Reading Assignment Challenge: My Fair Captain by JL Langley
Talk about a compromising situation!
A storm of political intrigue, murderous mayhem and sexual hungers is brewing on planet Regelence.
Swarthy Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins ran from a past he had no intention of ever reliving. But when his Admiral asks him to use his peerage, as an earl and the heir to a dukedom, to investigate a missing weapons stash, he's forced to do just that. As if being undercover on a Regency planet where young men are supposed to remain pure until marriage isn't bad enough, Nate finds himself attracted to the king's unmarried son.
All Prince Aiden Townsend has ever wanted was to be an artist. He has no interest in a marriage of political fortune or becoming a societal paragon. Until he lands in the arms of the mysterious Earl of Deverell. One look at Nate's handsome face has Aiden reconsidering his future. Not only does Nate make a virile subject for Aiden's art, but the great war hero awakens feelings in Aiden he has never felt, feelings he can't ignore.
After a momentous dance at a season ball, Aiden and Nate find themselves exchanging important information and working closely together. They have to fight their growing attraction long enough to find out who stole the weapons and keep themselves from a compromising situation and certain scandal.
Why did I wait so long to begin this series??? I have had this on my Kindle for a very long time and have even begun reading it several times but never got past the first few pages...this time I settled in determined to get into the book far enough to give it a fair shot and I ended up finishing it in one evening. Nate is from Englor where M/M relationships are not encouraged and to protect his paramour he engages in a duel with no intentions of harming anyone, however, when he is shot as he is pulling the trigger, his arm jerks and he ends up killing his opponent. When his family disowns him (the man he shot was his father's best friend's son) he joins the Navy where he climbs the ranks for the next twenty years.
Aiden is an artist and one of five sons of the King of Regelence. Regelence, like Englor, is based on Regency England. One major difference from Englor, is that Regelence not only recognizes M/M relationships, all the offspring of those with titles are genetically engineered to be male with a preference for their own gender. And all of the restrictions that Regency England put on young women are put on young men in Regelence. Until the age of 25 (or until Aiden takes a consort), he is expected to always go about with a chaperon, to stay sexually pure, and to observe the rather strict expectations of society. Aiden is lucky in that his fathers are happy to let him marry for love rather than pressuring him into a relationship for political gain.
When Aiden and his brother cause their castle's computerized butler (think security system that serves) to turn off so they can escape to pursue their own interests without anyone tagging along, they open the door for the theft of weapons. Aiden also lands in trouble when he is caught alone sketching the docks and three men attempt to kidnap him to be raped and sold. His father saves him in time but the incident (along with the theft at the castle) underscores the need for extra protection. They ask the Intergalactic Navy for help in discovering the perpetrators of the crime and Nate is chosen to go undercover. He might not use his title from Englor anymore, but it gives him the perfect excuse to live with Regelence's King and to go about in society looking for the culprit. Nate's adopted son will act as his valet and be of use in interrogating the servants.
Aiden and Nate meet when Aiden falls out of a tree. It is a very cute meet and they are both smitten from then on. Nate is both relieved at the acceptance of same sex relationships and worried about his need to be extra vigilant in not allowing himself and Aiden to be caught in a compromising situation. Nate knows his future lies in the Navy and Aiden's lies in Regelence. Aiden is surprised when something finally interests him as much as his art...in fact images of Nate soon take over all of Aiden's sketchpads. These two quickly begin getting closer and closer together, and when Aiden realizes there is more to Nate's presence than just an Earl visiting they both discuss it like adults and Nate, understanding the help that Aiden can offer, brings him into his confidence and they begin working together.
I loved this book...something about the juxtaposition of science fiction space travel and technology alongside Regency England values, architecture and fashions really made for a fun combination. One of my favorite details were the thumb-print dance cards...the men interested in a dance would scan their thumb and voice record which dance they wished to claim. Aiden and his friends meanwhile had a fun competition to see who could lose/destroy/hide their cards both the fastest and in the most original way in order to avoid the marriage market. Nate "saves" Aiden's card knowing full well what Aiden was trying to do in order to claim a waltz and that is really the turning point where they went from dancing around each other (pun intended) to actually engaging in a relationship they can't deny they want any longer.
This book has some action but is primarily focused on the relationship between Nate and Aiden and their investigation into who has committed the theft and why. The resolution at the end of the book implies that we have only begun to see the tip of a very deep iceberg that will be fleshed out further in later books. I know that there are only three books in the series and neither of them are about the couple I really want to know more about which causes me to worry that at the end of the series I will be left with unanswered questions...however, I loved this book enough that I can't see that stopping me from reading them anyway. As far as I know, JL Langley hasn't published anything since 2012 but that doesn't mean I can't hope that she won't return to the series at some point!