Playing With Knives by A. J. Merlin

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Playing With Knives by A. J. Merlin

Book Info

Playing With Knives by A. J. Merlin
Rating: four-half-stars
ASIN: B094GFHZF9
Published: 14/09/2021
Pages: 481
Genres: Dark Romance, Romantic Suspense
Purchase at: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK
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The Blurb

Life is so hard when you want to live like a magpie, stealing anything shiny you find, but you live in a small town where everyone knows your face.

Nothing exciting ever happens here, unless you count us getting our very own movie rental shop right next to the sheriff’s station.

Which, for the record, I don’t.

That is, nothing exciting happens until my roommate is murdered and her body washes up on the riverbank for the police to find.

Confused and angry, all I can really do is move on and let the police handle things…right?

Wrong. I can use the questionable life skills God saw fit to give me and be the best stalker-I mean, investigator-anyone has ever seen.

Until four sexy as sin strangers waltz into town like we’re some kind of fun tourist destination rather than the most boring place on earth.

Lysander, Azriel, Nikos, and Rhys don’t belong in this town. Something’s off with them. Something is wrong behind their shrewd gazes and swoon-worthy looks. More suspicious still, they show up right as my roommate was found, and the reasons they give for coming here are flimsy at best.

At worst? I’m starting to think they killed her, or they know who did.

Is it a coincidence that they’re here just after the first murder in over a decade occurs?

And even if I’m wrong, what happens if the dust settles and I can’t keep living the only life I know?

Well, let’s just hope my body doesn’t end up in the river too.

18+ Dark Reverse Harem Romance. PWK contains graphic sex scenes and detailed violent acts that may be triggering for some readers. There are also MM and MMFMM scenes and relationships.


You know a book’s going to be fun when it starts with a thought like:

Oh God, he knows I broke into Ms. Clutterbucker’s house while she was away on vacation and stole her remote batteries.

Who steals remote batteries? A klepto like Willow Carlysle is the answer to that question. She loves stealing things that “would prove to be a minor inconvenience, and taking batteries accomplished that.” This isn’t a story about Will, the inconvenient thief. This is a story about Will, a woman who gets caught up with the Pack. She has no idea what she’s walking into when she ‘steals’ Lysander’s wallet or breaks into the Pack’s Air b’n’b to find out more about them, but truthfully she was involved with them from the moment her roommate Ashley was murdered. She just didn’t know it yet.

Playing With Knives teaser

Kleptomania aside, Will is a character with a lot of depth behind her. I’ve read quite a few murderously crazy reverse harem type novels recently, and one thing the main characters all have in common is the enjoyment of the kill and sometimes even a near-psychotic lack of remorse over their actions. Will does not fit that mould. She struggles with the fact that she’s killed somebody, even though it was more than deserved; she realises that her lack of guilt is not a normal response – it’s as if she knows that despite the dark things she ends up doing to protect herself and the pack, she needs to retain her humanity.

“He would’ve killed you,” Rhys went on, tucking his face against my throat so that his nose skimmed my shoulder lightly.

“I didn’t want to kill him.”

“Own it. There’s no going back now.” He used his grip on my hands to twist the glass by increments, and watched Donald’s face twist into an expression of agony. “No apologies to be made either. Look at where you stabbed him.”

Will and Rhys
Playing With Knives teaser

Curiosity killed the cat, Lysander whispered in my ear, though I knew that the echoing memory had to be just that.

And I don’t think anything at all will bring you back, little cat.

Merlin has created some wonderfully distinct characters that blend intense with playful while still managing to seem “just not right” or even a little unhinged at times. The individual members of the harem are prone to mood swings, making their actions and responses excitingly unpredictable.

Why You Should Read Playing With Knives

  • Brilliant characters
  • Action packed
  • Excitingly unpredictable
  • Page-turner

About A. J. Merlin

A J Merlin Logo

AJ merlin is an author, crazy bird lady, and rampant horror movie enthusiast. Her debut novel, A Little Wicked, is the product of being enamoured with the paranormal and the need to hunt down all things that go bump in the night. Born and raised in the midwest United States, AJ is lucky to be right in the middle of people who support her and a menagerie of animals to keep her somewhat sane. Connect with her on Facebook or social media to see updates, giveaways, and be bombarded with dog, cat, and pigeon pictures.

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