Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian Blog Tour

A scoundrel who lives in the shadows

Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London’s slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.

A soldier untarnished by vice

After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman’s life-one that doesn’t include sparring with a ne’er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack’s pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they’re together.

Two men only meant for each other

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Jack absently skimmed his finger along the surface of his desk, tracing a swirl through the sand he had used to blot his notes. Another case was solved and done with, another gentleman too drunk on his own power and consequence to remember to pay servants and tradesmen, too dissipated to bother being faithful to his wife. Nearly every client’s problems were variations on that same theme. Jack might have been bored if he weren’t so angry.

A knock sounded at the door, a welcome distraction. His sister always knocked, as if she didn’t want to interrupt whatever depravities Jack was conducting on the other side of the door. She did it out of an excess of consideration, but Jack still felt like she was waiting for him to do something unspeakable at any moment.

She was right, of course, but still it grated.

“Come in, Sarah.

“There’s a gentleman here to see you,” she said, packing a world of both disapproval and deference into those few words.

Really, it was a pity she hadn’t been born a man because the world had lost a first rate butler there. The butlers Jack had served under would have been put fairly to shame.

“Tell him to bugger off.” Sarah knew perfectly well he didn’t take gentlemen as clients. He tried to keep any trace of impatience out of his voice, but didn’t think he quite managed it.

“I have customers downstairs and I don’t want a scene.” She had pins jammed into the sleeve of her gown, a sign that she had been interrupted in the middle of a fitting. No wonder her lips were pursed.

“And I don’t want any gentlemen.” Too late, he realized he had set her up for a smart-mouthed response. Now she was going to press her advantage because that’s what older sisters did. But Sarah must have been developing some restraint, or maybe she was only in a hurry, because all she did was raise a single eyebrow as if to say, like hell you don’t.

“I’m not your gatekeeper,” she said a moment later, her tone deceptively mild. But on her last word Jack could hear a trace of that old accent they had both worked so hard to shed. Sarah had to be driven to distraction if she was letting her accent slip.

“Send him up, then,” he conceded. This arrangement of theirs depended on a certain amount of compromise on both sides.

She vanished, her shoes scarcely making any sound on the stairs. A moment later he heard the heavier tread of a man not at all concerned about disturbing the clients below.

This man didn’t bother knocking. He simply sailed through the door Sarah had left ajar as if he had every right in the world to enter whatever place he pleased, at whatever time he wanted.

To hell with that. Jack took his time stacking his cards, pausing a moment to examine one with feigned and hopefully infuriating interest. The gentleman coughed impatiently; Jack mentally awarded himself the first point.

“Yes?” Jack looked up for the first time, as if only now noticing the stranger’s presence. He could see why Sarah had pegged him straight away as a gentleman. Everything about him, from his mahogany walking stick to his snowy white linen, proclaimed his status.

“You’re Jack Turner?”

There was something about his voice—the absurd level of polish, perhaps—that made Jack look more carefully at his visitor’s face.

Could it—it couldn’t be. But it was.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 Stars

This is Cat Sebastian's debut novel, and an excellent addition to MM Historical Romance. I found the writing style fluid, giving necessary detailing without bogging down the book with purple prose, and emotionally engaging.

This is definitely a story where two men from different walks of life and class structures work together for a common goal, and slowly fall for one another. Lust at the start, slow-burn romance, where the heroes spend a lot of time together truly getting to know one another, making it feel as if time had passed for a natural and realistic connection – removing the possibility of any insta-anything.

Jack Turner was born a con-artist, criminal. Jack, his sister, and brother crawled out of the gutter and have made a name for themselves, not always in a legal fashion. Jack and family are survivors. But there is a caring, altruistic side to Jack, as he helps those who are unfortunate and proper ladies alike. No gentlemen. If you have a problem, Jack will fix it – for a fee, of course. But he won't tell you the means in which he uses, as they are of the criminal sort.

In walks in Oliver, the brother to one of Jack's clients. Jack had helped her remove her abusive, gentleman husband from her life, for a fee, and Oliver wants to know the how/why/why/when of it all. But there is a tie that binds, as Jack was the bad husband's valet for a time, making him able to do his task at hand.

What occurs on the pages is Oliver's intrigue with Jack. Oliver is a wounded war hero, who now doesn't know where he fits in civilized society, finding it all boring and unnecessary. He's drawn to Jack, drawn to the need to feel useful, helpful, and is insanely attracted to the man.

While I loved the slight mystery that drew the characters together, and their banter-filled, slow-burn romance, the length and pacing of the story did have my mind wandering a time or two, and my finger clicking the pages as I skimmed. Guilty, and it makes me feel bad for doing it, let alone admitting it. It just needed a bit of spice, or action, to keep me engage.

All in all, I thought this was a solid MM Historical Romance. I look forward to more from this author, and I recommend The Soldier's Scoundrel.

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn't reading or writing, she's doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian to read and review for this tour.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review. Thank you for hosting THE SOLDIER'S SCOUNDREL today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours


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