Master of None (Gavyn Donatti Series #1)

Master of None (Gavyn Donatti Series #1)

by Sonya Bateman

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Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.

Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of “Ian”—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.

At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439160848
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 03/30/2010
Series: Gavyn Donatti Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,200,257
Product dimensions: 6.86(w) x 4.28(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

Sonya Bateman lives in upstate New York with her husband, son, four cats, and a gerbil with half a tail. She enjoys reading and swimming, and wishes there were some feasible way to combine the two.

Read an Excerpt

Master of None

By Sonya Bateman


Copyright © 2010 Sonya Bateman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781439160848


Just once, I would have liked to get my shit together. Even accidentally. But I could already see that wasn?t going to happen tonight. After all, I am the world?s unluckiest thief. Ask anybody.

Especially my ex-partners.

The long-abandoned warehouse I?d stumbled across had seemed like a blessing, and the worn canvas bag wedged under my spare tire had been downright serendipitous. That was until I started stuffing my worldly possessions into it and the damned thing split down the seams. Out came everything, all over the concrete floor that was covered with dust and oil and Christ knew what else. The gunk would wreak havoc with my instruments.

As if that weren?t enough, one of the banded stacks of bills popped loose. The draft in the place snatched a handful of hundreds and whisked them off into the gloom in a flurry of papery whispers. Like the building was laughing at me.

?Crud!? My voice echoed in the empty space. I froze, dropped to a crouch behind my car, and listened. Nothing yet. I?d ditched the tail half an hour ago, but they?d find me again soon. I figured Trevor must have had my ride bugged while he briefed me?which meant they?d been tracking me for a week. They knew I?d hit the place four days ago and hadn?t shown up with the score yet. I might have found the bug if I hadn?t misplaced my scanner on my last run.

Since I hadn?t, my only chance now was to keep going on foot. I couldn?t talk my way out of this one.

I kept my mouth shut and started stowing fistfuls of bills in pockets. The lost cash would have to stay lost. Next came the essentials: cell phone, Mag-Lite, lock jock, cutter, scrambler, electric pick, Bowie, SAK, wire, Magnum?unloaded, of course. I was a thief, not a murderer. Couldn?t say the same for Trevor. He was a vicious bastard, for a fence. Hell, I?d met dealers who were calmer than Trevor. I did jobs for him because he paid well, but I suspected I?d be looking for a new contact to sell my scores to soon. One with a little less psycho in his veins.

I?d have to scratch the clothes, too. Not that they were much to look at. Bland, serviceable, meant for blending in. I?d buy more. Though I didn?t need it for warmth, I shrugged into my windbreaker for the extra pockets and headed for the only point of entry and exit I?d seen in the rundown structure. It bothered me, being in a place with just one escape route. Made it hard to formulate a backup plan other than get busted or die?.?.?. two alternatives I?d managed to avoid so far. I hoped this time wouldn?t break my record, but I had my doubts.

Outside, a starless night in Middle of Nowhere, New York, waited for me. I tried to remember how far I?d driven from the last insignificant excuse for a town to get here. In my professional estimation, it was pretty damned far. The idea of calling someone for a pickup crossed my mind. I laughed at it and sent it on its way.

I didn?t just burn bridges. I incinerated them. Everyone I knew had a legitimate reason to hate me?and none of them was my fault. Okay, maybe that thing back in Albany a few years ago was my fault, but everything else came down to sheer bad luck.

In the distance, a long and low howl rode the breeze, frustrated and almost human. I?d heard enough dogs to know the sound didn?t come from a domesticated breed. A coyote, maybe even a wolf. Terrific. For the thousandth time, I reminded myself that I never should have taken this gig. At least, not alone. But with my reputation, only the greenest punks would agree to partner with me, which guaranteed I?d spend more time babysitting than working. I?d been in this game too long to bother breaking in newbies.

There was another reason I should?ve told Trevor to shove this job. It wasn?t his style. I?d gotten a weird vibe when he laid it out. The flashy son of a bitch always wanted high-end vehicles or fine art or precious metals and jewels. But this score was ordinary. Small-time. Wouldn?t fetch fifty bucks on eBay. He?d said it was for his private collection, but even then, the little voice I never listened to insisted there was something fucked-up about the whole thing.

