One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Sarah MacLean
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
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Release Date
January 2013
Book 2 of Rule of Scoundrels
Historical Romance

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.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jan 22, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
213 people found the following review helpful
Simply stated, Sarah MacLean has done it again. Her second Rule of Scoundrels novel is a powerful, redemptive and thoroughly engaging book and wholly justifies her reputation as one of the best writers in the genre.

Lady Phillipa Marbury has always been known as the "odd" member of the family. Brilliant and utterly devoted to her studies, she has never cared for the opinion of society or her place in it, instead wishing to spend her days in the greenhouse with her roses. Thus, her impending marriage to Lord Castleton has never seemed too terrible. Granted, he isn't nearly as smart as Pippa, but he is content to leave her to her books, and tolerate her peculiarity. But Pippa secretly dreams of understanding the passions and hungers that people are supposed to feel toward their spouses—and she knows just who can teach her: a man with a reputation for scandalous promiscuity and seduction, the clever and secretive co-owner of The Fallen Angel, London's most exclusive gaming hell. The man known only as Cross.

But behind his reputation, Cross is nothing like the man Pippa expected to find. With a quick mind equal to her own and a thorough understanding of what it means to be different, Cross offers Pippa far more than scientific exploration. And from their first meeting, Pippa is a temptation Cross can hardly force himself to resist, even though he knows he will never be worthy of a woman so remarkable. But when their complicated relationship comes to the attention of a foe from Cross's past, it will take all of Pippa's cleverness and Cross's conniving to save the Angel—and to rescue its owner from the darkness of his own past.

It was a delight to meet Pippa in the first Rule of Scoundrels book, but I never dreamed she was such a strong, capable, and fearlessly curious young woman. Most of all, I loved her honesty. Pippa isn't a woman to hold back her thoughts, even the most wonderfully outlandish or potentially inappropriate ones. Though brazen and funny, this also ensured that there were no major misunderstandings between her and Cross to keep them apart. When Pippa discovers falsehoods, and they abound in Cross's world, she will go to any length to expose and understand them; it is that wholehearted devotion that eventually opens all the secrets in Cross's heart, as well.

Sarah MacLean has a fantastic talent for wounded heroes. Though he certainly has done enough damage in his life and suffered enormously, Cross never comes across as pathetic or as a martyr. His guilt and grief are very real and present, and while every moment I was hoping and praying that he would tell Pippa that she was his world and his sun, it was completely understandable why he so desperately wanted to keep her at arm's length. The way the story of his past unfolds is expertly done, luring the reader in and maintaining the mystery without spoiling the wonderful tension of the present. I was won over by his own personal oddities from the beginning, but by the story's conclusion, Cross was a hero in a class by himself.

The passion and desire that flares between Cross and Pippa is nothing short of incendiary, but the best part of their relationship is the depth of understanding and acceptance that exists between them. They find delight in every aspect of each other that makes them different and unique and awkward. It's a revelation for them and the reader to find such an all-consuming love, and it makes every scene they share something significant and powerful. Love triangles, especially involving engagements, are never easy, but Pippa's engagement is never forgotten and the time limit put on her experimentations by her upcoming wedding add extra pressure to her budding relationship with Cross. I was also delighted to see that Castleton got the chance to prove what a hero he could be, as well.

Though the days of petticoats and gaming hells may sadly have passed us by, Sarah MacLean's characters are for everyone who has ever felt ‘odd', or ever dreamed of more. The bond between her characters is so complete that it transforms both Pippa and Cross, making them better and more beautifully complex than ever, and watching them find the best in themselves for the sake of the other is a reading experience I don't think I'll ever forget. I cannot wait for Temple's book to arrive, and while I'd like to think that there is no way to top Cross's romance, I know that if anyone can do it, Sarah MacLean will.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Jan 31, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
204 people found the following review helpful
ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER is captivating and enthralling. I guarantee you'll read it in one sitting. I did!

Lady Philippa Marbury is viewed by society--well, also her family--as odd. She knew all sorts of things, being a brilliant scientist, and with her impending marriage to an earl, she panics when she realizes she didn't know anything about the marriage bed. She sets about to gather knowledge, but for this, she needs an associate and she picks Cross, a man whose wicked reputation and bedroom exploits are legendary.

Cross is more than a partner of a gaming hell, and he hides secrets that are threatened with Philippa's presence in his life. He denies the attraction that sizzles between them, but can he continue to ignore Philippa when she continues to rush headlong into things that may be out of her element?

Pippa is bold, brilliant and adventurous, a perfect match for Cross. She is all these without being annoying and irritating, thus quite endearing herself to the reader. She is persistent in her quest for knowledge (and Cross, though she may not know it) and her scenes with Cross are a delight to read. I love heroines who fight for their men, and boy did she fight, to the bitter end.

Cross is mysterious and angsty, a perfect hero who captures my imagination. I love the way he denies himself the heroine even as he longs for her and is so possessive of her. Those scenes send tingles down my spine! He doesn't want his business partner to take care of her; he does it himself, even when he doesn't want to. His past--the little secret tidbit that the author kept 'til the end to reveal--was shocking and I have to wonder at the lows he sunk to in his youth.

The magic of the tale is in their understanding and acceptance of each other, the connection they forged with each other and their developing romance, and the author weaves this web so intricately and subtly that the reader is pulled into the story and became invested in the characters from the first page.

Sarah MacLean is great at creating exemplary, complicated characters that I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us in the future. Her cast of secondary characters complement the main characters perfectly, and even as I had a LOL moment at the title of the next book in the series (No Good Duke Goes Unpunished) I can't wait to read it so I could revisit Cross and Pippa.

My one minor quibble is Cross's decision to push Pippa away, believing another man could protect her better than him. Why would he think that? Or perhaps he didn't understand Pippa as well as he thought--that she wouldn't care about her reputation as much as she cares about him. However, it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all.

If you haven't read the first book in Rules of Scoundrels series, fret not. You can dive right into this book and enjoy it just as I did. A keeper!
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