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One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2) One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
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“I do hope we shall meet again. Perhaps we could have a reading club of some sorts. I 've read that one." She leaned in. "Have you reached the part where Mr. Darcy proposes?"
Asriel narrowed his gaze on Cross. "She did that on purpose."
Pippa shook her head. "Oh, I did not ruin it. Elizabeth refuses." She paused. "I suppose I did ruin that. Apologies.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“My whole life . . . two and two has made four.”...
“But now . . . it’s all gone wrong.” She shook her head. “It doesn’t make four anymore. It makes you.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“Temptation turns you. It makes you into something you
never dreamed, it presses you to give up everything you
ever loved, it calls you to sell your soul for one, fleeting
moment.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“But there, in that remarkable room, surrounded by a laughing, rollicking, unseeing collection of London's brightest and wickedest, Pippa's knowledge of anatomy expanded.

It seemed there was such a thing as a broken heart.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“They were forced to remember, however, when the
doors to the church opened, and half the aristocracy
poured out into the grey April morning, desperate and
finally, finally able to gossip about the most important part
of the double wedding—one missing bride—only to
discover the lady in question was not missing at all.
Indeed, she was right outside the church. In the arms of a
man to whom she was not affianced.
Ignoring the collective gasp of their audience, Cross
kissed the tip of her nose and rectified the situation. Jasper
Arlesey, Earl Harlow lowered himself to one knee and—
in front of all the world—proposed to his brilliant,
bespectacled bluestocking.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“To be honest, I thought it was similar to animal husbandry."
Sally's tone turned dry. "Sometimes, my lady I'm afraid it isn't that different."
Pippa paused, considering the ords. "Is that so?"
"Men are uncomplicated, generally," Sally said, all too sage. "They're beasts when they want to be."
"Brute ones!"
"Ah, so you understand."
Pippa tilted her head to one side. "I've read about them."
Sally nodded. "Erotic texts?"
"The book of Common Prayer....”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“She pushed and elbowed and knocked and strained to catch him, and finally, she did, reaching out for his hand--adoring the fact that neither of them wore gloves, loving the way their skin came together, the way his brought wonderful heat in a lush, irresistible current.
He felt it too.
She knew it because he stopped the instant they touched, turning to face her, grey eyes wild as Devonshire rain. She knew it because he whispered her name, aching and beautiful and soft enough for only her to hear.
And she it because his free hand rose, captured her jaw and titled her face up to him even as he leaned down and stole her lips and breath and thought in a kiss that she would never in her lifetime forget.
The was like food and drink, like sleep, like breath. She needed it with the same elemental desire and she cared not a bit that all of London was watching. Yes, she was masked, but it did not matter. She would have stripped to her chemise for this kiss. To her skin.
Their fingers still intertwined, he wrapped their arms behind her back and pulled her to him, claiming her mouth with lips and tongue and teeth, marking her with one long luscious kiss that went on and on until she thought she might die from the pleasure of it. Her free hand was in his hair then, tangling in the soft locks, loving their silky promise.
She was lost, claimed and fairly consumed by the intensity of the kiss, and for the first time in her life, Pippa gave herself up to emotion, pouring every bit of her desire and her passion and her fear and her need into this moment This caress.
This man.
This man, who was everything she had never allowed herself to dream she would find.
This man, who made her believe in friendship. In partnership..
In love
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“Temptation turns you. It makes you into something you never dreamed, it presses you to give up everything you ever loved, it calls you to sell your soul for one, fleeting moment.[..] It makes you ache...you'll make any promise,swear any oath. For one...perfect...unsoiled taste”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“I am happy to pay you," she announced. "For your services."

A harsh, strangled sound cut through the room. It came from him. "Pay me."

She nodded. "Would say, twenty-five pounds do?"

"No."

Her brows knit together. "Of course, a person of your--prowess--is worth more. I apologize for the offense. Fifty? I'm afraid I can't go much higher. It's quite a bit of money.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“I do, love. I want you more than you could ever know. More than I could have ever dreamed. I want you enough for two men. For ten.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“You have opposition to love?”
