Title: A Game of Skills
Author: T.C. Blue
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M contemporary romantic action/adventure
Length: Super Novel (193 pdf pages)
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
A super second book in the Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club series, is full of tense, thrilling action sequences and a delightfully snarky British hero.
A lot of things happen within the confines of a grey-ops organisation whose services are offered to the highest bidder. Sometimes even love, though that may well be easier said than done.
The last thing Simon is expecting when his latest Game goes thoroughly wrong is to be rescued by a man he doesn’t know and an oddly intelligent child, but that’s exactly what happens. He’s pulled from the proverbial fire by the strange duo. That would have been fine if he hadn’t developed some unexpected and unwelcome attraction to the man, Morgan.
Morgan’s been running for years, trying to keep his best friend, Ellie’s, child from the clutches of what he’s sure is a group Rico wants no part of. Helping Simon is barely tolerable. Developing feelings for the secretive man is less so.
Between Simon’s organisation, the Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club, and whoever’s after Rico, Morgan’s pretty sure that he and Rico are screwed. When things come to a head, he has to make some hard choices, which might or might not involve Simon.
I’d greatly enjoyed the first book in the Farmingdale Gentleman’s Club series, A Game of Chances (reviewed here), although with an excessive amount of world building and a slightly tagged on ending, it wasn’t without fault. Now that the pesky scene setting had been done, I was looking forward to see where T.C. Blue was going to take the series. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed as this was a fabulous rollicking ride from start to finish.
The story begins with our hero, Morgan, who is on the run with his ward Rico. Rico is special in the way that the 10 year old can hear the thoughts of others, and ‘know’ things as well as being able to predict the future. As a result the pair have been on the run since Rico was 4, dodging the bad guys who want to capture Rico and tap into those abilities. The net is closing in for the pair when they encounter Simon and rescue him from a ‘Game’ gone badly wrong. The attraction between Simon and Morgan is intense, but Morgan’s got a responsibility to keep Rico safe.
There was much to like about this action/adventure book. Firstly because it was action/adventure. There seem to be so few decent m/m books around in this genre that it was treat to read this one. The scene setting from the previous book was all in place so it was easy to slip back into the world of the Gentlemen and Ladies, especially in relation to the character of Patrice, who I was delighted to see was not the absolute perfect person she seemed from the last book. Seeing Patrice mess up her Game lent her a human quality, as did her relationship with Rico. Alongside that is the witty banter between Patrice and Simon and some of their scenes together were the absolute highlight of the book. The plot itself came together better than the last book and afforded plenty of opportunity for car chases, fleeing from danger, shoot outs and inflitrating the enemy lair – marvellous. And if the character of the bad guy was a little too far towards ‘insane megalomaniac’, I could forgive it, as we were definitely into James Bond territory and that type of enemy fits in well.
The character of Simon was also a high point for me. I loved his sarcastic tongue, his casual and inventive use of swearing and the way he was able to use his love of language to hide his emotions. If I have any complaints it’s that Simon occasionally veered off into a bit of a cliche of himself – and that occasionally his slightly overdone British accent grated a little on the nerves. Also – and as a Brit, this was probably only my niggle – some of the insults used by Simon, especially the word “twat”, wasn’t used quite correctly within the context of the book, and also for some reason Simon often used ‘Yoda speak’ and inverted his sentences, something British people don’t actually do all that much. However, those readers who are not British probably wouldn’t pick up on any of those things which niggled me a little and will probably enjoy the fact that Simon’s British accent shines through the writing. Simon’s character dominates the book, and I loved that he wasn’t fazed by anything or anyone, especially the indomitable Patrice.
Compared to Simon, Morgan is a little overshadowed. Still, he’s a good action hero type – ex-military, good with weapons, quick thinking, honourable, noble and, most importantly, devoted to keeping Nico safe, no matter what. What’s not to like? He and Simon worked well as a couple, both of them attracted sexually at first but also willing to make sacrifices for each other. This meant that the romance worked just as well as the action plot.
There were many other great things I could say about this book, such as the pragmatic and a little bit scary character of Rico; the fact that all the characters are fleshed out and realistic; the way the pace of the book is unrelenting, making this a real page turner; and that there were several very surprising twists and turns to the story. If you like action/ adventure stories and are looking for a well written, fast paced, thrilling book, then you can’t go wrong with A Game of Skills. This series is getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in book 3.