Without Restraint is an explosively erotic start to Angela Knight’s Southern Shields series. When a killer out for revenge starts targeting local South Carolina police, deputy Alexis Rogers turns to Navy SEAL and new addition to the department, Frank Murphy, a man with a dominant streak and the only one attuned to Alex’s deepest desires. Crackling with chemistry, Without Restraint is a sensual and suspenseful romance, where passion and possession become two sides of the same coin.
Alex Rogers is still coming to terms with her unconventional (think Fifty Shades of Grey) proclivities in the bedroom. Thankfully, several of her colleagues at the police department are there to help introduce her to a welcoming community of like-minded individuals, guidance she especially needs after leaving her abusive former partner. When Frank, who is new to the area, attends a nightclub that caters to patrons with dark desires, Alex’s friends can’t help but play matchmaker. Unfortunately, their night of exploration and passion makes for an interesting icebreaker when Alex’s new coworker is none other than the man who spurred her into submission.
But when someone close to Alex discovers her preference for a mixture of pain and pleasure, he’ll stop at nothing to expose her deviance to the public. Intermittently, the story is told through the chilling perspective of the individual stalking Alex. As he begins targeting her friends and family and brazenly murdering police, Alex and Frank find comfort in one another as danger mounts.
Knight’s portrayal of an emotionally complex woman trying to reconcile the role of submissive in her sex life with being a strong protector of the community exemplifies the fact that people are multifaceted. With the town being terrorized by an unknown killer and the stakes rising in the erotic games Alex and Frank play, Without Restraint is sure to produce a rush of adrenaline. As the killer grows bolder, Frank and Alex must decide if their intimate relationship is worth defending.
It should be noted, however, that Without Restraint deals with a bevy of difficult topics that are currently at the forefront of the nation’s concerns, including police violence, racism, mental illness, homophobia and violence against women. Although Knight handles some of these topics with sensitivity, she hits some sour notes.