Book Review: Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Parting Shot by Mary CalmesTitle: Parting Shot
Series: A Matter of Time, Book 7
Author: Mary Calmes
Genre: Romantic Suspense, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: July 19, 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Loved this intense romance with emotionally vulnerable men even with its implausible plot.

The Set Up: Duncan’s an undercover police officer who’s never found a man he wanted enough to risk his job. Aaron is a billionaire hotel tycoon who is used to controlling everything and everyone around him. These two men meet and can’t believe how passionate and possessive they feel toward each other. But Duncan’s latest assignment is going to put both men in a position they never expected to find themselves in.

Why I Read this Book: I’ve enjoy Mary Calmes’ books and look forward to reading her new releases.

What I Liked: I absolutely adored Duncan and Aaron. They’re both mature, masculine men who fumble their way toward a committed relationship. I was astounded at how early in the book they admit their feelings for each other but in doing so it enveloped the entire novel in an emotional cauldron. Instead of the emotional declarations being the end of the men’s emotional intimacy, it was the beginning and I ate this with a spoon! Aaron and Duncan don’t play games with each other and openly communicate which I also loved. For instance, Aaron mistakes something Duncan does as an attempt to pull away from their relationship and tries to use sex to communicate with Duncan but Duncan sees the fear in Aaron and instead the men talk about the issue which led to even more incendiary sex. I couldn’t get enough of the two masculine characters here and think their romance perfectly balances the sexual and emotional intimacy.

I really loved the honesty these two characters had with each other, especially considering they both were playboys. Aaron admits why he feels differently about Duncan than his flavors-of-the-month. Duncan is honest about how difficult merging his life with Aaron’s will be since Aaron lives under constant public scrutiny. Even the event that separates them in the novel’s middle didn’t feel forced but to me came from how these men felt about each other.

What I Also Liked: I also liked the secondary characters of Aaron’s brother, Duncan’s partner and the people who work for Aaron. Duncan and Aaron are clearly the focus of this novel but their relationship doesn’t happen in a social vacuum and I always like this in books.

The plot was a mixed bag for me. Aaron’s father’s hostile take-over of his business was a good plot and provided lots of character development which I like. The interwoven plot of Duncan’s undercover assignment which Aaron helps with was wacky and outlandish in my opinion. It provided lots of opportunity for sexual excess which is never bad in my opinion but it also was a bit garish and ended with a fizzle.

What I Didn’t Like: I did feel a bit dropped into the relationship in the novel’s beginning. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t kept up to date with the Jory and Sam books that Duncan and Aaron were introduced in. Here the first twenty pages made me feel like I didn’t have any character introductions and needed them. But this soon melted away when I got to know these uber-yummy men.

IMO: I wasn’t done spying on Duncan and Aaron’s relationship at novel’s end and sincerely hope we get more stories featuring these delicious characters in their emotional and erotic romance. Normally I don’t give a 5 frog rating if there are any issues with the book but I will absolutely re-read this book and barely remember my piddle issue with the book it was so enjoyable!

J9’s Rating:
5 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. I have the first four books in this series on my TBR bookshelf. It looks like I need to pull them off soon. 5 frogs....Wow! smiles...

    1. I have to say, I wasn't a Jory fan (one of the leads of the first four books) I just didn't fall in love with him like so many other readers did. So I was skeptical going in on this book but wowsa, it was intense and I just loved this book! LMK what you think. Oh, and you don't need to read the first four in this series to get to this one since it doesn't feature Jory/Sam.

    2. ooh, good to know. Thanks, J9. This says it's I need to read any of the ones before this one or does it work as a stand alone?

    3. Nope, it can be read as a stand alone, don't need to read any others imo. Aaron is a character in one of the Jory books as the rich lover Jory is with when he and Sam are on break but I hadn't read that book. I may have liked this book more since I didn't have that baggage...

  2. :-O
    I didn't know about this series. How did that happen? On my TBR list :D

    1. Well, I didn't love the first books in the series but they don't feature these leads. Aaron is a different character here than in the earlier books when he's the guy one of the leads is with when that lead is separated from the other lead, if that makes any sense! Other MM readers order Jory and the series but I'm meh on Jory and those books in the series, though loooved this one!