Giveaway, Release Blitz, Reviews, Suspense

REVIEW: Four Crows by Lily White

four-crows-cover-social-media-sizeFour Crows by Lily White
Series: standalone
Genre: suspense
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“You’ll have to forgive me, Darlin’, for all the unforgivable things I’m about to do…”

Loyalty is never easy – especially when you’re forced to choose between family and the man you would do anything to possess…

Born into a world that no child should endure, Magpie “Maggie” Crow is doted on by her loving father and over protective brothers. As much as she loves them, she fears them, especially when she learns secrets they’ve kept hidden.

Elliot McLaughlin joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school to provide for his wife and son. He’d never intended to become a father so young, but was willing to do what it took to give his family everything they needed.

After Elliot’s family goes missing, he returns from war to an empty home. Obsessed with discovering who took his family, he investigates their disappearance and plots his revenge.

Passion brings Maggie and Elliot together. Obsession pushes them apart. As a bitter battle begins between Elliot and the Crows, Maggie’s heart hangs in the balance.


**Disclaimer: This book is intended for audiences 18 years of age or older. The subject matter of this book discusses sensitive topics that may be a trigger for some readers.**

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Giveaway

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Review by Evelyn

Heat: 2/5
Rating: 5/5

What a mindblowing read. I’ve been in a bit of a book funk recently and this is the one thing that’s managed to focus my attention and draw me out, with its dark, gritty suspense and debilitating emotional impact. This was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, with White actually accomplishing the feat of allowing the reader to feel sympathy for the most vile of characters, and never shying away from the horrors other authors would likely gloss over.

From start to finish, I felt Elliott and Maggie’s pain, their desire to free themselves from it, in different ways. The abuse, the sickening things that happened – all of it made me feel so emotionally invested in these two and the path of revenge that I actually felt a grim, sick, cathartic satisfaction when it ended and my pulse rate could return itself to normal. Nothing was missing here, and man did the emotional pain in these pages pay off at the end.

White’s writing itself has improved immensely over the past few years, being now almost poetic in its lyricism. The words really sink into the brain, rolling across the tongue like a thing of wonder, with harrowing descriptions of pain and loss being a sickening punch to the gut.

This was hard-hitting, often disturbing, always incredible. A firm favourite of 2017.

Reviews

Review: The Hopeless – Dawn Robertson & Kristen Hope Mazzola

the-hopelessThe Hopeless by Dawn Robertson & Kristen Hope Mazzola
Series: The Huntress #2
Genre: suspense
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I am not a good person.
In fact, I am the worst of the worst. I am a god. I give life and I taketh away. I can ruin someone at the drop of a hat and often do it for fun. Yet the world would never know. I smile for the cameras and live the privileged life. But with every vile existence comes the opportunity for redemption.
She is my Redemption.
I am the Huntress.
Society doesn’t realize how deadly I truly am.

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Review

Heat: 2/5
Rating: 3/5

I very much enjoyed the first instalment to this series, finding it a breath of fresh air with a strong-willed heroine who owned her sexuality and cold-blooded nature. It was dark, it was interesting. I was incredibly excited to finally have the opportunity to delve into this sequel.

I confess, I was slightly disappointed.

The strong start and build up of the first ended up going absolutely nowhere. Instead, we see a softer side of Ellie and there is much less focus on the darkness, the killing and the erotica, making way for personal development. Normally this is a good thing, but here it just felt completely forced to me. The novella genre is difficult as everything is ridiculously fast-paced with no time whatsoever for strong development. What made it worse for me was that there was too much telling, not enough showing, as well as skipping over the parts I personally found more interesting. It seemed highly inconsistent, a little clumsy.

The ending grasped me a lot more that the rest of the story, and has left me really intrigued by the final instalment. It will be interesting to see where this story goes – after all, it is nothing if not unpredictable.

Horror, Reviews, Suspense

Review: Mad Girl – A.A. Dark

mad-girlMad Girl by A.A. Dark
Series: The Chronicles of Anna Monroe #1
Genre: horror/suspense
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My mother was the Madison Ridge Killer … and I helped her.

At nine, I was given a new start—a new life. My adoptive parents did everything they could to help me forget my past, and for a while, they succeeded.

But I was never normal. I never truly forgot all I saw or did.

Now, twenty years later, I work in the billing department for a small city newspaper. And like decades before, not that far away, another serial killer is on the loose. I can still see her. I can still hear my mother coaxing me to slide the bright red lipstick over her beautiful victims’ lips.

