Convincing Leopold – Novella
London Legal Series, Book #2
Regency-set M/M erotic romance
Release date: 2/9/2016
Word count: 33,000
This book has been previously published, and has been edited from its original release.
Never get between a reformed rake and his lover.
Three months ago, Leopold Thornton gave up his old, indulgent lifestyle to follow the man he loves to London. But now that he and Arthur Barrington have settled down, doubts are creeping in.
Arthur is spending more and more time at his law office—with a handsome new secretary. And Arthur’s ex-lover wants him back. Desperate not to lose Arthur, Leopold resorts to the only trick he knows to convince him to stay—pleasure.
Arthur knew that life with Leopold would never be boring. But recently their evenings—and afternoons and mornings—have become decidedly more vigorous. Being with Leopold is amazing, but juggling demanding clients and a demanding lover leaves Arthur exhausted and worried perhaps he and Leopold aren’t suited after all.
As business keeps Arthur later and later at the office, Leopold’s demons begin to haunt him again. To heal their rift, Arthur will have to let go of his own past—and pull his lover back from the brink.
This book has been previously published.
Warning: Includes a reformed bad boy who discovers a jealous streak, a solicitor who isn’t always so conservative, explicit male/male scenes in a variety of locations, a complete lack of inhibitions, and a generous heaping of angst.
© Ava March
Leopold pulled off his leather gloves. "Is Mr. Barrington available? There is a matter I wish to discuss with him." The usual vague excuse, but it sufficed.
The slim man motioned to the open door a few paces from his desk. "He is in his office if you would like to see him now. Shall I take your coat?"
He shoved his gloves into a pocket and handed the greatcoat to Wilson. The sight of another man standing behind the large oak desk, sandy-blond head bent toward Arthur's chestnut-brown one, stopped him just inside the door of Arthur's office.
When Arthur had told him he'd hired another secretary, Leopold had initially been pleased, a sign Arthur was proving true to his word that he would make time for Leopold. Then he had discovered just who Arthur had hired.
Edward Fenton, the youngest son of a well-respected gentleman and recently out of Cambridge. Though they did not travel in precisely the same social circles, Leopold had made his acquaintance on a couple of occasions at various functions over the years. He had never heard a soul speak anything but highly of him. Fenton was polite, studious, intelligent and handsome. Broad of shoulder and with a masculine strength to his features. A younger version of Arthur.
And during his visits to Arthur's office over the past few weeks, Leopold had also discovered that Fenton's interest did not lie solely within the business of the law.
Could Arthur feel the force of Fenton's gaze? Those blue eyes focused on Arthur's profile as though soaking up every detail. He doubted the young man heard a word Arthur said as Arthur, his attention on the papers before him, explained some point or other. Did Arthur know it would take but a word from him for Fenton to bend over that desk and offer Arthur anything he wanted?
Arthur believes in fidelity. Over and over, he repeated the words in his mind in an effort to shake off the insecurity that had draped over his shoulders like a damn cloak.
But try as he might, he could not ignore the fact that of late Arthur had been working more than his usual long hours. Could not ignore how Fenton always seemed to be standing right there, at Arthur's shoulder, whenever Leopold stopped by the office. Hell, it hurt just to look at the two men together. So well matched, down to the similar plain, dark coats-they likely visited the same tailor-and the same neatly cropped short hair. The sight alone lodged the worry deep within Leopold. The worry that one evening, very soon, Arthur would pose that question to him once again.
"May I still call you friend, Thorn?"
It was all he could do not to recoil as the memory slammed into him.
Arms crossed over his chest, he stood there and silently waited. Waited for Arthur to notice him. But Arthur's attention remained fixed on that damn document, the silver end of his pen catching the sunlight streaming through the window as he made various notations, and Fenton's attention remained fixed on Arthur.
Leopold cleared his throat.
Arthur looked up. Leopold could tell by the way it took a half second for those hazel eyes to focus on him that the man truly had no idea he'd had an audience for the past few minutes. "Good afternoon, Mr. Thornton," he said, all professional politeness, as if Leopold was simply another client come to call. "If you'll just give us a moment."
Us, not me.
Fenton flicked a glance to Leopold. Quick and dismissive.
He fought the urge to flinch.
Arthur turned his attention to Fenton. "Make these revisions, then have Wilson deliver it to his lordship."
Taking the document from Arthur, Fenton nodded. He lingered just a bit, clearly reluctant to relinquish his place, before finally moving from behind the desk.
Squaring his shoulders and lifting his chin, Leopold leveled his coldest stare on the secretary.
Fenton's stride faltered, then quickened, his gaze dropping to the polished floorboards.
Bloody insignificant bastard. He didn't need Arthur's assistance one bit. A ploy and nothing more. Jealousy rolled up from Leopold's stomach, yanking hold of him. It was all he could do not to bare his teeth and growl he's mine as Fenton scurried past him.
Leopold flicked the door shut, likely much harder than needed given how the sound snapped through the quiet office, echoing off the mahogany-paneled walls.
Arthur's hands stilled above the pile of papers on his left. Then he selected the top one. Fortunately, though, he did not pick his pen back up and instead finally turned his attention to Leopold. "How has your day been?"
"Good." And soon to get significantly better. The tavern could wait for another day. He turned the lock on the door slowly, trying to dampen the soft click as it slid home. Gaze pinned on his lover, he crossed the room. "Busy morning?"
Arthur let out a sigh, the straight line of his shoulders slumping the barest bit. "Yes."
"Were you able to review those documents last night?"
"Fortunately, yes, else I would have found myself quite behind today."
"You shouldn't work yourself so hard."
He shrugged. "It is referred to as work for a reason." Arthur swept his gaze over him as he rounded the desk. A notched V pulled his brows. "Any particular reason for today's visit?"
Leopold's lips quirked. "Yes." His fingers itched to unravel Arthur's crisp cravat. To pull the navy coat from those broad shoulders. To strip away every trace of the conservative solicitor.
Arthur's eyes flared, and he cast a distinctly nervous glance toward the door. "Thorn…"
"Arthur," he teased, stopping beside him. Resting a hand on the arm of Arthur's leather chair, he leaned down, lips brushing Arthur's ear. "Do you remember how good it felt last night when my lips were wrapped around your cock?"
"Ava March gives us very erotic love scenes, which entwine such strong emotions within the scenes. I suggest you start with Convincing Arthur so you can read their entire journey. Both books are novella length and are sexy, fun reads." - Smexy Books
"Ava March does a wonderful job creating a strong emotional connection between her characters that carries over into the bedroom" - Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
"She does her research, and her characters are memorable and vivid. When it comes to erotic+Regency there's no-one as consistent." - Speak Its Name
"March once again gives us a well-written novella laced with hot smexxin and two flawed characters." - Reviews by Jessewave
"Fans of this author or the series will easily want to continue and the steamy erotica and quick pace make this a fun story to read." - Whipped Cream Reviews