Review: Dark Soul Vol 5 by Aleksandr Voinov *Riptide Publishing*

Dark Soul Vol 5

The saga comes to an end . . .

In “Dark Hunter I,” Stefano Marino must face his most dangerous enemy yet: US Attorney Sebastiano Beccaria, who’s seeking the total annihilation of the Marino clan in the hopes of purging his own dark past.

In “Dark Frost,” a traitor in the organization makes his move, hiring Silvio to kill Stefano. Meanwhile, Silvio struggles to find his place in the Marino home as Donata learns the truth about Stefano’s affair.

The game is up in “Dark Hunter II.” Sebastiano Beccaria confronts Stefano with evidence that will undermine his power and put his life at risk. Stefano faces a bitter choice: fight and risk it all, or flee and protect himself and those he loves. Also, there’s a puppy.

In “Dark Lie,” Stefano makes the only choice he can. With the mutiny brewing and his marriage hanging in the balance, he agrees to leave the life of organized crime. Beccaria has won, but the victory comes at high price—for everyone involved.

In “Dark Heart,” Stefano and Donata have gone to ground in Paris. When a ghost from the past tracks him down, he knows he won’t survive the day if he can’t find a way to make peace with all he left behind.

I obtained the above information from Riptide Publishing.

I was given this book for my honest thoughts and opinions.. So here goes…

For those of you that know me… and those that don’t this is my little statement about short books…. I do not judge short stories on the rush of their relationships, because they are just that – short stories. So, yes the relationships always could have been drawn out more, yea it seems like they fall in love to fast and of course the story could have been made longer… but it is a short story. So with that said…. here is my review…

I am just warning you…. This is a review about m/m reading. So, if this is not your cup of tea… just drop a line and say hi!! If this… then keep reading!

Dark Hunter I – Wow, this series keeps getting better. But in this one, Aleksandr starts pulling out the heaving punches. I had no clue he would go this route, but boy oh boy, I am excited about the turn of events. The one person that could bring down the Marnio family comes with his own Dark Soul…. Things from him past could hinder the case he is working on… I am not giving up who this new, key player in the story is… Nope, you are just going to have to read it yourself! Because believe me, I am thrilled that he went this way! It makes the story that much more intriguing!!!

Dark Frost – Damnit all to hell Aleksandr… You are going to be the death of me. The drama just got kicked up a notch and the suspense… Well, let’s just say that I have no more nails and I am almost bald. Okay okay… But you get my point. The emotions are raw and out there now. The vengeance and backstabbing is out on the table… The war is only growing bigger now… But from within now… What will become of Stefano and Silvio and Donata??

Dark Hunter II – And true to the title of this one… The hunt is on and the target is Stefano. The decisions Stefano is faced with will cost him everything he holds dear to him. It might even cost him his life. Depending on who’s side of the fence he is playing for, he might be able to save face. Can he keep the organization together long enough to save his own ass… Or will the conspiracy bring the roof down on everyone? Is love worth your life? But the deal he is contemplating… He might be making it with the devil himself… Let’s find out what is to come…

Dark Lie – Holy Shit!!!!!!! And the plot thickens! Aleksandr, I can beat you! This is getting great! I mean, you have given me everything… There is some tension drama, the suspense is at a all-time high, the compassion and forgiveness is enough to make me go “awww” and the hot freaking sex (f/m/m) well… is just freaking hot! But then you threw in the “white sheep” of the family and I can’ t wait to see what happens when the shit really hits the fan!!!

Dark Heart – Omg Omg Omg…. ***gets on knees and bows to the great Aleksandr*** This was an awesome story!! You tore out my heart, almost stomped on it… Repaired it to take it back away from me and then you give me the best damn ending this series could have had. Omg, you pulled me through the ringer, you had me cursing you because Stefano left him behind… I mean no note, no nothing.. **Sniff sniff** But then… I be damn you made it happen… Seriously, Stefano almost lost his life because of who his heart belonged too.

This is a great series! For those of you that love m/m stories, you have to read that one. I mean, you have to put aside whatever you are reading and read this one. Now I will tell you, you have to read this series in order! Aleksandr…. ***Super hugs***

Join author Aleksandr Voinov for exclusive excerpts, interviews, behind-the-scenes peeks, and—of course—prizes at the Dark Soul Virtual Book Tour, March 19 through 28, 2012!
Be sure to come by…
Friday, March 21st
@ my place for the blog tour!

