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Bad Guy

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Crulden the Ruiner is the name of a fierce gladiator who’s broken the rules…and broken anyone that approaches. It’s *my* name. It’s a name that strikes fear into the hearts of all….all except the small human female who comes to clean my cell and glares at me the entire time. My new owners want things from me. They want me to play in their games. They want me to win battles fo Crulden the Ruiner is the name of a fierce gladiator who’s broken the rules…and broken anyone that approaches. It’s *my* name. It’s a name that strikes fear into the hearts of all….all except the small human female who comes to clean my cell and glares at me the entire time. My new owners want things from me. They want me to play in their games. They want me to win battles for them. Well, I know what I want in return. I want her. And I don’t care who I have to destroy to get her. But Mina doesn't want to be owned...and certainly not by one as terrible as me. How does a bad guy woo the girl when all he knows is death and destruction? *** Want to read other stories featuring a villainous (but not too villainous) character? Check out Ella Goode's Bad Girl (B0917YZ483) and Kati Wilde's Evil Twin (B0912S1CL6). Both are coming soon. ***


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Crulden the Ruiner is the name of a fierce gladiator who’s broken the rules…and broken anyone that approaches. It’s *my* name. It’s a name that strikes fear into the hearts of all….all except the small human female who comes to clean my cell and glares at me the entire time. My new owners want things from me. They want me to play in their games. They want me to win battles fo Crulden the Ruiner is the name of a fierce gladiator who’s broken the rules…and broken anyone that approaches. It’s *my* name. It’s a name that strikes fear into the hearts of all….all except the small human female who comes to clean my cell and glares at me the entire time. My new owners want things from me. They want me to play in their games. They want me to win battles for them. Well, I know what I want in return. I want her. And I don’t care who I have to destroy to get her. But Mina doesn't want to be owned...and certainly not by one as terrible as me. How does a bad guy woo the girl when all he knows is death and destruction? *** Want to read other stories featuring a villainous (but not too villainous) character? Check out Ella Goode's Bad Girl (B0917YZ483) and Kati Wilde's Evil Twin (B0912S1CL6). Both are coming soon. ***

30 review for Bad Guy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I love a hero who can rip a man to pieces and then be all cuddly and soft to the heroine while still covered in blood <3

