|Olivia Monteith is a debutante fresh out of finishing school and determined to marry the man who agreed to her proposal when she was ten years old. She has carried a secret torch for her family’s neighbor, Lord Dominic Lacey, ever since they became friends when she was ten and he was twenty-two.
Now, ten years have passed and Olivia is all grown up. She’s heard rumors, and it turns out that Wicked Nic Lacey has turned into a rake of the highest order while she’s been maturing. What’s a girl to do? Be Led Astray by a Rake?
In Olivia’s case, she decides to visit Nic at his home and she proposes marriage over tea. Nic is shocked, and then proceeds to tell Olivia all of the reasons that she doesn’t want to marry him. He’s quite comfortable in his debauched lifestyle, and has no plans to change. He’s not interested in marriage, or propriety in any form.
Olivia hatches a daring plot to draw Nic in to her plans, meeting him alone at the pond, where he finally gives into the desire to kiss her. When that isn’t enough, she gets herself into a demimondaine ball that she knows Nic plans to attend. He quickly picks her out and plays the hilariously jealous nursemaid to her all evening. As they spend more time together, Nic is disgusted to find out that he likes Olivia even more than he wants her, and he’s suddenly fighting his own feelings on more than one level. As for Olivia, she finds that Nic’s rakish ways and adventuresome spirit brings out her own passion for life and sensuality. Olivia has been worried that a cold, arranged marriage will kill her spirit completely, and she thinks Nic will be the lively cure to a boring future.
Nic’s been pushing Olivia away because of his base proclivities, but what will happen when she finds out that he’s been carrying an earth-shattering secret that will rock her view of the world, and the people she loves? Will she regret proposing marriage to an incorrigible scoundrel?
Led Astray By A Rake is a fun summer read. Nic is handsome, exciting and sexy. As we learn more about him, we see the layers of his character peel away to reveal a charmingly vulnerable man who is very lonely. The more Nic tries to expound on his bad habits and impress on Livy that he is a terrible choice, the more we sympathize with him and how he must feel about himself.
Olivia is refreshingly funny, passionate and honest. She’s open with her feelings, and desperate to find freedom in her own way, by marrying a man who will love and cherish her. She is quite animated with her four close friends that have started the Husband Hunters Club, which is briefly mentioned near the start of the story, a group of girls from the finishing school who have decided to choose and hunt down their husband of choice.
While Olivia and Nic area good match, with chemistry and humor, the connection between them is kept fairly light. There isn’t a whole lot of emotion involved in the storytelling. Even when Nic finally faces Olivia with his tormented past and reveals the secrets he’s been keeping for a decade, it’s glossed over in a way that makes it seem trivial.
Led Astray By A Rake is entertaining, funny and sweet, and it could have been perfected with a little more emotional depth. However, if you’re just looking for a fun, romantic story for a day at the beach, this is just the ticket.