The Henchmen of Zenda

The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: Reviewed by Lost in a Book.
Also reviewed on @BMBR.

Tag team with Adam

The Henchmen of Zenda

Blurb:

Swordfights, lust, betrayal, murder: just another day for a henchman.

Jasper Detchard is a disgraced British officer, now selling his blade to the highest bidder. Currently that’s Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. Michael wants the throne for himself, and Jasper is one of the scoundrels he hires to help him take it. But when Michael makes his move, things don’t go entirely to plan—and the penalty for treason is death.

Rupert of Hentzau is Michael’s newest addition to his sinister band of henchmen. Charming, lethal, and intolerably handsome, Rupert is out for his own ends—which seem to include getting Jasper into bed. But Jasper needs to work out what Rupert’s really up to amid a maelstrom of plots, swordfights, scheming, impersonation, desire, betrayal, and murder.

Nobody can be trusted. Everyone has a secret. And love is the worst mistake you can make.

A retelling of the swashbuckling classic The Prisoner of Zenda from a very different point of view.

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3.75 Stars

It’s official, I’ll absolutely read it if KJC writes it. The Henchmen of Zenda is an intriguing, snarky, ever changing ride with a psychopathic Duke, his hired swords, and never ending betrayals.

Please check out the warning KJC has issued on this book. It isn’t a romance but there are romantic-ish elements. There are smexy times and a very compatible pairing between the MCs. However, the romantic-ish elements should be classified as more of mutual understanding with open communication and a fond unconventional companionship.

Jasper Detchard and Rupert of Hentzau are working side by side as hired swords for Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. They immediately dislike each other as Hentzau is social with a zest for life that Jasper finds infuriating. Their wit and challenges soon turn to a partnership with benefits as they work under Elphberg and around the schemes to unseat a future king.

The plot shifts constantly throughout as circumstances change and alliances are made. I’ve never read The Prisoner of Zenda and will say that this version is definitely not for the squeamish. There is a trigger warning for abuse of a secondary character. There are also many murders that take place in detail.

The beginning and end of the story are fast paced and captivating. There was a lull throughout the middle that took a bit longer to get through but the quality of writing never falters. I appreciate the strong representation with the women characters and the support of them by the MCs. Obviously I would have liked more romantic elements because I like a side of *swoon* with my reads. However, that’s on me since we are clearly warned. I’m glad I took a chance and recommend it for those that love historical adventure.

Kidnapped by the Pirate

Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews: Review by Lost in a Book

Kidnapped by the Pirate

Blurb:

Will a virgin captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?

Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, the governor of Primrose Isle, he’s sailing to the fledging colony, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain. Then pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life, but men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with Nathaniel’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. Although Hawk knows he must keep his distance, the desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. It’s not as though Hawk would ever feel anything for him besides lust…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented, and he sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. The crew has been promised the ransom Nathaniel will bring, yet as danger mounts and the time nears to give him up, Hawk’s biggest battle could be with his own heart.

This May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews features classic tropes including: a tough alpha pirate too afraid to love, a plucky virgin captive half his age, enemies to lovers, first-time sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending. 85,000 words.

 

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4.25 stars

There’s just something about pirates that make me want to sail away on the open seas with my very own badass, sword swinging side piece. I’ll just have to settle for being a fly on the wall as Captain Hawk and Nathaniel come together and then come together.

Please check out the blurb because it does a great job explaining the premise of the story in detail about Captain Hawk, the score he wants the settle, and how it relates to Nathaniel.

I really enjoyed this story about a Captain that secretly wants peace and a sheltered Nathaniel that has only ever known what it’s like to be deemed a failure. The men are drawn to each other from the very beginning even though Nathaniel is treated as a prisoner. He has a sweet and eager demeanor that slowly breaks down the hardened Captain.

Kidnapped by the Pirate is entertaining, enthralling, and has a list of elements that would make me one-click. Bonus is that it’s all very well delivered. We have pirates, submission, an age-gap, sexual discovery, historical setting (FYI- not historically accurate), angst, and enemies to lovers all within the pages of incredible world building and well fleshed primary and secondary characters. Let’s not forget the sexy times.

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Captain Hawk and Nathaniel’s transition from enemies to lovers is realistic and the HEA is hard fought and well deserved. The epilogue is sugary sweet but still left me giddy AF.

