It’s the last night of a week-long house party in remote northern England. Every sensual delight imaginable is right at Henry Shaw’s fingertips. Yet all he wants is to be with his host, the deliciously handsome and enigmatic Arsen Grey, Marquis of Somerville. Henry’s certain it’s love, not mere infatuation. He’s also sure it’s hopeless. After all, the party’s purpose is to find Arsen a new mistress.
Arsen longs to leave the glittering, jaded world of the ton behind and find someone who will value him for himself, not his wealth and his title. He suspects that someone could be the strapping country gentleman he’s caught staring at him. Henry is loyal and dependable, nothing like his other acquaintances. Arsen sets a plan into motion, one designed to get Henry into his bed. One that includes a test of devotion.
Arsen never expected that in winning Henry, he risks losing his heart.
Comment: I got this book a long time ago and it has been forgotten in the pile, like so many others, I don't even know for certain. Anyway, I sometimes dig up books out of the bottom side of the list and this one got in my sight.
In this short story (my edition didn't reach 100 pages) we get to know how Henry Shaw has been in love with Ansen Grey, marquis of Somerville but obviously hasn't done much to let it be known. He attends a country party where, supposedly, Ansen will choose a new mistress and Harry is depressed. He just attended so he could be close to Ansen somehow.
Ansen is, in fact, looking for someone to be with, but it's not certainly the woman who thinks she might be it. Harry is such an amazing person and has the body to go along with his inner beauty so Ansen thought this house party would be the perfect bait to bring him to his arms, and it will be no trouble to try to convince him of that...
This was a short story that left me a little bit frustrated because it has so much potential and the small amount of pages wasn't enough to sustain the concept presented. Or, maybe, the problem is that the author chose to focus on elements that, although understandable, didn't have to be as detailed, like the sex scenes, in my opinion.
The descriptions didn't make me eager to read either, to be honest. Just because this is an m/m, does it mean everyone else has to behave so badly... I know the setting is a house party so there were prostitutes but this whole scenario is so demeaning and cliché that it's a pity. I prefer stories where the settings are well explored/defined like other authors in the genre have done. The lack of pages have certainly contributed to give me this notion, but...
The romance is the highlight, of course, because they are too different. The scenes until they get together sexually were filled with tension and I liked that. It was also good we have both their POVs in different moments and each of their personalities seemed to be well presented, considering the plot didn't take too long to happen and end. I liked it that they weren't certain of the other and felt they could take it if the other only wanted to have fun but if we had less sex scenes details and more personality elements, a bit more about their thoughts and behavior maybe things would have looked stronger when it comes to their relationship and the future. As it is, of course I'm glad they decided to admit their feelings and try to be together but yes, things weren't as smooth as I'd have liked.
All in all, a good enough plot, a great idea but the execution, to me, could have been better. I've liked a book by the author in the past and will try others when I can because the concepts seem to be there.