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dilek VT

    Solid 4 stars from a reader who is not into science-fiction romance at all! ********************************************* The thing is I was sick of "not-good-enough" books in the romance genre lately so I wanted to try this "science-fiction romance" for a change although I am not a fan of it. Still, I hoped that the romance between an alien fierce gladiator and a sassy human female would be a refreshing plot for me. However, when I got to 10% of the book, I considered dropping it because it got w Solid 4 stars from a reader who is not into science-fiction romance at all! ********************************************* The thing is I was sick of "not-good-enough" books in the romance genre lately so I wanted to try this "science-fiction romance" for a change although I am not a fan of it. Still, I hoped that the romance between an alien fierce gladiator and a sassy human female would be a refreshing plot for me. However, when I got to 10% of the book, I considered dropping it because it got weird when I read the description of the hero. It was not what I expected. Here it is: I don't know what race he is, or if he's anything at all. They called him a “splice,” which sounds like a lot of things mixed into one. He's the turducken of gladiators, I guess, probably bred to be mean and nasty and rip his opponents apart. His eyes have a vertical pupil, just like a cat’s. Predator eyes, I think. His face is somewhat human, though his nose is ridged and blunted and doesn't quite look like mine. He's got two short horns curving back from his brow, large, pointed ears, and a mouth that hangs open wetly, showing far too many sharp teeth and a huge set of tusks. His hair is like a lion's mane, more of a “ruff” than actual hair, and it continues down his neck and then tapers to a chest that's plated like the mesakkah, broad and full of muscle. He's got a tail, too, like they do, but the skin color's all wrong. His is a strange purplish gray, nowhere near the pleasant-seeming blue of the predominant space-faring alien race. His hands are tipped in claws, but he's got three fingers and a thumb like the other aliens, and he's wearing pants that barely seem to fit his bulging-with-muscle body. He’s built thicker and stronger than anything I’ve ever seen. See? I was shocked to learn what he looked like. I wasn’t expecting a hero with horns, tusks, claws, 3 fingers and a tail. And as if all that is not enough, he is purplish gray. I stopped and thought for a while if this science-fiction romance thing was too much for me. I considered dropping the book. However, it was kinda funny and emotional. And also interesting. For example, when this alien gladiator sees the human female, he thinks she is "ugly". And because it is the first time he sees a human, he asks her this question:"What are you?" And she says: "I am a human." That was weird but funny... Apart from the weird way the hero looked like, I was also bothered by how they both found each other ugly. I wondered how their romance would be like if they both found each other unattractive. She's ugly, this female. She's small, for starters. I don't think she would even come to the top of my chest. Her limbs are small and a pale yellowish-white with traces of blue veins underneath. Her hair is an odd golden-brown color and held back from a pointy little face. She's impossibly fine-boned, this female, and everything about her is small and delicate—except for her eyebrows. They are two dark slashes that dominate that pointy little face and frame a pair of gray eyes that glare up at me with irritation. Whatever this ugly female is, she's not scared of me. Perhaps that's why she smells so sweet. There's no fear-scent covering her, no acrid terror tingeing her natural smell. Too bad she's so keffing ugly and small. I'd crush her the moment I got her under me. ********************************************* For the reasons I stated above, I stopped reading it for a few hours, but then my curiosity won and I went on reading the book and I am glad I did. I was both surprised and happy that this beast of an alien turned out to be very sweet and lovable. The more I got to know him, the less his appearance mattered to me. Hence, horns, claws, tusks, tail and all, I decided that I would happily cuddle him, too. Ha ha, I am surprised even at myself... That was unexpected! ********************************************* As a matter of fact, our hero, Crulden the Ruiner, is the clone of a really cruel and savage gladiator. Although he knows how to fight, it is not how he wants to live his life. But he is a slave and he has to do what is expected from him. Our heroine Mina is kidnapped from Earth and she is also a slave on the same planet. They meet when she is sent to clean his cell because he makes a real mess when they piss him. When he sees her, he finds her ugly but the way she carries herself, and also the fact that she is not afraid of him attract his attention. He also likes her scent. No incentives they sent his way were of use. He was never interested in training and becoming the killer they wanted but when he becomes obsessed with Mina, it becomes his incentive. He says he will do what they want if they give him Mina. That’s how their story begins. ********************************************* It was really endearing. I loved the slow development of their relationship. The way they first become friends, the way they build trust between each other, the way they start to find each other attractive after getting to know each other’s character are all realistic and later, when they start to get physical, I didn’t bother to stop and think if they fit one another, it just felt right, it just felt good. I suppose this is the success of the writer because I am not easily convinced. However, I believed in their feelings and I believed in their relationship despite their mismatched appearance. They even made me cry, for God’s sake! This is being a talented writer. I was appalled at the beginning of the novel and considered stopping to read it because I thought I would never be OK with them being together as a couple but the way the writer builds their story makes you want to yearn for their happy end together. If you want to try something different, I can recommend this book to you. This is fantasy and doesn’t feel like our usual romance books but still their story touched my heart. It kinda felt like a new version of The Beast and The Beauty. Even if you are not OK with the idea of a hero who looks weird, you may still enjoy their story, as well. It is so heart-warming. Safety: As for safety, there is the threat of rape but no actual rape in the book. There is a lot of violence. The hero is always kind and gentle to the heroine although he tears apart other people when he is angry or when he is training at the arena. The hero is a virgin but she is not. She teaches him human physiology and all the ways he can pleasure her. He learns so very quickly 😊 As for safe sex, nope, they don’t use protection. ********************************************* The book is written in dual point of view. It is 305 pages. It doesn't drag. Its pacing is good. ********************************************* Here are some QUOTES from the book. There's four of them, and the moment Crulden notices them, his eyes flood with red again. He turns and stands protectively in front of me. Oh, this isn't going to go well at all. He launches himself at them the moment they enter the cell. As I watch in horror, one guard raises his shock-stick and slams it into Crulden's chest. It barely fazes the big guy. If anything, it makes him angrier. He growls low in his throat, and spikes burst through the skin of his back and stud along his arms. Holy shit. Crulden grabs the shock-stick and uses it to drag the guard forward. He leans in, bites down on the man, and rips his throat out with his teeth. Blood sprays everywhere. The other guards pile on, slamming their shock-sticks into him, but I think he's too charged up to notice. Limbs go flying as he tears another guard apart, ripping him into pieces as if he's made of paper. *** "Your pain sticks won't motivate me. Your food doesn't motivate me. If you send anyone else into this cell to clean it, I'll kill them. If you send in more guards, I'll kill them, too. Nothing you do or say is going to make me want to be your pet gladiator…but if you give me the female, I'll play along. I'll be your obedient little fighter. But you know what I want." They exchange another look. The scientist frowns, but the lord looks thoughtful, and I know I'm going to win this particular fight. The lord leans in, his finger on the intercom. "How do we know you don't plan on killing her? Human slaves are valuable." Kill her? Why do they think I'd harm Mina? Why does Mina think that? I wish I had my memories, but they're all still a blank. Maybe they'll come back with time, but until then, I'll just have to cope. I'm not asking these fools for more information. "I want her alive. She's not a very good companion if she's dead." *** Mina is the only thing I have that is good and right. I like her more than soft blankets, more than the best meals. I like her more than the fresh breeze on my face when we're outside. I would choose her over all of that. But I do not know if she would choose me, and the thought makes my gut clench. I want her to put her hand on me again. I want her to touch me on places other than scars that have no sensation. I want to know what it would feel like if those light fingers brushed me ... elsewhere. I am a bad guy, I realize, because I do want more from her than just companionship. I want touches. I want her smiles. I want her scent full of something other than fear. I need to learn how to get these things. *** "You won't look at me?" "I wanted to know what you wanted with me," she says. "You said you didn't know. I guess you figured it out, huh?" Her tone is odd, bitter. "I want you in here, with me." "A slave for the slave?" *** "Are you going to kill me?" she asks. I frown. "Why does everyone keep asking me that? Why would I ask for you if I just intended to kill you? I don't want you dead." "You want a slave," she repeats bluntly. "If all you want is someone to swing by and pick up your socks, I don't have to sleep here. I can come by daily and tidy things for you." I scowl. "But then you will leave. This way, you stay with me. You will stay in my bed. You will talk to me and share meals with me." This doesn't reassure her. She hitches the blanket higher around her shoulders and gives me another fierce look. "So you're going to rape me, then?" Am I? I consider this. It would be nothing to overpower her. To shove her down and push her thighs open and do what I like with her. Her fear-scent would be unending, then. And… she would not like me. She would be angry. Permanently. I imagine what it would be like for her to hate me. She laughed once, the sound soft and sweet. I want that again. I do not want to destroy her for a moment's pleasure. I want… I don't know what I want. More of her everything. "No rape," I say gruffly. "I didn't push for you to be here just for you to hate me." *** "It's not a great plan. Just… more of a goalpost. The less noticeable I am, the easier it'd be for me to eventually escape." "I noticed you right away," he states again. "You are strange and ugly, for starters." "You're no dream prince yourself!" That makes him bare his teeth, and for a bizarre moment, I think he's snarling. It takes a heartbeat for me to realize this is his version of a smile. "When we leave, we'll escape together. I'm not leaving you behind." I stare at her in surprise. She's changing her plans to include me? The cause of all her problems? I… think I would do anything for this female. *** "I am a splice. They made me in a lab out of a little bit of everything." His teeth flash bright in the darkness. "Everything frightening and cruel, they threw into a test tube and out came me." "You're not cruel," I correct him. "Don't say that about yourself." "How do you know? Just because I'm not cruel to you does not mean I'm not cruel to others." *** "I like touching you far too much." I like it, too, but in my eyes, there is no such thing as too much. However much I get of her is the perfect amount. *** "Leave him alone," I hear distantly. "Let him find her." Find her. The words drill through my mind. Find her. Bring her home safe. Kill anyone that gets in my way. ********************************************* You can follow my Instagram page from here

