A Chaos Moondrawn Review: By Way of Pain – Criminal Delights: Assassins by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is part of the Criminal Delights series, which are standalones by different authors revolving around dark themes. Pay attention to the trigger warnings. This book is about a lawyer named Cowan Kingley, who is a hired assassin. The reader sees him at different ages to establish him as not quite right, and much of the book is in his first person POV. The reader also gets the first person POV of the man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ends up kidnapped instead of killed. The key here is the why of it. What would make an assassin not kill a witness right away?

The warnings say dubcon, but I would say this is noncon. The Stockholm Syndrome contributes to the confusion. As a virgin with no experience, the captive has never had the chance to find out what he likes. Once Conway starts with the humiliation, whipping, spanking, choking, and breath play…his captive realizes he likes it. I don’t think this will convince anyone who isn’t predisposed to liking this sort of book. The book really has two acts. The first half is more intimate with just the two of them. The second half has John Wick style action sequences. While the whole book is actually effective, well written, and way more entertaining than it should be with a satisfying conclusion…there is a major issue.

Although Conway thinks of himself as a sociopath and has studied human psychology, I can’t agree since he is able to become obsessed, possessive, and caring–genuinely caring as the reader knows his POV–towards his captive. In the thank you note at the end, the author calls him a psychopath. These are not interchangeable words; they are two different things. One lacks empathy and the other lacks conscience, but neither would care about anyone else, let alone fall in love. This is the downfall of the book. If you are willing to ignore clinical definitions of these mental illnesses and suspend disbelief, it is well done for what it is.

The cover by was done by Natasha Snow. The covers of the whole series are stylized and match

Sales Links:  Amazon | Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published May 20th 2019 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB07PKQZ23C
Edition Language English

New Release Blitz for By Way of Pain – Criminal Delights: Assassins by J.M. Dabney (excerpt and giveaway)

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ReleaseBlitz-ByWayofPain

By Way of Pain

Criminal Delights Series, Book 11

J.M. Dabney

M/M Dark Romance

Release Date: 05.20.19

BY Way of Pain Cover

Blurb

Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.

Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Because-I-Can

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Cowen-Abnormal

Excerpt

It was a place created for a hunter. Big, sprawling and dirty—victims roaming the streets unaware of their status as prey. They all felt they were safe from the monsters because they were all easily spotted, but they knew nothing about my kind. We were just an abstract concept on some true crime show they watched in the middle of the night—evil reduced to caricature. My reputation was above reproach, but I was the most prolific killer of my kind.

In moments of respite where I hid away in my cabin, I’d analyzed when I’d become broken. I believed my sociopathy was a result of conception. Maybe something as damaged as I shouldn’t have survived to birth. A shell without a soul. I’d attempted suicide a time or two, and I bore the marks from years of self-harm. I’d hoped to feel something—pain proved you were alive—and yet the more I cut and burned, it became nothing more than a minor inconvenience—wounds to heal.

I closed my eyes, drew oxygen in through my nose and pushed it slowly past my lips, repeated until I opened my eyes. As with any normal person ending work, I gathered up files and my laptop, stowing them inside my satchel briefcase. Everything in my life was routine and repetition, nothing deviated. I arrived at my office at six in the morning and promptly left at six at night. Meetings were scheduled as needed. I appeared in court. I was successful at my chosen cover, but as with all aspects of my existence, they were disguises.
JM logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/J.M.DabneyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jmdabney_author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorjmdabney/?hl=en

Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/585182991553194/

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Dabney/e/B006QZIFLE

Website – www.jmdabneyauthor.com

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn

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An Ashlez Review: Cold Light – Criminal Delights: Assassins by Michelle Frost

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Rating : 4 stars out of 5

Being an assassin wasn’t something Lexington Campbell ever envisioned for himself, but after spending eight years doing just that, he’s prepared to take his place at the table of his father’s motorcycle club, The Iron Heretics.

Arden spends his nights dancing on stage at Spritz, one of St. Louis’s hottest night clubs, and waiting for Lex to pass back through town. After being orphaned young, he fears letting himself get too attached to the distant, bearded Lex, even after three years of inviting the man into his bed.