But this isn’t her and I’m determined to figure out who it is. I may work behind the scenes at the Rockford Times, but I’m about to get thrown right in the middle of the biggest story our city has ever seen.

My name is Anna Monroe and I’m full of secrets.

They say you’re not your past. I’m not so sure they’re right.

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Review

Heat: 2/5
Rating: 4/5

Murder was who I was. It was what I had been raised on and the temptation was one I was going to fail without choice.

Although written by A.A. Dark, this isn’t as horror-oriented as 24690. It follows a much more thoughtful, suspenseful and psychological pathway, whilst still containing the detailed blood, gore and rape which keeps it firmly within the horror genre.

Her beauty and brutality was right out of a wet dream.

A.A. Dark is on my must-read author list. Her imagination is twisted, her stories full of intrigue and no-holds-barred descriptions. Having said that, the only reason I could not rate this a five star book was simply due to there being too much telling, not enough showing – the same problem I have had with the author’s other work. It leaves these thrilling events pretty confusing, and sometimes skips out entire passages of time.

Similarly, I could have done with a little more development, a slower pace so I could really bring myself to care about Anna.

I was the man who loved a killer. I was good and bad.

Despite these flaws, this book maintained my interest from the first page to the last page, to the extent where I ended up pulling an all-nighter just to finish it off. Highly recommended if you’re into the psychological/horror genre, and don’t mind some graphic and disturbing situations.

A strong start to a series with a hell of a lot of potential. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequel.

Dark, Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Review: Vice – Callie Hart

viceVice by Callie Hart
Series: standalone spin-off of the Dead Man’s Ink series
Genre: dark erotic suspense
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In war, there are only three rules.

Obey orders.

Protect the guy standing next to you.

Stay alive.

Cade Preston left the military a long time ago, but he has never ceased to live by the laws of combat. As vice president of the Widow Makers Motorcycle club, he’s been loyal. He’s fought tooth and nail to stay alive. He’s shed blood to save the lives of those who matter to him.

And now he’s gone and done something he swore he would never do.

He’s fallen for the one girl he can’t have.

Cortina Villalobos is an untouchable. The daughter of one of Ecuador’s most notorious cartel leaders, she is beyond Cade’s reach in every way. Fernando Villalobos is a murderer and a madman. He will kill anyone who dares look twice at his daughter, and yet Cade can’t walk away.

Will he disobey orders?

Will he abandon his club?

And will taking on the House of Wolves cost him his life?

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Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

This is a standalone spin-off of the Dead Man’s Ink series, which I would highly recommend you read before this (it’s well worth it).

She isn’t “morning-sunrise” kind of beautiful. She’s “out-of-control-burn-your-fucking-house-down-forest-fire” kind of beautiful.

As ever, Hart delivers a dark, gritty read with just enough sex to complement the darkness and characters. This was probably one of her most original storylines, with enough depth and strings to the rest of the world to feel fully-fledged (and, frankly, fucking dangerous and bat-shit crazy). These stories, and this world, keep me entertained and occupied for hours at a time, and it remains a top favourite.

“It’s gonna be intense, and it might make you nervous, but it’ll never be more than I think you can handle. And I will never hurt you. Do you trust me enough to hand yourself over to me?”

Where I felt this book was a little disappointing was actually due to Cade feeling like more of a generic character this time. Zeth and Rebel are both gorgeously characterised, easily recognisable, but Cade faded a little into the background for me – apart from during the super hot sex scenes, which were right up my street, even if not so prominent as in Hart’s other releases.

Regardless, it was still super-fun, a bit grittier than Hart’s other work (and that’s saying something!) and wonderful to finally be able to explore Cade’s character and get to the bottom of this plotline.

Blog Tours, Dark, Psychological, Reviews, Suspense

Tour & Review: Wicked Little Words – Stevie J. Cole & B.T. Urruela

WickedLittleWordsWicked Little Worlds by Stevie J. Cole & BT Urruela
Series: standalone

Genre: dark psychological suspense
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Edwin Allen Mercer

I want them all to read my words. And they do. Every last blood-stained sentence, they’ve read and praised me for. They love the gore and violence, the realness. And I get a sense of power with it all because I know a secret: the victims in my books—they’re real and have all died on my table. And maybe that’s why the last book had such awful reviews. Murder is, after all, a dirty little thing. Some can stomach it. Others can’t. My answer to those reviews: find a woman to co-author with. To be the next pathetic character in my book. Pity she’s so pretty.

