They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he’s never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count’s son, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan’s life.
Sparks fly between the former enemies and Jonathan begins to lose perspective on his mission. He knows he must maintain distance because the heat he encounters in Karl’s touch stirs him far too deeply for his own good. He can’t keep away -- especially when he suspects someone is trying to kill the nobleman.
The spy becomes a protector as Jonathan guards the man he’s begun to care for. Together the men try to puzzle out who would benefit from Karl’s death -- and how much they’re willing to trust each other when a torrid sexual fling threatens to become an affair of the heart.
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.
I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Whether you're a fan of contemporary historical or fantasy romance, you'll find something to enjoy among my books. I'm interested in flawed, often damaged, people who find the fulfillment they seek in one another. To stay informed about new releases, please sign up for my newsletter. You can join my street team at FB. Learn more about my backlist at http://bonniedee.com and find me on FB and Twitter @Bonnie_Dee.
I don't like books where the main characters are just drawn together and that was this book. His brooding, quite good looks and the other's gregarious personality. There wasn't any great story here and the sex was just boring. I also bought the Gentleman and the Lamplighter, by the same author or authors, and had the same issues - little depth of characters and bland sex. Apparently the writing style isn't to my taste. The brooding character tells the reader of his torment, but never really seems to manifest it in the story. The gregarious character apparently has a "sixth sense" of recognizing who's gay and so he's had numerous male partners. Just not my taste.
3.7 Stars - Yummy nice and captivating. Want more entertainment like this soonish
November 2016: Added the new WSfV audiobook to my $1 ebook — 6:30 hrs narrated by Todd Scott.
A M/M historical by the writers-combo Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon is usually working well and fine with me. So also this time. Nearly four stars and better than good enough.
1866 London, England.. — A spy, spying on and poor and rich man story.
« They once faced each other on a battlefield. Now soldier-turned-spy Jonathan Reese must keep watch over the man he’s never forgotten. A close encounter reveals Karl von Binder, the count’s son*, also recalls the day he spared Jonathan’s life. »
*) ...or sometimes as Charles Binder. A nobleman from the duchies Neuschlosswold and Binder, and therefore Karl, Erb-Pfalzgraf von und zu Neuschlosswold-Binder
Liked this plot, both main and second characters, the fast phase and this lovely (quite belivable) love story. Quickly done as well. — Yay!
Ah, this was solid good listening A romance by the Devon & Dee team was this time, as next to always, a very good choice when needing easygoing "men loves men smex & steam". As well as when you want a very romantic HEA topic in past ages. This one wasn't so very different or exclusive newish to be honest, but very well told. ... Not too overly sugary sweet.. just nice and sëxÿ. — You know what you will get from this team and you get exactly that. - Applause again. I'm a fan!
Audiobook and narrator Six to eight hours are perfect for me. — New narrator (in Todd Scott) this time. Interesting way to read and pronounce. In all ways a pleasuring voice to listening to. Will choose by his audiobooks again.
I LIKE - a good, not to long or angsty complicated, HR M/M ... when enjoying a weekend these first sunny spring days on my new (flat in the city) high above balcony
This was a nicely written historical romance featuring two men who fall in love during a time of danger and intrigue and manage to make it all work. Reese is a spy who has been hired to tail the count's son Karl and make sure he isn't murdered. Karl realizes he's being followed right off the bat and instantly recognizes Reese. They met on a bloody battlefield years earlier and had a "moment". When Karl realizes he and Reese share an attraction he quickly gets things moving with the quiet, reserved Reese but their fling turns into much more than either anticipated and Karl's life is in constant danger from someone . . .
I didn't connect with this book the way I did with The Gentleman and the Rogue for some reason (actually I think the reason is Jem, Karl sweetie-pie hunk that he is, is no Jem). I kept losing focus and there were moments when I was downright bored with all of the intrigue. Maybe it was my mood but I don't think so. The times when Karl and Reese shared fun banter, winks, leers and all that really worked and I would've loved this book if there had more of those scenes and less of the political intrigue. 3 1/2? 4? I don't know. I have to think on it.
