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Society of Gentlemen #0.5

The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh

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Passion is on the cards for two reckless rogues as K. J. Charles ups the ante in her Society of Gentlemen series with a sizzling eBook short story.

The youngest son and the blackest sheep in his family, Lord Gabriel Ashleigh never imagined he could sink so low. Though he’s a notoriously bad gambler, he takes on the formidable but strangely alluring Francis Webster, only to lose everything: all his money, the lovely estate he inherited from his aunt, and any hope of future happiness. So it’s a shock when Webster summons him to a private game for a chance to win back his possessions. The stake? If he fails, Ash must surrender his body.

Francis has been waiting years for this moment. At Eton, Ash’s elder brother harassed him relentlessly. Now, consumed by lust and rage, Francis is only too happy to exploit Ash’s foolish indiscretions. But as Francis strips the magnificently built youth—first of his family assets, then his clothes—he begins to wonder whether he’s been plotting revenge . . . or exquisite seduction.

Praise for the Society of Gentlemen series

“The Regency period gets more rakish than ever in the Society of Gentlemen series. I’ll read anything K. J. Charles writes!”New York Times bestselling author Kate Pearce

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

32 pages, ebook

First published October 27, 2015

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About the author

K.J. Charles

59 books8,610 followers
KJ is a writer of romance, mostly m/m, historical or fantasy or both. She blogs about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.com.

She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.

Twitter https://twitter.com/kj_charles
Join the lively Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/13876...
Sign up to the (infrequent) newsletter at http://kjcharleswriter.com/newsletter

Please **do not** message me on Goodreads as I no longer check the inbox due to unwanted messages.

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5 stars
1,201 (37%)
4 stars
1,369 (42%)
3 stars
553 (17%)
2 stars
90 (2%)
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8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 459 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,013 followers
January 15, 2016
take my shilling.

take all my shillings.

[knocks on neighbor's door; when admitted, takes all said neighbor's shillings also; returns and flings them at k.j. charles in desperation]

all the motherfucking shillings for youuuuuuuu...

Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,610 followers
September 29, 2017
This is the same story as in the Another Place In Time anthology so if you already have that, you don't need this.

If you don't... This story was the first thing I wrote in the Ricardians' world as detailed in the Society of Gentlemen trilogy, where Ash and Francis (and Ash's horrible brother Lord Maltravers) are important minor characters in all three books. This story takes place about six months before A Fashionable Indulgence begins, and contains card games, unwise gambles and a certain amount of filth. OK, a lot of filth. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Ms. Smartarse.
604 reviews260 followers
July 27, 2023
... otherwise known as "the story of evil, wily Francis Webster finally pouncing on poor, defenceless Gabriel Ashley. But only because the kid insisted."

evil laugh

Francis and Ash are a well-established couple throughout all three of the main books, occasionally popping up in cutesy, lovey-dovey poses, along with a brief scene of a more explicit nature. So of course, I was curious about their beginnings. Too bad it wasn't a very exciting story, more like an excuse for an extended boning session. A rather,yummy, hot and heavy one, but still...

Score: 2.3/5 stars

I liked it, and would definitely recommend it to all who enjoyed the main books from the series.
It just doesn't add anything to the overall story, that hasn't already been mentioned in either of the main books.

Review of book 1: A Fashionable Indulgence
Review of book 2: A Seditious Affair
review of book 2.5: A Confidential Problem
Review of book 3: A Gentleman's Position
Review of book 3.5: A Private Miscellany
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,373 reviews153 followers
November 17, 2019
Okay...that taste was enticing.
I want more!!

...moving series up on my tbr...
Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
October 14, 2015
This is NOT a new story, and if you'd rather not wait until October I would really, really, REALLY suggest you get your hands on the anthology Another Place In Time, in which it was published in 2014.

Do you know how anthologies are often hit and miss, with only 1 or 2 stories standing out? Not the aforementioned anthology. With contributors like Aleksandr Voinov, Kaje Harper, Joanna Chambers and, of course, the one and only KJ Charles, this particular anthology is quality packed. What's more, your money will be donated to AllOut.org. Something to think about!