  3. 4 out of 5

    Niki

    4.5 Stars I just loved Crulden. I also really loved sassy and strong Mina, who didn't put up with any sh*t. I just love how Ruby can write so well, stories where the unlovable, fight for redemption, and earn that unconditional love. This is a story about how love can prevail in even the darkest situations, and against the harshest odds. I devoured this in one sitting. So good! (I do want to briefly say, pay attention to the warnings, in this book the characters are slaves. They are not treated wel 4.5 Stars I just loved Crulden. I also really loved sassy and strong Mina, who didn't put up with any sh*t. I just love how Ruby can write so well, stories where the unlovable, fight for redemption, and earn that unconditional love. This is a story about how love can prevail in even the darkest situations, and against the harshest odds. I devoured this in one sitting. So good! (I do want to briefly say, pay attention to the warnings, in this book the characters are slaves. They are not treated well. There is also a lot of violence and killing because this story revolves around gladiator fights to the death. So if you get upset by such things, don't read this.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lacey (laceybooklovers)

    3.5 stars! This is a sci-fi gladiator romance that was pretty fun. It’s your typical Ruby Dixon book with instalove (on the hero’s side), instalust, and a supposedly bad guy hero who’s actually a nice guy. I liked the gladiator aspect but we sadly never explored much of it besides the hero just training. I wanted an actual gladiator romance!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    3.5 stars - Not one of my all time favs from Queen Ruby, but as always a fun and thoughtful exploration of a high premise... in this case, how do you find love in a circumstance when you are both enslaved. I think this was a little too long for my tastes, but I particularly liked how the book ended. It didn't go where I thought it would 3.5 stars - Not one of my all time favs from Queen Ruby, but as always a fun and thoughtful exploration of a high premise... in this case, how do you find love in a circumstance when you are both enslaved. I think this was a little too long for my tastes, but I particularly liked how the book ended. It didn't go where I thought it would

