangerous sensation of all.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I’ve enjoyed Knight’s work in the past, so I was excited to read the first book in her new romantic suspense erotic romance. While I thought it was a decent read, it wasn’t my favorite from her.
Alexis loves her job as a deputy, but keeping her BDSM lifestyle a secret is becoming harder all the time. Alex wants a Master, but finding one who will work for her and her life is hard, especially after her last Master liked to beat on her for real. Meeting Frank at a club through mutual friends seems promising, especially as they create sparks on their first encounter.
But when Frank shows up as the newest recruit in Alex’s department, her personal and professional lives collide. With a killer on the loose that seems out for Alex’s blood, she and Frank will have to put aside their sexual relationship to work together and find the killer, before it’s too late.
This book started out with a very sexy punch, and one I wasn’t really invested in. It felt cold and sudden and a bit out of place for the first chapter. While I’m usually a big fan of BDSM romance, this book didn’t work for me as well on that front. I thought the lifestyle was portrayed in a really nice light, but the connection between Alex and Frank as sub and Master just didn’t grip me as much as other romances I’ve read in the genre.
From the aspect of the suspense plot, I thought that was the strongest element of the book overall, and somehow played a smaller role to the romance and sexual exploration between Alex and Frank. I would have liked the spend more time with the pulse-pounding action that Knight wrote really well, and less time between the sheets. (I think this might be the first time I’ve ever said that about any of Knight’s books… or most books in general. LOL)
While this book was well written and everything, there was just the spark of that something special that was missing for me. I think it was my lack of connection to Alex, Frank, and their romance that just left me feeling like a third wheel in their romance, and therefore I wasn’t as committed or devoted to their journey. It left me feeling disconnected with the book as a whole, and I just didn’t feel it as deeply as other reads.
All in all this was a well written book, but it didn’t work for me. The pacing felt slow in the beginning, and the build up was one that didn’t hold my interest as well as I hoped it would. Add in main characters that just didn’t pull me into their world, and I found this book to be very meh. Good in some places, but not anything super special.
I give Without Restraint a C-