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Monday, September 15, 2014

Bad Things by Varian Krylov Review

Bad Things
Varian Krylov

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Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it's his predator's gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it's Xavier's ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous.

But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent.

Carson suspects he's playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they're slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he's not the predator, but the prey, until it's too late.

And you can't beg for mercy when there's a gag in your mouth.

But when Carson escapes from Xavier's trap, he's forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.


Since her girlhood in a sunny coastal town in California, Varian Krylov has nurtured a love of words and a curiosity about the deep, dark forces at work in human nature, especially sexuality, and how they often paradoxically twine with our tenderest impulses. Her stories tend to explore the sometimes fine line between what arouses, and what frightens, what we’re driven to, and what we’re ashamed of.

As witty and seductive as I am sarcastic and self-deprecating, I spend as much time as possible thinking and writing about sex. No, not dense, inscrutable post-feminist texts on media representations of gender and the body--that was grad school. I write stories--short stories, novels, and starting a few weeks ago, screenplays--most of which poke and prod and the dark little corners of human sexuality. In a sense, nothing's taboo, anymore. There's no act, no fetish that hasn't been made utterly banal in the proliferation of porn. What intrigues and excites me is the exploration of the conflicting impulses, the twisted psychology and turbulent emotions of people who find themselves unable to resist desires that lie beyond their own moral boundaries.



