Necessary Evils: Lunatic – Onley James
Every psychopath in the Mulvaney family has a role to play. Archer Mulvaney is the gambler, a drunken reprobate making his living as a high-stakes poker player. Very few people know the real Archer, not even his brothers. But there is one man who knows far too much.
Mackenzie Shepherd spends his days photographing endangered wildlife. He’s also the brother of a psychopath and son to the woman who literally wrote the book on raising one. When his mother asks him to head a secret government project, it seems like the perfect excuse to run away from his life.
But running from his past has Mac colliding straight into Archer. And that’s a problem. For this project to be successful, Mac and Archer have to agree on every decision, and the two see eye-to-eye on nothing. Except, maybe the sex. The sex is off the charts.
When Mac’s old life comes back to haunt him, Archer insists on putting their differences aside to help keep him safe. But Mac, like Archer, is used to solving things on his own. Can they finally stop fighting each other to find the truth, or is their relationship the next thing on the endangered species list?
Lunatic is a filthy hot, enemies to lovers, psychopath romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a sexy, roguish degenerate and a hunky bleeding heart ginger who love how much they hate each other. As always, there’s gratuitous violence, very dark humor, more blood than a slaughterhouse, and enough heat to melt your metaphorical undies. This is book six in the Necessary Evils series. Each book follows a different couple.
The Mulvaney family continues to grow as another brother falls. At this point, it is a circus, with four brothers married, one engaged, two baby girls, a baby mama, a genius hacker, an ex-brother, and the formidable patriarch with BIG secrets. It is a testament to Onley James‘s talent that with all these larger than life personalities, she made Archer, who barely say more than two sentences and in a drunken stupor most of the series, a very intriguing character I’m most eager to read about.
Lunatic sheds light on the enigma that is Archer Mulvaney. He is a man who lives triple identities. Archer is publicly known as a professional poker player and raging alcoholic. Unknown to his brothers, Thomas entrusted him with a super secret government project. Privately, he was something else entirely, a delightfully complicated and hella endearing creature, Mackenzie Shephard, was lucky to discover.
He and Archer co-head the project, and it didn’t take long for their clandestine hook-ups to turn into baring of souls and word-vomiting of feels. Mostly on Archer’s part because Mac was already 101% all in for this Mulvaney brother from their very first hook-up and is patiently waiting for the skittish Archer to stop running away.
The first parts of Archer and Mac’s romance were the best and most delicious chaotic disaster of Mulvaney proportions and totally perfect for the infamous drunken reprobate gambler. I was wishing for a very particular event to happen given their current location and squee-ed so hard when it did! Mac has perma-heart eyes for Archer because heart eyes are how one should look at this oddly vulnerable psychopath.
“Unguarded Archer was lethal, his words landing with maximum force on Mac’s heart.“
Mac’s a fantastic addition to the family, a calm, grounding presence for Archer’s wilder energy. The guy’s no stranger to crazies since his brother is a sociopath who stars in another series. Publicly, he’s ex-military and an award-winning wildlife photographer who one day stumbled upon three armed men at the Texas border. Later, the couple learned there was a hit on him, and Archer, desperate to save his person, asked his family for help.
The plot follows the usual Necessary Evils pattern, meeting in the war room, hazing the newcomer, digging up evidence, Calliope doing her magic, vetting the kill, extracting the bad guy, and then the fun part. The author did a great job keeping things exciting. There’s Noah’s reaction to Archer’s big reveal which added extra family drama. Also, major teasers on the spin-off, The Watch, that had me super hyped for the series.
However, I wished the latter parts gave more focus on the main couple. At this point, the romance lacked the intensity of the other books. And I’m not a fan of “Katniss” as Mac’s nickname for Archer. Also, the story juggles a huge cast, plus cameos and new characters, so it’s tricky giving everyone page time. Sadly, it took some away from Archer and Mac.
I deliberately kept details to a minimum because Lunatic is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible about Archer beforehand. It’s a story of secrets and revelations, and I was completely riveted watching things unfold. The most enigmatic Mulvaney brother has a quite a tale to tell. Not exactly a bullseye, but you can bet it hits right in the kokoro.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Necessary Evils is best read in order because there’s a joyful kind of madness in how each psychopathic brother finds the person who matches their crazy. Don’t we wish we can find one too? And aren’t we are all dying for that last book?!!!
If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to buy your copy of Necessary Evils. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.