Cat Sebastian

Books: Romance | Historical | Mystery | LGBT


Seducing the Sedgwicks:It Takes Two to Tumble (2017), A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018), Two Rogues Make a Right (2020)

The Turner Series: The Soldier’s Scoundrel (2016), The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017), The Ruin of a Rake (2017), A Little Light Mischief (2019)

Regency Imposters: Unmasked by the Marquess (2018), A Duke in Disguise (2019), A Delicate Deception (2019)


Page & Sommers: Hither, Page (2019), The Missing Page (2022)

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb (2021)


He’s Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (2020)


The Turner Series

The Soldier’s Scoundrel (2016)

The Soldiers ScoundrelSet in England in the 18-teens.

To be honest, I have avoided reading this book for ages, because the cover squicks me out.

Luckily, neither character is anything at all like the models.

Oliver sold his commission after taking a bullet to the back of his knee. Now he is back in England and doesn’t know what to do with himself.

Miss Sutherland intervened, looking up from her embroidery. “Mr. Rivington will avoid this house entirely if he is chastised about his clothing and his modes of exercise every time he enters it.”

“Frankly, I don’t think Oliver has anyone else to chastise him, so if I hold back, and consequently he’s mistaken for a dockworker or stable boy, think of how upsetting that will be for him.”

Jack started his life in service, but not works for himself, solving the problems of others in service–and of wealthy women.

after he set up his business two years ago, he had been offended by his clients’ lies and omissions, but now he sometimes wished they would simply walk into his office, throw a wad of banknotes onto his desk, and leave him to untangle their lives without any distractions.

He is unpleasantly startled with Oliver accuses him of taking money from Charlotte, Oliver’s sister.

Jack refuses to explain what he did to earn that money, which just angers Oliver.

The story has a bit of a mystery–mainly who stole the letters from Mrs Wraxhall, and why. It’s an ok mystery, but the main story is Jack and Oliver.

That part is fine, but although I don’t dislike Jack and Oliver, and don’t like them nearly as much as Georgie and Lawrence.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 7/10

The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017)

The Lawrence Browne AffairSet in Cornwall, England in 1816

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor is mad. He’s driven away most of his staff, and the local vicar is worried about his stability.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

Georgie Turner is a confidence man, and has gotten himself into trouble, and so flees to the country on a job from his brother–looking into whether the mad earl really is mad.

Georgie had no illusions about evading Mattie Brewster’s men for long. Georgie was a traitor, an informer, and the Brewster gang would make an example of him. And rightly so.

That isn’t to say that Lawrence doesn’t have issues.

Lawrence had learned years ago that when he felt the creeping unease that signaled what he had come to think of as an attack of madness, he could sometimes set his mind to rights by exhausting himself.

It’s actually rather interesting, seeing how mental disorders were viewed–and how thin the line was between madness and being different. (Both could get you locked up.) I suppose that adding homosexuality–which was viewed as criminal and aberrant–would only have made it easier for someone neuro-atypical to see themselves as mad or going mad. I note it because this isn’t the first historical romance where one of the characters sees his homosexuality as a sign of his instability.

Sodomites had been a favorite subject of his father’s rage-fueled tirades, in which he lumped it in with other crimes against nature, such as Catholicism and being French.

I liked both Georgie and Lawrence right from the start, although as a confidence man, Georgie had the people skills that made him easier to like from the get-go.

On a hunch, he cut the onion into several oddly sized chunks. Before its pungent aroma had even reached his nostrils she was by his side.

“No, no. What are you about? Chop the onion fine, like this.” She took the knife from his hand and held up a paper thin slice of onion for his edification.

That bit where he ingratiates himself to the cook amused me to no end.

I also quite liked Simon, Lawrence’s son. Both how Lawrence ended up with a son as well as Georgie’s reaction to Simon (as well as Lawrence’s lack of a relationship with him).

Simon regarded him, his nose red with cold. “Uncle Kemble says Lord Radnor isn’t my real father anyway. So it’s only natural that he can’t be bothered.”

