She’s about to face her biggest challenge yet… Since she was a girl, Miss Kitty Beckett has been adept at finding trouble: sneaking brandy, running away, and getting under the skin of the boy who, like her, was an apprentice to an architect. Now Kitty’s a talented heiress who can take a dry building plan and breathe life into it with her pencils and paints. Also? She can spot a rake at a hundred yards—and she won’t be tricked or charmed into marriage. Certainly not by a man who might interfere with her dreams. When Bellehaven Bay announces its first ever architectural design contest, she vows to win—with a little help from her childhood rival.
Turning her buttoned-up nemesis into a certified rake. Leo Lockland, a hardworking architect with a gift for numbers, has returned home after a few years in London, and he has secrets. The biggest? He’s been in love with Kitty since they were both apprentices. She refuses to give her heart to any man, but Leo’s determined to beat the odds—even if it means learning how to be a rake. Fortunately, Kitty’s willing to tutor him in the nuances of fashion, flirtation, and seduction in exchange for his help with the contest. But the whole plan would fall apart if she knew how he felt, so he’ll have to be very convincing.
Let the lessons begin… Leo proves to be a surprisingly quick study in the ballroom, on the beach, and in the bedchamber. Before long, he’s softening Kitty’s hard edges with his wicked words and kissing his way past all her defenses. Perhaps she’s a bit too skilled at teaching, because her lessons are threatening to backfire, putting her closely guarded heart in grave danger…
I loved the first two books in this series, setting the bar high for this third installment. It was fun returning to Bellehaven Bay, the seaside setting of all three books in the trilogy. I enjoyed catching up with meddling town locals as well as the main couples from books one and two. It feels good to catch a glimpse of the post-HEA lives of couples whose journeys I've enjoyed.
I really like the strength, independence, and ambition of the three heroines in this series. Kitty is a talented architect pursuing a career in a male-dominated field. I was cheering her on to success the entire way. It was in her personal relationships, specifically her inflexibility and her hot and cold treatment of Leo, primarily in the second half of the book, where I found myself having a hard time supporting her. It all works out in the end but, to be honest, there were more than a few times where I wanted to tell Leo to run and not look back.
Not that Leo is perfect. Who is, right? Still, I was in his corner from start to finish. And he is in Kitty's. He fell hard for her years ago and shows no signs of getting over it. Even four years away in London hasn't lessened the feelings he has for her. I could feel his yearning for her, the unrequited love he's hidden so well. I appreciate the respect he has for her and the unwavering support for her ambitions. I also cheered loudly when he finally stands up for himself and what he deserves...what they both deserve. It needed to be said.
In the end, I was happy and confident in this couple's ability to have a happy life together. I didn't love their book but I did like it and I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Have you read any books by Anna Bennett?
What are your favorite romance settings outside London?
One randomly chosen person posting a comment before 11:00 PM, January 28 will receive a print copy of It Takes a Rake.