Is there anything more delicious than getting to read an ARC of the new book by one of your favourite authors? Buckle up, fellow readers, because I got to read Tyrant from Sarah Bailey and oooooh boy, it was good!
The standard ARC disclaimer goes here: I did receive a copy of this book for free with the caveat that I would then provide a review of said book. There was no guarantee or requirement for me to provide a positive review – I’m doing that just because I really liked it.
Also, there are some minor spoilers below. I’m not writing out whole paragraphs detailing the plot and the ending or anything, but I am going to reference a couple of quotes and a favourite scene or two. If you would rather go in completely spoiler-free, you may want to avoid my full review.
The Cliff Notes
Series: A Villetti Chronicles Novel (#1)
Hashtags: #darkromance #kinkyromance #mafiaromance
Content warnings: Degradation kink, daddy kink, graphic violence, murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping. For more details, refer to the author’s website.
Main Characters: Zayn and Ari
My overall rating:
I seriously read this book in one night, took a day to collect myself, and then went back and read it again. The book hasn’t even been released yet and I’ve already read it twice. If that doesn’t tell you what I thought about it, I don’t know what will.
“If I make your problems go away, you’d be indebted to me. You will do as I wish, and I will keep you safe.”Tyrant, Chapter 3
Zayn is the son of a local mafia boss, happy to stay out of the family business and create his own empire. Ari is the daughter of a rival gang leader who goes to Zayn looking for help after she’s forced into an impossible situation. Zayn’s always had a soft spot for the little girl he once called Tinkerbell and he’s more than willing to help her……with some conditions, of course.
Within a couple of chapters, we’re completely thrown into Zayn and Ari’s world, as they navigate outside forces (family rivalries, a power vacuum to be filled, secrets and lies), as well as internal conflicts (pride and stubbornness battling hope and love). It’s evident very early on that these two are meant for each other, but they have to find their way in the world before they can find their HEA.
On the spice meter, this book is about as off-the-charts as you can get. You got a kink, it’s probably in here. There are the regular standards – vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, public sex, and lots of orgasms. There’s also a daddy/pet relationship, some spitting and spanking and punishment, reluctant consent, orgasm denial, and just miscellaneous hardcore nastiness. As always, SB does a great job of writing smut with a story. The spice is there to accent the relationship, but it doesn’t drive the story forward. The plot does that because there’s more to this book than just sex. But SB also really goes deeper into the kinky side on this one than some of her previous works. If you thought The Four Horsemen was hot, this book will set your panties on fire.
“I’m going to collar you, make you get on your knees, and punish you when you disobey me. You understand that, right? Even if I consider you my equal, you’re still going to submit to me. You’re still my little pet.”Tyrant, Chapter 27
I’m rating the romance meter all the way up as well, because the relationship between Zayn and Ari is solid. There’s sex, there’s passion, there’s an insane amount of kink and dom/sub-ness, but there’s also deep love and respect. Zayn wants Ari to be his pet but he also recognizes her as his queen. The one place where I stumbled a bit was just how quickly the relationship piece was wrapped up. There wasn’t really a lot in terms of hestitation or push-back – it had a bit of an insta-love vibe. BUT, it’s such a great relationship with such well-rounded characters that I found myself overlooking that. I geniunely wanted both of them to be together so I was okay with how fast that happened.
“If you have to burn the world for us, daddy, then burn the world.”Tyrant, Chapter 34
I basically cannot recommend this book enough. If you’re a Sarah Bailey fan, a smut fan, a fan of well-written romance, you will enjoy this book. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back and read it again one more time, just for giggles.
- This book is set in the same world as Bailey’s previous series (The Four Horsemen, the Bensons, the Devil’s Syndicate, etc). With that said, it’s a relatively stand-alone book. If you’ve read Bailey’s previous works, you’ll recognize a couple of names dropped here and there. If you haven’t read those books, you’ll still drop into the world with ease.
- I’ll admit that the spit-swapping scenes kinda squeaked me out, but if you’re like me and you’re not a fan of that kind of kink, they’re well telegraphed and easy to skip.
- There’s a scene in the first third of the book where Ari sits on Zayn’s lap and he feeds her popcorn. It’s something so simple and silly, and yet immediately telegraphs their relationship dynamic – his job is to see to her needs while her job is to let him take care of her. That’s the point where I was sold on the romantic relationship between the two – it wasn’t just about the kink, he needed to make sure she was taken care of, and THAT is sexy.
- I’m going to need more Penn and Remi in my life. Also, Gil better be coming up next in the Chronicles