Synopsis from back cover: Demon Cynster has seen love bring his brethren to their knees, and he's vowed that he will not share their fate...until he spies Felicity Parteger sneaking around his country estate. Demon remembers Felicity as a mere chit of a girl, but now she stands before him – begging for his help – all lush curves, sparkling eyes...and so temptingly worthy of the love he's vowed never to surrender to any woman.
Felicity knew Demon was one of the ton's most eligible bachelors and a rogue of the worst sort, but he was the only one capable of getting her friend out of trouble. Her fascination with him had nothing to do with the power lurking just beneath his devil-may-care facade – or with the desire that flares when he takes her in his arms. She knows he'll never yield her the love she desperately seeks, but could a marriage with passion alone – even with a man like Demon – be enough?
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Avon Books, 1999.
How acquired: Book Mooch
My thoughts: This is definitely my favorite Cynsters book so far. I loved both Felicity and Demon from the start. Demon, like his brother and his cousins before him, has no need of a wife and no intention of losing his heart to a woman. Felicity, like her own predecessors, is a strong and independent woman who won't meekly bow down to any man and can hold her own with the best of them. Demon owns a stable of racehorses, and is quite impressed with Felicity's riding skills and knowledge of horses. I think that was part of the charm of the book for me in the beginning, all the horse talk. Yes, I was one of those teenage girls who loved horses above all else, especially racehorses. I even dreamed of being a jockey for a couple of years.
The mystery this time around involves a race fixing syndicate that Felicity and Demon begin investigating after Dillon, Felicity's guardian's son, gets involved with them and then goes into hiding. (It seems that orphaned heroines with either a guardian or a brother is a theme with Laurens' heroines). To Dillon's continual frustration, not to mention that of his right hand man, Gillies, Felicity is constantly bolting off on her own and putting herself either in danger or in socially inappropriate situations. The syndicate plot kept my interest non-stop, and watching Demon and Felicity fall for each other along the way was almost like a bonus. Especially watching Demon. Once he realized he wanted to marry Felicity, he was relentless. But like all the Cynster men, he was also arrogant and overbearing and incapable of admitting his feelings, other than the lusty ones, and Felicity was determined that she would only marry him if and when he truly loved her.
Part of the book is set in the relaxed country, where Demon and Felicity are able to spend time riding together or driving into town without her needing to be chaperoned, and part of it is set in the city, where social proprieties must be observed, and I loved seeing the contrast between those two worlds.
This entry in the series was more fun than the previous books, so much so that I didn't even notice – most of the time – the flowery superfluous writing and the author's habit of never using five words when ten are available.