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caro ♡ Hot Mess Sommelière

    Okay, so ... That was not what I expected. I was super stoked for this story because the main characters make a brief appearance in Corsairs: Kaspar, and a gladiator main character who is also a bit of a villain seemed like a pretty good idea, but! Unfortunately, this was one of the worst books Ruby Dixon has ever written. This was supposed to be a novella, and it had enough plot and tension for a shorter work, but not for a full-size book. The pacing was disastrous. Mina is a human slave for an arro Okay, so ... That was not what I expected. I was super stoked for this story because the main characters make a brief appearance in Corsairs: Kaspar, and a gladiator main character who is also a bit of a villain seemed like a pretty good idea, but! Unfortunately, this was one of the worst books Ruby Dixon has ever written. This was supposed to be a novella, and it had enough plot and tension for a shorter work, but not for a full-size book. The pacing was disastrous. Mina is a human slave for an arrogant mesakkah lord who has his own stable of gladiators that he trains on the jungly moon in the V'Tarr system. Crulden is the clone of Crulden the Ruiner, a famous and horribly savage gladiator, who has awakened in the same mesakkah lord's facility, where he sees Mina cleaning his room and becomes enamored with her scent and fearless attitude. Mina wants to escape and tries to stay under the radar, but when Crulden notices her she is brought to him as his pet whore, which she resents. That's the gist of the plot, and unfortunately not much more happens. Ruby Dixon decided to write this novel about two captives who have nearly zero agency in their own lives. Mina is a weak human, but Crulden is not much better, as he is a clueless clone and doesn't know anything except how to kill opponents in the arena. Neither are particularly suited to hatch (and execute) an escapte plan. So they don't. And don't some more. And also don't have sex. Or really grow closer emotionally. Or meet other people. Half-way through, I was willing to pay just for one i teresting side character to be introduced. There were opportunities to give another character more screen time and plot: the corrupt scientist, the evil mesakkah lord, one of the a'ani guards, or even an ooli slave woman. ANY additional person and subplot would have been interesting at some point. Instead, nothing much happened. In my opinion, this was a complete disaster from beginning to end, in terms of lack of plot, snail-like pacing, lack of characters and lack of romance and lack of heat. Not really worse the read unless you are a super die hard Risdaverse fan.

  7. 4 out of 5

    AvidReader

    3.75 stars ⭐️. Safe, enjoyable and recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ivy Deluca

    Quick(ish) Review Excuse me while I sing Billie Eilish's Bad Guy on a loop, because that's all I can hear when I see this title. Anytorture, let me tell you about this entry in the Risdaverse books by Ms. Dixon. I've confessed in the past that she is my crack dealer. When she releases a new book, I am in line, just waiting for my fix. Now, it may be formulaic, but it's a formula I deeply enjoy. Here, Ms. Dixon has decided to remix Beauty & The Beast with Crulden the Ruiner, a splice (mix of ever Quick(ish) Review Excuse me while I sing Billie Eilish's Bad Guy on a loop, because that's all I can hear when I see this title. Anytorture, let me tell you about this entry in the Risdaverse books by Ms. Dixon. I've confessed in the past that she is my crack dealer. When she releases a new book, I am in line, just waiting for my fix. Now, it may be formulaic, but it's a formula I deeply enjoy. Here, Ms. Dixon has decided to remix Beauty & The Beast with Crulden the Ruiner, a splice (mix of every bit of deadly predator alien, basically) and Mina, human, are essentially slaves to Lord Sir, their master and all around twatwaffle. Crulden is big and bad, yet strangely innocent and Mina is your scrappy survivalist who's just trying to stay under the radar until she can GTFO out that mess. When Crulden becomes obsessed with Mina, a strange yet sweet love blooms, and yep, romance happens. This is a relatively isolated, character-driven romance with lots o' interaction between Crulden and Mina, which I do enjoy. Their Firsts are strange, because let's face it, I've never had the fantasy of banging the Beast before he changes into the prince. I mean, yes I'm an 80s gal, but this Ron Perlman doppelgänger (80s tv show look it up), doesn't tickle my fancy pants. Just sayin'. BUT, there's some dark moments, especially when Ms. Dixon really reminds the reader of the precariousness of Crul and Mina's situation and there is several violent scenes involving fighting, since he's a gladiator. If I had to quibble, and generally speaking, yes I do, then I'd say that there's not much going on other than these two growing closer and there's a repetitiveness to their inner thoughts. Basically it's like other books by Ms. Dixon where she'll have a good idea, it'll start with some interest, meander for the middle and then drop some good scenes towards the end. So did this fix blow my mind and nether regions? Nope, but I didn't hate it, hence the middle of the road rating. But guess what? Next time she releases a book, I'll be back in line, waiting for it, so there's that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    Conflict and resolution got weird at the end 🥴 I now need the next Corsairs book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laz the Sailor

    This was a lot of fun by a favorite author. No blue guys or dragons, just a bad-ass gladiator and a small woman who shows him how to live and love. I'm intrigued by the arrangement of two more books by different authors. I'll be reading them when they come out. This was a lot of fun by a favorite author. No blue guys or dragons, just a bad-ass gladiator and a small woman who shows him how to live and love. I'm intrigued by the arrangement of two more books by different authors. I'll be reading them when they come out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Renegade ♥

