Book InfoDepraved by AJ Merlin
Series: Pleasure And Prey #1
Rating: Book ratings explained
Genres: Dark Romance, Romantic Suspense
Purchase at: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Living and working on a campground with her dogs is not where Sloane Walker saw herself at twenty-seven. But then again, not a lot has gone right for her since her step-father kidnapped her at twelve years old and scarred her both physically and mentally for life. Those actions should’ve left him rotting in prison for the rest of his life, not seeing him out on good behavior and giving him free rein to track Sloane down to make ‘amends.’
But that’s not her only problem, as if she needs more than one. Her second problem comes in the form of the masked stalker that slides into her room at night and takes what he pleases, making sure Sloane enjoys every second of it. What starts as a fantasy soon becomes something inescapable for them both, and Sloane might have to face up to a very important fact about her new friend.
He’s unhinged, psychotic, and utterly obsessed with her. And while those should be very bad things, Sloane can’t help thinking that maybe they aren’t so bad at all, no matter what that might mean for her sanity or her safety in the end.
Author’s note: This is a complete standalone set in the Pleasure & Prey universe. It contains consensual kink, unhealthy relationships, and harmful situations. For a full list of content warnings, please look inside.
Depraved - My Review
I’ll admit that this book didn’t captivate me in the first few chapters. It’s a slow build with lots of scene setting, and I just wanted to jump straight into AJ Merlin‘s brand of action. You know, the sexy, dirty and downright lascivious action. It’s definitely worth persevering with this read because in chapter 6 the story explodes in the most delectable way.
Depraved is told from the point of view of Sloane. She works at the campground where she lives with her two dogs, one of which is a service dog supporting her with the anxiety and PTSD she suffers from as a result of being kidnapped and nearly killed by her stepfather while she was still a child. Now her stepfather’s out of jail and wants to get in touch, there’s a sexy new camper on the scene, something strange is going on with one of the dogs, and she’s getting the unsettling feeling of being watched at night. Yes, Merlin’s love of horror movies definitely shines through in this book.
The good stuff starts when a masked stranger enters her room at night, not to kill her but to deliver endless pleasure. When Sloane fails to tell him to leave, he takes it as an invite to return another night. Let me tell you something: if that same masked man wanted to climb through my bedroom window I would not be complaining. The tension, the possessive dominance, the danger, and the anticipation. It’s all hot as hell. Even when Sloane starts to realise who he is, and finally gets him to uncover his identity, their relationship’s intensity does not diminish.
I don’t want to give too much away, although this is an AJ Merlin book so, if you’ve read any of her other dark novels, you’ve probably got an idea of the type of guy you’re going to be reading about. In comparison, it’s perhaps most like We Keep Secrets, and that’s as much of a spoiler as you’re getting.
Depraved definitely lives up to its title. It may be short compared to Merlin’s other dark romances but it’s concise and focuses on its strengths without complicating the story by adding extra distractions. And you know that when I say strengths I mean steam. Delectably debauched steam. In my opinion, this is Merlin’s best book yet, and I can’t wait to see what she writes to top it.