A Lucy Review: Promises by Ruby Moone

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Charles Hawkins is a former soldier who was saved from death in Napoleon’s war by his friend, Edward.  Now Edward has come begging a favor.  He needs Charles to host his youngest brother, Sebastian, for a month at his remote country estate and try to convince Sebastian not to get their father to purchase a commission to allow him to go to war as well.  Edward survived the war but two of their brothers did not.  Edward is afraid that Sebastian is going into it as “….nothing more than another jaunt.”  He believes his brother to be “… young, foolish and seemingly incapable.”  This is a big favor to ask because Charles wants, no, needs, his solitude.  But how do you say no to the man who saved your life? 

Sebastian’s arrival at Charles’ home is less than exceptional.  In fact, he arrives so drunk he falls out of the carriage, face plants, tells Charles he is pretty and then sleeps for hours.  It is not an auspicious start to the month.  Upon sobering up, however, Sebastian is a different person.  He is quiet, kind and polite.  Charles doesn’t regale him with horror stories of war.  Instead, he questions why Sebastian expects his family to pay for things.  “Hardly a babe in arms.  Why do you feel your family should provide everything for you?” 

Sebastian has a secret, however, and it is one that has made him feel inferior and useless in every way.  He doesn’t feel there is anything he can be good at.  He wants the respect of his brother and father, to make them proud, and he feels fighting is the only way to do that. 

Sebastian needs to move.  He “…just wanted to get out into the sunshine, take off his coat, and do something physical before he burst.”  This is another thing that makes his family look askance at him.  Why can’t he just be like the others?  Add in that all his brothers resemble each other – dark haired and short – while he is fair and tall and it makes him feel more alienated.  I have to say that I loved Sebastian.  He tries so hard, suffers so much and is such a good person. He’s trying to be the best he can for his family in any way he knows how.   

The estate has only Charles and his two manservants, Coulson and Blackstone. They are loyal to Charles and as Sebastian begins to work around the estate, they become friends with him.  Charles is much more reserved than any of the others, but he has some truly terrible memories of the war and the guilt and pain weigh on him greatly.  That being said, he is also a kind, intelligent man who listens to Sebastian and tries to help him.

The story is relationship focused, not just on sex or love, but on learning to trust.  There is a point where Charles doesn’t react well to a confidence Sebastian shares.  He doesn’t yell or carry on, he just doesn’t understand the import of it until later and when he does, he makes a point to do what is right by Sebastian.  Loved that.  Historical M/M romances are sometimes so dependent on suspending belief for the relationship, as being hung is a real threat, but the way this worked out made me believe it could work.  I loved the last line and felt it was so fitting to the feel of the story.

This is a lovely story and I would recommend it particularly for fans of historical romance. 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a Sebastian against the books and desk of Charles.  I thought it was fitting to the mood of the story.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 136 pages
Published August 25th 2018 by JMS Books
ISBN139781634867252
Edition Language English

Release Blitz – Promises by Ruby Moone (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 32,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Captain Charles Hawkins has returned from the Napoleonic wars desperate for solitude. When the man who saved his life asks a favour, he feels honour bound to agree, but the request fills him with horror.


Sebastian Farrah knows the only useful thing he can do with his life is join Wellington’s army. He has tried everything else and failed. He agrees to his brother’s ridiculous request to spend a month in the country because it is the only way his brother will agree to purchase him a commission.


Charles and Sebastian clash but quickly form a bond that deepens into much more. However, they are running out of time. Charles begs Sebastian to stay, but Sebastian knows to do so he will be forced to reveal what it is that stopped him from succeeding in everything. The shameful secret he carries from the schoolroom.

 
Excerpt
 

Another week passed, and Farrah had become an integral part of the household. He was everywhere. Working in the garden, eating with him, accompanying him when he left the house to tour around the estate, working with him with the shipping company, although he was still curiously resistant about that. Charles watched him apply himself to his evening meal with gusto. The man ate like a horse but hadn’t a spare inch on his frame. All the physical work meant that he had arrived in reasonable shape for someone who did nothing but gamble and drink, but now, now he was bursting with good health, humour, and a physique that made Charles want to weep with envy as he thought about his own skeletal frame. There was a warmth to his companionship that made getting up in a morning easier. He realised just how much he was enjoying having him in the house. As they talked, he hoped that he was helping Farrah to see that there were options open to him that didn’t involve him risking his life on the continent. To see that there were a whole host of things that he was good at. Farrah’s comment about the army being all he was good for had stayed with him and it surprised him how annoyed it made him that his family had allowed him to feel that way, and constantly surprised that Farrah seemed to believe it.


Coulson arrived with the tea tray and Charles smiled as he realised Farrah had lost that slightly frantic look he’d had on realising there was no port or brandy on his arrival. When Coulson had retreated, Charles raised his cup in a toast.


“Congratulations on another sterling week Mr Farrah.”


Farrah laughed and raised his cup in response. “Congratulations on putting up with me for another week. You deserve a medal, Captain Hawkins.”


“Nonsense. No medals required.”


Farrah tilted his head on one side and observed him. “You really are the best of men. I know I’m not easy to have around. Too loud, too … much.” He laughed again.


And there he went again. He really seemed to believe that his company would not be valued. That he would be some sort of burden. Charles was stunned when he realised that in that moment he wanted nothing more than to take him in his arms and tell him in no uncertain terms that having him in the house was no hardship, and not only that, he discovered he wanted to hunt down the people who had told him that he was a burden, or a nuisance, and hurt them. It was a disconcerting.


He had to fight to retain his composure and answer in kind. “Piffle. You’ve brightened the place up no end. Once you’d sobered up, that is.” He kept his tone light, but his heart was thumping.


“Really?”


For a big, handsome, seemingly confident man sometimes there was a hint of such wistfulness about him, and it was there full force in that softly spoken word. It was filled with such fragile hope it hurt something inside Charles.


“Really.” Charles spoke softly and something in Farrah brightened. “Now, stop fishing for compliments and tell me what the plan for tomorrow is.” He had to resume his usual brisk tone because if he didn’t, he would have … Charles’ heart stopped in his chest. Oh God. Oh God.


He wanted to kiss him.

 

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal. I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading. I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!


Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rubymoone/

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