BP Note: Trigger warnings: Recounts and depictions of violence, torture, and sexual abuse primarily directed at men/boys.
Reviewed by: E
They call me Dash.
Sixteen years ago my brother and I were kidnapped. The Scorpeones believed our father, boss of the Vitaliev Bratva, could be pressured into relinquishing his hold on Chicago’s underworld.
They were dead wrong.
Ultimately the Scorpeones made the youngest of their family pay for their sins. I tried not to care. Marco Polo Scorpeone, the hostage whose life was forfeit if his family moved on the Vitalievs, was the enemy. Why should I care if he was tortured worse than a prisoner of war?
Except I did care.
For sixteen years I’ve cared, more than I can say.
They call me Scorpio.
There was no light in my world. Then I saw Dash smile.
No voice could pierce my darkness. Then I heard Dash speak.
I’ve killed to survive. Killed to please my handler. Hell, I’ve killed to please myself. Killing is what I do.
I know I’m not good enough for Dash, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s mine, from now until the end of time. But that time might be nearer than I think, because someone deadlier than me is closing in…
This blurb came from Goodreads.
I first discovered Gail through three of her short stories in a series of anthologies Cybershock and A Galactic Holiday both released in 2012 and then Gifts of Honor released in 2013. Some time passed and I was scrolling through my ereader when her name popped up. Remembering how much I liked what I owned I went looking for more and got hooked on her House of Payne series. While reading that series Gail introduced several characters I have found myself hoping she gives their own stories. One of the most memorable, Scorpio, came out of Rude so I was estatic to find out she was focusing on Scorpio this year.
I struggled trying to write this review because Year of the Scorpio Part One left me with so many feels. I had one impression of Scorpio from the part he played in Rude so to get his back-story and understand why he was so protective/secretive and alone made quite an impression. Watching his protectiveness from a closer perspective in a sense clarified why I found him intriguing yet at the same time I was reminded evil exists, people can react to the same events quite differently, and how a kind word/action can be the tipping point. In short I found this first installment very complex with a lot of layers.
At the surface Dash and Scorpio might appear to be complete opposites even if they both experienced the worst humanity could offer at an impressionable age. And yet underneath each was willing to do whatever necessary to protect those they cared about whether it involved violence or putting food on the table. Each also had their own blind spots, which brought their own sense of danger and vulnerability to the precarious situation.
I really loved the intensity and emotion between Dash and Scorpio even when the emotion swayed between anger, lust, hurt, and love. Dash tried so hard to play by the rules and to stay out of the Mafia world even as she couldn’t completely escape due to her love for her brother and the need for bodyguards. Scorpio on the other hand after spending a lifetime enmeshed in the Mafia underworld thought he had finally escaped only to find violence and vengeance drawing him back into its tangled web. On several occasions, I found myself reaching for tissues while other times I was fuming in outrage on behalf of some of the characters. I was really cheering for Dash and Scorpio to find happiness and peace and yet each time they seemed to approach an equilibrium an event occurred which jolted their present and made it that much harder for either to steer clear of their past.
Gail has created a complex precarious world full of potential crosses, double crosses, and shifting allegiances. If I have managed to follow the correct threads I think I know who is at the root of this particular mess but at this point I don’t have any idea as to how Dash and Scorpio will manage to escape. And let me just say I REALLY hope she doesn’t keep me waiting long for the next installment because the cliffhanger ending is quite a doozie especially given my suspicions.
I give Year of the Scorpio Part One a B.