In the sordid streets of Victorian London, unwanted desire flares between two bitter enemies brought together by a deadly secret.
An Unnatural Vice is book 2 in the Sins of the Cities series by K.J. Charles, while it features a different couple from book 1, there's an ongoing arc that follows directly from An Unseen Attraction, so it's meant to be read in order.
Nathaniel Roy is a crusading journalist, still grieving the death of his lover six years before, doing an exposé on spiritualists. Justin Lazarus is a medium who feels no remorse for lying to his clients and Nathaniel's first subject. Sparks fly between them and after an intense second seance in which Justin gets a little too close to what Nathaniel has been hiding, Nathaniel is more determined than ever to expose Justin. When it turns out Justin knows more about a case Nathaniel has been helping one of his friends with and finds himself in the path of a killer, they will need to work together to get to the bottom of it all. But can they trust each other enough for that?
This is an enemies to lovers story, in which the main characters become unlikely allies in their quest to find answers to a sordid affair in which one of Nathaniel's friends, Clem, who WAS featured in An Unseen Attraction, has found himself involved in.
While Justin is shown as amoral and unrepentant at what he does for a living, I couldn't help loving him. There was a certain vulnerability to him, something that he tried not to show that just drew me to him. Nevermind that the way he cared for Sukee and Emma just made me melt. I loved Nathaniel, too. His pain after losing Tony and the fact that he hadn't been able to move past his sudden death until Justin came into the picture, were endearing. The unresolved sexual tension between Justin and Nathaniel was explosive when they came together and slowly, gradually IT turned into something deeper, but not less intense. I just adored seeing them get to know each other when they were thrown together by circumstance and see past their initial misgivings with each other.
This series just keeps getting better and better. The ongoing mystery arc is captivating and well-thought out and I loved the new elements that were added in this second installment. The relationship between Justin and Nathaniel progressed very realistically from enemies to tentative allies to lovers, with some very hot hate sex in between for good measure and ultimately, they fit perfectly with each other despite how different they were. KJ Charles' writing is superb, and as always, she's capable of transporting me to Victorian England effortlessly. It was awesome to catch up with Clem and Rowley and Mark and I can't wait for the next book in this series to see how it all will play out.
*** Copy provided to the reviewer via NetGalley for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***