Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #2
Also in this series: I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 6th 2009
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Now or Never. . .
It's the last chance for Cynthia Brightly, the ton's most bewitching belle. Driven out of London by a secret scandal, she must find a grand husband at the Redmonds' house party before word of her downfall spreads all over England. Unfortunately, someone at Pennyroyal Green is already privy to the whispers of broken engagements and dueling lovers: Miles Redmond, renowned explorer and—thanks to his brother's disappearance—heir to the family's enormous fortune.
Miles set his sights on Cynthia once, at a time when the ambitious beauty thought herself too good for a second son. But now he's heir apparent, relishing his control. He strikes a bargain with her: he'll keep Cynthia's steamy secrets and help her find a husband among the guests—in exchange for a single kiss.
What could be the harm in a simple kiss? Cynthia is about to discover that it's enough to unleash fierce passion—and that Miles Redmond is most certainly like no other lover in the world.
It’s been so long since I read the first book in Julie Ann Long‘s Pennyroyal Green series, The Perils of Pleasure, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. She’s excellent at spinning beautiful prose and wrapping the reader up in her world.
I have to applaud Long for once again creating very unconventional characters. The heroine is not the type I generally would have chosen to read about. She is a diamond of the first water to be sure, but she’s also cold and mercenary. The first time the hero sees her he’s immediately taken by her. Sadly he over hears her discussing the wealth and title of the all the available gentlemen..and discarding those she deems too poor or unattractive. Unfortunately for Miles Redmond, as a second son, he falls into the unwanted category.
A year later Cynthia shows up at the Redmond home for a house party and Miles’ reaction to her is….much the same as it was the first time. Much to his consternation. Only now her circumstances are much reduced and only Miles knows the true extent. If Cynthia can’t make a match during this party, she will be completely ruined.
Miles isn’t about to be taken in by her again. He’s trying to gather the funding to lead another expedition to Lacao and is unexpectedly given the support of his father, if only he’ll do one little thing…marry the woman his father has chosen. And that woman most definitely is not Miss Cynthia Brightly. But he isn’t above using the knowledge he has against her.
Miles is adorable. Despite what the blurb and my summary might lead you to believe, he isn’t cruel or cold. He is in fact sweet and lovely. Whenever he sees Cynthia he starts thinking in poems and lyrical prose. Which he hates. He’s honorable and kind, and determined and strong.
Cynthia was a hard sell in the beginning. She’s un-apologetically mercenary and in any other novel she probably would have been the villain. As the story progresses it becomes clear that there’s more to her than initially appears. She is greedy and looking for the man with the largest bank account..and yet it’s surprisingly hard not to sympathize with her.
Long did an excellent job of writing these characters to their full potential. Either of them could have crossed the line into unlikable, but neither did. They were multifaceted and emotionally compelling. I was really rooting for both of them.
Once again Long has written a strong story with witty dialogue, unconventional characters, humor and depth.
4.5 out of 5