“Uncle Kemble can sod right off, then,” Georgie said promptly, before recalling that this language was not suitable for an eight-year-old’s ears. “Damn!” No, that was no improvement. Simon’s eyes were wide. “I’m sorry. But your uncle is a thoroughgoing bastard if he says that sort of thing to you.”

I think one of the things I am liking so much about the MM historicals I’ve been reading is that the illegality of the relationships give them an extremely different take on historical romances–two people that don’t necessarily trust each other can have a relationship and eventually develop that trust, because the very nature of their love could get them both killed or jailed.

As with the other MM romances, there is a lot of boinking, but I still quite enjoyed how the two men worked things out–and worked out things with Simon.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 8/10

The Ruin of a Rake (2017)

The Ruin of a RakeSet in London in 1817

Lord Courtenay’s reputation is a rake and a libertine is well-deserved. He drank and gambled and whored and ended up spending his fortune. But the death of his sister–after her complete ruin–and his love for his nephew have complicated things for him. He wants to be involved in his nephew’s life, but his reputation means no one wants him near the boy.

Radnor’s secretary sent Courtenay an infuriatingly proper letter suggesting that Courtenay take himself as far away from Simon as humanly possible until the scandal died down. It was heavily implied that the scandal would die down at some point coincidental with Courtenay’s death.

Julian Medlock is a proper gentleman after a struggle to be accepted despite being the son of a businessman. But he wonders whether his need to be in England and be accepted has led to the downfall of his sister, who perhaps sacrificed too much for their return.

“I held up my end of the bargain. I married well.” She broke off into an anxious laugh. “So well, my husband has kept the diameter of the globe between us in order to let me spend my fortune in peace. There’s no reason I shouldn’t live out the rest of my days doing precisely as I please.”

Both these characters turn up in the previous book, and Medlock was entirely disagreeable, so I was somewhat doubtful as to how the author could make him likable. Courtenay was immediately redeemed in the previous book, despite his reputation, because he traveled across the country in terrible weather just to make sure his nephew was okay.

Medlock just came across as a prig.

But of course Medlock had his own secrets and his own past.

Julian reached blindly for his glass of port and drained it so he wouldn’t be able to point out the incongruity of gentlemen, who by their very definition did not work, accusing the poor of laziness.

Kisses that didn’t lead up to some kind of release were totally foreign to Julian. He had never quite understood why a person would want to get themselves all worked up without an end in sight.

I think that what I particularly liked about this story and the previous was that Courtenay and Georgie were deeply concerned about Simon’s well-being, and went to great lengths to make him safe and happy. The romance was important, but it wasn’t everything that was important.

I also liked the secondary story of Medlock’s sister and her husband, who were trapped in a marriage that was a terrible mess–and although it was a misunderstanding–it was one that made a great deal of sense considering the times. In fact, in a brief exchange, the problems the two had made absolutely and complete sense, and I was immediately on-board for both of them to work things out.

(T)he fact of the matter is that I think Eleanor and Julian tend to forget I’m Indian.”


“I didn’t— oh damn it— I didn’t know whether she’d want an Indian husband with her in England.”

It was a book I read years ago that explained why so many English men took Indian wives, and it made sense and also made you feel even more terrible for the children of those unions.

I also liked Courtenay’s thoughts about trying to escape misery.

He’d let his exile take him farther than had been possible the last time, when he’d had a woman and a small child to consider. He’d go to the Argentine or to Siam. Far enough that nobody would have heard of him and he could fill his eyes and ears with new sights and sounds to replace the memories he didn’t want.

It was another story I quite liked–especially since I didn’t like one of the characters before I even started this story.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 8.5/10

A Little Light Mischief (2019)

A Little Light MischiefSet in England in 1818

Alice Stapleton has spent her life keeping house for her father and taking care of her siblings and nieces and nephews. So it came as a rude surprise when her father threw her out and disowned her, and she was only saved by Mrs. Wraxhall taking her on as a lady’s companion–a position for which she is unprepared.

