- Riptide Publishing
- Release Date
- September 2012
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ
Not all that glitters is gold.
Nikolai Krasnorada leads the life of a corporate nomad. Working for a gold explorations company, he's never put down roots, and he likes it that way. Roots can be dangerous, as everyone from his "man-hating" sister to his manipulative mother to his war-traumatized father has proven.
But when his CEO sends him to Toronto to strike a deal with LeBeau Mining, Nikolai meets Henri LeBeau, crown prince to the resources conglomerate and inveterate flirt. Sparks fly immediately, despite the business deal that threatens to go sour and Nikolai's own reluctance to give Henri false hope about him being Mr. Right. He's barely come to terms with his bisexuality, and getting involved with Henri would get messy.
When LeBeau Mining launches a hostile takeover bid, Nikolai and Henri find themselves on opposite sides of the negotiating table. But fortunately—or perhaps unfortunately—for Nikolai, Henri's not nearly as interested in his company as he is in his heart
Nov 26, 2012 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
186 people found the following review helpful
Steamy, honest and endearing, this spin-off of Alexandr Voinov's story Special Forces was a joy to read. Devastating family secrets and underhanded corporate machinations provide the backdrop for a love story as surprising as it is sexy. Though this was my first experience reading Alexandr Voinov, I know it won't be my last.
Nikolai Krasnorada has never had a place to call home. Working on an oilrig, and now for a gold exploration company, he travels far too often to make many permanent relationships. His family is scattered, competitive, and seldom a source of comfort, with the exception of his father, a former Soviet special-ops soldier who has recently come out of the closet and married and is eager to re-enter Nikolai's life.
Potential for major growth in his fledgling company sends Nikolai to Toronto to discuss a deal with LeBeau Mining. There, Nikolai meets Henri LeBeau, crown prince of the enormous family wealth and corporation—suave, urbane and comfortable in his skin—where Nikolai is dying for his jeans, t-shirts, and an end to all the corporate back-stabbing and underhand deals around him. But outside of the office, the connection between Henri and Nikolai forms easily and grows quickly, and it isn't long before they've begun a secret affair.
Nikolai is convinced that he can never be the right man for Henri—he's barely come to terms with his bisexuality, and his job never permits him to stay in one place for very long—which means his relationships are always brief. Henri's honesty and trust are as addictive to Nikolai as their incendiary physical relationship, but when the CEO of LeBeau Mining sets his sights on a hostile takeover of Nikolai's company, the two men suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a boardroom war. Unable to turn his back on his company and his friends, Nikolai tries to accept his relationship with Henri is doomed—until Henri sets out to prove it's not Nikolai's company he wants, but his love.
I was hooked by this story within a few pages, not just because of the engaging narration, but because I loved seeing the world of the story through Nikolai's eyes. His heart is enormous, but his perception of the world is very straightforward. As a result, when Henri does force him to abandon his control and to feel without thinking, it is heady stuff indeed to experience as a reader. Henri's honesty did shock at times, but it brought Nikolai out of his shell, and his self-confidence and understanding nature added to the intensity of their relationship, since it left little room for them to hide from each other.
Perhaps because of Nikolai's less-than-traditional family, his level of anxiety over his desire for Henri and their developing affair was surprisingly low. Thankfully, this left a lot of room for developing their relationship and navigating the fears and pitfalls that came up over the course of the business negotiations. Henri's self-confidence and understanding nature was also enormously endearing and also added to the intensity of their relationship.
Especially when played out against the cutthroat world of mining and business, there is something wonderfully innocent and open about Nikolai and Henri's relationship. Their ability to be honest about each other and with each other was a breath of fresh air. I was thrilled when that honesty extended to Nikolai and his father, as it added a lovely emotional counterpart to the story.
I would have liked to know more about the secondary characters in this story, especially Nikolai's close friends and colleagues. Without a proper introduction at the beginning of the book, it was a bit difficult to understand who all the players were and how they fit into the story. However, as the plot unfolded, the focus narrowed in on Nikolai and those who are most influential in his journey, and those characters are fascinatingly complex and detailed. I think a few extra pages might have been more helpful in fleshing out the details of Nikolai's family and background, as what information that was given was enough to make me feel deeply for Nikolai and eager to follow his story. Nevertheless, Alexandr Voinov has created a heartfelt, emotional story that was compulsively readable. I enjoyed nearly every page and can't wait to get my hands on more of his works soon!
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