Review: Her Shirtless Gentleman by MQ Barber

her shirtless gentlemanReviewed by Shelly

It took me a while to write this review after reading this story, only because it’s a pretty simple concept, but the journey for Rob and Nora is complex yet satisfying. I know you‘d most likely appreciate words from me versus the finger gestures and emoticons that I had during and after reading. Unlike many romance stories, this time it’s the hero who’s sure of the relationship and what he wants and expects. There’s no wishy washy non-sense about his way of life and not wanting to build his own family and all that jazz. Rob’s in his mid to late 30’s and while his siblings are all married and have children, he’s been waiting for that ‘one’ and when he finds her, he’s got one job – don’t chase her off. That single thing is harder than he ever anticipated because his ‘one’ is still getting over the crap that her ex-husband put her through.

This is a slow build into their relationship; there’s no immediate sexual encounter and but there’s chemistry and the art of dating and getting to know each other that works really well. Nora’s in her early 30’s and newly divorced. That’s not to say that she’s newly separated, she and the ex where unhappily living together for a couple of years prior; so she’s been over whatever niceness that he ever possessed. One of the many things that I enjoyed about Nora was that she knew what she didn’t want; she wasn’t sure about what she wanted, to which Rob was patient and understanding. He didn’t rush her and leave her with feelings of inadequacy or being unworthy and that made for a better story.

Rob…what can I say about Rob? He’s such a nice guy. He has his faults but he uses them for good and not evil. He’s willing to put in the work and defeat Nora’s emotional baggage that’s been such a part of her life because he knows that patience will work in his favor. He teases Nora out of her shell and when she needs protecting, he’s the man for the job there too.

The writing in this was smart, fun, and oh yes, sexy – who doesn’t enjoy those sweet nothings whispered at the dinner table?

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: A

*Book provided by publisher via NetGalley for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Her Shirtless Gentleman
by M.Q. Barber
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Press


  1. Joyce Dingman says:

    Nice review Shelly………. To be fair I would have bought the book anyway but it was nict to be reminded of what a super writer M.Q. is. I love her heros……..such as they may be faults and all. But I clicked on the link and bought it as soon as I finished the review. Thanks for reminding me that it was out!!

    • Shelly Browne says:

      Glad you liked the review. What I enjoy the most about Barber’s writing is the consistency in her characters personalities, no wishy washy nonsense.

  2. Another one I’ve downloaded tonight, thanks to the reviews. I love finding new authors – haven’t read anything by MQ Barber yet so hopefully this will be the start of a beautiful readership! x

    • Let me know what you think.

      • Hi Shelly, sorry to say but I didn’t much enjoy this book! I was disappointed as it had scored so highly and usually the reviews on here are bang on for me. Maybe I read too many romances but I found this book formulaic and pretty dull. There wasn’t enough story for me and it felt bland and very unsexy. Also the character development wasn’t there enough, it felt like the author had just peppered in little characted traits rather than truly creating a character, e.g. ‘He’d swear on a bible, a calculator, the federal interest rates – whatever she believed most sacred’. Yep, so I remember she’s an accountant. Okay. Also see the cringe-making ‘His cock banged at his zipper harder than a hacker at a firewall.’ He’s meant to be some sort of soldier/intel guy (though he never does any work). Plus they only spoke in banter or vulnerability. Not natural conversation. It made Nora come across as bi-polar. Didn’t enjoy and won’t read anything else by the author.
        Strangely, I did like the ending. I forced myself to finish the book and found that bit most atmospheric.

        • Shelly Browne says:

          Hi Jo,

          I totally understand that you and I won’t agree on liking the same books but I’m so thrilled you were willing to give it a read 😉

          I got 2 things out of your post. 1) Although I write my reviews to offer my thoughts on stories, it makes my heart happy to know that I expose readers to stories they might or might not have customarily read. 2) I’m perfectly okay with you not enjoy all the books that I like. That’s what makes me and you interesting to be around.

          Happy reading!

          • Thanks for the reply. I’d just like to add that Redhotbooks has given me so many new book and author recommendations. I check the site every week or so for new reviews and can’t thank you guys enough for taking the time to share your thoughts. You’ve definitely expanded my reading horizons. Jo xx

          • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

            That is awesome to hear! Thanks, Jo. 🙂

        • Joyce Dingman says:

          Hello Jo V. I’m so sorry that you didn’t like “Her shirtless Gentleman” by M.Q. Actually, I wasn’t that wild about it myself. It sorta drug for me and the love scenes didn’t inspire me. MQ is actually one of my very favorite authors and I read a LOT. Please try “Playing the game ” by her. If you can’t fall in love with Henry you have a heart of stone… I hate the name by the way but he is such a super guy that I forgive his parents for the giving him the awful moniker.( I posted a review on Amazon or Goodreads about it.) It’s book one of a series and I just pre ordered the last one and. I can hardly wait. You will love Alice as she tries to find her place with Henry,……. and Jay. The story grows and grows on you. It is warm, involved and a super story. …………but please, don’t miss out on a really super read because you picked the wrong book to start.
          Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try…………Joywon

          • Hi Joywon, you are ON! I will take that recommendation and buy Playing the Game tonight. I’m just finishing another book so am looking for something new so your message has perfect timing.

            I am more than happy to fall in love with Henry (I don’t mind the name so far) and intruiged with how the heroine finds a place with two guys. Sounds interesting! I’ll let you know what I think and thank you!