    4 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I started this yesterday after work. I stayed up until midnight reading it last night - until I was done. That really says it all, doesn't it? I started this yesterday after work. I stayed up until midnight reading it last night - until I was done. That really says it all, doesn't it?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Hoo-boy. Crulden the Ruiner is...well, he's kind of a hot mess. Considering he was artificially created in a lab to be a killing machine, this isn't his fault. I mean, the guy was created to kill and maim and bring destruction whenever he steps into an arena. It's coded into his DNA and he's very much a product of his creation. Except he isn't exactly. He might strike out without provocation (although he really was provoked considering the circumstances he found himself in when first waking up) a Hoo-boy. Crulden the Ruiner is...well, he's kind of a hot mess. Considering he was artificially created in a lab to be a killing machine, this isn't his fault. I mean, the guy was created to kill and maim and bring destruction whenever he steps into an arena. It's coded into his DNA and he's very much a product of his creation. Except he isn't exactly. He might strike out without provocation (although he really was provoked considering the circumstances he found himself in when first waking up) and go a little rampage-y upon occasion, but he's not completely terrible. In fact, he's surprisingly gentle when it comes to dealing with Mina. Everyone might expect him to play the bad guy around her, but he just can't do it. Not with her. As for Mina, she's a human who's sort of treated like an unwanted pet. Lord Sir doesn't quite know what to do with her. He can't outright get rid of her, but he doesn't want her around. Which puts her in a weird place. She's smart. She's managed to fly under everyone's radar for the past few years. She has no intention of remaining an enslaved human forever. Being given to Crulden as an incentive for good behavior is pretty much her worst nightmare. Not because of who he is or what he could do, but because it doesn't allow her to fade into the background. No lie, after the dire warnings about Crulden sprinkled about, I had no idea how he was going to redeem himself enough to deserve a happy ending. The dude is a menace and a killer and...well, this Crulden is a cinnamon roll whenever Mina's close by. And the reasoning for his different attitude makes sense. In other words, I didn't know if I'd like Crulden, but he managed to sway me toward his side. *thumbs up* -Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mar, Queen of Darkness

    Another Ruby classic. I was supposed to work this morning, and I sat down to eat breakfast and was like, "I'll just read the first couple chapters while I eat." A few hours later, I finished the book. Work did not happen. FYI, this is solidly sci-fi romance, just like Ruby's other books. It is not a 'sweet contemporary romantic comedy with a dash of bdsm,' as the cover suggests! Or is it just me that thought that? (view spoiler)[My only complaint is that there wasn't any sex until 95%. Sure, there Another Ruby classic. I was supposed to work this morning, and I sat down to eat breakfast and was like, "I'll just read the first couple chapters while I eat." A few hours later, I finished the book. Work did not happen. FYI, this is solidly sci-fi romance, just like Ruby's other books. It is not a 'sweet contemporary romantic comedy with a dash of bdsm,' as the cover suggests! Or is it just me that thought that? (view spoiler)[My only complaint is that there wasn't any sex until 95%. Sure, there was lots of steam, but no actual sex, and that was kind of a bummer. I also thought it was a tad anti-climactic how Crulden and Mina finally got their freedom. It was definitely the most probable scenario, but I kept expecting an exciting escape through the jungle, only for it to be as simple as negotiating with elite snobs and then climbing on a ship. Still, it was sweet and part of me was glad that our poor H wasn't forced to fight and kill any more people. (hide spoiler)] I will definitely check out the sequel to this one when it comes out! :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Wildenstein

    This book cements the fact that Ruby Dixon is one of my top 5 favorite authors. This book has it all: humor, romance and a smart plot with an unexpected twist. Did I mention romance? Dixon crafts the most scrumptious male heroes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I love Ruby Dixon and I'll read anything she writes. This one was just okay to me, not a favorite... but definitely had more to do with the set up of the story. When a story takes place entirely within what's basically a prison, and the two main characters are slaves without agency... it leads to things that are uncomfortable or just a boxed in plot. Mina is a human slave for Lord Sir, she was gifted to him by another mesakkah. She is forced to be the "pet" to his newest acquisition, a gladiator I love Ruby Dixon and I'll read anything she writes. This one was just okay to me, not a favorite... but definitely had more to do with the set up of the story. When a story takes place entirely within what's basically a prison, and the two main characters are slaves without agency... it leads to things that are uncomfortable or just a boxed in plot. Mina is a human slave for Lord Sir, she was gifted to him by another mesakkah. She is forced to be the "pet" to his newest acquisition, a gladiator named Crulden - extremely violent and dangerous but with a wiped memory. Neither Mina or Crulden has agency. Mina is forced to live with him because otherwise she'll be killed, and while she gets "perks" like better food, her life is being threatened. If she doesn't keep him happy, she dies. If he acts out to anyone else, she dies. Crulden is a pretty shapeless hero. He's a spliced together clone monster, and there's the capacity for him to be so interesting. (I'm reminded of Vordis, the cloned a'ani from the Icehome book Angie's Gladiator.) But because he has no chance to freely explore concepts or freedom or free will, it's a bit wasted. I'm happy they got their HEA but I think prison type romances just aren't for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ane Vass

    2.5 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    Navessa

    Favorite book by Dixon yet. AND I'VE READ ALMOST ALL OF THEM. Favorite book by Dixon yet. AND I'VE READ ALMOST ALL OF THEM.