Heading toward Venice, breathing, counting, Xavier put Kayleigh and Olga and that fucking video out of his mind, and focused his thoughts on Carson. Xavier had never encountered anyone whose arousal was so tied to fear. There was Dario, but that was something else. And there’d been others—hell, countless others—who wanted or needed or thrived on being dominated, controlled, made helpless, threatened, even hurt. But with the others—Dario being the lone, eternal exception—on some level either just at the surface or somewhere down toward the depths, it was theater.
Not for Carson. It wasn’t just that he really was his prisoner. It was something inside of him. Something intimately intertwined with those worshipful images of the model's cock on Carson's camera. With the tragic sorrow quivering along the lie threaded between that silent prayer in light and shadow, and Carson's brittle mantra, “I'm not gay, I'm not gay.”
When he got back from the Kayleigh's, Xavier uncuffed Carson and gave him his three minutes in the bathroom. When he emerged, Carson startled when Xavier intercepted him before he’d returned to his post, then started panting and resisting as Xavier drove him back into the bathroom.
Maneuvering him into the shower, Xavier forced one arm overhead and latched the restraint into the bolt in the wall, then did his other wrist.
Fuck, from the look on Carson’s face it was like he thought Xavier was about to whip a chainsaw out from under the sink and re-enact a scene from Scarface.
Caressing his cheek, noting how he flinched at that gentle touch, how pale he’d gone, how he was trembling, Xavier said, “This scruffy beard you’re growing is cute. But I like you better clean-cut. Soft and smooth.”
He took off the gag and tossed it into the sink, and in lieu of the chainsaw, he got his electric shaver from the cupboard, and stepped back into the shower with Carson.
“It’s not a straight razor. Don’t look so worried.”
Even after everything, it felt so fucking intimate, touching and guiding his jaw, coaxing him to raise his chin, to elongate his neck, making his skin taut, easy to shave. Touching his chin with just the pad of his thumb to coax a turn to the left, then to the right, the sharp bright fear in his blue eyes softening to a hazed glow.
But when Xavier put the guard attachment on the clippers and sat down on the edge of the tub, Carson’s fear sharpened again. Christ, it was beautiful, the way his abdomen—elongated and taut because his arms were stretched overhead—fluttered with his alarmed respiration.
“Don’t worry, I won’t shave you bare. We’ll just keep things from getting unruly.”
Carson’s body awkward and rigid the whole time, Xavier carefully groomed him, gently lifting and shifting his balls and his dick as he worked around them, relishing the soft, sweet delight of feeling Carson’s cock swelling slightly in his hand.
Stepping out of the shower, Xavier put the clippers away, then turned back to Carson, dangling in suspense. Locked eyes with him. Stripped out of his T-shirt.
Fuck. That furrow between Carson’s eyebrows—how could such a little thing hit Xavier so fucking hard? And the way his head sank down—a slow, small movement, barely perceptible. Still so shy. Still ashamed. And, of course, still afraid.
When Xavier stripped out of his pants and underwear, Carson turned away. He didn’t just turn his head aside. His whole body twisted until he’d put his back to Xavier.
Stepping into the tub, Xavier picked up the shower head on the end of its metal snake-like coil, and turned on the water. Waited for it to warm. Moved the spray over Carson’s smooth, broad shoulders, watched the rivulets stream down his back, over the jutting curves of his pale ass, down his long, finely muscled thighs.
Raking his fingers into Carson’s curls, possessive but not rough, he pulled his head back. Wet his hair, watching it darken and straighten and cling to his scalp. Carson stayed dead still as Xavier filled the hollow of his palm with shampoo, but shuddered when he felt that touch, Xavier's fingertips sinking into wet locks.
Foam rising and flowing outward from his fingers, streaking Carson’s dark strands. Even with Carson staying still, staying silent, Xavier knew how firmly to press his scalp with the pads of his fingers. Felt his fearful rigidity slowly softening. Worked his scalp. Massaged his temples in gradually widening circles. Worked just under the base of his skull, wearing down the knot of stressed muscle fed on hours and hours of fear and being restrained, one arm pinned back.
Xavier rinsed the lather from Carson’s hair. Got the soap. Massaged his neck, his shoulders. Sculpted. Smooth under his hands. Utterly delicious to his touch. His back, too, so beautiful to look at, even more so to feel, contrast of wide shoulders and narrow waist, contours of smooth muscle, of silky skin.
Reaching up. Finely muscled arms. Hands. For some reason, when he slid his soap-slippery fingers between Carson’s, there was a quiet whimper. Almost inaudible. Almost like he was still gagged.
The hairy hollows of his pits. Sinewy torso. Down his sides: corrugations of ribs, that ridge of muscled flesh where torso meets pelvis, down to smooth, sleek hips.
Fuck, his breath speeding, cock aching, Xavier slid his soapy hands over Carson’s flat, taut belly. Up. Muscled swell of his pecs.
When Xavier leaned in, let his chest and belly curve to press against his back, let his cock nestle between Carson’s cheeks as he caressed him, breathing in the scent of the soap, feeling Carson’s wet hair against his cheek, Carson’s trembling body began shuddering against his. A day ago, Carson’s weeping would have pumped Xavier full of poisonous glee, but at this moment it was cooling all his warm pleasure.
“Carson. I’m not about to fuck you. I’m just enjoying bathing you.”
If anything, Carson’s shuddering just got worse.
Fair enough. Given the situation, it was probably hard to buy that line with Xavier’s erection nestled in his cleft. Xavier took a step back. Turned Carson to face him. He was seeking his eyes, so he wouldn’t have noticed right away, except Carson’s hard dick slid against Xavier's thigh as he pivoted him away from the wall. Whatever confusion was making Carson cry, there was nothing indecisive about his hard-on.
When Xavier said, “Look at me,” Carson obeyed.
It wasn’t fear—at least not fear that Xavier was about to rape him—that Xavier found in Carson’s upturned eyes, surprisingly unshy, unevasive, but red and welling up. A different kind of fear. An inward-turned fear. The unexpected rush of tenderness that hit Xavier’s chest made it hard to breathe.
He didn’t think Carson would let him. Not like that. Not with his own trembling seeking. But at the first brush of lips Carson gave himself to the kiss. Not just a yielding submission.
Fuck, joder, there’d never been a kiss like it. As cock and chest-twisting as a hard fuck, but with something sweet and bitter pouring into his belly at the same time.
Just for a second Xavier thought of letting him out of the restraints. Maybe it was the way that inward-turned fear in Carson’s eyes flared up when Xavier glanced up at his wrists, but he left him like that. Arms bound overhead, body stretched taut, defenseless.
Just shallow kisses now, watching murky pleasure and hazy fear ebb and churn in Carson’s eyes as Xavier touched him. A shadow appeared in that furrow between his eyebrows as he touched his nipples, both at once, feathering and teasing, first. Then tormenting him, twisting and tugging, drinking his groans, devouring his lips, feasting on his tongue.
Carson was so fucking keyed up, Xavier was afraid to touch his cock, pretty sure he’d lose it at the first stroke. But fuck, so much fucking want. More brutal than any before.
A fistful of hair. Kissing. Wrapping his fist around his own aching dick he gave it a squeeze, rubbed the joint behind the crown with the pad of his thumb. He wasn’t much better than Carson. Wouldn’t last a minute.
Carson. Looking. Anticipating. When Xavier brushed their cock heads together Carson let out a cry that drove a hot thrill right to Xavier’s balls.
Kissing. Tongue and lips. Throat. Nipple. Ear. Neck. Carson writhing and sighing, Xavier came, the spasm grasping his balls and cock in a brutal jolt, launching a thick rope of spunk onto Carson’s stiff prick. Loving that, he kept lacing strand after strand over his head and shaft as spasm after spasm wrung him out.
Sinking down, he perched on the edge of the tub, grasped Carson’s hips in both hands, pulled him forward, and swiped his tongue up the length of his shaft, pink, lightly veined, hard as fucking iron, and over his succulent head, looking up into those startled blue eyes watching it all, and swallowed. Licked and licked until he’d mopped up every drop of his own spunk, drank it down, slid his tongue over his own lips, devouring Carson’s look of stunned, overwhelmed arousal, then wrapped his lips around his cock.
Fuck, the way Carson groaned and shuddered as Xavier pulled his cock into his mouth, the way he was trembling in Xavier’s hands was every bit as fucking delicious as the hard meat in his mouth. Letting go of his hips, Xavier pried Carson’s thighs apart, slid his arms between and grabbed two handfuls of muscled rump as he went on eating. Tangy pre-cum seeping from that succulent head, fat and firm against his tongue. And God, that satiating yet appetite-whetting sensation, his whole cock filling his mouth, head prodding his throat. When he swallowed, Carson groaned and bucked and came, semen pouring down Xavier’s throat, jet after viscous jet.
Xavier nursed and licked his way back, releasing Carson slowly, inch by inch, then stood, drank in his dazed look, and took him in a hard, deep kiss, startled by his own hunger, when he’d come just a couple minutes earlier.
And Carson. Jesus Cristo. If anything, he looked more scared than ever, now. Sadder than ever. But, fuck, he kept kissing. Kissing like he was trying to eat Xavier’s goddamned soul.
Xavier ended it. Because he had to. Because you don’t gamble the fate of a bunch of stolen kids on a kiss. Not even that kiss.
But he ended it gently. With a press of lips at the corner of Carson’s mouth. With another tender brush of lips and a soft kiss by his ear.
He got a towel and gently dried Carson’s face.
Carson’s voice was soft and full of hurt surprise. His eyes were even worse. “Take off the cuffs.”
Xavier gave him a carefully measured look. Not angry or threatening, but unyielding. A bit reproachful.
When he started drying Carson’s body, Carson said, “You’re really going to keep me chained up?” Wounded. Angry.
“Yes. But if you don’t say another word, I’ll leave the gag off.”
When he’d finished drying Carson, letting the perverse thrill of gently lifting and shifting his cock and his balls so he could blot them dry prick him through the heavy blanket of regret wrapping itself around him, he perfunctorily dried himself with the same, now damp towel. Then he unlatched Carson’s restraints from the overhead bolt and led him back to his post.


