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The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

3.7 80
by Stephanie Laurens

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Simon Frederick Cynster has a perfect life -- one of enormous wealth and impeccable social status. His lean handsomeness turns the heads of naïve debutantes, while his sensual allure ensures he never lacks for more sophisticated partners for a night of pleasure.

However, Simon accepts that he must find a wife to achieve true contentment. Someone who will


Simon Frederick Cynster has a perfect life -- one of enormous wealth and impeccable social status. His lean handsomeness turns the heads of naïve debutantes, while his sensual allure ensures he never lacks for more sophisticated partners for a night of pleasure.

However, Simon accepts that he must find a wife to achieve true contentment. Someone who will spend her days as a member of one of England's most influential families ... and her nights pursuing duties of a more private nature.

So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Hall ... and is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest in Portia Ashford. Simon has never considered Portia as a potential wife, but a heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. As Simon and Portia begin to explore the depths of their mutual passion a shocking murder is committed, and it appears that the next victim will be Portia herself ...

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
In this captivating historical romance about Stephanie Laurens's intriguing Cynster family, an unexpectedly perilous house party is the setting for an equally unexpected love match between Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford. Simon has known Portia for ages, and his natural protectiveness toward her has always encouraged her defiance. Their clashes have only gotten worse since his sister wed her brother (in On a Wicked Dawn). But, when Portia decides it's time for her to explore the passions that inspire men and women to marry, she needs a tutor who is both discreet and accomplished. Despite Simon's rakish reputation, she knows she can trust him absolutely…if she can persuade him to go along with her wild plan. What she doesn't know is that Simon has also decided it's time to marry, and he's prepared to employ all his seductive wiles to persuade Portia to become not just his paramour but also his wife. In a family known for bold warriors and passionate lovers, Simon Cynster is about to prove himself The Perfect Lover. This volume also includes a teaser chapter for Laurens's exciting Bastion Club series, scheduled to debut in the fall of 2003. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
A genteel party in England in 1835 becomes the setting for romance and a dash of violence as prolific romance author Laurens (On a Wicked Dawn) makes her hardcover debut, the 10th entry in a series about the arrogant Cynster males. Portia Ashford has one goal in mind as she accompanies her eccentric mentor, Lady Osbaldestone, to Glossup Hall in Dorset. Portia wants children, and has reluctantly accepted that she must marry in order to have them. She is determined to learn as much as possible about men, with an eye to choosing one. Also seeking a spouse at the gathering is a man whom she's detested since childhood, the self-satisfied Simon Cynster. He playfully tutors her on the subject of men while hiding his true intent, and he soon progresses far beyond the bounds of propriety. Portia plays along, unconcerned about pregnancy or social ostracism. When they're not thus frolicking, the couple glower disapprovingly at their married hostess, Kitty Glossup, who flings herself at male guests and a gardener or two. Half way through the book, Portia stumbles over Kitty's corpse and finds that she, too, is a target. Simon and Portia help a police inspector plan a scheme that causes further jeopardy for Portia, then a rousing conclusion and matrimonial bliss-no surprise, given there was never any serious obstacle between the young lovers. As with Laurens's earlier titles, the generous doses of erotica will appeal to devotees of romantic suspense. 7-city author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In the latest Cynster tale, carefree Simon Cynster and his nemesis, Portia Ashford, suddenly realize that they are made for each other, but this happy discovery is wrecked by a murderous stalker. With a one-day laydown on February 4, 2003. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Cynster Series
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.17(d)

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The Perfect Lover

Chapter One

Late July, 1835.
Near Glossup Hall, by Ashmore, Dorset.

"Hell and the devil!" Simon Cynster reined in his bays, his eyes narrowing on the ridge high above Ashmore village. The village proper lay just behind him; he was headed for Glossup Hall, a mile farther along the leafy country lane.

At the rear of the village cottages, the land rose steeply; a woman was following the path winding up the berm of what Simon knew to be ancient earthworks. The views from the top reached as far as the Solent, and on clear days even to the Isle of Wight.

It was hardly a surprise to see someone heading up there.

"No surprise she hasn't anyone with her, either." Irritation mounting, he watched the dark-haired, willowy, ineffably graceful figure steadily ascend the rise, a long-legged figure that inevitably drew the eye of any man with blood in his veins. He'd recognized her instantly -- Portia Ashford, his sister Amelia's sister-in-law.

Portia must be attending the Glossup Hall house party; the Hall was the only major house near enough from which to walk.

A sense of being imposed upon burgeoned and grew.

"Damn!" He'd yielded to the entreaties of his longtime friend James Glossup and agreed to stop by on his way to Somerset to support James through the trials of the house party. But if Portia was going to be present, he'd have trials enough of his own.

She reached the crest of the earthworks and paused, one slender hand rising to hold back the fall of her jet-black hair; lifting her face to the breeze, she stared into the distance, then, letting her hand fall, gracefully walked on, following the path to the lookout, gradually descending until she disappeared from sight.

She's no business of mine.

The words echoed in his head; God knew she'd stated the sentiment often enough, in various phrasings, most far more emphatic. Portia was not his sister, not his cousin; indeed, she shared no blood at all.

Jaw firming, he looked to his horses, took up the slack in the reins --

And inwardly cursed.

"Wilks -- wake up, man!" Simon tossed the reins at his groom, until then dozing behind him. Pulling on the brake, he stepped down to the road. "Just hold them -- I'll be back."

Thrusting his hands into his greatcoat pockets, he strode for the narrow path that led upward, ultimately joining the path from the Hall that Portia had followed up the rise.

He was only buying himself trouble -- a sniping match at the very least -- yet leaving her alone, unprotected from any wastrel who might happen along, was simply not possible, not for him. If he'd driven on, he wouldn't have had a moment's peace, not until she returned safe and sound to the Hall.

