Review: Aces Up – C.J. Baty

Aces Up Book Cover Aces Up
The Pinkerton Man Book 3
C.J. Baty
M/M Historical Mystery
June 25, 2019

Stiles Long emphatically did not want his lover, Michael O’Leary to go on the assignment he had been given. He didn’t care that Michael was an amazing poker player or that his commander thought Michael was the perfect man for the job. He almost lost Michael once. He couldn’t go through that again.

Michael needed this. He needed to prove that he was able to take care of himself. He didn’t need Stiles to take care of him. He needed to be Stiles’ equal. The poker game in Durango, Colorado was his chance to prove that. The fact that Stiles didn’t want him to go didn’t matter. Michael had to do this.

Lizzie Ferguson was Stiles partner in the Pinkerton Agency. She was a good agent. That didn’t mean, she had to like being dressed in satin and lace, showing way too much of her body to total strangers. Lizzie knew there was more going on at Maverick’s Saloon, and it might just cost her life.

None of them suspected that a simple poker game would turn into a deadly nightmare. If the three of them weren’t careful, one of them might just end up the next victim.

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

When the head of the Pinkerton Agency in St. Louis decides that it is time Stiles’ lover Michael got his feet wet and took an assignment he would be perfect for Stiles was less than happy, he almost lost Michael on their last assignment and had no intention of living through something like that again but at Michael’s insistence he was taking his first assignment playing poker at the Maverick Saloon in Durango, Colorado. Michael was perfect for the assignment since he was an excellent card player.

Lizzi, Stiles’ partner was already at the Saloon working and Michael and Stiles knew they had to keep their distance from each other while on the job so each took separate trains, the Pinkerton Agency was hired by the owner of the Saloon, Birdie Maverick to keep the game honest and to watch over the money which would be considerable since the buy in was $10,000 a person.

While on the train a man was found dead and he was only one of the people that would meet the same fate, some of who were women and had no direct involvement in the poker tournament. In spite of their plan to stay away from each other Stiles and Michael couldn’t do it, they were two men so in love that not being able to touch and speak to each other was torture. Unfortunately they lived in a time when being gay was a death sentence and although today it is a different story there are still bigots out there ready, willing and able to cause pain to those who are different.

Michael and Stiles receive threatening letters accusing them of being perverts so their attempt at keeping a low profile obviously didn’t work but they still have a job to do and it becomes more and more apparent that there is more than one murderer and more than one scheme going on. One of the murderers was not hard to believe but the other was a surprise. Even the sheriff is not blameless in what is happening. Of everyone at this tournament there are only three people who can be trusted, Stiles, Michael and Lizzie and they have to live in order to bring the guilty parties to justice.

Although this book is a mystery the love story between Michael and Stiles is beautiful and their determination to live a long life with each other while keeping the world outside away except for the few who know their story such as Lizzie who finds it hard to believe people would condemn someone for loving a person of the same sex.

Love this series and can’t wait for more.

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