Things have been building toward a furious storm since the beginning between Mac and Henry, but sorting their personal life must come back seat to the storm swirling around them in the form of murder, set up, on the run, crazy shenanigans, and straight up bad luck. I love this series for its light, but gritty romantic suspense, cunning use of Shakespeare, and colorful, engaging characters.
This is the final book in a trilogy that really must be read in order to get the most out of it.
This is my second time through and I appreciated it so much more in the audio version with Nick J Russo narrating. His Mac and Henry voices were outstanding as were the other characters that back them up. Emotion, timing, and sheer storytelling were top notch. I have come to consider him a narrator that I will seek out books just because he narrates them.
Mac must clear his name even while dodging a determined internal affairs agent who is determined to nail him for anything from possessing cocaine to murdering a witness to him being a dirty cop. All the while he fights the sane need to choke Henry since they are on the run together accompanied by Henry’s sister Violet. His options are limited so he takes the pair home with him and worries that Henry will do what Henry does best- run. Mac cares, but just how many times will he be left behind by a man who has more personas than fingers on a hand. But regardless, he must hunt down a weak, drug-addicted man as his only witness and rely on a shady informant for leads even while the FBI internal affairs office is on the hunt for him.
Henry knows he’s not being fair to Mac and driving him up the wall, but Henry has a bad feeling about running and hiding on Mac’s parent’s property that only gets worse when he sees the normality of it all. Being near a real ‘normal’ family has him nearly in hives and he is starting to crack trying to hold himself together when bad memories and his very identity are at stake. Mac wants his trust and wants Henry to stop running while Henry is terrified to open up and show Mac the real person inside and be rejected, he is terrified that the person after them will find them, and he is guilt-ridden that he can barely take care of his sister. Oh, and this all just makes him lash out in anger. But when lives are at stake can he conquer his fears and stand by Mac?
As finales go, this was a good one. All the elements I enjoy in this series continue to be strong and present- the humor, dialogue, character and relationship development, twisting plot, laid-back quality beside the gritty side.
Up until now, Henry has been able to con his way out of trouble including conning himself when stuff starts to get too real for him, but in this book he is forced to face things and either lose himself and all that is good or face the hard facts and trust for the first time. Mac has promised him that he can do it- start over- and it will be alright. At the same time, Mac isn’t sure Henry can be relied on and it’s hard for him to put it all out there and not know what Henry will do with it. Interesting dynamics to their romance as a result, but it is also interesting because Mac and Henry’s physical relations aren’t what most people would expect. The big, burly FBI agent likes to be on the receiving end and Henry enjoys that Mac would cede that position to him.
A side story is when Violet, Henry’s twin sister with TBI, takes over the narration. For the first time, she gets to be around a normal family. She is confused by Henry’s reaction because she loves Mac’s parents and Mac’s niece. Cory is nine years old, but she’s very smart. Violet is mentally about Cory’s age. The two don’t understand what has the adults around them all worked up and they resent being shunted aside. They get to play a large role in the big scene and I enjoyed what these two enterprising gals came up with.
So, for the second time, I am bummed that I must say good bye to a series of books that I anticipated and enjoyed. Those who enjoy m/m romantic suspense with a strong emphasis on the character development along with the other elements should give the Playing the Fool series a look-see.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #147 RS
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