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— Love is sour like a Sicilian lemon. —
The Family is always right.
The Family doesn’t forget.
The Family pays for blood in blood.
Domenico Acerbi grew up in the shade of Sicilian lemon trees ready to give his life for the Family. Ready to follow orders and exceed expectations. A proud man of honor.
When Seth, the younger son of the Don is kidnapped, it’s Domenico who is sent to get him back. The man he finds though, is not the boy he knew all those years ago. Lazy, annoying, spoiled, and as hot as a Sicilian summer.
Seth Villani wants nothing to do with the mafia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a say when the Family pulls him right back into its fold after his mother’s death. Thrown into a den of serpents otherwise known as the Villani Family, Seth has to find a way to navigate in the maze of lies. But when Domenico Acerbi, the most vicious snake of them all, sinks his fangs into Seth, the venom changes into an aphrodisiac that courses through Seth’s veins.
Domenico knows his life is about to change when he gets the order to train Seth up to the role of future Don. Seth isn’t made for it. He isn’t even made. But a man Domenico knows he would never have to fear might just be someone he’s always needed.
If Seth is doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, he might as well enjoy himself—with the most intoxicating man he’s ever met. Maybe he can even fool himself into believing that Domenico isn’t a handsome sociopath who kills for a living.
I’m still interested in organized crime syndicates, but ever since M/M romances came along my fascination with the underworld is no longer purely, eh.. pure. Violently intimidating, disguised as businessmen thugs who live by their code of honor.. Ough, if that doesn’t make my mind wander in directions that in theory could cost me a couple of fingers…
It’s great to know that I’m not alone!
For what we have here is a brand new mafia serial that follows a similar concept as Aleksandr Voinov’s mafia series Dark Soul, by publishing one novella-sized chapter at a time. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Not everyone’s pleased with this particular marketing strategy; collecting a series this way will cost you an arm and a leg. Season 1 of Guns n’ Boys consists of 8 episodes, each $ 2,99. However, joining the mailing list of the authors will allow you to get them for $ 0,99 each AND season 1 will be 200.000 words total.
So, are the mafiosi in Guns n’ Boys worth it? Hmm..yes and no. Personally, I had to adjust my expectations when reading this first episode. The thing is, when I read a story about the Cosa Nostra, I want to feel the stifling family ties. I want to be a part of the ruthless plotting during a meal of Pasta con le sarde. I want to be immersed in their way of life. Even though some of the mystique vaporizes when you realize that the younger generations of the Family are not above flaunting their wealth, beauty and selfies on Facebook and Instagram (hereby breaking the ‘code of silence’ and popping up on the radar of the public and the police). Oh irony! Will social media be the downfall of the centuries old mafia? Anyway, I digress! But if you’re interested, see here and here for quick quotes offering an amusing insight into today’s Sicilian mafia (one of the key players is a Domenico as well, ha!).
Back to Guns n’ Boys: once I resigned myself to the fact that is not about careful plotting and a subtle build up of tension between the MCs, I enjoyed this for the entertaining and fast read that it was. That doesn’t change the fact that this episode feels rushed. In 70 pages, MC Seth — who thinks he’s managed to escaped the clutches of his Sicilian family and lives a comfy life in New York — gets abducted by a rivalling crime syndicate and then swapped for a suitcase of money to be escorted back home by the Family’s ruthless killer Domenico. Following, the authors hurriedly take you on a tour through ‘blunt’ revelations and developments that I won’t get into due to spoilers, but that require you to suspend your disbelief.
To be honest, the story was too obvious for me. Something that became especially aggravating where the instant lust between the MCs was concerned. From the moment Seth first laid eyes upon Domenico, there weren’t enough predators in the animal kingdom to describe the man’s handsomeness. Seth thought of him as ‘a handsome sleek panther’, a ‘wild beast’ that makes him ‘stop breathing. It was like being watched by a puma’. One with ‘a plate of incredible abs and thighs of a cheetah, with a side order of a gorgeous set of balls’. You get the idea?
When the POV switched to Domenico I hoped for less exaggerated admiration and more depth. After all, here came the brooding, sociopath killer from the blurb, right? Well, I can’t comment on Domenico’s mindfuck material factor, since he, too, was all about thinking with his dick and comparing Seth to a… bull with a juicy body: “big, tall, and meaty, with broad shoulders and thighs that invited for a bite.” Despite the sex being hot (until the condom bullshit: either you use one or you don’t. Just don’t spoil a perfectly fine sex scene by starting to cry ‘Uncle’ afterwards), I was stunned that the authors gave it all away so easily in a first episode!
For me, this first episode ultimately lacked the elements that the cover has in abundance: darkness, mystery, intrigue and a sense of danger.