In the year 3001, Earth is now a prison colony, and life is lived on Mars. The government sets the rules: Women are used for breeding, homosexual activity will result in death, dark skinned men are reduced to slaves, and alcohol is illegal. Chaos is a member of the Outlaw motorcycle club of Mars. The MC and their hover bikes take on these rules in an attempt to one day overthrow the government. When caught with alcohol, Chaos is sent to Earth for a six-month prison term. Upon arrival, he is given two choices: fight or fuck. Fighting helps reduce his rage brought on by a tainted past with a serial killer father. Relationships aren’t his thing, and then he meets Beau. Chaos can’t get over himself when he thinks Beau is sweet, cute, and adorable…say what? How did he wind up with a boyfriend in prison of all places? When Beau is released from prison before Chaos and sent back to Mars, can Chaos survive long enough for them to be reunited?
Chaos Unchained starts off a new series by author James Cox and incorporates a quick read that is sensual, erotic, and at times tender. But, don’t let that take away from the fact that this is primarily a prison story with a hardcore biker as its focus. The story starts with Chaos leaving Mars for Earth. There is minimal world building and the story has an insular feeling as most of the action takes place in the prison. Chaos’ primary goal is to survive, so he makes a name for himself in the fight ring. This gives him access to and protection over Beau. The story is told from Chaos’ first person point of view and it’s immediate and in the moment. For all his bravado, Chaos is a good guy at heart trying to do the right thing with the cards he has been dealt and the rules enforced upon him. There is a good balance of action, sex, public exhibitionism, and some raw emotion that catches Chaos by surprise. Since this is the beginning of the series, some more in depth world building as to what was going on with Mars and the government would have tied the overall story together. We are also introduced to the rest of the Outlaw bikers and, since there was little time for further exploration, it came across as a checklist of future MCs. As a whole, a great introduction to a new series with action, heat, heart, and a motorcycle club filled with strong men.
Growing up with Liam, Knox has felt the attraction between them for years and they are the closest of friends. As the president of the Outlaw MC of Mars, Knox cannot let romantic entanglements cloud his judgment in the fight to take down the corrupt government. The stakes are escalating and Knox needs to stay focused on the missions at hand and that means fighting hard against his feelings for Liam. Not so easy when Liam makes himself accessible to Knox at every turn. When Liam is injured, Knox is hit with the simple truth that life could be over before he has a chance to express his true feelings to Liam. Knox wants to protect Liam from a world where being together is illegal, but the force of their attraction just keeps pulling them together.
Underneath His Armor technically picks up after Chaos Unchained, but in some ways reads as the first book in the series. This story takes place completely on Mars and we are offered more immediate world building. By that I mean the everyday world building is expanded giving us a sense of what the men are fighting against and a glimpse into daily life is offered. There is not much larger world building on the overall story line as a whole. That’s okay, however, as the author once again excels at putting forth an atmosphere that is sexually intense and erotically charged. We get character development for both men tacked onto years of longing on both sides. While Knox can come across as stubborn, his feelings for Liam are so deep that he truly thinks staying away from him will keep Liam safe. These guys are considered outlaws, but this story illustrates what happens when the perceived bad guys are really the good guys. Cox once again offers sexy alpha males that are written with emotional depth combined with heat and sensual and intense feelings. The air in the scenes around and between these guys simply crackles with need. While there are serious social issues at play here, the book does not take itself too seriously and offers a quick and steamy read. The series will be continuing and Cox has me invested in both the characters as well as the larger storyline. A recommended series that showcases what this author does best.