I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer
Series: Drake's Rakes #3
Published by Forever, Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2011-10-01
Reviewed by Vanessa
His greatest battle is just beginning . . .Captain Harry Lidge has done his duty. After losing too many good men on the battlefield, he's ready to put his responsibilities behind him and live a life free of care. But first he has one last mission: find out what the most outrageous woman in London, the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier, is concealing, before her secrets take down the crown.Her heart is the only thing she won't risk . . . Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton on a confection of couture gowns and bon mots. No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted façade Kate hides a sorrow so scandalous she'll do anything to keep it hidden. But only when she trusts Harry with the truth and only when he trusts her with his heart can they stop the villains all too willing to kill Kate to attain their ultimate goal: destroy England
Ten years ago, Harry and Kate fell in love. However, when certain things are revealed to Harry, he believes them and takes an opportunity to get out while he can. Since that time, Harry has held an astronomical grudge against the widowed duchess, Kate. Harry is thinking about buying himself out of the army and seeking out his dreams of touring the world in order to look at the varying degrees of architecture and incorporate them into his dream home. Before Harry can set his plans in motion, he is called upon to keep an eye on Kate by her cousin, Diccan, who believes she is in danger. Harry quickly takes matters into his own hands believing the worst of Kate, that she may be a traitor, and quickly kidnaps her to get the information that Drake’s Rakes thinks she may be hiding. Once the lovely Kate is in his grasp, he discovers the marks, the villains, and the threats to her life! Harry feels he may be able to protect Kate from all these outside sources, and so he steps up to the task. Can Harry convince Kate to part with the information, and will he be able to protect her from two differing factions that are out to get her?
Always a Temptress is a novel that has you remembering that all isn’t as it seems! It is Book Three in the Drake’s Rakes series, and I would recommend that the others be read in order. However, note that some things don’t mesh together well when reading the books too close together. In fact, they tended to confuse time lines. Things were rewritten especially when characters reminisced about things, and some characters didn’t seem as antagonistic towards each other as they did in other stories. Things weren’t fully answered or fleshed out either, and I was left feeling a bit lost when reading Always a Temptress, even though I read Never a Gentleman first.
I felt like Kate and Harry loathed each other from the previous book, and I didn’t get that impression from Always a Temptress. They seemed to be drawn more to each other, and she seemed to be more inclined to flirt with Harry in this story. I could understand where Harry was coming from and how he felt he didn’t know Kate well enough to believe her when secrets were revealed to him. I did not like how he continued to hold a grudge for his beliefs from the past though, and how he continued to believe others and not fully trust Kate. Yet given what all Kate had to endure because of Harry’s lack of trust, she still fails to hold a grudge against him. I did like how Kate and Harry held off one another’s nightmares for each other though.
It was nice that Kate and Harry fell into a deeper more mature love in Always a Temptress as well. Even though some of Harry’s responses to Kate could hurt her, he was still honest with her and that was refreshing after reading Diccan’s story. He even shared things with her so that she was aware of the danger to herself.
Harry takes his time with Kate in Always a Temptress, luring her to trust him, yet he still doesn’t fully trust her. His lack of trust was understandable given that he fully trusted another and, to do otherwise, would call a lot into question for Harry. The juxtaposition of them both having horrible lives was nice, but I could NOT get past the fact that while he chose his path she did NOT choose hers!
I think the women in the Drake’s Rakes series are the true heroes. The women are stronger, made of sterner stuff than the men, and they have BRAINS to boot, which made lines like the following, “Not only were they excellent fellows (Drake’s Rakes), they were some of the best minds available to pit against a band of traitors intent on toppling the government”, incredibly amusing! The villains were almost always able to slip past these Drake’s Rakes’ precautions and whenever they claimed they were protecting their own, I knew that something bad was going to happen.
I swear once these two worked past one obstacle, they seemed to conjure up out of thin air another one to take its place. Not sure I like this obscured view of things in Always a Temptress either as the author slowly gives out tidbits to the whole mystery that abounds in the Drake’s Rakes series, which may last a total of nine books.
I walked away with questions when I finished Always a Temptress, and they weren’t just questions about the identities of the Lions who seem to run as a common thread throughout the Drake’s Rakes series. Why would someone who promised to keep silent about something reveal it to so many? Why would someone who never wanted another soul to know the truth write it down in a letter? Why would the mouth flapper then work to acquire land and jewels for the bad seed when they never thought they were worthy of anything? Why is it that Diccan’s “army” never even had an inkling of anything going on in regards to the bad seed or anyone else for that matter? Why would anyone know about that “big clue” when no one seemed to pay attention to that individual anyway? The questions just go on and on and on as I think more and more about Always a Temptress and its predecessor Never a Gentleman.
The brief scenes with the villains just seemed to throw the flow off in Always a Temptress, and it still didn’t feel as though those even moved the story along much either other than to remind the reader that they still existed. Some of those characters were a bit of a surprise as well because they didn’t tend to have violent natures in Never a Gentleman, at least from what was revealed to the reader. If you are looking for closure on the identities of the Lions then you will be disappointed. I felt like I was in a tangled web with Always a Temptress. Once I thought I had something unraveled, I would fall further into the strings and get tangled within once again. So, of course, once again, things aren’t always as they seem!