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Publisher's Summary

I was raised to be a ruler of two worlds. 

One with a pen. 

One with a knife. 

Be the king of the concrete jungle at all costs. 

I should've simply taken a queen, not courted one. 

I should've forced her submission, not earned it. 

I should've let respect be enough, not fall in love. 

Someone has made a grave mistake in coming for my company. 

For my throne. 

For my Mia Bella. 

And for that, they will not only meet the man I was raised to become, but the one I am now, for the only woman I will ever bow to. 

Warning: This book is part one of a duet. It does end on a cliff-hanger.

©2020 Xavier Neal (P)2022 Pink Flamingo Productions

What listeners say about Dark Ruler

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

dark, intense

Benicio is dominant, strong demanding, not used to being challenged.
Chantal barges into his life. Revealing a secret that could get her killed.
She is independent, sassy woman. who knows what she wants out of life.
Benicio knows he needs to protect her because of what she found out.
This story is dark, intense, steamy and a cliffy that is making me wanting for more.
Joy Behare and Tom haire are excellent voice performers. They both are new narrators for me. I was really impressed with the accents and
pronunciation of the different languages used. Well done!
🎧🎧audiobookObsession🎧🎧

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Story

This is the first book in The Bennett Duet, a Mafia Romantic Suspense. Benicio (Beni) and Chantal's story is original, entertaining and steamy, filled with action, humor, and twists and turns. They are both interesting characters, headstrong, and confident. I liked their banter. Chantal is sassy, feisty, talkative, smart, and strong. Beni is alpha, powerful, dominant, controlling, and possessive. Their relationship is passionate. The plot is well crafted. As expected, the story ends with a cliffhanger. The Italian to English translations were overused. Less is more. Joy Beharie and Tom Haire are new narrators to me. They are perfect as Beni and Chantal, and they did an excellent job with the narration.

3 people found this helpful

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Dark Ruler

This is the first book in the Bennett Duet. I love Xavier Neal’s style of writing. I love the the FMC is never “perfect “. That she has her flaws but embraces them to make her a powerful, strong character. I love how Bennett is this strong powerful Mafia style boss. But with the touch of the right and only woman he can learn a softer way to love. I absolutely loved all the Italian throughout the book. It gives it so much more depth. I am dying for the next book with that ending. Joy Beharie and Tom Haire did such a phenomenal job narrating these amazing characters, especially the accents and languages.

3 people found this helpful

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Book 1 - duet / cliffhanger - swoony listen

Book 1 in Neal's The Bennett Duet and OMG!!! Let me first start by saying that I received and am reviewing the audio version of this book - I think had I read it with all the Italian I would have gotten frustrated but the dual narration was perfectly done and they did the foreign languages in a way that will have you feeling swoony. I loved that the author throughout the read did interpretations - regardless of if it was for the character that didn't know or us readers / listeners...thank you! All that being said...I adore our main characters - Chantal and Beni. Chantal is a woman who is independent and knows what she wants and won't take any sh*t from anyone. Beni is the good bad guy that every girl wants, the bad boy that's good as gold to her and Beni has fallen for Chantal in ways he knows he shouldn't but he's the boss - or is she?!? I love the banter with Beni's second and Chantal's father - these secondary characters make this storyline and characters all the more perfect. While this is a mafia romance read it doesn't always read as one but oh - so captivating and the cliffhanger ending had me gasping out loud and moaning in frustration. Great read (listen) and I can't wait for the second part to this duet!

I received this book for free at my request and I voluntarily provided this review.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Dark Mafia Romance

Dark Ruler by Xavier Neal is a dark mafia romance that I listened to on audio narrated by Joy Behare and Tom Haire. This is the first book in The Bennett Duet.

This is the third series of Xavier's that I have read and it won't be my last. The relationship between Benicio and Chantal is a bit messy as they figure out how their relationship will work. But you can't help but root for them. I really enjoyed getting both of their points of view throughout the book. It really brought the story to life.

The book ends on a great cliffhanger. I can't wait for the next book in the series Dark Reign to be released on audio so I can get the rest of their story.

Joy and Tom did a great job on the narration. I look forward to listening to more of their work in the future.

I would recommend this book if you like dark romances, mafia romances, or romantic suspense.


The Flock Team
Audiobook Obsession Reviewer

2 people found this helpful

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Great story!

While this is a little darker than what I prefer this author snuck in an amazing story that really kept me glued to my earbuds. This took me on a journey meeting characters that I grew to love, worry about and feel saddened for them. I really enjoyed learning about Benecio and his life as the Butcher Boy. He has many levels to his personality that come out as the story unfolds. I loved how tenacious he was going after “his girl”. His cousin brings the lighthearted to the story. He made me laugh numerous times with his wit and comments.

