Welcome to Satan’s Playground.
I’ve toyed with every sin under the sun.
Grown men get wrapped around my finger and discarded.
I’ve killed to protect Satan’s Paradise.
But when the higher ups tell me to save someone?
Yea, that’s when my life starts going sideways.
There’s no one here I can trust, but I don’t have a choice.
So, new rule. I won’t trust anyone I can’t kill.
Someone like my sexy Under-Lieutenant, with the rugged scar, and the smoldering gaze.
The one whose kiss gets under my skin.
The man who tastes like something more than just sin.
Baby, I hope you’re ready for this.
Because you can’t walk through the flames of hell without getting burned.
Disclaimer: These aren’t heroes, and their satanic romance isn’t neat and tidy. Shockingly, the Satanic cult that controls a secluded Island has little concern for morality, and the laws only stand as long as you’re strong enough to enforce them. This is a gritty gothic romance novel that may contain scenes that are disturbing to some readers. Content notes are available inside.
Edgy and twisted, Natural Born Sinners is a gripping gothic occult fiction novel, with splashes of cosmic horror and dark romance. Satanos is a place of immoral release to escape the confines of the “real world”, but tourists always seem to receive more than they bargained for when they arrive upon its sinister shores. A mystifying tale of betrayal and one’s hunt for truth, all laid upon a backdrop of vile worship, this book was a page-turner, and my first read, but certainly not my last, by author J.M. Keep.
The pages within depict a world where wolves dominate lambs in a narrative doused in an alluring blend of mystery, suspense and blood-drenched action. Keep heaves their audience along a path rife with twists and turns that are so unexpected, each leading to another delicious layer of intrigue. Moreover, the injection of supernatural and sci-fi aspects into many of the ongoings keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end, waiting to see what will transpire next.
At the heart of this story lies Valeska, a wonderfully complex character that was raised and conditioned to be the embodiment of apathy, but feelings of love, pity and the need for acceptance always seep through the cracks. She boldly faces each of the devastating decisions she must make once events are put into motion, forever changing her in the process. By her side is Videl, the stoic second in command who has always admired her from afar. Sure, the island is the place to give into your darkest carnal urges, but mutual respect has kept them at an arm’s length. Their dynamics are superb, and as the story continues, shells are shattered and we see them reveal their feelings towards one another in unconventional, but pleasing ways.
Behind the scenes is a pretty large cast of undesirables who are masters of manipulation, bathing in their violent tendencies with acts of barely-masked desperation. Revealed to readers as the C’s and V’s, we inevitably fall down the rabbit hole trying to make heads or tails of their true intentions. For fear of spoilers, I’ll leave it at that, but I do admit I wish the backstory of these individuals was fleshed out a bit more. We learn the why, but I was craving to learn the how. Not everything is as it seems…
As mentioned, this story takes place on Satanos, an island where humans can live the lives as they’ve always been meant to live, on a knife’s edge of danger, free from the chains of society and basking in desires dispensed. It’s ominous and infernal with secrets hidden throughout its many crevices. Unfortunately, we barely scrape the surface of what it has to offer; a deeper delve almost abandoned in favor of the narrative’s winding plot. I would LOVE to learn more about this dark, unholy place and its sleeping godlike volcano.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time between the covers of Natural Born Sinners, its pages peppered with some satisfying spice and the progression of a fearless FMC that stabs first and asks questions later. There were a few unanswered questions I hope to have resolved in the future (fingers crossed!), but the story ties up nicely. If you’re into dark fiction, especially stories heavy with layered mystery, luscious violence, and steaminess, then this may be one for you.
Note: A huge thank you to the authors and Peachy Keen Author Services for providing me with an early complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CW: Please mind the warnings.
J.M. Keep is the penname of a husband and wife who are already living their happily-ever-after.
Maybe because their real life is so sunny, they love to write dark and twisted tales with morally challenged characters. Most of their stories are dark fantasies where horror and romance are intertwined.