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.
In this book, Calpurnia Hartwell has lived the last 28 years of her life playing by the rules, and it's gotten her no where except higher on the spinster shelf. Tired of her passive life, Callie decides to throw the rule book out and to finally live the life that's been passing her by. She makes a list of everything she wants to do- gamble, kiss someone passionately, smoke a cheroot, and more. And to start, she'll grab that kiss she's always dreamed of from none other than the man she's wanted for over a decade, Gabriel St. John, the Marques of Ralston.
To get her kiss, she sneaks off in the night and into his bedchambers demanding her kiss. Gabriel is surprised to find her there in his rooms when he was expecting his mistress, but he doesn't let the opportunity pass by. He needs her highly valued respectability to aid in his new found half-sister's coming out. He agrees to give Callie her kiss if she'll do all she can to make sure Juliana takes the ton by storm. Gabriel wasn't expecting to enjoy the kiss so much, but now that he's had a taste of this new Callie, he can't help by want her, no matter how much he fights it.
This book was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed watching Callie transform into the woman she's wanted to be and in doing so capturing Gabriel's attention. He is the definition of a rake, but he's trying to reform for the sake of his new sister. Unfortunately for him, the woman he's chosen to make sure she succeeds is turning into a bit of a rake herself...
Gabriel decides to keep tabs on Callie during her adventures to ensure his sister's entrance into the ton isn't compromised, but each time they meet up things heat up beyond his control and all thoughts of being a gentlemen fly out the window.
Callie is the Plain Jane who blossoms when she finds herself through her adventures. I think many women would be able to relate to her such as I did. Gabriel is the type of man I could see myself lusting after right along with Callie, and it's such a great feeling to know that all her hard work isn't for not. Each character has their flaws, but those flaws turn to beauty marks when they get to know each other and they realized their true love for each other despite the odds stacked against them.
This is the second time I've read this book (the first time to review however), and I'm looking forward to book 2 in the Love by Numbers series- Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord.
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