To discover more on Aleksandr Voinov, please go the website!!

And remember… Always keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!<span class=
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ARC Review: Dark Soul 4 by Aleksandr Voinov

Dark Soul Vol 4
Aleksandra Voninov

In “Dark Rival I,” the noose tightens around Stefano Marino’s neck. While Silvio and Franco are off taking care of the Russian problem, mutiny brews in Stefano’s crime family. It soon becomes clear he can trust only one man in his life, but whether he can hold on to Silvio—and what it might cost his marriage—are questions for which he has no answers.

In “Dark Rival II,” Silvio returns from his mission. Job done, threat gone, Stefano knows Silvio has no reason to stay. Or so he thought, anyway, until Silvio makes his move. It seems Silvio wants only sex, but Stefano is well aware there’s much, much more on the line. Including Donata, whose suspicions of a mistress in Stefano’s life are uncomfortably close to an even more uncomfortable truth.

Hopeless and helpless as his life crumbles down around his head, Stefano gives in to his desires in “Dark Temptation.” He isn’t any closer to understanding Silvio—and he’s farther from Donata than he’s ever been—but at least he’s come to understand his own needs. Now if only he could figure out how to be himself without hurting the ones he loves the most.

I obtained the above information from Riptide Publishing!

For those of you that know me… and those that don’t this is my little statement about short books…. I do not judge short stories on the rush of their relationships, because they are just that – short stories. So, yes the relationships always could have been drawn out more, yea it seems like they fall in love to fast and of course the story could have been made longer… but it is a short story. So with that said…. here is my review…

I am just warning you…. This is a review about m/m reading. So, if this is not your cup of tea… just drop a line and say hi!! If this… then keep reading!

Dark Rival I ~ Stefano is starting to feel the heat. But this time, instead of the heat coming from the enemy… It is coming from his own “family.” That is never a good sign when your family starts to doubt you or your actions. Threads start to unravel and things start to slip… All the while, Stefano is learning a few hard lessons about himself but those lessons might come with a price he’s not willing to pay. Or is he? The drama, the intense suspense, and the affairs keep getting darker and darker. Aleksandr, you are a wicked person! The story just keeps getting better. And damn you for making me stay up late reading it! Now off to read…

Dark Rival II ~ The war may be over but Stefano is still fighting a battle… But is it a losing battle? Is it going to be one where he gains all that is needed to win or is he going to lose everything and have nothing and no one to run to when it’s over? Stefano is playing a dangerous game, one where someone is bound to get hurt… Lives have been lost, trust is slowly bleeding away, and love is giving way to lust. One wrong word could crumble his life…. Will Stefano stand up and be the man he needs to be, the boss he declares himself, the leader of the family… Or will he succumb to the ways of a coward and run? Damn this story is getting better and better!

Dark Temptation ~ Oh damn, it looks like the dam has broke and Stefano has just about lost his control when it comes to Silvio. The story is not over… Nope… There is more to come with book five. Of course there is more… Why because we have to find out if Stafano can have his cake and eat it too, I mean just because the Russians are put out of their misery doesn’t mean there will not be retaliation from someone… Or hell, who knows if his own “family” won’t try to turn over his position. There is always mutiny brewing up… Or is that the affairs… Hummmm… Who knows???

Join author Aleksandr Voinov for exclusive excerpts, interviews, behind-the-scenes peeks, and—of course—prizes at the Dark Soul Virtual Book Tour, March 19 through 28, 2012!
Of course they are stopping at my place!!! I would beat some people up if they didn’t!!! =)

To find out more from Aleksandr Voinov, please go here….!

If you want to find more amazing authors… please go to Riptide Publishing’s place!

And remember… Always keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!Photobucket

Review: Dark Soul Volume 3 by Aleksandr Voinov

Dark Soul
Volume 3

In “Dark Lady I,” as Silvio Spadaro plans to take on the Russian hit squad that kidnapped his boss, he decides the best way to deal with four extremely dangerous men is to become an even more dangerous woman.

In “Dark Lady II,” Stefano discovers yet another disturbing—and arousing—truth about Silvio and how easily Silvio can use a man’s weakness to his own ends.

