Dystopian, Romance, Erotica
Paperback $15.00 (354 pages, SELFPUBLISHED)
A dangerous world of sex, lust and violence... 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.
Author Site: kitrocha.com
One of the BEST books I've read in 2012 (5 stars)
Where has this book been all my adulthood? In my time as an erotica reader I've found many that I've enjoyed but few that brought something special to the table. They're either too busy being graphically descriptive and trying to shock or focus solely on the physical relationship(s) without considering that there is a great mental/emotional component to sexuality. BEYOND SHAME, quite literally, awed me with how masterfully the social, emotional, and physical pieces of each character were explored without losing any of the tantalizingly sensual detail.
In its very foundation the dystopian world of Eden—home to the pure and just—and the Sectors beyond it, sexuality plays a subtle but foundational role. In Eden, Noelle's life is little more than a puppet show in which she is stuck playing her role of councilman's daughter. There's no room for her to have desires (sexual or otherwise) of her own. When her little rebellions at last find her cast out into the streets beyond the safety of Eden she is both relieved and aware that she's in danger. When her path crossed with Jasper's he becomes her protector.
Jasper is the righthand man of the O'Kane gang's leader, powerful in the streets of Sector Four. To be an O'Kane means a lifelong commitment to the gang. To wear O'Kane ink is a symbol of status and belonging and Noelle wants desperately to belong to both the gang and Jas. The complexity of the world-within-a-world that is the O'Kane gang and the rich canvas of characters that compose it, bring naive Noelle to her knees—literally and figuratively—as she embraces every dirty desire of her heart. Through her exploration of pleasure, pain, passion, and submission she discovers the difference between being owned and belonging, the power of losing control, and how to know what she really wants.
I have yet to have read another erotic novel with a romantic subplot or not that so effectively explored female sexuality as a positive thing. Where the very act of submission to a man left the woman in control. In that regard BEYOND SHAME is a breath of fresh air in a genre I was beginning to lose interest in. Somehow, Rocha (aka Moira Rogers, aka Bree & Donna) manages to write each sexual encounter in rich detail of both the body and the mind with an organic feel that's truly impressive. Even situations that usually bother me on a personal level managed to be readable without making me so uncomfortable I was skipping paragraphs.
The O'Kane men are a refreshing contrast of alpha-male strength tempered with a worshipful respect for the women they welcome into their ranks. Sharing a lover or having multiple parties involved is treated in such a way that it seems more of an honor and pleasure than a taboo. For readers in need of a sultry read that explores many forms of sexual play from bondage and spanking to exhibition and orgies BEYOND SHAME is deliciously varietal.
Ultimately, as the title suggests, BEYOND SHAME's underlying theme of embracing the desires within and not feeling wrong for wanting—and even enjoying—the taboo things is what makes it such a superb read. A wicked blend of sex, romance, and a fabulously imagined world make it a book I will recommend for years to come. I can hardly wait to read another Beyond series title from Rocha! It might be a great choice for dystopian romance readers who've wanted to explore the erotica shelves but haven't been sure where to start. Definitely ranks in my top 10 reads for 2012.
Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.