  19. 4 out of 5

    sophua

    never thought i’d start reading alien romance and genuinely liking it 🗣 i don’t really like to read science fiction bc i have no sense of creativity and imagination at all, but this one was really cute. for a hot moment i though wtf am i getting myself into but as the story progressed and some things got cleared i enjoyed it. they were really in love with each other and i’m actually glad the separation made him grow into his own person and likings, even tho i’m not happy what mina had to go throu never thought i’d start reading alien romance and genuinely liking it 🗣 i don’t really like to read science fiction bc i have no sense of creativity and imagination at all, but this one was really cute. for a hot moment i though wtf am i getting myself into but as the story progressed and some things got cleared i enjoyed it. they were really in love with each other and i’m actually glad the separation made him grow into his own person and likings, even tho i’m not happy what mina had to go through during it....she’s such a strong woman. i’ll have to say i got kinda bored at times but i think it’s totally a me problem because i’m so anxious waiting for declansloanne, i’m not even paying attention to what i’m reading while waiting 😭😭😭😭😭😭

  20. 5 out of 5

    Delta

    4.5 Stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    &#x1f409;&#x1f60d;

    OMG can’t wait!!!! Loooooove ruby dixon books 😍 Just finished and hoo ha I love Mycrul 😍😍😍

  22. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Plot/pacing dragged and finished unevenly. Nice MCs but Crulden's character matured too rapidly at the end. Wanted more relationship development as free couple and time on Risda. The writing in these Corsairs and Risdaverse books varies quite a lot. Plot/pacing dragged and finished unevenly. Nice MCs but Crulden's character matured too rapidly at the end. Wanted more relationship development as free couple and time on Risda. The writing in these Corsairs and Risdaverse books varies quite a lot.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey A

    This was quite an enjoyable read. I do like Ruby's writing. She always tells a good story. This book is part of the Risaverse(?) and Corsairs, I believe. I haven't read the Corsairs series but am definitely going to start that series. I really liked the protectiveness of the hero. At the beginning he is all confused and drugged up but when Mina comes into the room he smells her scent and calms him. He makes a bargain with the people holding him that if they let him have her, he'll cooperate with This was quite an enjoyable read. I do like Ruby's writing. She always tells a good story. This book is part of the Risaverse(?) and Corsairs, I believe. I haven't read the Corsairs series but am definitely going to start that series. I really liked the protectiveness of the hero. At the beginning he is all confused and drugged up but when Mina comes into the room he smells her scent and calms him. He makes a bargain with the people holding him that if they let him have her, he'll cooperate with them. It's a bit more involved than that obviously, but he does finally get Mina. It is very sweet how he is so gentle with her and so protective over her. Mina has always kept her head down and made herself as unobtrusive as possible, but when Crulder (can't recall the spelling) takes notice of her she knows she needs to cooperate to try to escape. This really is quite a sweet romance and has a few moments of angsty goodness, even some heart-breaking scenes that had me tearing up while reading. The hero and heroine from make an appearance in this book and turn things around for both of them. Definitely a different read but Ruby does such a good job with her heroes that you forget they aren't human. LOL Highly recommend. It has me wanting to dive into more of her books. Quotes & Faves: 💜 Mina is all that matters. Mina is my entire world. 💜 "Mina," I call softly, and hold my hand out to her, palm up. "I swear to you. I would never hurt you. You are the only good thing in my life." 💔 And I feel like I'm dying inside all over again. The feeling passes swiftly, though. It's all right. Even if I can't get free, I don't mind as much if Crulden is safe and happy. I love him, and I want him to have a good life…even if it can't be with me. As long as he's alive and well, that's all that matters.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cece

