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One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels (Rules of Scoundrels, 2) Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 2013
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Lady Philippa Marbury is . . . odd
The brilliant, bespectacled daughter of a double marquess cares more for books than balls, for science than the season, and for laboratories than love. She's looking forward to marrying her simple fiancé and living out her days quietly with her dogs and her scientific experiments. But before that, Pippa has two weeks to experience all the rest—fourteen days to research the exciting parts of life. It's not much time, and to do it right she needs a guide familiar with London's darker corners.
She needs . . . a Scoundrel
She needs Cross, the clever, controlled partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, with a carefully crafted reputation for wickedness. But reputations often hide the darkest secrets, and when the unconventional Pippa boldly propositions him, seeking science without emotion, she threatens all he works to protect. He is tempted to give Pippa precisely what she wants . . . but the scoundrel is more than he seems, and it will take every ounce of his willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.
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From the Author
Here's the thing: Pippa was never supposed to be a heroine.
She was supposed to be a sweet side character in A Rogue By Any Other Name -- the odd younger sister who ends up married because that's what happens to odd younger sisters. And Cross was supposed to (get this!) marry a lady doctor. I had plans for him that involved neither ruination of engaged aristocratic misses nor falling head over heels for strange bespectacled beauties.
Not to mention the fact that Temple's book was supposed to come first.
I've never been one of those writers who has characters who speak to her. I am lord and deity over my books. I tell my heroes to do stuff and they do them, for heaven's sake. But...for some reason, for this book, I wasn't in charge. They were. To be more specific, Pippa was. She wanted her time in Cross's office and she wanted to know what she was missing out on, and she wanted...well...him. And she shocked me just as much as she shocked Cross, honestly.
Suffice to say, she may not be my favorite heroine...and he may not be my favorite hero...but together they are absolutely my favorite couple. And I cannot wait for you to meet them.
- Publisher : Avon (January 29, 2013)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062068539
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062068538
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.96 x 6.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #131,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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With so little time, Pippa takes to the seedier streets of London for her research to seek out Cross, the mathematical genius who is a partner in London’s most exclusive gambling establishment. The man has a very curated reputation for wickedness both in and out of the bedroom, so he seems the perfect candidate to give Pippa all the knowledge she seeks. When he hears Pippa’s bold request, Cross is tempted to give her exactly what she’s asking for, but he is much more than his scandalous façade would suggest and it will take all of his considerable willpower to resist giving Pippa much more than either of them expected.
After how much I loved the first book in this series I had super high hopes for this one and maybe that’s why I found it to be disappointing. Perhaps I would’ve liked it more if I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations. Unfortunately, that was not the case here because even though I adored this premise of the bluestocking with the dangerous gaming den owner, it just didn’t turn out to be what I was hoping for. To be such an erudite heroine, Pippa often did and said such nonsensical things that she came off frustratingly tstl. She was constantly popping up where she shouldn’t be without exercising a lick of caution and then puzzled when Jasper was frustrated with her. He was trying so hard to be honorable and good and she just wouldn’t leave him be no matter how many times he told her to, which I’m of course glad she didn’t else we’d have no romance story, but the frequent rejection definitely made things feel one sided and did a number on the chemistry. Without that spark it just felt like Pippa insinuated herself into Jasper’s life where she was never invited and then got angry with him for not telling her every detail about himself. She berated him for lying because he withheld things from her, taking the moral high ground on honesty when she had zero reason to expect anything from him.
For his part, I felt that Jasper gave up way too easily and the approach taken on the villain in this story was just annoying to me for some reason. The villain was definitely clever, but that dynamic just made me want more of Jasper’s backstory earlier and made me frustrated by how easily he was manipulated. This was a double-edged sword for me because Jasper was being manipulated like putty in this villain’s hands and the supposedly brilliant Pippa somehow could not see this. The reasons for Jasper and Pippa not to be together seemed very feeble and his insistence that he was not good enough for her went on so long as to be annoyingly repetitive. I think I would’ve found it much more romantic had Jasper listened to Pippa and what she wanted, especially after her grand gesture, which was admittedly quite brilliant, rather than continuing to try to high-handedly do what he thought best for her. That said, he did come through with a good spot of romance in the end, but it was a bit too little too late to boost my enjoyment of the story up to where I’d hoped it would’ve been all along. I did love the fact that Pippa and Jasper made such an odd couple and that beneath his gruff exterior, he’s just a hurting man desperate for love and acceptance. It definitely felt like that aspect of their connection needed to be explored more, especially since I felt the chemistry between them had suffered. I also think some things were left undone with regards to his sister and since she was so full of vitriol towards him, I would’ve loved to have seen some steps toward healing there. Overall, this was a fine story, but I think Jasper had a lot more potential as a character and that wasn’t fully realized enough for this story to live up to my expectations.