“Dark Brother” brings another player to Stefano Marino’s household. Franco Spadaro has just been released from the French Foreign Legion and is catching up with his little brother. In the middle of a war, a skilled sniper comes in right on time—but two Spadaros might be more than Stefano can handle.

I obtained the above information from… Riptide Publishing

For those of you that know me… and those that don’t this is my little statement about short books…. I do not judge short stories on the rush of their relationships, because they are just that – short stories. So, yes the relationships always could have been drawn out more, yea it seems like they fall in love to fast and of course the story could have been made longer… but it is a short story. So with that said…. here is my review…

I am just warning you…. This is a review about m/m reading. So, if this is not your cup of tea… just drop a line and say hi!! If this… then keep reading!

I have read Dark Soul Volume 1… And Volume 2! Click the link to check out my review… Then come back! =)

This may be Dark Soul Vol 3 but there are three short stories within in this volumes…. Now let’s get started.

Dark Lady I
The cover leads you into the story… Thigh highs, tight skin, rounded flesh…
This story starts in a bar… With five Russian and one hooker. If you are following my review and these stories then you know the importance of finding the Russians in A bar. I can’t say that I was surprised how the story started but I was surprised by the ending… Almost a… Well you will see.
Now onto Dark Lady II

Dark Lady II
This one is super short, but leads off where Dark Lady I leaves… Sometimes playing pretend isn’t always what it seems to be. But for Stefano, playing pretend might be the safe way to get what he wants… All the while the war is still brewing…

Dark Brother
Well, let’s just say that I am anxious to see the war that I know is bound to come to an end…. I’m just not sure what war Stefano will win… Or will he lose everything he holds dear. This story sets up the war to come. Is there more than one war, well… In this one, there are a few internal wars going on.

Now, I do have to say that in the last story, the name does mean something. I know Silvio had a pretty hard childhood…. But I’m not sure that those boundaries had to be pushed in the story to show any relevance to that period in Silvio’s life. I actually kinda thought it was going to go in another direction. But hey, that’s just me.

This truly is a great storyline and it is very intriguing. The author names knows how to draw the reader into the dark soul of those in this series. And believe me….it is dark! But I challenge you to walk on the dark side with me…. If you dare.

Damnit Aleksandr…. You know I want Volume 4!!!!! Damn you Damn you Damn you!!!!
To find out more about Aleksandr, please go to the website!

And remember… Always keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!Photobucket

Review: Dark Soul Vol. 2 Dark Whisper & Dark Night by Aleksandr Voinov

My review for Dark Soul Vol. 1 ~ Dark Soul & Dark Secret, please go here!

The second volume in the Dark Soul series features the stories “Dark Whisper” and “Dark Night.”

In “Dark Whisper,” Gianbattista may have broken Silvio’s heart and sent him off to the States, but he’s still just a phone call away. When Silvio returns from a sex shop with a bag full of goodies, Gianbattista can’t resist topping his boy one more time, even if they are 4,000 miles apart.

In “Dark Night,” the Russian problem comes back to haunt Stefano, and when a dark encounter leaves him bloody and broken, Silvio knows just the right way to ease his pain.

I obtained the above information from Riptide website.

For those of you that know me… and those that don’t this is my little statement about short books…. I do not judge short stories on the rush of their relationships, because they are just that – short stories. So, yes the relationships always could have been drawn out more, yea it seems like they fall in love to fast and of course the story could have been made longer… but it is a short story. So with that said…. here is my review…

Also, I will leave you with the warning that this is a m/m book/review. If m/m is not your cup of tea… or if you are not sure this fits in your comfort zone, you will not offend me if you if you just stop by to say Hi and maybe say Hi to Aleksandr! Now… let’s get started!

This is Volume 2 and Aleksandr has not disappointed me. I quickly became a fan of Alek’s writing style. Although one scene sticks out in my mind the most from book one and I get reminded about it in book two, this is a great series. Alek’s voice is strong and not to be messed with. There is no mincing at the words that flow on the paper… The characters are strong, the men are even stronger, the action gets more intense, the drama get thicker and the emotions… well… let’s just say that things get really hot. Alek is an author that when I read… I devour the story. My only problem…. I can’t get enough of this story.

The first part of this story is about Silvio and a lover from the past…. Or one that wants to stay in the past. And I do have to say that phone sex has never sounded hotter…. You will want to get in on that phone conversation! But this story tore at my heart because Silvio is still in love with his old lover… and knows that there a job to do and a man that needs him just a little more. He is good at what he does and has been hired to do what he does….

