A Gentleman Never Keeps Score: Seducing the Sedgwicks

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score: Seducing the Sedgwicks

by Cat Sebastian

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If you haven’t read Cat Sebastian, what are you waiting for?”—Lorraine Heath, New York Times bestselling author


Once beloved by London's fashionable elite, Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after a spate of salacious gossip exposed his most-private secrets. Rarely venturing from the house whose inheritance is a daily reminder of his downfall, he’s captivated by the exceedingly handsome man who seeks to rob him.

Since retiring from the boxing ring, Sam Fox has made his pub, The Bell, into a haven for those in his Free Black community. But when his best friend Kate implores him to find and destroy a scandalously revealing painting of her, he agrees. Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062821584
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/21/2018
Series: Seducing the Sedgwicks Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 238,339
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.

Joel Leslie is an award-winning, classically trained narrator specializing in LGBT fiction. A U.K. transplant with American parents, he delivers authentic British and American narration. An accent specialist, Joel received Narrator of the Year and Audiobook of the Year 2016 awards from Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews and is a five-time winner of M/M Audiobook of the Month from Open Skye Book Reviews.

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A Gentleman Never Keeps Score: Seducing the Sedgwicks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Taking a turn from the lighter fluffier romance found in It Takes Two to Tumble, Sebastian turns the corner and brings us an unlikely romance between a former boxer and a ‘kept’ man of a Lord. And every moment of this story is unexpected in all of the best ways. Digging into the many societal constraints here: homosexuality, reputation, race, class, and position all placed our couple in a chessboard of challenges, where every move has several potential countermoves, and each is deliciously complex and nuanced, adding to the emotional impact. Hartley had spent most of his life trying to make sure his siblings are set for life, and it has led to some pretty horrible moments for him. He was obviously abused and misused by his “godfather” the one who left him the fine house in London after his death. But the accolades and entrée into the finer houses and parties, and some of the more ‘scandalous’ have gone, much as his servants have left his employ as rumors of his ‘depravity’ have hit an all-time high in London. To protect himself from the emotional trauma of his abuse, and also of the slights and gossip, he’s shut down: he worked so hard to become the prototypical gentleman, always in control, well-groomed, unemotional, that he’s not very good at loosening his grip on control and allowing himself to feel emotions. Sam Fox is an ex-boxer, making a go of things with his brother in a small pub in the East End. He never really enjoyed boxing, seeing it as a means to an end and source of cash, but when the young man he was training, also desperate for coin, threw a fight and later died from his injuries, Sam’s done everything he could to stay clear of boxing. Instead he’s got a small pub where food, companionship and a helping hand can be found in equal measure. It’s no small matter to note that Sam will (and does) think of everyone BUT himself first, and it’s how he comes to meet Hartley. The dance here between these two is further complicated by Hartley’s inability to empathize and understand a point of view that doesn’t directly impact on his own sense of self and place, and the fact that he’s just afraid. ALL the time. Afraid that he won’t manage to provide for his brothers, afraid that he’ll be seen as something other than a gentleman, afraid of physical violence, even afraid of touch – all things used against him, time and time again, as he grew up. Sam’s easy friendship and obvious caring from his family, friends and customers alike is a novelty to Hartley, and the fact that Sam can’t get Hartley, and the ever-increasing cadre of buttons that line his waistcoats like armor keeps him wanting more, despite knowing the idea is bad and dangerous. With a bit of mystery surrounding some scandalous paintings, Hartley’s need for revenge and retribution have consumed him, leaving little room for emotion, relationships or even happiness. Far more complex and interconnected than I expected: Sebastian managed to mix in a recognition that all were not created equal, and that color, class and cash often determined reception and treatment in this time. It was Sam who was instantly empathetic, who provided a way to see Hartley’s flaws, when his own perspective only brought (at first) his need for revenge that seemed to fuel his every move. By the time Sam is well and truly hooked, coming to the servant’s entrance on Sundays, Hartley’s inner conflicts and issues are starting to show themselves, and Sam becomes a balance to his often dis
anastasiaoa More than 1 year ago
a damn good story of romance, passion and human complexity. a must read
HEABookNerd More than 1 year ago