Pippa is the highly intelligent, very odd younger sister of Penelope, the heroine of the first book in this series. She is engaged to be married to the very conventional Lord Castleton, a kind, but somewhat dull man who does not match her intellect at all. But Pippa doesn't really believe in love since it is something that her scientific mind cannot understand or quantify. However, her scientific mind requires her to understand everything that marriage will require ... everything. Unlike talking to her sisters, or maybe a friend, or even her mother, Pippa decides that the best course of action is for her to head over to her new brother-in-law's business partner, Cross, and enlist him as a "research partner" in her quest for knowledge about the more carnal and sensual parts of marriage. She wants to learn about temptation and ruination. Now I have to admit that as I read the setup for this in the opening chapters of this book I had to roll my eyes. The idea seemed soooooo ridiculous to me. Who does this? It seemed like such an idiotic plan, one that an author has to cook up in order to create a story. But, as I read on I found the premise for this story easier and easier to believe. Pippa really was an odd duck. She never did things that made much sense, and her proposition to Cross seemed exactly like something she would have done. So after an initial hesitation to embrace this story, I found myself totally wrapped in it. Needless to say, Cross is not enthusiastic about helping Pippa with this project. He's not so excited about encountering the wrath of Bourne when he learns that Cross has "schooled" Pippa in the art of seduction. So he balks. Again and again and again, no matter how much it kills him to push her away. It turns out that Cross has a brilliant mind of his own, and he matched Pippa quite well, but he has some major demons in his life to overcome, and for much of the book it seems as if these demons are too strong for him to conquer. But he never factored Pippa into his plans, and she is not one to allow these demons to rule the day.
I loved Pippa. She was unconventional in every way. There might be some out there who find her scientific observations about EVERYTHING to get a bit tiresome. But I never did. I thought her attempt to put aside her growing passion for Cross by trying to label all of the bones in his arm or leg or whatever was kind of cute. I liked how she was a good mix of strength and vulnerability, and I especially appreciated how, even in the face of disappointment, she didn't go off to wallow in her own misery. She stopped to face things head on. That is extremely rare in these sorts of novels. People never communicate. Pippa does. She sees a prostitute in Cross's office. It looks bad. She could run, but she doesn't. She hangs around and confronts Cross directly, mostly avoiding too much unnecessary angst. Brilliant. Refreshing.
Cross was wonderful as well. He appears to have a very hardened exterior. He has a carefully cultivated reputation as a rogue and a ladies man, but it is all an act to protect himself from society. He actually has a heart of gold, caring for others as much as he can in order to atone for the sins of his past. He is smart enough to understand all of the random references that Pippa is constantly throwing out. He appreciates her quirkiness, the only other person on earth to do so. He is in a mess of a situation, and solving his problems only seems to make things worse. But I rooted for him. He was an easy hero to love. My favorite scene? When he climbed three stories to see Pippa and explain something that he had done that hurt her greatly. What a great hero for this story! Loved him!
The pacing of this story was perfection. So much sexual tension throughout this story. In this day and age authors don't place enough emphasis on that tension. They are too quick to throw couples right into sexual situations from the beginning. But this book was perfect. Cross would not touch Pippa, and that lack of touch was more enticing and more exciting than any sexual scene could have been. It was mouth watering. Cross showed more of the strength of his character in those scenes than he could have in any other way. Perfectly done! And I loved the ending so, so much. What an excellent scene. I could picture it in my head as if I was watching a movie. It still makes me smile to think of Cross on his knees in that situation (which I won't spoil by sharing). It was just wonderful!
So I highly recommend this book for fans of historical romances. It's a gem, and I'm super excited to read Temple's story later this year. Something tells me that it is going to be a winner as well!
Top reviews from other countries
The plot line in one line:
A knowledge-hungry young lady betrothed to a simple man seeks the help of a casino’s bookkeeper to learn about sex before her wedding day, but despite the troubled hunk’s initial refusals the lessons start and both graduate with a masters in love.
The good and the bad:
This book features one of the most erotic scenes I have ever read – and said scene doesn’t even involve intercourse! The sexual tension between Pippa and Cross is beyond electric – she’s a virgin under the spell of his sheer magnetism and he’s barely keeping a grip of his self-control in the face of his lust for the sweet and quirky lady. So when the scene in Cross’s office arrives and he at last gives in a little to temptation, it is absolutely knock out. Honestly, I had to take a moment to recover when I finished the chapter. I’m getting flustered just thinking about it now. And the next sex scene after that is pretty bloomin’ hot too!
Stellar sex scenes aside, the whole book it is really well written and the story is original. Much like the first book in the series, it seems well-researched and is a great little yarn. The book is more complex than just girl meets boy and falls in love and yet the side stories that give it more substance are not a distraction from the love story.
I would give the book five stars but I am dropping half a star because there were quite a few typos in the second half and the repetitive description of people’s smiles as the mouth “kicking up” started to grate a little. I also would have liked to have seen a more satisfactory conclusion regarding Cross’s situation with his sister. These are little things that by no means prevented me thoroughly enjoying what was a fantastic novel.
I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
I would thoroughly recommend this book, and look forward to the other books in the series.
As I say, I may be wrong and this may never have been Sarah MacLean's intention but for me, it made Philippa (or Pippa) all the more adorable and not your average heroine. It made the fact that Cross saw through her oddness all the more interesting and made him a better man for it.
The story itself kept me riveted and Fallen Angel has fast become my favourite place in Mayfair, even though it does not exist in real life. Any way, I got through this book quicker than I have any book in a long long time. In fact I was up until 7am this morning reading it. It's that good.
Very expensive ebook for what you get. I also bought the next two books in this series but if they also have irrelevant pages I won’t be buying from this author again.