Sparring With Shadows - Erin O'Quinn 4 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Michael and Simon discover that the Brown Man has given the local police the slip, trying to recapture the man they discover he might have been involved in the robbery of a rare carbuncle and they are tasked to the capture of the Brown Man and the recovery of the precious stone. Simon has to examine his own reactions to discover just what it is he really wants, Michael may have chased him down but it is Simon who holds all the cards.

This is a pretty good story looking into the the secret underbelly of a fictional Irish city and two men who investigate crime. Michael and Simon have much on their plate as the Brown Man escapes, Michael figures the man is much more than just an accomplice and decides to dig deeper but they have watchers of their own. Simon and Michael end up captured as they hunt for the carbuncle and it takes some nifty footwork of both of them and their little helper Mouse to escape. While all this is going on Simon is struggling with his sexuality as Michael works his charm.

I enjoyed this story, watching Simon and Michael trying to keep one step ahead of the Brown Man and to ensure the Brown Man is captured. Seeing them put together the pieces of what the man is doing, and having Simon act as a distraction. Michael's and Simon's relationship has it's own game of sparring at shadows, as Michael has laid down his own feelings and Simon is still struggling with his own feelings and the sexual acts themselves. They make a great investigating team and the progress of the story is well paced, I liked that Simon angsted over his feelings and tried to damp down the flush of lust so he could think clearly. Michael seemed to be horny most of the time even at inconvenient times and he could have toned it back a bit. They make an interesting pair and although the investigation was exciting and dangerous I ended up wanting the more mundane investigations we saw in the previous book.

I recommend this if you love investigations turning dangerous, rescues and escapes, admitting to your feelings, historicals and a great ending.