Even with a slightly more serious tone A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is another great Cat Sebastian book full of wonderfully soft heroes and a deeply caring relationship. Sebastian's writing always sucks me in at the beginning of a story and keeps me hooked until my heart is ready to burst with happiness. Hartley Sedgwick wasn't born a gentleman so the sacrifices he's made to bring respectability to himself and his brothers are weighing on his soul. As a teenager, Hartley made the decision to become involved with his Godfather in order to get financial support for his brothers. Though he didn't originally feel like he was being taken advantage of, this early decision has had a long lasting effect on Hartley's self-worth and his comfort with intimacy. This book was especially poignant because of the issues that were being addressed and I felt Sebastian handled them all really well, especially Hartley's history. Being outed as gay during this time period was very dangerous so Hartley is fortunate that the worst thing that happens is that he's abandoned by everyone he knows. But that loneliness is compounded by Harley's difficult sexual "hangups" that have made finding partners too hard for the minimal amount of satisfaction it brings. But even though Hartley can be grumpy and defeatist about his situation his true nature shines through in the way he treats his household staff and others he cares about. I absolutely loved the little family that Hartley ends up creating and how he learned that the illusion of being a gentleman means nothing if you don't have anyone to share your life with. This is where Sam come in -- he shows Hartley that he's worth that happiness and that even with some of his quirks and his issues he deserves love just like everyone else. But there are some hard circumstances between Sam and Hartley, mainly that they come from different social classes and since Sam is black he's also treated differently than even a white man in his social standing would be treated. For a while there I wasn't even sure how they were going to resolve some of these issues and find a long-term option for a relationship but I shouldn't have doubted Sebastian because she always finds a way! Because of Hartley's history there's more of a slow burn between them but that doesn't mean that these two don't find ways to be together. In fact, I loved Hartley and Sam's more unconventional sexual relationship because it showed that every couple can be different in what they enjoy. Hartley has a lot of particulars about what he needs in order to feel safe and comfortable and the way Sam meet those requests just squeezed my heart every time. Because of his large stature and his history as a ruthless boxer, people might assume that Sam would be rough and aggressive but instead he's a gentle giant and I loved every part of it. Sam is pretty much the perfect hero: understanding of Hartley's limitations, dedicated to his friends and family, and honorable to his core.
ElleyKat More than 1 year ago
For starters - Content Warning from Author: This book includes a main character who was sexually abused in the past; abuse happens off page but is alluded to. I loved the first book in this series, and It Takes Two to Tumble was so low angst and just warm and cozy and glad. I really enjoyed A Gentleman Never Keeps Score as well, but HOLY ANGST, BATMAN, is there a very different tone and level of seriousness to this novel than the first in the series! Hartley and Sam are both dealing with some major things. Sam Fox is a black man and former ex-pugilist (that means boxer!) who runs a bar that is basically a second home to other black people in Regency London to go to in order to have a save space, fellowship, and maybe a helping hand if they need one. He lives amidst a lot of suspicion and prejudice, but carries himself with pride and is this deep, strong river of good man. He is also very careful not to give the (white) constable who has it in for him any reasons to shut down his bar or look too closely into his life. While Sam is surrounded by people who love and care about him and basically exists as this warm beacon of hope, Harley is cold and alone. He lives in a house bequeathed to him by his godfather (who was a human piece of garbage). While Sam is someone at the same time a warmly blazing hearth fire and a deep peaceful river, Harley is cold, knotted up, and shriveled in on himself. He is so filled with self-loathing he can't even allow his brothers to love him, and it's so sad and breaks my heart. He goes for walks alone in the odd hours of twilight when no one else is around and it's just so sad. And then coming home one night he bumps into Sam... I love the relationship between Sam and Hartley. It grows in a way that's so heart-rending to watch, but Sam is the perfect (patient, kind, good, wise...) man to help Hartley with his layers of self-loathing and fear. The side characters are also a treat, and I love Sam's family (both blood and made-family) as well as Hartley's brothers. The relationships Hartley develops with Alf and Sadie are just great, and I love when Sam tries to do things to annoy Hartley and is so surprised by the man Hartley really is underneath his layers of clothing and polish and snobby manners. I wish I could go more into what I love about this book, but everything I want to say comes way too close to spoilers territory. I love that this is a look at a London that is not totally whitewashed and pristine, and instead shows more diversity (THAT DID EXIST AT THE TIME, ROMANCELANDIA! I'm looking at you!) This was a bit higher on the angst scale than I usually like, but it pulled me in and held my heart tight in a steely grasp throughout so I was unable to put it down. Cat Sebastian has now enslaved me for life. This is the second book in the Seducing the Sedgwicks series, but can be read as a stand alone. There are not really spoilers for the first book, and you're not missing anything vital to the story by reading A Gentleman Never Keeps Score first. That being said, definitely also read the first book in the series, It Takes Two to Tumble, because Ben is like a male version of Pollyanna and that books made my heart so glad.