All he wants is her help . . .
Colonel Ian Ferguson may be a rake, but he's no traitor. Accused of trying to kill the Duke of Wellington, the disgraced Scotsman is now a fugitive-from the law, the army, and the cunning assassin who hunts him. Wounded and miles from his allies, Ian finds himself at the mercy of an impoverished country wife. The spirited woman is achingly beautiful . . . and hiding some dangerous secrets of her own.
All she needs is his heart . . .
She was a child nobody wanted. Now for Lady Sarah Clarke, holding on to her vanished husband's crumbling estate is her final chance to earn respectability. She knows that hiding the devastatingly handsome Ferguson will jeopardize her home. Common sense demands that she turn him in. But a single, delirious kiss shatters her resolve . . . and awakens a passion that neither of them can escape.
Another book from my Goodreads "Currently Reading" stash. I received an ARC of Once a Rake but couldn't get into it to finish in a timely manner. I've also checked this book out a couple of times from my public library.
Reading the three previous books aren't necessary to understand the grand scheme of the entire series: Revolutionaries who seek to place Princess Charlotte on the British throne -- the Duke of Wellington the main block in such a move -- and Drake's Rakes must foil it.
Colonel Ian Ferguson is a member of Drake's Rakes, as well as a newly found heir to a marquess, and has been named a wanted man for attempting to kill the Duke of Wellington. Ian is injured during his escape and finds himself on Lady Sarah Clarke's property. Sarah is the illegitimate daughter of a duke who was sent to "Last Chance Academy" (where she became friends with Ian's sisters), then given to marriage. Sarah's husband used the last of her dowry to purchase an army commission, so Sarah manages the household of her mother-in-law, her mother-in-law's companion, and her sister-in-law while doing most of the hard labor as well.
The majority of the action takes place at the Clarke farm, since Ian is convalescing there, with the final third at the Duke of Dorset's estate. Sarah manages to involve two of her friends from "Last Chance Academy" -- Lizzie and Pippin -- and we see several members of Drake's Rakes who have been secondary characters in previous books. Chuffy Wilde is my favorite! The assassination/revolution plot is somewhat squashed, though one of the traitors escapes. Otherwise, the book focused on Sarah denying her attraction for Ian before finally giving in.