The Outlaws series is an uber-erotic adventure in post-apocalyptic America that pits Outlaws (free people) against the Global Council (government officials and residents). Unfortunately this third installment, Ruled, didn't tickle my fancy quite as much as the earlier books. However, it is sure to be a hit with my smutty friends who love a book with over-the-top smexytime with some danger thrown in.
Advisory: this is a MFM/MMF menage situation with two alpha males, an alpha female, fun piercings, and lots of time between the sheets, on the ground, against the wall, on a futon, etc.
If you have been reading this series since the first book, Claimed, you will already know who our heroine is. Reese is the tough-as-bones leader of the town/colony known as Foxworth. I admired Reese for the most part. She was a good leader and caretaker of all the misfits at Foxworth. However, I also found her to be overly cold and selfish. I didn't care for some situations she forced Sloan into when she knew he had feelings for her. She either denied or ran away from her feelings a lot, and she definitely wasn't warm and fuzzy with her leading men. I wish there would have been some cracks in her facade to show a warmer, or more human, side of this tough chick. While there was a meltdown or two, I didn't feel the emotion and wasn't drawn into her character's plight.
Rylan is the fun-loving flirt who borders on being a sexaholic. He served as the third in the Connor-Hudson pairing in Claimed and Addicted... and he never hesitates to whip out his pleasingly pierced appendage for female and male enjoyment. Only one woman has ever repeatedly turned him down, and that's Reese, our too-serious leader. Rylan pursues Reese with a single-minded determination that bordered on desperation, and I didn't like that look on him (probably because I wasn't viewing Reese as worthy of the effort). Rylan is somewhat of a tortured hero, and I think there could have been more information on his backstory that would have helped me connect with his character. In the earlier books, I loved Rylan and his playful nature... but I lost some of the enjoyment when he was pitted against Reese's stubborn aloofness.
Sloan is Reese's right hand... a brawny stoic alpha male that always has her back no matter what (even if she needs him to chaperone her in the bedroom). Sloan was probably my favorite character in this story, and I felt like we got to know him better than Reese or Rylan. His turmoil over Reese and his feelings came thru clearly as I was reading, and I got really ticked off at how he was treated at times. Sloan is the steady supportive guy that everyone wants in their corner, and I was feeling that he was under-appreciated by the unreasonable Reese. I enjoyed it when Sloan lost control and took some relief for himself because I couldn't understand his self-imposed celibacy. Again, this takes me back to my feelings against Reese and thinking that Sloan could do better than pine away for such a cold woman.
The menage relationship was sex over substance for the most part. I didn't feel emotion from 2/3 of the triad, and only glimpsed it from Sloan on occasion. While I will admit that there was great chemistry between Sloan and Reese, it felt a bit one-sided at times and totally lacking when it came to Reese and Rylan. I enjoyed when the three worked together, particularly with Sloan giving the orders. However when it came to the interactions between Rylan and Sloan... I didn't like these two paired as M/M, and I can't quite put my finger on the reason other than to say that it felt forced. Not to say that I wouldn't take these two men in a heartbeat, but I felt like they needed that female between them as a buffer and to soften them up a bit and provide focus for their chaotic (and sometimes angry) lust.
The Outlaws are still battling the Enforcers from the City in this installment, and the revolution plans are progressing. There were some minor skirmishes along the way, but the majority of the action was reserved for the last 20% of the book. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Revolution/War. I have an inkling of who our next romantic pairing will be, and I am very much looking forward to that story.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.