Miranda Cross

All I’ve ever wanted was to be successful as a writer so when I was offered the opportunity to co-author a book with my idol, EA Mercer, I jumped at the chance. He’s beautiful and a literary genius, but something about him makes my stomach knot. And maybe it’s my overactive imagination making my hairs stand on end when he walks up behind me.

After all, these wicked little words we’re typing are only fiction. They’re only fiction…

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Review

Themes: BDSM, law enforcement, serial killer
Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Holy shitballs, what an ending. I was not expecting that.

I fight the urge to end her because I like making her come, making her moan, and all at the touch of a murderer. It’s my dirty little secret, my wicked little lie.

I’m not really sure what to say – I don’t want to spoil this novel and monster plot twist for anyone, so as ever in this situation, I’ll keep it brief. This was very clever and very gory, a proper little psychological mindfuck. Cole & Urruela have done a fantastic job of co-authoring, melding this world seamlessly together. There were some slight hints dropped throughout that nothing was quite as it seems – but nothing big enough to give away the ending at all.

After all, someone who can conjure up the twisted shit he writes…how much can you really trust someone with an imagination like that?

If you’re after love, romance and happiness, you’re in the wrong place. There is none of that here. This is pure intrigue and suspense, with a little bit of the darker side of erotica thrown in for good measure.

My only gripe? I feel like this could have been longer. It was a little rushed towards the ending and I also wanted a few more of those super-sexy, super-rough sex scenes with the good old choking. I feel like it could have been drawn out a little more, really sucking us in before backhanding us around the face at the end.

He looks as though he would ruin me. And that dirty part of the soul that every last one of us has, it wants to be tainted. It yearns for something to make me feel filthy.

A fantastic co-authored novel, this shocks, horrifies and arouses in equal measure.

Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Review: Behind Closed Doors – Lisa Renee Jones

bcd-ebook-coverBehind Closed Doors by Lisa Renee Jones
Series: standalone (loosely ties into the Inside Out and Careless Whispers series)
Genre: erotic romance, suspense
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From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes a brand new gripping and provocative novel that ties into her bestselling Careless Whispers and Inside Out series. You can enjoy this as a standalone, but fans of Careless Whispers and Inside Out will get an exciting glimpse of who Ella really is and some of the secrets she’s been hiding from everyone she knows. 

Desperate to pay for law school, Skye tries her hand at auction hunting with her friend Ella, only to find a poker chip and a note leading to an offsite locker. The next thing she knows, Jason “Red Bull” Wise—a famous, millionaire poker player—is at her door, accusing her of blackmail. Innocent, she swears he’s wrong. He rolls the dice and believes her, impulsively inviting her along to Las Vegas. And remarkably, cautious Skye takes a risk, finding herself seduced by this dangerously alluring man, on his private jet, and finally living life to the fullest. But there is more than passion waiting for Skye and Jason in Vegas when blackmail takes a deadly turn.

A note from the author: Please be aware that BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was once released as just 3 chapters on my website and Storage Treasures. I have since fully completed this novel into 21 chapters (plus an epilogue). Readers will get a FULL-LENGTH book and finally learn the rest of Skye and Jason’s story! The middle and end to this book have NEVER been published before so please take time to check it out!

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★

I sensed this connection. I sensed that we both know a monster calmed by one of only two things: escape or denial.

As ever, Lisa Renee Jones delivers an excellent storyline with the perfect balance of intrigue, suspense and romance. Although I haven’t yet read the Inside Out series, I have been meaning to for a while and enjoyed the chance to get to know Ella’s character a little before indulging in that way.

“Another thing I don’t want. Your curiosity. I just gave you permission to fuck me, but be clear: I’m not another notch on your belt. You’re a notch on mine.”

What I really struggled with was the pacing. The first 75% was really quite slow, unfolding at a snail’s pace, and the final 25% was just too fast. This was all build-up and very little satisfaction, with a huge lack of development and a very frustrating way to end a storyline which I was very much enjoying. The events were easily guessed, and we never got to the bottom of Skye’s background and personal issues – there was no resolution, no proper reason, and it all tied up too easily and quickly for me. The sex scenes also seemed a little tame for Jones, almost rushed, and not quite as thorough as I was expecting.

It was as if, in some respects, this really was treated as an interlude to Jones’ various ongoing series, with not quite as much care going into the mystery and craft as usual.

“My only type until now has been the queen in a deck of cards, who lies down for me at my bidding and without questions. Any woman more complicated than that simply distracts from my real love.”

A fantastic storyline hampered by disappointing pacing.

