Respectable lady's companion Eloise Goodwin is wooed (but not with marriage in mind) by the seductive Lord Drake Boscastle in this charming, fun, well-paced and sensual read. Drake is en route to an assignation with his intended mistress, a much sought-after courtesan whom he has pursued for months. Along the way, he stops by a society party where Eloise is chaperoning an engaged young miss with a wandering eye, whose fiancé is out of the country. Though plainly dressed, the lovely Eloise catches Drake's eye. She finds him attractive as well, but recognizes him for the wolf he is and has no desire to be his next meal. They dance and Drake steals a few kisses from her, but they soon part. Drake heads to his rendezvous with the courtesan, and Eloise returns home with her wayward charge, who was found necking with a known philanderer.
Later that night, the girl runs away with her no-good Lothario. Frantic to find her, Eloise goes to Drake for help, since he is a friend of the girl's brother. She locates him at a bordello, where her timing could not be any worse - he is about to "consummate" his arrangement with his mistress. Drake nonetheless extricates himself from his ladylove and agrees to help, inexplicably less bothered than he should be about the interruption. And so their adventure (and her seduction) begins - the world-weary and somewhat tarnished knight in shining armor, and his levelheaded and virtuous bundle of temptation.
The charm of the couple and their delightful interplay clearly make this story. Almost from the start, they enjoy each other with a sweetness and abandon that is truly endearing. Except for his aversion to marriage, Drake is a pretty stand-up guy. He may act a bit cocky and aggressive, but at his core he is a big sweetheart, and Eloise soon realizes this. Her passion for him is honest and selfless and totally disarming, and he is in over his head before he quite realizes it. The author wisely does not dwell too much on the negatives aspects of Eloise's brief stint as his mistress, and the situation is resolved quickly before any harm can be done. There is no great mystery or suspense in this story, yet it is very easy to get through. It has a little humor, a lot of sex, and the joy of two people falling in love. It is by far the best of the Boscastle series.