Then the second part kicked some freaking ass. Well, actually… Stefano got his ass kicked. But I can’t tell you to much because I really want you to read this book. But I will say the leading up that moment and the after effects will make you wonder what is to come next! And believe me……….. I want to know what happens next! This series just keeps getting better and better… Hotter and hotter…. Dirtier and darker… I WANT MORE!!!!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I have left you with Dark Soul Vol. 3….. There is always more to come! Damn you Aleksandr!!

In “Dark Lady I,” as Silvio Spadaro plans to take on the Russian hit squad that kidnapped his boss, he decides the best way to deal with four extremely dangerous men is to become an even more dangerous woman.

In “Dark Lady II,” Stefano discovers yet another disturbing—and arousing—truth about Silvio and how easily Silvio can use a man’s weakness to his own ends.

“Dark Brother” brings another player to Stefano Marino’s household. Franco Spadaro has just been released from the French Foreign Legion and is catching up with his little brother. In the middle of a war, a skilled sniper comes in right on time—but two Spadaros might be more than Stefano can handle.

I obtained the above information from Riptide website.

To see more of Aleksandr Voinov, please go check out the website!

And remember… Always keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy!Photobucket

Review: Dark Soul #1 by Aleksandr Voinov


Picture

“Dark Soul #1” (2011, Riptide Publishing)

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.
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.

I obtained the above information from Aleksandr’s website!

For those of you that know me… and those that don’t this is my little statement about short books…. I do not     judge short stories on the rush of their relationships, because they are just that – short stories. So, yes the relationships always could have been drawn out more, yea it seems like they fall in love to fast and of course the story could have been made longer… but it is a short story. So with that said…. here is my review… I was given this book for my honest thoughts… So let’s go..

Aleksandr Voinov is a new author to me and I was quite shocked at how much this book intrigued me. I will be looking for the next book… If you were here for the interview done at my place, then you know it is coming! Oh, before I get going here… This is a m/m book. I think your know the drill for those genre’s… No feelings hurt if this is not your cup of loving. Just say hi! But if you enjoy the m/m world of loving, let’s continue…

Stefano Marino is a man on a mission… A man needing help to fight a war he is not sure he will win. And the one man that can help him has his own private war he is fighting. Silvio is one man you want on your side… but it may be a dark one.

Stefano is a married man with a hidden desire. A desire that has stayed buried for so long and so deep that Stefano was not sure he still had those desires… Until one man with eyes as black the darkest soul tempted him…. Or at least try to tempt him.

This is the beginning of a tale that has all the right ingredients of being a very explosive story. Two men with their own war brewing will be forced together and the way this ends… Well, let’s just say that Aleksandr wrote a story that will leave you hanging till the last word. This truly is an intriguing story, one that has many twist and turns. A story that will keep you in suspense of what will come next. ((I do have one little issue with one scene… If you are a m/m fan, then you know what happens in the sex scenes. I’m good with that but in this one scene it was done with an object that didn’t quite sit well with me. I understood the underlying meaning of the why’s and how’s, but it doesn’t mean I had enjoy it but I got it and moved on. Please let me say that it didn’t compromise the story at all!!! It brought a level of guilt and drama to the story.)) Put that aside and this is one book that will fire you up, get you asking questions and wanting to see what will happen next! I believe Aleksandr has built this up so that I am begging for he next one!! And I can’t wait for the next one!

And remember… Keep it Dirty, Smutty & Hussy! 
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Giveaway & Guest Post by Aleksandr Voinov for Riptide Party

Welcome, Ladies and Gents of the Lair… I want to welcome you to week long party! When I was contacted by Chris from Riptide ~ asking me to participate in an awesome party geared for the M/M world, what do you think I said!!! YES, of course! So, this is my first day kicking off the party!!! Stay tune… Because, this plans to be one hell’va party!!!!

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination? 
Of course I’m taking bits and pieces from real people I’ve met. But they are all Frankenstein’s monster. I take pieces and put them together into a new shape, then inspiration strikes and they shamble off to wreak havoc.


If you could meet a paranormal being or character of your choice with no safeguards, what/who would you choose and why? 
I’d like to meet Silvio, my current character, just to experience what it means to be in the same room with him. 


