Series: The Survivors, #5
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Lt. Colonel Benedict Draven has been introduced to readers as the stoic, serious and dedicated to King and Country leader of the “Survivors” – but at the end of the last book, readers got a shock when they learned the seemingly “confirmed bachelor” was married!!
Draven met Catarina Neves five years ago in Portugal, where he was on campaign. She enters his tent and holds him at gun point – demanding a husband. He disarms her, refuses to marry her and sends her on her way. But Cat is desperate to escape an unwanted match and refuses to give up her idea to marry. When days later, Draven catches her trying to lure one of his men out of the camp, he intervenes. He takes her back to his tent to talk and then learns why she needs to marry – in a spur of the moment decision, he agrees to wed her – knowing the marriage won’t be considered legal in England. They marry, share a kiss and part – neither truly expecting to see the other again.
Five years later – Cat shocks Draven by showing up unannounced at his home, she completely misinterprets the scene and leaves in a rage – Draven follows her and she agrees to meet with him the next day. She wants an annulment of their marriage so she can remarry. Draven refuses and says they should spend time together before they decide if they should annul.
Cat needs the annulment, not because she truly wishes to remarry, but because she is being blackmailed by Juan Carlos – a rival lace-maker in Barcelona. Cat has come a long way in the last five years, she left home with her younger sister Ines and became a renown lace-maker, leaving Portugal and settling in Spain. Juan Carlos had tried for years to buy her business, but she steadfastly refused, but when he witnesses her saving herself from a rapist, he helps her cover up the incident and then demands that she marry his son and give him control of her business. Cat feels she has no choice, but Draven isn’t cooperating and soon learns the truth. He vows to help her and when the threat of Juan Carlos is done, they can decide how to proceed with their “marriage”.
Draven is and always has been attracted to Cat, but he is surprisingly insecure regarding his age, he is much older than Cat (almost 20 years) and is sure that she wouldn’t want to shackle herself to an old man. But the more time he spends with her, the more he wants and he is not sure he can let her go. For her part, Cat is grateful to Draven and his age doesn’t concern her, she is attracted to him and wants him, but she is not willing to forfeit her freedom to be with him – or any man. But the more time she spends with him, she begins to wonder if with Draven she can have it all.
This was a wonderful May-December romance, with lots of cameos from previous (and dare I hope, future) “Survivors”, featuring a feisty heroine, a swoon-worthy hero, a really nasty villain, a bit of action, some steamy love scenes, a cat that you will not soon forget and a delightful HEA! The only reason I didn’t give the book 5 stars is because I felt that Draven’s obsession about his age got to be a bit repetitive, thankfully, he finally gets over it, but not before I got tired of hearing about it. This book is the fifth book in the series, but I believe it can be read as a stand alone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*