A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
A NEW NOVEL IN THE SEDUCING THE SEDGWICKS SERIES BY CAT SEBASTIAN.
Once beloved by London’s fashionable elite, Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after a spate of salacious gossip exposed his most-private secrets. Rarely venturing from the house whose inheritance is a daily reminder of his downfall, he’s captivated by the exceedingly handsome man who seeks to rob him.
Since retiring from the boxing ring, Sam Fox has made his pub, The Bell, into a haven for those in his Free Black community. But when his best friend Kate implores him to find and destroy a scandalously revealing painting of her, he agrees. Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.
Series: A Seducing the Sedgwicks Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
It was dark now, and a chill was settling in that felt more like November than September. Hartley turned up the collar of his topcoat and tucked his hands into his pockets. His thin kid gloves did nothing to keep his hands warm but the change of seasons came as a relief. Autumn meant an excuse to put another layer of clothes between his body and the world. It meant a reprieve from the tyranny of merrymaking that a run of decent weather seemed to inspire in his countrymen. Autumn meant a glorious few months spent indoors, complaining about fog and drinking warm beverages.
The recollection that he’d be experiencing these pleasures alone had a significant damping effect. He had never had close friends in the highest echelons of London society; he wasn’t any good at confidences or warmth or whatever it was people expected of friends. He was an entirely passable acquaintance: he made amusing conversation, wore the right clothes, and blended into good company in a way that made people forget he hadn’t been born to it. With the faith of a child and the ignorance of a tourist, he had assumed that once being accepted into their company, he wouldn’t be cast out.
He turned into the mews behind his house.
The kitchen door was left unlocked so that when the servants returned later that night they’d be able to let themselves in. This might have been imprudent but for the fact that Hartley had sold off everything worth stealing years ago. His godfather had left him the house and its contents but nothing to live on. In order to scrape together enough capital to invest for a modest income, Hartley had needed to auction off nearly all the furnishings. Any housebreakers would be sadly out of luck.
The mews was quiet at this hour, and Hartley was able to make his way to his house without being seen. But as he approached the door, he saw a figure standing in the shadows. Hartley went still and let his eyes adjust to the darkness. It was a man, broad and tall, even though he looked like he was making an effort to disappear into the gloom. Beneath the brim of his hat, his skin was dark brown, nearly as dark as the wool of his coat. Hartley recognized him as the same man he had seen across the street the previous week. Evidently he had been watching Hartley’s house then, as he was now.
Hartley could not think of any good reasons why a man would be lurking outside his kitchen door. But he couldn’t think of any bad reasons either. Surely a housebreaker wouldn’t simply stand there. In all likelihood he was walking out with Hartley’s parlor maid and was waiting for a chance to steal a moment with her. Hartley wished them well. Godspeed, young lovers.
Surely, though, if he was walking out with the maid, he’d already know that this was her day out. Perhaps he was a spurned lover, and if so, Hartley did not want him making trouble for any of his maids. He stepped out of the shadows toward the stranger.
“Come into the light so I can see you,” he said, his voice rusty from disuse. That was the worst part of being an outcast—London teemed with people but there was nobody to talk to. The stranger startled, and Hartley congratulated himself on his superior skulking abilities. “I’m unarmed,” he added, holding up his empty hands. “I thought I’d take the opportunity to suggest that if you’re walking out with Janet, you ought to know that her favorite sweets are peppermint creams. And also that if you hurt her I’ll have you murdered.”
“I never heard of Janet,” the man said.
“It had better not be Polly,” said Hartley, bristling. “She’s hardly grown.”
“I have no idea—”
“Cook, then?” He would have thought Cook a good deal too old for that sort of thing, but one never knew. “Good for her,” he said. “I reckon she’ll murder you herself if you put a foot wrong.”
“Are you drunk? Do you need help getting home?” There was a touch of—could it be concern?—in the stranger’s voice.
Hartley stepped even closer. “If you’re not here for one of the maids, does that mean you’re here for me? How flattering,” he drawled. “One usually has to go to such trouble to arrange this sort of thing, and here you are, delivered to my doorstep.” That ought to scare the fellow off right enough.
But instead of turning on his heel and running away, the stranger sighed. “All right mate, let’s get you home where you can sober up someplace safe. Can’t have you making advances to people in dark corners. You’ll get yourself killed.”
“I—I beg your pardon,” Hartley stammered.
The stranger paid him no heed. “This where you live? Let’s go.”
A strong arm came around Hartley’s shoulders, steering him toward the kitchen door. His customary fear stole his words and made him powerless to protest, but it was accompanied by a bittersweet awareness that in another lifetime, he might have wanted this strong arm around him, bringing him to a safe place.
Hartley let himself be shepherded inside.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE by Cat Sebastian, we’re giving away three paperback copies of IT TAKES TWO TO TUMBLE!
GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback copy of It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat Sebastian. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 7/23/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.
About Cat Sebastian
Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.