Escaping a traumatic childhood, Sasha finds peace, sanctuary, and purpose in a martial arts dojo whose sensei teaches her the ways of the samurai warrior. An accomplished black-belt fighter, she now happily dwells in the dojo, tucked away from the streets of Manhattan, until a midnight call sets her on a path into an underground world.

Struggling to pay off a gambling debt, her brother Danilo is severely injured in a no-rules club fight run by unscrupulous Russian Mafiosi. To settle the debt, Sasha volunteers to perform in one of these “dark fights,” vowing it’s for one time only. But her beauty, skill, and martial arts mastery bring her to the attention of powerful men who see her as a big meal ticket. Seducing her with money and drugs they draw her into their sordid scheme until she becomes a big and glamorous draw, enriching herself while enriching her handlers and leaving behind a pulverized host of vanquished rivals. But she realizes how addictive the lure of brutality has become. As the stakes rise, she must become more and more violent to satisfy her handlers’ bloodlust.

Can she pull out before destroying someone? Can she pull out before destroying herself? Two fascinating men offer love and escape. But how true are their intentions? Genuine feelings and betrayal, violence and glamour, sex and martial arts all go hand in hand throughout the book. The Dark Fights introduces you to an unknown and frightening world and pins you to the mat until the very last page.

Alexandra Vinarov

Alexandra Vinarov

Alexandra Vinarov was born in Moscow but has lived in Manhattan long enough to boast all the rites of passage that make one a New Yorker. She started training and competing in judo as a young girl, experiencing firsthand the harsh Russian coaching methods that can be summed up as, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” She also trained in Japanese jujutsu and aikido and holds a second-degree black belt in the latter. She continues practicing martial arts every day. She holds a PhD in literature, and her three favorite things are martial arts, books, and movies. When asked if she’s ever participated in a dark fight, she smiles enigmatically.