Title: The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle #1)
Author: Eli Easton
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com The Trouble With Tony
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Novella (144 pp.)
Rating: 5+ stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Two words: Just Funny! Sweet and Funny and Marvelous. Okay–five words!
Blurb: As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under cover with one of his suspects. He can’t help it—Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely-eyed hero Tony goes for. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.
Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?
Review: You are going to have to indulge me. I have never laughed so hard in my life and I find myself at a perfect loss as to how to explain with any sense of cohesion what made The Trouble With Tony by Eli Easton the most delightful romantic comedy to come along in a great while. Let me give you the set-up. Tony DeMarco is a private investigator whose client’s daughter died of a mysterious overdose. She is linked to a sex clinic and directly to her therapist, Dr, Jack Halloran. Initially, to gain access to the clinic and the doctor, Jack decides to claim he is a sex addict when in reality he barely gets a rise out of his, uhm, member unless he feels emotionally attracted to the man in question. Hence, it has been two years since sex with an actual warm body for poor Tony. While he tries to lie to the good doctor, he is quickly found out and must tell his real problem. The catch? Tony now finds himself attracted to a key suspect in his murder case, and while Tony is greatly conflicted about that, his, ahem, member could care less. After a prostate exam that leaves Tony…well, a wee bit excited, the story turns downright hilarious.
Thus begins the first of many conversations Tony will have with his…uhm…member. I know–it sounds like really low humor but here is the reason the author gets away with it. Eli Easton makes both Jack and Tony remarkably vulnerable characters. Both have been physically wounded, Tony shot in the line of duty, Jack during a rescue op bringing in a wounded soldier. So both men bear the outward and, more importantly, the inner scars from their experiences.
Jack has seen his career as a surgeon fade when he is left with a damaged hand and shattered confidence. His scarred limb reminds him daily that he is less than he was and the nightmares he still experiences keep him on uneven ground emotionally. When Tony comes into his life, he seems to feel for the first time in a long time that things may work out, that he might still be the person he used to be. It’s not just lust he feels for Tony but a genuine need to see him, spend time with him and in many ways know that he will somehow begin healing by doing so. For Tony, all he knows is that his body is all in favor of spending time with the Doc but as time goes on, he realizes his heart is invested as well.
So while Tony talks to his little head on a fairly constant basis, the raw humor is not only smart its tempered with the fact that Tony and Jack are so much more than a quickie in the therapy room. The author painstakingly draws them in such a way as to give them depth and flaws. Consequently, a reader cannot help fall in love with them just a little bit and that makes what could be a silly story a delightful read. Good writing, fully fleshed out characters and wickedly funny bits–those are the keys to what makes this novella work
The Trouble With Tony is breathlessly good because author Eli Easton meshes laugh out loud humor with a sweet romance between two fragile men. They are smart, witty and oh so compelling to read about. I really enjoyed this novella and will definitely be looking for more work from this author.