As neighbors, Genevieve Mulcaster and Tobias Darby had known of each other since childhood, but it wasn't until a party when she was eighteen that they really became acquainted. After a mere few hours in each other's company, they succumbed to youthful passion and folly, making an unsuccessful run for Gretna Green that was cut short by her father. Afterward, Genevieve was hastily married off to a much older man, while Tobias took off for India, and she hasn't seen him since. Now a respectable widow, she's determined to stay that way, and to that end, she plans to marry her late husband's business partner. He doesn't inspire the kind of passion that Tobias did all those years ago, but she fancies herself in love with him anyway, until Tobias resurfaces, making it abundantly clear that he still wants Genevieve and will do anything to get her back. Can she give up the facade of respectability in exchange for the devotion Tobias offers, and can she ever forgive him for abandoning her seven years ago?
"A Fool Again" is a novella that I thought was a stand-alone story. I'd swear I checked multiple times to see if it was part of any of Eloisa James's series and never found a connection, but after reading it, I noticed that Amazon and GoodReads now have it marked as part of her Duchess in Love series. It seems that Tobias, the hero of this novella, is a brother to Simon, the hero of Fool for Love, the second book of the series. In any case, I felt that "A Fool Again" stood pretty well on its own, and other than a mention of Simon, there doesn't appear to be any other connection to the series.
This story is about Tobias, who was a bit of a hellion in his youth, and Genevieve, who walks a little on the wild side, too. The pair grew up as neighbors but didn't really get to know each other until a party when she was eighteen. After spending a few hours together, they impulsively decided to elope and made a run for Gretna Green, only to be chased down by her father. However, along the way, they succumbed to passion, leaving Genevieve compromised. Her father quickly married her off to a much older man, while Tobias broke her heart by disappearing to India. Seven years later, Genevieve finds herself a young widow, but her miserly husband has only left her a small stipend to live on unless she marries one of his business partners after two years of enforced mourning. Lucius, one of the two partners is a younger man to whom she's attracted, so over the next year, she starts getting to know him, and just as she's convinced she's fallen in love with him and intends to marry him, Tobias returns, pulling out all the stops to woo her back.
Tobias is a sweet, seductive man who's just my type. He'll do anything to get Genevieve back. He knows exactly what he wants and isn't inclined to take no for an answer this time around. I love a man in pursuit who unapologetically wears his heart on his sleeve for the woman he loves and that's precisely the type of man Tobias is. Genevieve is a passionate woman who deep down knows there's something missing from her relationship with Lucius, but after the disaster of being branded a loose woman following her unsuccessful elopement with Tobias, she's determined to be a more proper lady. However, it doesn't take long for her to succumb to her feelings for Tobias once he's in her life again. I thought these two were perfect for each other. They both have passionate natures and keep each other on their toes. It's clear that their chemistry is off the charts hot and in their heart of hearts, neither one truly wants anyone else but the other. "A Fool Again" was a sweet, lighthearted, delightful tale that doesn't take itself too seriously, but at the same time manages to be emotional and sexy. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It was my first read by Eloisa James, but most definitely won't be my last. I very much look forward to reading the other books in the Duchess in Love series and checking out her other work as well. "A Fool Again" was originally published in the anthology, The One That Got Away, but was later reprinted as a stand-alone ebook.
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