What do you like or dislike about eBook publishing? 
What I like is how much talent is out there that is completely undiscovered by the mainstream. You get so much creativity and unique writers and books that would never get a chance in print publishing because publishers are scared of risk.
What I dislike? So many awful books with horrific editing and terrible covers. 


What are your current projects? 
I’m currently writing the second part of “The Lion of Kent” – my co-writer has made a really good start on it, now I have to write my scenes and chapters before we can continue. It’s about a gay knight in the late 12th century, who becomes famous, then joins the Templars to escape his sins, and eventually ends up doing cool stuff in the Holy Land.
Then there’s the “Dark Soul,” the story of a married Mafia capo and the killer he’s sexually and emotionally obsessed with. Silvio, the killer, is sex on legs, and the poor capo basically stands no chance.
I’m also working on two historical novels set in the Second World War in Europe.


Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
The latest release is “Dark Edge of Honor,” a military sci-fi romance novel I wrote with Rhianon Etzweiler. It’s the story of two enemy soldiers falling in love despite everything. 
Here’s the blurb:
Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state.
Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko’s rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition’s military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei’s heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love.
When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition’s internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass…?


What do you like most about writing? 
When I hit the flow (which is rare) – the words just come out and they are all perfect. That’s an amazing feeling. Also, when the story just takes its twists and turns, keeping me on my toes, and my character surprise me with the stuff they’re doing and which I’d have never expected. 

What genre do you write mostly and what appeals to you most about your genre? 
I’m the wrong guy to ask. I get bored with every sub-genre after a couple books, so I constantly need to move from contemporary to military to sci-fi to fantasy to military to thriller and back again. I follow the story – and if the story happens to be in a certain genre or sub-genre, I try to learn the rules of that really quickly.


Where do you get the names for your characters? 
Sometimes they are homages to existing people. William Raven was named after William Marshal, one of the most famous knights of his time. Raven is an allusion to Ravensbourne, which is a little town on my daily commute. As I like in Kent and William is “the Lion of Kent”, that seemed very fitting.
Silvio Spadaro – “Silvio” means “of the forest” – the forest being wild and untamed and dark/threatening terrain (think back to fairy tales – weird and horrible things happen in the forest). “Spadaro” is an old Italian name pointing either to a Byzantine officer (there’s the soldier connection again) or to sword-maker. There’s the whole Biblical idea of who takes up the sword will die by the sword – very good symbols for a mafia killer, I thought.
So, yeah, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the names. The right one will just simply click in my head.


What are you reading now? 
Non-fiction about medieval warfare and the Third Reich. All research.  


Who are your favorite authors?
On the literary side, William Faulkner and A M Tuomala. In our genre, Kirby Crow, Manna Francis, Rachel Haimowitz, Peter Hansen, Kate Cotoner, Rhianon Etzweiler, and many, many more. 


What would you advise an aspiring author? 
Keep writing, read books on writing craft, read outside the genre, and learn how to accept feedback and critique. Keep working on your prose even if you get to the point where you think you know what you’re doing. An honest critique will hurt you badly, but without honest feedback, you might never grow out of your beginner’s mistakes. 


When did you start the adventure of writing? 
I was telling stories from a very early age. Started to actually write them down as a teenager. Published my first short story at sixteen and my first longer piece of fiction at 23, I think. My first novel at 25. It just kinda grew from there.


What’s the funniest scene you’ve ever written? 
I’m not actually good at comedy. I hope my characters are funny at times, but they tend towards snarky and witty rather than funny. So, uhm, I’d have no clue where to start looking.


A quick quiz:  Answer as fast as you can. 


Favorite Hero:
Frank Castle, aka The Punisher 
Favorite Dessert:
Toroncino affogato – semi-frozen nougat then drenched in hot espresso. 
Favorite Villain:
Luke Skywalker and friends. Ruined a perfectly good empire.
Favorite Song:
The Sentinel, Judas Priest 
Have you ever written to music? 
All the time. 
What music?
Anything loud and rhythmic: metal, hard rock, R’nB, industrial, reggaeton, film and games scores 
What is the most interesting thing you have learned from your research? 
I’ve done some very interesting research on medieval hunting techniques for “Lion of Kent”, and I’m currently reading about the French tournament circuit. You basically had this year-long event of tournaments being held all over France, and half of Europe’s knights touring from one to the next to win a lot of money and even more fame and political power. Fascinating culture somewhere between touring bands and celebrities like Brad and Angelina taking their kids around the world, drawing huge crowds.



