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The Bed and the Bachelor by Tracy Anne Warren

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Bed and the Bachelor
The Byrons of Braebourne #5

Tracy Anne Warrent
Historical Romance
Published in 2011

H/h - Lord Drake Byron/Sebastianne Dumont
Setting: London, 1813.

Read in Oct, 2011.
My rating:

                                                                     [spoiler alert]

TAW’s books have had some mixed reviews from me. Some were great, some ok while the others just weren’t up to the mark. If I talk about The Byrons Series, I must say I liked most of the books (my absolute favorite being book #4). So, when I heard that despite having 8 siblings, The Byrons Series will come to an end with Drake’s book, I was very sad. I love the family itself and in each book, one or more siblings getting married, having kids, the brothers, the wives, the kids and their banters... I simply adore it. I wished I could say the same for this book. It was not up to the mark. I didn’t dislike the story mind you, still think it had great potentials but just wasn’t executed well enough. So, I ended up with something very tepid (even love scene-wise and I know TAW can write some hot hot love scenes along with amazing sexual tension, enough to turn me into mush lolz). Alas but not in this one!

We knew Drake is a genius in mathematics and has a tendency to ‘drift off’ anytime, anywhere and jot down notes of his latest theorem. He has also been working with the government to develop complicated secret codes to aid in the war with the French. Edward, the Duke, knows of it and supports it. Recently, his longtime housekeeper just up and left without giving him a chance even to give her a character. Drake doesn’t seem to think it’s odd, giving his brilliance and his secret work. You’ll read more such incidents that includes Sebastianne (hate the name, sorry) and can’t help but think how could he be so oblivious, given their relationship? So, he hires this woman, a widow, Mrs. Greenway soon enough. His housekeeper looks younger than the year she gave in her resume but she’s highly recommended so he doesn’t bother to look in any deeper and hires her. Drake doesn’t have the time or patience for interviewing new housekeepers since all his passion (except sometimes the physical needs) is intensely allotted to his work. It’s also why he thinks he’ll never marry (I mean who would care for his forgetful ways and late hours?), let alone fall in love. Or so he thought. He has a mistress, whom he sees from time to time, when he’s not so busy with work. (thanks god, there weren’t many details of all the whys and hows, which I hate to read!) He has a loving family and uncle to the ever growing list of nieces and nephews. Why would he bother? But this Mrs. Greenway captivates him from the moment he sees her. He’s very aroused all the time, whenever she’s near but he thought he can control this side of his nature. But of couse, he’s a Byron and we all know that Byrons are famous for a strong physical appetite. There is a quote by Drake on this which just made me grin.

Sebastianne is in a fix. She has to save her family; her loving, even if a bit forgetful, elderly father who is a brilliant mathematician and her two very young brothers. Her mother, an English noble lady, passed away 7/8 years ago. Her family doesn’t acknowledge them because of her marriage to a Frenchman (which was a love match). Sebastianne did marry Thierry young and she thought she was in love. But, her husband died in the war. Now she lives with her family, takes care of them and she’ll go on doing so at any cost. Nepoleon’s people wanted Sebastianne’s father to work with them but he refused. I understood that he had no great love for the man or his actions. Which is why, soon, a man name Vacheau is sent after them. Sebastianne’s father, having quite a shock from her mother’s death, is a little imbalanced so she does everything for the family. Vacheau finds her and blackmails her; if she doesn’t help them finding the cipher Lord Drake in England has developed, her brothers will be sent to the war and her father in the prison. So what can a girl, without a help from anyone, do in this case? She agrees, then was trained as a housekeeper and sent to England.

