Synopsis: Stefano Marino is a made man, a happily married west coast mafia boss who travels east to await the death of a family patriarch. All the old hands have gathered—of course sharks will circle when there’s blood in the water—but it’s a new hand that draws Stefano’s eye.
Silvio “the Barracuda” Spadaro is protetto and heir to retired consigliere Gianbattista Falchi, and a made man in his own right. Among his underworld family, being gay is a capital crime, but the hypersexual—and pansexual—young killer has never much cared for rules. The only orders he follows are Battista’s, whether on the killing field or on his knees, eagerly submissive at Battista’s feet.
But Silvio has needs Battista can’t fill, and he’s cast his black-eyed gaze on Stefano. A fake break-in, an even faker attack, and Silvio is exactly where he wants to be: strung up at Stefano’s mercy, driving the older Mafioso toward urges he’s spent his whole life repressing. Stefano resists, but when the Russian mob invades his territory and forces him to seek aid, Gianbattista’s price brings Stefano face to face once more with Silvio—and his darkest desires.
5 out of 5 Stars
(Warning: M/M, gun play, nonconsensual)
This is the first novella in a series of five.
You must know that I have a HUGE FANGIRL type crush on Aleksandr Voinov. He could write anything and I would happily read it; instruction manuals, cereal boxes, etc. Doesn’t matter – his writing is just that good.
This book does not disappoint. In fact, it’s amazing and it was paced so quickly that my head was spinning.
Stefano is a mafia boss who is in trouble. The Russian mafia is looking at his territory and he has no allies who will help him without a steep price. He goes to Battista Falchi, a retired mafia boss and the only person who might offer him help. While there he meets Silvio, a pansexual killer who is owned by Battista. That doesn’t stop him from shamelessly flirting with Stefano, and stirring up desires he thought he had long hidden away. Battista does have a price for his help and part of that price is that Stefano is now responsible for Silvio.
What I liked: Everything. No, seriously! The pacing is perfect and we learn so much about our characters in such a short book. I don’t understand how Voinov does it but I connect with every single one of his characters – both good and bad. We learn just enough that we understand, for the most part, their motives even if we don’t agree. Watching Stefano struggle with his intense attraction to Silvio, and Silvio’s “punishment” for breaking in to Stefano’s room is incredibly hot. I don’t recommend reading this on your lunch hour at work unless you want everyone to ask you why you are bright red.
What I didn’t like: It’s the first novella, and I wanted the entire story! I’m greedy, but will just have to go and buy the series to get my fix.
If you like M/M, if you like incredibly well written books, and if you like a lot of kink thrown in for good measure, you need to start reading everything you can get your hands on by Aleksandr Voinov. I am also a firm believer in supporting authors that identify on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and write books on the spectrum as well.