Bad Things

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We met Xavier in Dangerously Happy. He was a bit scary to say the least. He is huge and strong and intimidating. Xavier is carrying around a lot of anger and need for revenge.

Carson is living a half-life. His inner-self is burning for acceptance and real love, but he keeps that fire snuffed out.

Xavier and Carson meet at work. Carson is just floating through life. He's finally found a job that pays well bar tending. Xavier took the job to get closer to men he knows are involved in some pretty atrocious activities. A few things happen that lead to Carson being held prisoner in Xavier's basement. Xavier skirts a thin line between miracle worker and madman.
[...] but then Carson stopped protesting. Stopped struggling. That happened, sometimes. One of the strange, beautiful effects of the gag: when a man can't move, and you take his voice away, he stops being an actor, an agent who does things to control his environment and his fate.

This book is a story of healing through the therapy of sex. I can see how some would label the sex as excessive, but if all the different scenes are broken down, they each show an important step on the road to healing. Every moment is significant and serves a specific purpose. Some parts are so touching that I was tearing up. Reading the story of Xavier and Carson was a spiritual experience for me.

This book contains some BDSM, M/M/M scenes, the art of photography, painful pasts, psychology and love. So much happens within, but most I can't discuss because it needs to be experienced. I would ruin the point in my delivery of an explanation. While reading, I could actually feel the adoration of the male form that I believe the author was trying to convey. The bodies were worshiped. It wasn't all about hard dicks and 6 pack abs.
"Can you see it? How connected we are? How deeply we've learned each other, how we know each other now?"

I give this book 5 deep stars and recommend you read it. In the words of Xavier—
"Go on. Be hungry. Be selfish. Be greedy. Revel in it."

***Copy given in exchange for an honest review***

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