Cardinal Sins

Hidden Gem Series

by Lissa Kasey

Cardinal Sins - Lissa Kasey
Part of the Hidden Gem series:
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 5.99 USD
Pages: 351
Paperback - Second Edition: $ 14.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1081009304
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 in
Pages: 364

The most powerful man in City M, Paris Hansworth, has been hiding a painful secret: the world’s toxic environment is killing him. It’s killing everyone, or at least changing everyone’s DNA. Paris believes the only way to save his city and his friends is to find answers to the many mysteries of the last plague. His search leads him to a long abandoned facility, and to the rescue of a mercreature by the name of Rain.

Left behind and trapped by ice and toxic water, Rain finds himself intrigued by his strange savior, though he’s been lost so long even the language of the world has changed. He only hopes that he and Paris can find common ground before the internal demon Rain can see eating away at Paris, finally devours him completely.

A virus spreads through the city, targeting Paris’s loved ones, and Paris is willing to sacrifice almost anything, including his own life, to save them. But when the past Paris thought he’d escaped comes calling, he’s forced to adapt again, possibly becoming a monster himself. He’ll need to overcome his past to save his friends and only then will he have a chance at finding love.

This book is on:
  • 3 To Be Read lists
  • 2 Read lists


Paris wandered through the open area of the empty casino between rows of machines and tables. He could imagine the sounds of the slot machines clinking and card sharks calling a bet. Even after several decades unused, the casino was clean—though the air was a little stale. One dodgy old caretaker had seen to the place for nearly a quarter of a century. The largest hotel and casino in the Midwest had been abandoned after the plague had killed the global economy. Was City M ready for it to return?


“It’s all structurally sound,” Oscar, Paris’s solicitor, told him. “We’ve had experts sweep the entire building for signs of cracks or leftover radiation. Heating and cooling systems need to be updated, but there’s plenty of room on the roof for solar panels and even an eco- garden if you want to go that route. The aquarium is solid. Though I can’t imagine it will be easy to fill since the coastal cities have no way to ship any aquatic life safely here. Or if they have any to spare. The cross-country trains just aren’t that reliable. You could put stuff from the restaurant supply in there. Give those feeder fish a better life and have something to feed your guests in case of a food shortage.”

Paris swallowed back a snort. The tubes were meant to house dolphins and sharks, not shrimp and salmon. Though the idea had merit. “What about all the machines? They’re old, but do they still work?”

“More than old. Vintage. Some as much as a century old, but they still work. The caretaker said he tested the machines every year and even has a guy who would come in and fix them if they broke. Technology is old, but that might be a draw.”

Paris nodded. Just beyond the edge of what was now City M’s red-light district, the casino had loomed large and intimidating for ages. No one wanted it because of the size and the proximity to the many whorehouses that blighted the edge of the city. Only with the popularity of the Hidden Gem had the area become more of a tourist attraction than the slum it used to be. Paris had been eyeing the building for years, contemplating options, dreaming up possibilities. The place needed some fixes—lights and carpeting; all the rooms would need to be renovated, and the kitchen would need new appliances—but he could almost feel the energy rolling through the place. Casinos were something he’d only read about in stories. Sure there were a few in the coastal cities, but when did he have time to go there?

The attached hotel had potential, and he would change one of the many meeting hall areas into a series of rooms for a spa, another into a grand ballroom, and then expand the dining room. The tax benefits to the city and possible tourist draw had pushed the senate to approve his request to buy the place. “Is the no windows a casino thing? Is it safe?”

Oscar shrugged. “As safe as any old building. I guess they didn’t do many windows because they wanted people to lose track of time and keep gambling. Plenty of secure doors and escape routes but not much natural light.”

Paris would have all the glass—windows, mirrors, even the sanitary glass in the buffet—changed to safety computer monitoring, a minor change that wouldn’t interrupt the old-world feel. Some paint and a wise choice of decor and he could convince people inside the casino that the plague had never happened and the war had just been a bad dream.

“When does the next bunch of refugees arrive?” Oscar asked him.

Refugees was a nice way of putting it. They were all rescues from the South. Some spirited away from the pray-the-gay-away camps, others from slavery. This newest batch would be almost a dozen. He hoped they all made it, though the trek was long and hard. There was always the possibility of bandits getting them and selling them off to the whorehouses along the roads, or even the South tracking them and dragging them back. Paris promised them a better life. Always found them all jobs even if they were just as contract companions. At least the whores at the Gem got health insurance, regular breaks, and decent pay. The roadside whorehouses were little more than slavers.

