Welcome back to the Book Club! Sarah Bailey has set us off on another dark romance voyage, and it’s on us to make the trek and keep you informed! We had a hell of a ride from the first installment and as the potential for poly romance heats up, there’s more than enough reason to get keyed up for the second book. Time’s a wastin‘ and we have an appointment with the Queen of Steam….and trust us, she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.
Defied: The Devil’s Syndicate Book Two by Sarah Bailey picks right up where book one left off (duh). With that clarification out of the way, in the first installment crime kingpin heiress Ash Russo was abducted and held captive by The Syndicate Boys, business rivals and all around enemies to the Russo family. With an astounding level of deep exposition and sexual happenstance, Ash is falling in love with not only the ring leader of this little conclave, but maybe there’s something brewing with the rest of the boys as well. Each of these men, (and especially Ash) all have a dark past, and the five unique ways they cope with their issues blend into some very interesting interpersonal developments. All of this sexual energy flying unabated, and there’s still the matter of a floundering criminal empire, as new problems arise with each turn of the leaf. Gosh, with all this business to attend to I sure hope they still have time to fuck…
It’s not quite accurate to say each novel has a full “focus” on a particular character, as all five main characters have solid roles and developments, but Defied can certainly be best understood through the lens of Xavier. While book one’s primary male Quinn wanted you to think of the devil himself, Xavier’s demeanor is a little more…well he’s a lot of things, but I’m going to settle on “horny.” With a brazen sexual appetite, combined with unquestioned bisexuality, things are only going to get more complicated as the characters continue to open up. Ash and Xavier are developing feelings independent from Quinn and this is accelerating at a pace that no one in the house could keep up with if they tried. While Ash needs Quinn’s intensity and discipline, she further still needs Xavier’s laid back sense of humor and raw sexual energy. You’ll see and hear a lot of the word “need” as opposed to “want” as the characters aren’t copulating out of bored horniness, it’s a lot deeper than that. Sexual moments aren’t created solely to fuck the pain away (although there’s still plenty of that, don’t worry), but as an exploration of an unintended polyamorous household.
Most of the tension in book two comes from what we learn about the characters as opposed to criminal activity, at least before the novel’s conclusion. This development isn’t just the genre-typical justification of why the bad boys are so bad either. I genuinely choked up a couple times learning about how this unique “family” came to be in equal parts heart felt compassion and unspeakable violence depending on the backstory. It’s easy to see why Quinn became the ring leader, but also why each of the “brothers” are so important to each other. Ash’s appearance serves as the activating agent, seemingly bringing everyone’s emotion, as well as their baggage, right to the forefront.
Verdict: Defied by Sarah Bailey is a great second chapter to the unique reverse harem saga of the former captive turned lover, and the men that now can’t live without her. While the sexual content is hot as always with bdsm, romance, and comfort zone expansion all rolled up into one, the reasons behind this activity are what’s going to sell this story. The polyamory is believable and will give the reader a wonderful tingly feeling when forced to balance the physical and emotional factors of the shared relationship. This fucked up family doesn’t want all this to happen, they need it, and as such the cliffhanger ending wouldn’t be understood without that consideration. The plan is in action, but at what cost to their happiness? Don’t mind me, I’ll just be a shaking mess until book three comes out, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advance review copy of Defied to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Author’s Twitter: @sbaileyauthor
Purchase Link: Amazon