That is so cool.
I won't blabber on. I'll just let you read it. It's fabulous. At the end of the post, you'll find his giveaway info so do leave a comment to enter that lovely.
All that's left for me to say at this point is...
Thank you Aleks. :D You rock.
Dark Soul vol. 5 by Aleksandr Voinov
Word count: 26,800
Page count: 98
Heat Wave: 5 - Very explicit love scenes
Erotic Frequency: 3 - Moderate
Type: Part of a Series
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.
Special Extra Scene...
The pleasant buzz from the wine threw the street into soft focus, made it almost mythical, more real than real, and Battista paused to regard the cobbled street, the high houses, and the warm Roman night for a few moments. A street away, laughter. The last thing he’d seen before he’d turned into this street was a pair of lovers, she in a swaying dress, her feet in tiny sandals that made her legs look more naked than they could be. Rome in summer, after the heat, was a special place.
He shook his head to clear it a bit. A peaceful, perfect night he’d spend by himself in the crowd of young stylish Romans and less stylish tourists in central Rome, surrounded by the worst of Fascist architecture on one side and two and a half thousand years of history on the other side. It was gone two—while the buzz never let up, he couldn’t last as long as he used to.
He fished his keys from his pocket as he neared the entrance of his house. It was no special place on the outside, its orange paint job nothing special in a street of ochres and reds and pinks, the non-descript façade suiting him perfectly. He didn’t even have a number on his door.
As he got closer, there was a shadow in his door, across his stairs that wasn’t a trick of the light. A person. Battista slowed his step, reached into his pocket for a switchblade and drew it, hiding it in his hand as he neared. He could have pretended he didn’t live here, walk past and check into a hotel, but he resented the idea, knowing full well he was taking a risk.
The figure didn’t look like a drunk, or a homeless person. Leaning against the door, one foot drawn up, one on the street, it looked like a scrawny boy, unconscious, or asleep.
Battista kept the weapon in his right hand, then stretched out his left to touch the youth’s shoulder. The boy wore black jeans, a dirty white t-shirt, and old trainers. A whiff of unwashed body caught Battista’s nostrils, and he frowned. Homeless? He crouched, watched the boy’s hands, half-expecting him to jump up and attack, but there was little muscle tone in the body. Asleep.
“Hey. Wake up.” Battista shook his shoulder.
The boy jerked and stared at him. His eyes black, intense, bloodshot, and the recognition hit Battista low and sweet in the gut. Paolo’s eyes, just in an elfin, sharp face trapped midway between boyish softness and the promises of youth.
“Silvio.” He was about to ask, “What on earth are you doing here?” but he saw the answer written across Silvio’s pale skin. One of his eyes was almost swollen shut and discoloured, and there was a crust of blood under his nose. He slipped the weapon into his pocket outside of the boy’s vision and offered a hand. “Come. Get up. You can’t sleep here.”
Silvio just stared at him, then closed his eyes again, looking exhausted. Battista picked up his hand, noticed the dark rims under his fingernails, which he hoped weren’t blood. “Come, get up. I’ll help you.”
Silvio pushed himself up against the wall, a laborious, painful process, until he stood there, shaking like a wet dog, nothing but skin and bones and elbows and a pair of terrible black eyes on him.
“Good. Well done. I need to get the door open.” Battista stepped closer and unlocked the door. Silvio supported himself against the frame, but he was so unsteady on his feet that he put his arm around Silvio’s waist, earning himself a pained hiss. “Can you walk?”
Silvio didn’t respond, but his knees buckled. Battista looked around for a moment; nobody watched. “Put your arm around me. It’s not far.” He breathed in the other direction. Silvio smelled of dirt, tears and misery, and the sour sweat of fear. What would he see in the light of the flat?
He got the next door open, then manoeuvred Silvio into the living room. At least there was a blanket draped across the couch, so when Silvio all but collapsed there, he didn’t have to worry too much about dirt or blood.
“Are you injured?” he asked, which he knew was a weird question, unless you had once sheltered a dying man bleeding from several bullet holes.
Silvio didn’t respond. He’d always been a strange kid; he had Paolo’s deep, hostile silence. Battista switched on another lamp and regarded Silvio, who looked pale and drawn and exhausted.
Battista shook his head, then returned to the door to lock it. He didn’t want guests, struggled to deal with the demands of a teenager, but something had obviously happened, and kicking Silvio back out at past two in the night would be doing him a disservice. Much as he was ill-equipped, there was really no other choice. He glanced over at Silvio, who was lying on the couch, breath fast and shallow like that of a deer that had barely escaped a hunter.
Well, give him time, then. Battista went into the kitchen to prepare a coffee. He didn’t expect answers fast or easy, so he better be prepared for that.
When he returned with the coffee, Silvio had moved—only enough to lie on his side, knees drawn up, arms slung around his body, but his eyes were open, just not looking at anything specific.
Battista sat down on a chair opposite and studied him. He didn’t seem too injured, apart from the marks in his face. He didn’t spot any blood, and Silvio had been walking, so the bones were probably in working order, too. He just walked stiffly, which might mean blunt trauma. He sipped the coffee, resentful to be kept up well beyond his normal bedtime.
“Silvio. You’re welcome to stay. Take your time.” He got up and sat down on a free patch of couch. He could have stored three Silvios there without any of them touching. Just bones on the boy. “How did you find me?”
