cover image One Night in Hartswood

One Night in Hartswood

Emma Denny. Mills & Boon, $18.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-00-862007-3

Danger and secret identities complicate a blossoming queer romance in Denny’s achingly addictive debut. In 1360 England, William “Penn” de Foucart, son and heir of a cruel earl, flees his impending arranged marriage. Half-Scottish Raff Barden, Penn’s would-be brother-in-law, comes upon Penn in the forest and accepts his story that he’s a servant running for his life from the earl. Raff offers protection, and Penn, enamored, offers sex. Raff initially refuses, despite his intense attraction, as he’s convinced Penn’s only coming on to him out of a feeling of obligation, but as the men slog northward to Raff’s castle, they do eventually give in to their desires. When Raff’s father arrives at the castle shortly after the men do, however, their blissful budding relationship is interrupted with harsh news: Penn’s father has spread a rumor that Raff kidnapped his son and he’s marshaling allies to march north. With their families on the brink of war, Raff and Penn make bold decisions to save each other. Throughout, historical accuracy takes a backseat to intense and poignant emotional turmoil and gracefully erotic moments. This is a toothsome delight for fans of queer historicals. (Nov.)