Anyway, my original review for The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh!

Oh my god?! Oh..my..god. So this is what my mum is talking about when she complains about hot flashes. 0_o I was feeling all funny when reading The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh. I have no idea why I bought The Magpie Lord months ago and tossed it aside after 20 pages or so, because KJ Charles mercilessly flipped on all sort of switches in my body and mind. There are several delightful -- because I'm a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope and elite/working class merges! -- parallels with the story that precedes this one, Introducing Mr. Winterbourne (referring to the anthology). But whereas that one is adorable and formulaic in the best possible way, The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh both has that intriguing cool-as-a-cucumber type of character that I find difficult to resist and heart-stutteringly intense UST. This story turned me into a wanton...no, I must refrain from getting into the details due to modesty reasons.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,357 reviews168 followers
November 27, 2016
Review written October 31, 2015

4 Stars - Fun, yummy sexy and adorable romantic

Book #0.5

Some months ago I read the M/M historical A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles and of course I enjoyed it as everything written by her pen (click and see my 3.8 stars review). This novella, The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh is the standalone prequel first published in a short-story collection. I'm so glad I at last got to the chance to read when it now was published to download as single ($.99) kindle book. ~ Thank you KJC!


Late 1810:s London

Young Lord Gabriel Ashleigh and Francis Webster's story. It all start with a chance for revenge ...Webster is consumed by lust and rage.
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“Will we wager on it?”
“Of course.”
“This sort of wager?”
“It’s quite possible.”
Ash clicked his tongue. “Playing with you, Mr. Webster? I fear you’ll ruin me.”
“It is my aim, and would be my privilege, to ruin you for all others for a very long time to come.”

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Wowsie Yay, this was absolutely the very best kind of a short M/M novella. Not a single word I eagerly didn't inhale. Just a tempting little gem for more in the future. Fun, fun, fun.


I LIKE - a sweet and smexy quick-read gem

The Society of Gentlemen series (M/M Regency Historicals with new lovebirds in each part) — Book #2 A Seditious Affair will be published in December. — Book #3 A Gentleman's Position next spring in April.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,974 reviews1,986 followers
June 22, 2019
Lovely sexy D/s deliciousness. The tipping point in D/s stories for me is when they start to involve props and costumes and "scenes" because that stuff gets Really Really Old IRL. Simply put, if I have to be wearing mirror shades for you to obey my command not to touch yourself, you're too damned high maintenance for me.

So this story, Gabriel's eager and ecstatic submission to Francis because he chooses to, because he longs for the safety of being the emotional center of a man's life, resonates positively with me. Francis claims ownership with the simplest, most effective technique of them all: Renaming. Everyone calls him Ash, so Francis will call him Gabriel. Francis will weave this identity into all their play, into the fabric of their lives, invoking it to love, to honor, to possess and caress and own his beautiful angel.

Better than a dozen complicated knots in red silk cords, and all the leather bits'n'bobs that drama queens so love, any day in my book.
Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews92 followers
June 8, 2019
Edit: 08/06/2019

Reread for the umpteenth time with Moony, Rosa, Shile, and Teal.
Every time is as good as the first and that's not something I can say for a lot of books.

Edit: 07/04/2018

Bumping the rating up to 5 stars and adding it to my favorites shelf.
It's been a little more than a year since I first read this and Ash and Francis have never disappointed, not one of the many times I've turned to them and their lovely short story when I went looking for a comfort reread.

Original review: 12/02/2017

4.5 stars

Ash and Francis had a very marginal role in the first two books of the main series, but I loved them and was very curious to learn how they got to be together. This short story didn’t disappoint and I hope to see more of them in the remaining book and shorts.
863 reviews231 followers
September 12, 2015

I'm thrilled that this original short story from the Another Place in Time anthology was the genesis of the "Society of Gentlemen" series by KJ Charles. This was a fun read and the stories that follow have been remarkable!