I enjoyed parts of this book, but I still can't rave about it. It was a "nice" historical novel, but nothing really special. Here are my issues.
-- I Do speak German. There were a few errors. But what really irritated me was that "Neuenschwanderwold" is kind of a misspelling. It would have made sense as a name if it were "Neuenschwanderwald." Wold is not a word. Wald means woods or forest.
-- While the sex was hot, I thought there was far too much. I just got tired of page after page of sexual references.
-- I thought that Jonathan was weak. He was supposed to be the hero, but instead I felt he did more whining and worry. I thought that Karl was more entertaining.
-- I had problems with the 1860's view of homosexuality. While the two main characters kept things under wraps and the father despised the activity, I thought that overall, it was treated too casually for the time period. The reader would never know without reading the first chapter that this was happening 150+ years ago.
-- But my biggest problem is that this was supposed to be a story about political intrigue. There were all the elements at the beginning, but instead it ended with a total plot cop-out. Instead of the author(s) really working to end with a good political assassination plot, it ended with a rather dumb/simplistic conclusion which indicated to me that they just didn't want to put in the time and effort to really create an exciting ending that made sense with the rest of the book.
This left me laughing and scowling in a way, but definitely very moved and it had patches of such brilliance, that it was the best I read last week.
I loved the description on the battlefield, in fact I loved both characters, each very much himself and special, and both very different from each other, but then also sharing traits. Very well drawn and continuously throughout the story added upon. I also loved the secondary characters like Cohen or the uncle, or Gilley.
There were niggles though:
Foremostly the modern kind of sex these two had. For a reticent, repressed guy like Reese he switched to full-blown porntastic 21st century sex a tad too fast to being believable. In fact, this story was set up to support a slow coming into sex between the two, and I'd have preferred that, and also if it hadn't been so formulaic. In that era only 10-20% of all gay men actually had anal sex, so I'd like to see that represented occasionally, especially with a book else so intent on getting the era right. There was too much sex, and unlike Erastes I found over 50% of it to be quite free of any true foundation in the plot. The two men were at it like bunnies. However, this just may be my general irritated response to the overdose of sex in so many m/m novels.
The end was a bit too rushed, and I'd have needed a bit more on the villain to find him truly believable. I also would have liked to know more about Reese the spy, especially after the magnificent battle sequence.
Years ago, Reese and Karl met on the battlefield and for some reason, spared each other's lives. In present day, Reese is now a spy, and his latest assignment is to watch Karl, a count's son. Reese doesn't have many details as to the 'why' of his assignment, but he will do his duty. Karl is no dummy, and quickly realizes he is being followed. They end up confronting each other, and quickly playing on an attraction they have to each other, confront each other with no clothes on. (it's true! lol). Reese immediately feels guilty for his lusty actions, and decides to act more professional - but Karl is much more forward and it makes it difficult for Reese to keep his distance and professional demeanor. When Karl's life is threatened, they have to work together to find out who is after him.
Normally in a romantic suspense book, if the spy and spied upon make-out after meeting once, I would roll my eyes, but these authors made it work. They have strong chemistry to start. Reese is more introverted and awkward and Karl is outgoing and talkative. Their personalities play off each other well. For less than 200 pages, it's a very steamy book. I enjoyed their romantic relationship.
I think the weaker part of the book is the suspense and the second half. Once the fireworks between Reese and Karl are explored, the book loses a little steam. The person trying to kill Karl was not all that suspenseful at all. The ending result was somewhat of a let down. Karl by far shined in the book while Reese gets left behind. I felt like he never truly grew into his character.
The narration was just okay for me. The narrator didn't really change his voice to portray both men and didn't stand out to me. Not bad, but just average.
I agree with Antonella when she wrote "Too much sex, and especially the first encounter was a bit difficult to believe. Both of them letting down the guard in front of a potential enemy met 5 minutes before. I personally thought that scene, the first moment, just made my interest of the couple went down the drain.
I also thought Jonathan to be rather too naive for a man who was described as killer (in previous life) and a spy. Yeah, I guess I needed my spy to be edgier than Jonathan. There wasn't enough tension for an enemies-to-lovers stories.