Mrs. Wraxhall had instructed Molly to ensure that Miss Stapleton’s clothing was ruined in the wash.

Molly has been on her own for much of her life, but she is in a safe position now as a maid for Mrs. Wraxhall, who is uncommonly understanding about Molly’s past.

Historical LGBT romances are fascinating because of how gay men and women were viewed by society. And the differences between men and women were even more interesting. Power imbalances between men and women, and the rich and the poor were stark and–to be blunt–pretty terrible.

“Right. Forgot about that. It must be a terrible shock for fine ladies, never to see a proper cock until they’re married.”

I’ll need to check, but I feel like this story has far less boinking than her MM romances (or even her MF romances), although since I tend to skim those parts, I could be remembering her stories as more explicit than they are. But I did prefer the minimal boinking.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 7/10

Seducing the Sedgwicks

It Takes Two to Tumble (2017)

It Takes Two to TumbleSet in England in 1817

Ben Sedgwick is happy being the vicar of Kirkby Barton. He is engaged to the girl who has been his best friend since childhood, and he feels comfortable about his calling. He might not want to, but when he is asked to take the Dacre children in hand until their father returns home, he does what he feels is his duty.

Phillip Dacre has been away at sea for two years, missing the death of his wife, and most of the growth of his three children–children that have been running wild since the death of their mother.

Although some of beginning reminds me a bit of the Sound of Music (especially the bit about the trees) it quickly turns into its own story.

Phillip sucked in a breath. “I have no intention of harming my children.”

“Oh, I’m certain you don’t. You’d likely call it discipline. But I’m not interested in semantics. I won’t leave your children alone with someone who seems determined to make enemies of them. They’ve had precious few allies these past few years.”

I especially liked Phillip’s confused and conflicted feelings about his wife.

Suddenly he resented Caroline for having died, which he realized was a ridiculous thing to do, but he did so anyway.

There was one thing I especially liked about the story, but that also was in some ways a weakness of the story. The youngest boy has a reading disability, which Ben has discovered, and is one of the reasons he is so protective of the children–because Jamie’s siblings are protective of him.

I really really like that this was an integral part of the story, but I felt that it got resolved a little too quickly and easily. This is mostly because it’s a shorter story, and there were a lot of things to resolve, but it is such a big thing in the lives of those who have to deal with it, I found it a little frustrating that things were just a little too pat.

I know it wasn’t a main story arc, I just wished it had taken a bit longer to resolve, because that would have felt more realistic. Otherwise, I did enjoy the story.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 7/10

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (2018) 

A Gentleman Never Keeps ScoreSet in London in 1817

Sam Fox is an ex-boxer and a Free Black–a pillar of his community who tries to help others as he was helped by this before him.

Some black families, like Sam’s mother’s people, had been in England for centuries. But a generation ago, Britain had promised black Americans freedom if they fought against the colonists. Sam’s father had been one of them.

And he wants those he cares for to be happy, so he decides to search out the nude painting of the woman who should be his sister-in-law, to recover it so she can destroy it. Which leads him to Hartley Sedgwick.

Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after stories have gone around to ton about how he really earned the house left to him by his godfather.

There are several interesting things about this story, the first of which is the life of a free black man in London in the early 1800s. It was nowhere near as bad as how men were treated in the United States, but it certainly was more difficult than the lives of other working men trying to make their way.

Because if he started hitting everyone who looked down on him because of his race or his class, he’d wind up going on some kind of spree.

The second is the damage that was done to Hartley, in his effort to build better lives for his brothers. It’s quite clear that despite his natural inclinations, he’d been into situations that were abhorrent to him, which broke him, and kept him from any kind of normal relationship.

But it’s that damage that makes Hartley look out for those in his care, and I enjoyed seeing his friendship with Sadie develop.

How could anyone sleep under these conditions? Sadie might die. Her baby might never live. It was appalling that this was how people came into being and Hartley had a mind to lodge a complaint, or, since that was not possible, to weep onto someone’s shoulder.

I liked that Hartley’s background allowed him to understand just how dangerous childbirth was at that time.

