Always a TemptressBy Eileen Dreyer
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date: September 27, 2011
After ten years of war, all Major Sir Harry Lidge wants is some time at home with his family and freedom to begin the life he’s dreamed of. But when the infamous assassin known as the Surgeon is killed where Drake’s Rakes are gathered to celebrate the wedding of Jack Wyndham, Earl of Gracechurch and his former wife, Olivia Grace, the assassin links Lady Delores Catherine Anne Hilliard Seaton, Dowager Duchess of Murther in the insurrectionists’ plot the Rakes are committed to thwarting. Harry is assigned one last mission: to find out what Lady Kate knows about the poem that will unlock the plot. Thus, Harry is forced into close contact with the woman who betrayed him, the woman he has struggled unsuccessfully to erase from his memory.
Kate is a scandalous figure in society—wealthy, shocking, and indifferent to the whispers that follow her. Few people are allowed to see the courageous and generous woman behind her public persona. She is determined that Harry, the man who abandoned her once will never touch her again, physically or emotionally.
Through kidnappings, a marriage of convenience, nightmares, and attempts on their lives, Harry and Kate battle each other and their own hearts. Even a decade apart and a mutual sense of betrayal are not enough to eradicate the attraction that sizzles when the two are together. But the forces that threaten them are powerful and relentless, and only by trusting in one another can this hero and heroine claim victory over their enemies and their past and achieve their happy ending.
Although the focus is clearly on Harry and Kate, secondary characters add vitality and humor to the story. Kate’s private army of unusual servants and her friend and companion Lady Bea are particularly colorful. While the darkness of the book is relieved by wit and verbal sparring, the costs of war in all its forms is not sugar-coated.
Always a Temptress, the third book in Dreyer’s Drake’s Rakes series (following Barely a Lady and Never a Gentleman), combines edge-of-the-seat suspense and complex characters with sizzling chemistry and rapier-sharp dialogue and subtly weaves in threads of social issues like the position of women in a patriarchal culture and the effects of war on the warriors. The result is a book that makes the reader think and feel, laugh and cry, remember and reflect.
I’ve read and enjoyed Eileen Dreyer’s contemporary categories, mysteries, and fantasies. I was disappointed in her first two historicals. I found them interesting, but they lacked the emotional punch and compelling heroes I expected from this writer. Always a Temptress did not disappoint. It is a book I will remember and reread. It will keep me looking forward to the two more Drake’s Rakes books that Dreyer announced in her newsletter this week.
Are there authors that you have followed from genre to genre? Do you expect your favorite authors to always give you five star reads?