Note: This book is an updated version of [b:Gobsmacked|6224490|Gobsmacked (Men of Smithfield, #1)|L.B. Gregg|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1234074499s/6224490.jpg|6405196] which is no longer available.
Okay, so this started out much better than I expected. I knew it was one of a series of romances starring different characters. In general, my experience with those has been that they're formulaic, cheesy and mediocre. I often still enjoy them so I keep reading, but my expectations aren't high.
So I was pleasantly surprised when the book started out as funny. I mean, the first thing the MC does is hit his ex over the head with a bible in church. There were a lot of funny moments like that. But... the MC is kind of a jerk during the story, although mostly because of the news he's heard. The MC's ex is definitely a jerk. The love interest, Tony? Major jerk. He treats Mark like crap. I think we're supposed to think he's doing it out of love and frustration, like so many other formulaic books out there do, but he just comes across as an asshole most of the time.
There was a lot of promise of action, and there was some, but it never went where I wanted it to go. It kind of twisted out of control and ended up with someone being blamed for something that didn't make sense or not being blamed for something that would have made sense. It was all very strange.
There was potential in that crimes were being committed on both sides, but nothing came of it. One of the major problems is never dealt with. Instead, Mark says, basically, "Oh well. I'll never recover the $20,000, I'll live," like he's not even going to try to get it back from future earnings or anything.
The big finale came and went before I realized it was the finale. I thought it was just another semi-thrilling scene that would lead up to the finale. And then Tony gets mad at Mark for not listening to him, even though Mark ended up saving someone's life. He doesn't even acknowledge that, nor does he ever really change.
Tony never really even apologizes for bad behavior. One time he says a general kind of "I'm sorry" but it's excusable because he loves Mark. I wanted to throttle him.
There were things I liked enough that I think I'll read the next one, but I really don't like how the characters interacted so it had better improve.
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because I wasn't struggling to get through it.