I listened the audio version of this and was very happy with the narration. Cornell Collins did a great job bringing all the characters to life and I would definitely listen to another audio narrated by him.

Definitely recommended.

Think of England

Think of England by KJ Charles: Review by Lost in a Book

Think of England (Think of England, #1)

Blurb:

Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…

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4 Stars

Well, this was gruesome with a game of Clue vibe. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe?

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Not so much. But, it did have suspense, intrigue, and a side of romance. Captain Archie Curtis is on the hunt for clues after a military incident gone tragically wrong. He ends up at a country house full of other guests with seemingly gracious hosts. It’s there he meets Daniel da Silva, another house guest. Daniel is unapologetically campy with a poets heart and a badass set of skills. I LOVE him. Seriously, he has a Julius’-esque (from KJC’s Society of Gentlemen series) fierceness with a brand of snark that could be dressed up as something that sounded sweet, but only someone with at least half a brain would understand the razor sharp cut of his remarks. Brilliant.

Curtis and Daniel together is FIYAHHHHHH. The Captain has gone through life without exploring his sexuality and is able to have a glorious awakening at the hands of Daniel. There is some romance in Think of England but it isn’t the focus. It has a solid HFN that I believed with very likable characters. One more time for Daniel. *purrs*

As I mentioned above, this story is gruesome and with many parts that had me wishing for a Xanax with a side of wine. It took a tad longer for me to read because I *knew* something was going to happen and if I continued, I would need to sleep with the light on.

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Fine!! I did it and liked it… even if I needed some warm milk and a blanket to soothe my nerves and missing fingernails. It got intense. Thankfully the romance let me catch my breath. One thing I’ve noticed time and time from KJC is her ability write strong main and secondary characters. She doesn’t have to take away the women’s backbones in her stories to prop up the men. Just like she doesn’t have to have one doormat male to make the other seem more masculine or strong. Everyone is able to stand on their own but it’s always better to have people at your back. It’s absolutely refreshing to see this translate in her books every time. The non-villianous women and the MCs in Think of England were legit with steel backbones that left me smiling.

Definitely recommended for fans of suspense and historical romance.

New Release & Giveaway for Bed of Flowers

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Bed of Flowers by Erin Satie is LIVE!  First in a new series, Sweetness and Light.

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About Bed of Flowers:

Bonny Reed is beautiful, inside and out.

A loyal friend and loving daughter, she’s newly engaged to her small town’s most eligible bachelor. She’s happy for herself—but mostly for her family, who need the security her marriage will bring.

An old enemy shatters her illusions.

First Baron Loel cost Bonny’s family her fortune. Now he’s insisting that her fiancé has hidden flaws, secrets so dark that—if she believed him—she’d have to call off the wedding.

How will she choose?

When the truth comes out, Bonny will have to choose between doing what’s right and what’s easy. Between her family and her best friend. And hardest of all—between her honor and the love of a man who everyone wants her to hate.

Get your copy today:

Amazon      iBooks      Google Play      Kobo      Barnes & Noble

 

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Excerpt #1:

This is from Loel’s perspective; he’s just kissed Bonny’s wrist.

“You know that you are beautiful,” he said.
She began to shake her head, but he didn’t wait for her to contradict him. He would not offer the courtesy of pretense.
“I do not think you understand how beautiful.” How could she? She’d never seen much of the world. He’d circled the globe and he’d never met another woman who could compare. “If you wanted a husband who would prostrate himself at your feet and worship you, you would have no trouble finding one. If you demanded this of him every day of your married life, year after year until his knees crumbled to dust, he would still get down on those ruined knees to thank God that you chose him.”
Miss Reed tittered. “Don’t be absurd.”
He was dead serious and she knew that, too. “If Charles Gavin has convinced you that he is your equal, he is a liar. When you chose him, it was an act of grace.”

Excerpt #2:

Loel has been sick and Bonny has been nursing him back to health. He’s finally recovering and now that he can think straight, he realizes that he shouldn’t be all alone in his greenhouse with an unmarried woman. (They’re in a greenhouse because it’s warm, and because he raises orchids for a living).

