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.
Pippa is the scientific sort. She’s thought odd but really she’s highly intelligent and isn’t afraid to come out and ask about something when she’s curious. Unfortunately that’s not what ladies of the ton do, so she’s a bit out of sorts. She’s 14 days away from marrying an Earl but she’s really having a hard time wrapping her mind around the logistics of the marriage bed. She’s never experienced even a kiss much less a lusty man that she’s had to contend with. Her sisters who are all married but one aren’t sharing any information and quite frankly she’s frustrated. She needs knowledge! Because of rumors around London Pippa heads to The Fallen Angel, a gaming hell, to ask a man named Cross to help her with her research.
When Pippa shows up in Cross’s office saying that she needs ruining he’s thinking he’d be more than happy to accommodate her, but he won’t. He’s fascinated by the woman and almost everything about her from the minute he meets her but he won’t have anything to do with her learning any information. The pair have a strange and complicated relationship over the days leading up to Pippa’s wedding and in that time, they fall in love. Cross, however, has no intention of being with Pippa on a permanent basis as he feels he doesn’t deserve her or her inner goodness.
Cross is actually an Earl but he has forsworn the title for the past seven years and it centered around the death of his brother and the injury of his sister. Cross has a relationship with Digger Knight who runs a lower gaming hell and Knight has power of Cross from year earlier. When Knight thinks to blackmail Cross into doing his bidding, Cross vows to ruin the man. Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way they’re planned and he Cross ends up getting assistance when and from whom he least expects it.
I loved this book from almost start to finish. I was almost completely engrossed in the story by page 5 and couldn’t stop reading it after that.
Cross is such a tortured man. A lot of what he’s feeling is his own guilt toward an incident involving his family years prior. He’s quite the stubborn fellow, I must say. Even when I thought he would give in to Pippa and his love for her he refused to make himself happy. Stupid Man! lol Luckily it all ended well but he had me going for a darned long time.
Pippa - omg I loved that woman. She was just so…unafraid. She would think things out and hypothesize and then do what she needed to do, or say what she needed to say. If she wanted to go somewhere, she walked. I loved that she put on no airs and was just matter of fact. I ached for her when Cross was being incredibly stubborn but even then she wasn’t going to sit back and get passed by.
Now, the whole part of the story with Digger Knight and Cross, for me, wasn’t explained well. Even after the book ended I never felt like we were given all the background we needed understand and, well, hate Knight like we should have. The Knight aspect of the story also involved Cross’s sister and in that case I felt that there was vital information missing. I don’t want to give things away so I can’t exactly tell you specifics but suffice it to say I was dissatisfied with that portion of the story.
Despite that I really loved this book. Pippa and Cross and their love story is definitely one I will be rereading in the future. MacLean’s writing, imho, keeps getting better and better – and that’s saying something as I thought her first book was fabulous! lol This is definitely not one that should be missed.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Friday Book Club
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