The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by K.J. Charles

He grabbed Gareth’s hair and arse, pulling him close. Pulling them together because you had to pull that much harder when the world wanted you apart.

Just over a year ago, I came across a book titled Slippery Creatures and quickly became obsessed with the Will Darling Adventures trilogy, I loved it so much. So when the opportunity to get a copy of this new release from K.J. Charles arose, you can bet I jumped on it! This book had all the same themes that I loved about the Will Darling Adventures but in an entirely new setting, time period, and fresh characters that are so easy to fall in love with. I couldn’t put it down and was sad to see it end.

Gareth Inglis was abandoned by his father when he was very young and was left to live with his uncle in London while his father apparently started a new family elsewhere. He’s struggled his whole life with finding somewhere to fit in. Of late, the only good thing in his life was the weeklong affair he had with a handsome man known only as Kent. But sadly the affair was over almost as quickly as it began when his lover informed him that he needed to return home. Gareth didn’t have much time to dwell on the heartbreak, though, because shortly after that he learned of his father’s passing and that he inherited a title and a large estate in the remote Romney Marsh. The Marsh is a strange place that, as Gareth quickly discovered, didn’t take kindly to “outmarsh” folks such as himself. Shortly after arriving, Gareth got himself mixed up with the local smuggling family led by Joss Doomsday who Gareth is shocked to discover was none other than his lover from back in London. Despite their rocky start, these two found it hard to stay away from one another but it was not an easy road as Gareth found himself wrapped up in a mystery that had danger coming at them from every direction. Joss and Gareth had to fight for their lives and love as they tried to unravel this mystery and find their happily ever after.

This book was such a good time. The mystery, intrigue, and danger played out like a movie and kept me flipping the pages. I loved seeing the plot get twister and twistier and then seeing it all unravel as the story reached its climax. Poor Gareth had no idea what he had gotten himself into when he arrived on the Marsh. And then all these scary people start turning up with threats and he’s left trying to figure out what on earth his father was up to and how to protect himself and his newly inherited money and family. Good thing he ended up having Joss Doomsday on his side. The entire Doomsday family was so well written and Joss was an incredibly competent leader. I must have a competency kink or something because the way Joss handled himself as head of this family really worked for me! 

I absolutely loved the dynamic between Gareth and Joss! Gareth had spent his entire life feeling like he wasn’t enough and never having anyone in his corner so it meant so much to him to finally have someone like Joss on his side. It gave him a level of security that he had never been able to experience before and I think it helped him find his voice and become more courageous. Meanwhile, Joss who was so used to carrying the weight of his entire extended family on his shoulders was so used to always being strong for everyone and having little time for his own needs. Having someone like Gareth who he could rely on allowed him to let his guard down for a bit and show the vulnerability that he usually had to keep a lid on. Their pairing was so well-balanced. For all the action, adventure, and danger they faced, when it was just the two of them, there were so many scenes that were so tender and romantic – it was really beautiful. Who knew that beetle hunting in a marsh could be so romantic? 

I had such a good time reading this story and I was excited to see that we’ll be returning to this world later this year when another Doomsday gets a story. I can’t wait for it! 

“I don’t know how long we’ve got, you and me, but I want all of it.”

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