A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by K.J. Charles (The Doomsday Books #2)

Major Rufus d'Aumesty has unexpectedly become the Earl of Oxney, master of a remote Norman manor on the edge of the infamous Romney Marsh. There he's beset on all sides, his position contested both by his greedy uncle and by Luke Doomsday, son of a notorious smuggling clan.

The earl and the smuggler should be natural enemies, but cocksure, enragingly competent Luke is a trained secretary and expert schemer—exactly the sort of man Rufus needs by his side. Before long, Luke becomes an unexpected ally...and the lover Rufus had never hoped to find.

But Luke came to Stone Manor with an ulterior motive, one he's desperate to keep hidden even from the lord he can't resist. As the lies accumulate and family secrets threaten to destroy everything they hold dear, master and man find themselves forced to decide whose side they're really on...and what they're willing to do for love.

COVER AR: Jyotirmayee Patra
CONTRIBUTOR(S): Martyn Swain (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Dreamscape Media
YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 328 pages (10 hours 39 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Historical, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Ace/Aro Main Character(s).

A NOBLEMAN'S GUIDE TO SEDUCING A SCOUNDREL is tense, witty, and very sexy, existing as a sequel to wrap up few things left hanging from THE SECRET LIVES OF COUNTRY GENTLEMEN while delivering a full story in its own right. I won't be more specific in this review, because it it's pretty far into the book before this is stated explicitly and it operates on several levels. The biggest thing that's continued is that Luke, who was a child in the first book, is a main character now as an adult and is half of the romantic pair at the center of the story. It's interesting because as I was reading the first one I thought that it was a complete story, and then this sequel makes it feel more like the two books are halves of a whole. The weird part for me, when trying to assess whether this can stand on its own, is that if taken from Rufus's perspective, it really does. He doesn't know any of the previous events, and so someone who read this book without reading the first one would have an experience closer to Rufus, and anyone who has read the first one would be closer to Luke's understanding of the situation.

I love Luke as a secretary, the characterization is so precise that it firmly establishes his adult self in this new story on his own terms. Rufus fits him well, and I like them as a pair. The worldbuilding is consistent with the first book, but it assumes a familiarity with the Marsh and takes for granted that either the reader won't need a great deal of explanations, or is satisfied with the level of information which Rufus acquires. 

Graphic/Explicit CW for cursing, confinement.

Moderate CW for ableism, injury detail, torture, parental death, death.

Minor CW for miscarriage, rape, neglect, abandonment, child abuse, murder. 

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Two men are in an office, one is sitting on the edge of the desk, the other is leaning over him in a sexy way


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