I considered telling Trevor the truth, but hell, I didn?t even believe it. Who?d believe a professional thief lost the item he?d been hired to steal? No way that unforgiving bastard would buy it. I?d seen Trevor shoot his own thugs for picking up the wrong kind of wine. Granted, it had been five hundred cases of wrong, but that was beside the point.

There was still a good ten feet between me and freedom when the drone and swell of an approaching engine sounded outside. Headlights swept the curve leading to the building and swung around to frame the doorway, pinning me in the glare. Hello, sitting duck.

The engine gunned. Tires screamed as the car shot forward. I darted back into the darkness of the warehouse and took a hard left. The car screeched to a halt somewhere behind me. I turned toward the front wall, held out a hand, and walked briskly until I encountered something solid. I flattened my back against the surface, and waited.

I had a knack for concealment, a trait that served me well on the job. A few ex-partners had sworn I could make myself invisible, especially when they?d gotten caught and I hadn?t.

Car doors opened and closed. I counted four slams. Trevor had sent a lot more muscle than necessary. I almost felt honored, before I realized the son of a bitch probably wanted me taken alive. Should have seen that one coming.

Flashlight beams swept the main aisle. A rumbling bear of a voice delivered an order. ?There. Search his car.? I recognized it instantly. Skids Davis, Trevor?s left-hand man. Left, not right, because Trevor only called on Skids when he needed something dirty cleaned up.

So I was dirty now. Fine. I?d been worse.

I held my breath and inched along the wall. The entrance stood five or six feet to my right, within my grasp. With a bit of luck, I could slip out before the creeping thugs reached my car.

A low shape broke away from one of the goons and headed straight for me with disconcerting clicks. Great. They?d brought one of the dogs. Though I couldn?t make out features in the gloom, its build suggested Rottweiler, and its strut suggested that human flesh was its favorite meal.

I?d never been bitten by a dog during a gig, but they always managed to find me fast. This one was no exception. He padded to within two feet of me and sat down as if I?d promised him a snack. His mouth drew back in what looked like a smile. My, vicious animal, what big teeth you have. Please don?t bark.

The dog licked his its a few times. And barked.

It was more of a sneeze, actually, but it sounded louder than a marching band in a tin can. Had the thugs heard that? Not daring to move, I scanned the building, convinced they could hear my eyeballs rotating in my skull. The idling sedan?s headlights revealed just enough detail to count heads. One, two, three...

Something hard and cold pressed against my temple. I sighed. Four.

Thanks a lot, dog.

?Hey, Skids. How?s it hangin???

A hand made of gristle and steel clamped on my upper arm. I caught a whiff of sour perspiration and cigarette breath when he said, ?Going somewhere, Donatti??

?Yeah. With you.?

?You?re a smart monkey.? Skids jerked me toward the entrance and thrust me into the glare of the headlights. The semiautomatic trained on my head looked like a cap gun in Skids?s meaty paw. ?Unload.?

?Come on, man. I need this shit. Gotta earn a living??

The gun drifted lower. ?Unload, or I ventilate your thigh.?

?Fine.? I emptied my pockets, dropping items one by one onto the ground with deliberate slowness. As if buying time would improve the situation. Even with an hour to spare, I couldn?t come up with a way out of this. The other three wandered back toward the car and collected the dog, grinning the universal gotcha smiles of thugs everywhere. ?I?m gonna get my junk back, right??

?Doubt it. You won?t be needing any of this. Unless you?ve got Trevor?s item jammed up your ass.? If Skids was amused, his cold features didn?t betray the emotion. ?Care to explain what in the hell you were thinking, Donatti? We know you had it. Who?d you fence it to??

I added the last of the cash to the pile at my feet and glowered at Skids. ?I?m not explaining jack to you. Trevor wants to know, I?ll tell him.?

?You?ll have an easier time if you tell me. Trevor wants to hurt you. Extensively. I?ll just shoot you now and get it over with.?

?I?ll take my chances, thanks.?

?Suit yourself.? Skids gestured with the semi. His free hand produced a key fob with a fat plastic tag. He aimed at the car, pushed a button, and the trunk popped open. ?First class is full. You get to ride coach.?

?Lucky me.? I moved as slowly as I dared, figuring I had two options: climb into the trunk or run. If I picked the trunk, I?d have to tell Trevor I lost the score. Not that I knew why the bastard wanted the thing in the first place. Taking the trunk meant being taken to Trevor, where I?d be tortured to death.