The writing was good, though, and it was one of the reasons I was willing to stretch this out to 3-stars. But it definitely wasn't favorite *shrugs*
This historical romance introduces two interesting men. Karl, the nobleman, is outgoing, and a bit of a chameleon, changing his style to fit his situation. He's experienced, seductive, and everything the spy, Johnathan, can't resist. Johnathan has a past marked by pain and betrayal on both a personal and a professional level. His only previous lover was clearly unskilled and uninterested in intimacy, and being with Karl is a revelation to him. Their transition from wary once-adversaries to lovers is rapid, and the plot is quite dramatic.
Having enjoyed hugely Dee and Devon’s Gentleman and the Rogue I was eager to read this one—although a little trepidatious about the title and it seemed a bit similar, and I wondered if they weren’t just resting on their laurels and writing the same book twice.
However I shouldn’t have doubted them, because this is a very different book in time, flavour and feel.
The eponymous spy, Reese is introduced to us from the start and he sets the scene quite wonderfully, following on from an excellent first line:
“We aren’t asking you to kill the man”
we learn a lot about Reese, and nothing, because that’s the kind of shadowy spy he is. He gives nothing away, not in speech or in body language. He understands how to fake interest, how to fake non-aggression and he’s damned good at his job. We learn early on that he will no longer kill anyone—so he’s been an assassin at some point, and that he had a liaison with his former handler, and that something went terribly wrong there, and after that Reese changed. But not a lot else, and that’s how it should be. However as the story went on, I have to say that I would have liked to have seen more of how good Reese was at his job; he broke his cover pretty soon and wasn’t much of a spy during the story itself, although we had a hint of his excellence from his backstory.
His target couldn’t be more different on the surface. He’s assigned to follow Karl Johann Peter, Erb-Pfalzgraf von und zu Neuschlosswold-Binder (try saying that with a mouthful of chips) who seemingly everyone knows about. A famous aristocrat, diplomat with a huge retinue and a famous family—but with his own secrets to hide.
I loved the way the relationship started early, and the way that Binder was the experienced one, when I’d half expected it to be the other way around. Binder has good gaydar and his seduction of the man he’d already spotted as following him was quite delicious. There’s a lovely sense of paranoia from both men as they size each other up: what is he up to, who is working for, all these questions go through both men’s minds and it works well and is very believable, even for men who have just had an intimate encounter.
Both characters, Binder and Reese are excellently portrayed, each with a distinct personality and voice; they rub each other up the wrong way (and the right way in more intimate moments) and the cat and mouse and cat game that they play is great to read.
This nicely sums up the differences between them:
Maybe it was this somber aspect that drew Karl, since his own nature was more flamboyant. Jonathan seemed to have a stillness about him, an ability to sit quietly and take things in. He reminded Karl of a pool with a smooth surface and all sorts of dark, hidden depths. And every time Karl saw the pool, he was compelled to drag his hand through it and ruffle the waters. He just had to splash around, and he wanted to dive deep and see what secrets lay at the bottom.
Although I had to laugh at the last of that, but I’m twelve.
There’s many characters in this story, too, which is tightly plotted and multi-layered, and each character has a definite place and no one feels like “filler.”
Set in 1866 (and I think) just before the Austro-Prussian-Italian war I have to say that having been researching this period myself for the last six months I was impressed by the research done here in respect to the political situation in England and Germany at the time, touching lightly on unrest in Russia and other hotspots in Europe–(Europe being a veritable powder keg about to explode at any time.)
If you are looking for a sexy book, you won’t be disappointed, but the sex here is decadently sensual, full of round ripeness and a languid time-wasting hedonism that had my toes curling with delight. I’ve said it before that a sex scene needs to be part of the plot, and although (for the size of the book) the sex is a large proportion, it never once feels gratuitous and for once I was looking forward to the next one, rather than rolling my eyes with “oh God, they are at it again.” I appreciated the masculinity of the scenes, too—sometimes gay erotic can get a little too feminine for my taste. There’s little of the sighing over a pair of eyes or lips; at a party Karl imagines flipping up the tails of Reese’s evening jacket, yanking down his trousers and rogering him hard. Quite right, sir. Quite right.