“You shouldn’t be here,” said Loel.
Bonny abandoned the lever pump with the water tank only half full. She’d fought her family and she’d been ready to defend herself against the whole town of New Quay—all for Lord Loel. Who, it turned out, also wanted her to go.
“As you like.” She snatched up her things and waved at the basket. “That’s for you. It should see you through the day and perhaps most of tomorrow. Best of luck for a speedy recovery.”
“Wait.”
Bonny flicked him a scathing glance. He’d work himself to exhaustion, fall over—probably hit his head on the way down—and lapse back into a fever. And he’d deserve it.
“I’m thinking of you,” he said.
“You and everyone else.” Bonny’s anger cooled. Without it, she was just… tired. “But I was thinking of you.”
“Well, stop.” He covered his face with his hands, breathing hard. “Did I ask for your regard? Did I invite it?”
“No.” Quite the opposite, actually. In the beginning, she’d intruded and he’d chased her away. Their encounters had proceeded more or less according to the same template ever since.
And yet she would have sworn that he was fond of her.
“Would you be more comfortable if I fetched you some clothes?” she asked. “If you tell me where—”
“Go.” His head sank further toward his lap. “Please.”
Bonny sank down to her knees. Something like curiosity drove her, a nagging conviction that she was on the verge of an important discovery. She gently pulled Lord Loel’s hands away from his face.
The torment she read in his expression startled her. He’d been sick and now he was nearly better. He ought to be happy.
“You’re upset. Why?”
“Because your kindness is wasted on me.”
“How? You’re better, aren’t you?”
“At what cost to you?” He grimaced. “Who will punish you for helping me? How? Miss Reed—”
“That doesn’t matter when your very life was hanging in the balance—”
“It matters to me.”
His anger was real and it had increased since her arrival. The harsh tone, the urgent delivery—he meant every word. And yet Bonny’s impression that she was listening to a foreign language that she only vaguely understood had increased in perfect tandem.
She might have remained confused forever if something bright hadn’t drawn her attention to the roof of the glasshouse. A ray of light caught on the dirt-clouded glass, then fractured into a brilliant sparkle. Bonny tipped her face up to the sky, attentive to this small miracle of nature for precisely the length of time required to identify, categorize, and dismiss it: just the sun cresting the horizon, dawn breaking into day, nothing to be concerned about.
She looked down, problem solved, and caught Lord Loel staring at her mouth. Hotly, fixedly, with a heat that struck an answering chord in her.
Oh, she thought, wondering how she’d been so stupid. Now I understand.
And she kissed him.

 

 

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About Erin Satie:

Erin Satie is the author of the dark and elegant No Better Angels series of historical romances set in the early Victorian period. She’s currently hard at work on her new series, Sweetness and Light.

Erin is a California native who’s lived on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She studied art history in both college and graduate school—research is always her favorite part of starting a new book.

Her favorite part of finishing a book, whether reading or writing, is the happily ever after.

Connect with Erin:

Author Site | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

Giveaway: enter to win 1 of 2 e-copies of any back catalog book by Erin Satie!

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Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride

Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: 

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

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4.25 Stars

Wow!! This book took me by surprise. I mean, it’s Easton so I knew I would enjoy it, but that cheeky cover (which I love) and blurb had me expecting something completely different than the depth that’s provided in Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride. This story is packed with feels, has extremely endearing characters, with loads of sweetness, sassiness, love, and humor. While much of the plot is known, I’m not going in-depth because there are things that deserve self-discovery as you read and fall in love with Robby, Trace, and the rest of the Crabtree clan.

Robby is an actor in New York that has the unfortunate luck of witnessing a murder at the hands of a crime boss. He hops on the earliest wagon caravan heading to Santa Fe in hopes of ditching killers that want to take care of the last witness. Robby’s bad luck continues and the men follow the caravan all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has just enough time to throw on a dress, bonnet, gloves, and acquire the sweet accent of new and improved, Miss Rowena Fairchild.

Trace Crabtree is the sheriff of Flat Bottom and makes his monthly trip to Santa Fe for some supplies and a quick tumble with the local barber to meet his physical needs. Poor Trace isn’t able to get off  because he has to save Rowena from getting manhandled by the gangsters. One thing leads to another and Rowena is on her way to meet her betrothed and his family all while Trace is aware that she is actually a he and supposed to marry his brother.

