Release Date: April 15, 2019
Received From: Signal Boost PR
— One wrong turn. One right man. —
Colin. Rule-follower. Future doctor. Witness to murder. Captive.
Taron. Survivalist. Mute. Murderer. Captor.
Like every other weekend, Colin is on his way home from university, but he’s taunted by the notion that he never takes risks in life and always follows the beaten path. On impulse, he decides to take a different route. Just this one time. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s the last time he has a choice.
He ends up taking a detour into the darkest pit of horror, abducted by a silent, imposing man with a blood-stained axe. But what seems like his worst nightmare might just prove to be a path to the kind of freedom Colin never knew existed.
Taron has lived alone for years. His land, his rules. He’d given up on company long ago. After all, attachment is a liability. He deals with his problems on his own, but the night he needs to dispose of an enemy, he ends up with a witness to his crime.
The last thing Taron needs is a nuisance of a captive. Colin doesn’t deserve death for setting foot on Taron’s land, but keeping him isn’t optimal either. It’s only when he finds out the city boy is gay that an altogether different option arises. One that isn’t right, yet tempts him every time Colin’s pretty eyes glare at him from the cage.
This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and will contain a dark M/M romance.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homosexual
TROPES: captor x captive, age gap, enemies to lovers, dislike to love
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, dark romance, mute character, disabled character, series: criminal delights
WARNINGS: captivity/abduction, violence, cancer, death mention, sexual content, blood, torture mention, physical injury, anti-ace language, ableism, slurs, gendered slurs, dubious consent, suicide, animal death, animal cruelty, unprotected sex, binary language
As far as being a dark romance, this book certainly delivers. The two main characters meet at the site of a murder–performed by one of them–and the other is then kidnapped so he can’t run off and tell the police. When happens from there is a gradual progression of hatred to friends and lovers, and everything in between. With possibly a bit of Stockholm Syndrome tossed in. The relationship that develops over the course of this novel is harsh, with unexpected softness. Taron and Colin bite and stab at each other (literally), riling the other up and pushing their buttons, but they also develop a life of domesticity and love. It’s uncomfortable reading at times, but knowing going in that it’s a dark romance is helpful towards separating reality from the story that’s being told.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and both the main characters. There’s a complexity to both Taron and Colin that is necessary for this kind of story, but which some authors tend to miss. Fortunately, Merikan hit it on the head. Both characters know that they’re in an awful situation, of their own making, and neither are particularly happy about it. And in addition to that, once they start developing positive feelings towards each other, there’s lots of internal confusion and struggling to grapple with the reality they find themselves in. The emotional turmoil both of them go through was fascinating to read.
The only noteworthy thing to negatively comment on was the fact that the narration sometimes flipped between past and present tense, as well as shifting between first and third person. It wasn’t a huge problem, but noticeable in some instances.
All in all, though, it was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to trying more from Merikan’s backlist.
K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.
K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.
More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:
K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com
Agnes Merikan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AgnesMerikan