Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Bad Things
Author: Varian Krylov
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 410 Pages
Publisher: Varian Krylov
Release Date: September 15, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Smashwords
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it’s his predator’s gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it’s Xavier’s ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous.
But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent.
Carson suspects he’s playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they’re slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he’s not the predator, but the prey, until it’s too late.
And you can’t beg for mercy when there’s a gag in your mouth.
But when Carson escapes from Xavier’s trap, he’s forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.
Review: This story had a few different elements to it and turned out to be not quite what I expected. It centers around Xavier seeking revenge/justice for the rape of his sister and taking down the leaders of a sex trafficking ring.
There are basically three parts to this story, or at least, that’s how it read for me. First, we have Xavier and Carson. What a rocky start these two have. They meet at work while Xavier takes it upon himself to go undercover as a bouncer in order to infiltrate the sex traffickers. Carson is a bartender in the club who is somewhat innocent but gets sucked into helping the bad guys. He gets caught trying to spy on Xavier, which leads to Xavier keeping Carson captive in his basement and somewhat torturing him. There’s a fine line here as Carson responds to Xavier’s actions and treatment, which is pretty rough. Poor Carson was afraid of everyone – the bad buys and Xavier. I will admit that I really didn’t like Xavier much through this part of the story. He doesn’t seem to have very many actual redeeming qualities at this point, though there are reasons for his behavior.
Then, after things come to a head with the bad guys, Carson is brought to Xavier’s friends, Aidan and Dario, for safekeeping while they wait for the police to take everyone down. Whewwww, was this part of the story hot stuff. Aidan and Dario are completely in love, and I loved everything about them. I had not read their story, Dangerously Happy, but I most definitely want to after meeting them here. They show Carson a totally different side of things, and I wanted them to keep him forever.
The final part was back to Xavier and Carson. As much as Carson longed for what Aidan and Dario had, he couldn’t get Xavier out of his head. He found he craved what Xavier gave him. Now, this part is where Xavier turned things around and sort of won me over. Maybe because he showed more emotion and caring, I’m not totally sure. Xavier and Carson had a pretty volatile relationship for most of this, but they seemed to be a good fit, especially by the end.
This is gritty and dark, and even the parts I shouldn’t like, I found steamy and intriguing. While it took me a while to really get into this, I was on the edge of my seat after about halfway and didn’t want it to end. I loved the mix of edginess, steam and sweetness. This is the first book of Ms. Varian’s that I’ve read, and it surely won’t be the last.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*