“Not opposition so much as skepticism. I make it a practice not to believe in things I cannot see.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“In all his life, there had never been anything Cross had wanted to do more than throw this strange woman down on his desk and give her precisely that for which she was asking. Desire was irrelevant. Or perhaps it was the only thing that was relevant. Either way, he could not assist Lady Philippa Marbury. She was the most dangerous female he’d ever met.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“In your study of anatomy, did you ever learn the name of the place between the nose and the lip?” Her lips parted, and she resisted the urge to lean toward him, to force him to touch her. She answered on a whisper. “The philtrum.” He smiled. “Clever girl. It is Latin. Do you know its meaning?” “No.” “It means love potion. The Romans believed it was the most erotic place on the body. They called it Cupid’s bow, because of the way it shapes the upper lip.” As he spoke, he ran his finger along the curve of her lip, a temptation more than a touch, barely there. His voice grew softer, deeper. “They believed it was the mark of the god of love.” She”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“I suppose I shall start from the beginning. It appears that I'm utterly lacking in the knowledge of the basics. I mean, I understand dogs and horses and such, but humans...well, they're different. And so..." She paused, then rushed forward, the words pouring out of her. "I wonder if you could explain the use of the tongue.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
tags: pippa
“Upon what grounds do you refuse?"
"Upon the grounds that you owe me."
"Do you plan to run me before a judge and jury?" he asked wryly.
"I don't need to," she retorted, playing her last, most powerful card. "I only have to run you before my brother-in-law."
There was a beat as the words sank in, and his eyes widened, just barely, just enough for her to notice before he closed the distance between them, and said, "A fine idea. Let's tell Bourne everything. You think he would force me to honor our agreement?"
She refused to be cowed. "No. I think he would murder you for agreeing to it in the first place. Even more so when he discovers that it was negotiated by a lady of the evening."
Emotion flared in his serious grey gaze, irritation and... admiration? Whatever it was, it was gone almost instantly, extinguished like a lantern in one of his strange, dark passageways. "Well played, Lady Philippa." The words were soft as they slid over her skin.
"I rather thought so." Where had her voice gone?”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“You are an astronomer as well as a mathematician?"
He turned to face her, finally, half his face cast into shadowy light from the manor beyond. "You are a horticulturalist as well as an anatomist?"
She smiled. "We are surprising, aren't we?"
His lips twitched. "We are.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“What were you looking at?"
She pointed to a bright star. "Polaris."
He shook his head, and pointed to another part of the sky. "That's Polaris. You were looking at Vega."
She chuckled. "Ah. No wonder I was finding it unimpressive."
He leaned back and stretched his long legs out. "It's the fifth brightest star in the sky."
She laughed. "You forget I am one of five sisters. In my world, fifth brightest is last." She looked up. "With apologies to the star in question, of course."
"And are you often last?"
She shrugged. "Sometimes. It is not a pleasant ranking."
"I assure you, Pippa. You are rarely last.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“God help him, he wanted to kiss her senseless, odd or not. He wanted to kiss her senseless because she was odd.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“He had twenty-five thousand acres in Devonshire where no one ever needed to see them, where she and Trotula could roam. He would build her a house for her scientific research. He'd give her everything she needed. Everything she desired. And he'd roam with them, he and their passel of children as, in his experience, rustication tended to facilitate breeding.
He'd do everything he could to keep her happy.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
The human heart weights (on average) eleven ounces and beats (approximately) one hundred thousand times per day.
In Ancient Greece, the theory was widely held that, as the most powerful and vital part of the body, the heart acted as a brain of sorts- collecting information from all other organs through the circulatory system. Aristotle included thoughts and emotions in his hypotheses relating to the aforementioned information- a fact that modern scientists find quaint in its lack of basic anatomical understanding.
There are reports that long after a person is pronounced dead and a mind and soul gone from its casing, under certain conditions, the heart might continue beating for hours. I find myself wondering if in those instances the organ might continue to feel as well. And, if it does, whether it feels more or less pain than mine at present time
.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“When she opened her eyes, she returned her attention to the candle, still and unmoving even as it burned unbearably bright. And then it did move, dancing and flickering in an unexpected draft.
A draft followed by a great woof and a thud as Trotula left the bed, tail wagging madly, and threw herself at the doors that led out to the narrow balcony just off Pippa's bedchamber. Doors once closed, now open, now framing the man Pippa loved, frozen just inside the room, tall and serious and beautifully disheveled.
As she watched, he took a deep breath and ran both hands through thick red hair, pushing it off his face, his high cheekbones and long straight nose stark and angled in the candlelight.
He was unbearably handsome. She'd never in her life longed for anything the way she longed for him. He'd promised to teach her about temptation and desire and he'd done powerfully well; her heart raced at the sight of him, at the sound of his heavy breath. And yet... she did not know what came next.
