By Way of Pain
Criminal Delights Series, Book 11
M/M Dark Romance
Release Date: 05.20.19
Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he'd never dreamed.
This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.
Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.
Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain
J.M. Dabney’s new release By Way of Pain was terrifying in the most escalating way by introducing me to their character that felt no emotion. I am a True Crime fanatic but with each series I watch or with each serial killer I learn about, I want to believe that somewhere deep within each one of them lies some sort of emotion. A human trait that is common among even the worst of us.
This author went beyond my expectations with this story. The main character was determined to have traits of a dangerous personality at the young age of only 8 years old. His very presence at such a young age put fear not only in his peers but in his parents. By the time he reached the age of 16, he had already had three personal kills.
Now in his forties, he has studied enough people to know how to fake his emotions and appear to be a stellar man. He even conforms into society by having his very own practice. It is almost scary how well the author was able to put into words the blackness of this character’s personality. Cowen gave me the chills just reading about him. The way he was able to manipulate those around him for years and never being suspected for all the evilness that he had done in his past and continued to do in the present.
Although, as the story proceeds, I noticed a shift in Cowen’s personality, not sure I would call it an emotion per say but rather a need to function. When his double life meets a recognizable face, Cowen needs to decide what actions must need to be taken in order to keep his identity hidden.
Harrison’s character was one that is known but not written a lot. A big burly man who is more of a quiet, lonely submissive that was bullied in his youth and early in his adulthood and was burdened with a sickly mother. Soon he wakes up to find himself held prisoner in a basement, naked, and confused as to what happened. Sometimes knowing the reason is worse than just being kept in the dark. My heart broke for this bear of a man repeatedly. When the one person that he would have fantasies about during his torture became known to him as the one that sought out his pain and humiliation and soon the lines become blurry between the two.
A killer that doesn’t feel kinds of emotions towards people soon finds himself needing the bear of a man that is looking to be taken care of.
I honestly can not rave enough about this storyline. I was captured into twisted journey of these two characters from the beginning.
**TRIGGER WARNINGS INCLUDE: HUMILIATION, VIOLENCE, MASTER/SLAVE ELEMENTS, MALE CHASTITY, MURDER, IMPRISONMENT, DUB-CON, AND TORTURE**
I laughed with her through snippets of conversation, my meal, and the dessert I splurged on so I could stay a few minutes longer. I was isolated and wouldn't deny it, yet I also didn't want to admit it to anyone. Feigning happiness was something I'd done for so long that I didn't know whether it was real or a figment of my imagination.
When I would walk inside the house, the lock clicking into place would have it all come back in blaring clarity. At least here or at work, I could pretend I wasn't alone. That someone would miss me if I didn't appear one day. Would they worry? Probably not. I'd be just another regular who disappeared—found another place to go for their meals or a new place to collect a paycheck.
Without an excuse to stay longer, I threw money on the counter to cover my meal and a generous tip. By the time I walked outside, the cool night breeze had blown away the smell of greasy spoon and strong coffee.
On occasion, I thought about testing my theory, just pack up and go away for a while. Only fear kept me from doing so. It wasn't about the unknown or what existed outside of the city, but the fear my disappearance would be nothing more than a momentary blip. A split-second thought of where was he now.
I hated being depressed. Hating knowing that I was that dispensable. A forgettable part of the scenery. I shoved my hands in the deep pant pockets, and my steps were slow as I strode back to my car. Home was only a five-minute ride, and I dreaded it so much. I wanted someone who would miss me, mourn me when I'm gone, and yet I knew I'd just be a vague and fading memory.
J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.
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