          • Joyce Dingman says:

            Hello Jo…………I’m so happy that your going to give MQ another chance. She is a really good author. I think she has the best blend of hot sex scenes, and emotional story lines that tug at us. I loved Henry!! All the little nuances that keep Alice headed right where Henry wants her to go are wonderful. You can’t help rooting for Alice who feels like an unloved third wheel for most of the early story, and it’s great to see her finally find her place between Henry and Jay. The story continues to grow as Henry brings the three of them together in new and unexpected ways. When Jay is hurt by an old relationship it’s interesting to watch Henry orchastrate the healing. Each book is a stand alone but complimented by the ones that come before. As I stated in the review of Bk 4, I actually think it should be Bk 1 but I understand why MQ couldn’t do that. I probably wouldn’t have read the series if it had been that way, because I wouldn’t have read a story about 2 men. But after you know them it’s great to take a look back and see how they met. What I liked best about this series is that I truly liked these people. They were warm, caring, and flawed but they were so loving with each other. I can hardly wait for the last book, and yes I’ve pre- ordered it! Boy am I going to be mad if I die before I get to read it!!! ……

            PS …………but just in case put “Alice close your eyes,” by Avril Dean on your MUST READ list.
            (I have reread it 4 times in the last 6 months.)

          • Joy – I need your help. (And that of any others reading this book). I’m about 40% through and really enjoying it (hooray!) but I have a problem in that I can’t imagine Henry very well. I’ve got an older gay friend who’s very similar to the description of Henry, thus has taken Henry’s place in my imagination and I can’t make him sexy in any way! I just want him to leave Alice and Jay to fall in love and for him to go away. This isn’t right. What I need help with is replacing this image in my mind. Give me an actor or character in a film or TV series who I can use as Henry please!!!

            Jo xx

  3. Shelly Browne says:

    Jo – you made my day!

  4. Joyce Dingman says:

    Well..I guess I’m going to show my age but when I read Henry I alway saw Cary Grant, an actor from the 60s. He had the exact qualities that Henry has…………Great voice, diction and nice way about him and sexy without trying…….. You may have to google him or look for a few of his old movies. I’ll try to think of some of the newer actors altho none of them have that absolute gentleman down pat. I’m so glad you liked it. My problem was with Jay………… I hated that she described him as having puppy dog qualities………… turned me off. I’d need someone stronger with a quality of confidence. Happy reading.

    • Shelly Browne says:

      I agree on the Cary Grant qualities primarily b/c of the poise and diction. And because I don’t think of Henry as a particularly imposing in size kinda guy but more presence in a room kinda guy there’s a relatively unknown Canadian actor, Kyle Schmid, I tend picture in my head when I think of Henry. Schmid played an older character by the name of Henry Fitzroy (vampire I believe) in a since cancelled TV show (Blood Ties if I remember correctly).

      For the absolute manners of a gentleman – that’s a hard one but who comes to mind is Robert Wagner’s Jonathan Hart.

      A few people have mentioned the Jay/puppy qualities and I could see that. Those descriptions give me a visual for Jay and the only person I can picture there is Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Premium Rush.

      • Joyce Dingman says:

        I’ll have to google Kyle Schmid because altho I read the books and loved the character of Fitzroy … I never saw the TV show. I’m thinking that it wasn’t offered in our area because I would have watched it. I agree that Robert Wagner was great in that series but he’s just too nice to be Henry. He doesn’t have the inner “Dom” thing going that he’d need for Henry. I guess that maybe he is just too “pretty” . I’ll keep thinking on it…………maybe Tyrone Powers………..I still watch him if he’s on reruns. He had the manners, a wonderful deep baritone, and Wow….the looks…….lol

        • Thanks for all the answers! Just had a mammoth youtube session to look at all the suggestions and track down my Henry. I like Cary Grant so far – also from my home town so that’s a bonus. I think a cross between him and Tyrone Powers will do it. Also, thanks for introducing me to Kyle Schmid – seriously, thanks.
          I didn’t mind the Jay character being puppy-like. It’s working for me so far. I like vulnerability and playfulness more than the domineering type.
          Am off to revisualise my guy. Night lovely ladies xx

  5. Joyce Dingman says:

    Hey Jo…………I’m laughing……………revisualise……… if only all life were that simple! If I were really nice i’d send you a picture of my husband from about 30 years ago………….. Maybe not cause thats just too mean to both of us. My Mother told me if I married him I would never be bored and boy was she right! Those were the days…………… when he said’ “come here”………. boy I did. Smile……….

    • Haha! You saucy minx 😉 I’d like to see that photo!
      And just for clarity, I meant revisualise my Henry, not my lovely other half. He’s just fine 🙂

  6. Joyce Dingman says:

    OK Jo…………..HELP!! How do I delete my last name from this column?? I haven’t posted much and I’m still trying to figure this out……………. You can get in touch with me at joywon12@yah address if you really want to see a picture of wonder man……………lol ……..It’s a wonder if he can stay awake after dinner………….. My how times change.

    • Hey Joy, sorry I don’t know how to take your surname off. Maybe one of the admin can help? Thanks for the email address – I wonder how your fella would feel about getting his photo circulated around the world haha? Am sure it would be VERY interesting though 😉
      Am going to go review Playing the Game now. Your recommendation rock!

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