Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Showcase - It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett

Today I'm showcasing, It Takes a Rake by Anna Bennett, #3 in her Rogues to Lovers series, a new release from St. Martin's Paperback's.

ISBN-13: 9781250793959
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: 1-23-2024
Length: 320pp
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



The swoony, frothy finale to the Rogues to Lovers series from award-winning author Anna Bennett.

She’s about to face her biggest challenge yet…

Since she was a girl, Miss Kitty Beckett has been adept at finding trouble: sneaking brandy, running away, and getting under the skin of the boy who, like her, was an apprentice to an architect. Now Kitty’s a talented heiress who can take a dry building plan and breathe life into it with her pencils and paints. Also? She can spot a rake at a hundred yards—and she won’t be tricked or charmed into marriage. Certainly not by a man who might interfere with her dreams. When Bellehaven Bay announces its first ever architectural design contest, she vows to win—with a little help from her childhood rival.

Turning her buttoned-up nemesis into a certified rake.

Leo Lockland, a hardworking architect with a gift for numbers, has returned home after a few years in London, and he has secrets. The biggest? He’s been in love with Kitty since they were both apprentices. She refuses to give her heart to any man, but Leo’s determined to beat the odds—even if it means learning how to be a rake. Fortunately, Kitty’s willing to tutor him in the nuances of fashion, flirtation, and seduction in exchange for his help with the contest. But the whole plan would fall apart if she knew how he felt, so he’ll have to be very convincing.

Let the lessons begin…

Leo proves to be a surprisingly quick study in the ballroom, on the beach, and in the bedchamber. Before long, he’s softening Kitty’s hard edges with his wicked words and kissing his way past all her defenses. Perhaps she’s a bit too skilled at teaching, because her lessons are threatening to backfire, putting her closely guarded heart in grave danger…

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Forty-eight months and seventeen days away from Bellehaven Bay should have cured Leo of his infatuation with Miss Kitty Beckett—the beautiful, talented heiress who considered him her nemesis. Leo’s head for numbers meant he grasped the staggering improbability of a match between Kitty and him with brutal clarity, so he’d done what any logical man in his position would do. He’d set about ridding himself of his inconvenient feelings, using the normally prescribed methods.

Working grueling hours at his new architectural practice.

Flirting with other pretty young women.

Drinking copious amounts of brandy.

Unfortunately, none of those remedies had made him forget the devilish dimple in Kitty’s cheek or the irrepressible gleam in her eyes. Hell, Leo could scarcely go an hour without being haunted by memories of them sparring in his grandfather’s office and reluctantly declaring a truce as they shared a sandwich on the beach.

It didn’t matter that he was a far different man than he’d been back then. More confident, more worldly, more jaded. The truth was that he was still, one hundred percent, smitten with Miss Kitty Beckett.

And she was quite oblivious to the fact.

Now he was getting his first glimpse of her in four years, and he drank in the sight like parched earth soaking up a drought-ending rain. She stood in Lady Rufflebum’s opulent ballroom chatting with her close friend, the Duchess of Hawking, seemingly unaware of the moonstruck expressions of the young bucks orbiting her. Kitty was the sun, and they were mere mortals content to bask in her warmth. To admire her from afar.

It wasn’t difficult to see why. Her gold-spun hair glistened in the candlelight; her incandescent smile banished the shadows. Her beauty had, no doubt, brought many a man to his knees, and Leo supposed he was no exception. But what had captivated him, making it impossible for him to move on, was the way she challenged everything he thought he knew. About architecture, competition, and the fairer sex.

Years ago, when they’d both worked as apprentices in his grandfather’s shop, Leo would squint at his straightedge and pretend to take measurements while stealing glances at Kitty as she drew at the desk across from him. He could still picture the sure, graceful sweeps of her hand. The nimble, steady movements of her fingers. The fire that sparked in her eyes as she transformed a blank page in her sketchbook into a design so lifelike, so inspired, so ingenious that it took his breath away.

Naturally, when she’d held up her creation and asked for his opinion, his cocky seventeen-year-old self had shrugged and said, “Congratulations. You’ve created the perfect dwelling for a gargoyle and his fairy bride.”

Despite being two years his junior, Kitty wasn’t cowed in the slightest. “If anyone is familiar with the preferences of gargoyles, I daresay it’s you. Never fear, I shall include plenty of bedchambers for you and your gargoyle-fairy children. Let us hope they will resemble their mother, poor unfortunate soul.”

He brushed off the barb as if he hadn’t felt its sting. “There’s nothing objectively wrong with your drawing. It’s actually quite good,” he admitted, making him the reigning king of understatement. “But in case you hadn’t noticed, golden spires and stained-glass windows aren’t exactly commonplace here in Bellehaven. A building like yours wouldn’t fit in at all.”

She’d tossed a curl over her shoulder. It was a habit of hers that he absolutely adored—mostly because it was a telltale sign that he’d touched a nerve. But, true to form, Kitty quickly regained her composure. “That’s the difference between you and me,” she said icily. “I am not content to blend in.”

He’d scoffed, pretending that barb hadn’t also met its mark. “No?” he countered. “You wouldn’t walk through the doors of the Salty Mermaid wearing a ball gown.”

“Wouldn’t I?” She narrowed her eyes and held his gaze in a silent challenge. He didn’t look away. Not when his cheeks grew hot. Not when desire punched him in the gut and traveled south.

After an interminable amount of time, she clucked her tongue and smiled serenely. “It’s as though you don’t know me at all, Leo Lockland.”

The way she’d said his name—as if it were part curse, part incantation—delighted him. Of all her quirks, it was a favorite, second only to the hair flip.

The next day she’d glided into the shop wearing a ball gown and stood directly beside his desk, waiting for him to acknowledge her.

He took his time finishing his calculation, which, incidentally, hadn’t a chance in hell of being correct, then glanced up at her. If there was one bone in his body that wasn’t already head over heels for her, safe to say it now was. “Nice gown. But this isn’t the Salty Mermaid,” he said with a smug smile.

She silently reached into the delicate reticule dangling from her wrist, withdrew a shot glass, and clunked it on his desk. The scent of brandy tickled his nose.

“Nathan Gutridge sends his regards,” she said smoothly, referring to the pub’s burly barkeep. “He hopes he can count on you for the annual cricket match.” With that, she took her seat across from him, withdrew her sketchbook from the desk drawer, and began working.

Damn distracting, that. How was he supposed to concentrate on measurements and scale while she was draped in silk and lace? “You’re not going to wear that all day, are you?”

Copyright © 2023 by Anna Bennett.

About the author:
Anna Bennett (she/her) is the award-winning author of the Debutante Diaries and Wayward Wallflowers series. Her dream of writing romance began during a semester in London, where she fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. Now Anna's living happily-ever-after in Maryland with her family, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.


  1. I love that she's an architect and his plan to win her sounds fun.

    1. ooh I knew this would catch your attention Sophia Rose