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A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE
Society of Gentlemen #1
Releasing Aug 11th, 2015
In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
They came for him just after the chime of three.
He and Silas had closed up the cellar an hour before, hiding the press, and opened the shop to trade, so the men simply walked in. Harry was engaged in the respectable and legal task of shelving a box of slightly musty-smelling books. He looked round at the sound of feet, and his mouth dropped open.
Silas was by the counter, rigid with hostility. George stood a little behind him, wide-eyed, his dark curls damp with sweat, like Harry’s own. All three of them were grimy with dust and dirt, as in front of them stood magnificence. A tall gentleman, dressed with superb sobriety in well-fitted pantaloons, a dark blue broadcloth coat, a cravat folded with geometric precision, and an elegant, narrow-brimmed hat. He looked very rich and very serious.
Next to him was a man in dark green livery, much slimmer and several inches shorter than his imposing master. His hair was heavily powdered in the style of an upper servant, the white making his intensely brown eyes all the more striking. They were fixed on Harry.
It took a few seconds before Harry recognized his red-headed drinking companion under the hair powder, and even as he did so, Cyprian looked to the big gentleman and nodded slightly, as if to say,
Harry turned, panic rising, ready to run, but the gentleman spoke. “Harry Vane?”
His voice was deep, authoritative. Familiar.
That couldn’t be right. Harry had never seen the man in his life. But there was something in his voice, something about the slight curl of his dark brown hair and his prominent Roman nose that reminded him of . . . what?
The man was looking at him with an expression he couldn’t read. “Harry Vane,” he repeated. “Alexander Vane’s son.” This time it wasn’t a question.
Alarm dried Harry’s throat. Was he to be arrested for his father’s sins?
“What’s going on?” Silas demanded. “What do you want with him?”
“Harry.” The tall man strode forward, stretching out his hand, and Harry flinched before he realized that, inexplicably, the gesture was a greeting rather than a threat. “I am Lord Richard Vane. Alexander was my cousin. His father, your grandfather, has been looking for you.”
Harry blinked. The words made no sense. His father had been cousin to this man of wealth and title? And—a grandfather? Looking for him?
he remembered, and a rush of bewildering, improbable, impossible hope threatened his balance.Lord Richard reached down and took Harry’s unresisting hand. “You are a Vane. You belong to my family. I have come to bring you home.”
K. J. Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden, and an increasingly murderous cat.