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Very soon after Rowena meets the Crabtree family, Trace shows up and wants answers on why Robby is hiding. They decide to keep Rowena’s cover until the danger passes. Rowena’s not a shrinking violet and digs into the family dynamics immediately. She has perfected the art of challenging the status quo without fully ruffling feathers. The family bring her *mostly* into the fold right away and come to depend on her. It’s amazing how I started off thinking one way about the family and slowly but surely falling for the gruff Crabtrees and the way Pa-Pa is handled with care while being pushed to change. I fell in love with each member of the family and the insane feels that came with them.

Speaking of love, the romance between Trace and Robby is swoon-worthy. They have heat but it isn’t just about sex. There’s a connection forged through stolen moments. They talk, laugh, and enjoy just being together. Trace and Robby are complete opposites that complement each other perfectly with Robby’s fierce personality to Trace’s gentle badassness. It’s always refreshing when both MCs are able stand strong separately yet become indestructible together.

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This is set out in the Wild West but it didn’t overshadow the story. There is crime, shootouts, sheriffs, etc., yet the setting enhanced a story being told about love, family and acceptance. The start was a tad bit slow for me but picked up around 25ish%. Trace and Robby get their HEA with a glorious epilogue. *dreamy sigh* I really enjoyed this romance and want to be adopted into the Crabtree family. Definitely recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Release Blitz & Giveaway: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride

 
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

 

About Eli
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

In 2018 Eli hopes to do more of the same, assuming they reschedule the apocalypse.

Her website is www.elieaston.com

You can email her at eli@elieaston.com

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A Scot’s Surrender (The Townsends #3)

A Scot’s Surrender by Lily Maxton: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he’s inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander’s apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They’ll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert’s personal space.

Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest’s stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn’t have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they’ll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he’ll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.

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Review

4 Stars

This book made me happy.

Historical? Uh huh!
Scottish Highlands? Yep!
Ginger? Yassssss! UNF!
A KILT wearing ginger? Hell to the Yassss!

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Scot’s Surrender is an enjoyable historical that’s humorous with well written characters. The angst is minimal, the plot simple, but the actual romance is well crafted. As mentioned in the synopsis, Robert Townsend is running the castle while his brother is away. One of the cottages on his estate caught fire and the occupant, a frustratingly handsome steward named Ian Cameron is relocated to the main castle. Robert and Ian do not get along. Both are attracted to the other but Cameron keeps an icy facade at Robert’s attempts to connect. After a series of unfortunate events, Cameron and Robert have to join forces to solve a mystery of missing houseguest items.

Cameron is harsh and judgmental towards Robert and the idea of surrendering any part of himself. He has survived much in his life and isn’t about to let Robert tear down the walls he has built. Cameron is very much a man of few words. Robert is likable, social, and whimsy. He has insecurities that he covers with a disarming smile. Their journey is *very* slow paced but follows a natural progression of enemies to lovers and is befitting of the customs and the legal implications of being with a man in 1814. This isn’t a case of insta-love and I felt like a fly on the wall while watching two men form bonds of friendship, love, and intimacy. The chemistry and connection is there even if it isn’t loaded with sex. However, when there is sex, it’s hot! When the “Ask me nicely.” came during smexy times…sheee-it.

Then…

“Press me into the mattress. Fuck me like you mean it.”

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I adored Robert’s family. They were accepting, loving, and loyal. I didn’t read the first books in this series but the past characters were present and likable. I was pleasantly surprised how cohesive this third book was and didn’t feel lost at any time due to skipping the first two books. I will definitely read Lily Maxton again and absolutely recommend this book for fans of historical romance.

“Say but little and say it well,”

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Station- NSFW

The Station by Keira Andrews: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Two men exiled to an untamed land must capture love.

Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster spied on stable master Patrick Callahan mastering another man, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death for his crime, Colin speaks up in his defense and confesses his own sinful nature. They’re soon banished to the faraway prison colony of Australia.

Patrick never asked for Colin’s help, and now he’s stuck with the pampered fool. While it’s true that being transported to Australia is a far cry from the luxury Colin is accustomed to, he’s determined to make the best of it and prove himself. Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale, but he’s inexorably drawn to sweet, optimistic Colin despite himself.

From the miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must rely on each other. Danger lurks everywhere, and when they unexpectedly get the chance to escape to a new life as cowboys, they’ll need each other more than ever.

