A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is the second book in Cat Sebastian’s Seducing the Sedgwicks series of Regency-era m/m historical romance novels. Sebastian is one of my favorite authors, so I preordered this book as soon as it appeared on Amazon.
Readers were introduced to Hartley Sedgwick in the first book in this series, It Takes Two to Tumble. Allusions were made to his situation, and now we get a clearer picture. Hartley inherited a house and funds from his godfather. This is hardly unique, except his benefactor favored Hartley over a biological son. This prompts the son to share with all of proper Society exactly what Hartley did to earn such a bountiful inheritance. Hartley has been shunned from the very people who once delighted in his company.
Meanwhile, Sam makes a living as a tavern owner, serving London’s black community. He has reason to believe there is a scandalous painting of a friend somewhere in Hartley’s house. It doesn’t seem like they would have much in common, but Hartley offers to help find the picture, and they strike up a tentative friendship that eventually leads to more.
Hartley has mixed feelings about his past, but it is not until Sam expresses sympathy rather than disgust does he realize how dysfunctional the dynamic was. Hartley is so profoundly affected by what happened to him when he was little more than a boy that he doesn’t even like being touched, but Sam is so supportive and respectful of Hartley’s boundaries.
I absolutely loved this book. I loved that both of the protagonists were not members of the aristocracy. This is a bit of a rarity in the genre, so it proved to be a fresh look at the Regency through new eyes. I also loved that Sebastian introduces historically accurate issues of race during the Regency.
I would absolutely recommend A Gentleman Never Keeps Score. This was a beautiful story of healing and redemption and second chances, but there was just enough banter to lighten the mood. It might be my overenthusiastic shipping sense, but I thought I caught a hint of a future pairing. Whether or not that comes to fruition, I am eagerly awaiting Sebastian’s next release later this year!