Here’s an excerpt from Dark Soul:


The most annoying thing about all this was nobody knew when the old badger was going to kick the bucket. But to make the wait comfortable, at least, Stefano had secured a nice leather chair near the fireplace, Vince covering his flank.
He didn’t expect hostility. If he had, he wouldn’t have shown up; he wasn’t that brave. But he still liked having Vince at his side. This way he had at least one ally in the room. The others were fleeting alliances or all-out rivals for the business soon to be up for grabs.
Luigi Ferretti, the old badger’s right-hand man, stepped into the room and walked toward Rossi, an east coast boss. They exchanged a few whispered words, then Rossi put his wine glass down, straightened his suit like a boy being called to the principal’s office, and followed the consigliere.
Stefano was too low on the food chain to receive the call so soon. First the dying man’s old comrades, then the young Turks. No doubt the big pieces of the old man’s empire would be taken by the time his turn came. But even if there were only scraps left, he couldn’t afford not to be here. He had to circle with the other sharks.
His cell phone buzzed. Just short; a text message. He fished it from his pocket and cast a glance at the screen.
Having a great time, but the hotel bed is so empty without you.
He smiled at the thought of Donata in that Parisian five-star hotel, wearing a silken negligee—maybe the one as red as spilled blood—her small breasts and hard nipples pushing against the barely-there fabric. He was damn lucky to have married her rather than taken her as a mistress, even if he did tend to send her away on shopping trips to London, Paris, or New York when he had to get this involved with the family business. Even if, as she put it, she only bought the clothes so she could take them off for him.
His neck was cramping up, so he stood, stretched out, and then headed for the open balcony doors and the salty breeze. In a corner, two men were talking in murmurs, denying him solitude, so he headed down the broad stairs toward the front of the mansion.
The white gravel driveway was lit all the way from the road. Above the rhythmic swell of the ocean sounding from beyond the house, Stefano heard the revving of a powerful, aggressive engine.
A motorcycle, all sharp edges, painted black with white highlights. It zipped along the winding driveway as if it had a race to win, swerving dangerously and then stopping with a dramatic turn, spraying gravel everywhere.
Including across Stefano’s polished leather shoes.
The driver was hunched over the handlebars, wearing a matching full-body leather suit with Kevlar plates.
Like some modernist centaur on wheels.
The driver stepped off, displaying long, long graceful legs and a tiny ass clad in leather. Woman? Lean and angular, but feminine, even when kicking the stand underneath the bike. The helmet came off after a somewhat awkward release. Short, spiky hair beneath. Not a woman—and that jolted through Stefano just as hard as the driver’s cold, motionless, focused expression. In that pale face lurked the blackest, darkest eyes Stefano had ever seen, and lips like they’d been cut with knife blades, perfect, sharp, and deadly.
The driver cast him an annoyed glance—At his proximity? His staring?—but then paused and regarded him longer. No smile, no recognition. Eventually, he turned to hang the helmet from the handlebar.
Stefano backed away, but watched the man unstrap saddlebags just large enough for a proper suit and toiletries.
The driver glanced at him again. “Old guy’s not dead yet?” he asked.
“Not that I know of.”
Bene.” The driver shrugged. “I’ll go have a shower now. Wanna come?”
What. The. Fuck. He forced himself not to recoil. Think, Stefano. Think. If he’s family. Son? Cousin? Grandson? He couldn’t afford to make enemies here, even if those words—that invitation—could get men killed.
Wanna come? The way he’d said it could have meant anything.
Stefano decided on a sneer. “That would hardly be appropriate.”
The driver shrugged and sauntered past him toward the house. The guards near the door stopped him, but when he produced a piece of paper from inside his leather suit, they let him pass. They even looked a little impressed. Or was it bewildered?
Stefano followed back into the house—not following the driver, though, of course not—and watched him climb the big central staircase inside.
The leather played off his body in interesting ways. He tried to ignore the other details—taut piece of ass, broad shoulders, the V-shape of the back at odds with the first impression of femininity when he’d straightened up from the bike.
Not that women had any reason to be here. At least not attractive single women. Stefano shook his head and turned away.
“What the fuck is he doing here?” one man said, casting a baleful eye up the steps.
“He’s Battista’s boy,” another man said, in the far more hushed tones of respect.
“Gianbattista’s getting senile to rely on him,” the other man sneered. “Fucking wild card.”
“Well, seems Battista’s not coming personally.”
Stefano inched closer, ostensibly to settle at one of the small round tables scattered around the house, and pretended to be interested in the glass of salt sticks nobody else had touched.
“What’s he up to these days, anyway?”
“Breeding roses, they say.” The boss ignored his companion’s incredulous snort. “For all intents and purposes, Battista’s retired. I’d say the boy’s making sure nobody comes calling in favors.”
“Security?”
“Oh yeah. He killed Diego Carbone. In self-defense.”
The other man grimaced. “I’d heard Carbone was dead, but not who did him.”
“I have it on good information. He did Diego. Pumped him full of lead and then strangled him. It was a massacre. Diego shot him, too. Put the boy in the hospital for a few months—blood poisoning or some shit like that. People say he’s just as insane as Carbone now.”
Cazzo.” The man glanced up the stairs, but the driver was gone. “I believe it.” He looked around as if trying to escape the conversation, then stood and followed a servant with a silver tray of canapés.
Stefano made eye contact with the boss who’d been left behind. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing that conversation. Stefano Marino.” Stefano offered his hand.
