Title: Wanted, A Gentleman
Author: K.J. Charles
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: 1-09-2017
Genre(s): M/M Multicultural, M/M Historical
Page Count: 155
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
WANTED, A GENTLEMAN
Or, Virtue Over-Rated
the grand romance of
Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love
Act the First:
the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling
Act the Second:
a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)
a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns
a private Bed-chamber
In the course of which are presented
Romance, Revenge, and Redemption
Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires
the particulars of which are too numerous to impart
First, how unique is the premise of this book? The blurb is in the form of a Wanted ad, and when I realized that the man behind the marriage-minded ads gets confronted by a disgruntled customer, I just had to pick this one up. From the first page to the last, I savored an absolute gem of a novel!
Theodore Swann is the editor of the Matrimonial Advertiser, a paper that helps people looking for love and companionship. He’s cynical himself, but the business of love is quite profitable, and he makes no apologies for who he is or for how he makes a living.
An article comes one morning – a man looking for a man – and Theo debates publishing it. He could get in trouble, but how many can read the subtext? That’s before Martin St. Vincent arrives on a mission. A friend’s daughter has been sending and receiving notes through Theo’s publication and it has to stop. Along the way, however, Martin dives beneath Theo’s exterior and bonus! He can read the subtext. It angers Theo to no end that Martin knows his number.
How dare the fellow walk in here and weigh him up and in just a couple of moments decide that Theo was untrustworthy, unreliable, ready to be bought?
He was, of course. But how dare this man just assume it, with that lazily dismissive look in his eyes?
I love that Martin is a black hero and that this story features an interracial couple. Charles takes all out the stops and delivers a man riddled with a painful past, but despite it all, he’s so loyal and patient, so forgiving and kind…He truly is an amazing individual, and Theo can’t help himself. For no matter how much Theo hides behind his snark – his backstory just as heartbreaking – Martin sees past that.
And then there are the heat waves coming off these two! Sweet, but spicy, and Theo is such a delightful character.
“In a single day,” Theo said, incredulous. “Great heavens. No wonder my arse hurts.”
“Stop telling me about your arse.”
“I wouldn’t tell you if you didn’t care.”
“I do not care!”
“I’m sure you do,” Theo said. “Deep down, under that gruff exterior, beats a heart of gold with an urgent concern for the condition of my arse.”
Hint: Theo’s right.
I gave it five stars because this story is beautiful in its simplicity. Not that it was a simple story because it wasn’t. It’s the sheer scope covered in the story – debt and absolution, forgiveness and spite. The conflict is structured in such a way that it draws the most emotion out of the reader while not making the story feel bogged down.
This was a fabulous read all around. Such memorable characters, an easy flowing structure that took my breath away, and a great ending that left me grinning. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare to be charmed.