Sam Holloway is a desperate man. Trapped in Dante’s, the high-class London brothel catering to men who love men, his only hope is to find a rich protector. Then he meets the young aristocrat with sad eyes.
Tristan Barrington, sixth earl of Chiltern, waited until the death of his father before acting on his unnatural desires. Dante’s has a reputation for quality and absolute discretion. He never expected to find in its sordid depths a glorious man who could master not only his body but his heart, as well.
In Tristan, Sam sees an opportunity to flee a life he hates, and he sets his sights on seducing the earl. Tristan vows to help him escape, but in the process not only uncovers the vile corruption at the heart of Dante’s but also suspects that Sam’s declaration of love was nothing but a lie.
Then Sam is gravely injured, and Tristan faces a tough decision — leave Sam to his fate, or help him once again?
Companion book to The Wrong Kind of Angel but can be read as a standalone. HEA.
Written Ink Designs
Standalone / Companion: The Wrong Kind of Angel
62,000 words | 198 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Tristan stood in the hallway of his home, back pressed against the door. He closed his eyes. Sam’s words kept racing around his mind. How unutterably foolish he had been. How unspeakably stupid. Shame and humiliation washed over him again, making him nauseous. At the same time, he was wracked by a sense of loss so deep that made his chest feel as though it were about to crack wide open. He pressed a hand there and tried to breathe and made his way to the study to pour a brandy. He stood by the fire a moment or two, then crumpled into a chair still clutching his glass. He wondered if he might cry, but he felt too numb, too bruised, too hollow.
He had no idea how long he had been there when the door opened and Alfie walked in.
“What the hell are you doing hiding in here?” he asked in his own inimitable fashion. Tristan couldn’t speak. “Trouble in paradise?”
Tristan just sat. Alfie came closer and peered down at him. “Tris?” This time there was no drawl in his tone, no teasing light. “Tris, what is it? What has happened?”
Alfie reached down and took the glass carefully from him. He looked up at Alfie’s face. The face of his childhood friend. He had to blink several times.
“Bit of a shock. That’s all.” He ran his hand around the back of his neck and tried desperately to think.
“I take it this is about Holloway?” Alfie sat opposite him and was staring at him. When he cared to make the effort, Alfie had the most penetrating stare of anyone he knew.
“Then tell me what is wrong with you. You look like someone stole your last sixpence.”
Tristan smiled. “Not quite that bad. I just discovered that … Samuel is not quite the man I thought he was.” He had to swallow a couple of times before he could continue. “It would appear that I may have been taken for a fool.”
It hurt to say those words, and it almost undid him. He rubbed his chest again as the crushing pain worsened. He felt so humiliated, so foolish.
“I’m sorry to hear it. I had just popped over to see if the both of you would like a little escapade, but perhaps this is not the right time. Is it all over?”
“Escapade? What on earth are you talking about?”
“A few … like-minded people are taking a jaunt to the country for a few days. I thought perhaps you and Holloway might like to join in. I thought he seemed sincere. It looks like I was wrong.” He sounded faintly surprised that he might be.
It would have been just what Samuel needed. A little company, a little fun. Tristan pinched the bridge of his nose.
Before he could respond, a commotion in the hallway interrupted them. Samuel burst into the room, followed by an agitated footman Alfie quickly dismissed.
Tristan stood as Sam strode over and gripped his arms. “Tristan, please let me explain, please listen to me.”
“I said, unhand me.” Tristan threw off Samuel’s hands forcibly.
Samuel stumbled back, clearly shocked. He closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them. “Tristan I am so sorry you overheard that. Gareth is … well, he overstates things and exaggerates.”
“I didn’t hear any contradictions.”
“Can we speak alone?” Samuel cast an awkward glance at Alfie who watched the whole drama with unconcealed interest.
“Alfie, be a dear?” Tristan said.
Alfie smiled. It wasn’t a pleasant smile. “Of course, my love. I shall be within calling distance if the brute cuts up rough.” He sauntered from the room.
Samuel balled his hands into fists and glared at his retreating back. He then began pacing. His hand kept going to his mouth, where he rubbed and pulled at his bottom lip. “I need to explain something. I need to … oh God, what a mess.”
“Indeed. I shall be interested to see how you explain what Gareth said.” Only years of ruthlessly masking his feelings and his nature allowed Tristan to remain reasonably impassive.
Samuel looked tortured, but his next words floored Tristan.
“It was all true.”
“True?” The words came out as an incredulous whisper. He had expected emotional denials, explanations, excuses, appeals, but this?
I don’t know why I continue to be surprised when Historical Romance meets or exceeds my expectations. Maybe I need to work harder to adjust my mindset.
And WHY have I never read a book by Ruby Moone before?
Trapped is an apt title, because WOWZA.
The blurb states that this is a companion piece to The Wrong Kind of Angel. Having not read that, I can definitively say that this book can be read as a standalone. The previous characters are mentioned a few times and make an appearance, but this plot has no bearing on what may have transpired previously…except, possibly, setting up a few events that take place herein.
As to warming to characters, gotta say that Sam stole my heart. He’s not perfect, might’ve made some misguided choices, might’ve taken a while to get his head on straight, but his heart is always in the right place. Tristan, yeah, I loved him too. Bless his lordly elite privileged heart. He’s was a little harder to warm up to in the sense that he’s so much above Sam in station that he could barely see beyond his nose.
This is kinda like if Pretty Woman was set in a Regency-times brothel…a lot like it. Except for the fact that Sam was forced into a life of whoredom and is desperately trying to escape. He knows he’s going to need help from the likes of a wealthy benefactor — but doesn’t exactly parse out what that might entail, or how it might ultimately chip away at what little pride he has.
Sam’s actions and reactions felt authentic all the way through. As did Tristan’s, but I don’t know any Earls from Regency times to compare. Not that I know any Regency Whores either, but whatever.
Then, too, it sort of turns into a great escape/rescue caper with Tristan and his cousin running around the countryside. There are a few action sequences that become a bit brutal and threaten the very lives of these characters.
I don’t know if I was supposed to find some of it humorous or not? I kind of did in parts because maybe a little bit of it struck me as over the top.
And some children crop up in a most unfortunate way. I’m always skeptical about children showing up in my romance books, only because I don’t have kids and am not particularly maternal. They kinda freak me out, to be honest, so I need to understand why they exist in a story. The children weren’t overpowering — but didn’t exactly sit well with me because of their horrific circumstances, and it felt just a wee bit like a plot device that took me way too long to accept as necessary.
What might sound like some niggles to the construct certainly aren’t — I was GLUED to this from beginning to end, and I think I was surprised to get something vastly different that what I’d expected.
When it’s all said and done there is a hard-won HEA. And, for the times, when HEAs between two men were hard to come by, and often settling for what they could get away with while risking life and/or jail, this was lovely and perfectly enjoyable.
Um…Also? I kind of really loved Tristan’s cousin Alfie. I might need his story soon. And it seems as though I need to get my hands on The Wrong Kind of Angel. And…there are two ladies of the brothel that might have a little somethin’ somethin’ going on — I think I need that, too.
Advance Review Copy generously provided by the author via Signal Boost Promotions
About the Author:
My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!
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