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**NSFW **

 

4.25 Stars

Historical? Australia? Cowboys?

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The Station begins when Colin is just a boy of 13 and a new stable master, Patrick (22) is hired on at his parents estate. Colin quickly becomes enamored and visits Patrick any chance he can get away. Years go by and when he’s 16, Colin spots Patrick getting it on with another man. It turns him on while at the same time spooking him. Colin has to come to terms with his sexual identity and isn’t able to face Patrick after. Pressure from Colin’s parents keep him indoors for much of his teen years. They are determined he attend university while Colin would much rather work with his hands. And Patrick. On Patrick. To Patrick. He isn’t picky, by age 19, Colin wants Patrick.

Patrick is an Irish stable master with a prickly demeanor. He’s been screwed over by people in his past and trusts no one, believes love isn’t real, and sex will only ever be about release and never feelings. Patrick also doesn’t understand why Colin stopped visiting all those years and becomes very cool to the young Lord Lancaster.

Until…

*dramatic music*

Patrick is found “buggering” a man in the stable. Colin steps forward to save Patrick and admits to having a “sinful nature” as well. Both men are spared death and end up on a prison labor ship that’s going to help colonize Australia.

Colin is such a bright eyed man who’s relieved that his inclinations are revealed and that he isn’t heading to college. On this long journey, Patrick and Colin form a tentative friendship with benefits but Patrick remains clear that there’s nothing more to their interactions. Trust no one.

Because they have male interests, both men hit the prisoner lottery and end up escorting a widow and cattle to her station. It’s on this station that both men find their footing- happiness, purpose, friendships, and love. It’s a slow progression with Patrick being of the anti-love and physical release only mentality. Colin wears his heart on his sleeve and Patrick is closed off but cares much more than he lets on. It’s beautiful to watch each man find themselves as individuals and then together as lovers and partners.

**Please pardon this review interruption for some gratuitous Aussie cowboy pictures. NSFW**

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The secondary characters. *heart eyes* I adored William, Robbie, and Emily. My face sprung a leak as Colin said goodbye to his cousin William. Legit tears. I think it seemed so profound because all of Colin’s family were against him and although William didn’t understand, he still loved him. Isn’t that all that should matter? *sniff* Emily, the widow is a strong, independent woman that kicks ass and takes names- usually with a rifle by her side.

This is a captivating and unique story. The part that had me a bit disappointed was the historical element. The first part of the story that took place in London had the language and feels I crave in historical romances. Once they left London, my enjoyment level remained but the historical element seemed to vanish. The language was modernized and it didn’t read any different than some of the non-historical Australian outback romances I’ve read. Again, I very much enjoyed this but historicals are my preferred drug of choice and this read didn’t fully provide the fix I was jonesing for.

I thought this would be angsty AF. It wasn’t and I’m so glad I put on my big girl pants and took a chance. When conditions were miserable, Colin still had hope, found happiness, and felt the relief of a new day, being true to himself, on an unknown Australian adventure. With Patrick. Definitely recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

The Fortune Hunter

Reviewed for @BMBR

3.75 Stars

Ever have one of those magical lazy days? Where it goes by so peacefully slow and the only requirement is pajamas? Yeah, me neither. But I can imagine they would be a lot like most of this book with its slow pacing, lazy country days, simmering attractions, and budding friendships.

I recommend reading the synopsis because it does a great job of setting the stage. As the book starts, Hal is meeting Margaret’s (his fiancé) family at their country estate. Clearly, Margaret didn’t fully prepare her family and all were surprised-especially Julian, her cousin. He is taken right away with Julian’s looks but must keep his eyes on the prize. Hal was an orphan and has always craved security in a life that lacked control, funds, food, love, and shelter. He truly cares for Margaret in the way you would a dear friend. Unfortunately, Hal didn’t account for Julian.

Julian is a self righteous arse that falls in line with the high society gentleman in London. He swoops in on his high horse and stays there for the first part of the book. He sees past Hal’s gentleman appearance and distrusts him immediately. Rightfully so, but it seems he’s most angry about his attraction to someone he can’t have. Margaret decides they need to extend their stay due to family obligations and Julian is all too eager to stay as well and find the truth about Hal.

