Reviewed by Nancy
4 out of 5 stars
London, 1822 ... It was only supposed to be one night. One night to determine once and for all if he truly preferred men. But the last thing Lord Benjamin Parker expected to find in a questionable gambling hell is a gorgeous young man who steals his heart.
It was only supposed to be a job. Cavin Fox has done it many times — select a prime mark, distract him with lust, and leave his pockets empty. Yet when Cavin slips away under the cover of darkness, the only part of Benjamin he leaves untouched is his pockets.
With a taste of his fantasies fulfilled, Benjamin wants more than one night with Cavin. But convincing the elusive young man to give them a chance proves difficult. Living with a band of thieves in the worst area of London, Cavin knows there's no place for him in a gentleman's life. Yet Benjamin isn't about to let Cavin—and love—continue to slip away from him.
Lord Benjamin Parker is tired of well-meaning family members trying to hook him up with a nice lady, especially when he thinks his preference might be for a nice man. Not such an easy undertaking in the homophobic climate of 19th century London, but Ben does manage to find a gambling hell that caters to men of “unnatural persuasion”. It is there where he meets Cavin Fox, a handsome young man and petty thief in search of a well-heeled gentleman to lure to bed and leave him penniless.
After a fun night of gambling, conversation, and sexual discovery, both men get a lot more than they expected. Cavin is aware that he and Ben come from completely different social classes and realizes that even though they enjoyed each other’s company, nothing good could come from a relationship between them. So he waits until Ben is asleep, steals out quietly, leaving Ben’s valuables behind but accidentally takes his coat. When Cavin gets to his seedy home in the rookery of St. Giles, his landlord and employer inquires about the missing coat, so Cavin needs to see Ben again in order to get it back.
Though circumstances continue to force these two men together, Cavin is very secretive about his life and refuses to spend the night with Ben. Ben is frustrated by Cavin’s lack of trust and refusal to accept help of any kind even after he agreed to employ Cavin’s younger brother Sam as a servant. Things come to a head and Cavin finds himself in a position where he can no longer refuse Ben’s offer of assistance. Gradually, Ben learns more about Cavin’s grim life and Cavin learns that his past makes absolutely no difference to Ben.
I liked how the story was written from the perspectives of both men and found them both to be very likable, though not entirely believable at times. Ben has a lot more money than he knows what to do with, but his heart is always in the right place. The difficult life and poverty Cavin endures has not crushed his soul. He is a considerate lover, he cares deeply for Sam, and he wants to mend his thieving ways.
This is a light, sweet, sexy, fairy-tale romance that brought a smile to my face. Though I generally prefer more drama and hardship in my historical novels, I enjoyed Ben’s patience, his calm demeanor, and his non-judgmental acceptance of Cavin. I also enjoyed Cavin’s ability to adapt to a variety of situations, his sense of modesty, and his growth. Both men have a lot to learn from each other and deserve a chance at happiness.