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Oh, goodness, this series. Heck, who am I kidding? Anything by Ms. Sebastian, apparently. I have no idea how she does it, but she writes the most cozy and delightful non-traditional Regency romances I've ever read. Honestly, even knowing that all of her main characters are going to have to fly under the radar to some extent for the rest of their HEAs, I still finish each and every one of her books with the warmest, most delightful feelings of all-is-right-with-the-world all settled around me--and A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is most definitely not an exception to this rule. I adored Sam and Hartley and the lovable--if somewhat unconventional--family the two end up surrounded by at the novel's end. I always seem to start Ms. Sebastian's books a little unsure--at least one of her main characters always appears to be on the prickly and hard-to-get-to-know side of things--but before I even realize what she's done, she's swept me into the story and I can't imagine that I ever thought they weren't as absolutely lovable as I now find them. It's around that same point that I realize that goodness, I have an awful lot of highlighted bits as well, because OMG she has a way with words that is just beyond delightful, whether its a declaration of love (gah! those declarations of love...) or a simple observation like Hart's rather throwaway (but oh-so-accurate) comment, "Oh, to hell with decent people. They're exhausting. Make one feel so evil, when really one simply has one's own concerns." So. True. It's getting to the point where I suspect I might enjoy junk food lists of ingredients, so long as they're written by this particular author. But I digress. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score is the second in her Seducing the Sedgwicks series, and though reading the first book isn't at all necessary, one will have a more complete picture of the Sedgwick family and situations if one has read the first book already ( It Takes Two to Tumble ). Since that story is pretty much a Regency m/m version of The Sound of Music, really you're doing yourself a major favor by reading it anyway. You're welcome. ;) I'm alternately intrigued and concerned that the next book in this series seems to be about Hart and Ben's brother Will and the infamous Martin Easterbrook, who may or may not have had something to do with ruining Hart's society reputation...mostly intrigued, I think. But since the next two books on the author's Goodreads page are from a different series, I'll have to show some uncharacteristic patience and wait and see... ;) Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
Sam Fox is the sweetest man ever invented, I swear. He’s such a cinnamon roll. I love this book. The way he and Hartley actually talk through their issues and misunderstandings is just A+. Also there is a scene late in the book that just filled my heart to bursting. Small trigger warning, Hartley was abused/coerced as a young man, alluded to in the previous book, It Takes Two to Tumble, and clarified here, but Sebastian does not go into specifics. Just FYI if you need to know ahead of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Author is a great storyteller. Can't wait for next installment in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars--A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE is the second instalment in Cat Sebastian’s SEDUCING THE SEDGWICKS adult, M/M historical romance series focusing on the Sedgwick brothers-Ben, Hartley, Will, Percy and Lance. This is twenty-three year old, recluse Hartley Sedgwick, and bar owner Sam Fox’s story line. A GENTLEMEN NEVER KEEPS SCORE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. NOTE: A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE is a M/M romance story line with M/M sexual situations. Told from dual third person perspectives (Sam and Hartley) A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE follows the forbidden relationship between recluse Hartley Sedgwick, and bar owner Sam Fox. The year is 1817, and homosexuality is illegal; a sin, and punishable by law but the rumors abound about Hartley Sedgwick in the wake of his ‘inheritance’ from his godfather Sir Humphrey Easterbrook, a man known to partake of the sins of the flesh including dalliances with young men, a rumor purported to have been started by the man’s only son Martin. Spurned by London society for his flamboyant and effeminate persona, and rumoured attraction to men, Hartley Sedgwick found himself secluded in his new home, a home once owned by Humphrey Easterbrook. Enter bar owner and former boxer Sam Fox, a black man who’s hoping to help his brother’s future wife Kate by retrieving a rather intimate portrait thought to be in the possession of Martin Easterbrook. What ensues is the racially forbidden, and sexually illegal relationship between Hartley and Sam, and the potential fall-out as they go in search of Kate’s portrait, keeping secret their attraction to one another in the wake of more than one offense punishable by law. A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE focuses on the frightening reality of racism, sexism, classism and the fear of homosexuality in the early 1800s-not unlike the realities of many of today’s societies. While Hartley Sedgwick must accept or ignore the rampant rumors that have destroyed his standing in London society, Sam Fox knows only too well the effects of discrimination for all of his life. As the two men battle their attraction to one another, Sam must do battle with local law enforcement as it pertains to his bar license and former prowess as a boxer, while Hartley continues to search for Kate’s missing portrait. The relationship between Hartley and Sam is one of immediate attraction, an attraction deemed forbidden by God and by law but an attraction that forces Hartley and Sam to seek out one another in secret and in the dark. Hartley keeps secret a darkened past that has all but destroyed his faith in most men, a past that controls his relationship with the man that he loves. The $ex scenes are intimate and passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The colorful secondary and supporting characters include Hartley’s brother Will, who may or may not be attracted to Martin Easterbrook; Hartley’s stubborn valet Alf; his young cook Sadie; Sam’s brother Nick, and Nick’s fiancé Kate. The requisite evil has many faces, most of whom reject Hartley based upon rumors and his sexual preference. A GENTLEMAN NEVER KEEPS SCORE is a story of sexual challenges, discrimination, racism and class. The premise is engaging and compelling; the romance is forbidden but intense; the characters are enterprising, tireless and spirited.