ISBN 10: 0060505729 / ISBN 13: 9780060505721
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Never let it be said that a Cynster male can't face up to the one unassailable truth: A successful marriage gives life its fullest meaning. To all of English society, Simon Frederick Cynster has a perfect life—one of enormous wealth and impeccable social status. His lean handsomeness turns the heads of naïve debutantes, while his sensual allure ensures he never lacks for more sophisticated partners for a night, or more, of pleasure. Yet despite all of this, Simon knows that there is something—or rather someone—missing in his life.

To achieve true contentment, Simon must find a lady accomplished enough to be his wife, someone who will spend her days as a member of one of England's most influential families ... and her nights pursuing duties of a more private—and personal—nature.

But Simon knows what to expect if he reveals his intention to choose a bride; nothing could be more tiresome than having every blushing miss on the marriage mart thrust upon him. So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Hall . . . and is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest is Portia Ashford.

Simon has never considered Portia as a potential wife. He's known the raven-haired beauty since childhood; she's willfully independent and has always claimed to be uninterested in marriage. But an unexpectedly heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. Soon they begin to long for the moments they can spend in each other's arms.

But all is not as it seems at Glossup Hall. As Simon and Portia begin to explore the depths of their mutual passion, a shocking murder is committed ... and it appears that the next victim will be Portia herself. And even more shocking than the fact that a murderer secretly walks among them is the realization that all of Simon's considerable strength and influence may not be enough to protect Portia—his once and always perfect lover . . .

Review: Setting: England, 1835
Sensuality: 8

A wealthy and powerful rake of the English ton, Simon Cynster has known Portia Ashford, equally wealthy and well-educated, since they were children. By sheer chance, he decides it's time to find a wife at the same time that she decides she wants children and must find a husband. Knowing each other so well is both a blessing and a curse, for when it dawns on Simon that he's in love with Portia, he's well aware that she'll feel challenged by his protectiveness and wary of having her independence curtailed. For her part, Portia feels safe exploring her newly awakened sensuality with Simon, but she’s not at all sure that he'll make a suitable husband. While they're feeling their way through a minefield of turbulent emotions, they're distracted by several unexplained "accidents," and when a member of the weekend house party they’re attending dies, Simon is confronted with the urgent need to keep Portia safe from harm.

Readers who have followed Laurens's tales of the Cynster family will be delighted with this latest novel from the author, for it brings together the "last unmarried male Cynster of his generation" and the lady who was his childhood nemesis. New readers, as well as dedicated fans, will be intrigued by the well-crafted plot, impeccable English setting, and the charming cast of characters. --Lois Faye Dyer

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