I also liked the glimpses into the life of his brother Will, who is clearly struggling, but just as clearly trying as hard as he can.

Will periodically went into what Hartley thought of as a decline and Ben called an episode. He didn’t sleep, barely ate, forgot to write whatever he was meant to for those horrid publications, and was forced to seek even more dismal lodgings than before. During one terrifying period the year before, he had turned to opium to calm whatever trouble roiled inside him.

That’s a tough one, and I’m not quite sure how one survived that in the 1800s.

The romance was… okay. I liked seeing how Hartley was slowly able to put the pieces of his life back together, and I liked seeing Sam come to learn that it wasn’t a failing to depend upon others.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 7/10

Two Rogues Make a Right (2020)

Two Rogues Make a RightSet in London ~1817-1818

Will Sedgwick’s best friend, Martin Easterbrook, had been found fevered and somewhat delusional in the attic of Hartley Sedgwick’s home (a home that by rights should have belonged to Martin). So Will stole him away to the country in the hopes the clean air might allow his lungs to recover. But Will has own struggles, and whether Martin knows it or not, caring for Martin is helping him keep it together.

Will had four shillings and a bottle of laudanum, and barely enough self-control not to drink it himself.

For his part, Martin blames himself for much of the trouble the Sedgwick brothers suffered.

Martin preferred not to think of Will’s time in the navy. He had a list as long as his arm of things to feel guilty about, and the only reason he could get by from day to day was to resolutely refuse to think about any of them.

One of the interesting things about Will and Martin is that each as far angrier at the other’s father than he is at his own. (Will’s father was not a good father; Martin’s father was objectively awful by any standard.) It’s fascinating how it’s sometimes easier to be enraged at the hurt people cause to those we love than the hurt that is caused to directly to us.

So Will and Martin are both a mess. And Martin is most likely gray ace, so doesn’t know how to go about being in love with his best friend. This aren’t insurmountable problems, but with Martin’s illness, they take some time to get over.

We never quite learn what happened to Will in the Navy, other than the fact it was awful and Will is physically scarred from it (and drowned his pains in opium for awhile) but we do know that Will kept others from mutiny which saved lives.

It was a good story, and oddly I ended up enjoying it far more than the conclusion to her other historical series I just finished.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 8/10

Regency Imposters

Unmasked by the Marquess (2018) 

Unmasked by the MarquessSet in Regency England, mostly London.

Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke has been struggling to rebuild his fortunes after his father left the estates in ruin, spending much of his money on his mistress and the children he had with said mistress. He also wants to see his younger brother settled in a living proper to a younger son of a Marquess.

Robert Selby is in London to give his sister a season in the hopes she makes good match that will keep her happy and out of poverty. Because “Robbie” is really “Charity”, masquerading as Robert, and as soon as Louisa is married, Robbie will disappear. Robbie asks Alistair to introduce his sister to society.

Overall, I found this story to be weak. I truly didn’t understand what Robin saw in Alistair, since he was pretty much a complete jerk to everyone, and didn’t even have noble intentions as an excuse for being an unpleasant sod to everyone–including his brother.

Robin, I very much liked, since her motives were fairly clear from the start, and only became more honorable as the story progressed.

“Is that your experience, my lord? That a single dance with a young lady is enough to confer such an advantage on her? I’ve never met a marquess before so please forgive my ignorance. Is nobility a sort of contagion? Like lice or influenza?”

I also liked Louisa and Gilbert and Amelia and Agatha Cavendish (although Mrs Allenby came off exceedingly flat).

Snippets of conversation drifted their way.

“The issue is the quality of the manure,” Louisa was saying.

“What do you know about drainage?” asked Lord Gilbert. He was writing in a small notebook he had withdrawn from his coat pocket.

Miss Allenby shot Charity an incredulous glance. “Are they discussing agriculture?”

“Likely so.”

I also felt the ending of the story was a little too pat, a little too convenient, a little too unlikely. As much as one wishes, I don’t think the HEA was at all probable or likely, and that made a story that already felt weak, fall flat.