"You are beautiful," he said.
What came next was anything he wished.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“It's just that... since we met, I have been rather... well, fascinated by..."
You.
Say it, he willed, not entirely certain what he would do if she did, but willing to put himself to the test.
She took another breath. "By your bones."
Would she ever say anything expected? "My bones?"
She nodded. "Yes. Well, the muscles and tendons, too. Your forearms. Your thighs. And earlier- while I watched you drink whiskey- by your hands."
Cross had been propositioned many times in his life. He'd made a career of refusing women's requests. But he had never been complimented on his bones.
It was the strangest, sexiest confession he'd ever heard.
And he had no idea how to respond.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“He moved closer, crowding her back into the darkness. He didn't touch her, but strangely, it didn't matter. He was close enough to feel, tall and lean and ever so warm. "But you're going to wager now, Pippa, aren't you?"
He was muddling her brain and making it very difficult to think clearly. She took a deep breath, the scent of sandalwood wrapping around her, distracting her.
She shouldn't say yes.
But somehow, oddly, she found she couldn't say no.
She reached for the dice, where they lay small and white in his broad palm. Touched them, touched him- the brush of skin against fingertips sending sensation coursing through her. She paused at the feeling, trying to dissect it. To identify it. To savor it. But then he was gone, his hand falling away, leaving her with nothing but the ivory cubes, still warm from his touch.
Just as she was.
Of course, the thought was ridiculous. One did not warm from a fleeting contact. It was the stuff of novels. Something her sisters would sigh over.
He moved, stepping back and extending one arm toward the hazard field. "Are you ready?" His voice was low and soft, somehow private despite the cavernous room.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“I'm talking about your lovely long arms and your perfectly shaped legs... I find I am quite jealous of those stockings for knowing the feel of you, the warmth of you." She shifted, unable to keep still beneath the onslaught of his words. "I'm talking about that corset that hugs you where you are lovely and soft... is it uncomfortable?"
She hesitated. "Not usually."
"And now?" She heard the knowledge in the question.
She nodded once. "It's rather- constricting."
He tutted once, and she opened her eyes, instantly meeting his, hot and focused on her. "Poor Pippa. Tell me, with your knowledge of the human body, why do you think that is?"
She swallowed, tried for a deep breath. Failed. "It's because my heart is threatening to beat out of my chest."
The smile again. "Have you overexerted yourself?"
She shook her head. "No."
"What, then?"
She was not a fool. He was pushing her. Attempting to see how far she would go. She told the truth. "I think it is you."
He closed his eyes then, hands fisting again, and pressed his head back against the side of the desk, exposing the long column of his neck and his tightly clenched jaw. Her mouth went dry at the movement, at the way the tendons there bunched and rippled, and she was quite desperate to touch him.
When he returned his gaze to hers, there was something wild in those pewter depths... something she was at once consumed and terrified by. "You shouldn't be so quick with the truth," he said.
"Why?"
"It gives me too much control."
"I trust you."
"You shouldn't." He leaned forward, bracing his arm against his raised knee. "You are not safe with me."
She had never once felt unsafe with him. "I don't think that's correct."
He laughed, low and dark, and the sound rippled through her, a wave of pleasure and temptation. "You have no idea what I could do to you, Philippa Marbury. The ways I could touch you. The wonders I could show you. I could ruin you without thought, sink with you into the depths of sin and not once regret it. I could lead you right into temptation and never ever look back."
The words stole her breath. She wanted it. Every bit of it.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“I am concerned that the ladies are ill-treated."
"The ladies who frequent the Fallen Angel are not ill-treated."
Her brows knit together. "How do you know?"
"Because they are under my protection."
She froze. "They are?"
He was suddenly warm. "They are. We do all we can to ensure that they are well treated and well paid while under our roof. If they are manhandled, they call for one of the security detail. They file a complaint with me. And if I discover a member is mistreating ladies beneath this roof, his membership is revoked."
She paused for a long moment, considering the words, and finally said, "I have a passion for horticulture."
He wasn't certain how plants had anything to do with prostitutes, but he knew better than to interrupt.
She continued, the words quick and forthright, as though they entirely made sense. "I've made a rather remarkable discovery recently," she said, and his attention lingered on the breathlessness of the words. On the way her mouth curved in a small, private smile. She was proud of herself, and he found- even before she admitted her finding- that he was proud of her. Odd, that. "It is possible to take a piece of one rosebush and affix it to another. And when the process is completed properly... say, a white piece on a red bush... an entirely new rose grows..." She paused, and the rest of the words rushed out, as though she were almost afraid of them. "A pink one."