I did listen to this in audio. While I have not listened to either of the narrators before they both did an amazing job. Their Itialian sounded lovely.

There is a ton of itialian language in the story which I do not speak. It is translated but I wondered if it was just in english with some Itialian periodically it would have the same effect. I did love hearing it but just had to wait for the translation. This does end on a cliffhanger as the synopsis mentions so I am eagerly awaiting the second book in the duet.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good audiobook

I have recently found Xavier Neal and have enjoyed the audiobooks. This one was definitely longer, which I love. There's more to the story and getting to know the characters. It took me some time to warm up to the characters in this book, especially Benicio. Miko cracked me up. I liked Chantal's strength. This is dark and steamy. I'm invested. There is A LOT of Italian spoken. Thankfully we get the English translation each time. It ends with a cliffhanger that we were warned about. I look forward to the rest of the story and hope it releases soon!

Tom Haire and Joy Behaire are excellent narrators. They were easy to listen to for longer periods of time. Love their voices. Great performances.

#PinkFlamingoProductions
#AudiobookObsessionReviewer

2 people found this helpful

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Not your typical mafia romance

LOVED it. Well written with great character development. It was semi dark with a lot of bantering & humor thrown in. I wasnt ready for that cliffy, and cant wait for Book 2 to come out!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I was glad when it was over

It took me a couple of months to get through this audiobook. I stuck with it because the reviews were promising that it gets better with a twist and cliffhanger. The banter between these characters were entertaining at first, but became obnoxious and stale. I also felt that not much happened that would make me call this a "dark" romance.
I didn't mind the Italian/English translations at all. I thought it was the most appealing thing about this book and it provided a sense of one of the ways that Beni had incorporated himself into Chantal's life by having her getting used to his language. I thought it was beautiful.
With that said, I lost interest in anything else happening in this book and I cant bring myself to care about what happens in the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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Honestly wasn't going to purchase book 2.

Now I am on the edge of my seat!!! Going to get purchase book 2 now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vanessa Leighton
  • 03-30-22

Audiobook obsession reviewer flock Reviewer

I dont know where the time went listening to this book it was magical
The story had so much suspense, drama and a good dash of the darkness that you would expect from a Mafia book. It also had a beautiful sweetness between the main characters that would shine through that had me hooked.

The ending certainly has me excited for the next one in the series and anything else that Xavier Neal chooses to write. This was an amazing listen.

I also wanted to give a shout out to the narrators. I dont think more perfect narrators could have been chosen. There narration just added that next level to an already amazing book

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shy G.
  • 08-23-22

My Thoughts on Dark Ruler

There was so much to love about this story for me. The narration. The fact that it featured an interracial couple. That it’s a dark mafia romance which is one of my favorite tropes. That there were great secondary characters as well as main. And that’s just a few of the things I loved.

The narration was by two voices that aren’t exactly well known to me, but I felt like they did a really good job. They fit the characters and if I had one complaint it was that the female narrator didn’t really have a great Italian accent when she was narrating Beni, the leading man, or Mikko, Beni’s best friend and second in command. But honestly, I enjoyed the performance so much overall that the accent felt like a minor issue.

I always enjoy getting to listen to books with interracial couples as I personally relate to them and some of the struggles they face. The leading lady Chantal had a very unique and interesting perspective on the world and that added a whole new level of things to hook me to this story. Beni’s interest and determination to win Chantal over endeared him to me quickly and it wasn’t long before I was in love with both the leading characters as well as the secondary ones.

Mikko, Luther, and Cherise, all of them added entertainment, if nothing else to the story, but I really felt like they all were likable, important parts. Mikko especially I would like to see get his own book as he was such a humorous, loyal, just well written character.

The story ended on a cliffhanger but that was expected since this was a duet. I cannot wait to see what happens next and how the major issues at the end of this story are resolved.
🎧The Flock🎧

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katharoo
  • 08-06-22

Dark Ruler

Dark Ruler, Book 1 of The Bennett Duet by Xavier Neal
Narration by Joy Beharie and Tom Haire

This was an exciting and enjoyable start to this duet. It’s been sometime since I have listened to a book by Xavier and this one had me in all sorts of emotions.

The start shows us a close friendship and kinship between Benicio and his cousin Miko that sets the stage for this mafia romance. Then in swoops our sassy heroine Chantal who isn’t backing down to no one!

I loved her sass, and her don’t get in my way attitude that had me chuckling quite a bit; especially with her interactions with Miko. She’s strong willed and knows what she wants and is able to handle herself. No wonder Beni is smitten for this outspoken courageous woman because I sure was right off the bat.

