At the Duke's Pleasure

The Wedding Trap

Wicked Delights of a
Bridal Bed

The Bed and the Bachelor
by Tracy Anne Warren
(Avon Books, $7.99, PG13) ISBN 978-0-06-203305-5
The Bed and the Bachelor is the latest story in the Byron family series. Drake is the fourth Byron son, and this is his book.

Lord Drake Byron is a scholar who spends untold hours working on codes and mathematics in his home office. His loyal staff is used to his weird working, sleeping and eating hours and do their best to keep the master comfortable while he's engrossed in his work. Most recently, his work has included creating an unbreakable code to aid in the war against Napoleon.

Aside from work, Drake does little except occasionally visit his mistress and sometimes get dragged into attendance at family events, which he enjoys even though they disrupt his orderly life. Lately, his life hasn't been as orderly since his longtime housekeeper suddenly quit. He decides to hire a new one soon, as he requires someone to smooth his schedule and watch over his home.

Little does Drake know that there's a French group looking to obtain the code from him, they have scared his housekeeper into leaving and intend to plant a new one - to spy on him - in her place.

Enter Sebastianne Dumont, under false name Anne Greenaway, who interviews for the position, and gets it, regardless of the fact that Drake finds her extremely attractive, and she is hiding that she is a spy. Of course, Anne's not all bad, she only spies to save her family that has been threatened by some French bad guys.

Very quickly, the scholarly Drake and the spineless Anne fall into each other's arms under the guise of a dream. Drake's gigantic brain quickly deduces that their dream encounter must have been real, and approaches Anne about becoming his mistress. She's offended. No, she would never become a mistress. A two faced liar, sure, but not his mistress, never. Anne gets the info that she needs and leaves, with a supposedly broken heart. Isn't she surprised when Drake follows her? And can you imagine how surprised Drake his when he finds out that the woman he now wants to propose to (why exactly, I'm not 100% sure) is not at all what he thinks she is?

As I'm sure you can tell from my sarcastically spun synopsis of this tale, I didn't like it. While there were a few moments where I was intrigued, they were quickly quashed.

Drake's scholarly side could have been sexy, such sexy brainiacs have been written successfully in the past, like Zoe Archer's Catallus Graves, one of my favorite uber smart leading men. Drake's brains are talked about here, not experienced. His manner of speech doesn't seem particularly brilliant, nor does any of his very vaguely outlined ideas. Also, I don't see a lot of evidence of his hidden sensuality. It must be very hidden, for his attraction with Anne seems fairly tepid.

Anne is a liar. She's set up from the beginning to be in an unlikeable position, but of course she was forced into it to "save" her family and she can't possibly be a bad person, so goes the script. However, I never got past the bit where she was unlikeable. I didn't see any redeeming characteristics in her, I didn't like her, I also couldn't see how the supposedly smarty pants Drake could like her, or not sense something deeply off within her behavior.

The Bed and the Bachelor has no chemistry, no believable characters and not much left to redeem it.

--Amy Wroblewsky

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