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Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (May 5, 2009)
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.
In Relentless Lauren Dane deftly combines storylines of political scheming, a star-crossed couple, fiery sensuality imbedded in a romance and a world which is spinning on it axes regarding the inevitable upcoming changes. If I knew what I was signing on for because I read Undercover, I had another thing coming! Relentless, or better said, Roman and Abbie, took me deep in to the world of the Known Universes where Ranked Families rule and Unranked people have no say in how their cities are being governed.
It is Abigail who gave me a way to further explore this world. She is a Barrister, whom is a legal defender in court and her case load is swamping her. If this wouldn’t keep her busy she is also a spokesperson for the Movement of Representative Democracy. Her passion to achieve a say in how their people are being governed burns like a flame, fueling her actions and speeches. When she has an appointment with the head of House Lyons she is ready to give him a piece of her mind.
Now Roman has troubles of his own, treachery and betrayal has invaded the Ranked Family, trouble is brewing and voices rise even stronger, voices such as that of Abigail Haws. While he is not closed minded to her cause, he is the eldest son of a Ranked family and raised in a particularly way. Their first meeting ended up in Abbie leaving his building, never to have met him. The second one she scolded him for his unprofessional behavior and she ended up on the carpet with his hand between her legs. To say they created a volatile sexual tension was to say to the least but Roman was Ranked…and Abbie was not.
I must admit that the diversity in sex play was within the boundaries of normalcy regarding the genre of publication but I cannot complain since Lauren Dane gave me a couple who burn up the pages with their attraction for each other. With a tragic feel to their almost impossible romance I never really gave it more than a passing thought or two. The intensity of what they felt, knowing it couldn’t work was like a sword of Damocles hanging above the couple and casting shadows upon their growing need for each other and I hungered to see them find a way to be together. The rules stated they could never be together, I knew that as I read the story but I was still going through the motion of them at it together both physically and later emotionally. When those rules pressed for decisions my heart crushed for them both.
At first they are so very much opponents with their interaction simmering in passion for what they believed in. I could easily imagine them standing nose to nose arguing, and the next, having their way with each other on the office floor. With this Lauren Dane created another set of leading characters whom almost leap from the pages in their personalities. The writing is fraught with potent emotions, combustible as it is sensuous, presenting a challenge of both mind and body for the lovers and I reveled in the way the story unfolded for them both.
Roman is also one of those Alpha heroes whose change is so interesting to follow throughout the story. He is a well bred gentleman of one of the leading Ranked Houses, he married young to give the family heirs, led his House with a convincing hand and raised his sons when his wife died young. He was very much a product of his world yet he was no longer the young pup but a man in the prime of his life with grown sons. Abbie stimulates him to shed his exterior and come more in to his natural self. Which means he can set himself free and it results in some hot sex talk between the sheets and I found out it was an erotic seduction all on its own?
Abbie is a woman solely focused on the mission at hand and this was to get a right within the Council only to be ambushed by her emotions for a Ranked man. Abbie is a multi-faceted woman, easy to attach to and a persona at the epicenter of all the political changes and I loved the voice she brought to the story. Not only do I love to cheer for the underdog who fights for their rights, I also believe in the intelligence of a woman and her need to leave a mark on the world. While this is very much a romance story it is backed up by an exciting plot that kept me reading page after page, filling my lazy Sunday afternoon.
The plot reveals that the power of the vested order, namely, the Ranked Family and their Houses, is shaking on its foundations. With on the other side the Unranked people with their voices who become more impertinent in their wish for a say in their own lives. This is all personalized with Abbie and her job as a Barrister and her job as a spokeswoman for the MRD. Two cases get the spotlight and tie Roman to the overall picture when the son of his PA and good friend is indicted with murder. Two worlds, two visions of life, two people falling for each other and Lauren Dane steeped it with gut-wrenching emotions, well paced suspense and the plot that spirals it all to exciting heights, keeping the reader firmly planted on the couch!
There is also a variety of additional characters who also made this story an exhilarating reading experience. The family of Abbie takes a prominent place but also the people closest to Roman add their voices. Daniel, Nyna and Georges, siblings to Abbie gave the expression; “there’s no place like home” meaning. Especially Daniel held my interest with a secretive job and sometimes brooding ways. It is his way with Abbie that reveales such a strong sibling bond and got me even more curious about him. I also enjoyed the interaction between Roman and his PA Marcus, although they are employer and employee you could feel the friendship through their discussions.
Relentless is a bittersweet yet a beautiful romance set off by a high-octane in fiery sex play and political scheming, turning it in to a heated story from beginning to end! A great but also different sequel to Undercover and surprising in every way!
Quote Roman:She worshipped him with her mouth, made him feel totally desired. Totally masculine. He relished it at being Roman and Abbie. A man and a woman, finding some refuge with each other in the quiet spaces in daily life.