The Two Gentlemen of Altona, book 1, Playing The Fool series by Lisa Henry and JA Rock.
Mac and Henry aren’t just an odd couple—they’re completely improbable: a tough-as-nails, by-the-book FBI agent who picked the wrong week to give up caffeine and donuts, and a young con man who’s as handsome as he is difficult to pin down. But when they’re stuck on the run together, the snark and heat reach Shakespearean proportions. Or maybe that’s just Henry’s flair for the dramatic.
Rural Indiana has never seen an accidental crime-fighting duo quite like this. But when the danger’s over and the play’s done, Mac and Henry may have to write their own script to find a happy ending.
Mischief, thou art afoot.
Special Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page—the world’s most irritating witness—alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically-challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.
Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.
When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.
An Excerpt from the Two Gentlemen of Altona...
Chapter OneMac was first on the scene, if you didn’t count the local cops. Which Mac didn’t. It was all very well for Val to go on about fostering a spirit of cooperation blah blah blah, but Mac had been after Dean Maxfield for months now, and no local cop was going to fuck it up for him. Also, it was one in the morning, and Mac hadn’t had coffee in eight and a half hours, and he was feeling it. So cooperation was very much off the table.
The winding driveway of Gloria Maxfield’s Carmel home was full of police cars. Blue flashing strobes lit up the facade of the house. It was enough to draw most of the neighbors out. They stood in clusters on the sidewalk, in robes and slippers.
Who the fuck wore slippers anyway?
Mac growled at the spectacle as he climbed out of his car. He slammed the door, then ducked under the crime scene tape that had been wound between the mailbox and a fence post and twined through the hedges like tinsel.
A man walked down the driveway toward him.
Youngish. Hottish. Someone Mac might have even paid more attention to if he hadn’t been busting to get inside and get to business.
“Agent . . .?” the young guy said, sticking out his hand.
“McGuinness.” Mac stared up at the front door of the house.
“Richard Falstaff, Carmel PD.”
“What’ve we got?” Mac asked, frowning at the spectators.
“It’s Gloria Maxfield’s house. Dean Maxfield’s aunt. Looks like there was some kind of family gathering tonight, and—”
“What sort of family gathering?” Mac knew the basics already.
“The aunt’s birthday.” Falstaff ran a hand through his hair. “So Dean turned up with one Pete O’Flannery, the victim. The other guests had already left when those two had an altercation in the kitchen, and Maxfield shot O’Flannery.”
Pete O’Flannery. Dean Maxfield’s right-hand man. And, unfortunately, the guy Mac had been leaning on for the past two weeks to turn informant. So much for that.
“Where was Gloria?” Mac asked.
“She’d gone to bed. Claims she didn’t hear anything. She’s as good as deaf without her hearing aids.”
“One. Some college kid who’s been staying with Gloria Maxfield.” Falstaff looked toward the house. “Probably had no idea what he’d walked into. The uniforms have got him separated in the bathroom. I figured you guys would want to talk to him before we haul him back to the station.”
Some of Mac’s foul mood lifted. “Thanks.” He headed toward the front of the house, but Falstaff didn’t fall into step beside him. “You coming?”
“Left my phone in my car. I’ll catch up.”
Mac nodded at him, and couldn’t help watching for a moment as Falstaff walked toward the street. Helpful guy. And a nice ass. Two of Mac’s favorite qualities.
Mac headed into the house. A Spanish-style two-story that would have looked out of place among the old stone homes of Carmel’s historic district, except that the privacy landscaping toned down the sore thumb effect. It was larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside, and Mac couldn’t help noting that old ladies decorated pretty much the same way everywhere, regardless of money. It reminded Mac of his grandma’s house—cluttered and too quaint. There was a framed copy of the Lord’s Prayer in the front hall, beside a black-and-white photograph of a young boy with dark hair and gappy teeth. Dean?
Every crim used to be an innocent child, and all that bullshit.
The local guys had Dean Maxfield cuffed in the living room. Empty wineglasses and beer cans stood on the side tables, and someone had overturned a basket of pretzels near the entertainment center. Mac didn’t like the look of the two cops—big and stupid, he thought, but he nodded at them, because Val would want him to. He wished Falstaff would hurry back. He’d seemed intelligent enough, at least.
Dean Maxfield was chewing gum and looking pretty unimposing for a mob boss. Leathery face flabby, like the rest of his body. Dark, combed-back hair, and curly, out-of-control eyebrows like an old man’s. He had a cream jacket on over a charcoal mock turtleneck, and there was a dark stain on the cuff of his pants.
“Agent McGuinness,” Mac told the cops. “FBI.” He turned to Maxfield. “You must be Dean Maxfield. Been looking forward to introducing myself.”
Maxfield smacked his gum. He grinned suddenly. “You look like a penis.”
For more information on this book/series, the Authors or to read the excerpt in its entirety, visit Riptide Publishing.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house a log-suffering partner, too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
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