The Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and JA Rock #Review

The Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and JA Rock #ReviewThe Two Gentlemen of Altona by J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry

Series: #1 Playing the Fool
Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Riptide on December 29, 2014
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
four-stars

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I’ve enjoyed books by this author twosome before so it was no hardship to reach for this one that begins a new series. The tie-in to Shakespeare was a plus along with the excitement of a relationship between an FBI agent and a con-man. Yep, thought it would be a delightful fun romp, but even I wasn’t prepared for what I got. Ordinary hardworking, grumpy guy and a guy who is the most complicated, complex and confused man I’ve read about sharing a story and tentatively forming something not quite a relationship was sheer pleasure. And this is just the beginning of their story. Oh boy…can’t wait to keep going.

Ah. A death threat. It had been weeks since he’d gotten one of those. It was comprised of jagged letters cut from the newspaper, which gave it a nice retro feel. MCGUINNESS IS A DEAD MAN. Mac got a warm feeling knowing he’d made a difference in some shit-bag’s life. The kind of obsessive dedication to him was almost touching.

Loc. 521 Mac from The Two Gentlemen of Altona

FBI agent Mac has been tirelessly working on a case to bust a mobster and thought he had a chance, but all that went south when his witness disappears. Oh, but wait, he snagged the elusive charismatic man again only to lose him when Henry pulls a stunt and slips his chain. Oh, but now he’s back into Mac’s lap when he is nearly taken out by a hit man. Someone knew exactly where to find Henry and Mac doesn’t know who he can trust in the Bureau, but he does know for certain that he can’t trust Henry. Henry is a pro at lying, trickery and con-work. Yet hiding Henry and himself until the mole is discovered is torture because being in close quarters with a man who attracts and repels him leaves Mac tempted to give up his strict diet. Henry is a witness and forbidden to him, but he can’t help wanting the temptation that the enigmatic Henry represents. Henry doesn’t make things easy either because Mac is never sure whether he’s getting the truth or a lie.

Henry plays so many roles that being someone else has become much easier than being himself. A new role, a blank slate, and a new chance are vastly more appealing than a steady, productive lawful life like what Mac has. Henry relies on his charm and charisma to talk his way out of trouble and talk people into lightening their wallets for him. How was he to know the sweet old lady he talked into paying for college art classes was a mobster’s aunt? He’s terrified, but not enough to fully trust the FBI agent promising to protect him which is why running seems like a really good idea. Henry trusts in nobody, but himself though if he was to rely on someone, Mac would probably be the guy. He loves riling up the gruff, cranky agent, but even worse he likes having the man beside him. Mac proves that he is trustworthy, but Henry wonders what the man would think about the real Henry. If they survive, he has a choice- Mac or maybe he’ll run and become someone new.

This story is an interesting blend that has romance and suspense, but also a tantalizing bit of slow-build character development. Mac is a comfortable ground piece in the story. He’s the straight guy to all Henry’s nonsense. They play off each other well like a strong acting pair would.

Mac wished he wasn’t standing so close to him. He didn’t understand his interest in Henry at all. It wasn’t even an…opposites-attract situation., where Henry’s spontaneity and good humor provided the perfect complement to Mac’s by-the-books practicality. Henry’s version of spontaneity wasn’t, Hey, let’s drive two hours south and go whitewater rafting since we have the day off. It was living some (messed)-up personal tribute to Frank Abagnale Jr.

Loc1537 Mac from The Two Gentleman from Altona

They are funny and endearing together as they verbally spar and tease. Now Henry, that man reminds me of Harlequin with all his shimmering colorful aspects and elusiveness. Just when it feels like Henry makes sense, he pulls a switcheroo and off he goes in a new direction revealing a new mystery. Layered like an onion just doesn’t quite do the guy justice. I can’t wait to see what more is revealed as the series progresses. Although Henry might seem like the front runner in the secrets department, I have a suspicion that Mac might prove to have some hidden depths too.

There is a suspense element to the story and it was pretty engaging, but it does run along in the background much of the time. And the romance is really just a glimmer with wary attraction being the thing at the moment. There are hints of storylines that will continue into the series and I look forward to pursuing them. I love that stuff is teasing out at a nice pace and not rushing or pushing to be told too soon.

In summary, this was an abso-fab start to a series. I loved the tease of romance, the thrill of the suspense and the strong inter-play of well-drawn characters. Those who enjoy M/M Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance should give this a go.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was my March To Be or Not to Be…Read vote winning read. So for all of you who voted for the donut, here’s the skinny on it. The donut or should we say, box of donuts plays a significant role. One of our heroes is on a diet and its making him crabby and the other of our heroes loves to poke the bear and get him riled up so he eats donuts in front of him.

Poor Mac, he misses his good food and coffee…

Mac found himself staring at her coffee mug and wondering what she’d do if he just leaned over and helped himself. Shit, he was having crazy thoughts.

Loc 540 Mac from The Two Gentlemen of Altona

Romance Roundabout #103 LGBT

Cliché Klatch #38 ‘I’m not going without you’

Mt. TBR #58

Literary Pickers #104 Jeans

New to Me #55 Series

About Lisa Henry

Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • This is my first time hearing about this writing duo, and this sounds like a fun read! I like that there’s romance, suspense, and well-developed characters. Great review, Sophia!

    • Thanks, Grace! I was happy to find this series. These two are quite a pair.

  • love that the cover ties into the story with Mac being on a diet ;D Great review Sophia!

    • Haha, yes! Whimsical covers can be fun figuring out how they relate to the story.

  • I so feel for the hero’s donut pain. The other was sure testing those waters. That’s some serious fighting offense. lol

    • Oh yes, indeedy! Henry had a death wish when it came to teasing Mac. They were great together and that donut was the perfect symbol once I read the story and understood the dynamics. 😉