Reviewed: December 5, 2012
Genre: LGBT - M/M Contemporary Romance
Series: Men of Smithfield, Book 1
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Length: 114 Pages
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Carina Press via NetGalley.
This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
If Mark Meehan had known that finding his boyfriend banging their landlord in their bed would end up being just one of the many, many transgressions Jamie's made against him, Mark would have used something far more substantial than a bible to bash him over his cheating head during that Ash Wednesday mass he thoroughly disrupted. On the bright side, finding out Jamie had also stolen him blind definitely helped push Mark through that annoying grief process.
Normally even-tempered, an utterly betrayed Mark goes off the deep end and keeps right on going. So much so that his actions are a little...extreme. But again he underestimates Jamie, and suddenly Mark is very glad he has a friend in Smithfield Police Officer Tony Gervase.
Though, to be honest, Mark has always wanted Tony as more than a friend.
As Jamie's actions become more and more threatening and Tony comes to his rescue more than once, the sparks between Mark and Tony start flying hot and hard. Maybe after all these years of pining for the cop he's loved since high school, Mark will finally have a chance...and Jamie's betrayal will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them both.
I think it was 2009 when I first read and enjoyed this book in its Gobsmacked incarnation. Now it's got a hot new cover, a more appealing title (subjectively speaking, anyway - I've always loved the word 'gobsmacked' and thought it fit nicely as the title), and the story has been gussied up a bit (honestly, I didn't really notice a difference, but it's been several years) to spearhead the re-release of the previously released titles and the continuation of the series. That was very happy news for me as a reader, as I have fond memories of Smithfield and enjoy Gregg's fun, sexy, humor-rich writing style.
Of course, the off-the-charts, sizzling hot sex doesn't hurt, either.
The story still has some of the technical issues that I remember from the first read and the narrative is still extremely fast-paced. The story lacks the sort of detailed description, world-building, and plot complexity that slows a read down even as it fleshes it out and adds depth. Scenes tend to shift quickly and story elements pop up, then pass in a blink as the bare-bones plot races towards the end with a singular focus.
Even with that, though, I enjoyed the story. I absolutely adored Mark and liked Tony quite a lot. There's something about the combination of their personalities that had tons of appeal, and a sort of friends-to-lovers/unrequited-to-requited hybrid theme that worked well for them. Mark's wacky, high-strung antics were a nice compliment to Tony's more steady, solid nature and made me a big fan of them together. So much so that I didn't even mind the first-person point of view in the narrative, something that usually doesn't work for me in romance.
Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony is simply a fun, sexy read with fun, sexy characters. Shorter than I would've liked, definitely, with a story that progresses too fast for my taste, but still entertaining. It isn't dripping angst or splattering deep interpersonal issues everywhere, but it made me smile, chuckle out loud in places, and even fan myself here and there.
I'm so glad I got this chance to revisit Smithfield, and I'm very much looking forward to renewing my familiarity with the stories I've read as I bide my time for the stories I haven't. I hope they come soon, as Smithfield is just one of those places that begs for frequent visits and I can't wait to spend more time there.
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