Fortune Hunter - Ava March 4+ stars. Second story in Ava March's Brook Street m/m historical romance trilogy. I really enjoyed this story, and, unlike the first book in this trilogy (which was also good), I thought the HEA ending here was perfect and exactly what the story and characters needed.

The story, in brief.
Julian Parker, the titular fortune hunter, has returned to England from America to seek his fortune...in the form of an advantageous marriage. He may prefer men, but he also prefers to be a man of leisure with financial stability and social acceptance, which he has determined he can most easily acquire by bartering his handsome looks for the hand of an heiress. Along the way, sweet and generous Oscar Woodhaven befriends him, introducing him to Society evenings...and passionate nights. When Oscar discovers Julian's motives for being in London, however, he is livid to learn the lie that Julian has been living. How will these two reach their HEA? Read the story to find out!

The characters.
I loved the characters in this book. They were much more complex than first painted, and I really enjoyed seeing them grow and reveal themselves throughout the story.

Julian is fairly unlikable in the beginning, which made me a little hesitant to cast him as one of the romantic leads. He's tender and passionate with Oscar, but Julian also has surprisingly low self-esteem for his own character beyond awareness of his good looks. He thinks he can sit back and trade on his good looks, but when he realizes he's taken a wrong turn in his friendship with Oscar, Julian wakes up to the fact that he's willing to do quite a bit to get him back.

Oscar is sweet and adorable. He's heir to a massive fortune made in trade, and his story is rather heartbreaking. He'd lived a sheltered life with unappreciative relatives up until he reached his majority last year and came to London to live. I thought he would be doormat-y with his eager desire to please, but I was incredibly happy to see him reveal a backbone of steel when he stood up for himself and his principles. He's super easy-going, but once you've crossed the line with him, he's not afraid to stand his ground.

Romance & sexytimes.
Very sweet romance as we see Oscar "feel" his way around Julian to see whether Julian returns his interest. We see as they each grow to appreciate the other's qualities. They bond as friends...and lovers. When they reach the peak of the conflict, it was really devastating, but I really loved the HEA that brought them back together.

The sexytimes were steamy, and they were integrated well into the story. With Julian's rather selfish and mercenary approach to the London Season, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was a generous and attentive lover. Oscar deserved that attention, and he especially deserved to feel needed and wanted.

HEA.
I just needed a separate section where I could gush over the HEA. I felt the HEA was perfect for the story. I was afraid the ending would be stunted and not allow Julian enough time to grow out of his selfishness and into a more self-respecting man who would be worthy of Oscar and his fidelity. Instead of feeling stunted and unworthy of the characters, the ending felt emotional and robust, and Julian's asshattery was properly redeemed and groveled over. With Oscar's feelings of betrayal, I wasn't sure if there would be enough grovel. Trust me, there was.

Overall.
Lovely m/m historical romance about a man who didn't know what or whom he wanted or needed until he lost him. I really enjoyed seeing the characters' growth and the journey they took to arrive at their HEA. The steamy sexytimes didn't hurt, either. ;) I look forward to reading the final book in this trilogy.

Ava March's Brook Street trilogy:
Thief
Fortune Hunter
Rogues


Note: Thank you to the author and Carina Press for providing a copy of this book through NetGalley.