After finding out his best friend, Martin Easterbrook, has been seriously ill and hiding in an attic, Will Sedgewick has brought Martin to the country to recover. They are settled into the gamekeeper’s cottage on one of Martin’s properties, away from the world, as Will tends to Martin and tries to bring him back from the brink of death. Things have not been easy for either man recently. Will returned from the military having survived horrible abuse and landed himself in the opium dens to take his mind off his past. Martin is the one who dragged Will out of the dens, helping him get on the road to recovery. And now that Martin’s life has seemingly fallen apart in the wake of his father’s death, his own dire financial straits, and the return of his health problems, Will is determined to be there for him in return.
As Martin recovers from his illness, the two men make a home of sorts for themselves in the cottage. After being sick most of his life, Martin was treated as worthless and useless. When his father left him penniless, Martin was even more at a loss. Now, with Will’s support, Martin is gaining some independence as the two men settle into the cottage in the country. And soon the feelings both men have long harbored for one another can’t be kept hidden and Martin and Will act on the fierce attraction they share. But as happy as they are tucked away, Martin knows life in the cottage can’t last forever. He has nothing beyond his title, and the only way Martin can survive financially is to marry. And Will’s life is in London, and Martin knows Will can’t stay with him in the country forever. Now, Martin and Will are finally finding happiness together, but it may turn out that their idyllic time together can not last.
Two Rogues Make a Right is the third book in Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Seducing the Sedgewicks series. While the story does spin pretty directly from A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (my favorite of the three), the essential information is all incorporated here. Those of you who read the previous book may remember Martin as the son of Hartley’s abuser. When Martin’s father died, he left Hartley with a home and Martin with nothing, causing a conflict between them that drove a lot of Hartley’s story. At the end of that book, we see them find Martin hiding in the attic, delirious with illness, and this story picks up in the aftermath after Will has whisked him away to the country. So all that said, as long as you know that set up, you will be fine starting here (though these books are wonderful, so don’t miss out on the first two).
This story is a slow slide form friends to lovers, with a nice forced proximity element as the two men are living together in a tiny, remote, country cottage. At first, Will is just concerned with keeping Martin alive, but as he heals, they reconnect their friendship and the feelings each has long had for the other begin to come to the surface. Sebastian does a really nice job showing the strong connection between Martin and Will. There is such a lovely bond between them, particularly as the prickly Martin has such a soft spot for Will. Both men would do anything for the other, and that caring and protectiveness come through well. Both have had rough pasts, and both men are still not fully on stable ground. So it is nice to see how well they care for and support one another. There is a sweetness to their relationship as it blossoms into more. This isn’t a sex heavy book; it is more about the emotion, particularly for Martin, who has never really been interested in sex at all. These two just feel like such a perfect match for one another.
The conflict comes in as the men have to face the world outside the cottage. Between Martin’s illness, their decided lack of funds, Martin’s need for some independence, and Will’s past, there are a lot of issues that are being kept at bay while they are away, but that ultimately need to be worked through. I do find that these men fall prey at times to making decisions for the other’s presumed benefit, without actually talking to each other. It is one of my least favorite romance novel conventions and I found myself frustrated that they would take actions that made them both unhappy because they were sure it was better for the other man, without ever discussing it.
One other note is that we know that Will suffered under a cruel captain when in the navy and there was a huge fallout, including Will taking refuge in the opium dens. While I don’t think the tone of the story really lent itself to an explicit recap, I do feel like the abusive situation was left so vague as to have me confused about what actually happened. I kept waiting for it it be explained, but it is never really addressed with much clarity. Given how far reaching these events were, I think this needed more explanation.
Overall, I found this another great installment in a wonderful series. I really loved Will and Martin together and enjoyed their journey a lot. There are also some fun side characters here that Will and Martin meet when in the cottage that add a lot to the story. And this is just a really warm and romantic book. Definitely check this series out.