    When I first began reading this, I was sure it’d be a 4 or 5 star read because it felt so different from Ruby Dixon’s usual fare. However, during the second half, there were a few internal conflicts that I thought were mishandled, so that knocked it down to middling territory. If you’ve read independently published sci-fi romance before, the premise of Bad Guy will probably be familiar – a human captive is thrown into a jail cell with an alien warrior. This type of forced proximity is common in When I first began reading this, I was sure it’d be a 4 or 5 star read because it felt so different from Ruby Dixon’s usual fare. However, during the second half, there were a few internal conflicts that I thought were mishandled, so that knocked it down to middling territory. If you’ve read independently published sci-fi romance before, the premise of Bad Guy will probably be familiar – a human captive is thrown into a jail cell with an alien warrior. This type of forced proximity is common in the sub-genre, and versions of it appear in Venomous, Ruth's Bonded, The Scorpion's Mate, Ral's Woman, etc. Ruby Dixon has done it before too, in the Prison Planet Barbarian standalone. However, in the hands of such a skilled writer, this subverted meet-cute still sparkles off the page! I loved how neither Mina nor Crulden found each other conventionally attractive at the onset of their relationship because it meant their mutual regard was well earned and more rooted in an emotional bond (No instantaneous lust here!). This trope also allows for a lot of playful, creative moments, like when Crulden idly wonders if humans are capable of smiling or Mina decides that her monstrously “spliced” roommate is more appealing than their mesakkah captors (Dixon usually casts the blue-skinned mesakkah as hunky heroes so that’s a fun subversion for fans). Bad Guy is also a real departure from Dixon’s other sci-fi romances. As befitting a traumatized gladiator character, Crulden is an alpha hero with destructive and violent tendencies, which is a change from the sweet cinnamon roll heroes who populate Not-Hoth in the “Ice Planet Barbarians” and “Icehome” series. Of course, underneath his bristly and proud exterior, he’s a sweetheart who wants to please his lady and is careful of enthusiastic consent, but that doesn’t totally wipe away his proclivity for killing the clones who guard him or his initial demand that Mina live with him, which also means she must keep him appeased or risk the ire of her captors. Violence, sexual assault, and slavery hang over this narrative, and suffuse the novel with a much darker tone than Dixon’s typical stuff. I think this is something to know before going in, but these differences didn’t move me one way or another. Mostly, it was exciting to see Dixon doing something new and I liked how this darker story allowed the author to tease out Beauty and the Beast vibes. However, I did have a problem with how internal conflict was handled. After Mina and Crulden grow close in the first half, Bad Guy has two “black moments” when the lovers become emotionally distanced and we’re meant to feel as if their relationship is in jeopardy, except these clichéd disagreements are unconvincing and only left me irritated. First, Mina learns about Crulden’s past and based on this information, decides to forgo the trusting relationship she’s built with him while actively rejecting his overtures for reconciliation. Later, Mina lies about her feelings to Crulden and he bitterly believes her. These conflicts undo the previously established relationship development and force the characterization into nonsensical, unflattering directions for plot expediency, which I didn’t enjoy. I’m a Ruby Dixon super-fan and I’ll read anything she puts out, but I wish Bad Guy had been as sharp in its second act as it was in its first.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jayna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this. Heroine was a slave and hero was a gladiator. They are thrown together and she is used as bribery to convince him to perform well during gladiator training. They slowly fall in love. I enjoyed the grinding scenes! Only one sex scene, though. It was a great read, felt pretty quick. Hero has no memory since he is an illegal clone so their relationship was really based around their chemistry and her taking care of him. I really prefer more back story. We didnt get any of her backsto I enjoyed this. Heroine was a slave and hero was a gladiator. They are thrown together and she is used as bribery to convince him to perform well during gladiator training. They slowly fall in love. I enjoyed the grinding scenes! Only one sex scene, though. It was a great read, felt pretty quick. Hero has no memory since he is an illegal clone so their relationship was really based around their chemistry and her taking care of him. I really prefer more back story. We didnt get any of her backstory either. No real side characters. She is the only human on the planet so we only see her interact with the hero. I enjoyed this overall!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephaniec

    3.5* This was cute and a nice dip into Ruby Dixon's world 3.5* This was cute and a nice dip into Ruby Dixon's world

