Lorraine Heath never disappoints! I have to be careful when I start her books that it’s on the weekend because I know that I’m not going to be able to put it down. I absolutely loved “Once More, My Darling Rogue.” This the second book in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series the hero is Drake Darling son to Frannie Darling from “Surrender to the Devil.”
Although I never read Frannie’s story I loved the Scoundrels of St. James series as well. Drake is Frannie and Sterling Mabry’s (Duke of Greystone) adopted son. Drake was a street child that was adopted by Frannie and Sterling. Drake’s heritage was very common, his father was sentenced to death for numerous crimes. Although only a young child, he saw his father hang to death.
When the story begins Drake is at his sister Grace’s party. Despite the fact that Drake was raised in a wealthy home he never felt like he deserved love or to call The Greystone’s his parents that is why he never takes their name but adopts Frannie’s name from when she was a street child “Darling.”
This is all very relevant because our heroine Lady Ophelia Lyttleto, who is a horrible snub, always makes Drake feel like he is beneath her station. Ophelia belittles Drake and goes out of her way to humiliate him, although he is her dearest friend Grace’s brother. Grace and Drake grew up loving each other as brother and sister and have a special bond. In the previous book, Grace and Ophelia sneak into the gaming hall that Drake manages quite often. This book reminded me of Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (one of my favorite movies). Just like the movie Ophelia loses her memory. Drake happens to be near the river when he sees her fall in.
Once he retrieves her and takes her to his home Ophelia has no memory of who she is. Drake can’t help but have a little fun with her. He tells her that she is his servant. Although it sounds terrible Ophelia was really so horrible and such a snub that it was gratifying to see her put in such a humble situation. Ophelia (prior to losing her memory) goes out of her way to be rude to Drake, calls him “boy” and always sends him to get her things as if he were a servant.
Drake intends to only have a little fun and a little revenge with Ophelia. He intends to have her in his home as a servant for a day and then he will tell her the truth. When Drake returns to the club he learns that Ophelia’s brother is very indebted and he worries that Ophelia’s life might be in danger. He thinks that someone might have intended to dump Ophelia in the river.
Drake decides that it won’t do any harm to keep her as his servant, her duties include everything from dusting to washing his back. There were some parts that were really comical but there were also very tender parts. Ophelia can’t remember that she is a lady but she does know that she and Drake had a past. Drake slowly realizes that it’s only a matter of time before she remembers who she is or before her family begins to question her whereabouts (her brother believes that she is with their uncle and aunt.
While Drake is having his fun with Ophelia she tries to remember who she was but at the same time “re-learn” all her duties as a servant. She also befriends the maid that works next door to Drake something she would never have done before losing her memory.
Inevitably two things happen Drake and Ophelia fall in love and she regains her memory. During these big events Ophelia’s big dark secret comes to light and she is able to start her life again. I can’t say how much I loved both these characters, although Ophelia was horrible at the beginning, seeing her transformation was very beautiful. Drake was such a fantastic hero, he was also wounded by his past. I loved this book, I could not put it down. I loved seeing characters from the previous books and I know that they will be a part of the next series. I loved and highly recommend this beautiful book about two very beautiful people who despite themselves fall madly in love with one another.