And sadly, this is a pretty terrible cover. It starts with the hair being… not right. And then I think their faces aren’t quite right either with him looking very much like an android. As a thumbnail it’s not awful, but once you look at it more closely, the details are disconcerting.

Mind you, nothing about this book was horrible, it just kept coming up short pretty much across the board.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 5.5/10

A Duke in Disguise (2019)

A Duke in DisguiseSet in England in 1817

Ash (John Ashby) spent years as a child being bounced from home to home until he was apprenticed to an engraver who all but saved his life.

All Ash knew was what Roger had told him: at some point in his early childhood he was sent out to be fostered and had in due course been sent away by a succession of families who considered harboring an epileptic to be either a bad omen, a public embarrassment, or simply not worth the remnants of the funds Ash had initially been left with. Ultimately he had been sent to a charity school.

It was through his mentor that he met the Plums–especially Verity Plum, who Ash has loved for years. But Verity will never marry, and Ash refuses to sire a bastard, so they are left pretending they don’t have an attraction.

I quite enjoyed the historical bits, including the printing of sedition and pornography, but the story did little for me. Although Verity and Ash have seemingly been in love for years, I just didn’t feel the attraction between them–both characters fell flat for me. And with the title, it was obvious was going to happen to Ash when he went to see Lady Caroline, so there wasn’t much suspense there.

The part that should have been interesting to me–the trial–was strangely unexciting.

But mostly I was disconcerted by the solution to the issue of Robert. Robert was all but a cardboard cut-out of a bad guy, existing solely to force Ash to accept his inheritance. And the duke wasn’t much better, caring nothing for what went on in his home–I didn’t understand why he initially wouldn’t recognize Ash, and then why he bothered to.

And Verity’s brother? I was mostly ok with him until he decided to take his apprentice with him when he went off to cause trouble. It’s one thing to place yourself in danger, but it’s something else entirely to have someone who is dependent upon you go with you. It’s fine to want to be a martyr, but not fine to take your apprentice down with you.

So… no. I wasn’t much impressed by this story.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 5/10

A Delicate Deception (2019)

A Delicate DeceptionSet in England in 1824

Amelia Allenby fled London to escape what she felt was an impending madness. She’s now comfortable in Derbyshire, but still tries to avoid everyone.

But a hulking man interrupts her daily walk, and eventually her annoyance changes to something else.

Sydney may have inherited Pelham Hall, but he wants nothing to do with the place where his brother and sister-in-law died. But he has returned at the request of his one-time lover and his sister-in-law’s brother.

I borrowed this from the library, because I was meh about the first two books, and low and behold, I’m meh about the third.

Part of it was the casual sex (which never works for me) but another part was Amelia’s problems. I’m not suite sure what her problems were supposed to be–perhaps anxiety? But as someone who struggles with her mental health, it felt like her issues were there because they were talked about, but I neverfelt Amelia’s struggles.

Since her issues were one of the issues that needed to be overcome, I didn’t know how to deal with her lack of struggle with those issues. She has supposedly come to terms with her issues, but–she’s twenty-five and living in a time where these issues were not understood and very definitely not accepted.

It just felt bizarre to me that she struggled with her health, but we never really saw any sign of it.

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Rating: 6/10

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb (2021)

The Queer Principles of Kit WebbSet in England in 1751.

After a carriage hold up that cost him the full use of his leg as well as his best friend, Kit Webb decided to take over the running of his coffee shop. There might be some planning and deals and fencing going on in the back room, but Kit himself is now a law abiding citizen.

And bored.

Percy, Lord Holland has discovered his life is not what he thought. A blackmail note leaves him and his father’s wife trying to scramble enough cash to live after they will lose the wealth and social standing at the end of the year.

The first letter had arrived a month ago, relating the bare facts of Percy’s father’s bigamy and demanding five hundred pounds before the first of January. Now they were left with a scant two months to come up with a plan.

So Percy hopes that getting hold of his mother’s book–now held by his father–will help them achieve enough money to survive. The problem is getting the book.

