Sam lives his life with bitterness and isolation. He attends society functions but is always an outsider. Things have gotten even worse recently as Sam's past love has shown up in London and now has a new love of his own. Sam also has a secret crush on John who he is sure is straight. A chance encounter one night leads Sam to believe he was wrong.
John knows he is attracted to men but he's created an elaborate ruse to keep anyone else from knowing because he has a lot to lose should someone find out. Despite his fears he finds himself attracted to Sam in a way that leads him to make choices he's never made before.
I thought this a really well done historical. The imagery of the society, their clothing, the activities etc all felt so realistic. All of the characters were well developed. I was immediately drawn in to Sam's feelings and I had empathy for him. This was huge because Sam had been a very unlikable character in book one of this series. There are host of side characters in this and there is a pretty good amount of page time for Henry and Richard, the couple from book one. There was also an interesting build up with Julian for the next book which will be about him.
The plot is fast paced and takes some interesting twists. I was on the edge of my seat towards the end of the book. The romance was really touching and I was so invested in these two. The story really made you feel the fear and desperation men had during this time period.
I really adored this book and this is one of my favorite historical series. This book is the second in a series but can be read as a stand alone. This is a definite recommend from me.
For years, Sir Samuel Shaw has secretly lusted after the handsome and popular Lord John Darnish, a man known for his good humor, expert riding prowess, and very female mistress. Certain that John is an unattainable fantasy, Sam is shaken when an accidental discovery reveals John might not be as unattainable as he once thought. But what is possible is not always likely, and Sam finds himself trapped between keeping a friend and risking everything for the unlikely hope of something more.
John is terrorstruck when his drunken mistake threatens to shatter the double life he has worked so hard to maintain. His terror soon turns to hope when he finds himself drawn to Sam, who he is sure does not share his interest in men. But subtle things cause him to second guess and fear that his hopes are making him see what he wants to see.
Sam's risks and John's hopes turn futile, however, when blights from Sam's past resurface to threaten them and Sam's family. Can Sam choose between the love he has always wanted and the security of his family, or will forces outside his control hurt all the people he holds most dear?