When I’m writing these reviews I generally tap out quibbles as I find them, and it amused me vastly that the first major quibble I had, regarding Reese’s identity and the persona he’d booked in at the hotel were debunked thoroughly by Karl’s staff, which made me laugh that I’d thought that Dee and Devon would make such a simple error. Other than Claridge’s having unaired sheets (heavens, no!) nothing much other than the word “cum” making an appearance which I always dislike. That’s probably Loose ID’s style guide, not the authors’ choice though. And a few Americanisms which crept in here and there, like “wash-up” for washing. So well done, ladies.
If I have any complaint it’s to Loose I-D – PLEASE can you vary your covers a bit? These are all getting a bit samey.
It’s an exciting and robust tale with mouth-watering intrigue, political machinations, witty banter and some fizzlingly sensuous sex scenes and like The Gentleman and the Rogue (which if you haven’t read why the hell not?) I can’t recommend it highly enough. I want to take away these ladies’ pens until they promise they write nothing else but gay historicals. I just wish I could get a set of theirs in print.
Really liked it. The atmosphere, the characters, the romance, the German bits, the distinct voice changes with the changing POV's, and I didn't pinpoint the culprit too early on. Definitely recommended.
I read the ebook several times and knew the audio could differ from my inner eye. But I loved it. Two manly men, learning to trust and to let go of shame. I liked how they expressed their attraction and, later on, love. The narration was inconsistent. The voices were good and he performed the author's descriptions, but often he got a stilted tone. Further, I would have liked a true German accent. Todd Scott performing a German conjured unwanted images of British satire and other comical television.
Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon always come up with a good plot, and The Nobleman and the Spy is a truly terrific spy story! They wrapped me into the plot from the opening scene, and it never let up.
Fans of these authors also know what spectacular physical romance scenes are in each of their novels. Terrfic chemistry between Jonathan and Karl, and I really enjoyed the dangerous edge which surrounds their coupling.
Audio performed by Todd Scott who does a tremendous job - espescially with all of the different accents and the German. Well done!
I loved this book so much. A great historical mm romance book. I would have to say I think this is one of the best I have read so far. The story itself was very good and well thought out. I found myself wondering who was good and who was bad. The pace of the book was good too, I loved the way we caught a glimpse of how they knew each other.
Both characters were strong, and both had something that I loved. Karl was interesting to me, he was very flamboyant and not afraid to show it either. Even though back in the 1800's being gay was illegal. His character I fell in love with quite quickly. He was also a very trusting person, and even though it almost got him killed he still trusts.
Jonathan was another character altogether. He was a very independent character and he was also very unemotional. I admired his inner torture throughout this book, he struggled and fought with his emotions, but the end result was very nice. I had a deeper connection to him, and a better understanding of his thoughts, actions and feelings.
Overall I would say this book is worth a read, for everyone who is a fan of mm historical romances. :)
This book was nowhere near as engaging as The Gentleman & The Rogue. In fact, I was very surprised by how much better the latter was compared to Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon's (don't anyone dare miss Ms Devon out:P) latest. Neither of the characters were interesting even though they had all the potential. I didn't get very far, to be fair, so my 2-star rating is merely for the few chapters I read and struggled through to stay interested so the book may very well have picked up further along. If you've enjoyed Dee's (and Summer Devon's) previous books, I'd recommend that you don't miss this one as I could have just been in an odd mood when I picked it up.
I loved loved loved the first two books by these authors, but this one left me flat. I just couldn't like the characters as I had in the other books. I found Reese, the spy, to be sort of bland. Karl, the nobleman, didn't grab me, either. The sex was great, though. But I would've liked to see more exploration of Reese's submissiveness. There was a Big Misunderstanding - well, not so big, as the party involved came to his senses rather quickly, but a Misunderstanding nonetheless - and it didn't feel right to me. I think another problem I had was the tossing in of German sentences, and that might just be me - I don't like it when this sort of thing is used in any book, any language. It pulls me out too much. I still think this author combo is well worth reading, though.