And if I ran, I?d be shot. Great options.

I concentrated on the exit. To the right of the crumbling drive leading into the place, a few lone trees provided scant cover opportunities. I could run hard to the left, hope the hint of forest in that direction thickened fast. I?d probably take a bullet before I got out of range?if I got out of range?but Skids wouldn?t shoot to kill. At least, not the first time.

Left it was, then. I tensed, slowed to a crawl. And stopped when a long, low shape streaked across the entrance from right to left, impossibly fast, and disappeared. Was it the wolf I?d heard out here earlier? I blinked and glanced at Skids, wondering if he?d seen it?or if I was just losing the few remaining ounces of sanity I possessed.

Skids displayed no reaction. His expression remained immutable. ?Get in there.?

I shook my head. Must have been a panic-induced hallucination. I stood in front of the open trunk, poised to climb inside. Drew a breath. And ran.

Gunfire snapped immediately. I lurched aside, hoping for a graze instead of penetration. I heard a faint, wet pop as a bullet met flesh, but I felt no pain, no weakness. I kept moving. Where had he hit me?

An unfamiliar voice rang out. ?That hurt.?

I misplaced a foot, stumbled, and went down with a grunt. Rolling onto my back, I located the source of the voice and froze. A tall stranger in a long, weather-beaten duster stood between me and Skids. The bullet had torn through the stranger?s calf. Blood pooled on the cracked asphalt beneath him, thick and black in the red wash of the car?s taillights, but the stranger showed no signed of distress. He seemed?.?.?. insulted.

Skids didn?t waste words. He shot the stranger in the chest.

The stranger glanced down at the massive wound. Blood practically poured from a two-inch hole in his ribs, and the torn flesh revealed a glimpse of bone. He glared at Skids. ?I said that hurt, blast you. Do not do it again.?

The fear skittering like June bugs through my stomach reflected in Skids?s eyes. The gun shook in the thug?s hand. He fired again. And again. The second time, the gun exploded?and took Skids?s hand with it.

Skids howled. He didn?t sound at all like a wolf.

The stranger pointed at me. ?I need him.? The disgust edging his tone indicated that whatever this guy wanted, it wouldn?t be in my best interests. ?Tell your master that Gavyn Donatti is mine. He is not to harm him.?

Outright terror struck when my name left the stranger?s lips. ?How the fuck??

?Be silent, thief.? The stranger whirled to face me, eyes flashing pure hatred. ?Unbelievably stupid?.?.?. if I had no need of you, I would kill you myself.?

Car doors slammed in rapid sequence. I stared past my bulletproof savior and saw the last thug dive into the backseat. The engine revved. The vehicle lurched back, executed a rapid single-point turn, and peeled away. I watched them go, too shocked to react.

I should have taken the trunk.

