Book two in Meredith Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series is about Alastair de Grey. Alastair is in book one, That Scandalous Summer, and he is not a very likable character. He found out his late wife cuckolded him and gave away political secrets but his attitude towards his brother and brother’s wife do not garner him any sympathy. He has shut himself away in his rooms for the better part of a year and has not come out. His household, life and career are in shambles and he really doesn’t care.
Olivia Mather needs information Alastair possesses. She has taken letters from a friend that make her aware of Alastair’s situation and she must infiltrate his household in order to find papers to blackmail the man who is after her. She doesn’t think it will be easy but she has to try. Finding something to implicate Bertram, the man trying to kill her is the only way she will be able to get him off her back.
This was, after all, the household of the most feared figure in British politics: Alastair de Grey, fifth Duke of Marwick, friend to princes, patron to prime ministers, and puppet master to countless MPs.
What she finds when arrives at the house is not what she expected. Though she was there to apply for a maid’s post she is elevated to the housekeeper position which allows her full reign of the house. Now she will be able to search for the papers without anyone being suspicious of what she is doing. Her plans are derailed when she learns that most of the papers are in the duke’s rooms; rooms he won’t leave. She must figure out a way to get him out of his rooms so she can look through them but she didn’t plan on falling for him in the process.
Fool Me Twice almost read like two separate books, for me. The first 50% was slow and detailed. There was much set up for what was happening and what had happened. Alastair is a frantic, desperate creature that doesn’t leave his room and comes off a bit crazy at first. Olivia is so focused on finding evidence to blackmail Bertram that she hardly notices the duke as a man until further on in the book than I would have liked. She sees him as a means to an end and though she feels guilty for what she is doing, finding those papers is the only thing on her mind. Though it is a slower pace there are moments where I giggled. The back and forth between Olivia and Alastair when she is trying to get him back into living is pretty funny. A housekeeper badgering a duke is something comical.
The second half of the book is so much better and has an exhilarating pace. Alastair has left his house and seeks revenge on all things that have slighted him. At first Olivia is included in that list because of her perceived betrayal. He wasn’t in state to listen to what she was saying when he found her trying to take his papers. Once he able to track her down and listen to her version of the truth things start to change for them. This part had all the beautiful angst and heartbreak I have come to love in my historical romance. This part was where the Duke falling for the serving maid trope really started to shine.
One thing I really love about Ms. Duran’s writing is the incredible sensuality she brings to love scenes. The first major love scene between Olivia and Alastair is crazy hot. I needed a glass of cold water by the end of their encounter.
“I want to fuck you,” he said. “With my cock-and all my fingers, and my tongue. Go deep inside you, every inch of you, Olivia. I want to use you up. I will make you scream, and beg me to stop, and then I will bend you over and fuck you again. This is where hope leads you: do you understand? It leads you to ruin, and I will enjoy it. I will ruin you for pleasure, and I will make you come for it, and hate yourself in the end for doing so.”
She took a ragged breath. “I-you are not- you want to be so much worse than you are!”
“Worse?” He fluttered his thumb over her clitoris, and she gasped. “Watch me,” he said. He dropped to his knees, and gripped her hips as she began to slump; he pinned her in place against the bookcase as he lifted her hem, parted her folds to expose her, and laid his tongue on her. He licked her in full.
That is just the first time they really get it on. There are several more scenes like this one but with escalating hotness. I can’t say I ever finish one of Ms. Duran’s books without being satisfied by that aspect of the book.
Though the book started slow, the last half more than made up for it. Ms. Duran has given her readers another wonderful, captivating love story. I am a big fan of her work and once again, she has a winner. Final grade- B+
She held up the mirror again. “Here is my purpose: you look like a wildebeest. If you valet-”
“I don’t believe you know what a wildebeest looks like,” he said mildly.
Hesitantly she lowered the mirror. He was right; she hadn’t the faintest idea what a wildebeest looked like. “Well, you look how a wildebeest sounds like it should look.”
“That doesn’t even make sense.” He opened his book again. “‘Sheepdog’ was the better choice.”
She glared at him. “Do you enjoy being likened to a dog? Shall I bark at you again?”