Book One: Drake's Rakes Series
By Eileen Dreyer
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: June 29, 2010
HE CAN'T REMEMBER...
Olivia Grace has every reason to despise Jack Wyndham, Earl of Gracechurch, who scandalously married and then divorced her, ruining her completely. Yet when she finds an injured Jack on a battlefield wearing the enemy's uniform, she can't resist saving him. He might have broken her heart, but can he truly be a traitor?
WHAT SHE'LL NEVER FORGET...
When Jack awakes he is shocked to discover that he has lost Olivia's love---and much of his memory. Did he really destroy their marriage? And what do his dreams of blood-soaked French uniforms and revenge mean? As the noose of danger tightens around them, Jack and Olivia must determine which is most frightening: the threat of the hangman, their own tempestuous history, or the passion that flares between them once again.
Bestselling romantic suspense author Eileen Dreyer brings her talent to historical romance with her first book in her Drake's Rakes Series. Brimming with sensuality, intrigue and luscious prose, Barely A Lady will leave readers sighing with satisfaction and breathless with anticipation for the next book.
Olivia is in Brussels, acting a chaperone for a perfectly odious family. But since her divorce left her persona non grata as far as the ton is concerned, she must make due no matter how disagreeable the circumstances may be. Lucky for her---though she does not think so at the time---her employers leave her behind, and Olivia is taken in by the lovely (and slightly scandalous) Lady Kate, Dowager Duchess of Murther and her companions, Lady Bea and Grace Fairchild. Fearing that Lady Kate will find out her true identity and put her out, Olivia is torn between keeping the secret or revealing the truth and accepting the consequences. But when she finds her ex-husband wounded on the battlefields of Waterloo wearing a French uniform, she fears that things have gone from bad to worse. But when Jack awakens with no memory of the past five years, Olivia has no idea how to handle the situation.
Jack has no idea why he is injured, but when he sees Olivia he is overjoyed. In his mind, they have only been apart a short while---a cooling off period after a spat---but he is overcome with love and desire for his 'Livvie.' Olivia can't help but respond to his passion, but she pulls away as memories of the pain she has endured over the past five years overwhelms her. Jack doesn't understand her behavior, and Olivia can't tell him what has happened; the doctor has diagnosed Jack with amnesia and cautions everyone not to tell him about events he doesn't remember for fear it may kill him. Jack must remember it all on his own. While he struggles with his memory, his love and desire for Olivia remain constant and he continues to woo her. Olivia remembers why she fell in love with Jack, even as she struggles with the pain of his betrayal.
She missed him. Sweet God, she missed him, and she hadn't allowed herself to admit that for years. She shouldn't allow it now, because it would make it so much harder later when he left again. But it was as if her body had been waiting for his hands to waken it. For his mouth to bless it. For his body to meet it.
The reason behind Olivia and Jack's divorce is not made known immediately, so while I felt sorry for all Olivia had endured, I was moved by Jack and his amnesia, enjoying watching them rediscover one another. But when Jack finally recovers his memory and becomes righteous with indignant anger toward Olivia, I wanted to jump through the pages and throttle him!! His cousin, Gervaise, is in the thick of it, and he continues to feed the fire of Jack's anger. Jack has some serious making up to do in order to redeem himself for Olivia (and me!). And he most certainly does, in such a way that my eyes welled with tears at the love and trust that finally shone through.
Jack turned to Livvie then and, smiling, gently closed her gaping mouth with a finger beneath her chin. "I know, my love. You have no reason to believe me. But I've remembered some lessons I learned in the last years. One was that you were, indeed, as Sergeant Harper said, the truest lass I've ever known. I'm just sad I didn't remember that lesson sooner. The other is that trust is based on faith. Not evidence. And, oh, Livvie, how could I ever have mislaid my faith in you?"
Barely A Lady is a gem of a book that will have readers cheering for the hero and heroine, booing the villain, and smiling through tears as they reach the end. I now have a new favorite on my keeper shelves! And I suspect that Book 2, Never A Gentleman, will be joining it when it's released. Brava, Ms. Dreyer!