Gathering information beat sitting near the fireplace being bored. The thought that the driver had killed Diego—an enforcer so violent as to be virtually insane—made him uneasy. He didn’t hear much news from the east coast, wrapped up as he was in the microcosm of his own territory and his immediate interests. But some interesting names in all that. Il Gentiluomo, Gianbattista Falchi, cultured on the outside with his mild manners and graying temples, an old-style consigliere like straight out of The Godfather. Stefano had met him only once, warned and aware that Falchi was a trickster and schemer, yet still not immune to his charisma.
How curious that the old consigliere trusted his security to this young killer who didn’t seem to give a fuck about tradition. Maybe as a retiree with still-considerable influence, Gianbattista Falchi could afford to ignore tradition, too.
“You’re still here,” a voice said at his back.
Stefano turned around to find himself standing way, way too close to the driver. Those black eyes were without light, without reflection. The stare punched the air from his lungs, and those lips . . . God, those lips. Distantly, he heard his conversation partner making his excuses, but he paid the man no mind, and neither did the driver. He could feel the heat from the driver’s body. Imagined touching. Being touched. He blinked and stepped away.
Only then did he realize the driver had changed and showered, as promised. His short hair was still wet, and he was wearing a severe black suit over a white shirt. No tie. The suit was cut to hide the gun under his right shoulder, but also showed off a whole lot of lean muscle. Not an ounce of fat on him.
Stefano swallowed. “I didn’t catch your name.”
“They call me Barracuda.” No smile, just stating a fact. The name was oddly fitting for that expressionless face. “Silvio Spadaro.”
Spadaro was offering his hand. Stefano took it, the grip firm and dry, the skin rough. Of course, he was a killer, a sicario, so he’d have to touch guns enough to harden against them. Stefano swallowed. He shouldn’t be thinking about what this hand touched and how. “Stefano Marino.”
“I know.” Spadaro lifted an eyebrow, and didn’t release Stefano’s hand. “How long have you been waiting for the old man to die?”
“Leukemia takes a while. We’ve had some false alarms in the past.”
“This time it’s real. That’s why I’m here.” Spadaro kept holding his hand, and Stefano realized he was beginning to sweat. It wasn’t fear. The man was just so intense. Not freakish, not insane. Just mental games, psychological warfare. A killer’s job.
“So, how—” he forced his hand from the man’s grip “—is Gianbattista Falchi these days?”
Sta bene.” Spadaro cast a quick glance around the room. When the eye contact broke, Stefano could breathe again. But then the eyes came back, staring him point-blank in the face. “He sent me to pay his respects.”
“Why’s he not coming personally?”
“Want the truth or a polite lie?”
Stefano huffed. “Surely he’d say goodbye to his old friend?”
“He fucking hates the rest of the family,” Spadaro said flatly. “And he hates the smell of hospitals. The lies, the polite smiles. He said he wouldn’t trust himself not to make a scene.”
Seemed Gianbattista had embraced his retirement. Or saw a danger to himself here. Stefano filed the thought away. “So he figures you of all people won’t?”
Spadaro’s lips quirked. “Maybe I’m here to make sure the old guy meets Death properly this time. Do you know what’s going on in people’s heads here?”
“I have an educated guess.” Stefano reached for the glass of salt sticks, more unnerved than he wanted to admit by the killer’s comments. He didn’t expect violence, but you never really knew with the family, did you?
“Yeah, well, fuck ’em.” Spadaro cast another glance at the assembled Mafiosi. “I wouldn’t change places with any of them.”
Was that a slip of the mask? Calculated provocation? “Oh? Why not?”
“You know what they did to Joey D’Amato?”
Stefano straightened. Why would Spadaro mention the faggot? Way too crass and unsettling, especially considering he’d been vanished, not even a body to bury.
Spadaro studied him, head tilted. “That’s why I don’t belong to anybody,” he said quietly, but with the force and conviction of a kidney punch. “I’m not following their fucking rules.” He swept the crowd again with his expressionless black eyes, then fixed them on Stefano’s face.
Stefano’s lips tingled. It was still hard to breathe and he had no idea why. He couldn’t let this man intimidate him. Couldn’t be seen as too interested. Barracuda or not—even Gianbattista Falchi’s protetto or not—he could afford zero suspicion. He’d be dead. Fuck Spadaro for flustering him so, and fuck himself for getting flustered, but he’d never show it. “Well, give Falchi my best wishes when you return to him.”
“Will do.” Spadaro sketched an ironic salute and stepped away.
Stefano fought the urge to straighten his tie, fought harder against the urge to watch the Barracuda cut through the assembled groups of men.
He caught Vince’s gaze, and though his bodyguard relaxed a little, he still looked worried. Stefano could see why. A sicario who belonged to a “retired” consigliere, and not just any pensioner, but crafty old Gianbattista Falchi, who’d been more powerful in his own right than many bosses. That was all manner of disturbing. “Paying his respects” by being anything but respectful. Mentioning D’Amato like killing the faggot was somehow wrong. Mentioning him in fucking public.
He stood around, restless, then noticed Luigi approach Spadaro and touch his shoulder. The black eyes flared and Spadaro glowered at Luigi as if he were about to take the older man’s head clean off. But he reached into his suit jacket, pulled his gun from his holster with two fingers, and handed it to Luigi. The consigliere took it without batting an eyelash, then went upstairs. Spadaro followed.
Vince stepped to his side. “That’s really fucking impressive. Arrives here and gets seen almost immediately.”
“Well, he was sent by Gianbattista Falchi.”
Vince nodded solemnly. “I don’t like his attitude.”
“I fucking hate it.” The way the man’s presence made his skin tingle wasn’t hatred, but that wasn’t something he could admit. Spadaro seemed to have that effect on people. The fact that he clearly carried weight and power was even worse.
So what was this guy’s game?

