HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE:
Reject his marriage proposal
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate's mysterious new wealth has the town's rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana's attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry "any suitable girl" under the age of 25.
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate's return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can't help but feel in Nate's presence...and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.
But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.
The Book Club Belles Society:
Before the Kiss: A Book Club Belles Society Novella
Once Upon a Kiss
Sinfully Ever After
How to Rescue a Rake
Praise for Once Upon a Kiss:
"Feisty dialogue and strong-willed characters make for...a winning love story."-Booklist
"Deliciously funny."-RT Book Reviews
"[A] witty romp."-Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England. Entertained by her father's colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters, she's always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines. She lives in upstate New York. Visit www.jaynefresina.com.
Read an Excerpt
Halfway up a tree...
Sometimes a man had to go out on a limb.
Captain Nathaniel Sherringham, a gambler who had dangled at the end of a great many theoretical limbs, and frequently lost his shirt there, was nothing if not persistent. But for once he found himself quite literally up a tree and potentially about to lose more than a linen shirt.
Still, if he ripped his breeches and got stuck while climbing this tree, it couldn't be for a better cause. Hopefully, the note he carried in his coat pocket was about to impress Diana Makepiece enough that she'd give him another chance to plead his case, this time while he was sober. Whatever his means of getting that note into her hand, she ought to be moved by it. And should he amuse her by getting trapped in the branches or savaged by blackbirds in the process of delivery, all the better.
Despite her haughty manner, Diana had struggled to hide her chuckles if he walked into a wall, or got poked in the eye by a lady's ostrich-feather headdress. With her dark sense of humor, she'd take delight in seeing him stranded up there, and if he fell a few feet and broke something, she would be even more amused. Mayhap he could arrange a black eye too. The hilarity would surely bend her double, but only when no one might witness her elegant shoulders relaxing.
"Captain Sherringham," she would say in her somber voice, and with her querulous eyebrows on alert, "I would have sewn you some wings, had I known you were trying to fly."
Oh yes, Nathaniel's misfortunes were frequently her source of private glee. Yet, perverse as it may seem, this was the woman he wanted and he was not giving up yet. Diana had recently suggested that his optimism in the face of impossible odds was part of his "wretched" charm. That was enough to give him hope.
Now here he was, inching along creaking tree limbs, making one last attempt to win Diana over before he left Hawcombe Prior, risking his new buckskins in the process.
It was fortunate that although the early morning air pinched his skin with cold fingertips, frost had not yet set in. There was certainly little else in his favor as he scaled the oak tree behind the cottage where Diana and her stern mother lived. Nothing more than reckless bravado.
He looked down to the gnarled roots where he'd set young Jamie Bridges on guard. When he whistled sharply, the boy turned his sleepy face up. Nathaniel jabbed two fingers toward his own eyes and then pointed at the cottage. Jamie nodded, frowning a little, and leaned back against the tree trunk, waiting for the penny he'd been promised and the safe return of his sling. He was possibly the world's most disinterested lookout.
Nathaniel couldn't get much higher in the tree, so it was time to take his chance. He knew her window; it was open. Diana had told him once-in a rare, unguarded moment-that she liked to sleep with fresh air blowing in, even when it was winter.
He took the folded note out of his pocket. The small square of paper was tied with string to a crab apple, which he estimated would give it just enough weight. Carefully, he aimed the borrowed sling and fired. His message flew gracefully across the short distance and through her window, bypassing any other barriers. Such as her mother.
All that remained was to wait and see if Diana came to the old bridge to meet him. If she didn't, he would set off on his journey and never think of her again.
The branch across which he stretched gave an ominous creak, and he suddenly had no need to worry about his descent because the law of gravity saw to it for him.
"Never seen a grown man climb a tree before," young Jamie grumbled, scratching his head and looking down at Nathaniel's sprawling form.
"And you haven't now. Remember?" He groaned. "Not a word to anyone."
"Don't get all aerated, Sherry. I ain't stupid." The boy yawned. "I ain't the one climbing a tree for a woman already engaged to marry another."
Indeed, Nathaniel thought with an inner groan of despair while brushing dead leaves from his uniform jacket, when would he learn to give up on a lost cause? But he was a gambler, wasn't he? It was what "Sherry" did best.
Which, much to his chagrin, wasn't saying an awful lot for his other abilities.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This year my interest in historical romance is at an all-time high and it was fun to start with HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE, especially because the word 'rake' in a title or blurb makes me really interested in watching a ladies' man fall hard for that one woman. Well, that was not exactly the case here, but Nate and Diana's story was no less interesting. The three years that Nathaniel Sherringham spent away from Hawcombe Prior have made a great difference. Gone is the gambler and rogue who gave no thought to the broken hearts he left in his wake and in his place is a successful and respectable businessman, one who still keeps the gossip mill churning, but for different reasons. Nate never got over Diana and her refusal of his marriage proposal three years ago and when their paths cross away from home, he sees a perfect chance for a fresh start with her. Diana Makepiece turned down Nate's drunken proposal because of his shiftless lifestyle and lack of ambition but her heart was broken when he left town without a word. She's the only one of her group still single and has resigned herself to life as a spinster. Her trip to Bath to recuperate from her illness away from her mother's watchful eye gives her a chance to spread her wings and the fortuitous arrival of Nate gives them a second chance. This is my first read from Ms. Fresina and I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Diana's transformation from the meek wallflower to a confident woman, and Nate's growth from an aimless degenerate to a businessman. At the heart of it, this is a sweet second chance story for two people who are perfect for each other. There is an interesting and colorful cast of supporting characters, from Diana's smothering mother whose meddling irritated me to no end, to the boisterous Plumtree sisters who made me laugh and whose stories I look forward to. I haven't read Jane Austen's Persuasion but the references to it have piqued my interest. A caveat to readers: this story is mostly on the slow side, but worth reading to the end. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nate Sherringham has returned to Holcombe Prior having grown up and gotten his life together. He is determined to find a wife. His old flame is still available and he is determined to get her back. Diana Makepiece's heart was broken when Nate left town. Still under the control of her mother, she asks to leave town to visit her cousin in Bath. She doesn't think she can stand watching her former love find a wife. What neither Nate or Diana know is that they will both end up in Bath. Can Nate convience Diana to take a chance with him while she is out from under the watchful eye of her mother? I really liked the conclusion to the Book Club Belles Society series. I'm so glad that Fresina had Diana go to Bath where she could get out from under her mother's influence. I don't think she could have made the story work otherwise. I love the banter that goes on between two people that have known each other for awhile which is the case between Nate and Diana. They knew just the right thing to rile the other one up which most often had me laughing out loud. Bravo to Fresina for such a great conclusion to her series. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! Thanks go out to Sourcebooks via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
At the moment I can empathize with Nate and Diana. They may be mourning the one that got away, I however am obsessing over the books I have missed in this series. I was blessed to have received an ARC of How to Rescue a Rake from NetGalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review. This story quickly reminded me why I fell for Darius and Kristina in Before the Kiss. The attention getting mishaps, the comedic feel and the irresistible characters played a huge part. Nate and Diana are amusing and what make this story the treasure that it is. Will have to catch up on this find.