When Lex finds himself with a price on his head, he unknowingly pulls Arden into the darkness with him. When things aren’t what they seem, and enemies abound, will they find themselves still standing together in the cold light of day?

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Okay, I had one issue with this book – I LOVE MM reads and this one was steamy and really exciting and entertaining – but I HATE when in MM books literally every other character is gay, that doesn’t sit with me – one friend, maybe a GROUP of friends but legit almost everyone .. no it’s not believable… that being said…
Lex was all growly and sexy, his character developed amazingly and he was right on track by the end of the book, I love the protectiveness and the sweetness too and Arden was just adorable even though I kept reading his name as Adrien (especially during the yelling parts), he seems very femme and honestly I pictured like a long haired Fabio goddess yet not all buff.
Overall great story, fast paced, lots of action and a bit of MC in it, lots of will this happen, will that happen, wasn’t as dark as I was initially anticipating given some of the criminal delights book but it’s definitely a good read.
Cover – honestly love it – the ominous feeling you get when you look at it, and the delicious side profile
Sales Links: Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 148 pages
Published June 3rd 2019
ASINB07PJCHJPF
Edition Language English

An Ali Review : Match Grade – Criminal Delights: Assassins by G.B. Gordon

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

SOME MATCHES SPARK AN INFERNO

Eirik Haldurson is a hitman. Kidnapped at age five and cruelly trained by his captor, he is today one of the most sought-after contract killers alive. Emotional distance from his targets, brutally beaten into him until it became second nature, is now the only way he can function. Lately though, that distance has started to elude him.

And when a Colombian drug cartel contracts Eirik to take out ex-soldier-turned-vigilante, Matt Moreno, distance is suddenly as close as heat to fire. And all hell breaks loose.
I think I had very different expectations for this book than what it was. I have seen the books in various places on social media and I thought they were going to be dark and edgy. The warning states that the books are “dark” and “not for the faint of heart”. This was not that at all. Not even a little bit.
Eirik is a hitman with a tragic back story and as the story starts he’s questioning his career choice. His mission to kill Matt is one he’s only half heartedly committed to. As he attempts to get close to Matt he gets to know him some and finds he likes him. As a result he decides he doesn’t want to kill him. They fall into instalust and then instalove and then go on the run to work together to kill the bad guys.
The writing itself was fine but the story contained a bunch of things I do not like. I don’t like instalust or instalove and I really don’t like my “dark” characters to have a good moral streak and to be portrayed as bad guys who are really good. If it’s going to be dark I really want dark. What people consider “dark” is a problem though. So many people see things differently. So…..this book more have a lot more mileage with other readers than it did with me.
Cover: I really like the cover of this book. I love how all the books in the series have been somewhat uniform but also unique. They also set a dark vibe.
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published May 3rd 2019 by Viridi Press
ISBN 139781999057305
Edition Language English

An Ashlez Review: Match Grade – Criminal Delights: Assassins by G.B. Gordon

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Eirik Haldurson is a hitman. Kidnapped at age five and cruelly trained by his captor, he is today one of the most sought-after contract killers alive. Emotional distance from his targets, brutally beaten into him until it became second nature, is now the only way he can function. Lately though, that distance has started to elude him. And when a Colombian drug cartel contracts Eirik to take out ex-soldier-turned-vigilante, Matt Moreno, distance is suddenly as close as heat to fire. And all hell breaks loose.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little let down by this book.  All in all it was a great book, very action packed and exciting, but it was not what I was expecting in a criminal delights, coming to read a lot of these and I have loved almost all of them except 2 now, perhaps I’m spoiled.
Cyrus was my favourite character in the book, and that says something.
Matt was nice enough, well meaning, and kind of sweet in a way.
Eirik (or Eric when Matt says it????) Is a bit of a loss, going through a rough patch.
I found their dynamic great in the beginning, I was excited, things got interesting very quickly, but then their dynamic changed, it went from 0-10000 in the blink of an eye and I was a bit thrown off and confused by it.  And the whole thing in the end felt so unbelievable, perhaps I’m more of a slow burn type of person, or at LEAST some dark and interesting moments.

