It’s finally here! A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel, the second in my Doomsday Books duo, is out at last. Featuring a soldier-turned-earl with a temper, a smuggler-turned-secretary with a secret, a lot of sneaking around ancient manor houses and playing around with droit du seigneur, Gothic novels, probably too many references to the Angevin dynasty, and some serious angst.
“Masterfully crafted, deliciously adventurous and so, so horny”–BookPage
If you’ve read The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen, you will recall Luke Doomsday (Goldie), a snotty adolescent with an abusive father. Luke goes through a lot in that book, and this one, set thirteen years later, is partly about exploring the aftereffects of that damage (aka ‘just how bad is it to be a secondary character in a KJ Charles romance novel? Oh, that bad.’).
Fortunately, Luke meets his match in Rufus, a nobleman in training with no tact, a tendency to shout, and the kindest heart on Romney Marsh. Have some Luke and Rufus.
“About the matter of you going to London. Is that your plan?”
“Of course not. Can’t stand it, stinking filthy pit. What the blazes would I do there?”
“I think you’re intended to court ladies at Almack’s.”
“No,” Rufus said firmly. “Damned if I’m going, even if they’d let me in.”
“Why would they not let you in? You’re an earl.”
“Wouldn’t do me any good. I’ve heard about that place. Fancy manners and no trousers.”
Doomsday spluttered. Rufus pointed a warning finger at him, grinning. “I meant, you have to wear black silk knee-breeches and dress up as though it was the last century. Drink ratafia and mind your language. Bugger that. And how am I supposed to take charge of the estate from London?”
“Well, you couldn’t, that’s the point. And it doesn’t have to be Almack’s; the purpose is very much the courting of ladies. You are the earl, and, well, heirs.”
“I couldn’t give two shits for that,” Rufus said, once again forgetting he was an earl, although in fairness, the most foul-mouthed of his fellow officers had been a marquess’s son. “And I’m not courting anyone. Wouldn’t know how to start.”
“You could court!” Doomsday said with a touch of indignation. “Perhaps not in the most conventional manner, but you’d have no trouble.”
“I would. I never learned to dance—would you believe that’s all but demanded of officers? Bloody ridiculous cavalry twiddle-poop.” As a proud member of the 54th Foot, Rufus had views on cavalry officers. “And I’ve no idea about fine words or wooing, and I’m cursed if I know what one’s meant to do. If you want me to continue the d’Aumesty line, Christ knows what for, you’ll need to give me a list of instructions, or find me an etiquette guide or some damn thing.”
“A nobleman’s guide to courting a countess? Step one, take the lady’s hand and praise the delicacy of her skin with a salute.” Doomsday adopted a decidedly effete upper-class voice for that, simultaneously turning his hand and arm in a wonderfully elegant manner, offering Rufus his palm just like a lady.
Rufus took it, bowed over it, and kissed it.
He hadn’t intended to do that. It was just a joke, spur-of-the-moment, continuing the banter, except that he’d kissed Doomsday’s hand, not just the hand but the sensitive palm, had pressed his lips against warm skin, and even as he stood bowed over it wondering at his own incredible stupidity, he still held that hand in his. “Uh—”
“That’s very good.” Doomsday’s fingers rested lightly in Rufus’s, so that all Rufus would need to do was close his own fingers on them and pull. His long eyelashes were lowered modestly, as part of the joke. His voice sounded a bit constricted. “Perhaps a little forceful, but flattering enthusiasm is very hard to resist.”
“I’m glad it meets your approval,” Rufus managed. Play along, he told himself. Banter. “What’s step two?”
“That would be a compliment on the radiance of her complexion, or perhaps the lustre of her eyes.”
“Madam, your eyes are as brown as, uh. I don’t know. Bread?”
Doomsday’s downswept eyes swept right back up. “Bread?”
“I couldn’t think of anything else brown. Hot chocolate? A good beef stew?”
“Stop talking now,” Doomsday said, extracting his hand. “And by that I meant, Maybe I should send for an etiquette guide, my lord.”
Out now, have at it!