“Paolo’s address book.” First words he’d spoken. Silvio’s lips looked dry and as if they’d split if he spoke much more, so Battista got him a water bottle from the kitchen. Not cold. He didn’t want to see the boy doubling over with cramps in addition to all the other misery.
“What happened? Why are you in Rome?” And not in Turin? He quickly calculated—a sixteen-year old boy should be in school anyway, rather than halfway across the country robbing his godfather of sleep.
Silvio looked up, alarmed. “Don’t call him.”
“I’m not.” Battista touched his watch. “Do you know what time it is?”
“No.” Silvio shook his head.
Yes, well. He wouldn’t. It wasn’t important, either. Battista rubbed his face. He wasn’t any good with children. Not even those of his friends and former comrades. And he wasn’t quite sure where Paolo stood these days. Well, he did, but there was always a dash of hope that Paolo would one day reconsider the things he’d said.
Fucking faggots like you will burn in hell. Touch me or what’s mine, and I’ll kill you. Slowly.
No use telling him it wasn’t that easy—or that the last thing he did was invite that kind of punishment. He’d hidden for forty years, he’d hide for the remaining forty. Habit and self-preservation.
Paolo would not be thrilled to know his son was here. He might not listen when Battista explained even the most innocent touch. He shook his head and sighed. “Well, I’ll put you up here on the couch, but you need to change out of your clothes and have a wash. I’ll find you something else to wear.”
He stood and went to the bathroom. How likely was it that Paolo tracked Silvio here, of all places? How long ago had Silvio left, and did he have an alibi, or was Paolo already looking for him? The idea of Paolo on the prowl in Rome made his balls try to creep back into his body. Yes, best not risk it.
He arranged towels and his bathrobe, then went into the bedroom to find the smallest T-shirt and brief and pyjama bottoms he owned. The latter at least had drawstrings, so they might even stay on Silvio.
He came back out, and paused, because Silvio had moved. Not only that. He’d sat up and stripped out of his T-shirt.
Mother of God. The bruises were so dark that Battista was amazed that Silvio didn’t have any broken bones. Large prints, like from boots or heavy shoes, and fists. Paolo must have flown into an epic rage and definitely attempted to beat his son dead. And even if Paolo was still the same wiry man, a man like a knotted whip, but Silvio was half his size. Runt of the litter, third-born son, and small. So small, he could have ridden that slobbering ball of white-golden fur and energy, the family dog, when he’d seen him, last as child.
His rubbed his face, disbelieving, but only too aware that Paolo was well capable of that. He’d seen him stomp on a man’s face often enough to kill him. Had seen Paolo walk up calmly to a man and shot him in the face with seemingly no provocation at all to settle some score or other.
“When did you leave?”
Silvio twisted his neck and looked back at his shoulder blade, moving very carefully. No wonder he hadn’t changed or washed. Thinking of touching that would hurt like the devil.
“I’ll get you some painkillers.” He dropped the clothes on the couch and headed back into the kitchen to gather his thoughts. No women, no children. What men did to each other was one thing, but Silvio was years away from becoming a man. He wasn’t a threat, not really. Whatever Paolo had thought, whatever had driven him into one of his famous cold rages.
Fucking breeders can’t even be trusted with their kids. He found painkillers, and more water. Silvio looked dehydrated, and that couldn’t be good. “Have you eaten anything?”
No response, so Battista gathered a basket of fruit up before he returned to the living room. Silvio sat there, hunched over, and he looked just as bad from the front. A dark shadow across his throat might have been where Paolo had gripped him and pushed him up against something like a wall, or a door.
Battista put the fruit down and settled on a chair near Silvio. No thought of sleeping now. “Silvio. This is important. When did you leave?”
“Two days ago.”
He’d made good progress, likely got a lift. Battista just hoped he hadn’t encountered worse on the way. He didn’t trust people enough to assume they’d taken Silvio along out of kindness. It didn’t bear thinking about. “Why did you come to me?”
“I know you’re one of them.”
“Men people are afraid of.”
This was getting worse and worse. Battista moved closer and was surprised that Silvio didn’t shy back. “Afraid, of me? Are you sure about that?”
Silvio just looked at him with Paolo’s eyes like he was trying to fool him.
“You’re too smart for your own good,” Battista muttered and pressed two pills out of the foil. He took Silvio’s hand and put them inside, then gave him a glass of water. “You’re skin and bones, two of those are plenty for you.”
Silvio swallowed the pills without breaking his gaze. It was that unwavering, unblinking animal gaze he knew too well. “You think he’s coming?”
“He might.” And if Paolo got here, things would get extremely ugly from the word go.
“I’m not going back.”
Battista poured him more water and urged him to drink more. “We’ll see about this tomorrow. Or at the very least, after your shower.”
Silvio regarded him warily, as if he was expecting that Battista would pull the phone out and call Paolo the moment Silvio was deafened by the shower.
Battista shook his head. “I won’t contact your father. Or your mother.”
Silvio stood, unsteadily, hunched. “Promise?”
“On my honour.” Battista nodded towards the bathroom, and Silvio followed his gaze, then picked up the clothes, turned, and hobbled away to get washed.
Giveaway: Leave comments to be entered for the random drawing at the end of the tour for two Dark Soul swag packs, with some signed cover flats.
Hmm... signed cover flats... *ponders*...Can I enter my own blog's giveaway? ;)