An excellent m/m historical romance. I loved the opening scene where the two characters met on the battlefield. Karl and Jonathan were both very appealing and avoided cliche. I appreciated that they were both BAMF in their own way and neither was feminine or weak. The romance had its bumps in the road, but it never felt like the angst was deliberately manufactured to make a story. There was a mystery/conspiracy plotline that was quite good and had a surprise villain at the end. The sex was explicit and hot but always supported the narrative. The writing was as good or better than that in any mainstream historical romance. 5 stars from me!
Another audiobook. Falling deeper down the rabbit hole. Took a couple of chapters to get used to the narrator. There's always that starting bit that sounds like a lecture tape. I liked Jonathan and Karl. Bit of mystery but not really, its pretty obvious the father is scum. I liked that it was historical, it was softer and couple wise no drama. Secrets yes but they weren't an issue. I liked how Karl was gentle and kinda gave Jonathan new life.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The two things that killed this book for me were the first sexual encounter and a very fast wrapping up of the story in the end. First thing was the encounter - hmm - too early in the story, I guess. Sex for the sake of sex - nah, not my cup of tea. It was really well done and somehow was to the point, but I just couldn't understand why I had a feeling, that the scene was used just to get the reader's attention? Just to ensure them, that, "yeah, there will be sex scenes in the book! It was just the first one! And now, please, be patient, wait for the next ones and, while you are waiting, read about something that has actually more to do with the plot." Really. Looked like an excuse..
And the second thing was the ending. Just..too quick. I can't believe that the main villains were really that stupid (because they aren't really - so was said in the book) and that some important things just accidentally slipped from their mouths.
But I really liked the characters! Jonathan and Karl were amazing! They were well written and fleshed out throughout the book.
2.5 stars. Light, easy, and entertaining, but a bit frustrating. I've now read several books by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon because I love historicals, and clearly their books are just not for me. Maybe they're too light and casual for my tastes. I had a lot of niggles with this one. I had issues with the plot and there was a general lack of tension. The ending was quick and a little anticlimactic. Reese is meant to be this elite spy and at no point during the story did I believe it because he didn't act like one. From the beginning, I was struck by how poor a spy he was. There were many eye-rolling moments and there were too many skimmable sex scenes that didn't add anything. The characters, while likeable, often behaved in a casual, modern way that didn't strike me as particularly period-appropriate. While this story kept me entertained for an afternoon, it lacked the depth and substance I was hoping for.
Overall a good book, but it didn't grasp my attention as some others of these authors. My problems: - too much sex, and especially the first encounter was a bit difficult to believe. Both of them letting down the guard in front of a potential enemy met 5 minutes before? Ok, the spy had spied some two days, still.... - the bad is too bad and a bit stupid, and the good is too good and clever - the German bits now and then (and please notice, I do speak German, in fact also noticed some little typos) - some niggles with the plot. A few times I found myself pondering: ''Would someone act similarly in that situation?'', often the answer was: ''No!''.
I really enjoyed this audiobook. I'm a big fan of the writing duo of Devon and Dee and this is one of my favorites. I loved the development of Jonathan and Karl's relationship. I also liked the mystery of who was trying to kill Karl. I loved the ending.
The narrator, Todd Scott, was really good although Jonathan's accent seemed a little off. He was great with the other accents though and this was a thoroughly enjoyable audiobook!
This was sweet. Since it was enemies-to-lovers I was expecting a lot more sexual tension, but nope, they "got it on" pretty fast and they really weren't enemies for long. But I still enjoyed it and I thought the mystery was done well. I plan to look for more to read from these authors.
Overall 3 out of 5 stars Performance 5 out of 5 stars Story 3 out of 5 stars
Where has Todd Scott been all my life! While this story was entertaining, it was kind of lacking in comparison to other books by these authors. But the narration by Todd Scott more than made up for it! I think there were times I might have tuned out the words he was reading and just listened to his voice. He's a new to me narrator and his performance definitely made listening to this book more than worthwhile. I checked out his library of work and was happy to see he's narrating another book by Bonnie Dee, which I've already downloaded.
