Ruined by a Rake is a fast paced historical romance. It is a boy meets girl and steals a kiss.
Eleanor is introduced to Nicolas, her new cousin by marriage, when she's only nine years old. Eleanor looks at the skinny kid, who's two years younger, and thinks nothing of him until her mom asks that she give the boy a kiss.
Eleanor so not wants to kiss Nicolas, she thinks it is the most disgusting thing ever. The thing is her mom doesn't want excuses, she wants the boy to feel welcome. So, Eleanor leans in to kiss him. Just when she's about to touch her lips to his cheek, the skinny boy turns his head and meets her lips with his.
Nicolas smiles and even winks at her. Eleanor is disgusted by the kiss, how can she not be? She's only a kid and has never kissed a boy on the lips! However, fifteen years go by and the memory of that stolen kiss is still in her mind, but she no longer feels disgusted by it. No, she feels something else.
Nicolas is back from the Army and just in time to save her from his stepfather's (her uncle) selfish plans. Like her, he's never forgotten the kiss, and it turns out he's always loved her.
Throughout the years their relationship has been one of love and hate, but no more. He is back, and he wants to help her NOT marry any of the men his evil stepfather has lined up for her.
Nicolas is bothered by the way Eleanor is now reacting to things, he's upset she's no longer the feisty woman he knows she is. He doesn't rest until he makes her see what she's doing and makes her understand why she needs to stand up for herself again, like she always has.
In their interactions, their bond only grows stronger until they both are forced to admit their love for each other.
This is a sweet historical/regency romance. Both the hero and the heroine are in their early twenties. I read a lot of historical romances and the one thing I picked up on in this is the way Erin Knightley really keeps to the historical tone in the dialogue. This may not make sense to many, but it does to me in thinking of how the other historicals/regencies I've read, read. Anyway, I thought that was actually refreshing.