Overall it was OK and I’d classify it more as a thriller romance than dark romance.  Still worth a read though if you like a lot of action and guns!

Cover – I love these assassins covers, the red/black/white combo really work
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published May 3rd 2019 by Viridi Press
ISBN 139781999057305
Edition Language English

A VVivacious Review:It’s in My Blood – Criminal Delights: Obsession by Sean Azinsaltt

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Rating: 2.75 Stars out of 5

Mark is a journalist obsessed with growing old or more accurately obsessed with not growing old. As he turns forty, he can’t help feeling like his life is over, when he gets the chance to investigate a company that claims to reverse ageing. As Mark starts his treatments at Youthology not only does it seem to work but it does so much more, as the blood in Mark’s system works to make Mark more like his donor, Nick. But there is a darkness in Nick and now it’s in Mark too.

This book is Mark’s story and I liked Mark. Even with how shallow he is you can tell that he is a good person. He is definitely vain but I really couldn’t fault him for his views. Mark was a fascinating character and I really would have liked to see more of his views on what was happening to him.

This book is primarily Mark’s story and we see all characters from Mark’s lens. Sean is an interesting character who manages to get two men completely obsessed with him though I wonder if he has more of a dark side than we got to witness though I like him as the innocent character in this one. Nick is too much testosterone. He is the alpha male who thinks with the wrong head. He is cocky to his very detriment. He is an idiot and I guess I just have to come out and say this, Mark was always going to win this battle.

The story starts off interesting and it is quite engrossing in the beginning. The sex is hot but somewhat about the halfway point this book devolves into nothing but sex. There are like chapters filed with it. Chapters twenty-four and twenty-five are basically one never-ending sex scene. This author wrote the sex scenes well but there truly is something as too much of a good thing. I really wanted some plot point to emerge amid all that sex but it was for nought. The ultimate conclusion of the story is predictable as we get a hint to it in the prologue so I thought the journey to that point would be interesting. I truly wished that the last act would have been a homage to Mark truly becoming Nick and I would have liked it if it had played out that way but for the most, the author failed to develop the plot much after Sean enters the picture. There is nothing new the story introduces after that point and everything interesting happens before that point.

The writing of this book is a little quirky with some awkward sentence structuring but I think it overall works to build the charm of the book, though at times it did bring me out of the book.

This book is marketed as a dark book and I feel like the author should have stuck to the blood and its side effects to add darkness to the story instead she halfway decides that the darkness in this book is going to come from all that sexual depravity which didn’t work for me. Side Note – There is actually a lot of kinky stuff happening in this book and some stuff might be off-putting to people so just a heads up there are some golden showers in this one. I have read almost every sexual taboo out there so it’s hard to get me that way. Therefore, I must acknowledge that this book might be subjective with some people agreeing that it is a truly dark read but it wasn’t for me.

The last scene should have been the darkest of all but it just doesn’t play that way and that epilogue was downright cheery. It was the darkness that this book promised that had me intrigued but it failed to deliver.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I really liked the cover it really fits the theme of darkness and intrigue this book was going for.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Published May 17th 2019
ASINB07PS6XFQZ
Edition LanguageEnglish

Review Tour and Giveaway for It’s In My Blood (Criminal Delights:Obsession) by Sean Azinsalt

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 62,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Death eventually comes for us all. But what if there’s a way for older people to regain their youth? To stay a step ahead of the grim reaper?


Turning 40 was the last straw for me. It’s practically 60 in gay years and I wasn’t ready for dentures yet, so I came to Youthology — a program that injects clients with blood transfusions from young, fit and healthy donors.


I chose Nick.


Handsome. Masculine. And more importantly, young.


I thought I hit the lottery, until my life started to change for the worst. Not even the top medical experts can explain what happened to me. From the moment Nick’s blood flooded into my veins, I stopped being me, and I became something new; something dangerous and deadly.


