I’ve always been a bad boy, with a very wicked reputation. But then I met Madison – sweet, vulnerable, innocent Madison. She makes me feel as if there is hope for me. As if I could be a good man. I need her more than I need air to breathe. There’s just one problem: Juliet. She’s a temptress who won’t take no for an answer. If I resist her, she’ll use our dirty secret to ruin everything with Madison. I don’t want to lose Madison, but can I really change? This is my chance to prove that I can. But it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
**CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK #1, DIRTY DIX**
Holy cats!!! Don’t let that wimpy little synopsis fool you, book two of the Hard Love Romance series is a fantastically crazy ride on a derailed train headed for a crash with the side of a mountain. Yeah, it’s that kind of bad . . . .
Dix is up to ass in trouble and even with the advice of his two best friends, he can’t seem to find a way out of the trouble. Since he can’t find a way out, Dix decides to play the game which means getting in deeper with Juliet while trying to maintain a real relationship with Madison. Yep, Dix is leading a double life and as we all know, that business can’t last forever.
Juliet has gone completely off the deep end and has her hooks sunk in deep where Dix is concerned. Unfortunately, Juliet is out of her depth with Dix and he launches a psychological long game that is viscous yet still not evil enough for the likes of Juliet. At every turn, Juliet launches a new attack that is arguably more wretched than the last. Her goal in life is basically an emotional scorched earth that will leave as many bodies in her wake as is humanly possible. Juliet has little to no conscience and succeeds in dragging Dix down to her level.While Dix is locked in battle with Juliet, he is also locked in tight with Madison and determined to go the distance with her. As far as Dix is concerned, Madison is too damn good for him and he is going to do everything within his power to be worthy of her. To Dix’s way of thinking, he has to go slow with Madison in order to help her face and overcome the demons of her past and protect her from the dangers in her present. The trouble with this plan is that Madison has no idea there are dangers in her present and Dix is keeping some very, very big secrets from her.
Here’s what I really, really, really liked about this read. In most books, the sh*t hits the fan, quickly gets worked out, and the happy couple scoot on down the HEA road. That tired old crap just isn’t good enough for Monica James and she puts her characters through the wringer more than once. In fact, once the sh*t hits the fan (and really, who the hell would throw sh*t at a fan?) it is just as dramatic as the rest of the read. There is no quick fix here and, in fact, there is a complete separation that forces both Dix and Madison to deal with their personal crap in a serious and significant way. In so many ways, this part of the book is even better than what came before as we see two completely damaged people having to come to terms with their respective pasts and actions and the consequences associated with those things.
The Bottom Line: Just like the first book in this series, Wicked Dix was all about Dix for me. He really drops right on down through the rabbit hole and the drop to the bottom isn’t so much what hurts him as the sudden stop when he gets to the bottom. Dix’s rock bottom is pretty spectacular and it, at least for a time costs him everything. The darkness of this read is one of its finest qualities and the darkness of the events leading up to the big separation make the eventual HEA even more satisfying. I liked the first half of this read but thoroughly and absolutely loved the last half. There is so much evolution in Dix and Madison that I honestly would have been happy with this book had Dix and Madison not eventually found their way back to one another. Yeah, I actually said that and I mean it too!! 🙂