I must be bi-text-ual. How else can I explain why one half of me loves the sort of fairy tale romances that are written with the express purpose of making my wee little heart go pitter-patter, while the other half of me loves combat-sex; the kind of erotic fight for the supremacy of flesh and feelings that Aleksandr Voinov delivers, where men circle and challenge and verbally spar, and then go ahead and get their sweat on? I can’t, so I just had to make up a word. It works.
Nikolai Krasnorada and Henri LeBeau’s sortie begins not on the battlefield but in the boardroom, and eventually ends in the bedroom, where, of course, they flesh out (if you’ll pardon the pun) the lines of demarcation between what is business and what is pleasure and what is the business of pleasure and what that pleasurable business means to Nikolai, who, up to that point, had never found a man interesting enough to make him forget he’s not gay. It’s a tangled web of emotions—the kind you feel in your heart and mind—and feelings—the kind you sense on your skin, the sounds and smells and tastes that burrow their way not only under your flesh but into your psyche, as well; the sorts of things that make you begin to believe your every thought has been hijacked by lust, warring between instinct and intellect.
Set against the backdrop of what was supposed to be an investment meeting between LeBeau Mining and Cybele Exploration, a meeting that soon turns into a bid for hostile takeover, Nikolai and Henri’s simple sexual encounter becomes a confusion of mistrust and loyalty and betrayal and anger; it becomes a matter of sleeping with the enemy, and Nikolai must retreat while at the same time strategizing an action plan that doesn’t include his heart becoming involved. He won’t go gentle into that good night. He will stand and fight—until it becomes clear Nikolai’s friend and mentor and Cybele CEO Ruslan Polunin has other plans.
The surest way to defeat a man in a battle of his own making is to refuse to enter the fray. It’s the kind of tactical maneuver that has a way of deflating an over-inflated sense of self-importance, calling the bluff of a man who has threatened you, then walking away with all your weapons intact, as well as acquiring a new one in the bargain; ready, willing, and able to relocate and allocate in new territory because it’s the parting shot that hits the mark and leaves behind the most damage.
Gold Digger is the story of a man who mines for gold but ends up discovering a far more valuable commodity when he explores his feeling and finds that someone and someplace to call home might be the greatest treasure of all. It’s the story of a man who learns that blood and biology aren’t necessarily what defines a father and son. It is the story of a man who eschews labels and simply goes about the business of claiming the one person who could very well make him happy for the rest of his life.
Nikolai and Henri are shrewd men and clever heroes who know how to push each other’s buttons, and who know that victory isn’t always measured in wins and losses, but in mutual triumphs.
This is pretty much Aleksandr Voinov the way I’ve come to expect him to be—at his provocative best.