I love Ash and Francis...and the Ricardians are the motherload when it comes to new story potential! Even MORE BOOKS from this world, please! :)
Profile Image for Papie.
680 reviews129 followers
February 27, 2021
I’ve been needing this book since I read that incredibly hot scene where Harry catches Ash and Francis in book 1. I was not disappointed.

Too short, but incredibly hot and sweet. ❤️🔥❤️
Profile Image for Ele.
1,297 reviews40 followers
October 30, 2015
**4.5 stars**

This was magnificent! And so filthy... I first met Gabriel and Francis in A Fashionable Indulgence and I was fascinated. I hadn't realised that this book was previously published as part of Another Place in Time anthology!

So, this shortie is basically one scene. This quote is pretty much representative of the whole story:

“What will you stake?”...[...]
“And what will you have me stake?”
“Yourself.” Webster’s voice rasped, as if he had to force the word out. “You, over the table. Legs spread. Crying my name.”

I'm so hooked on this series.

Profile Image for Trisha Harrington.
Author 2 books124 followers
December 10, 2015
I loved Ash and Francis! I've wanted their story since reading A Fashionable Indulgence, not realizing at first that there was this short already out there.

This super short and sexy read was perfect. Of course, it left me wanting more because...

“Yourself.” Webster’s voice rasped, as if he had to force the word out. “You, over the table. Legs spread. Crying my name.”

*happy sigh* This is going on my reread pile.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,668 reviews256 followers
May 26, 2019
Short, Hot, and to the Point!!

This was a delightful decadent read!! It’s a historical version of strip poker with a very happy ending for both men involved!!

It makes me want to re-read the entire series again!
Profile Image for MLE  .
Author 3 books88 followers
February 29, 2016
That was simply lovely. I can see why my friends are so enamored by this series.
Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews152 followers
October 29, 2015
This story is originally from the antho Another Place in Time and is sooooooooooo worth and worthy of a reread.

This time around, I shall simply give you pieces of the puzzle. My original review is below.


... as high in the instep...

Can't help it, love that phrase.

...kept his potations within reasonable limits...



Still a winner winner chicken dinner in word-landia.

Good God. Ash could never have his valet take his boots off again.

Sigh, them's the brakes, my dear chap. And worth the price. ;)

“Ill-mannered, drunken brat,” Francis said softly. “With that glorious hair and those ridiculous eyes."

“My eyes are not ridiculous.”

“They are. Nobody else has eyes like that. Madder blue, it’s called, that gray-purple.”

And there it is. The "it" , I'll leave you to discover on your own.

Also, these two have chemistry out the wazoo.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Original review:

Ash, Ash, Ash, what’re we going to do with you? And you, Francis Webster. You sneak, lovely devil, you.

Two pages in and I was already sold, take down the sign, here’s my money.

The pacing is smart. It starts off with a bang and then a breather, a moment for us, and Ash, to contemplate the short and long of his future. I was already smiling.

Um… excuse me, I’ll be… right back, in a few minutes. *clears throat* Talk amongst yourselves…

Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,501 followers
June 18, 2019
My God, how much I loved the ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh! 😱😍 I need me more of that delicious ruination. Wow, genuine enemies-to-lovers trope with a healthy dose of thrill, emotions and a filthy love-making??? 😋 All wins in my book! 👍 I kinda feel like this is such a missed opportunity for K.J. Charles because I can definitely see myself mooning and fangirling over the full-length novel love story of Francis Webster and Gabriel Ashleigh. The UST between those two were sky high even in this very short novella. 🔥 And damn, Mr. Francis is one seriously seriously sexy man. Could not get enough. 🥰 I own the rest of the series in audio and they’ve been on my TBL list for a really long time. Seems like I gotta listen to them ASAP now. 😁😉

4.5 spread me, love me and own me stars

Profile Image for Leslie.
1,129 reviews232 followers
February 28, 2021
“Ill-mannered, drunken brat,” Francis said softly. “With that glorious hair and those ridiculous eyes.” “My eyes are not ridiculous.” “They are. Nobody else has eyes like that. Madder blue, it’s called, that gray-purple.” Francis knew the exact shade of his eyes. Ash felt an odd lurch in his chest.

