Without Restraint (Southern Shield #1)
by Angela Knight
Coming August 4, 2015
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.
Without Restraint is one of those books that's really hard to rate. There were some parts that I absolutely loved and some parts that just did not work for me. And to be quite honest, the first few paragraphs alone had me almost DNFing but I'm glad that I pushed on.
So, the book opens up to our heroine, Alex, watching the hero, Frank, doing a BDSM scene with another woman. Now that alone is enough to put me off but I decided to skim to see if I could get past it, and luckily, after skimming I was satisfied enough with how it went down that I was able to read it without it tainting my view of Frank. And for my safety peeps on Goodreads, he doesn't actually do anything sexual with the other woman... Thank goodness!
Alex and Frank have been emailing and getting to know each other for a while now after a friend of theirs set them up but they hadn't actually met before the party, so after Franks scene, him and Alex decide to get together in a more quiet location so they can get to know each other better. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. You see, Frank is a Dom and Alex is a Sub in the bedroom but a badass out of it, and rather than submitting right away, Alex definitely makes Frank work for it which I loved.
Imagine their surprise, though, when they both show up at work the next day to realize that Frank is the newest member of Alex's department. Alex is a little worried about her lifestyle being found out with her new Dom living in the same town, but the attraction between the two is just too hard to ignore. And let me tell you, the sexy times between these two is definitely worth the risk of getting found out, in my opinion anyway.
Frank and Alex definitely didn't have the typical D/s relationship, and while I enjoyed watching Alex make Frank work for it, it also made it hard to really believe that their relationship had any hope of working in the long run. Not to mention that even Frank admits on more than one occasion that he doesn't know if Alex is submissive enough for him. Which is where my main issue is with this book... One minute you're telling your friend that you don't think it's going to work out and the next minute you're taking her to meet your mother... Huh?!
Aside from the romance, we also have a great suspense aspect that really made this book for me. We know who the villain is right away, which would usually ruin it for me, but in this case it actually made it better... Watching the villain do his dirty work then popping up to help Alex and Frank out... Priceless! And I couldn't wait to see when he would make his move.
Overall, this was an okay read with some really great parts and some other not so great parts, but I'm glad that I gave it a chance. I really would have loved an epilogue but I'm hoping since this is the first book in the series, that we'll get to see more of Alex and Frank in the future.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Without Restraint in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.