Love Bytes is happy to share with you an exclusive excerpt of K.J Charles her new novel “An Unsuitable Heir”, published by Love Swept.
Love Swept is offering a fabulous giveaway for our readers. Check out the giveaway at the end of this post!
A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.
On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.
Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.
But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends.
Don’t miss any of the captivating Sins of the Cities novels:
AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION | AN UNNATURAL VICE | AN UNSUITABLE HEIR
Pen headed out into the alleys. It was foul outside, but normally foul, not like Tuesday, when the whole of Fox Court had been stuffed to the point of asphyxiation with air thick enough to knit. He could actually see houses looming through the murk today, and a figure emerging from it, too.
“Hoi, mate!” A South London voice, male. Not the Potters, but Pen made sure he had his wits about him as he paused; business would have been bad for rampsmen and pickpockets as well as everyone else.
The man came closer, his shape firming up out of the fog till Pen could make out a pale face between hat and coat. “Are you from around here? Only I’m lost. Got turned around, been down two dead ends, and now I could be in Timbuctoo for all I know. Don’t suppose you can point me out?”
Pointing wouldn’t help, even in clear daylight. “It’s a maze round here, to be honest. I’m not in a hurry, I’ll walk you out,” Pen offered. “Are you heading for Holborn or up to Dorrington Street?”
“Dorrington Street. You’re a gentleman, mate.”
He was extremely lost, since they were in the furthest corner of Fox Court from there. “It’s no trouble.”
“Maybe not, but you’re saving me a lot of it. Live round here, do you? I don’t suppose there’s anywhere for a man to whet his whistle without having his purse emptied?”
“Depends what sort of place you want.” Pen couldn’t see much of his companion but the man gave an impression of sturdy build, and not rarefied tastes. “The better sort of publics are out on Gray’s Inn Road.”
“A glass of mother’s ruin is all I’m after, keep the cold out. Been walking for an hour in this.”
“You must be frozen stiff. Well, there’s the Gin Kitchen up here,” Pen suggested. “It’s not grand, but the drink won’t send you blind.”
“That’ll do nicely. Tell you what,” the man said. “Take a drink with me as a thanks for your help, and show me out after?”
Pen gave him a swift look-over. He was indeed dripping with fog-wet, and obviously cold. And after all, Pen had intended to drop in on the Kitchen as something to do. “All right, if you like.”
The Kitchen was smoky and poorly lit, with oil lamps dangling from the rafters, and like everywhere the inside was fog-wreathed, but it was still better than the outside. There weren’t many people in yet. Pen took a seat at a rough table while his companion went to the bar. He returned in a few moments, carrying two tumblers of gin in one splay-fingered hand. Pen noted that as a bizarre way to carry drinks a couple of seconds before he registered the short, sewn-up left sleeve and realised the man only had one arm.
He shifted his gaze to his companion’s face, not wanting to stare at whatever manoeuvres would be required to put the glasses down. The man was about thirty, with a strong, shrewd face, a pugnacious look. Pale blue eyes, which Pen guessed would go with fair hair when he took his hat off. Not precisely handsome—well, not handsome at all, but appealing anyway. It was the face of a tough, uncompromising, manly sort of man. Pen wondered what he was actually like.
He shoved one glass across to Pen and took up the other. “Mark Braglewicz. Cheers.”
“Pen Starling.” Pen sipped his gin, feeling the fiery burn. “That’s better. You’re soaked through. You must have been outside for hours.”
“Yeah. This fog,” Mark agreed. “Think anyone’ll half-inch my coat if I hang it by the fire?”
Mark went to do that, hanging up his sodden hat as well. He had short blond hair, cropped close to the skull, receding a little at the temples. Polish or suchlike, perhaps, going by the -vitch sound of his name. He also had a very nice arse. Pen wasn’t sure whether he was being unlawfully solicited or just bought a drink, but decided he was open to finding out.
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.
Love Swept is offering an ecopy of all three Sins of the City Novels to not 1 but 2 winners!
(Note: The books are gifted directly from Amazon)
Sins of the Cities novels: AN UNSEEN ATTRACTION | AN UNNATURAL VICE | AN UNSUITABLE HEIR
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