Review: Summer Devon – The Private Secretary

privateAuthor: Summer Devon
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM historical

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Down on his luck and desperate for employment, Ezra Seton is offered only one job: to work in the house of a heartless bully, the very man who drove Ezra’s lover away. Gritting his teeth, Ezra takes the position. But neither the new job nor the master of house are what he expected. Still, he vows to keep his distance, no matter how difficult it is to maintain his composure.

Robert Demme’s pleasure-seeking days are over. Having rescued his cousin Ambrose from a lunatic asylum, he expends much of his energy pacifying the fragile eccentric. Hiring an assistant offers some relief–and also intriguing temptation. Unfortunately, the fascinating Seton apparently loathes him. Determined to discover the reason, Robert uses his considerable wit to get under the man’s skin, stunned when his plan backfires. Instead of unraveling the stalwart secretary, Robert has undone himself. All he’s accomplished is a deepening of his own interest.

When the two spend the night together in an inn, their mutual desire proves too strong. The secretary and the gentleman succumb to lust. But when Ezra’s old flame reappears and the cousin’s experiments go awry, it’s a battle to discover which will win the day: love or lunacy.

This edition includes a selection from Simon and the Christmas Spirit, a title by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee.
Review: Ezra’s family had success, only to lose it all, leaving Ezra destitute and in need of a job. Unfortunately for him, the only job he’s offered is the assistant to a “crazed” cousin of his arch enemy. Now what? Robert, the master of the house, caused Ezra’s former lover so much pain the man announced “…he could never love a man because of Robert’s betrayal.” Broken-hearted as well as out of a job, Ezra still has no choice but to accept the position.
Turns out, nothing about Ambrose, the eccentric cousin, or the job is what he thought it would be. Ezra is good at it, good at managing Ambrose and keeping him happy. The bigger problem comes from dealing with Robert.
The story is interesting, particularly Ambrose. His obsessiveness and social interactions (well, lack thereof) make him both difficult and refreshing. The fact that he was in an asylum due to manipulations of a brother-in-law makes him so much more aware of things. So to the rescue of his dear friend, Miss O’Keefe. It is with this trip that Robert and Ezra begin to understand each other a bit more.
I found it very interesting that while Robert may have been a party boy in the past, he isn’t now yet still never gives himself credit for the things he does and the people he cares for. Ezra sees it and credits him, but Robert believes Ezra mistaken. Can people really change?
Being historical, I expected a bit more hiding of same sex affairs, a bit more secrets. When Ezra’s former love shows up with a friend of Robert’s to a party, it seemed a little bit too open. Poor Ezra, he just gets his heart and memories stomped on.
Robert’s declaration, when it comes, is awkward, silly and completely adorable. His gift to Ezra is perfection in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, with a well thought out plot and characters I could connect to (whether good or bad!). Recommended for historical lovers in particular.

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