Title: The Long Con
Author: Lori Toland
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance/Suspense-lite
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: A disappointment
British Agent Nathaniel Bradley is tasked with bringing home a stolen heirloom. After tracking the Faberge egg all the way to a group of criminals in New York, Bradley infiltrates a ring of con artists and gets sucked into the role of a high priced prostitute.
While hoping for a chance to take back what is rightfully his, Bradley’s sole mission becomes to seduce Tony Terranova, Jr, the heir to a notorious mafia dynasty. Though Tony is strikingly handsome, the usually dominant Bradley is hesitant to submit to the sexual whims of a dangerous Mafioso.
What Bradley doesn’t expect is for Tony to fall to his knees so eagerly for him, leaving him blindsided by how intensely their dark tastes complement each other. Now Bradley is caught up in a deadly game of lies and desire, where what he truly wants may not be what duty requires.
I chose The Long Con for review both to try a new-to-me author and because I was intrigued by the plot, but the result mostly disappointed me for numerous reasons.
First, this book has one of the most Insta of Insta!Love connections I have ever read about. I think there are different degrees of Insta!Love connections, and as much as I dislike the plot device in general, there are some variations I can tolerate and sometimes even enjoy depending on how it is written (the circumstances, the characters, etc). That was not the case here. In this story both characters feel an urge to have sex within minutes of seeing each other and even though the “seduction” was supposed to be planned, what happened after felt to me very forced and not convincing and believable.
Also, not only do I feel the blurb portrays agent Bradley to be way more competent than I thought him to actually be, he takes the “seduction” much further than he was supposed to because he just could not resist Tony and vice versa. The super Insta! Love set up alone was enough to significantly decrease my enjoyment of the book, but there is also the way author describes them having sex. Let me give you a few examples which are pretty indicative of the writing style and you will hopefully see why it did not work for me at all.
“I peered up into his hooded eyes, the fiery passion there burning me. His arm was curled around my body, but his gaze felt like a brand on my skin”.
“His hazy blue eyes made me lose my brains to the vicinity of my balls”.
“I guided my cock along his back and my precum made a sexy trail along his tanned skin”.
Those quotes are pretty indicative of how the sex scenes are described and it was not to my taste at all. I found them sometimes very awkward, sometimes funny in an eye rolling way, but not sexy at all and they seemed to be there just for the sake of being there. Opinions may differ on this, of course.
And the plot that I was intrigued about and which initially promised such fun action adventure? Unfortunately it turned out to be predictable and a very thin frame for the characters to have sex on most of the page space. The characterizations were quite shallow and I did not find much, if any, character development throughout the story. As a result I did not feel like I knew the characters well at all. Here is an example of the poor attempt at character development: several pages before the story ends we learn that Bradley feels that his grandfather controls him and this upsets him. If it bothers him so much, shouldn’t we have learned about it somewhere in the beginning and then see how this desire to not to be controlled by his grandfather influenced his character? Instead I felt that it was a throwaway piece of information which was included in the book for the reasons unknown.
I also thought that the introduction of BDSM in this story was funny — and not in a good way. For example, we have Psychic!Dom here, who knows that the other guy is a Bottom within minutes after conversing with him. Also, I felt like the author just stuck in a bunch of BDSM buzz words and did not do a convincing job creating a picture of two guys who want to dominate and submit, even though that’s what they were supposedly doing.
Lastly, I wondered several times if the book was supposed to be an over-the-top silly comedy, with the fact that agent Bradley works for the “Serious Organised Crime Agency”…or not. If it was supposed to be comedy, the humor definitely did not work for me, but the thing is I am honestly not sure if it was supposed to be a comedy, so awkward and forced some descriptions felt to me.
Not recommended.Buy Link Author Link GoodReads