A Case for Christmas (Lords of Bucknall, #2) J A Rock & Lisa Henry
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Regency Romance, Mystery, Opposites Attract, Minimal Steam, Neurodivergent MC, Series
Length: 274 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
He loves no-one and never will.
Lord Christmas Gale is a genius and a misanthrope, and, quite to his disgust, adored by all of Society for his capacity to solve mysteries. When a man approaches him seeking help in locating a lost dog, Gale rebuffs him. But what begins with a missing dog ends in murder and intrigue–two of Gale’s favourite things, if it weren’t for the orphan that comes attached to them. Oh, and Benjamin Chant.
He has sworn to never love again.
The Honourable Mr. Benjamin Chant isn’t sure how he got swept up in Gale’s mad investigation, but there’s something intriguing about the man–a vulnerability that most of the world doesn’t notice, but which captures Chant’s interest, and his sympathy, from their first meeting. After a disastrous love affair in the past, Chant has sworn to never give his heart away again. Especially to a man who does not want it.
But it isn’t just their hearts at stake.
When their investigation takes a dangerous turn and their lives are threatened, both Gale and Chant are forced into the realisation that perhaps two imperfect men might fit perfectly together–that is, if they can outwit the killer who is intent on seeing them both dead.
A Case for Christmas is the second book in the Lords of Bucknall Club series, where the Regency meets m/m romance.
First of all, I’ve read these books all out of order but it doesn’t especially matter as each book features different MCs. There is some crossover of characters from prior books in each one, but it’s not necessary to know anything about these characters if you don’t want.
I found this a hard book to rate as my rating changed as I kept reading. I didn’t think it would be more than 3.5 stars for some of the book, but as I read, the characters and the story grew and grew and grew into something lovely.
Lord Christmas Gale is the Columbo of the ton and has a degree of public attention for it. The Gazette likes to feature his latest
case success, so anonymity is something he isn’t afforded anymore. However, Christmas is, I suppose, by today’s terminology anyway, neurodivergent or neuroatypical or ASD. He’s uncomfortable around people, socially awkward, and seemingly brusque. Basically, he marches to the beat of his own drum. Gale is Gale. He’s not fond of people, feels he should be better at it for a short moment when life impacts on him in some way then realises he just doesn’t care enough… until the Honourable Benjamin Chant comes into his life. Chant gets swept up in Gale’s latest case investigation and under Gale’s skin in ways no one else ever has. But any feelings Gale may have certainly aren’t top of consciousness, nor is this book a quick romance. It is a slow, slow burn. Chant knows he has feelings not too long after meeting Gale, taking him onto the porch when the latest ton soiree gets a bit too overwhelming for Christmas inside. Chant is older and very kind, he has a lost love and family who have passed in his background, and it hurts. For all that Gale says he is not terribly fond of people, Chant is a different animal.
After a moment, Gale drew another uneven breath and muttered, “I do not like people. At all.”
Chant smiled, though Gale wouldn’t be able to see it. “Ah. I like nearly all people, it seems. Generally speaking.”
Gale cast a glance at him, then stared out across the lawn once more. “I have no choice but to conclude there is something wrong with you, sir.”
This story features a dead father, a murdered pirate, a sinister privateer on the loose, a missing dog, and a newly orphaned young girl for Gale and Chant to contend with. There is also Gale’s utter dislike of the word ‘case’ which is a bit of an ironic gag, and de Cock, the name of the pirate cum privateer, also adds plenty of humour throughout.
“I know your man.” Another fellow with a squint-eye and a ruddy, swollen nose came up behind the man with the fish and clapped him on the back while studying Gale. “It’s de Cock you want.” His mouth wavered so wildly that Gale thought at first he was about to weep. Then he burst out laughing. “Captain de Cock! That’s his name!”
Then there is Gale’s whirlwind of a family, consisting of 5(?) sisters and a mother who are all at home, while his brother and father travel a lot. Christmas has his own flat in London but he often ventures home. The women in Gale’s life are a tour de force, a wonderfully loving, liberal clan, completely full of life and verve and acceptance. I loved them, especially his free-thinking mother.
Then there was the murder/mystery which was interesting if not a teensy bit nasty. But it had some definite heart entwined in it as well.
I’ve really taken to this series with gusto. Rock and Henry do a great job of making these individual books fresh – each book has uniquely individual characters while weaving past and new characters into the mix without it distracting. Gale and Chant will never set flames ablaze in terms of their romance but it fit who they were and their story perfectly. 4 Stars!