Cross did not know much about horticulture, but he knew enough about scientific study to know that the finding would be groundbreaking. "How did you-"
She raised a hand to stop the question. "I'll happily show you. It's very exciting. But that's not the point."
He waited for her to arrive at the point in question.
She did. "The career... it is not their choice. They're not red or white anymore. They're pink. And you're why."
Somehow, it made sense that she compared the ladies of the Angel to this experiment in roses. Somehow, this woman's strange, wonderful brain worked in a way that he completely understood.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“You fixed the tables?"
"Nonsense." Pippa grinned. "With what I know of Digger Knight, I would wager everything you have that these tables were already fixed. I unfixed them."
She was mad. And he loved it. His brows rose. "Everything I have?"
She shrugged. "I haven't very much, myself."
She was wrong, of course. She had more than she knew. More than he'd dreamed.
And if she asked, he'd let her wager with everything he owned.
God, he wanted her.
He looked around them, registering the flushed, excited faces of the gamers nearby, not one of them interested in the trio standing to the side. No one who was not playing was worth the attention. Not when so many were winning so much.
She was running the tables at one of the most successful casinos in London. He turned back to her. "How did you..."
She smiled. "You taught me about weighted dice, Jasper."
He warmed at the name. "I didn't teach you about stacked decks."
She feigned insult. "My lord, your lack of confidence in my intelligence wounds me. You think I could not work out the workings of deck stacking myself?"
He ignored the jest. Knight would kill them when he discovered this. "And roulette?"
She smiled. "Magnets have remarkable uses."
She was too smart for her own good. He turned to Temple. "You allowed this?"
Temple shrugged one shoulder. "The lady can be very... determined."
Lord knew that was true.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
If my work has taught me anything, it is this: While a great many curiosities can be explained using thorough scientific research and sound logic, there are a handful of them that resist such easy hypothesis. These mysteries tend to be the most human. The most important.
Chief among them is love
.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“She moved, opening to him, her thighs widening, the cool air of the room rushing through the slit in her pantalettes. Her cheeks burned and she moved her hands to block his view.
He was watching them, and he made a low sound of approval. "That's where my hands would be as well. Can you feel why? Can you feel the heat? The temptation?"
Her eyes were closed now. She couldn't look at him. But she nodded.
"Of course you can... I can almost feel it myself." The words were hypnotic, all temptation, soft and lyric and wonderful. "And tell me, my little anatomist, have you explored that particular location, before?"
Her cheeks burned.
"Don't start lying now, Pippa. We've come so far."
"Yes."
"Yes, what?"
"Yes, I've explored it before." The confession was barely sound, but he heard it. When he groaned, she opened her eyes to find him pressed back against the desk once more. "Did I say the wrong thing?"
He shook his head, his hand rising to his mouth once more, stroking across firm lips. "Only in that you made me burn with jealousy."
Her brows furrowed. "Of whom?"
"Of you, lovely." His grey gaze flickered to the place she hid from him. "Of your perfect hands. Tell me what you found."
She couldn't. While she might know the clinical words for all the things she had touched and discovered, she could not speak them to him. She shook her head. "I cannot."
"Did you find pleasure?"
She closed her eyes, pressed her lips together.
"Did you?" he whispered, the sound loud as a gunshot in this dark, wicked room.
She shook her head. Once, so small it was barely a movement.
He exhaled, the sound long and lush in the room, as though he'd been holding his breath... and he moved. "What a tragedy."
Her eyes snapped open at the sound of him- of trouser against carpet as he crawled toward her, eyes narrow and filled with wicked, wonderful promise.
He was coming for her. Predator stalking prey.
And she could not wait to be caught.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“It's so beautiful and red."
Pippa nodded. "That's the chromium."
"The what?"
"Chromium. It is an additive in the crystal that turns it red. If it were anything else added... it wouldn't be a ruby. It would be a sapphire." Olivia blinked, and Pippa continued, "It's a common misconception that all sapphires are blue, but that's not the case. They can be any color... green or yellow or pink, even. It depends on the additive. But they're all called sapphires. It's only if they're red that they're called something else. Rubies. Because of the chromium.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
“It makes you ache,” he whispered, and she watched the curve of his lips in the darkness. “You’ll make any promise, swear any oath. For one… perfect… unsoiled taste.”
Sarah MacLean, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

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