When Beni thinks he can sweep into seeing Chantal and change her life, he doesn’t anticipate such a strong willed woman who captivates his heart and his life. Their dating starts unusually because Beni isn’t accustomed to it. Made mafia men don’t pay attention to women and don’t usually listen to them either. That was makes this mafia romance a bit different but in a really enjoyable way.

There is someone who doesn’t agree with Beni and Chantal’s relationship and it’s put her life and the lives of those close to her at risk. Then there’s the fact that Chantal is one of Beni’s accountants and has brought things to his attention which likely also started to make her a target with whoever is taking from the mafia, specifically Beni the reigning Capo.

This all comes to a head with mafia style killings and an abduction, can’t wait to hear what happens next and if this curious couple will ever get their HEA.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. Both narrators are new to me but I really fell into their performances. I don’t know or understand Spanish so it was a bit distracting for me🤓at times, but also made for some comedic scenes too when Beni is translating Miko’s comments. The cliffhanger ending left me on the edge and emotional with all that happened. I really need to get my hands on book 2.

#PinkFlamingoProductions #TheFlock
#MafiaRomance #XavierNeal
#JoyBehaire #TomHaire

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mangankillarney
  • 06-14-22

Ruler

Did enjoy the dual narration of Joy Beharie and Tom Haire


Chantal is a strong smart and feisty lady . Beni is dominant , controlling and possessive. This an entertaining listen , it has steam, action, humour, and twists and turns. This story ends with a cliffhanger.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ChaosKay (Audiobook Obsession Reviewer, The Flock VIP)
  • ChaosKay (Audiobook Obsession Reviewer, The Flock VIP)
  • 05-29-22

Dark Mafia

Wonderful story line , great characters and perfect narration . I am looking forward to listening to Dark Reign .
audiobookobssession pinkflamingoproductions

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cindy
  • Cindy
  • 05-22-22

Dark Ruler

I had a hard time connecting with this book. Benicio was not a likable character although Chantal was ok. I did like Miko the best but he wasn't the main focus of the story. This book did have danger, suspense and murder. It wasn't a bad story but it just didn't hold my attention very well. Joy Beharie and Tom Haire both did a good job bringing this story to life.
🎧Pink Flamingo Productions, The Flock Reviewer

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Audio Crazed Mari 🎧
  • Audio Crazed Mari 🎧
  • 04-07-22

Dark Ruler by Xavier Neal

Amazing narration that made the story just fly by. The dialogue and the characters fit so well to the story. I was hooked until the last of it. It is a fabulous listen.

🦩🦩 Flock Review 🦩🦩

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for shedevilreads Bookstagram
  • shedevilreads Bookstagram
  • 03-30-22

A Dark Mafia Romance

Dark Ruler by Xavier Neal is a dark mafia romance that I listened to on audio narrated by Joy Behare and Tom Haire. This is the first book in The Bennett Duet.

This is the third series of Xavier's that I have read and it won't be my last. The relationship between Benicio and Chantal is a bit messy as they figure out how their relationship will work. But you can't help but root for them. I really enjoyed getting both of their points of view throughout the book. It really brought the story to life.

The book ends on a great cliffhanger. I can't wait for the next book in the series Dark Reign to be released on audio so I can get the rest of their story.

Joy and Tom did a great job on the narration. I look forward to listening to more of their work in the future.

I would recommend this book if you like dark romances, mafia romances, or romantic suspense.


The Flock Team
Audiobook Obsession Reviewer

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gillek2
  • Gillek2
  • 03-29-22

Chantal and Benicio!

Benicio is a powerful man who has been groomed to know what his responsibilities are when it comes to his family. Not that he has assumed control he know that he needs to not only marry but produce heirs however the only problem with that is that the one woman he wants for the position is also the one people will deem to most unsuitable.

Chantal is confident when it comes to her skills with numbers so when she brings an inconsistency to the forefront her feisty personality catches the attention of her boss Benicio. She infuriates and challenges him a way that no other woman has before which only makes the chemistry between them burn that much stronger.

Intrigue, heat and amusing interplay as Benicio and Chantal not only try to maneuver the relationship they are building but all the obstacles that life keeps throwing at them as we lead up to a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more of this couple. The narrators were a great choice for the characters as brought out the feisty side of Chantal and the strong protector of Benicio. 🎧 Audiobook Obsession

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 🎧Mandy🎧 Sawyer 🎧Audiobook 🎧Obsession🎧 Reviewer🎧
  • 🎧Mandy🎧 Sawyer 🎧Audiobook 🎧Obsession🎧 Reviewer🎧
  • 03-27-22

Great storyline

I really enjoyed this storyline. The characters were written well and I enjoyed the chemistry between them. The only thing that annoyed me was everything was said twice, in Italian and English.
#PinkFlamingoProductions
#FlockReview
#AudiobookObsessionReviewer