Author: K.J. Charles
Publisher: Random House – Loveswept
In the sordid streets of Victorian London, unwanted desire flares between two bitter enemies brought together by a deadly secret.
Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.
Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.
But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.
I first heard of KJ Charles a few years ago when a friend convinced me to try The Magpie Lord. Never a history fan, I had avoided getting into historicals in the MM genre when I began reading them. But I have to say that from the moment I first met these richly developed characters, I have been a fan. This story does nothing to move me from that opinion. It’s amazing. In fact, with the most unlikely match of characters, the author has completely captured my attention and earned my undying respect for the talent it takes to make a man who should be positively hateful to one who positively begs for love.
That man is spiritualist Justin Lazarus, the so-called Seer of London. To journalist Nathaniel Roy, he’s nothing but the grand master hoax of London, however. Nathaniel sets about to prove him a sham and write a scathing expose of a fraud who would cheat people of their hard-earned money by pretending to speak to the dead. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, the seer brings a message from Nathaniel’s long-dead lover, turning his world topsy turvy and sidetracking his quest for truth when they first meet.
Despite this one step back, Nathaniel remains persistent in proving Justin’s outright duplicity, but it’s not until their paths cross over the search for a missing heir that things get more complicated and unexpected than either man bargained for. The author involves us in the complex mystery in the world of mid-19th century London as both men have to work together to disprove the inheritance claim brought to the Tallyfer estate by Clem Tallyfer’s uncle. Justin is involved due to a visit by a woman seeking her missing children. But when that involvement results in an escape with his life, he knows the only man he can turn to for help is Nathaniel, who then welcomes him with open arms.
While the two work to solve the mystery, they fall in love—something Nathaniel doesn’t want to admit and something Justin refuses to believe he’s worthy of. This is a nail-biting, fast-paced mystery that brings us a very satisfying conclusion for our unlikely set of lovers and leaves enough mystery to be finalized in the next story to pique interest in continuing the series.
There was nothing about this story to dislike and everything to love. It can be read as a standalone, but readers would definitely benefit from reading An Unseen Attraction first.