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.
The tension is off the charts in this fourth installment in Aleksandr Voinov's ground breaking series that makes an assassin someone you can't help but be drawn to. That draw is the same for Stefano Marino who's tried to ignore his feelings for Silvio Spadaro and just can't fight the truth of his feelings any longer. With his wife Donata suspecting him of cheating and some of his underbosses thinking him weak, Silvio's the only one who can put his mind at ease at least for a little bit. Someone else who brought a bit of comfort to Stefano's mind and who I'd love to see again was Franco who has just as many emotional issues as his brother. He gives some much needed insight into Silvio that Stefano will need to form a stronger connection to the young assassin in the future.
Once he and Silvio come together the intensity of the scene is combustible. Stefano wants their time together to mean something, but for the emotionally challenged Silvio he can't admit to it being more. I felt badly for Stefano throughout this entire book. He's trying to remain honorable and not disappoint others but accepting the truth of his feelings will change everything. He thought by finally being with Silvio things would be clearer but instead things have just gotten more complicated.
This story was very emotional with a main focus on Stefano's feelings and indecisions. We got to know him better in this story by seeing a different side to him than the one he shows others. I liked him before and liked him even more through seeing him struggle with the weight of the world on him. Silvio still remained a bit of an enigma in this book. Dangerous and deadly, yet very enthralling. Whenever he comes on the scene you can't help but notice him and I'll be especially sorry to see his story end.
The books so far have been like a roller coaster starting out smoothly and heading for the top. We're now left in breathless anticipation for the fast-paced out of control end of this story and the decision of a lifetime that Stefano will have to make. That decision being to remain true to the family that was given to him or the family he created and I can't wait to see what his answer will be.
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.