mr mr smithMr. and Mr. Smith, by Helenkay Dimon

Published by: Loveswept

Format: eARC

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to expect: Fast-paced action scenes, two alpha males, explosions, espionage, and betrayal.

Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .

Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.

Guys. So much shit blows up in this book.

And not just relationship shit, (though there’s that too) but there are bombs and guns and exploding buildings and chases and daring escapes from exploding buildings. If you know HelenKay Dimon’s writing, you know she writes tight, action-packed romantic suspense without the egregious torture porn or tired rape storylines for her heroines. When I heard that she was writing an m/m romantic suspense novel, I made an embarrassingly loud noise and ran to grab myself a copy.

Mr and Mr Smith features Fisher Braun, who is keeping his sexuality and his live-in boyfriend Zach a secret from the covert paramilitary group he works for. Fisher goes out and hunts down bad guys all day — he wants his life with Zach to be separate, untouched from all that ugliness. This all goes to hell fairly spectacularly in the beginning of the book, leading Fisher to discover that Zach is keeping his own secrets. Fisher is so utterly terrified when he thinks his innocent boyfriend Zach is kidnapped that the depths of his hurt later on are completely understandable. Yeah, Fisher is a stubborn, unrelenting ass at times, but in all fairness, he’s had a hell of a day. 

One of the things I liked about this book is that there isn’t a ton of time spent on any kind of coming-out angst. Fisher’s double life is exposed, and his colleagues’ responses are basically “Yeah, we knew you were gay…we are, in fact, spies.” And that’s pretty much that. Not that there isn’t angst. It’s basically one big angst-fest of betrayal and torture and shifting alliances, but unrelated to their sexuality. This wasn’t what I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised. 

I also liked that both these dudes are just straight-up romantic suspense alpha males. I love seeing different expressions of masculinity in my books, but there’s something that just tickles me about the fact that in this romantic suspense book, where you usually get ultra-macho-leaking-testosterone dudes rescuing innocent, helpless civilian women, she just went and doubled down on the alpha males. Zach isn’t some passive tech geek, he doesn’t have smarts vs Fisher’s muscles…they’re both smart. They’re both lethal. And they’re both willing to pull down brick walls with their bare hands to save each other.

My main issue with this book is that I think the romance gets a little lost; the men spend so much time angry with each other or running for their lives that you never really get to attach emotionally to their relationship. They tell us again and again how much they mean to each other, but I never quite felt it, even at the end. I think the book could have used fewer circular arguments and more reconciliation. 

This book is still a whole heck of a lot of fun, with a large cast of characters, lots of women in power, some angry-hot sex, physically improbable stunts, and lots of shit blowing up. If you like your romance with a little dash of Die Hard, this is the book for you. And let’s face it: there isn’t enough LGBTQ romantic suspense out there. This book feels fresh, not like a retread of a million m/m I’ve read before. 

What you might not like: This book is heavy on the action and lighter on the character moments. Also, if explosions and blood aren’t your thing, give this one a pass.

What I loved: I love action movies, so i loved the summer-blockbuster feel of this book. I also loved that she had two ultra alpha males in a m/m romance. There are a lot of cool rescues and double-crosses and fight scenes and sneaky spy stuff, and I eat all of those things up with a spoon.

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