Excerpts, Giveaway, Political, Release Blitz, Romance, Suspense

Out now! Review, Sneak Peek & Giveaway: A Harmless Little Game – Meli Raine

1-a-harmless-little-game-ebook-coverA Harmless Little Game by Meli Raine
Series: Harmless #1
Genre: political thriller/romantic suspense
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Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.

Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.

The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.

Share.

They shared me.

But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?

Not one single thing.

That was my boyfriend, Drew.

And that was the last time I saw him.

Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.

You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.

Never faced consequences.

Until today.

Game on.

A Harmless Little Game is the first in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.

Purchase it

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Sneak Peek

In the video I’m wearing three scarves. One around my waist as a bright, electric blue belt that cuts neatly through my white, A-line dress.

One around my pony tail, a vibrant purple that was supposed to be the “in” color that season. Maybe even the next season. I think I was trying to be ahead of the trends. I don’t really remember why I picked it.

Can’t we just say I liked it? Isn’t that enough?

And, finally, one around my neck, a red scarf the color of pinched skin and flushed fever. The color of arousal.

The color of pain.

When I got dressed that morning I didn’t know. Couldn’t know.

I had no idea three fashion accessories would be used to tie me up so a group of “friends” could assault me. It was as impossible as thinking that my morning coffee mug would be used to bash in my skull, or that my purse would be used to choke me. That just doesn’t happen. Shouldn’t happen.

Boring objects in our lives should not be used to hurt us.

But those scarves burned. They bound me. They held me in place.

They gagged me.

Those objects of beauty became instruments of torture.

I don’t blame the scarves. They’re just pieces of cloth.

The men who used them are the ones I hold responsible.

And the man who did nothing to stop what happened was the worst of all.

Here’s some basic arithmetic:

Three scarves.

Four men.

Three attackers.

One boyfriend.

What do you think hurt me the most? The scarves? The hot, swollen, unlubricated flesh that violated me like I was just a fold of meat to jack off into? The wrenched shoulders and torn ACL from being trussed and tied up like something in a bad porno? The broken cheekbone from being raped from behind so hard my face smashed into the coffee table leg more times than the ER doctor could document?

Or knowing that my boyfriend—my best friend—just sat there on the couch and watched?

Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: Yes, this ends on a cliffhanger. Stop complaining and read it anyway.

Drew is the threshold between imprisonment and freedom. I may hate him. I may cry into my pillow every night wondering why he let them destroy me four years ago. I may still burn with the heat of a thousand suns for him. But I’ll be damned if I won’t use him to get home.

This is one of those books that draws you in completely through the synopsis. I’ve not read anything quite like this, dealing with the aftermath of a brutal gang rape, intertwined with conspiracy and political intrigue, alongside a dash of romance. Everything you could ever want, plot-wise, is here – a strong female lead who is learning to trust herself and come to terms with what happened to her, and a slowly unfolding storyline which become more interesting every turn of the page.

You scrape yourself, over and over, against all the hard edges of life so that you become so sharp that people can be wounded by the wrong touch.

A part of me was a little incredulous of Lindsay’s feelings towards Drew, and their immediate chemistry following the situation they have found themselves in – her begrudging willingness to forgive his involvement from the beginning seemed somewhat forced, and I’d have like this relationship to have flourished a little later within the series.

I also can’t deal with a vagina being referred to as a ‘V’ multiple times in an erotic scene. Pussy or cunt, please.

But aside from these minor issues, this is probably one of the most intriguing series I’ve delved into this year.

Free. I feel free. Not one hundred percent free, but when you’re trapped, any amount of freedom feels expansive.

I can’t wait to continue this trilogy after that particular ending, with the next book from Drew’s perspective. I wonder which way this will go, but I’m really looking forward to watching Lindsay’s badass healing journey of revenge.

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Dark, Psychological, Release Blitz, Reviews, Suspense

Out now! Review: Wake to Dream – Lily White

wake-to-dreamWake to Dream by Lily White
Series: standalone
Genre: psychological suspense
Themes: abduction, amnesia, mental health
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Alice Beaumont is running out of time…

Plagued by sleep disorders since her childhood, Alice had grown accustomed to the nightly dreams that terrorized her. She woke up in strange places. She was paralyzed by fear and hallucinations. She screamed each night at unseen specters and evil faces.

When her sister, Delilah, goes missing, Alice’s dreams take on new meaning. A link between reality and fantasy, Alice understands that her dreams hold the key to the mystery of her sister’s abduction.