“I’ve already told you what I think. Paying the blackmailer is letting your father get away with it. I want to make him suffer,” Marian added with a degree of relish Percy found entirely understandable.

Couple of notes. Pretty sure Kit is demi.

“I seldom go to bed with people because I seldom meet anyone I really want to go to bed with.

There were a couple places that took me out of the story. Scenes that felt like they referred to a passage that had been edited out, and they forgot to change the reference. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it did make me stop and try to remember if I’d actually read the conversation referred to earlier.

But I liked both Kit and Percy, so it wasn’t a game changer.

Percy was somehow still young or naive enough to think that there was any difference between being strong and acting strong.

Plus there were some lovely and thoughtful passages.

Including the bit with the spider.

This time part of the web caught in Kit’s hair— which, given the state of Kit’s hair, was hardly surprising— and Kit carefully disentangled it. Then he murmured something that looked awfully like “beg pardon” to the spider.

There is obviously going to be another book, following Marian, but the story ended cleanly, which is always good.

Publisher: Avon

Rating: 8/10


Page & Sommers

Hither, Page (2019)

Hither, PageSet in England in 1946.

I’ll be honest, although the premises of most of her books are my thing, I just haven’t loved most of Cat Sebastian’s books. They generally have a lot of sex, and the plot aren’t always enough of my thing to get past that personal hurdle.

But this book? This was perfect for me.

James Sommers was a surgeon during WWII, and is struggling with battle fatigue to the point that although he is now a country doctor, he is completely unable to operate any longer.

“No, I assure you that I’m farther gone than most. And I wasn’t even a soldier. All I did was, as you said, stitch people up. What right do I have to—”

“No.” Page laid a hand on his shoulder. “What you’re not going to do is talk about shell shock or combat fatigue or brain fuckery as if it’s a special treat that you haven’t earned.”

Page was a spy and sometimes assassin before the war, and continued his work through and now after the war.

Anyone who inquired into his background would discover a minor functionary in one of the less notable offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with an unremarkable war record and an interest in bird watching that led him to take holidays in odd places. Leo felt a sort of affectionate embarrassment for this version of Leonard Page.

And he doesn’t understand why he is being sent to Wychcomb St. Mary to see why someone might have murdered a charwoman.

Of course there’s more than that, but the mystery unfolds over the course of the story, and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

And there are so many lovely parts, both from James and other soldiers working through their trauma, and Page trying to determine if he is more than his past.

He had come to England as a child and had never really thought of himself as a Catholic, but it still struck him as vaguely debased that the churches here tended not to use incense. This, he supposed, was as close to a religious conviction as he was ever going to develop. He had no inclination to linger in this foreign, wrong-smelling house of worship.

It’s a lovely story, an interesting mystery, and there wasn’t a lot of boinking–all pluses for me.

Published by Cat Sebastian

Rating: 8.5/10

The Missing Page (2022)

The Missing PageSet in England in 1948.

It has only been a few months since James and Leo met during a murder case, but Leo is now claiming James “spare room” as his landing place when he is home from whatever missions he is sent out on. But this time when he arrives at Wychcomb St. Mary, James isn’t waiting for him.

James has headed to Cornwall for the reading of his Uncle Rupert’s will. But James hasn’t been back to Blackthorn since his cousin Rose disappeared, so he has no idea why he’s being asked to return now.

The more Leo thought about it, the less he liked it. Leo had read this detective story and he had seen the film and knew that when you made the heirs gather together, they immediately started putting exotic poisons into one another’s tea. They simply couldn’t help themselves.

I really liked this mystery. I had an idea where parts of it were going, but not all of them, and I really liked how the different threads twisted and turned throughout.

That’s not to say the story is easy in all parts. His cousin’s husband if plain awful.

“I’m a doctor. It would be a wonder if I didn’t practice medicine,” he said when he could trust his voice to remain even.

“But— well, it can be a trying profession. When you came to see me in ’45, I believe I counseled rest.”

