Cat Sebastian returns to Georgian London with a stunning tale of a reluctant criminal and the thief who cannot help but love her.
Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…
A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?
As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats—they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.
Sebastian's Georgian England–set sequel to The Queer Principals of Kit Webb shines with a pair of intoxicatingly audacious leads who so successfully blend good nature with criminal intention that readers will root for the success of every bad idea, including their unlikely romance. Lovable thief Rob "Gladhand Jack" Brooks is displeased to learn from his brothel-owning mother that he is the legitimate heir of the Duke of Clare, a role he has no interest in. Rob's attempt to blackmail the current Duke's unhappy new wife, Marian Hayes, with this information yields no money, but it leads the pair to a charming correspondence. Marian sets out to rob the Duke's coach for her own reasons—but after things go awry and she unintentionally shoots the Duke near-fatally, she compels Rob to join her on her flight from London, leading to lots of wittily acerbic verbal sparring and, of course, love. It's a rare m/f pairing from Sebastian, but with two bisexual leads, cross-dressing, and frank discussions of the pleasures of non-penetrative sex, this refreshing romance brings wonderfully queer sensibilities to bear. Sebastian's clever mix of Gilbert and Sullivan–esque plot, Robin Hood morality, and contemporary gender dynamics make a stunningly successful combination.