Today, I’m reviewing Bad Deal by Faith Ryan & Ember Raine-Winters, a m/m, mafia, MC, contemporary romance.
Title: Bad Deal
Author(s): Ember-Raine Winters & Faith Ryan
Series: Belikov Crime Family, Book #1
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Genres: LGBT, m/m contemporary romance, adult, bdsm.
Blurb: JR Richards – What’s worse than wanting the one person you can never have? How about finally getting them. Don’t get me wrong the sex was great, but everything that came after? Yeah, it’s like they say, be careful what you wish for.
Ruslan Belikov – My brother made a deal that didn’t go as planned. Now I have to get back what’s ours and pretty boy Jacoby is the tool to make that happen. I’ll torture and use him until I get what I want, then I’ll toss him aside like the rest.
A motorcycle club and a Mafia family shouldn’t make deals. Someone’s bound to lose. Family, friends and hearts, nothing’s safe in a world fueled by drugs, money and sex.
WARNING: Ruslan Belikov and Jacoby Richards may not be for everyone. They are two dominant men thrown into an impossible situation. Some readers may find their story makes them uncomfortable. If you don’t like dark and dirty mafia bosses who use torture and sex to get their way turn back now. You have been warned.
I wanted to read something dark and dangerous, and the authors did provide this for me, but I had to suspend reality. It starts with the first chapter through JR’s POV. He’s with his BFF Scar, who’s uncle (Benny) runs the Devil’s Mongrels MC. Scar is a full patched member, and very young, maybe twenty-two. JR is only a prospect, and also young, around twenty. The Devil’s Mongrels are setting up a drug deal with a new customer—the Belikov Crime Family.
This made me go “hmm…” Because if the MC is setting up a new partnership (I’m talking reputation of the club on the line), they’d send in their best, not two young guys, one who isn’t a full-patched member, with so much cocaine in the duffel bag that JR is huffing and puffing to carry the stuff. If the club wanted JR to show his loyalty, they’d have him kill someone.
These two show their inexperience by leaving the duffel bag of drugs in the hotel room so they can go to a bar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they’d leave merchandise worth $$$$ unattended.
But you know something? The authors did something awesome. They kept me reading, and reading, and reading. Yes, they did. They had me way–too-curious with the trail of bread crumbs they left. And that is a big-big thumbs up for this duo.
When the cocaine and Scar go missing, JR comes out of a stupor to find himself taken hostage by the Belikov crime family, and JR has no idea how, who, or why, but believes Scar set him up. Locked in a basement at the compound, JR is at the mercy of Ruslan—the crime family’s sadistic leader.
There is a lot of torture, and everything you’d expect from two violent organizations. I really hoped for a good peek into the psyche of the two main characters, but there wasn’t much provided. Lots of sex, lots of torture, lots of longing. And obsession. The obsession worked for me because these two men aren’t available for “normal” relationships, not when they are caught up in a violent world of murder, drugs, and domination to get what they want. I do hope for the sequel that the authors provide more of a peek into the brains of JR and Ruslan.
I did like JR’s mentality because he lets himself be used by everyone as a sex toy. It goes back to the small glimpse given of his backstory, and he needs approval, something or anyone to love him, or at least give him attention. This was well done. I didn’t find him dominant at all. Just a lost guy who thinks he found a home with the MC.
Ruslan is also shaped from his backstory. And he’s hardened because of it. Since this book ends on a cliff-hanger, I did wish there wasn’t an epilogue because what happens between Ruslan and JR was too soon, for me, at least.
All in all, I really enjoyed this read. I’ll warn that you’ll have to suspend reality. If you’re looking to lose yourself in the fantasy the authors created, this book will work for you, and you’ll love it. But if you want something concrete, it won’t. As I said, the duo did a great job spinning a tale that keeps you reading so you can find out what happens next. The book has it all: lust, sex, torture, betrayal, violence, suspense, danger.
What about you? Have you read Bad Deal? Do you agree with my review? What were your feelings about this novel? And if you haven’t read Bad Deal, are you willing to after this review?