Her work was neither easy, nor tough for her. She could manage many things, being the one managing in her own family but soon she realizes there’s much more into the work of a housekeeper. She thought this disguise won’t take long, after all, how hard would it be to find the cipher and run? Sebastianne was told not to make close bond with anyone but it’s harder said than done; especially when the servants are so nice and welcoming. So is Lord Drake. She thought she’d find a man of her father’s age but Drake’s quite young and very good looking. He’s brilliant all the same! She’s attracted to him as well as impressed by his intelligence. In the meantime, she finds out some stuffs like Drake has a hidden safe in his workroom (which was pretty clumsy of Drake IMO, as he wasn’t even aware that the door was slightly open), a place where he spends almost all the times of a day, sometimes even days altogether. Then again, he keeps the key around his neck with a chain. So how the hell is she going to steal the thing? She needed a plan and soon. Meanwhile, Drake, on the 2nd day of Sebastianne’s arrival, couldn’t help it anymore (wanting her but can’t have her, she’s in his employ after all) and had to go to his mistress. When he returns at night, Sebastianne was trying to have a look in his workroom but was saved from being discovered by chance. She detects that he’s been with a woman and is instantly jealous. But she says nothing since it shouldn’t be her business anyway.

Then one day, after a few months passed, Vacheau finds her when she was in the market and reminds her that time’s passing by, so a desperate Sebastianne buys a sleeping draught and drugs Drake with it. She had already convinced him to give her access to his workroom to clean it from time to time but without the key, it’s no use. She’s the one who always brings his food there so she had ample opportunities. Drake drinks the drugged wine and after sometimes, feels sleepy. He doesn’t think it’s unusual but only that, maybe he’s too exhausted from work. Huh? On the other hand, Sebastianne’s feeling guilty for drugging Drake but when she sees he’s still not asleep, thinks she should’ve used all of it. I mean this was such crap! She was always so confused about what to do and how to go about it. I should think it was her inherent goodness, of not to dupe and do harm to a perfectly nice man but either way, she was NOT a spy material and I thought it was stupid that a clumsy, wishy-washy woman like her was chosen for such an important mission. When Drake retires for the night, Sebastianne doesn’t know how to steal the key now and make the imprint for a duplicate. Not seeing any other way, she goes to his room. But even in his drugged state, Drake wakes up to find her there. He’s very persuasive and tells her things like how he’s been dreaming of her even since she came into his life and so on and Sebastianne gave in. So, what should I feel for this love scene where the hero was drugged and the heroine was deceiving him to boots? Yah, I felt nothing but be uncomfortable. The next day, Sebastianne knows she’s in a muddle but would try to brave it. She can’t risk being fired. And Drake, from the smell of her body in his sheets, understands that the heavy erotic dream wasn’t a dream after all.

At first, Sebastianne refuses Drake’s offer of being his mistress. I didn’t like the way Drake was so callous about it. Sebastianne brought up about his current mistress, of which, he informs her that he’s already been thinking of breaking off with the woman (in his mind, it’s been off for sometimes now). But if you read his and that woman’s exchange earlier, you’d think otherwise. So here, Drake comes off as a hypocrite. It’s like he’s got a new candy to lick, why bother with the one he already chewed many times? Sounds gross, right? I found it the same. And, it’s his housekeeper for crying out loud! He even thinks he doesn’t ‘prey’ on his employees but he offers her anyway, so what does it make him? So he’s angry (read: pouty) when she refuses. Worse, that Sebastianne’s actually temped to become his mistress, only the little situation in between them kept her from agreeing. I mean WTF? I don’t like it when the heroine ‘wants’ to become the hero’s mistress, it’s seriously demeaning. But Sebastianne thought she was in love with Drake so it’s no matter and she’ll have to run soon anyway. Another thing I couldn’t believe. Love? HOW? WHEN? I saw NOTHING that would lead me think there’s something like that between the

