Released: May 1st 2021
Genre: Sci Fi
“My heart sighs a little when I think back to this book, it was just so cute.”~ Under the Covers
If there’s one thing a human slave doesn’t want, it’s attention. So far, Mina has excelled at carrying out her duties without notice and biding her time until she can escape. Then her owner acquires a new gladiator slave: Crulden the Ruiner. Crulden is infamous across the galaxy for his blood lust and cruelty; his name strikes fear in all. Apart from Mina, who glares at him as she’s forced to clean his cell after he has torn it apart. Although Crulden has no memory of his past, he does know he will destroy anyone who stands between him and bad-tempered Mina. He just needs to work out how the bad guy can get the girl.
My heart sighs a little when I think back to this book, it was just so cute. I was a little wary going in as I am not really a big fan of the anti-hero, which in the end didn’t end up being an issue as Crulden was not exactly what he appeared. There was nothing anti about his hero-ness. Instead he was marshmallow with a fierce outer shell. Especially as that outer shell consisted of tusks, horns, claws and a tail.
Mina is a human slave who has the “luck” that her owner finds her repulsive but has been put in a position where he cannot sell her on. This means that her slavery isn’t sexual, but more constant drudgery. I apply the term “luck” fairly loosely as either way is horrific. However, Mina hasn’t lost hope and you she carries our her duties always with the goal of finding a way of escaping. I really liked Mina’s character, she was as fierce as Crulden in her own way despite the circumstances she finds herself in.
Now the juicy part… the romance. Bad Guy had a trope unique to alien sci fi romance: when both characters find the other ugly. He thinks she’s too small and soft looking with a weird face. She thinks he’s too big with weird tusks and brutish looking. Because neither of the characters were particularly sexually attracted to each other (at first) this meant that it had a friends to lovers, slow burn vibe. And, even when Crulden desperately wanted her, he valued and loved her so much that he was reluctant to bring sex into the equation. Honestly, that guy; adorable. Even when covered in the blood of his enemies he was a sweetie.
This book had a small but significant twist which I enjoyed and also ties in a little bit to her Corsair Brothers series and her novella Pretty Human, although Bad Guy works perfectly well as a standalone.
Bad Guy is a typical Ruby Dixon book: well-paced, sweet and sexy, with a hero and heroine you can fall in love with. If you haven’t read Dixon before, but don’t want the commitment of reading a long series like Ice Planet Barbarians, this would be a great one to give a try. If you are already a fan then…you’ve probably already read this!
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