The book respects all the rule of a Regency Romance, and so we have the dashing and dangerous earl, with a notorious reputation among the ton, and the young and innocent new "beau" of the season, who obviously falls immediately on the net of the aforesaid lord. Only that the "beau" is himself an earl, the American Earl, just arrived from the former colony to claim the title of a distant relative. Leander was the first to be surprised by the turn of the event, he was the fat too often ill third son of a american farmer, forced to bed for most of his childhood and youth. For that reason no one expected from him to be healthy enough to attend College, and so he gave the money his grandfather left for his tuition to his two brother to invest in a merchant ship. Unfortunately the ship, with his two brothers above, got lost at sea, soon after the death for illness of his father, and so, when the news of the inheritance arrived to his american small village, Leander was the only one left to claim the title of Earl of Dearborne.
Now in London he is seen by society like an odd but funny stranger, someone no one has the courage to scorn due to his title and wealth. He also finds a group of aristocratic scholars who share his love for history and books and so he is able to obtain his place among the ton. His strange and secluded upbringing allowed Leander to form a strange way to judge and be judged, and so when he becomes friend with Julien, Earl of Blackstone, he pays little attention to the gossip that the man has "strange" preferences... also since Leander himself is quite attracted by Julien, and starts to wonder if his apparent indifference for women and his only and one interest for a youth friend was not the proof that also him has odd preferences regarding bed companions. Even if innocent, Leander is more than eager to follow his instinct and willing to let Julien being his teacher.
At first Julien is not interest in having an affair with another member of the ton. Due to a bad past experience, Julien reserved himself to pay for his bed partner, and he has a "mistress" settled in a comfortable house. But more or less at the same time of Leander's arrival, Julien is starting to get bored of his temporary partner, and so his interest is sparkled but the young Earl. There is no plan of seduction, instead Julien at first tried to discourage Leander, but when he realizes that the young man is willing, all his reserves are put aside. The conquer is slow but steady, and step by step, Leander experiment a kiss, a stroke, a rub and... well, you can imagine! All Leander's innocence is violated meeting after meeting, but with mutual satisfaction and eager participation. When I said that Leander is a damsel in distress I meant exactly this part of the story, Leander is not a "manly" figure, he was not raised to be a man according to the rule of the XIX century, and so he is extremely innocent and vulnerable; Julien assumes the role of his protector and teacher, and so apparently stronger. But Leander, even if innocent, is smart and clever, only gentler than most of the men.
The fact that their relationship is not something acceptable by the common rules of society and by the law, is not underestimated. It seems that Julien and Leander are excused only due to their high rank position and wealth, but if both of them were not part of the ton, would not be allowed for them to be seen together in society.
Overall the book is almost a classic Regency romance, also in the length, almost 300 pages. I believe that readers like me, who came from an Historical Romance background, will enjoy very much this one. The novel is first in the Timeless Dreams line by Dreamspinner Press, a line I'm sure will love: stories of M/M romance in historical settings. While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma. You can visit the rough and tumble Old West, travel the ancient kingdoms of desert sheikhs, see the black and red lacquer of the Far East, or dance in dramatic Regency England. No matter where or when, in the romantic worlds of Timeless Dreams, our heroes always live happily ever after (description of the line from Dreamspinner Press website).
Amazon Kindle: The Desire for Dearborne
Amazon: The Desire for Dearborne
Cover Art by Anne Cain