Avi Mulvaney is many things. Son. Twin. Owner of the fashion label, Gemini. Murderous psychopath. Together, he and his brother, Asa, make one brutally efficient monster, ridding the world of predators who victimize the innocent. History proves Avi and Asa don’t do well apart, but their father has decided to test that theory.
Felix Navarro knows exactly who he is. Baby brother. Fashionista. Vigilante. While he’s not happy that his big brother married a Mulvaney, the union has its perks. Like a paid internship with Gemini. But all good things come with a cost and, for Felix, that’s enduring Avi Mulvaney each day, which inevitably leads to thinking about him every night.
Felix doesn’t like Avi. He’s cocky, condescending, overbearing, and inappropriate. He’s also sexy, brilliant, and twice as lethal as Felix. Still, Felix loathes him. Even if he keeps letting him kiss him. And touch him. Even if he slipped just once. It was still hate sex, and it would never happen again. Ever.
Except, Avi’s being sent to help take down a dangerous crime ring and he’s ordered Felix to come along. Felix has vowed to stay strong. To remember he hates Avi. But they’re trapped together and there’s only one bed, and it’s so hard to hate Avi in the dark when he’s whispering how Felix belongs to him. Felix belongs to no man, but Avi is determined. He has one week to prove to Felix that he’s the exception to his rule. After all, who says no to a Mulvaney?
Mad Man is a scorchingly hot, intense, enemies to lovers, psychopath romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a dirty talking, brutally vicious killer and a sharp tongued murderous fashionista who are both too stubborn for their own good. As always, there’s gratuitous violence, very dark humor, enough blood to film the final scene in the movie Carrie, and enough heat to melt your panties. This is book five in the Necessary Evils series. Each book follows a different couple.
Here there be spoilers.
If you had told me a year ago that I’d be eagerly anticipating releases of books about murderers and psychopaths, I would’ve raised a very skeptical eyebrow, at the very least. I don’t generally gravitate toward crime or suspense, find violence kind of meh, and am leery of anything dealing with mental disorders (as they tend to be portrayed poorly). Fluff is my jam, maybe a little light angst if I’m feeling adventurous.
Imagine my surprise to find myself falling in love with the Mulvaneys.
…probably because this is really fluff. Bloody, vengeful fluff, but fluff.
Avi is perhaps my favorite Mulvaney to date, giving Adam a run for his money, and it was fun to see him separated from Asa (who is perhaps my least favorite Mulvaney). He really is a murdery golden retriever, eager to do anything that will please Felix. I enjoyed seeing his reactions (or lack thereof) to Felix’s issues, his calm insistence on Felix taking the chance on them.
Felix shook his head, his brain still somewhat caught up on Avi saying Felix was his favorite part of every day. “That’s my point. Why would you want to put yourself through that?”
“Because I know how much I’d regret not spending every single moment I could with you before you were gone? Before I was gone? Life isn’t meant to be lived in moderation. We only get one chance at this, and I have no interest in depriving myself of things I enjoy knowing that they’ll disappear someday. Or that I will. What’s the point of living if you’re just going to keep yourself locked away from ever experiencing life?”
I wasn’t sure about Felix from the beginning and now, having finished the book, I’m still torn on him. On one hand, I respect him for being unapologetically himself, from his penchant for knifeplay to his non-gender-conforming fashion. On the other hand, his struggle against Avi’s push for a relationship got wearing, especially as I found the reasoning behind it a little weak. Their banter was fun, at least, and the dynamics of their sexual relationship were interesting.
It was good to see the other Mulvaneys featuring frequently, but not too heavily–one of my biggest pet peeves in series is when characters from other books have almost as much page time as the main characters. I was also grateful that Asa wasn’t mentioned as much as I expected, coming up in Avi’s thoughts only occasionally, instead of being dwelt upon. By the time Asa and Avi were reunited, it was close enough to the end that their dynamic wasn’t exhausting.
That being said, pacing was a little weird in places. I think their first encounter could’ve used a little more lead-up; it was a bit of a shock that they went from banter to Felix losing his virginity (which isn’t pointed out until later and which didn’t really seem to fit or matter much) as quickly as they did. Their banter was the best part, and I would’ve loved to see more build-up in this book, instead of riding what there was in earlier books in the series.
The murder plot of this particular book was rather subdued–it seemed like it took a backseat even to the mystery of Thomas and Aiden. (Am I the only one not sure about that particular pairing? I’m ambivalent about Thomas and don’t care much for Aiden, but I’m curious to see how they would come together.) It was resolved neatly in the end without much fuss or drama. It could’ve been fleshed out more, but, like I said above, this as a series is really fluff, and the murder plot was more of a vehicle to carry on the fluff than the central aspect of the book.
There could’ve been a bit more editing to clear out some typos and errors, but overall it was a solid, fairly quick read.
I can’t say that I’m really eager for the rest of the series–I don’t really have any investment in Archer, and I’ve already mentioned my uncertainty about the appeal of Thomas and Aiden–but I’ve certainly enjoyed the ride so far.
tl;dr A murdery golden retriever and his bloodthirsty kitten are an appealing pair, if a bit rushed.