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Book CoverVeena’s review of One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels (Rules for Scoundrels, Book 2) by Sarah MacLean
Historical  Romance published by Avon 29 Jan 13

“They do say reformed rakes make the best husbands.” Not sure who these mysterious “they” are referenced by this popular quote, but Sarah Maclean suddenly holds to the adage in her Rules for Scoundrels series by creating the most loveable set of scoundrels yet. First it was Lady Penelope Marbury who  breached the sanctity of the Fallen Angel to capture her very own scoundrel, who has reformed into the most perfect husband.  Now it’s her sister Phillipa’s turn to breach the sanctity of the gaming hells to look for an unlikely research assistant in the form of Cross to help her research marriage and the pleasures of the marriage bed.  Of course, the interesting twist to this familar plot is that Pippa is engaged to be married in 2 weeks and the groom is not Cross.

It turns out that our hero, Cross, was born the privileged, happy-go-lucky son of the Earl of Harlow. His carefree life was brought to an end when a carriage accident on the night of his sister’s debut injured her and killed his brother. Holding himself responsible, he gave up his title and fortune, disappeared from society, and was reborn as Cross, one of the partners of the famous gaming hell “The Fallen Angel.” Cross lives an austere life as the financial wizard of the Fallen Angels, having forsaken all physical pleasures as penance for his sins.

Beautiful, serious, odd Pippa is like a light in Cross’s self-imposed exile and makes him yearn for things that he feels that he has no business wanting. To further complicate his life, his arch-enemy scenting blood is circling, waiting to come in for the kill. His dissolute brother-in-law jeopardizes his sister and her children by falling into Knight’s clutches, creating an opening for Knight to leverage his love for his sister to get to him. He and his friends put forward a masterful plan to foil his enemy’s machinations and keep all the people he loves safe, even from him.

Pippa, in the meantime aided and abetted by his friends, is making inroads into his heart and soul and he can’t seem to resist or stay away from her. She, of course, is so resolute that, in spite of her growing relationship with Cross, she needs to be sure that she can keep her word to her fiance and is resolved to continue on with her marriage plans. I love the facets of her character where trust and commitment are a point of honor for her, which even her growing love for Cross can’t shake.

But then Knight finds out who Pippa is and what she means to Cross and delivers Cross the coup de grace, forcing Cross to marry his daughter. In the meantime, Pippa has finally realized that love triumphs honor and she cannot move forward with her marriage. Armed with her intelligence and unlikely friends, Pippa sets out to rescue her lover from the wall that he can neither punch through or climb.

I think it is so sweet that Cross actually still continues to resist his feelings for Pippa, wanting to give her a position in society that she didn’t need nor want. But he comes to his senses and rushes off to the church to stop the wedding, to find that his lady love is truly smarter than he ever was. This book is a delightful, light-hearted romp and I truly can’t wait to read Temple’s story, which is next.

Grade: B


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

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