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Heroine: Louisa Cantwell – Needs a Husband, Ambitious
Hero: Felix Rivendale – The Ideal Gentleman, Damaged
Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is the most eligible bachelor of London. Any woman would be lucky to have Felix. He’s wealthy, charming, and handsome. Growing up he was a pawn in his parent’s marriage. His mother never loved his father and his father obsessively loved his mother. His mother used Felix to her advantage and his father withheld his love for Felix. Because of his parent’s reckless actions in their marriage, Felix is a broken, vulnerable man who hides behind his golden image. When they died, Felix decided he would become even more influential and admired in society than his mother and would never fall madly in love like his father did. He would keep his heart guarded, always hold all the power as The Ideal Gentleman and let society admire him from afar, but never let them know him truly. But then Felix meets the one woman that could unravel his guarded heart and make him fall hopelessly in love.
Louisa Cantwell would happily embrace spinsterhood if she didn’t need a wealthy husband to help support her family. At twenty four, she enters Society on a mission to find a husband. But her lack of fortune and pedigree could essentially keep her from marrying well, even though she is charming and beautiful and so very ambitious. Louisa has a few eligible bachelors in mind and sets out to charm them at a ball one evening when she was introduced to Lord Wrenworth, who is completely out of Louisa’s league. Though he seems to have shown interest in Louisa and she cannot for the life of her figure it out; she’s considered a country bumpkin. She doesn’t trust his intentions. She doesn’t trust the man himself. And she knows she must stay away from him because he has no intentions of marrying her. Well, Louisa tries to avoid Felix but everywhere she goes, she runs into him accidentally. And soon she begins to feel consumed by this enigma of a man.
Felix has become infatuated by Louisa and finds it baffling she’s not falling over herself trying to seduce him into marrying her. He doesn’t realize that Louisa is doing everything possible to keep away from him and hopes he doesn’t see her attraction towards him. Louisa’s stand-offish behavior proves to be a challenge Felix cannot ignore. The cat wants the mouse and, the more he pursues her, the more his attraction increases. So, all of the ‘accidental’ times they run into each other are actually carefully orchestrated by him. Orchestrated or not, every time they are together the chemistry between them smolders with playful banter and sexual innuendo. But, even with his manipulations, Felix still worries he might lose her to another man, which leaves him no choice but to marry the woman he’s become infatuated with.
So, why did Felix marry Louisa if he fears becoming a besotted fool like his father? Felix is a complicated man shaped by his parent’s bad marriage. The things he does are usually self-serving, which means letting Louisa marry another was out of the question. He knows he cares for Louisa, but the deep seeded fear he has of becoming his father continues to rule his life. Because of this, when Felix and Louisa whisper sweet nothings in the bedroom, he gets scared and pushes her away with his harsh and cold words. This causes distance to grow between them and this is when the story became very emotional. I could feel the love they had for one another. And I felt how much they yearned for one another. It was heartbreaking. Felix knows he royally screwed up with Louisa. He will have to woo Louisa’s heart to get her back in his good graces again. And she certainly makes him woo hard to gain her trust and heart again.
Oh this is such a good story. Sherry Thomas gives Felix and Louisa realistic marital problems. I like that she didn’t give these characters a blissful marriage right away. These characters go through so much emotional turmoil right from the beginning, as they learn to trust and love one another without their defenses up. It made for a heartfelt story as both mature and intelligent characters fumble at love. Not to mention the drama that happens when Louisa finds out just how cunning and manipulative Felix can be. Ah, but, beyond the drama, there are many beautiful and touching scenes between them that were romantic and sweet and sexy. This quote fits this couple so perfectly…
“I seemed to have married the horniest girl in all of England.” He said softly, but with a sharp edge to his words. “You knew it long before you married me.” His eyes were now on her lips. “Yes, I did, didn’t I?” he murmured.
Sherry Thomas has written an amusing and clever story with charismatic characters. Louisa and Felix have some of the best dialogue between them that had me laughing and smiling and melting. They are mischievous and playful together. I loved it. While I thought the beginning was a little slow, but still good, I enjoyed this story a great deal more after they married. Felix turns out to be a sexy nerd (I have a weakness for smart men), a worthy husband, and a redeemable hero. I love how Louisa turns out to be just as much of a nerd as Felix and stood her ground with Felix. She’s strong and unpredictable, and really does turn out to be the luckiest lady in London. The steam and heat the author brings to the pages was incredible. They would spontaneously have sex anywhere and everywhere. And the dirty things they would say to each other were absolutely delicious. Needless to say, being that this is my first Sherry Thomas novel, it will not be my last. I’m already looking forward to reading more by this author.