The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series) by Stephanie Laurens, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

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by Stephanie Laurens
     
 

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Never let it be said that a Cynster male can't face up to the one unassailable truth: A successful marriage gives life its fullest meaning. To all of English society, 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

Overview

Never let it be said that a Cynster male can't face up to the one unassailable truth: A successful marriage gives life its fullest meaning. To all of English society, 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, or more, of pleasure. Yet despite all of this, Simon knows that there is something—or rather someone—missing in his life.

To achieve true contentment, Simon must find a lady accomplished enough to be his wife, 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—and personal—nature.

But Simon knows what to expect if he reveals his intention to choose a bride; nothing could be more tiresome than having every blushing miss on the marriage mart thrust upon him. So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Hall . . . and is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest is Portia Ashford.

Simon has never considered Portia as a potential wife. He's known the raven-haired beauty since childhood; she's willfully independent and has always claimed to be uninterested in marriage. But an unexpectedly heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. Soon they begin to long for the moments they can spend in each other's arms.

But all is not as it seems at Glossup Hall. 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. And even more shocking than the fact that a murderer secretly walks among them is the realization that all of Simon's considerable strength and influence may not be enough to protect Portia—his once and always perfect lover . . .

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061749254
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Cynster Series , #10
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
45,848
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

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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