Jul 22, 2017

ARC Review: AN UNNATURAL VICE (Sins of the Cities, #2) by K.J. Charles


In the sordid streets of Victorian London, unwanted desire flares between two bitter enemies brought together by a deadly secret.

Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.

Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.

But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.


Sometimes you read a review copy of a book, and for whatever reason it takes you ages to actually review it. You realize it's been so long since you read the book you can't properly write about it, so you read the book again. And sometimes, if you're lucky, you end up loving it more the second time around. I was lucky with An Unnatural Vice. The first time I really liked it. This time I really, really liked it.

I had a strong feeling this series would get more interesting, and I was right. Sins of the Cities continues, and gets wonderfully more complicated... and foggier. I never would have guessed I would enjoy reading about the dreadful London fog, but when it brought two lonely hearts together, the foul murkiness didn't seem that bad. Especially since the hearts in question belonged to Nathaniel Roy and Justin Lazarus.

While Nathaniel played a part in the previous book, An Unseen Attraction, Justin Lazarus was only mentioned by name, after which he was called a "damned fraud" by none other than Nathaniel, so imagine my surprise followed by excitement when I read the blurb for An Unnatural Vice, and saw Nathaniel's love interest would be the damned fraud. I just knew I'd be in for a treat. I adored Clem and Rowley from the previous installment, but Justin and Nathaniel's story was more my speed. Adversaries who become lovers, and whose fights are like foreplay -- oh, yes, it's always a lot of fun to read.

Nathaniel and Justin started off on the wrong foot, to say the least. Nathaniel was a journalist with strong opinions on right and wrong, a journalist determined to expose Justin and his profession as false. Justin was a spiritualist to whom people came wanting to communicate with the dead, and who had no qualms about lying to his visitors and taking their money afterwards. His usual clients bored him, and Nathaniel was a welcome challenge. Nathaniel had been grieving for his lover for years. He hadn't felt attraction for another man since Tony, but then his visits to the Seer of London changed that. He wanted that damned fraud, which was unsettling as was Justin's ability to guess what lay deep in Nathaniel's heart. The seance didn't end well. That could have been the last they saw of each other had there not been trouble brewing in the foggy city streets.

The mystery from An Unseen Attraction continued in this book. The secrets and crimes surrounding Clem's family were increasing in number, as there were more and more people claiming to have a right to the family fortune, some of which were willing to go to great lengths to achieve it, even resort to torture and murder. Two of those unsavory characters would find their way to Justin Lazarus and demand his help in tracking the heir to the title by using his ability to talk to the dead. Justin's performance wasn't satisfactory which in turn put his life in danger. Justin had made it his mission to never depend on anyone, so when the time came he needed help, he had no one to ask for it. Except Nathaniel.

Running away from murderers brought Nathaniel and Justin to a place where they had plenty of time to spend in each other's company and to clear the air. They had time for discussions and arguments, and enough privacy to make up afterwards. It was my favorite part of the novel. With each book by KJ Charles, I'm impressed with how she handles bringing two very different characters together, and Nathaniel and Justin couldn't have been more different.

An Unnatural Vice left Justin and Nathaniel in a good place. Well, not counting the murderer that's still on the loose. The person not in a good place at all was Mark. I can't wait to read his story in An Unsuitable Heir, and finally see how this mystery unravels, but mostly to see what happens between Mark and the heir. It'll be a great conclusion to the series, I know it!

***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

My review of the first book can be found here.

Until next time, happy reading!


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