The following are reviews for books five, six, and seven in James Cox’s Outlaw MC series and the entire series should be read in order.
Torrin has joined the Outlaw MC as a prospect, but he’s hiding one hell of a secret as he’s really an undercover peacekeeper. He was brought up to believe the laws of Mars, but did question some of his father’s beliefs and dealings at one time. Torrin knows he is in a dangerous position and it’s getting more dangerous each time his eyes stray over to Mayhem. But Torrin knows homosexuality is illegal and, more importantly, he knows that he is straight.
The club is keeping all plans close and quiet as they know that there is a rat somewhere. With the attraction sparking between him and Mayhem, Torrin starts to question everything. When Mayhem figures out Torrin’s true role and Torrin is faced with losing Mayhem and being exposed, Torrin has to come clean with the club and hope he can come out alive. Torrin barely has time to sort out his feelings when the club takes the war to the next level and lives are once again at stake.
We are back on Mars where we can leave reality right at page one. I liked the twist Cox adds here with having a peacekeeper infiltrate the club. It doesn’t take long for the patch members to figure it out however and Mayhem, who is already possessive of Torrin, is not pleased. The men are clearly attracted to each other as Torrin can’t keep his eyes off of Mayhem.
Mayhem pulled on my jeans then left them near his feet. He knelt before me. The smoke rising up around him like a warning he was hot. Already noted.
This was somewhat of a transition book as the larger plot is developing with the beginning of the war taking place and the story arc follows a similar pattern to the earlier books. Given the length of the story, there was not enough time to fully develop a relationship between Torrin and Mayhem while balancing out the other side of the story regarding the war. It was still clever how Cox tied Torrin’s past to another MC member and added another layer overall. Cox knows his characters and no one is trying to change anyone and taking on a lover just adds to their story. The ending, well, he can write a well placed voyeuristic group sex scene that he makes work with his own unique flair.
When the club needs high tech skills, Whip is the man. With the club living underground, Whip makes his way to Harley’s Hover Car Parts to catch a signal so he can monitor the plans of the government. He thought he had planned for everything, but he didn’t plan for the owner, Harley, the sexy Irishman, to be crushing on him. Coming from a violent childhood, Whip was able to turn his life around. But he likes it rough and likes to be in charge and his toys are usually deal breakers for most men, except Harley. In between playtime, the war on Mars has begun.
Whip is one of the tougher members of the group and he is fiercely loyal to the club who has become his family. He knows that they “were a mismatched group that fucking worked miracles” and he wouldn’t have it any other way. In a series with many characters, some will be your favorite and some less so. This was the book where the characters, due to personal preference, were just not my favorite couple. There was a lot going on here with developing Whip and Harley’s complicated D/s relationship and the larger story of the war. Whip spent a lot of time monitoring his computer, Harley’s character was not fully developed, and here I could have used more on the larger story as it was moving slowly by this point. By the end the book, the larger story line is propelled forward, but overall my feeling was that the men were together because their sexual tastes complemented each other and the swift falling in love was less believable for me here.
The Outlaw MCs have taken out most of the government and Mars is almost liberated, but there are a few peacekeepers still hiding. Club member Grim has always kept to himself for he can’t resolve his past and continues to punish himself. When a stranger named Valentine turns up claiming to have ties to another club member, Grim feels the heat immediately.
Valentine took a desperate chance and escaped from prison on Earth with the last of the guards. He is immediately drawn to Grim and longs for a stable life and someone to love. As the club goes after the remaining peacekeepers, Grim and Valentine engage in the first intimate relationship either of the men have had for years. Valentine is falling hard and fast until Grim’s secrets are revealed. Time is running out for Liam still in prison on Earth and as the men work together, they just may find room for forgiveness.
One of the areas I have enjoyed from these last few books is the connections Cox has added to tie the characters together. The book also tries to balance Valentine returning to Mars, the developing relationship between Grim, and the finale of the war. Cox continues with his signature style and the intimate scenes remain heated all of the way through. The conflict between Valentine and Grim is also well paced.
This was the book that the series had been leading up to with the demise of the government and for me that scene had an anti-climatic feel. For a short story, there were a lot of areas vying for attention. Valentine was a great addition to the roster of characters, but his story line, together with revisiting former pairings and taking out the remaining peacekeepers, only allowed for the surface to be touched on each area. We also finally get some information on what may be Liam’s fate in prison on Earth and the promise of that storyline started to overshadow what was going on here. Cox excels with his group of alpha characters who have a sensitive side for the ones they love, but with the addition of a new pairing in each book and the advancement of the war on Mars it was a lot to try and cover in each short story. The entire series still remains an escape from the real world with strong men trying to balance out life and love on another planet.