Title: Fool Me Twice*
Author: Meredith Duran
Series: Rules for the Reckless #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: paperback, ebook audiobook
Date/Year: March 25, 2014
Reviewed by: Blue
*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Summary from the publisher:
Running for her life, exhausted and out of options, Olivia Holladay wants nothing more than the chance to make a home for herself. So when she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the duke’s notoriously temperamental housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her. . . .
A MAN WITH A PASSION—FOR VENGEANCE
As his new employee, Olivia is a fearless upstart. As a woman, the daring redhead is just what Alastair needs to rouse him from darkness to the siren call of revenge. He has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies—even his brazen and beautiful domestic. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible and growing passion for the enigmatic Olivia.
Someone is out to kill Olivia. In a desperate attempt to ensure her own safety, Olivia has scammed her way into the household of the Duke of Marwick, Alastair de Grey, hoping to steal some incriminating documents that she can use to blackmail the would-be-killer. The servants are all afraid of the Duke, the man who once had it all. He was handsome, wealthy, and powerful. He had a beautiful wife, and a political career on track to take him to the top. But then his wife died of a drug overdose, and he learned that she betrayed him continually, not only sexually, but politically to his enemies. This left him so shaken, that he withdrew from public life. He stays in his rooms, drinking, barely eating enough to stay alive, and going half crazy.
Olivia knows that she’ll need to search his quarters, so she makes the attempt to get him to leave his rooms. Despite her own agenda, when she sees the unkempt, broken, angry man he has become, she feels sympathy. It takes a little time, but Olivia begins to get Marwick’s attention, mostly by annoying him. She chastises him, challenges him, and slowly starts him on the road back to himself. Marwick is basically a good man, so after a few stolen kisses and a steamy encounter that takes things a little further, he knows that he needs to send Olivia away before he truly ruins her. He lets her know this, and although she has begun to fall for him, she accepts that this is the way it has to be. As soon as she finds the information she originally came for, she’ll leave. The opportunity presents itself when Marwick is interviewing a candidate for housekeeper. As she is rifling through his papers, of course, Marwick walks in.
He is enraged. The woman that he trusted, who led him back from the darkness is betraying him, just as his wife did. He believes that she intended to use the papers to provide information to his political enemies, one of whom happens to be Olivia’s father. Although Olivia attempts to tell her story, he is having none of it. He no longer trust his own judgment, and feels he has been made a fool of twice. Olivia manages to flee, but now Marwick is determined to find her and make her pay, along with the other men who betrayed him.
Now begins a series of incidents and surprises that brings them back together, as unlikely allies. Without giving spoilers, this was very well written. I was taken by surprise by one of the unfolding events, and I love it when that happens.
While I liked and admired Olivia very much, I was totally caught up in the way Marwick was written. Meredith Duran made me feel his despair, his grief, his rage, and then his need for revenge. This book delivers on all levels – a great story, sympathetic and admirable protagonists, and a wonderful romance leading to a well deserved happy ever after. I highly recommend this book, and I’m sure it’s going to be another of my favorites for this year.
Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 3
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