King’s Man | Sally Malcolm
Release Date: March 25th, 2021
Universal Link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B08T8CW98X
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56795634-king-s-man
What happens when the love of your life becomes your enemy?
Had there been no war, Sam Hutchinson and Nate Tanner would have lived their lives together as intimate friends, and secret lovers. But when the revolution convulsed America, it threw them down on opposite sides of the conflict…
Five years later, Sam is a Loyalist refugee in London, penniless, bitter, and scrambling to survive amid the city’s shadowy underworld. It’s a far cry from his respectable life as a Rhode Island lawyer, and the last person he wants to witness his ruin is Nate Tanner— the man he once loved, the man who betrayed him.
The man he can’t forgive.
Now an agent of the Continental Congress, Nate is in London on the trail of a traitor threatening America’s hard-won freedom. But the secret mission of his heart is quite different. Nate longs to find Sam Hutchinson—the man he still loves, the man he lost to the war.
The man he can’t forget.
When their lives unexpectedly collide, Sam and Nate are thrown together on a dangerous mission. And despite everything that still divides them, old passions begin to stir…
But can they seize this second chance at love, or is their tangled past too painful to forgive?
Nate fidgeted. He crossed his ankles, re-crossed them. He opened a book — he still had his nose in a book at every opportunity — closed it again. Sighed. Shifted. Eventually he spoke. “I’d give my right arm for a slab of that gingerbread they sell down at the docks.” His accent was the accent of home and it fell with distressing softness on Sam’s ears. “Have you tried it? Best thing about London. Well, aside from the bookshops.”
Sam didn’t intend to reply, but his stomach gave a disloyal growl and Nate huffed a soft laugh. It jabbed like a dart, familiar and painful. “I avoid sugar these days,” Sam said gruffly. “It’s difficult to enjoy the taste when it’s polluted by the blood and tears of enslaved people.”
Nate inclined his head in acknowledgment, hands spread ruefully. “I buy free sugar whenever I can. But I admire your principles, Sam. I know you have a sweet tooth.”
They both did. Back in Rosemont, they used to buy slabs of almond cake, sometimes honey cake, and eat it together outside the church in the half hour John Reed allowed them for breakfast. You wouldn’t know it from Nate’s slight physique, but he’d always eaten like a horse.
Sam closed his eyes against an unbidden flash of memory: that lissome back glistening in the moonlight as Sam moved inside him, the green scent of the riverbank all around them. He cleared his throat, shifting uncomfortably as his prick grew heavy. Dear God, and with Nate right there.
He made himself summon a different memory instead: a dozen burning torches in the hands of his neighbors, the terrifying stench of hot tar, suffocating feathers clogging his mouth and nose. And Nate, silent and watching while the mob imposed their ‘justice’.
“I looked for you,” Nate said softly, as if plucking the thought from Sam’s mind. “As soon as I could, I went looking for you. But the British line was so close…” Sam didn’t know how to respond to that. Was he supposed to feel grateful? “After the fighting moved on, I traced you as far as —” Nate’s voice faltered “— as Simsbury Mine. But beyond that, nothing.”
“That’s because I escaped. The bastards didn’t know where I went.”
“That’s what I hoped.” Nate smiled fleetingly, uncertain as butterfly wings. “I prayed for it.”
That was something from a man with no real faith, but it only made Sam’s hurt that much sharper. “No point digging all that up.” He turned back to the window.
“Dig it up? It’s hardly buried.” The bench shifted as Nate slid closer.
Sam could feel the heat of him through his clothes. Or perhaps something more than heat — the life of him, the profound bond that had once held them close. “It’s done,” Sam said tersely. “It’s past. Best leave it there.”
A taut silence. “If we leave the past in the past, can’t we be— Can’t we at least try to be friends again?”
The clear longing in his voice coiled around Sam’s heart with hot pressure. He hated that Nate sounded like home, he hated that the very sight of him twisted raw scars in his chest until they bled, and he hated that Nate wanted to pretend the past had never happened. “No,” he said, blinking at his reflection in the window glass. “No, we can’t.”
“But the war’s over.”
“Says the man working for the Continental Congress.”
Nate sighed. “That doesn’t make us enemies.”
“Maybe not. But I still—” Sam turned, and the words fell away unspoken. Hell, but Nate was close, leaning expectantly into the last splash of sunlight. Their knees almost touched, the space between them a raw gash of loss and want. A breeze from the open window set Nate’s hair shifting, sunset lending more copper than was due to those errant strands. His mouth parted as if to argue or to kiss, lips pink and a little chapped, his warm brown eyes luminous with misplaced hope.
Sam imagined taking his face in his hands, the scratch of stubble against his palms, the way Nate would melt when Sam kissed him. He imagined pushing Nate backward, fingers curling into his coat —
And he imagined slamming him hard against the seat, shaking an apology out of him, howling his pain and fury until Nate understood.
You betrayed me. You abandoned me. You let them destroy me.
“You still what?” Nate prompted softly, ghosting fingertips across Sam’s knee, stirring the hair on his arms, the back of his neck. “Sam? You still what?”
His fingers gripped the edge of the bench seat. “I still hate you.”
Nate stared for a blank moment, then turned away with a sharp twist of his body and a flash of hurt in his eyes.
Hell, but that felt sweet—harsh and sweet like vengeance or victory. Or punishment. Sam didn’t know whether he was ashamed of himself, or proud.
After some time, Nate spoke. “Well, that’s a shame,” he said in a strained voice, “because we were good friends once.”
“Yes.” Sam’s voice scratched in his throat, rusty as old nails. “We were. Real good.”
They rode the rest of the way in silence.
Read The Prequel
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08W5B1F6G
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57004021-rebel
Samuel Hutchinson has lived his whole life in Rosemont, Rhode Island. And as far as he’s concerned, his future is fixed: complete his legal training, marry a respectable woman, and settle down to raise a family.
But Sam never counted on meeting Nathaniel Tanner.
Clever, urbane, and dazzling, Nate has been banished to Rosemont by a father determined to remove him from the rising political tension in Boston. The last thing Nate expects to find in the sleepy Rhode Island town is a man who’s not only interested in Nate’s radical ideas, but who interests Nate in return.
In every conceivable way.
Over books and conversation, their friendship deepens. But when Nate dares to confess his true feelings, Sam faces a stark choice—reject his friend and continue to live a lie, or rebel against everything he’s been taught and embrace his heart’s desire…
About The Author
Sally Malcolm was bitten by the male/male romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. Her stories are emotional, romantic, and always have happy endings. She lives in South West London with her American husband, two lovely children, and two lazy cats.
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