One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is the second book that I read from Sarah MacLean and it blew me away! The first book that I read, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, was a DNF for me (for some reason that I cannot recall) but I may have to reread this and see if it would change my rating.
Let me just say that I fell in love with Cross and Philippa the first time I read their verbal sparring. Both of these characters are so likable and the chemistry between the two pretty much jumped off the page! Pippa is really naive, adventurous, and too serious for her own good that I was practically laughing at her notions and thoughts. I also thought she was the perfect match for Cross who I see as a sensitive man despite his sordid past and reputation.
When first we meet Pippa, she is pretty much a bluestocking, odd (as she calls herself), and does everything by the book. She is engaged to be married to Lord Castleton but is not in love with him and sees the marriage as her duty. Her sister Olivia is also set to be married on the same day but her marriage it seems is one of love. It is revealed that Olivia and her betrothed have done things that normal couples do and this comes to Pippa’s attention. Obviously, she is in a very staid relationship with Lord Castleton so she finds a rogue to teach her in the art of ruination. She propositions Cross, part owner of the gentleman’s club, The Fallen Angel, who is also her brother-in-law’s partner.
Cross, in charge of the financial aspect of The Fallen Angel, is smart, a rogue, and an earl who turned his back on his legacy when he, as a second son, inherited the title upon his brother’s death. The moment Cross meets Pippa, he is instantly drawn to her odd quirkiness but does not act on it. He refuses to help Pippa but does not want any other man to help her. In the end, he relents and teaches her without physically touching her.
The villain in this story is not really evil. He has a score to settle with Cross and blackmails him into marrying his daughter. Cross, trying to save Pippa and for once, does the right thing (in his mind), agrees to marry his daughter and breaks off with Pippa. That is until Pippa takes matters into her own hands.
I love Pippa’s metamorphosis (which was referenced in the book) from a naive Lady to someone who knows what she wants and goes after it, which I thought was unique. I did not expect the twists in the end and how she conspired with Temple to fix the gaming tables, cards, and dice to get what she wants even when she knows that it is not the right thing to do.
I especially loved the conversations between both Cross and Pippa. The scientific references were spot on and I loved the journal entries before each chapter. All their encounters were simmering with heat, tension, and passion that made me not want to put the book down. I loved that each and every interaction between the two protagonists drove the whole story, with the villain, not really paying a big role in the book.
This book earned 5 Hearts for me and I am now reading the first book of the series, A Rogue by Any Other Name.