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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (262 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion - the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts - and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

Humor, subtle and sophisticated, skitters through the story as the characters entice the reader into an awesome vicarious experience with a heroine that has moxie and the ‘know-how’ to save the hero while he is trying to save her.

The odd, bespectacled Lady Philippa, Pippa, needs facts and needs them NOW. In fourteen days she’s to marry and she has no facts about procreation which will be one of her most important duties. She is a person of science, intelligent, quick-witted, practical, and never been kissed.

She’s deduced from tea party gossip that the act necessary for procreation brings “ruination” for an unmarried lady but is acceptable and even a ‘duty’ after marriage. She also deduced from gossip that the foremost expert in the act of “ruination” is Mr. Cross of the Fallen Angel, the most prestigious gambling hell in London. She needs him for her research ‘assistant’.

Cross aka Jasper Arlesey, Earl Harlow is horrified to find an unescorted lady, even if she is an odd lady, in his den of iniquity where sin and darkness abide. Her scent of sunshine and fresh linen in his cluttered office sets him on edge and her request has him flummoxed; plus his body roars to end six years of celibacy.

He is fascinated with the odd Pippa. Her intelligence and her factual, rather than emotional, approach to life set her apart from women he knows. The harder he works to expel her from his world, the more she becomes entangled in it. What a hash he makes of things in his determination to save her from ruin!

What she does in return brings a climax to the story that sends the heart rate sky high and the blood pressure spirally up, up, up.

Sarah MacLean mixes the flaws and foibles of London Society with scientific facts of the time and seasons the mix with love scenes that override the unsavory to create a feast of fantastic reading. She creates a villain that is a cunning, conniving adversary that ups the ante to fever pitch. Just when it looks like he has the winning hands an absolutely amazing thing happens and true pandemonium breaks out; Ms. Maclean has the reader right in the middle of the frenzy and fray..

The remarkable secondary characters help keep the story racing along to a wedding that brings its on super surprise. All the little extras of human and animal nature that Ms. MacLean slips in make for rich, emotional reading with "wowing" love scenes being the icing on it all.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is beautifully written and keeps the reader’s senses and emotions captivated.