by Lisa Kleypas
Part of the Gamblers Series
Rated 4.5 stars
She thought her heart was safe, but…...
Reckless, wild, and beautiful, Lily Lawson delights in shocking proper London society -- and now she is determined to rescue her sister from an unwanted impending marriage to the notorious Alex, Lord Raiford, by fair means or foul. But while she succeeds outrageously, Alex is a master gamesman who is not to be undone.
Alex has lost one bride, yet he is enchanted by this remarkable lady who is willing to break any rule to flaunt her independence. When Lily offers him only scorn, he counters with kindness, and he parries her blistering barbs with gentle words and a soft, tender touch. The spirited miss will pay dearly for her interference -- with her body, her soul, and her stubborn, unyielding heart. But will Alex's own heart be the prize to be won in this sensuous game of love?
Lily is notorious for her crazy behavior, however her antics hide a secret she keeps from all but the one friend she can absolutely trust. She uses her "persona" to keep people at a distance, especially men. She has vowed never to marry, to never be the property of a man, to let someone have that much control over her.
Alex is considered to be powerful and somewhat distant. He is the morose and reserved Lord of the manner. He was once engaged to a lovely and spirited woman who died in a tragic hunting accident. This is a loss from which Alex has never really recovered. He has since chosen a docile, obedient, sweet woman to become his bride. She is the polar opposite of his deceased fiance, and therefore a "perfect" fit for him, since she will not remind him of his lost love. His new fiance happens to be Lily's sister, Penelope.
Lily feels she must rescue her sister from a tyrant, and in doing so puts herself into his path. Alex is intrigued by Lily, as well as angered by her. He has a lot to overcome before he is ready to give his heart away, and so does Lily. She was gilted at the alter some 10 years ago and fled to the continent to be a companion for her Aunt. During this time she is avidly courted and seduced by an Italian who turns out to be a big fat doo doo face! She becomes pregnant from their one time together and after two years with her daughter, the daughter Nicole, is taken. Guiseppe (aka doo doo face) blackmails Lily, with the bait that he will give her information about her daughter, and perhaps give her back to Lily.