Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review: Relentless

Title: Relentless
Author: Lauren Dane
Genre: Futuristic Erotic Romance
Published: May 2009
ARC Review

In this erotic universe, passion knows no rank…

Since the first settlers came through the portals from Earth, fifteen Families have held the rule of the Federated Universes in their hands. There’s never been a better time than now to throw out the old and usher in a new order. Give voice to the unranked. Abbie Haws has spent her life battling the system. A fighter, she’s always been too busy and driven to pay much attention to finding love. But when she’s granted audience with Roman Lyons, the head of House Lyons, who stands for everything she hates, her instant attraction catches Abbie off-guard…

It’s common knowledge that the Known Universe revolves around Ravena—and that Ravena revolves around Roman Lyons, bred to lead since birth. Roman dreads his meeting with a defiant—if stunning—rabble-rouser. But, sometimes, headstrong personalities in the conference room make for hot-and-heavy, guilty trysts in private….

Now, Abbie will show Roman the parts of her world he wouldn’t otherwise get to see. And he’ll give her a glimpse of the Families’ age old tradition and unleash a sexuality he’d never given rein to before.

This is only the second book by Ms. Dane that I have read. The first one was Undercover which I completely enjoyed (sorry, no review). Both books take place in the same futuristic world and while there are characters from Undercover that make appearances in Relentless they are each complete stories within themselves. The world building begins in Undercover but Ms. Dane does an excellent job of filling in any previous events. So while I would recommend reading Undercover prior to reading Relentless, it isn't absolutely necessary. Relentless works as a stand-alone.

So, having got that info out of the way ~ WOW, what a wonderful book! The hero and heroine, Roman and Abbie, were so well developed. Not only in the relationship between the two of them but in their lives with regards to their families, friendships and business associates. This was such a full, well rounded story from beginning to end.

Abbie is a barrister and the founder of the Movement for Representative Democracy (MRD). She works hard representing her clients and trying to change how the unranked are governed. She is smart, tenacious, sexy and has a real strong sense of who she is. I loved the way she was around Roman. She didn't back down from her political views regardless of how he made her feel. She has a strong attraction for him but doesn't let that stop her from moving forward in her quest for democracy for the 'Verses. She never wimps out or becomes less than she was before she met him. To me that is so important to her character.

Roman became the head of House Lyons at a very young age. He also wed and became a father to his two sons while still in his teens. He's now 40 and has grown accustomed to the responsibilities that come with being House Lyons. Roman also had to deal with his younger brother and the strain of their difficult relationship. Through trial and error Roman has become a great leader and guide for Ravena and the 'Verses. While he's been widowed for some time he has never felt for a woman anything close to what he feels for Abbie. He knows their relationship can never be permanent. He can't marry an unranked and Abbie would never agree to be his mistress. Knowing that their relationship needs to end and he needs to make a political marriage leaves Roman in utter despair.

The Ranked, with Roman as their leader, are at the center, the core. They have the best of everything and are well taken care of in every manner. The farther you get from the Ranked or center, less privileges and conveniences you find. And the less power. Abbie wants to change that but she must convince not only Roman but the Council that what she proposes is for the good of all.

Abbie and Roman may seem like they don't have much in common but when we see them interact with their family members you see how important family is to both of them. How the importance of their family is at the core of who they are. They each grew up in such different circumstances and yet have very similar values when it comes down to the basics of family, honesty and integrity. They are able to learn from each other about the differences and similarities of the Ranked and unranked. And the learning doesn't stop there but continues into the bedroom.

This is an erotic romance and the sex scenes are certainly erotic in nature. No alluding to body parts, it's all spelled out but it's more than just sex. The scenes with Roman and Abbie are extremely hot but they don't just have sex, they're communicating more than just their physical needs. At times when they were having sex it's as if this whole other dialogue is going on. And they each gradually allowed themselves to be vulnerable to the other which given their backgrounds was very important. I found it interesting that Abbie was the one who was the more open about sex. It wasn't that Roman didn't want her desperately but he could be almost a bit shy in saying what he wanted. Abbie pulled him out of his shell. She had no problem letting Roman know what she liked and how much she enjoyed his body. It was very refreshing to have the female character be the aggressor at times and make no apologizes for being so.

There is so much going on in this book and yet the main plot and the subplots never get away from Dane. She handles them well, switching between Abbie and Roman's story and Abbie and her family dynamics, Roman and his relationships with his sons, both Abbie and Roman's careers. Lots of stuff going on but I never felt overwhelmed or like I had to backtrack to figure out what had just happened. Dane held the various plots together and still kept a brisk pace. Towards the end of the book I found myself cheering for Abbie and Roman and wanting these two to be together. They belonged together and after everything they went through deserved their HEA.

There are certainly secondary characters that have potential for their own stories. I'm personally hoping that Abbie's brother Daniel and Roman's brother Alexander each get their own books. So overall a very enjoyable, well written story. I would certainly recommend Relentless as well as the previous book, Undercover. And the good news is that today is the official release date of Relentless so it should be available in stores.

For more on Ms. Dane's writing check out her website. She has a shapeshifter series that I've got my eye on.

Rating: A


  1. Hi Leslie! Thanks for this review. I've been in the mood for erotic romance lately and this sounds like a good one.

  2. Hi Brie ~ this is definitely worth the read.

  3. I've awarded you a blog award over at my blog, come check it out:


  4. Sold!! I just added this one to my shopping cart at Chapters. What a great review :)

  5. Thanks danie! You're a sweetheart. :)

    Kristie~You and I have such good taste. ;)