A hooded woman…
A mysterious and dangerous man…
And a doctor who is determined to help her fit together the broken pieces…

Alice has no choice but to peer deep into the recesses of her mind to discover the clues that will lead her to truth. On a race to save her sister, Alice runs a dangerous maze between the nightmares that haunt her and the monster that waits for her when she finally wakes.

This title deals with disturbing themes that may be a trigger for sensitive readers.

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Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★★

“I’m not crazy, you know? I’m not. I just know things, dark things, sick things…really bad things.”

This is an extraordinarily difficult review to write, because there is very little I can really discuss without giving away spoilers – though you should know, it’s an absolute mindfuck, right to the very end. Every time I thought I had it figured out, things changed, in a distorted reality and one story told from three varying perspectives and cognitive abilities.

Her tears had turned him on, but it was the small fight she’d attempted that had pushed him into a mindless, toxic fervour.

It wasn’t the easiest book to read, and much of it required a lot of concentration, but White has written something extremely clever and absolutely fascinating here, and I found it refreshing to read a dark book with more focus on the psyche than, as referenced within the novel itself, the typical Stockholm Syndrome trope.

“He was dark enough that he overshadowed my light, and the nightmares couldn’t find their way.”

If you’re looking for dark erotica, this isn’t that kind of book. But if you’re looking for something challenging, utterly disturbing and actually quite terrifying, this is the one for you. And though it may be the first book I’ve read from White, there is no way it’s going to be the last. Welcome back.

Blog Tours, Crime, Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Tour & Review: Savage Mafia Prince – Annika Martin

savagemafiaprince-1600x2400newSavage Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
Series: Dangerous Royals #3
Genre: dark erotica
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Where is Kiro?

He’s the lost Dragusha brother, heir to a vast mafia empire—brilliant, violent, and utterly savage…and he’s been missing for years.

Ann

I’m supposed to be doing simple undercover research at the Fancher Institute for the Mentally Ill & Dangerous, but I can’t keep my mind off Patient 34. He’s startlingly young and gorgeous, but it’s not just that. He’s strapped way too tightly to that bed. And there’s no name or criminal history on his chart. What are these people hiding? My reporter’s instincts are screaming.

Here’s the other thing: the staffers here believe he’s so sedated that there’s not a thought in his head, but I catch him watching me when nobody’s looking. Our connection sizzles when I enter the room. When our eyes meet, I know he understands me in a way nobody else ever has.

I’m supposed to follow my editor’s orders—I have secrets, too—but everything about Patient 34 is suspicious. How can I not investigate?

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this is the third instalment of the Dangerous Royals series. I would highly recommend starting from the beginning with Dark Mafia Prince.

I’ve always admired people who decide on a direction and go for it against all odds. The rebels, the heretics, the true believers, the doomed warriors.

The final (and most eagerly awaited) book in Martin’sDangerous Royals series, this follows the third and final brother, Kiro, after he has awoken the interest of Bloody Lazarus. Although it is a departure from the darker nature of the rest of the series, I actually enjoyed this one much more, due to its originality and Martin’s perfect characterisation of Kiro, and deep sensory descriptions of the forest and wildlife.

Though few, the sex scenes had enough animalism and passion in them to get my heart pounding – I just wish there had been a few more. Perhaps it’s my pervy self speaking, but this series has felt like it should be super sexy, yet always slightly let itself down in that department.

He’s a force of nature. Pure aliveness. Pure power. He’s the most ferociously hot thing I’ve ever seen. The most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen.

I found that I could imagine Kiro’s character, his quiet but brutal nature, absolutely brilliantly in my mind, the way his eyes, his face and his actions expressed much more than words, with the juxtaposition of the PTSD-suffering journalist, Ann, whose life revolved around them. This was a deeper level and I loved watching how their relationship and understanding of one another grew. I particularly enjoyed the detailed descriptions of survival methods, and learning about both characters’ backstories.

I’ve also very much enjoyed the POV chapters from Lazarus, particularly in regards to his relationship with his business guru, and how absurdly brilliant an idea this was on Martin’s part.

“I wanted to rip his face off, and then fuck you in front of everyone.”

This was a satisfying, original ending to a series that has successfully changed tone and theme, from dark and mafia to more suspenseful and thoughtful. In some respects, however, the big difference between this and the others has dampened my enjoyment of the first two – now feeling like they were simply a prolonged build-up to this. Regardless, it’s nice that the mystery has been solved and the loose ends come together, and this is a series I would absolutely recommend.

Series order

  1. Dark Mafia Prince
  2. Wicked Mafia Prince
  3. Savage Mafia Prince