But… on those lazy country days and against Julian’s better judgement, the men form a connection. Each know they are hiding something and find it impossible to resist the strolls, talks, and discussions on books and history. Their chaste interactions become thick with desire. The desperation they felt in a simple holding of hands made my heart ache. They were so different yet the same in their wish to be understood and loved in a world where their “proclivity” wasn’t tolerated. Although Julian and Hal unknowingly gave their hearts, the dark cloud of deception wasn’t ever far from sight. Julian has to reconcile the Hal he grew to know with the actual Hal. Or are they one in the same?

Hal is painted in negative light from the beginning and yet I understood and maybe even accepted his reasons. While his intent was deception, it wasn’t malicious. He wants a family to visit at Holiday, a place to hang his hat, children, and a companion.

The beginning of this book dragged a bit for me. Not much happened beyond talks, strolls, and riding. I did enjoy the progression of Julian and Hal’s relationship and the challenges they faced to get their HEA. The pacing picked up around 45% and it wasn’t long before I became fully invested in the characters, Margaret included. The way Hal and Margaret’s engagement/relationship was handled the second half was refreshing.

The second half of this historical drew me in and I was able to overlook *most* of my feelings about the sleepy start. I fell for the characters and even embraced the deception with heart eyes for Hal. Recommended for fans of historical romance.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

 

The Valet

Warning…This book contains LOTS of sex. Could it be deemed gratuitous? Yep. Did I mind? Not at all. For some reason, this historical porny-land didn’t grate on my brain like a book driven by sex typically would. So yep, lots of sex. You’ve been warned.

4 Stars

Reviewed for @BMBR

Well well well, this one took me completely by surprise. How is this S.J. Foxx’s debut novel? Bravo S.J. Foxx, Bravo! I know this isn’t a surprise anymore but I LOVE historical M/M romance. Regency era is my preferred but I dig 1920s and older. I say all that because I’m a picky bitch about them and I really enjoyed this. It was engaging, well written, entertaining, endearing, and hot AF. Two words… feather. duster. I’ll let that sink in while I give you the run down.

Hugo is a spoiled rich kid at 20 years old that was found in bed with another man’s wife (Don’t worry, he’s a big fan of the peen). After bringing shame to the family name, he gets shipped off to his dear ol’ Aunt and Uncle in England. If he doesn’t straighten up his act over the next year, he’ll lose his inheritance and be cut off. Hugo is whiny and self-destructive when given any opportunity. After arriving at Finchley Hall, he meets Sebastian, who soon becomes his valet. Hugo notices right away the mischievous smiles and wicked gleam in Sebastian’s eyes after every encounter and quickly becomes enamored. After Sebastian finds evidence of Hugo’s preferences, he wastes no time in providing creative ways to pass the hours.

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Yes, Let’s.

Sebastian was fucking awesome. He was cheeky, rebellious, assertive, dominant, sexually creative, and could reduce Hugo to a whimpering puddle of needy submissive goo with single look or tone of voice.

“Whilst we’re still sleeping together, you have to know that you don’t own me. I work for you, but you answer to me. Is that understood?”

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He had class elitist Hugo role-playing as a valet and getting off on it all the same. Sebastian had him making beds, getting him dressed, cleaning and shining dishes and Hugo was hard as a rock every time and begging for more. Sebastian was a forward thinker and fucked Hugo with the feather duster shaft after making him dust the room.

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Two birds. One stone and all that…

There was also humiliation kink, some spanking, and public sex which didn’t disappoint. There’s a lot of heat between these two and naturally that leads to some sex. A lot of smexy times are to be had by all.

Due to his station, Sebastian was deemed lower class which made the power exchange in the relationship all the more enjoyable and special. Along with all the heat, there were sweet and caring moments that provided depth to their relationship. It wasn’t all rainbow and snowflakes though. Hugo could be an arse when he was in one of his bratty moods. As I mentioned before, he’s self-destructive and for the first half lashed out at Sebastian for his own shortfalls. Hugo does realize the err of his ways and feels contrite about his treatment of Sebastian. They get their HEA in the end but it takes some work between them and also overcoming the other obstacles life throws their way.

Trigger warnings: There is drug use and an attempted sexual assault.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers that like an entree of historical romance with a big giant overflowing scoop of sex on the side.