The Sugared Game by K.J. Charles (The Will Darling Adventures #2)
It's been two months since Will Darling saw Kim Secretan, and he doesn't expect to see him again. What do a rough and ready soldier-turned-bookseller and a disgraced shady aristocrat have to do with each other anyway? But when Will encounters a face from the past in a disreputable nightclub, Kim turns up, as shifty, unreliable, and irresistible as ever. And before Will knows it, he's been dragged back into Kim's shadowy world of secrets, criminal conspiracies, and underhand dealings. This time, though, things are underhanded even by Kim standards. This time, the danger is too close to home. And if Will and Kim can't find common ground against unseen enemies, they risk losing everything. A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.
PUBLISHER: KJC Books
LENGTH: 269 pages
GENRE: Historical, Romance
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s).
As a sequel, THE SUGARED GAME handles the next stage of Will and Kim's relationship, allowing them to figure out whether they want to stay as a series of very pleasant sexual encounters alternating with lies and danger, or if one of those things is ready to give way. Kim draws Will into more danger after Will and his friend Maisie are in a nightclub run by dangerous people. The nightclub storyline is new, features some dangerous new characters and showing the developing web of friendships between Phoebe, Maisie, and Will, all near Kim but not dependent on how much he's talking to Phoebe or Will at any given time. The question of Capricorn's identity is introduced and resolved, forcing changes in several relationships by the time everything is known. This is the middle book of the trilogy, and it leaves open how Kim and Will will move forward after the many changes in the finale of THE SUGARED GAME.
Significant parts of this book would not make sense without having read SLIPPERY CREATURES, but it would be a fun time for someone who read it at random. Ironically, the fact that Kim has left a lot unexplained until now might actually work in such a reader's favor as far as comprehension of the plot is concerned.
I especially like the ending, the way the reckoning is handled makes the weight of consequences apparent, as Kim has been keeping too much to himself for too long for him to get away without something bad happening (or several somethings).
Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content, blood, violence, injury detail, murder, death.
Moderate CW for cursing, sexual harassment, toxic relationship, gun violence, medical content, medical trauma, war.
Minor CW for racism, ableist language, sexual assault, kidnapping, pregnancy, miscarriage, drug use, self harm, suicide.