Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Review: A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by KJ Charles

A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by KJ Charles
Series: The Doomsday Books, Book 2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Male/Male Historical Romance 
A Noblemans Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel cover
ISBN: 9781728255880
Release Date: September 19, 2023
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Major Rufus d’Aumesty has unexpectedly become the Earl of Oxney, master of a remote Norman manor on the edge of the infamous Romney Marsh. There he's beset on all sides, his position contested both by his greedy uncle and by Luke Doomsday, son of a notorious smuggling clan.

The earl and the smuggler should be natural enemies, but cocksure, enragingly competent Luke is a trained secretary and expert schemer—exactly the sort of man Rufus needs by his side. Before long, Luke becomes an unexpected ally...and the lover Rufus had never hoped to find.

But Luke came to Stone Manor with an ulterior motive, one he's desperate to keep hidden even from the lord he can't resist. As the lies accumulate and family secrets threaten to destroy everything they hold dear, master and man find themselves forced to decide whose side they're really on…and what they're willing to do for love.

Major Rufus d’Aumesty knows battle but he is wholly unprepared for the war within his own family when he unexpectedly inherits an earldom. The d’Aumestys are disasters, to put it kindly, and his uncle is constantly challenging his right to the title. His uncle’s latest scheme involves Luke Doomsday, a member of the famous Romney Marsh Doomsday clan. Except Luke becomes the ally Rufus didn’t know he needed. His secretarial skills are top-notch and Rufus begins to believe that with Luke’s help, Stone Manor may just become what it needs to be. That would be enough, but then there’s also the mutual attraction that drives both men wild. The one fly in the ointment? Luke came to Stone Manor for reasons of his own, and when the truth is revealed it could destroy everything…

Return to the gothic moors of KJ Charles’s Doomsday books, where danger lurks around every corner and love can be found if you’re willing to risk opening your heart. A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel is an entertaining adventure with secrets, danger, love, and hope.

Rufus is unprepared to become the Earl of Oxney but he steps up to do his duty nonetheless. Rufus is easy to adore; for all that he’s brash and has a temper he is genuinely caring and kind. He’s got a big heart and a heavy sense of responsibility which makes it hard for him to not give multiple chances to people who don’t deserve it. I loved Rufus and wanted him to be able to claim his place and take care of those around him. Luke is key to that, but he’s also potentially the key to destroying everything. Luke was a bit harder for me to warm up to. He comes to Stone Manor for reasons of his own (though if you’ve read the first Doomsday book you can likely guess) and he has a lot of built up anxiety, resentment, and pain to work through. He frustrates himself at times, which I thought was relatable and interesting.

Luke and Rufus are instantly attracted to one another and it’s easy to see why. They have great chemistry and complement one another perfectly, in bed and out. But Luke’s secrets are of course going to come out. I won’t spoil what happens but I did like how Charles handled it, making her characters confront what Luke did and the cost of it. The happily ever after felt more earned with this obstacle rather than it being there for false drama.

A host of secondary characters fill out the pages of A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel. Some of said characters are dastardly to the extreme and some had the chance to learn and grow. I liked watching some of the relationships develop between characters over the course of the story. If you enjoyed The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen then you’ll like the glimpse into the lives of Joss and Giles thirteen years later. You don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this one, so long as you don’t mind spoilers. But to skip it would be a shame because it is so good.

I really enjoyed A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel and hated to put it down. Charles’s writing drew me in, the characters were compelling, and the plot fast-paced. I waffled a bit on how to rate this for a few reasons (and forgive the vagueness as I avoid spoiling the story). There were some twists this story took near the end that felt unwarranted and took away slightly from the ending (for me). All in all, I didn’t love Rufus and Luke’s story like I did Giles and Joss’s, but I was still highly entertained from beginning to end.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.