This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance, M/M Romance, Mystery Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on November 3, 2020
Civilian life and running a book shop seem rather dull until a visit to a night club plunges Will, once again, into a harrowing adventure with the enigmatic aristocrat who makes his blood boil in more ways than one. A sensational series start and superb narrator match had me salivating for this second installment.
The Sugared Game is the second Will Darling Adventure and works best read/listened to in order.
WWI veteran, Will Darling is recovered from a near-death adventure that got him tangled up with dubious character, Lord Kim Secretan and also the shadowy sinister organization, Zodiak. Right when he thought he and Kim had a thing going between them, Kim disappears from his life. Will can take a hint, but it doesn’t mean he has to like getting dropped like a hot potato. So, he takes Welsh dressmaker and friend, Maisie, to a happening night club for dancing and champagne, runs into an old army acquaintance working there, and a bad vibe from the place.
Not long after, Kim slips into his bookshop needing his help to get into the club and do a nose around using Will’s friend. Will is still simmering from the previous radio silence, but he not only makes the arrangements, but takes Kim’s back when he learns this is about Zodiac.
Meanwhile, Maisie and Phoebe, Kim’s fiance’, have set out to turn Maisie’s fashion designs into the next designs to take Paris and London by storm, but the capital Phoebe’s father offers comes with strings in the form of an annoying old flame. Will’s not sure who he wants to punch more, this ex or her current fiance’. Only, he’d be lying if he said he didn’t have other heated thoughts about Kim and maybe a second chance.
The sensation of being too near a live wire is what the sizzling relationship between Will and Kim feels like. They are acrimonious to nearly the point of violence because of Kim’s deviousness and Will’s temper, but there is also a strong attraction and tender understanding toward each other that no one else shares. Will is working class, pugnacious, and unimpressed with authority after his stint as a war-time soldier and field assassin with the vicious knife he still wields with acumen and Kim is part bored bright young thing aristo, guilt-ridden for his part in getting his brother killed and blackening his family name, and skillful spy and manipulator. In other words, they shouldn’t work, but they really do both as a relationship and impromptu mission team.
The Sugared Game advances what was started and delves deeper into what makes Kim, Kim, as well as Phoebe’s past and how it is affecting the present circumstances. The historical backdrop of ’20’s glam is like a vibrant personality. It also picks up with the thread of this criminal organization and their pursuit to cut it off at the head if they can discover who ‘Capricorn’ is. I confess, I figured out who the head of the group was mostly by hunch and then certainty as details came out in the latter half, but I didn’t see a certain twist coming so that climax was breathtaking.
Cornell Collins is an outstanding narrator with his flexible tones from Will’s rich, full voice to Phoebe’s rapid-fire, light and sparkling sound. He has established memorable personalities for each character and caught the feel and pace of the series so well that I would miss out tremendously only getting the excellent print.
As with the first book, I was left wanting more and I’m glad there will be. This spicy m/m romantic historical mystery series is top drawer flapper era excitement and glitz that I can highly recommend.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #189
Historical Fiction #114
Books N Tunes #47
About the Book
It’s been two months since Will Darling saw Kim Secretan, and he doesn’t expect to see him again. What do a rough and ready soldier-turned-bookseller and a disgraced, shady aristocrat have to do with each other anyway?
But when Will encounters a face from the past in a disreputable nightclub, Kim turns up, as shifty, unreliable, and irresistible as ever. And before Will knows it, he’s been dragged back into Kim’s shadowy world of secrets, criminal conspiracies, and underhand dealings.
This time, though, things are underhanded even by Kim standards. This time, the danger is too close to home. And if Will and Kim can’t find common ground against unseen enemies, they risk losing everything.
Contains mature themes.
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