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Book CoverC2’s review of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Historical romance published by Avon 30 March 2010

Ever get tired of following everybody’s rules? Dissatisfied with a life of bowing to society’s pressure and always doing what is expected of her, Lady Calpurnia Hartwell decides a change is in order. She has an epiphany: ”…somehow, she had lost her way and, without realizing it, she had chosen this staid, boring life instead of a different, more adventurous one.” So, after years of boredom and unsatisfactory Seasons, Callie (thank heavens for nicknames!) makes a list of all the things she would like to do – things that Society says a true lady would never do – and sets out to do them. The first item on her list? ”Kiss someone – passionately.” And Callie has a certain someone in mind.

Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston, is in a bind. A long, lost (unknown until now) half sister has arrived on his doorstep. If she is to have a successful launch into society, serious help will be needed from some impeccable members of the ton. Their mother was notorious for abandoning her husband and sons and running off to the Continent, after all.

So when Lady Calpurnia arrives at his home late one night, it seems like fate has provided a perfect solution to his dilemma. Gabriel proposes a trade – if Callie will sponsor his sister’s entry into society, she will get her kiss and a future favor.

As Gabriel’s sister begins her forays into English society, he and Callie are thrown together. Plus, he keeps running across her when she is attempting to mark more items off her list, usually when she is about to get caught – something Gabriel really doesn’t want to happen, since that will mess up his plans for his sister’s debut.

Finally, he convinces Callie that she can only do the things on her list when he is around to make sure nothing goes awry. You know what happens next, don’t you, faithful reader? Things go a bit too far and Ralston decides they must marry.

There is an annoying subplot involving a bet between Gabriel and the obnoxious Baron Oxford. The subplot added nothing to the story for me, so I’ll just move on and say that I enjoyed this book. I liked seeing a Regency miss take a real look at her life and decide to stretch her wings and change things. Sometimes a small choice can open up whole new wonderful possibilities.

And I am looking forward to the sequel – Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (although, these titles…seriously??) – it’s due out in November.

CSquareds C2 IconGrade: B-

A lady does not smoke cheroot.

She does not ride astride.

She does not fence or attend duels.

She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

Read an excerpt.