Mostly, James was furious that Sir Anthony was doing this in front of Martha and Lilah.

The one thing I particularly liked was how both Leo and James worried about the state of their relationship, but neither knew how to deal with it how they felt.

But the truth was that James was always a bit surprised when Leo returned. Not because he didn’t trust Leo or because he thought Leo didn’t care enough for him to come back, but because it seemed completely fantastical that a person like Leo came to James not only once, not only twice, but again and again.

This works well because for one, their relationship was illegal and they had to dance around so many things that couldn’t be said and done, but more importantly, because both had childhoods that led them to assume they would be abandoned.

There was some sex, but not much, and not in great detail, so this almost classified as a cozy.

I’m not sure if there will be a third entry, but I’m content with how this book ended, so I’ll be happy whatever happens.

Rating: 8.5/10

Reread: May 2023 | Rating: 9/10


He’s Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (2020) Emma Barry, Olivia Dade,Adriana Herrera, Ruby Lang, and Cat Sebastian

Hes Come Undone A Romance Anthology

This is five romance novellas by five authors, three M/F and two M/M.

Appassionata by Emma Barry. Brennan Connelly is a professional piano technician–one of the best in his field. The pianist, Kristy Kwong, is someone he’s had a crush on since they were teenagers. But Kristy is a fallen star trying to make a comeback, who does her best to put absolutely everyone off.

It’s probably weird, but my favorite part of this story was all the technical musical and piano stuff.

There’s no formal schooling to be a technician. I took a course from the guild and became Phil’s assistant. He was good about making sure I was exposed to different styles, different approaches. He was the one who arranged for my internship with the concert tech at Tanglewood.”

I also enjoyed Kristy’s arc trying to deal with her stage fright.

Unraveled by Olivia Dade. Simon Burnham, high school math teacher, has been assigned to mentor Poppy Wick, the art teacher who has just moved into town.

Simon is an uptight prig but he is also able to recognize when he has made a mistake, and apologize.

A girl at the table next to him twitched suddenly. As her hand shot into the air, her face alight, she began to grin. Revelation. Watching it dawn on a student’s face was a privilege, one he didn’t take for granted. He’d been chasing that particular expression for over twenty years, day by day.

I very much enjoyed both the mysteries, and the passion both had for teaching.

I really liked Simon a lot.

The rules of gentlemanly behavior were clear under the circumstances, and he followed them. After she’d packed her belongings in her tote, he offered to carry it for her. As she locked her classroom door behind them, he scanned the dim hallway to ensure her safety. Once they reached her car, he made certain she left the lot before driving away himself.

Caught Looking by Adriana Herrera. Yariel and Hatuey have been best friends since they were teenagers–and Yariel has been in love with Hatuey for almost that entire time.

This was fine. It kept me reading, but nothing especially stood out.

Yes, And… by Ruby Lang. Darren Zhang is a doctor who needs to learn to relax. So he signs up for the meditation class as assigned–except he accidentally ends up in Joan Lacy’s improv class.

He’d entered the information a week ago, but there must have been a last-minute switch. He had to leave. But he’d already been in here for fifteen minutes, and exiting was going to be disruptive. The combination of wanting to be a good student even if he wasn’t taking this course was at war with the desire to bolt and find the meditation room, where he’d already missed roll call and was thus probably labeled undependable.

That paragraph sums up Darren perfectly. But I appreciated that Joan was also struggling, trying to deal with her mother’s health issues and figuring out what she was actually doing with her life.

Tommy Cabot Was Here by Cat Sebastian. Set in Massachusetts in 1959.

Everett Sloane loved Tommy Cabot, but when Tommy got married Everett all but ran away across the ocean to try and mend his heart. Now he’s back and shocked that Tommy’s son is a student at his school–and he that he has once more to try and deal with his feelings for Tommy.

This was probably my favorite story in the anthology. Everett has good reasons to stay away from Tommy. But Tommy’s life is very different now from what he or Everett could have expected, and it’s changing him–mostly in very good ways.

Rating: 8/10