‘A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel’ excerpt: Lord Oxney shows his new secretary around the house

Read this Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel excerpt before hitting that pre-order button with great haste!

If you picked up a copy of the first in the Doomsday Books series by KJ Charles, The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman, then you’ve probably been champing at the bit to get your hands on the sequel, A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel. Luckily, that September 19 release date is right around the corner, so you won’t have to wait long!

In the meantime, you can enjoy this Seducing a Scoundrel excerpt, which shows Lord Oxney showing his new secretary, Luke Doomsday, around the house. They should be mortal enemies, but they might find they make better allies—and lovers!

About ‘A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel’

Major Rufus d’Aumesty has unexpectedly become the Earl of Oxney, master of a remote Norman manor on the edge of the infamous Romney Marsh. There he’s beset on all sides, his position contested both by his greedy uncle and by Luke Doomsday, son of a notorious smuggling clan.

The earl and the smuggler should be natural enemies, but cocksure, enragingly competent Luke is a trained secretary and expert schemer—exactly the sort of man Rufus needs by his side. Before long, Luke becomes an unexpected ally…and the lover Rufus had never hoped to find.

But Luke came to Stone Manor with an ulterior motive, one he’s desperate to keep hidden even from the lord he can’t resist. As the lies accumulate and family secrets threaten to destroy everything they hold dear, master and man find themselves forced to decide whose side they’re really on…and what they’re willing to do for love.

nobleman's guide to seducing a scoundrel excerpt

‘A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel’ excerpt

Lord Oxney ushered Luke into an extremely depressing room. It had small leaded windows that needed cleaning, dull and very dark wood panelling, a rug on the floor that had had the pattern walked out of it, as his Aunt Mary might say, a couple of etchings of Stone Manor with some suspiciously egg-headed figures in the foreground, and an extremely faded armchair which was sprouting horsehair and had been sat on to the point that the seat had an arse-shaped dint. A clock ticked like doom.

“Apparently my grandfather sat here every day for eighty years,” Lord Oxney said, adding sourly, “You can hardly tell.”

“New furniture?” Luke suggested.

“When I’ve summoned up the energy.”

“Would you care for me to organise it?”

Lord Oxney cocked an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Well, I’m a secretary,” Luke said. “This is the kind of thing I do. And if you don’t have anyone else to do it—”

“Won’t you be busy in the archives?”

“I like to be busy. And I’d like to be of help.”

“Very kind, but I’d advise you to make sure of your ground before you go into battle,” Oxney said. “Changing anything from how ‘dear Father’ liked it is a mortal insult round here, and while it might be amusing to pit you against Matilda in full tragedy-queen voice, it would be a little unfair on you.”

Luke tilted his head. “Have you heard of Ma Doomsday, at all, Lord Oxney?”

“My valet mentioned something. A local legend, yes? Some appalling ogress who led smugglers into pitched battles, and whose name is used to frighten the children.”

“My Aunt Sybil,” Luke said. “She chased the Aldington gang off Dymchurch turf outnumbered two to one, and broke their leader’s arm with a fence post. I grew up in her house. Do you have an idea of what you’d like for the room?”

Oxney took a step back and surveyed him. “I am having trouble placing you, Doomsday. Are you a smuggler or a secretary?”

“I had an unusual upbringing,” Luke admitted. “And I tend to be quite, uh—”

“Cocksure?” Oxney suggested.

“Confident, perhaps.”


“Helpful. Competent. Invaluable.”

“And unquestionably modest,” Oxney concluded, with a grin. “What would you do with the room, given your head?”

Luke had no idea. He looked around. “What colours do you like?”

“God, I don’t know. Red.”

The room was north-facing, with its windows set in deep bays, and the wood panelling meant it was dark even at close to noon. “I’d recommend golds and greens.”

“I’m sure I just said red. My mouth moved, and I distinctly heard sounds emerge.”

“Yes, but you were guessing.”

Oxney choked. He generally had a rather grim expression—Luke wasn’t sure if that was natural to his face, habitual after the war, or just the effect of Stone Manor—but when he laughed, the effect was transforming. It made him look like a man you’d laugh with, shoulders shaking, eyes meeting, joining in pleasure.

“Insolent, but accurate,” Oxney said. “What’s wrong with red?”

“Too dark. Paler colours will reflect the light better.” Green would bring his eyes out, too. “I’d suggest we—you have the furniture reupholstered—” he gave the chair a careful prod “—replaced, and perhaps add a mirror or two. That’s an excellent way to increase the light. Although, if you had the panelling removed—”

“It’s a few hundred years old, apparently. It’s linenfold oak, Odo says, or possibly oakfold linen. Special, anyway.”

If Luke were the earl of Oxney, he’d rip all this ancient rubbish out without thinking twice. He inclined his head. “Shall I send for some samples? And look for paintings more suited to your tastes. Less Norman.”

“You’ll be lucky,” Oxney said. “All right, yes, why not. Carry on. And come on.” He led the way through a second door, into a room with a four-poster bed.

Luke couldn’t help an exclamation. It was a spectacular piece of furniture, about seven feet long and the same width, obviously extremely old and made of very dark wood. Headboard, columns, and canopy were ornately carved with flowers, foliage, and fruit, through which fantastical creatures rioted, like some monstrous physical version of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The little light in the room caught the edges and depths, so that the strange shapes gleamed. Luke stepped sideways, and the shift made dragons twist and writhe, a monk wink.

“Good heavens. That is quite a bed.”

“It is, isn’t it.”


“Ancestral,” Oxney suggested.

“A challenge to live up to?”

That came out of his mouth faster than his brain could stop it. He glanced over, but Oxney was grinning. “You’re not wrong. It’s made for begetting warriors, or possibly being murdered in, nothing so mundane as sleep. I ought to be exercising my droit de seigneur in it at this very moment.”

Luke’s mouth opened. Oxney added, hastily, “Not this moment, obviously. That was a joke. I’m not a Norman.” He coughed. “Poor taste.”

It was a joke that had given Luke some very vivid ideas. The room was hung with ancient tapestries, the windows even less generous than in the Earl’s Salon, and he could just imagine how it would look at night, lit by lamplight, with deep shadows leaping on the walls and darkening the bed, and maybe the heavy-set master of Stone Manor giving him a severe look…

He put the notion to one side for private enjoyment at a more convenient juncture.

‘A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel’ by KJ Charles publishes on September 19, 2023

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