Series: Capitol Theatre #2.5
Published by Avon, Impulse on December 13, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Courtesy review copy
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Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways.
As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins...
I’m reading the anthology A Christmas to Remember, and this story needs its own review. A quickie review with three others just won’t cut it.
2 very sad stars for this novella.
I wish I could say “the scene” is what dropped the rating, but it’s more than that. For those who have ever read a Kleypas novel, you know how lovely they are. She gives you flawed characters who you wind up loving, and you become heavily vested in them.
This book begins that way.
Lord Drake is a rake, not the sexy kind, but the realistic kind who are bloated from drink, who have dark circles beneath his bloodshot eyes. Who are broke from ruin of their own making. His father is on his deathbed and has disinherited him. Drake’s solution is to find the best lady he knows and court her until his father believes he’s turned himself around and reinstates his inheritance.
Caroline is the bluestocking spinster sister of Drake’s friend. He tells her of his plan, knowing full well she doesn’t approve of him, while at the same time noticing that she’s actually really pretty. She tells him no, and he blackmails her. So far, so good. I’m loving it.
In effort to fake this turnaround, Drake has to quit drinking and womanizing. In order to burn off that desire to go back to his old ways, he takes up sport. And he begins to go from attractive rake to sexy (so sexy) lord.
But this is where I began to wish this was a full length book. We have a couple of important and sweet scenes and then… Three months later. Yep, Kleypas skips three months worth of falling in love, courtship, and romance.
Then of course The Scene. Guys. I will spoil this because this book is from ’01 so I will not feel guilty. It’s out there. It’s been out for a while. Check out now if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Okay so while she’s hurting and angry, Caroline makes a throwaway comment to her brother about wanting him trussed up like a goose so she can do what she wants to him. She really means like give him a piece of her mind. Well, her brother delivers. She is locked in a cabin with a chained up to a bed Drake and she has the key.
She goes from feeling terrible and going to free him, to deciding to prove to him how good they could be together. He not only asks her to stop so many times, but he means it. And you get the sense that he means it. She is literally naked on top of him trying to shove him in, but he finally makes her believe he means stop, and she does and starts sobbing. It was so beneath this author. He didn’t say no, but also seem like he wanted it. He said 2 pages worth of no. Now before you go saying, “Well this book is older, it was just not as prevalent in that time. Dude. This book is from 2001 not the Dark Ages. I don’t buy it.
Then there’s a blackmail scheme that was out of left field, and a weird ending, and it was so rushed. I feel like Kleypas is better than this.
***A Christmas To Remember courtesy of Avon Impulse