Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.
She's not afraid to play with fire...
But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.
Phoebe has a fascination with Marquess Dryden even though she’s never met him. She reads about him in the broadsheets all the time from Sussex and feels she knows all about him. When the man himself walks into the town and they end up at the same house party Phoebe soon realizes there’s much, much more to Julian Spenser than anyone knows.
Julian is…surprised by Phoebe Vale – her intelligence, her bluntness and most of all her ability to actually listen to him and see him for who he is. Against his will and better judgment he becomes smitten with the school teacher who was born in one of the worst parts of London and is almost as far from an aristocrat as you can get. When he propositions her to become his mistress she realizes that while Phoebe may know Julian he doesn’t know her at all. This doesn’t stop the two from thinking of each other constantly.
Phoebe ends up in London at the request of her charge’s friends and is taken to balls and almost swept off her feet by the attention she gets. Unfortunately the attention is also from Julian which frankly pisses Lisbeth right off as she has her sights set on Julian herself.
Matters come to a shocking revelation when it’s revealed exactly WHY Phoebe is receiving all the attention. Phoebe is shocked and Julian is disgusted and both of them realize exactly what they want out of life – after a night spent in each others arms.
Let me start my portion of the review with the statement that “Julie Ann Long is now an auto-buy author for me.” I fell in love with her writing when I read What I Did For A Duke (my first read of her work) and she’s clinched it with this book. I love her characters, I love her writing – her dialogue draws me in and keeps me there - and her stories are interesting and consistent.
The main characters in this story were fascinating and I loved reading about them. Not only their backgrounds but what they were doing now with their lives and what they planned to do with them in the future. I saw them each grow from knowing each other and discovering not only things about the other but things about themselves that they hadn’t known. Their banter and conversations kept me enthralled throughout the story.
This is a definite keeper for me and loved almost every minute of it. While I hated the nasty actions of the ton and made my heart ache for the heroine I would read it again and again just to see the relationship played out all over for Phoebe and Julian. Good stuff.