In between, we see the Byron family and their crazy banters, loved it all. Drake was unhappy about his situation with Sebastianne. Soon, Sebastianne (I was totally taken by surprise by her reasoning) realizes she can’t hold back anymore and agrees to Drake’s offer. The 2nd love scene happens when Drake was half drunk. Lord, where are those hot, steamy love scenes Ms. Warren? Anyway, Drake is now happy and their affair, hidden from the other servants’ eyes, goes on. Sebastianne did make an imprint of the key that first night when they made love. The day she was supposed to go to retrieve it, Drake invites the whole household for a balloon ascension show of his friend, where he’d help out. He was mainly interested to take Sebastianne but you know, he can’t do that since she refused to be a ‘mistress’, to exchange her body for luxury (yah, nice try!), doesn’t want to be seen together like that. She’s just his lover. Drake wanted to shower her with everything he’d do for a mistress but acceded to her wishes. In the show, Vacheau finds her, gives her the key and threatens her again to speed up her work. Sebastianne is morose again about the upcoming mess she has to make as she has no other options left. She wants to confide in Drake but can’t because she’s not sure how he’ll react. She fumbled many times in between, even blurting out some information about her family (something a big no no from her training) to Drake when they were intimate. Then she sees a young woman Drake’s mother was trying to pair him up with, now was chatting with him in the show and Sebastianne is again jealous and little bit hurt to know there might be a possibility that he’d marry the girl. She’s in love with him after all! God, I didn’t know what to think about any of this.

The opportunity arrives sooner than she thought. That day, Claire, the Duchess and Edward’s wife was heavily pregnant and has her baby. Drake is called away and spends the night and better part of the next day at Clybourne House. When he was departing, Sebastianne, knowing this must be the last she’ll ever see him, kisses him desperately. Anyway, Drake, seeing all the happy couple around, has came to the conclusion that his feelings for Anne (Sebastianne’s false name, so original!) must be deep since the thought of marrying her feels right. He even buys a ring, only to find that she’s not in his house anymore. Soon the truth comes out as one of Edwards’s spies from the Bow Street informs him. Drake’s angry but not overly so (at least I didn’t feel it) and decides to follow her. Drake remembers the night when she talked about her family somewhere in an English countryside, so, soon he visits the place. From an elderly spinster and a sketch he did of Anne, Drake finds out there was a Greenway (again, how original!) family a long time ago. The gossipy woman gave him most of what he needed to know, it was that easy and convenient. Then, he was on his way to France.

Sebastianne returned home by then and has been taking utmost care not to reveal her recent misadventure to her father. She knows Vacheau would soon find her because she’d done something with the cipher to gain something in return, which includes her family’s safety. But, Drake finds her easily enough and from there, it’s how they fought to save Sebastianne and her family from Vacheau’s hands...

Think I already mentioned a few things I didn’t like about this book. One was the emotional connection between Drake and Sebastianne for the better part of the book. The last part in France was a bit better than the rest. Mostly, everything IMO was either too convenient (Drake’s forgiving Sebastianne so easily, even stepping in to help the whole family out) or too clumsy (Drake’s mistakes, Sebastianne’s mistakes... even Vacheau’s mistakes!) which just doesn’t bode well for a spy novel. Ugh, I just did not feel a thing! Knowing there won’t be another Byron book, I thought the ending was abrupt and very dissatisfying. All in all, 3.5 stars. I still think this book could’ve been much better and Drake a delish hero (I love a genius hero so I was really looking forward to his book). :/

To wrap it up, here’s something about the Byron family: I saw almost all the siblings, except Jack. I missed him (and Grace, too) a lot, even though he grated on my nerves in his own book (#2). He’s now living in connubial bliss with his two little girls and Grace, in the country. Huh, talk about lovesick rakes! No matter what I think about that specimen, a ‘lovesick, fallen for his woman hard’-type rake is always fun to read. ;) All I know is that, Cade and Meg have two kids, a boy and a girl. Edward and Claire have a baby daughter and just had the heir. Mallory and Adam are expecting. Loved seeing the twins, Leo and Lawrence with their youngest sister, Esme. Hell, I loved the whole family! That part was basically the best thing IMO. Not much was there about Drake and Sebastianne, except the talks of them getting married. Ah, I’ll miss them for sure.

Favorite Quote:
“Well, if it’s an order,” she said on a gentle tease, warmed by his words in spite of herself. “You know, for such a cerebral man, you certainly have powerful physical appetites.”

His lips curved in a seductive smile. “Of course, I do. I’m a Byron, after all. It’s in my blood.”

Absolutely loved this by Drake, which made me think he was wasted. *sigh*


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