Okay… Your favorite time…. Giveaway Time!!!!
This will be the rule for all Giveaways this week…
All Giveaways will end Friday, November 18th at Midnight….
The winners will all be picked and announced….
Monday, November 21st!
Good luck!

Now time for Aleksandr’s Giveaway!
Aleksandr has so kindly let me give away anything from his backlist… 
Except Counterpunch. Not sure why!
What do I want from you…..
Well, you have to leave your email address ~ A MUST.
You have to be a follower of this blog ~ A MUST.
You must leave a comment or question for Aleksandra ~ A MUST!
Good Luck!

You can purchase Dark Soul at Riptide Publishing: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/dark-soul-vol-1


Author Name: Aleksandr Voinov 
Email address: vashtan@gmail.com
Website URL: www.aleksandrvoinov.com
Blog URL: http://www.aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vashtan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/220403907986697/
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3074905.Aleksandr_Voinov
Goodreads Group: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/38618.Aleksandr_Voinov_s_Group

The Giveaway for Riptide: 
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We’re gearing up for three months of games, prizes, interviews, chats, and scavenger hunts, and we’d love to have you along! At each stop along the tour, we’ll be giving away great prizes – tons of books from our authors’ backlists, swag by the boatload, gift ceritficates to All Romance Ebooks, and entries into the Grand Prize drawings for a Nook, a Kindle, and an iPad.
Go check it out!!!
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