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Crimson Romance

Crimson Romance
For the best in romance, from sweet to naughty!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 119

From the Cover:

A quirky holiday romance about Faith, Hope, and…er…glow-in-the-dark condoms!

Three years ago, a scandal cost antiquarian “book hunter” James Winter everything that mattered to him: his job, his lover and his self-respect. But now the rich and unscrupulous Mr. Stephanopoulos has a proposition. A previously unpublished Christmas book by Charles Dickens has turned up in the hands of an English chemistry professor by the name of Sedgwick Crisparkle. Mr. S. wants that book at any price, and he needs James to get it for him. There’s just one catch. James can’t tell the nutty professor who the buyer is.

Actually, two catches. The nutty Professor Crisparkle turns out to be totally gorgeous—and on the prowl. Faster than you can say, “Old Saint Nick,” James is mixing business with pleasure…and in real danger of forgetting that this is just a holiday romance.
Just as they’re well on the way to having their peppermint sticks and eating them too, Sedgwick discovers the truth. James has been a very bad boy. And any chance Santa will bring him what he wants most is disappearing quicker than the Jolly Old Elf’s sleigh.

Product Warning:

This book contains an ocelot, songs by America, Stardust martinis, tinsel, long-lost manuscripts, Faith, Hope and…Love.

James Winters is just about as down on your luck as a book antiquarian can be. His life has been left in ruins, a scandal with his former employer and mentor has left his career almost defunct. Once renown for his prowess as a book authenticator, he has been reduced to working at his local Barnes & Noble, selling books at minimum wage pay. A long fall from his other life, but oh, how far the mighty have fallen.

The one employer who will chance his ability is Mr. Stephanopoulos, and he's a far cry from those who trusted him before, but can you blame them? James had been taken in as well as those for whom he guaranteed authenticity. But, Mr. S. sees a prize, and long lost copy of a Dicken's Christmas book is going up for action. If Mr. S. has his way, his grubby hands will hold the treasure even if it's owner doesn't want it to be. It's up to James to convince the wily Professor Crisparkle that he will bring him the highest bid. The one thing James wasn't counting on was the stuffy chemistry professor who turned out to be one of the sexiest and gorgeous men his eyes had beheld in a while, and it's been a long long while.

The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon is a story of love and redemption. A perfect tale for the Christmas season, or any other season for that matter. When I first met James, he was being cajoled by the bulbous Mr. S. into doing something from the very start didn't feel right to him. If Mr. S. was so mad to get the Dickens, why not tell the seller who the buyer was, and exact his own amount of payment and reward. Instead, it was supposed to be a game of misdirection, veiled lies. But, almost at once, James starts to have misgivings. Almost at once, he's drawn to Sedgwick Crisparkle, the chemistry professor from the UK who grudgingly agrees to let James see and appraise the book. But, the prof isn't as innocent as he appears either, and he's investigated James, knows his past. And still, he feels the tug of desire as well. When the two come to an understanding, and agree to spend the night together, sparks fly and love flames. But, can either accept the other's short fallings? Can James get past the stern professor, wriggling his way into his heart? Can Sedge get past the lies and misdirection to see the real person behind the tough exterior, the lost man waiting for kindness and love?

The Dickens with Love turned out to be a heart warming tale, and I found myself hoping for more of this love story. James has been forced by circumstances to become a little bit of a con man, and Sedge jumps to conclusions, and feelings of betrayal before the relationship as time to become real. It takes understanding on both their parts to find the one thing both want and As I was reading, I came to understand James, even though I wanted him to come clean immediately, and I started to like him despite myself. He was misunderstood and abused by life. Sedge was quick to judge, to make assumptions, especially when he didn't know James, listening to rumors and innuendo. Then, I really started to like this strong professor type who needed to reign in those judgments of his. I really wanted more to this story, I wanted to see James and Sedge, cozy back in the UK, fulfilling life dreams and commitments, growing old together. It's not what either man excepted which makes it all that much better. I guess I'll have to settle for what I got, a love story told with wit, cringing sarcasm, and emotion. I'm not normally a contemporary romance reader, and I tend to shy away from M/M romance all together (not all of it is good). But, Josh Lanyon has won me over (this isn't his first book I've read). I think I'd try anything he put his hand to, love his humor and sarcasm as well as his ability to create a sensual moment or two in so few pages. I highly recommend this to the romance lover or the newbie M/M reader, it's not one to miss. 5 out of 5 fairy kisses for this reader.

I picked up The Dickens with Love for my own enjoyment. All opinions expressed are my own.


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