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Publisher's Summary

When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London's most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn't expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he's been mourning for 13 years.  

Gil Lawless became a Holywell Street bookseller for his own reasons, and he's damned if he's going to apologize or listen to moralizing from anyone. Not even Vikram; not even if the once-beloved boy has grown into a man who makes his mouth water.  

Now the upright lawyer and the illicit bookseller need to work together to track down the missing youth. And on the way, they may even learn if there's more than just memory and old affection binding them together....

Contains mature themes.

©2018 KJ Charles (P)2018 Tantor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I enjoyed this book immensely

KJ Charles is an author I have come to admire, her periodical romances are raw, unique and gender/ethnically inclusive. She is a fantastic storyteller with well researched stories that are time accurate.
This short story had everything you can wish for in a Historical M/M Romance: thrill, mystery, an investigation, complex family issues among the high society and a strong connection between the two MC's, Vikram and Gil.
One of my favorite troupes is Friends-to-Lovers and Second Chance, this book had them with such an intensity, I loved it!
I also admire her use of people of color and ethical variety in her stories, it shows a side of Historical Romance that is not usually found in any Romance genre (be it M/F or M/M) and brings to light the complexity of living in that time period.

The narrator (which I am sure I heard before but could not find the book if I had) was great! I love his voice, the accents and characters where unique and he really brought an emotional punch in his narration.
If you liked this but haven't read any other books by this author, check out Sins of the Cities books or The Magpie Lord, you will not be disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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Short but enjoyable

A short, but sweet, story. Friends as children, a lawyer and a purveyor of pornography reunite when the lawyer goes looking for a missing boy who may have wound up in the dirty pictures trade.

The romance is focused on two formerly close friends who were ripped apart, and who have gone in vastly different directions in life, so much that both wonder if anything can come of their rediscovery of each other. Charles makes them both believable in their incomprehension of the other, but also gives them a platform (the investigation) through which to come together again.

The mystery part of the plot is fairly thin, but appropriate to the length of the work. The connections are believable, and the resolution quite satisfying.

Recommended.

As a matter of interest, there are strong parallels here to some details from the Sins of the City series, likely because some of the research on the pornography trade was originally planned for that series, but that story line didn't work out. I was fascinated to see similar background details being used to flesh out an entirely different character arc.

The narrator is quite good. His voice for Vik reminded me of the voice the narrator for Wanted, a Gentleman used for Martin, but, no, different narrators.

#MM #dirtybooks #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

4 people found this helpful

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one picture a thousand words

very good storytelling and a good plot, but to short. the performance was really interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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Former Lovers

A beautiful love story of two men who were torn apart as young boys finding each other again. The mystery as they search for a murderer was very gripping. The narrator was wonderful. He brought these characters alive.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful! Amazing Performance by V. Adam

First off Vikas Adam does a spectacular job with this narration - just beautiful.

I loved the story, and the relationship between the MCs was very interesting.

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Wonderfully improper, heartfelt, and smart

How KJ Charles manages to fit so much emotion and intelligence into a simple novella, I'll never know. She's masterful. This story had me glued to my headphones. It's so damn interesting and smart.

Vik and Gil are fully realized men with believable motivations and relatable feelings. Vik is a serious type who cares far too much about everything and feels passionately about human rights and justice. Gil is playful type who knows how to have fun when he can, refusing to care too much about anything after a difficult life taught him how badly it hurts to lose everything. Their interactions feel so real, showing exactly how two men with such different temperaments could like each other. The opposites attract dynamic feels genuine, not corny or played out. It's easy to understand why Vik feels so at ease with Gil, finally able to breathe. And just as easy to understand why Gil feels so safe with Vik, finally able to admit he cares. After 13 years, they click back into place as if no time had passed. So much had changed for each of them, but the forces of change were powerless against their connection. Despite normally disliking the childhood friends to lovers trope, it feels right in this story. It matters.

It's so refreshing to have a historical romance that isn't about this duke or that. We see the real men who occupied London, the ones who history tries to forget. Both Vik and Gil are men of color. It's so rare to see historical romances with a lead of color, let alone both leads. Rare enough that I really treasure this story. We also see a side of historical London usually hidden from view: the seedy underbelly filled with illicit bookshops, uncared for sex workers, and crime that can't be reported. This world is fascinating and clearly well-researched. KJ Charles is especially gifted at integrating smart sociopolitical narratives into her stories in a way that feels natural and easy. It's just another part of the romance and the characters, making everything feel more real. This is why her stories really stand out.

Bonus points for a cat named Satan.

The narration is OUTSTANDING. It enhances the story exactly like narration should, giving life to the characters and depth to the story. Vik and Gil's voices are so distinct they could have been voiced by two different men. Vikas Adam is exceptionally skilled.

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outstanding poc characters

satisfying mystery & romance. Hot lawyer. Roguish porn writer. A surprising match made in paradise

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  • I. Whitworth
  • 02-12-21

That’s 4 hours of my life I won’t get back

Terrible story and even worse narration. I’m not sure where the accents were heading. Not up to the usual standards at all.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Jones
  • 06-15-21

I just wish it was longer!

KJ Charles is at it again with another wonderful, feel-good story that keeps you engaged from start to finish.
I hope to see more characters of colour from her in the future!