(18+)Intro to Jade West - Dirty Bad Series
Okay, if you follow me on TikTok, you already know how obsessed I am with these series ... and pretty much everything Jade West writes to be honest. I stumbled onto these books courtesy of a taboo romance episode of the Fated Mates podcast, and this might be the best recommendation that podcast has ever given me.
The premise of this 4-book completed series isn't uncommon. Each book features a different couple with an HEA, and all of the couples are united by the BDSM club Explicit. For the record, the fact that this is a common premise never ever deters me. I am a sucker for the trope, and I will read every last one of them. Especially since one of the things erotic romance can do so well is play with boundaries and take a common trope and then overlay so much nuance, spice, and romance on top of it.
The first book in the series is Dirty Bad Wrong. The main characters are coworkers who initially bond because James finds Lydia crying at work after she leaves her cheating boyfriend. James gets her set up to live with one of his best friends--who happens to live above the tattoo parlor where she works, belong to Club Explicit, and know the truth so few know about James' alter ego dom Masque.
As with any series set largely in a BDSM club, it is kinky, and it is--as the club is named--explicit. Jade West has a very particular writing style that includes a lot of talk of tastes and sounds, so if you get squicked out by that or aren't into graphic depiction of kink that steps outside of light impact, D/s titles, and a little bondage, then be aware these might not be for you. They are by no means dark romances, and everything that happens on page between the couples of each book are totally consensual. But be aware that there are some less common fetishes portrayed in these.
These are all in KU. Book 1 was a 4 star / 5 spice read for me.
Book 2, Dirty Bad Savage, was my least favorite in the series but still a 3.75 star and 5 spice read. It's about a social worker who falls for the in-and-out of prison, bad boy from a worse home life. There relationship is far less sweet than Lydia and James in book 1, and more rife with trouble right from the start.
There's some danger and plot outside of their relationship in this one that is definitely interesting to read.
Dirty Bad Strangers took me by storm. This book is wildly spicy, but omg the act 3 dark moment and resolution of the romance?! I had to set this down because it made me cry. I loved Lydia and James, but this became my favorite in the series by a substantial margin.
Gemma is a plus-sized phone sex operator with a fantasy of hooking up with strangers. Plural. Jason is a huge soccer star in a loveless marriage who falls in lust with Gemma from their very first call.
She breaks the first rule of being an operator and gives this stranger her address. He promises to make her fantasies come true. For most of the book, she has no idea what he even looks like. She definitely does not know who he is.
Dirty Bad Secrets is the final book in the series, and my biggest complaint was solely that I wanted this series to continue. All of the books have content notes about kink and fetish, but this is the only one that has content warnings for noncon / dubcon--all of which is off page between Faye and her ex. She has a lot of baggage / trauma that she is working through after a whirlwind romance with a red flag, fake Dom.
Jade West takes a lot of care to show the red flags and issues with the fake Dom and how her relationship with him was not love and was not kink; it was abuse and manipulation. It's hard to read what the Faye went through with him, and we get these bits and pieces spread out over the course of the novel via flash backs or the story within a story.
Faye is a co-owner of Club Explicit, and she is back after disappearing and leaving her partner (business, never romantic) Andy to run the show. And he is almost as mad about her being back as he was about her leaving in the first place.
I absolutely love these books. They are graphic. They are explicit. And they get a little out there with the fetishes compared to most BDSM erotic romance (not including dark romance). They also have great characters whose relationships I rooted for so hard. Especially Gemma and James, lol.
These aren't for the faint of heart, but if kinky books are your thing, I 10/10 recommend this entire series.