“They arrive next week. I’ve got a handful of them picked out for the Gem. A few of my contacts have positions open and contracts available for those who don’t fit the role.”

“This is ideal, then. You’ll have plenty to choose from to staff everything from the card tables to the kitchen, and room for more rescues.”

Paris agreed. Everyone would be trained so long as they were willing. Those who were unwilling got no sympathy from him. They could work their way up from the bottom, but only if they tried. “Let’s get the paperwork signed and begin renovations. I want this place open by the end of the year.” Six months wasn’t that long to complete renovations, but he’d done the Gem in only two. It was a matter of knowing who to talk to so the job got done.

One more legacy that Paris hoped to leave behind for all those he’d rescued throughout the years. If the casino generated income like he hoped, it would be self-sustaining and need more than a couple dozen well paid employees. He could make this work. After all, he’d turned Bart’s back-alley whore hole into the most reputable place for food and fucks in all the Midwest.

Oscar pulled out his com screen and opened to the documents that would make the building Paris’s. Paris had thought a lot about this project, wanted it for a while. Knew what it had to be. Cardinal Sins would open soon to show the world that life had survived beyond the darkness of the last war—now it was time to enjoy it.

Reviews:Melissa on Amazon wrote:

Part of an epic trilogy, this book gives us more incite and growth to the dystopia world previewed in Hidden Gem. Paris is not the typical romantic hero. He's sick and wants to set up the city as much as he can before he passes. He dreams of love but fears never finding it, until he happens to meet a merman at an abandoned government facility. This story is a great deal more than just a romance. There's a lot of world building, plot, and not all of it's friendly as Paris does what he feels he has to, to protect his friends and family.

kara on Amazon wrote:

So I will start off this review by saying this world in this book the author created was amazing while at the same time so sad after what all the survivors have gone through! Now let me say you can read this as a stand alone because this book does feature a different couple then the first book in the series. But I would really suggest reading the first book in the series before this one because honestly I was a little lost and I regretted not reading Hidden Gem before this.
Paris is a senator and the most powerful man in the City M. Who also has been hiding the fact he is dying. He goes on a search for a missing AM when he finds Rain a Merman who has been stuck at a abandoned Lab for a long time.
He feels a instant connection to Rain and vice versa. The only real part I was not a fan of in this book honestly was I felt like they really did not get a lot of time together in this book. So everything happened so fast between them and I felt a little disappointed I did not get to read more about them.
You do get shifting POV's between Paris, Rain, Candy and Shane along with Aki which is one of the reasons you really should read Hidden Gem first. You also get some angst, along with some steam which happens mostly off page. There was also something that happened with Paris that really surprised me.
So I will leave this review with I loved this world and characters this author created!
All together I really loved this book!
I would 100% recommend this book!
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Inked Rainbow Reads.

Mollien Osterman Alpha Book Club on Amazon wrote:

Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This series just keeps on getting better, and more insane. The first book ended and things were okay, but now things have gone almost nuclear. I am pretty sure that somewhere during WWIII they actually did go nuclear. The reason that the people in this story are mutants. They can change into the most unbelievable things, and Lissa Kasey does it so well that I believed every word. I hope that the world never comes to this craziness. The plot of book 2 pretty much picks up where book 1 ended. Life is going well. Candy has bought the contract of another psi whore from another house. Ivy needs some training, and Candy is more than up for the job. Also the illness that Paris has been fighting since childhood is taking its toll. Paris is losing the battle, but there is so much he still wants to do to make the lives of the people of City M better. More importantly there is Rain the merman that they found in the north after the vision that Aki had. Things are going to change again. To Paris, the people that he loves as a new plague threatens the Psi, the A-M’s as well as the human race. The chemistry just keeps getting hotter and the most unlikely relationships are forming. The pacing of this book is beyond exciting. There is so much going on. This is definitely a book and series that can be read more than once, just incase you missed something the first time around. Unlike the first book, the end of this book leaves you with a bunch of unanswered questions. These characters are developing and changing constantly. I have formed an emotional attachment to all these people. Yeah I know, FICTION, but I am sure once you read these books you will want to take care of these characters also.
SCORES on a scale of 1-5 Stars rate each of the Following 5 Categories
PLOT: 5 Stars
PACING: 5 Stars
ENDING: 5 Stars

Review Copy of Cardinal Sins provided by the Author, Lissa Kasey for an honest Review. Reviewed by Mollien from Alpha Book Club

About the Author

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. Her specialty is in-depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTQA+ spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.

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