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, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.
When I first saw that Moira Rogers would be writing a new book that was so different from their standard fare that they would be publishing it under a new penname, I went “huh, that’s interesting.” The more I read about it, and the more I learned about the differences between what I think erotica is and what the world claims it is… well I still thought it was interesting, but figured I’d be sticking with their PNR stuff.
And then they put an ARC up on Netgalley.
…I might have flown to Netgalley so quickly that I knocked over an old woman ordering her medical supplies online. I’m not proud but really it was probably a scam to steal her identity anyways. I was doing her a favor. Stop looking at me like that…
When you pick up “Beyond Shame” you’re instantly transported to a dystopian universe (which you know I adore) where there was a “worldwide ecological disaster” (every time I type that, I hear the line from “Hackers.”) In the wake of this disaster, a new world order was formed. The rich and powerful (and those willing to toe their line) live in Eden, a city so repressed that they actually have trees growing out of their bums. No seriously… no drinking, no fornication, no touching, women are to be seen and… sometimes not seen and babies are a luxury for only the very rich and/or very lucky. It’s a shitty place to be.
These cities are supported by farms, and if you think city life was unpleasant, that’s because you haven’t heard about the farms. Back breaking labor from sun up until sun down for men and then laying on your backs to get with child for women because on the farms more babies mean more labor. Doesn’t that sound like a good time?
Yeah, not so much.
In between, you have the slums… which I think of as being kind of like the ones around Migdar in Final Fantasy VII. Life is hard there, but if you can manage to eek out an existence and either steer clear of or join one of the gangs that rule the roost, then you’re actually free to live. Ok… if you join the O’Kane’s who rule sector four than you’re free to live.
Why do I tell you all that background that I normally don’t include in my reviews? I have no idea.
“Beyond Shame” is the story of Noelle after she goes through the rabbit hole and finds a new world of sexual experiences she never dreamed possible. And some joke about things going into her hole. One I’m not witty enough to think of right now. As she explores this brave new world, she finds friendship and love in…
I’m doing it again, aren’t I?
Ok, let’s cut to the chase. “Beyond Shame” is a (fantastic) story of sexual discovery, overcoming personal demons, and finding love in the most unexpected places. Mainly via sex. Lots and lots of graphically explicit sex that involves all sorts of unconventional aides and positions and numbers of people and… well you get the idea. If you’re not comfortable reading about people falling in love via lust, or forming connections at first sight this probably isn’t for you. If you’re not comfortable with BDSM, this probably isn’t for you. If you’re not comfortable with anything outside of missionary position in the dark, then you probably belong in Eden.
4 Stars. If you’re inclined to sneak a peek at the naughtier side of romance, I can’t think of a better place to start. A fantastic, smutty love story set in a beautifully crafted dystopian world with the setup for a violent war and paradigm change. What more could you ask for?