? 2010 Sonya Bateman


Excerpted from Master of None by Sonya Bateman Copyright © 2010 by Sonya Bateman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Master of None 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
hlslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was really very good. Take a chance on this debut novel. It's well worth it. It's urban fantasy and it's good.
Janientrelac on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
interesting ideas, people but disappointly badly written. i wanted to enjoy it more than I did, but i will try this author again, it's a first book
Readingfanatic1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was soooo much better than I expected. I really enjoyed it. Review coming soon.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
He's not a bad thief, but his luck pretty much sucks - although it's harder on his partners. Gavyn Donatti is scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. He's on the run - literally - after misplacing the item he just stole for a man who's not apt to be at all understanding. Cornered, he finds himself saved by a very unlikely ally, a genie named Ian. But don't be thinking "I Dream of Jeanie" here - Ian's a whole 'nother breed of cat. Gavyn's about to find out that bad luck was by far not the worst thing that could happen to him.Interesting premise, not bad follow-through.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Master of None is the first book in a new series. It is told from the perspective of Gavyn Donatti. Reading more books with a male main character is a personal goal of mine. It¿s a nice way to mix it up a bit, and prevent the dreaded reading slump. Gavyn is one of my new favorite characters. Yes, I was charmed by the quick-witted thief. He is just so much fun. Add one grumpy djinn named Ian to the equation, and you¿re in for a treat. This book is the perfect blend of suspense, action, and comedy. It even has a tiny bit of romance. Not an easy combination to pull off, but the author nailed it. In a genre dominated by werewolves, vampires, and faeries a book about the djinn really stands out. If you¿re a fan of Urban Fantasy I¿d recommend giving this book a try. I think you¿ll be glad you did.Sonya Bateman did an excellent job of creating a fresh addition to the Urban Fantasy genre. With the combination of deft dialogue, on the edge of your seat action, and charismatic characters you have a definite book win.
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
O...M...G!!! How hellah excellent was this book?! It has been a really long time since I've enjoyed a book this much. It had the action and excellent characters to move the spectacular story along that I require from any story, but especially the urban fantasy books that I love to read. This book is such a treasure and I am so glad I found it on Dark Faerie Tales blog for the Debut Urban Fantasy Challenge. The premise sounded fun and completely readable. Little did I know....I developed a crush on Gavyn Donatti after just a few pages into the story. I felt so bad for him, his luck so truly awful, just wanted to give him a hug. As the story went along, I fell more for him. He's a thief, but it's just a job. He doesn't hurt anyone, let alone kill. He just tries to take what he's been hired to do. His luck really runs out when the thugs of Trevor, his newest boss, come after the item he's supposed to bring in, but lost somehow. And he's saved by a wolf. He finds out that the wolf is a shapeshifter djinn (don't make the mistake of calling him a genie), named Gahiji-an or Ian for short. They get along like oil and water, but have to work together for the end game. Donatti is tough and funny, that was what I fell for. He thinks quickly on his feet and takes each new turn in his life with a humor and strength that wins the reader over. READ THIS BOOK!!! Five I'm not a genie and you don't get three wishes diamonds.....
thewalkinggirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world-building is complete, the characters are lively and the pace is fast. Personally, I have low tolerance for go-go-go pacing and Chaotic Good heroes vs crazy super-powered villain types of stories. Add to that torture scenes and it's pretty clear to me that this series is not going to be my cup if tea, but it's well done for what it is.
DorianaGraye More than 1 year ago
I just...I couldn't finish this book. I think that Bateman has a strong concept here, but her writing is elementary at best. The book is dialogue-heavy, which wouldn't normally be a problem except that it comes off as stilted and contrived. In an attempt to make an action-packed novel, Bateman sacrifices detail for pacing; by page 100, you're still not quite sure what makes the characters tick. The characters are two-dimensional and generally unlikeable. If you're interested in reading some urban fantasy about the Djinn, you should check out Rachel Caine instead.
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kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this exciting urban fantasy; the story moved rather swiftly and seemed to not have a moment to spare. I loved that this story focused on the undervalued Djinn whose story is seldom told. Although I was completely entertained, never bored and most of the times I didn't want to put this book down; I would've preferred the male lead get things done without behaving either overly reckless or too-stupid-to-live. Gavyn's hero complex would be equal to or on par with the heroine Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's Hallows series, and it was beyond frustrating. I can't explain why I love the Hallows series so much despite, the obvious kinks it has; but suffice it to say I have already grown fond of this budding series. Besides Gavyn's too-stupid-to-live issues, this book was exciting and fascinating. This author has now been added to my favorite authors list. I highly recommend this urban fantasy to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and I look forward to the sequel Djinn's Apprentice due out around 1/2011.
harstan More than 1 year ago
His partners if they had survived would testify he was the worst thief in the universe. However, even for Gavyn Donatti, his latest failure is a stunner as he lost the score he stole for his employer. Gavyn knows he must skip town, but his irate fence Trevor does not accept failure so he sends Skids Davis to beat the snot out of Gavyn and perhaps more; as a warning to other employees. However, someone intervenes; Skid shoots the male who tells him that hurt and warns the thug to tell his boss to back off or else. The djinn makes it clear he needs the moronic Gavyn, but will not put up with any shenanigans. Not interested in Gavyn's mouth, the djinn tells him he was sent here to help him fulfill his destiny. Neither the djinn, Gavyn, his girlfriend Jazz nor her son know what a small time robber's destiny could be beyond surviving and selling the latest heist. This enjoyable urban fantasy is filled with intelligent jocular dialogue as Donatti the thief struggles with achieving his life's purpose once he learns his life's purpose. He is terrific as the focus of the fun plot while his support team augments his efforts to determine his quest by not allowing him to just going back to being the worst thief in the world. Tongue in cheek but loaded with action, fans will enjoy Master of None starring a likable antihero. Harriet Klausner