Once More, My Darling Rogue

Lorraine Heath

Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James: Book 2

January 1st, 2014

They are England's most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways . . .

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can't escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he's not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning, he realizes she doesn't remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she's his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can't be denied, regardless of consequences. So when Ophelia's memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.

I love Lorraine Heath! I love reading her stories, time and time again. They are a staple of my library and always will be. Her latest, ONCE MORE, MY DARLING ROGUE, the second book in the “Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James” series, however, I had to read twice, right away to fully appreciate.

On the first reading I felt that the heroine’s behavior towards Drake was a little too over the top, but that in turning the tables on her when she lost her memory, he was giving her a well deserved comeuppance. After being treated for years by her like an inferior, he took the opportunity to put her in a position to walk a mile in his shoes and I mentally applauded his efforts.

Of course this a romance, so it’s inevitable that the newly humbled Phee would begin to slip past the boundaries of simple attraction and start winning her way into Drake’s heart. Kinder, gentler Ophelia became a character you could root for and her acceptance of Drake and the past he believes so strongly has left him tainted in some way, completely wins you over.

After learning the reasons behind Ophelia’s very unlikable behavior at the beginning of the story, it was much better reading the story the second time around, because there was no need to get past the initial distaste her character leaves in your mouth before truly beginning to enjoy the thought of a romance between her and the “Boy” she treated so badly.

I truly believe that if an earlier tease or glimpse into Ophelia’s past had been added at the beginning—to lay the seeds of understanding about what might lie at the core of her cold treatment of people—the character, as the heroine, would not have been as much of a hard pill to swallow at first.

When I read the book for the second time, having that insight, you could feel more of the pain behind her actions and why she seemed to feel safe lashing out at Drake, even when she took matters way too far.

In both readings I loved Drake’s character from the start. Even when he was trying to be bad and bent on teaching Ophelia a lesson, his true nature and self doubts about being accepted in the world he was not born to, colored his actions and tempered his revenge. It was the core goodness of his character that allowed him to see past the icy shell Ophelia created and appreciate the person she could be when that shell was destroyed by the loss of her memories.

Ms. Heath certainly went out on a limb by pushing the boundaries of how dislikable you can make a character before making them believably likable enough to care about them finding a happily ever after. But once it becomes clear that in their own way both Drake and Ophelia have been wearing different kind of masks to shield themselves from pain, it’s easy to understand why this particular pairing of souls was a good choice to make.


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