Risky Maneuvers

Mikhail Volkov has spent the past decade working as a mercenary.  A field which has let him play by his own rules and terms, as well as letting him set his own price. He faces the fact that he is lonely when a CIA contact provides an irresistible carrot so that he would perform a search-and-rescure operation.

Devon "D" Dearborn is the carrot. He had planned to follow his father's footsteps into the Army's Delta Force, but became a top-level tank commander instead. While serving in that position, D served as a go-between between his brother (who works for the CIA) and Mikhail. He resigned his commission in favor of driving an 18-wheeler when doubts set in about his career (as well as his own preferences for the bedroom).

Now, six years later, D and Mikhail meet and go on the mission - even though D wants nothing to do with it. What will happen to them? Will they both come out on the other end?

I had really wanted to like this novella. After all, it combined some of my favorite elements in a read: the paranormal, the military, and a bit of cloak-and-dagger.  Reading Risky Maneuvers, however, left me wanting more of a story.  Part of the problem - for me - is that it had, at once, too much of a setup and not enough "background".  Most of the setup was geared toward Mikhail being put in the position of meeting D, then the two finding out what their mission is going to be.  What was missing - for me - in the background was exactly why they had not reconnected later.

Also, the timing seemed too compressed and left too many - again, for me, unanswered questions.  The section of the novella that dealt with the mission left me, at the end of it, thinking "Is that all there is to it?"

I wound up having a slight nitpicking moment with the story as well.  When Mikhail was provided with identification for the operation (and why weren't they questioned more closely when first arriving at their destination? Where they expected?), the last name of Wojak was translated from the Polish as "soldier" - here, I think, the word "warrior" would have suited better.

All in all, while Risky Maneuvers has a lot of potential to be a great story, it left me hanging.

Book Blurb for Risky Maneuvers

A mercenary for the past decade, Mikhail Volkov is a man without a country and that suits him just fine. Playing by his own rules, on his own terms, for the price he sets, is the way he likes it best. But when a CIA contact dangles a carrot he can't resist to entice him into a clandestine search-and-rescue, Mikhail is brought face–to-face with the biggest foe he has yet to vanquish: his own loneliness.

Growing up, Devon ‘D’ Dearborn planned to follow in his father's footsteps as part of the Army's Delta Force. Once commissioned, D's own ambitions took root and he became a top-level tank commander, occasionally serving as a go-between for his CIA-employed brother and a sexy Russian mercenary. When his doubts about his chosen career and his own sexual desires impacted the perfection he demanded of himself, D resigned his commission and exchanged his Abrams tank for an 18-wheeler.

After six years, the last face D expects to see when he pulls his rig into a truck stop is that of Mikhail Volkov. D wants nothing to do with his brother's cloak-and-dagger job, but the temptation of working alongside the Russian is too hard to resist. And so is the sexy Russian.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2010 2.50