**2/27/21 Papie inspired reread. After reading this a second time, I do actually think there’s enough to rate it. Maybe it’s because since reading this, I got to know these two more throughout the rest of the series. 🤷🏻‍♀️ This is a short, HOT, dirty talk filled treat. What else is there to say?**

I’ve been dipping my toes into historical romance lately. This was under 50 pages and I don’t think there was enough for me to rate it. However, I like this author’s writing and will try the first full length book in the series soon.
Profile Image for Sara .
1,476 reviews154 followers
August 18, 2015
I actually read this in the anthology Another Place in Time and let me tell you, it's pure gold!

Here is my original review from the anthology. Not sure if this has any new material or not but...

Yeah, see that title is making me break out in goose bumps thinking about the ruin… I really need to gather my thoughts on this one but I just can’t. Another wonderfully told story with layers I wasn’t expecting. I loved getting to know Ash as he wakes hung-over from a disastrous night where he lost everything. A game of cards against Francis Webster leaves Ash penniless and without a home as he gambled away everything; literally everything he has or had and is trying to figure out his next move. Daddy won’t pay his debts, his brother despises Webster and Ash has no idea what to do… until he gets a note requesting his presence for one last game against the man and winner takes all. But is anyone in this game actually a loser?

Good lord. Let me just say that this was hot. The enemies to lovers with intense UST and the layered back story of Ash and Francis had me so on edge that with Ash���s one question of, “Do you have a shilling?” I melted into my bed until I was one with the linens. Charles can write her ass off and I am beyond amazed by how much I got out of this story. I am sitting here, writing this the morning after and I am flustered remembering what these boys went through… Webster turning into Francis and Ash into Gabriel… GAH! This was so good. Oh and I totally had to google a mathematical cravat knot and fell down the rabbit hole of handsome reference men.
Profile Image for ☾ Dαɴιyα ☽.
451 reviews72 followers
August 17, 2015

“And what will you have me stake?”

“Yourself.” . . . “You, over the table. Legs spread. Crying my name.”

I'd give it 5 stars just for that alone!

When you finish a book you loved, and then find out that there are not just two more books in the works, but also a short story you didn't know about, you'd be happy about it, naturally. Imagine realizing you already have that story... You'd probably be like:


Yeah, that was me when I realized I wouldn't have to wait until October to read about Ash and Francis because I already had their story in Another Place in Time anthology. Just kidding. There was no time for happy jumping. Reading had to be done.

And the reading couldn't have gone any better...

The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh is where the stories about the very special group of gentlemen called the Ricardians started.
I'm super glad the author continued writing about them, because I'm sure had I read this sooner, I would've been begging for it, and pouting because this wasn't a longer tale. I may or may not be pouting now too. What can I say, I'm always sad when I get to the end of a K.J. Charles book, and there may not have been much about Ash and Francis in A Fashionable Indulgence, but it was more than enough to make me like them and wish to read more about them. This was an awesome story, but the greedy reader in me is still hungry for more.

This shortie is the story of how Ash and Francis became lovers, and it is goooood. So Ash thought he was completely ruined... No biggie. It was worth it because it led to the greatest, dirtiest card game I had the pleasure of reading. By the end Ash was ruined again, but in the best way... over the table... legs spread... crying Francis' name. Of course, I also liked those snippets from their past, and finding out what caused that animosity between Francis and Ash's asshole brother, and I loved Francis' confession -- it was so sweet and romantic...

In case it's still unclear, I enjoyed every word of this (unfortunately) short story, but my favorite ones are, you guessed it:

“You, over the table. Legs spread. Crying my name.”

Displaying 1 - 30 of 459 reviews

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