Setting: Regency England
Harold Henry Cynster--better known as Demon to family and friends--leaves London society for the all-male environment of his Newmarket stables in an attempt to escape matchmaking mamas and the spate of marriages that have decimated the ranks of his bachelor cousins. But Demon barely sets one foot on his property before he notices a too-shapely boy settling into the saddle of his favorite Irish Thoroughbred. Beautiful Felicity Parteger hasn't seen Demon Cynster since she was a young girl, when with clear-sighted practicality she'd reasoned that the handsome rake was a threat to every female's heart and had scrupulously disappeared every time he visited her guardian, General Sir Gordon Caxton. When Demon finds her masquerading as a stable lad and demands an explanation, she has no choice but to confess that she's trying to uncover information about a racing syndicate that bribes jockeys. The General's son, Dillon, has fallen in with them and is now in hiding to escape their threats on his life.
With cool efficiency Demon attempts to take over her campaign to save Dillon. Felicity, however, refuses to sit home and tend to her needlework while Demon has all the fun, and a partnership of sorts is formed. Much to Demon's delight, she also willingly cooperates in his plans for seduction; but pleasure turns to frustration when Felicity refuses his marriage proposal. Although she's head-over-heels in love with him, the independent young woman has no intention of saying "I do" to the infamous rake before he says "I love you" to her. While the two lovers risk their lives in tracking the dangerous syndicate, they engage in a courtship dance that risks both of their hearts as well.
In this, the fourth book in the Bar Cynster series, Laurens offers a hero and heroine full of honor, courage, wit, and humor; Demon Cynster--a man who has never wanted love and marriage--meets his match in Felicity, an intelligent and passionate woman who refuses to settle for anything less than his heart. The course of true love never did run smoothly, and it's no different for these two, but they're clearly two halves of a passionate whole--and passion and romance, solidly anchored in a well-crafted plot, is something Laurens does so very well. --Lois Faye Dyer
From Publishers Weekly
Demon, another rake in Laurens's line of Cynster family heroes, is determined to avoid the snare of marriage that has trapped other males in his Regency period familyAuntil he discovers that Felicity Parteger, a longtime friend, has blossomed into an attractive young woman. Felicity's charms are somewhat diminished, however, by her disguise as a young male jockey in her effort to identify the "syndicate" members plotting to throw races. When Demon agrees to help her, their sleuthing, propelled by Felicity, conveniently presents them with several chances to rendezvous. Unfortunately, the plot (which assumes such a secondary role to the lengthy love scenes that it often seems an afterthought) and historical details are too thin to yield a believable period romance. Moreover, while the 1820 setting classifies the book as a Regency, it fails to fit the formula (for example, no Regency hero would bed a young woman of good family before he marries her). It may serve fans of the genre well to save their time or reread Laurens's earlier titles (Devil's Bride, etc.). (Oct.)
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