Review: J.M. Dabney – Berzerker (Twirled World Ink #1)

berzerkerAuthor: J.M. Dabney
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Welcome to Twirled World Ink where the crazies run the asylum.

The hum of a tattoo machine was Brian “Berzerker” Anderson’s favorite sound in the world. He’d won a coveted spot at Twirled World Ink with a legend in the business, Gib Phelps. Creating beauty with his large, scarred hands was his happy place—the place where he fit in the world. Although, nothing could remain perfect forever, his boyfriend of over a year decided to move on and up without him in tow. He had two choices, return to living with his friends and co-workers or take an offer too tempting to pass up.

Landon Phelps grew up in an unconventional home as the only child to Legendary Tattoo Artist Gib Phelps and mother, Peaches. He always felt a bit out of place when he became a boring accountant instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. Boundaries were in place early on; he didn’t date the employees of Twirled World Ink. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken. Bezerker was his idea of perfection, large, husky and tattooed; the thick, grab-worthy beard was a bonus. So when the boyfriend became the ex, Landon decided it was time to get his man.

With the help of the matchmaking Twirled Crew, can Landon finally get Berzerker to see him as more than a friend and the employer’s son?

 
Review: First off, I loved the chapter headings. Yes, I know it’s a silly little thing but they made me laugh. Second, the cover. Berzerker on this cover looks just like I picture him. Landon, not quite as much but he fits. Third, the secondary characters here, both family and friend-family, are a force unto themselves. I’ll come back to them.

 
Berzerker, or Zerk, is a tough, bearded, tattoo artist at Twirled World Ink who has just gotten dumped by his boyfriend of over a year. They were scheduled to move in to a new house together and instead, he’s now homeless. He’s a teddy bear, really, a softie who wants a relationship, someone to see and appreciate the real him, someone who would share his kinks. Not going to happen with Ron, the now ex, though. So while he could move back into the Twirled house, where most of his friends live (and where he used to), he doesn’t feel like getting harassed by the crew about the breakup.

 
Landon, the son of Twirled owner and the resident “feelings barometer” gets the truth out of Zerk in two seconds and offers him a room at his house, where he won’t have to face the crew yet and just coincidentally, where Landon will have him where he wants him. Landon’s been lusting/crushing on Zerk for a long time and now’s the time he’s going to make his move.
Of course, Zerk is absolutely sure a beautiful thing like Landon would want nothing to do with him. And so our story continues, as the two dance around each other, together with Herc, Zerk’s giant dog who adores Landon. Landon is worried Zerk won’t want him, since Landon doesn’t quick fit into the crew in that he’s a non-tattooed accountant! “Now if he could just get past his insecurities, jump Zerk and claim all that sexy burly man then he’d be happy.” Operation “Win Zerk Mission” commences.

 
A big plus is when their individual kinks match up perfectly. “Sex bruises were the best bruises.” Let’s mention here that the families of each are quirky, fun and committed. But Zerk’s parents love Landon as much (more?) than they love Zerk and when they accidentally walk in on the two fooling around, I was astonished at his mother’s reaction. “I won’t have my Landon hurt by your deviant behavior. I’m so ashamed…” What? Dad’s reaction was much closer to what I expected: “You don’t got to explain anything to me. But, son, let this be the last time I see your hairy ass trying to pound your boyfriend through the wall.”

 
Landon’s parents (and Zerk’s bosses) are nudists, incredibly open and super supportive. They also pull no punches when it comes to their darling boy. Although mom is horrified that he wears ties. I loved that whole conversation.

 
Landon and Zerk are awkward, shying back and forth, and incredibly sweet and hot together. It’s not so much a case of opposites attract as it is on the inside, they are so similar.
Not only do we get to watch these two try to come together in the right way, but we get the added side story of Lucky (who is a menace unto himself) and Priest (quiet, new and with a big backstory we don’t know yet), plus Trouble. There is also a problem with a stalker that was a little bit odd.
Random mention, instead of “God knows why” or similar, they say “Fake God knows why.” Love, love, love that.
There were some proofing issues that were enough for me to notice but not bad enough to pull me from the enjoyment of the story. Editing was needed a bit as well the story could have been tighter. But again, I enjoyed it as is.

 

I just want to put it out there that it seems Trouble will be the next book but I want Lucky and Priest!

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