by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon, historical (2010)
Loose Id, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-60737-884-6
Jonathan Reese used to be a soldier for England, but after all the guilt and bloodshed, he's now a lone wolf agent who is probably too cynical for his own good. When the story opens, the Special Services has an assignment for him: he's to watch closely the activities of a nobleman from Neuschlosswold and Binder, making his way into that man's circle of acquaintances, if necessary.
The details of the mission are vague, and normally, Reese won't ask too many questions about a job. The thing is, the nobleman in question, Karl von Binder, is Karlo to Reese. In Sevastopol, they fought on opposing sides, and Reese thought the sight of Karl butchering down his enemies was... pretty hot, come to think of it. Karl could have killed Reese that day, but he didn't. Well, it looks like things have come to a full circle. Can Reese deliver the final blow on Karl?
Usually gay romances play heavily on the stereotypical nelly bottom and straight-acting closeted top dynamics but The Nobleman And The Spy fortunately is not such a book. Both men are pretty well drawn as individuals with their unique personalities. Both share the bond of having to do some really bad things in the war and carrying the burden of knowing that a part of them enjoyed doing those really bad things. Reese is a fellow who is used to blending into the scenery and observing life from the sidelines. Karl is his opposite in many ways, but they have much in common to find plenty of middle ground as they succumb to the attraction between them.
The romance, I find, is enjoyable to follow is because it balances very well the emotional and the more carnal scenes. Yes, the characters get it on, but I can see and believe the emotional bond between them by the time they get down to business.
The plot is okay, I guess, but the story sags slightly in the middle and occasionally in the later parts of the story as the two characters seem to meander around, trying to come up with some reasons to prolong their story. It's the romance that I find well-handled enough to make up for any weaknesses in the story line.
The Nobleman And The Spy is the third consecutive effort from these authors that I enjoy heartily. It looks like they are a solid combination where man-on-man romances are concerned!
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