Available October 6th
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.
As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.
Claimed is a strong, sensual start to a new series by Ms. Kennedy, introducing us to a post-apocalyptic world we can only hope never comes to pass, as well as a group of men who have us wishing we could somehow grant Ms. Kennedy the ability to write at superhuman speed in order to have their stories as soon as possible. We're given just enough history as to how this war-ravaged world came to be so that we easily get our bearings in the first few chapters, settling in quickly and then gluing ourselves to the story until we reach the last page far before we're ready to temporarily part ways with Connor, Hudson and company.
Hudson is a little tricky in the beginning, instantly drawing us in with her need to find safety outside the walls of the compound she called home, but when that understandable need begins to bleed into the romance in the first third of the book, we can't help but want her to find the spine of steel that led her to flee her home in the first place. Because she instinctively knows that Connor and his team can provide safety, she tries hard to make herself useful without disrupting the routine they've established, and when things heat up with Connor physically, that desire for safety leads her to accept what feels like the crumbs from Connor's sexual table. That's not to say she's not an active and willing participant in anything and everything they do–she absolutely is–but she allows him to call the shots inside the bedroom and out of it in a way that has us wishing she'd make him work a little harder for it.
Before too long however, Hudson gains confidence sexually and otherwise, and when she does, she goes toe to toe with Connor in the best possible way. She pushes when he needs to be pushed and then allows him to take back control before pushing too far, becoming a woman who isn't afraid to ask for what she wants and demand that her voice be heard (in a non-irritating way). Those, like myself, who are typically uncomfortable with anything other than absolute monogamy in romances should know that Hudson and Connor play with one of Connor's men a number of times, but in the context of this world it works to intensify things between the two of them. There's no hint of a triangle–Rylan is sure to get his book at some point in the near future (yay!)–and the understanding from the beginning is that what's shared between them is physical only within the bounds of friendship.
Overall, Claimed is blistering hot with just enough grit to the world to have us delighting in the characters' rough edges, and we're left with the satisfied smile any romance-lover lusts for firmly in place by the time we reach the last page.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.