Well. This one's been sitting on my to-read list for a long time and as I was scrolling through said list last weekend I decided to finally download it and get started. I loved The Gentleman and the Rogue and The Gentleman's Keeper was a delightful read, too. But. sigh Why did there have to be a but?
I did like the choice of MC. Seeing a German be the dashing hero, irresistible, multilingual and overall likeable pleased me a lot because guess what... I'm German, too, and it's just so nice to see a lovely German guy in a romance novel for a change. He's a hero, yay, and a sexy one, yay!
I did not like reading badly researched German, though. I'm sure the authors have lots of readers who either are German (or Austrian, or Swiss) or who speak German and who would have loved a chance to help out. Instead they chose, well, I don't know what they did or whom they consulted. The German phrases are not horribly wrong per se, but something like 'Schatz, du machst mich so glücklich. Du gibst mir freude.' (page 72, ugh, why can't I find the exact location on that new Kindle of mine?)... that's just... ewww. You wouldn't say this in a context like that. Or 'Da hast du es, mein liebhaber.' Uhm, no. That would have to be 'mein Liebster'. Besides, all German nouns start with a capital letter.
This may sound horribly nitpicky to all non-German readers but it's such a turn-off when you get to the sexy scenes and the MC says things while in the throes of passion that make you giggle instead of fan yourself.
So, again THANKS to GymGuy for making this an easy review for me, and it's 2 stars out of 5. (One of the two is for the German MC. That was really nice for a change.)
These ladies are driving me up the wall--their historical m/m romances keep getting better and better even though the main plotlines are basically the same: Two men attracted to each other at various times in the 19th Century, in England, one a nobleman the other not quite or a commoner.
This one has electricity from the get-go, with ex-British soldier turned assassin and/or spy Jonathan Reese being assigned to shadow Karl von Binder, the half British half German scion of a major German ruling family right after the Crimean war when Britain and Germany were on opposite sides. A war where Reese and von Binder had an extraordinary encounter on the field that seals their fate in the years after the war--"into the valley of death..."
This one might cause you to raise your eyebrow at the encounters these two men find themselves in, the pure serendipity of how they come together and fall in a relationship that one deems fated and other deems star-crossed and fated to end in tragedy.
Real, believable characters, surprising and somewhat shocking plot twists and a denouement which will have your licking your lips, this one will make your hair, and some non-silicone parts of your body, simply stand on end.
I like this book. I admit I was quite hesitant to read this book at first but now I'm glad I picked it up. I like the dynamic of the two characters - A Graf and a Spy - from just a force of carnal desire to something more deeper. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book as well as the flow of the story. It is well written, short but enough to develop the story. And this book is really hot.
“Hard and hot in a storage closet is good, but I'll see you completely nude in a soft, comfortable bed yet.”
Both characters are likable; Karl, the easy-going yet intelligent nobleman, and Jonathan, the cautious yet naive in some ways spy. Jonathan's ignorance towards pleasure between men was really endearing. It was entertaining to read Karl's perseverance to show more to Jonathan. And there was plenty of sex. Really hot sex. Though considering their standing in the society, it was rather quick for them to get intimate with each other after just meeting for a few minutes.
For those who like historical romance specially with m/m erotica, I recommend this book. As for me, I'm off to read more from these authors. :)
Not a badly written story. The sex was written in a somewhat cliche manner. It was hot, but it did not entirely seem to fit with the rest of the story. The relationship developed quite quickly. The author sometimes switched perspectives between the two members of the couple. I did not really find anything remarkable about this book. I guess the action elements were relatively well-integrated with the romance elements.
There was a couple of times where the heroes were too dense and did not realize something that should have been obvious. From the summary I was expecting more of a kidnapping. Instead, the book was merely the story of a spy, Johnathan, being sent to spy on a nobleman, Karl, he had previously encountered on a battlefield. They fall in love at first sight, based on their history, and have repeated sex. Johnathan (usually called Reese, his last name, by the author) has a history of bad sexual encounters and is a little reserved. Someone tries to assassinate Karl and they go into hiding briefly, before some more assassination attempts are resolved and they can live happily(ish) ever after.