4.5 starsNot my usual genre... I wouldn't have read this at all, but for a friend's recommendation. It was brutal, violent, rough, and more. It's the unusual story of Dan and Vadim - two enemy soldiers who are both part of their forces' special forces. They meet when Vadim and a buddy take Dan prisoner and brutally beat and rape him. Dan swears revenge against Vadim, and he gets it. But somehow, a relationship has been forged between the two men that neither can ignore.Vadim has been living a lie. He knows that he prefers men, but in Russian, that's not allowed. So he's taken a wife who doesn't mind sharing his men, and he has children: a daughter (his) and a son (another man's).Dan is a Scottish Highlander who's been proudly heterosexual, even beating up gays. But after his encounters with Vadim, Dan begins to realize that perhaps he's not as straight as he thinks.This story spans 25 years in their lives, and it's a rough ride. There are a lot of ups and downs, personal victories and set back, physical injuries, death and near-death... And a lot of sex - some hot, some violent, some strange (at least to me). The story is addicting, as are Dan and Vadim. I became a part of their lives, and I ached to find out the next "thing". I wasn't always pleased with Dan, especially when he made the choice to no longer be monogamous... I felt it hurt Vadim and made Dan out to be a "slut" - something undeserving of him. I understood his want to go that direction after he and Vadim looked like they were at an end, but after that, it all just seemed selfish to me. Dan wanted what Dan wanted, regardless. He used the age-old male excuse that "sex is sex" and "love is love", and that he only loved Vadim. But if Vadim had really asked Dan to become monogamous, I don't think he could have or would have. I also disliked Jean intensely - a man who tried to keep appearances, sneaky and sly... a man who wouldn't even tell his own wife (a man who became a woman for Jean) about what he was doing with Dan. Jean wanted nothing more than to come between Dan and Vadim, that was obvious from the first, when Jean sexually approached Dan after Vadim threatened and attacked him. Jean just wanted to yank Vadim's chain, and in the process, he discovered that he had a "thing" for Dan - a "thing" that turned into something serious, despite his marriage.Hooch... he was a different story to me. Somehow I could accept his relationship with Vadim, because Hooch wasn't out to separate Vadim and Dan. He wanted Vadim - needed him to give him what only Vadim could - but Hooch would have pulled back and stopped if Vadim or Dan would have asked him to.I loved the lady ambassador! She was truly a friend to Dan and Vadim, years and years later. What a wonderful woman!Addicting story, even though it's LONG!