Rating: 4.75 stars
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When Mark Meehan discovers his boyfriend, Jamie, having sex with their disgusting landlord in Mark’s bed of all places, Mark loses control. He marches into church that afternoon during Noon Mass and beats Jamie with a Bible. A little dazed from the fury and anger welling inside him, Mark is surprised when he gets pulled over on his way home by Tony Gervase, Mark’s oldest friend. Mark has denied his feelings for Tony since he was seventeen and he tried to kiss Tony and Tony rejected him, but their friendship has always remained constant.
After he packs up Jamie’s things and takes them to the dump, Mark discovers Jamie has cleared out Mark’s bank accounts and he can’t go to the branch manager because Jamie is the branch manager. Too exhausted to go home and face the oncoming fight with Jamie, Mark shows up at Tony’s house instead. After a day of surprises, too little to eat, and too much to drink, Mark is taken off guard to find that Tony wants him as much as he has always wanted Tony. A steamy encounter on the bathroom sink, although exactly what he needed, leaves Mark with a little confusion and a few questions he would rather avoid than discuss at the moment.
The morning after only leads to more drama, violence, and questions when Jamie shows up at Mark’s apartment and demands that Mark give him back his things. Jamie is obviously hiding something from Mark and it starts to look like Mark never really knew him at all.
Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony is a re-published, re-edited, and re-titled work by L.B. Gregg. I read this book previously when it was first published and I loved it even then. But this cleaned-up, revised version appealed to my inner perfectionist a little more.
From the opening scene, this story is hilarious, action packed, mysterious, and fun. I absolutely love the characters. Mark is one of the most likable characters out there. He’s snarky, sarcastic, and has a sense of humor that had me laughing throughout the entire book. He is a strong character with a backbone of steel and a little craziness mixed in. He’s also caring and loyal. He’s been hurt in a bad way that only seems to get worse as the story progresses,so I find it reasonable that he loses control to the extent that he does. His imperfections just make him a more lovable character. Tony is the voice of reason in Mark’s life, even though Mark doesn’t always – or hardly ever – listen to him. Tony is the one person in Mark’s life that has never let him down as far as he knows. Even when he discovers the mistakes in Tony’s past, it’s hard for Mark to stay mad at him. I love that Tony always had Mark’s best interest at heart and did his best to take care of Mark even when Mark didn’t know it.
Smithfield, Connecticut is a fictional, small town created by L.B. Gregg. It is a town where everybody knows everybody. There are nosy neighbors, town gossips, great friends and family, and most of the citizens grew up in Smithfield. This town is one of my favorite parts of the book. Because of the author’s description, I could see this picturesque town in my mind’s eye. I could picture the icy roads after the snow storm. I could be annoyed with the gossips watching Mark as he passed by. I am very impressed with the care the author gave in creating and giving life to Smithfield.
The storyline was fast paced and full of activity. It kept me interested the entire time while reading this book. The story is very plot driven with Mark spending a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on under his own nose when he wasn’t paying attention. But it’s also a friends-to-lovers story. The action packed scenes kept me on my toes trying to guess what would happen next. And the more intimate scenes between Mark and Tony were extremely hot and sometimes breathtaking. The author did a great job combining the mystery aspect with the romance aspect.
I only had one small problem with the book. There were several places where the words were used incorrectly (i.e. present tense when the past tense should have been used) and sometimes a word had a letter missing. Usually I can overlook a couple of mistakes like that, but there were several that made it hard to get past. Maybe the final copy could have used a good proof-read first.
All in all, Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony is an extremely entertaining read filled with action and mystery as well as humor and romance. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to reading more of this series in the future.