Mr. Leopold Thornton missed his chance ten years ago. He isn’t about to let this one pass him by.
Given Leopold’s reputation for vice and debauchery, Mr. Arthur Barrington has a fair idea why the sinfully beautiful man invites him to his country estate. A shooting excursion? Unlikely. Especially considering Arthur is the only guest invited to the estate. He shouldn’t consider the invitation, but a few days of mind-blowing sex could be just the thing to help him get over the heartbreaking end of a ten-year relationship. Then he can return to London to his thriving law practice, and quietly search for an amiable man who understands the meaning of the word discreet and who recognizes the value of commitment.
There was a time when Leopold wasn’t such a rakehell. When every night didn’t end with an empty bottle of whisky. When he believed in the rewards of patience. When he didn’t give himself over to just anyone who’d have him. Old habits die hard, especially when tempted by six feet of solid muscle, but Leopold will only have a few days to convince Arthur he can be the man he’s looking for — that his love is genuine and he’s worthy of Arthur’s heart.
Review by Erastes
Leopold thinks he’s been stood up, and he drinks and paces in his study.
This book starts promisingly Leopold is quickly introduced and we get a measure of the kind of man he is, one that will sleep with anyone, male or female. He blew his chances with the man he’s been obsessed with, Arthur Barrington, ten years ago and now Arthur has broken his his lover of ten years, he’s hoping to get him at last.
Leopold then goes on to mentally castigate his rival, Amherst: the man who has been with Arthur for ten years and whom Leopold finds objectionable because Amherst has loose morals. At least Leopold has the grace to realise that this is a little bit of the Pot calling the Kettle black!
Her research and detailing is impressive, solid and convincing. There’s no extraneous description, to my eyes, just enough to give a feel of the rooms and the decoration without a list that sounds like a Gillow’s catalogue. Little touches like game shooting in November. I’ve seen books where the men go grouse shooting in June! There’s a nice smattering of language of the time too, but it explains itself in context, so you aren’t forced to rush off to find Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
He recognized the name—Madame Delacroix’s, a decadent West End brothel with a near-endless supply of beautiful women, and according to rumor, a handful of handsome, accommodating men as well. At least Randolph had the good sense not to go to some nunnery in the stews. Those places were rife with diseases.
Ava March writes well, and I’ve enjoyed her other historicals that I’ve reviewed on the site–my major gripe would be one that I’ve said many times before, that I feel a little cheated with a story of a mere 80 pages, and this story particularly deserves more to do it justice. The author goes to great pains to explain that these two men have a history, have known each other for ten years, and that Arthur trod the virtuous path while Leopold was gobbled up by a corrupting London and they went their separate ways. We are told details about Arthur’s relationship with Randolph and I’m left thinking “But I’d like to KNOW about this, not just get told about it!” There’s more than enough material here for a novel.
Because we are told, not shown, all this detail – the story folds in on itself and was for me, little more than a PWP–and that takes the pleasure out of the journey for me. They are at it like bunnies in chapter two, in fact. And three….
But that aside, it’s well written and the personal longing for a big meaty novel from Ms March doesn’t stop her smaller works being an auto-buy for me.