Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
Sensible and lonely, Olivia Mather survives by her wits—and her strict policy of avoiding trouble. But when she realizes that the Duke of Marwick might hold the secrets of her family’s past, she does the unthinkable, infiltrating his household as a maid. She’ll clean his study and rifle through his papers looking for information.
Alastair de Grey has a single reason to live: vengeance. More beautiful than Lucifer, twice as feared, and thrice as cunning, he’ll use any weapon to punish those who fooled and betrayed him—even an impertinent maid who doesn’t know her place. But the more fascinated he becomes with the uppity redhead, the more dangerous his carefully designed plot becomes. For the one contingency he forgot to plan for was falling in love…and he cannot survive being fooled again.
I thoroughly enjoyed this romance with a tortured hero, a woman with a purpose and not much to lose and how they heal each other.
Olivia, with several aliases is on a mission, she is looking for information about Bertram, a man who has been causing problems in her life for many years. So stealing (in good faith) a few items from her former employer Elizabeth, she passes herself off as a maid, then housekeeper to search the Duke of Marwick’s home to find papers to use as blackmail.
The Duke of Marwick, Alastair de Grey has not left his room in months and his house is in chaos, at least until Olivia starts to work there, the interesting thing is that at first she does not care about the household or the duke, she only wants order so she can search certain rooms. The Duke has kept himself away from everyone believing he would kill those that deceived him. His wife was found in a hotel room with an opium pipe next to her bed, only after he found her letters did he realize she slept with several men and told them Alastair’s secrets from Parliament. As Olivia starts to gain control of a wild house she slowly gets Alastair interested enough in the world and her to do something.
Fool Me Twice has several items I enjoy in a romance, I love when the hero has some tortured event that prevents him for enjoying life (he he), I also like when the hero and heroine can banter with the best of them. When we first meet Alastair he is sitting in a dark room, contemplating murder, very tortured indeed. We learn about his wife and how he will never be fooled again…enter Olivia who is all about subterfuge, her name is not true and neither is the background she gave, but for a young woman she can whip a home in shape, get those around her to do what they are supposed to and even go toe to toe with the duke to get him to feel alive again. The banter is hilarious and I loved when they are in a scene together. Of course I also enjoyed when they were in a scene together and there was not much talking.
The pace of the book is slow in the beginning, with the duke hidden away and Olivia searching the house, but it picks up and holds my interest after they spared several times and he starts to come out of his room. Of course there is the mystery of her mother’s diary and Bertram that needs to be solved, along with the fact that Alastair feels betrayed when he finds out who Olivia really is and why she is in his house. I loved when Alastair writes to his brother, in the first book there is a lot of pain between the two and it is great to see the riff start to heal. Alastair suffered greatly at the hands of his wife and you can feel his pain, but more than that is his humiliation and how betrayed he fels, he is ready to kill a few men.
This is the second in the series and while we met several characters in the first book, The Scandalous Summer, you will not feel lost if you start with this book. All in all this is a wonderful historical romance with mystery, deceit and of course romance with a tortured hero.
I give Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran 4.25 stars!