Vicious by AJ Merlin

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Vicious by AJ Merlin

Book Info

Vicious by AJ Merlin
Series: Pleasure and Prey #3
Rating: five-stars Book ratings explained
Genres: Dark Romance, New Adult Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 222
Published: 21/04/2023
Available on
Purchase at: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
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One, two, he’s coming for you
Three, four, better run some more

I never would have accepted his help if I’d known what he’d do.

When the stranger who got me out of a mess in Springwood turns the town into a slaughterhouse in my name, I do the only thing I can do.

I run.

Not far enough, though, because I can feel him in Akron, looking for me. But he wants to take me home, and I can’t go back. Not after what he did.

Especially when I know that more than anything, he wants me home with him.

But when his words betray how he really feels, and instead of violence from the monster of Springwood, I get something completely different. Will I be tricked into going home after all?

Or will he drag me away, kicking and screaming, with his claws so deep I’ll never be free?

Vicious is a contemporary dark romance standalone set in the Pleasure & Prey universe. This is an MF romance. Please see author’s note at the front of the book using the ‘look inside the book’ feature for a full list of content warnings.

Vicious - My Review

Book review from, 5 stars. Book cover: Vicious by AJ Merlin

I’ll admit that I found the first chapter of Vicious confusing. I had to go back and re-read it before chapter 2 to make sure I was reading what I thought I read. And yes, I had. Quinn, our heroine, started the story in the midst of multiple murders. Something’s gone on with her therapist and she needs to run.

Fast forward five years and she’s running from Dr Gabriel Brooks once more. Quinn lands in Eddyville, Kentucky, with a new job as a social worker, but it’s not long before Gabriel shows up and she’s forced to face him along with the possibility that there’s a killer in town targeting some of her office’s clients.

Teaser: Vicious by AJ Merlin

I loved Quinn and Gabriel’s interactions, especially her extreme dislike of him and the way He slowly chips away at her tough, stubborn exterior with his persistent desire for her and claims that she belongs to him. Quinn’s perspective delivers a one-sided enemies-to-lovers vibe to their coming together and an inevitable rise in steam from the attitude-filled emotion she gives off.

As Quinn begins to soften towards Gabriel things get kinkier between them and it’s decidedly hot. At the start of the book his care of Quinn is more like that of a treasured possession but as the story progresses it becomes more like a twisted version of love. They’re never going to be an average couple but they definitely have their own distinctive style of love.

Teaser: Vicious by AJ Merlin

It won’t be plain sailing for our murderous therapist and his patient, though. She has a secret that only he knows and it’s going to come out at the worst possible moment. Or is it for the best?

My only disappointment with Vicious was that there was no real link with the other books in the Pleasure and Prey series. There was a 15-second cameo from Wren (Brutal) and a nod to Ashwick (the setting for the Behind Closed Doors series) but otherwise, the book felt more like a standalone. That said, I think Vicious is my new favourite book from AJ Merlin. Now I need to go read Depraved again to make up my mind.

About AJ 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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