Given her propensity for rambling walks, that might not happen for hours.

He wouldn't be thanked for his concern. If he survived without having his ego prodded in a dozen uncomfortable places, he'd count himself lucky. Portia had a tongue like a double-edged razor -- no way one could escape being nicked. He knew perfectly well what her attitude would be when he caught up with her -- precisely the same as it had been for the past decade, ever since he'd realized she truly had no idea of the prize she was, the temptation she posed, and was therefore in need of constant protection from the situations into which she blithely sailed.

While she remained out of his sight, out of his orbit, she was not his responsibility; if she came within it, unprotected, he felt obliged to watch over her, to keep her safe -- he should have known better than to try to fight the urge.

Of all the females he knew, she was unquestionably the most difficult, not least because she was also the most intelligent, yet here he was, trudging after her despite his certain reception; he wasn't at all sure what that said of his intelligence.

Women! He'd spent the entire drive west considering them. His great-aunt Clara had recently died and left him her house in Somerset. The inheritance had served as a catalyst, forcing him to review his life, to rethink his direction, yet his unsettled state had a more fundamental genesis; he'd finally realized what it was that gave his older cousins and his sisters' husbands their purpose in life.

The purpose he lacked.

Family -- their own branch of it, their own children -- their own wife. Such things had never seemed critical before; now they loomed as vital to his life, to his satisfaction with his lot.

A scion of a wealthy, wellborn family, he had a comfortable lot in life, yet what worth comfort against the lack of achievement he now felt so acutely? It wasn't his ability to achieve that was in question -- not in his mind, nor, he'd warrant, in any other -- but the goal, the need, the reason; these were the necessities he lacked.

Crucial necessities for a satisfying life for such as he.

Great-aunt Clara's legacy had been the final prod; what was he to do with a rambling country house if not live in it? He needed to get himself a wife and start building the family he required to give his life its true direction.

He hadn't accepted the notion meekly. For the past ten years, his life had been well run, well ordered, with females intruding in only two arenas, both entirely under his control. With countless discreet liaisons behind him, he was a past master at managing -- seducing, enjoying, and ultimately disengaging from -- the wellborn matrons with whom he habitually dallied. Other than that, the only females he consorted with were those of his own family. Admittedly, within the family, they ruled, but as that had always been the case ...

The Perfect Lover. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.

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Perfect Lover (Cynster Series) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
apollard More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Laurens always spins a good if predictable story. She needs to put down her thesaurus though. Interdigitated? Perspicaciousness? Big words aren't bad, but let's stick within the realm of words that are actually used, please.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1835 though he is wealthy, belongs to a very prominent family, and can score with just about any female he chooses, Simon Frederick Cynster believes it is time to marry. He has no one in mind, but Simon feels that the right loving wife would fill the hole in his soul. However, he also knows he must not announce his intentions to the Ton or he will face an unending queue of wannabe wives. Simon stealthily begins his quest at a house party, but is amazed to find childhood friend Portia Ashford as the best candidate. He becomes further convinced when they share a kiss that stirs his blood. He had never seen Portia in that light, but now all he must do is persuade her that marriage to him will not destroy her vaunted independence. He begins his campaign to win her love while she surprises herself by coveting more of his kisses. However, a murder occurs with the evidence pointing towards Portia probably being the next victim unless Simon can work the Cynster magic and keep his beloved safe. Fans of the Cynster series will appreciate the tenth tale starring a charming couple. The story line contains much of the magic of the previous novels, but that is a two edged sword. The plot is exciting with plenty of intrigue and a fine lead duo, but also tends to leave long time readers having trouble delineating Simon from previous heroes such as Lucifer (see ALL ABOUT LOVE). Still Stephanie Laurens continues to rock readers with her newest strong historical romance, THE PERFECT LOVER. Harriet Klausner
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Bri: The Perfect Lover was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Having read all the previous Cynster novels by Mrs. Laurens, this one didn't let me down in the least. While the overall formula of rake must fight his own fears of love and convince the girl to marry him was there, the characters made it decisively different. Portia Ashford and Simon Cynster, the last available Cynster, have been friends since birth. Both intelligent, prideful and stubborn they have played the games of dueling tongues for a decade. While Simon has a reputation for being, a rake and Portia a woman against marriage, choosing to spend her time on personal endeavors instead of trolling the ton that is until work in an orphanage helps her see the desire of family. Attending Lady O, a character I always loved, a saucy, wise, revered woman of the ton, Portia decides to test her husband assessing abilities at a country party. Simon a family friends just happens to be attending at the same time. As sparks fly, and Simon always the protector, assumes his role only motivated in a different way murder and fear threaten Portia before either can decide what they feel. Portia was different in this one in that she is extremely independent and intelligent to a fault. Over analyzing everything. Simon on the other hand isn't the domineering conqueror of his previous Cynster sires. Oh the instinct is the there, but having been surrounded strong females Simon's character rightly evolves with those influences and patiently waits for Portia to figure it out. A must read, enjoyed it greatly.
Aline92706 More than 1 year ago
You read one of the Cynster series you want to read all of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished On A Wild Night and can't wait for The Perfect Lover! I have heard it is incredible. Write faster, Stephanie!!
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RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Good book and great series!!  Recommend very highly!!
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The best of her books and the best of the Cynster series. Too bad the author could not keep maintaining such excellence. A
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limhall4u3 More than 1 year ago
I own all Stephanie's books . Anyone interested in the historical romance genre would be wise to pick up any and all of her books . I liked watching the grown up Simon Finally catch his mate !!!!
remoe More than 1 year ago
it was a different type of love store very enjoyable a must read
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LauriKL More than 1 year ago
I like it!
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