When Becky came back from her trip to the Romantic Times convention, I knew she’d come back with some Very Nice Things Indeed. One of those things was a copy of The Two Gentlemen of Altona by J.A. Rock and Lisa Henry, which I received for free from Village Books in exchange for this review.
The set-up: a con man working under the name Henry Page witnesses a killing by Dean Maxfield, his current mark’s mobster nephew. FBI agent Ryan “Mac” MacGuiness’ job is to secure Henry as a witness. Unfortunately for Mac, Henry has a flair for disappearing.
What starts as an antagonistic relationship morphs into a slightly star-crossed, not-quite-opposites attraction between the two men. Henry more than his share of justified fears — both of the law and of Maxfield’s hit men — that keep him running, while Mac’s attraction to Henry is complicated by professional expectations and frustration with Henry’s misbehavior.
While some of the initial chemistry between Mac and Henry felt a little bit forced, Rock and Henry (the author, not the character) hit their stride when our would-be couple go into hiding in Mac’s family’s cabin.
The Two Gentlemen of Altona is a fun, fast read that feels like good fanfiction: a fun scenario, relatable characters, even a dash of hurt/comfort. My main complaint is that it ended too soon, but given that it’s the first of three books in Rock and Henry’s “Playing the Fool” series, I’m willing to bet these two are just warming up.
If you like M/M romance on a modern action backdrop, The Two Gentlemen of Altona is a decent weekend read.
My rating: Three-and-a-Half illicit donuts of Five.