I became my donor.


His obsessions are mine now. His darkest desires, his dreams, his needs, and nightmares are all a part of me, and I don’t want to let them go.


I embrace them and the beautiful boy who haunts both of our dreams.


My blood pact was sealed the moment I entered Youthology.


I never thought I’d become a killer.


This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.


Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

 

 

Author Bio


Sean Azinsalt is the pen name for Shane K Morton.


Shane lives in Studio City, CA with his husband Jody and their fur baby Slayer. His first novel, The Trouble With Off-Campus Housing was published in 2016. When not writing, Shane can be found at a film festival or performing cabaret somewhere in a dark dive bar in LA.


Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram


Giveaway

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RELEASE BLITZ for By Way of Pain (Criminal Delights:Assassins) by JM Dabney

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ReleaseBlitz-ByWayofPain

By Way of Pain

Criminal Delights Series, Book 11

J.M. Dabney

M/M Dark Romance

Release Date: 05.20.19

BY Way of Pain Cover

Blurb

Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.

Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Because-I-Can

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Cowen-Abnormal

Excerpt

It was a place created for a hunter. Big, sprawling and dirty—victims roaming the streets unaware of their status as prey. They all felt they were safe from the monsters because they were all easily spotted, but they knew nothing about my kind. We were just an abstract concept on some true crime show they watched in the middle of the night—evil reduced to caricature. My reputation was above reproach, but I was the most prolific killer of my kind.

In moments of respite where I hid away in my cabin, I’d analyzed when I’d become broken. I believed my sociopathy was a result of conception. Maybe something as damaged as I shouldn’t have survived to birth. A shell without a soul. I’d attempted suicide a time or two, and I bore the marks from years of self-harm. I’d hoped to feel something—pain proved you were alive—and yet the more I cut and burned, it became nothing more than a minor inconvenience—wounds to heal.

I closed my eyes, drew oxygen in through my nose and pushed it slowly past my lips, repeated until I opened my eyes. As with any normal person ending work, I gathered up files and my laptop, stowing them inside my satchel briefcase. Everything in my life was routine and repetition, nothing deviated. I arrived at my office at six in the morning and promptly left at six at night. Meetings were scheduled as needed. I appeared in court. I was successful at my chosen cover, but as with all aspects of my existence, they were disguises.
JM logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/J.M.DabneyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jmdabney_author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorjmdabney/?hl=en

Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/585182991553194/

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Dabney/e/B006QZIFLE

Website – www.jmdabneyauthor.com

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Love Kills (Criminal Delights:Serial Killers) by Michael Mandrake

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.
 
Length: 56,600 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Deranged birds of a feather flock together… leaving trails of blood in their wake.


Holland has fantasies most can’t accept. When potential mates discover Holland’s bloodlust, it’s too late for them to refuse. Determined to get what he wants, Holland continues to seek a man to fulfill his deepest desire and he won’t stop at anything


Archer is inspired and aroused by the tales he’s heard from his boyfriend. Still, he’s greedy for something that pushes him over the edge. Although this might drive him and his partner apart, Archer’s dark want won’t disappear.


Clint’s love for his job has slipped for years, and he’s pondered change. These days he’s cared more about how to please his man, than the rigorous position of solving murder cases. Clint thinks his attitude will eventually get better, thus prompting him to stay aboard. Still, the constant worry of Archer finding someone new niggles at him.


Putting sketchy characters behind bars had always been Clint’s forte, but when new feelings arise, Clint’s conscience is tested. Furthermore, what will happen if Clint is forced to choose between the love of his life, his career, and his morality?


This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.


Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.


 

About the Author
 

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Through these, he builds worlds not centered on romance but rather the mainstream and/or obscure plots we might encounter in everyday life and beyond.


Website: https://michaelmandrake.wordpress.com/
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelMandrake/
FB Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004610177001
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MichaelMandrake
Follow me on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michael-mandrake
Triad Newsletter – https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z7f2c7
Triad Fangroup – https://www.facebook.com/groups/275083546529760/

 

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