Book Review: No Boundaries by S.E. Jakes

No Boundaries by S.E. JakesTitle: No Boundaries
Series: Phoenix, Inc., Book 1
Author: S.E. Jakes
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided via NetGalley
Published: November 18, 2014 by Samhain Publishing

When your past closes in, running isn’t always an option
The jobs Marcus Lowry works for at Phoenix, Inc. Investigations are quick and easy, and they don’t give him the nightmares his days as a CIA operative did. That is, until he gets involved in a case that grabs him by the throat and won’t let go.

Cole Jacobs left behind his old life on the streets to make a name for himself rebuilding high-end and vintage cars and bikes. But when a stalker threatens to kill him—and to hurt anyone who stands in his way—his past closes in on him, and he’s not sure where to turn.

The last thing Marcus wants to do is take on a charity case, and to say that he and Cole don’t see eye to eye at first is putting things mildly. But when the first attempt on Cole’s life nearly kills them both, Marcus realizes that Cole is in real danger, and Cole is forced to reveal everything. Almost everything. Because Cole’s deepest secrets could destroy them both.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Compelling characters set in an uber-angsty romance but the gaps in narration and mysterious character motivations ruined the story for me.

The Set Up: Ex-CIA agent Marcus is now a private investigator when his boss assigns him a stalking case. Cole left his life on the streets and is now a mechanic but someone from his past won’t leave Cole alone. Marcus and Cole are forced together for safety but they can’t deny their attraction.

Why I Read This Book: I read all of S.E. Jakes books.

What I Liked: I’m a sucker for broken characters and few writers do this as well as Jakes. Cole survived an abusive childhood, life on the streets and sex work. He’s got an inner strength that I love in my characters and his character was very well written. Marcus also is a damaged character due to his work with the CIA and has been burned by a “hustler” before so his skepticism of Cole is believable. Given that Cole and Marcus are both survivors and damaged emotionally the romance was uber-angsty (as Jakes is prone to write) and when I’m in the mood this is perfect.

What I Also Liked: Jakes writes super hot erotica and this book was no exception. Cole and Marcus tear up the sheets non-stop. The triad from one of Jakes’ previous books also have lots of bedroom scenes. Fans of MM or MMM erotica will eat this book with a spoon!

What I Didn’t Like: This story suffered from huge gaps in the narration—to the point where I wondered if paragraphs or even pages were missing from my NetGalley ARC. For instance, Cole and Marcus are talking and then suddenly Marcus is inside Cole and both are near orgasm.  Sure, that’s not a bad thing but all the in-between is missing: getting nekkid, moving to the bed, condoms, lube, etc. And to make it worse this was the first penetrative sex scene.

Worse than the narration gaps was the inexplicable character motivations. For example, Marcus feels Cole may be hustling him, they argue and Cole jumps out of the truck. Then Cole makes a call and “realized that he didn’t have to wonder.” This leads to Cole going back to the Gala and boom, emotional denouement. WHAT? I read romance because I want to see how characters get from A to Z. This is a huge relationship issue between Marcus and Cole but instead of them actually discussing it, it’s all just resolved because, well, because.

IMO: Jakes writes wonderful damaged character in angsty romance which is my thing but this book was a miss because I had trouble following event sequences and understanding characters’ motivations. I’ve had these issues with Jakes’ books before and may need to just skip reading future books.

J9’s Rating:
2 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. Sorry this one didn't work out for you. It especially sucks when it is an author that you really enjoy. Better luck next time.

  2. Huh, that bad? Was waiting for this one 'casue I also read almost everything by S.E. Jakes. I agree with you on this "I read romance because I want to see how characters get from A to Z." Not sure I'll read this one.


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