Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon on 29 January 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 Bachelorette Challenge
This novel is simply delightful and I was suitably diverted. The novel opens with Lady Phillipa Marbury informing Cross, part owner of The Fallen Angel (a den of iniquity), that she requires ruination. She is due to marry the staid Lord Castleton and wants to know what to expect in the bedroom. Cross is naturally horrified that his business partner’s sister-in-law would approach him and does everything he can to dissuade her. Is this setup even remotely plausible? No. Is it highly entertaining? Yes!
Phillipa is a scientist and approaches marriage much like a scientific experiment. Her married sisters are unwilling to explain sex and she finds anatomy books curiously lacking. In her mind, the only rational course of action is to approach the Ton’s equivalent of Don Juan. This bespectacled redhead that confidently rattles off random facts at inopportune moments is almost painfully naïve in other situations. There is so much that she wants to experience and with her marriage looming, she becomes increasingly desperate.
Cross bears one heck of a cross and the last thing he wants to do is get involved with Phillipa. His brother and heir to the title died tragically some years earlier. Cross’ family want nothing to do with him even though he tried to turn his dissolute lifestyle around. He’s convinced that just being in her presence is enough to corrupt Phillipa so he tries to steer clear of her. When an old foe tries to capitalise on Cross’ success however, he does all he can to protect Phillipa.
The romance between the Cross and Phillipa is strictly hands off initially. I was impressed with what he was able to teach her about desire and temptation without laying a finger on her. What I enjoyed most however was the witty banter between them. He is her intellectual equal and treats her as such. Everyone else was either embarrassed by her or unable to keep up with her.
Both the beginning and end of One Good Earl Deserves a Lover are incredibly improbable but I was so engaged with the humour and the romance, I honestly didn’t care.