Title: It Begins with a Kiss
Author: Eileen Dreyer
Availability: July 3, 2012, digital format only (Grand Central Publishing)
Summary: (courtesy of publisher)
Fiona Ferguson wants nothing more than to flee Miss Lavinia Chase’s Finishing School in this short story by Eileen Dreyer, author of the Drake’s Rakes series. Rather than the safe haven the girls’ families presume it to be, the school is intent on making its charges conform to the rules-by any means necessary. For Fiona, the only thing worse than staying at the dreaded “Last Chance Academy” would be abandoning the friends she’s made there. But when she receives word from home that her sister is in trouble, Fiona plots her escape . . .
A devoted spy in service to the Crown, Alex Knight takes his duties very seriously. His latest assignment-to ensure that the incorrigible Fiona remain safely at school-turns out to be far more of a challenge than he expected. After matching wits with the fiery Scottish beauty, he learns that the greatest danger of all . . . begins with a kiss.
She believed that he would keep the promises he made, and that she would deserve them.
Eileen Dreyer is a tease … and I love it!
It Begins with a Kiss is a short (very, very short) story set four years prior to the events in the previously published volumes in the Drake’s Rakes universe and serves to introduce the next three heroines to win the hearts of the gentlemen spies known as Drake’s Rakes.
Ms. Dreyer does an excellent job of setting up the distinct personalities of Fiona and her cherished friends, and fellow hoydens, Sarah and Pip. Their plotting, planning and banter feels natural and offers a real sense of their friendship.
I knew I would adore Fiona from the start:
Her only skills were completely unacceptable, as no one wanted a wife who could speak German, discuss physics, or bring down more pheasant than her husband.
Definitely my kind of heroine… and apparently Alex Knight’s as well.
Alex is Pip’s brother and Pip believes he has finally come to heed her call for assistance in stopping the abusive behavior at Last Chance. I really enjoyed Alex’s interaction with his sister, it gave more dimension to his character. I feared at first that Alex was just another jaded insouciant rake, but when he promised Fiona he would “make sure [your grandfather] values you just as much as you deserve, and that you and [your sister] are both safe,” his gentleness won me over.
Alex is immediately drawn to Fiona, both her looks (“Magnificent, he couldn’t help but think. And she didn’t even know it yet.”) and fierce resolve (“She would have made a hell of a Scottish queen, Alex thought.”). But Fiona is only sixteen, the sister of his closest friend and currently his responsibility. Still…anything can happen in a bramble patch, including a kiss that can change your life.
Unfortunately we have to wait until Fall 2013 to find out what happens after the kiss! I have no doubt it will be well worth the wait to watch Fiona, Sarah and Pip find love – and to see the delicious Alex Knight again!
The e-book also includes the first chapter of Barely a Lady, the first book in the Drake’s Rakes series, so it’s a great chance to sample the series.
*I received a DRC of this novella from net galley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review*