“Charles” by Con Riley

Life should be a breeze for a playboy like Charles Heppel. As the third son of an earl, he lives for the moment, partying and playing. Settling down isn’t for him. Not when London is full of beautiful men who he hasn’t one-and-done yet.

To escape his family’s nagging, Charles applies for a temp job that matches his playful skill set. A role in a Cornish classroom could be his until the summer, if Charles meets two conditions: he must move in with the headmaster’s best friend, and teach him to be happy.

Living with Hugo should be awkward. Charles is a free spirit, but Hugo’s a man of faith, with morals. A man who almost took holy orders before disaster changed his direction. Only far from being a chore, Charles finds that making Hugo happy soon becomes his passion.

Together, they share physical and emotional first times. Ones that change Charles, touching his soul. He wants Hugo for longer than they have left, but learning to love with his heart, not just his body, will take a leap of faith from Charles — in himself as well as Hugo.

reviewVoices in your head. I’m slightly jealous of Con, considering Charles lives in her head. I would love to have him with me every day. Have you ever met a character like that? One that brings the sunshine with them, wherever they go. A soothing presence that warms you and you can’t help but catch a contagious smile. That’s Charles Heppel. He’s a tart but not ashamed, a sexual prowess lifting those around him. Unfortunately, he often does so while berating himself. It hurts my heart that he fought the struggles he faced. He’s a stunning man with endless wealth and few responsibilities. Despite having the ability to party like the elite he is, Charles is happiest in the midst of glue and glitter, surrounded by his precious maggots. Oh, I should clarify…maggots are the children he longs to spend his days with. Preschoolers to be exact. Their innocence, sticky hands, and endless wonder bring him great joy. When his dream job presents itself, he’s hit with an acute pang of want. This is it! The path he’s been searching for. Things don’t go as planned but plan B might be even better. He’s offered a provisional position with the school with the stipulation of an extra “chore”. In no time he discovers making Hugo happy isn’t a chore at all, in fact, it becomes his new favorite hobby.

His Holy Hotness, aka Hugo, was briefly introduced before in His Haven, where we also met Charles, Kier’s best friend. And I can honestly tell you, I never pictured them together. Never. And now, I can’t imagine them apart! Hugo has lost his way. He had plans and was merrily following along until…tragedy hit. He’s taking some time to heal at Glynne Harbour, both physically and mentally. The gruesome scar on his face and the new hitch in his step is the least of his worries. His pain runs deeper. His core beliefs have been rattled. His faith is a huge part of his identity and he’s suddenly doubting his purpose. How can he help others when he can’t trust his own convictions? Will he ever be able to guide again when he’s been blinded by uncertainty? And can he be a man of the cloth and have a partner? Because one thing is for sure…if he has any hopes of being the shepherd he believes he’s meant to be, he can’t do it alone. It’s a shame no man would have the serene and compassionate nature to join him on such a journey. Or…could there be someone? *cough, yes! cough*

Let’s cut to the chase, religion is a guiding force in Hugo’s life and consequently this story. It is oppressive? No. It’s simply a key component of Hugo. Just like it wasn’t a problem for Charles, it wasn’t a problem for me. Hugo is warm-hearted, patient and radiates a sense of calmness to those around him. His bad knee may force him to take things slowly but he’s steady and grounded. He’s an insanely good listener and never judges those looking to release the burdens wearing their shoulders down. He’s positive, optimistic, and goes with the flow. Until the rapids nearly took him under. Now he’s trying to keep his head above insecurities and disbelief. He’s mastered many skills but there’s one area he’s completely green. Sex. As luck would have it, his new roommate is well versed with sexual relations and has expansive carnal knowledge. But Hugo can’t give his body without his heart and finds himself at another quandary. Come to find out, his sexual expert is also a novice. When it comes to relationships Charles is the amateur. Soon they discover they are both virgins, one of the body and one of the heart, and they embark on an entirely new path together. As if often happens with counterparts, they each take part in illuminating the route ahead of them. I wish to tell you so much more but I shall leave it at this…It was bloody brilliant!

bewareIt’s true, you don’t need His Haven tucked securely on your ‘read’ shelf, but you may find a familiarity with the secondary cast beneficial. Charles is an expert teacher but Hugo adds his own expertise and unlocks a shielded heart. It’s not a requirement to love children or God but they are at the center of our couple and can’t be avoided. And prepare for a slow burn and steamy discovery of carnal delights…I adored all their ‘firsts’.

 

bookisforIf you believe we all have a purpose to fulfill, why not follow the hearts laid bare here and uncover the destiny of these brave and tender souls? Their love is honest and true and surprising in the very best way.

 

bookinfo

TITLE: Charles (Learning to Love #1)
AUTHOR: Con Riley
PUBLISHER: Figment Ink
LENGTH: 330 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 22, 2021
BUY LINKS: AmazonUK, Amazon

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