Title: A Game of Chances (The Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club)
Author: T.C. Blue
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M action/adventure romance
Length: Super novel
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
An interesting action/adventure novel which manages to combine a sweet romance with a complex plot.
Book one in the Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club Series
Two men, too many secrets, and even more situations trying to keep them apart. Can love really conquer all?
A meeting brought on by seeming coincidence throws Marcus and Tanner together. After becoming friends, certain truths are revealed, leading to feelings of betrayal as well as a degree of danger.
Tanner has more secrets than one man ever should, not the least of which is that he’s an operative for a gray-ops organisation that’s something of a family business. Sharing even that much information could kill more than just his friendship with Marcus. When one misstep on Tanner’s part plants possible danger in Marcus’ lap, he does what he needs to do.
Marcus doesn’t know that Tanner is after the man Marcus used to date, but he for damned sure finds out, and that’s just the start of things. When a computer disc and men with guns come into play, Marcus has some decisions to make. Like whether he can forgive Tanner for making him love a lie… and how far Marcus is willing to go to secure his own happiness.
Marcus is just recovering from a hurtful break-up with his ex, when he literally runs into Tanner, the new occupant of his former flat. They get along well and soon become friends with Marcus hoping for much more. What Marcus doesn’t know is that Tanner is on a mission to revenge his former partner’s death and Marcus is but a tool to help him with that. Unfortunately for Tanner, he likes Marcus and starts to fall in love with him. Suddenly his mission is in tatters and Marcus is betrayed. It takes a visit from Tanner’s sister – the indomitable Patrice – to sort out the mess they’ve both made and reveal the true nature of her and Tanner’s involvement with The Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club.
This complex action/adventure book has much to recommend it. The plot itself takes us on a journey which spans several months starting from the first meeting between the heroes. The story itself is in two parts. The first part deals with the development of the relationship between Marcus and Tanner and the second part deals with Marcus’ introduction to The Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club. Both sections were fast paced and packed with emotion. However, as this book is the first in a series it suffers slightly from an excess of world-building as we learn about the gray-ops organisation that Tanner belongs to. I didn’t mind that too much because I could see why it was necessary to be given the information, plus it was written in such a way that I never felt that information was dumped on me. Instead, the character of Patrice is cleverly used to show the reader how the operation works through her interactions with Marcus, Tanner and Mr Farmingdale, the boss of the organisation. I liked Patrice and thought her a nice contrast to the rather emotive Marcus and Tanner. The way she could take command of a situation through the lift of an eyebrow was amusing, and if she sometimes came across as a little smug, I forgave her as the scenes where she appeared breathed a freshness through the book.
The relationship between Marcus and Tanner was fraught with emotion as both fall hopelessly in love with each other and then do stupid things like being self-sacrificial or letting pride get in the way of their feelings. Typical men! Therewere a number of amusing moments, such as ‘the drunken episode’ which lightened the story slightly, so that I didn’t feel the emotional angst was too heavy. The sex scenes were smoking hot but with an underlying tenderness which appealed to the romantic in me. One thing I liked a great deal about the two men is that they didn’t conform to stereotype. Tanner is the tough secret-ops agent, but he wasn’t a tough, arrogant burly man, quite the opposite in fact. Marcus too has his surprises and it was nice to see a couple who didn’t have assigned roles in the bedroom too.
I thought that the way that the story twisted in on itself, with many surprises and misdirections, was another highlight of the book. Different characters all have different perspectives and so it’s not always clear who is right, who is wrong; who can be trusted and who can’t. I liked having my expectations challenged and thought it all rather ingenious. One note of caution, there are some themes in this book of abuse and paedophilia which may be distressing to some readers. There’s also a fair amount of brutality – all of which happens off page, but there are some graphic descriptions that may be a little off putting. Those of you who insist on condoms at all times may also have a problem with the book – although I felt that aspect was quite an important part of the relationship between Marcus and Tanner, if not particularly sensible.
If I have any niggles, it is that the story took a left turn towards the end, into what seemed like a whole new adventure and I did wonder why that part had been necessary. I’m wondering whether this is because the character introduced near the end is going to be the hero of a later book in the series, but that’s just supposition on my part. I also thought that the whole ‘grey-ops’ organisation was a little far-fetched, especially as it seems to be one of those mysterious organisations with unlimited funding and resources and manpower who are above everything and everyone. After healthy suspension of disbelief, I was able to overlook that part and just went with the ride.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I like action/adventure and felt there was plenty of interesting twists and turns in the plot, decent characters and some exciting action sequences to keep me interested through to the end. If you’re a fan of action/adventure too, then I’m sure you’ll like this book as much as I did. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series.