[Novel] The Sugared Game

Book Title: The Sugared Game (The Will Darling Adventures 2) by KJ Charles

Published: August 26, 2020

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s been two months since Will Darling saw Kim Secretan, and he doesn’t expect to see him again. What do a rough and ready soldier-turned-bookseller and a disgraced shady aristocrat have to do with each other anyway?

But when Will encounters a face from the past in a disreputable nightclub, Kim turns up, as shifty, unreliable, and irresistible as ever. And before Will knows it, he’s been dragged back into Kim’s shadowy world of secrets, criminal conspiracies, and underhand dealings.

This time, though, things are underhanded even by Kim standards. This time, the danger is too close to home. And if Will and Kim can’t find common ground against unseen enemies, they risk losing everything.

A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.


Perhaps, I picked this book up at the wrong time and at the wrong mood. Because for the first few chapters, I was just not feeling this which was weird for me! I’m usually over the moon every time I read anything by KJ Charles, but my enthusiasm to read the newest entry in The Will Darling Adventures died in those chapters.

Don’t get me wrong, KJ Charles still made this a compelling narrative. But I don’t know, maybe at this point of the story, I’m waiting for a more mellowed out Kim? The Kim who is starting to pin for his bookseller? I’m on the lookout for clues or subtle indications that maybe he is warming up. But he is as distant as he is cunning. I would have wanted to read his emotional growth and internal struggles more. I mean, a bit of Kim’s POV wouldn’t hurt. Then again, maybe that’s just my mood — leaning more into a bit of cheesy but very fluffy romance, and this book is definitely not that. So I paused reading this again and again.

I’m glad I stick to reading this because, somewhere in the middle, when Kim said something like, “I know I should’ve stayed away, but maybe that’s my excuse for wanting to see you again,” I think I just died in Will’s stead at those unexpected words.

Despite my comments above, the latter half of the story proves that this is just as good as the first book. Even with the lack of Kim’s POV, The Sugared Game manages to show the events are necessary in showing the progress of Will and Kim’s relationship, allowing them to face their doubts and insecurities. KJ Charles really did make them earn each other and not give any cushion to soften the impact of the troubles awaiting them.

Can we just stop and admire the cover for a sec? I loved the covers of this series! This one in particular tells a lot about the story, showing not just class and elegance but also the danger lurking around our MCs, what’s with Will holding/keeping his Messer on the side.

As I was reading this, I kept on thinking about the Think of England book and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Daniel and Kim, though the former is a lot snippier than the latter. Then! Someone asked Charles about Kim’s boss, and I couldn’t be happier to know that it was the very same Daniel! Now I want to re-read Think of England.

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