Finally the book focusing on Rock arrives! Rock Rodgers is the sexy dominant ripped from the Amber zone and granted the privilege to live in the Emerald zone. Except, Rock can do without this punishing assignment. The real reason for him assigned to the Emerald zone is complicated depending upon two different perspectives.
I've liked Rock since he first showed up in this series. My hope is that this book would really showcase his dominant skills. I'm mixed because whilst I really like Rock in this story, it just isn't enough D/s for me. He possesses many of the traits I enjoy in a dominant, including his leanings towards being a Daddy dom. Sadly, his D/s skills is not fully showcased in this story. For me, the kinky elements of BDSM are a bit less in intensity and frequency in this book versus the previous ones. Although, I must admit, the kink in this one is a bit more on the edgier side than others. (*warning to those who are squicked by women's monthly cycle*) The BDSM elements did add to this story so I'm glad it is incorporated so smoothly with how Rock trains the person he needs to protect.
The new character to meet Rock's need to dominant is Laila Lewis. She too is a transplant to Emerald zone. Her dream come true turns out to be a hollow one as indigenous Emerald citizens do not accepts her as one of their own. Undeterred, Laila focuses on her career and she's determined to find the founding fathers' documents. This brings her straight to Rock for training to survive in the Onyx zone. The chemistry between these two is good and hot. I like how their erotic power exchange works. I must admit, Rock felt like a tease at times.
What I enjoy about this book is how Ms. Ryan shows a dystopian world where the classes of society are so segregated. The difference is not just with physical attributes but with how they interact with each other. There is something to be said for being outcasts because it allows people the freedom to behave as they wish. For those raised in the Amber zone, it means healthy sexual expression and physical contact for comfort. For Rock and Laila to be thrown together it's like relieving the value on a pressure cooker. Both are bottled up so tightly as they are watched by the Orwellian government. The lack of human contact is slowly killing them from inside out. When Rock and Laila start fighting, it's amazing that there are not more sparks. Rock and Laila's relationship growth is fun to watch as Rock physically trains her in self-defense. The frustrations Laila experiences at his tough love training methods are amusing and endearing. Seriously, forcing her to change the tire that is almost bigger than her makes me laugh. It is these little nuances which makes Ms. Ryan's stories come alive for me. This is why she's on my list of authors to always read.
The big reveals in this story are as expected since Ms. Ryan laid out little crumbs for readers to follow and figure out. The reality of the heinous acts perpetrated by the crazy General is well done. Every little piece of this story leads up to a satisfying climax. The sexual tension and the underground rebellion suspense is well balanced and keeps a reader on the edge. So this is a surprise when the ending arrives too swift. I feel like there should be more and yet the story wraps up quickly before I'm done blinking. I am hooked and yearn for the next book in this series. This 3.5 star speculative fiction is recommended to kinky readers who enjoy alpha males and stubborn females.*provided by NetGalley