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tuna ⎈ Reads

    3.25 "Petition for Steven Moffat to produce this Dr. Who episode" stars Listen—I tried guys. But the second my brain made that connection between Crulden and Manny from Ice Age...that was it 😂 Imagine my perturbed surprise then when the sex scenes were actually GOOD?! I feel like a pervert-hunting task force from 20th Century Studios is gonna rappel through my window and arrest me for sexualizing a beloved childhood mammoth. But soon-to-be-pending criminal records aside... I reached a point where I r 3.25 "Petition for Steven Moffat to produce this Dr. Who episode" stars Listen—I tried guys. But the second my brain made that connection between Crulden and Manny from Ice Age...that was it 😂 Imagine my perturbed surprise then when the sex scenes were actually GOOD?! I feel like a pervert-hunting task force from 20th Century Studios is gonna rappel through my window and arrest me for sexualizing a beloved childhood mammoth. But soon-to-be-pending criminal records aside... I reached a point where I realized I wasn't going to enjoy this book in the traditional way that I enjoy romances. Mina and Crulden's relationship was just too mushy and lighthearted and it especially didn't feel appropriate given the circumstances. I get the whole point of this is suspension of disbelief—this legitimately would be right up Dr. Who's alley—but...the behaviours, the rationale, weren't anchored in anything even resembling reality. It felt like Mina was more "maid in a castle" at times with her chipper demeanor than enslaved human kidnapee aboard an alien moon where her life and body are constantly threatened. Granted, Mina was remarkably brave in her initial encounters with Crulden, the Scientist and Lord Sir. I loved her survival instinct—the intentional way she conducted herself so as to maintain a level of invisibility that would keep her safe. She was intelligent and capable on her own, but as soon as Crulden "the protector" came into the picture...all of those qualities deserted her. That was frustrating as hell. Crulden was major book-boyfriend material, which shocked the hellll outta me. The title of the book is literally "Bad Guy"..I was expecting some dark mf'kn shit. But ironically Crulden was the largest ray of sunshine in this whole thing. Kudos to Dixon for flouting expectation and making him a hero you root for. I think I'm just generally a little bored by emotionally stable H's...lol, yea, yea, I'll take it up with my therapist. I'm kidding......(sorta). I do find confident, emotionally rock solid H's to be potent af. But there was something about Crulden that was just very...simple? He never had me on the edge of my seat wondering what the hell he was going to do. Once he fell for Mina, which was right from the get-go, every move he made was for her. It was predictable, and his whole single-minded saviour complex didn't give you any sense of who Crulden was without her. *Put's 1000lb copy of the DSM back on shelf*—begone spirit of Freud! No more psychoanalysis for today. I just wanted more of a story; the world-building, the other characters, all of it was literally just filler between romantic scenes. This one is majority on me, guys. But you know what? I reckon sci-fi romance lovers will be all over this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Sweet "Bad" Guy One of my favorite reads by Ruby Dixon yet, and that's saying something because the woman can write! I love how she can introduce us to characters that are not traditionally beautiful, and have us fall in love (and lust) with them through her phenomenal character and relationship building skills. Crulden was no different. He was such a sweetheart I totally fell for him not even a third of the way through. The chemistry between him and Mina (fmc) was tangible and sweet. Loved this! Sweet "Bad" Guy One of my favorite reads by Ruby Dixon yet, and that's saying something because the woman can write! I love how she can introduce us to characters that are not traditionally beautiful, and have us fall in love (and lust) with them through her phenomenal character and relationship building skills. Crulden was no different. He was such a sweetheart I totally fell for him not even a third of the way through. The chemistry between him and Mina (fmc) was tangible and sweet. Loved this! Read it in one sitting, couldn't put it down. Looking forward to her continuation of this world with "Worse Guy"! Ratings (out of possible 5) Character building: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ World building: 🌎 🌎 🌎 🌎 Relationship building: 💓 💓 💓 💓 💓 Romance: 💋 💋 💋 💋 💋 Heat/steam: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 Drama: 👀 👀 👀 Action: 🍿 🍿 🍿 Suspense: 💣 💣 Dark: 💀 Triggers: Nothing noteworthy - the author has a trigger warning at the beginning that you can read but this didn't feel dark to me at all, or have any of the standard themes that typically trigger people. POV: Multiple Ending: HEA Length: Approximately 300 pages Recommend: YES 👍 👍

  29. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    Ruby Dixon has the unique ability to write some truly horrific plot points (slavery, violence, sexual assault, murder) and yet her books still feel light and fluffy. How? Idk 🤷🏼‍♀️ This one has a murderous genetically spliced gladiator who is actually a complete cinnamon roll. The heroine is very strong but without falling into the Strong Female Character trope. The relationship development was organic and surprisingly sweet. The last act is maybe a little too easy to overcome all their problems Ruby Dixon has the unique ability to write some truly horrific plot points (slavery, violence, sexual assault, murder) and yet her books still feel light and fluffy. How? Idk 🤷🏼‍♀️ This one has a murderous genetically spliced gladiator who is actually a complete cinnamon roll. The heroine is very strong but without falling into the Strong Female Character trope. The relationship development was organic and surprisingly sweet. The last act is maybe a little too easy to overcome all their problems, but eh I’ll allow it. Her universe rolls over from previous series, but I think is still accessible enough for most readers to catch on, so could be read as a standalone. But I think most new readers will definitely want to dive right into her backlog.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This could have been so much better. The basic story is about two captives. One is a human female trying to keep a low profile and the other is a famous, vicious gladiator who has no memory. Neither character has any power throughout the book and for all the talk about escape I kept expecting some clever, intricate escape plan. Nope. They talked about it a lot but then nothing. Frankly both main characters might have been plucky but also slightly dense. Dixon writes frothy sci-fi but usually fun This could have been so much better. The basic story is about two captives. One is a human female trying to keep a low profile and the other is a famous, vicious gladiator who has no memory. Neither character has any power throughout the book and for all the talk about escape I kept expecting some clever, intricate escape plan. Nope. They talked about it a lot but then nothing. Frankly both main characters might have been plucky but also slightly dense. Dixon writes frothy sci-fi but usually fun characters and this was a let down. See The Quarry Master (A. Milo) for a primer in how to do this monster/human thing with a touch of fun.

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