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Headstrong American heiress Lillian Bowman has come to England to find an aristocratic husband. Unfortunately, no man is strong enough to tame the stubborn beauty's fierce will. Except, perhaps, the powerful and arrogant Earl of Westcliff—a man Lillian despises more than anyone she's ever met.
Marcus, Lord Westcliff, is famous for his icy English reserve and his supreme self-control. But something about the audacious Lillian drives him mad. Whenever they're in the same room, they can't stop themselves from battling furiously to gain the upper hand.
Then one afternoon, a stunningly sensuous encounter changes everything . . . and Lillian discovers that beneath the earl's reserved façade, he is the passionate and tender lover of her dreams. What neither Westcliff nor Lillian suspect, however, is that a sinister conspiracy threatens to destroy any chance of happiness. After a shocking betrayal endangers Lillian's safety—and possibly her life—will Marcus be able to save her before it's too late?
Though this historical romance kicks off on a corny note with the heroine, who has a supersensitive sense of smell, buying a seemingly magical perfume the story quickly evolves into the kind of engrossing, dynamic romance that readers have come to expect from Kleypas. The setup is familiar: strong-willed American heiress Lillian Bowman gets under the skin of straitlaced earl Marcus Westcliff, and soon finds herself sharing the sheets with him. But what distinguishes this book from a multitude of similar stories are Kleypas's characters. One can imagine the mouthy Lillian as a regular on Sex and the City and, with his contemporary sensibilities and hunky good looks, Marcus could easily win the heart of a modern woman. Indeed, while the protagonists are both hardheaded in a typical way and their path toward love is peppered with few surprises, it's no chore to sit back and be amused by their antics and engrossed in their struggles. Even if this romance isn't as fresh as the first book in Kleypas's Wallflowers series, Secrets of a Summer Night, the charismatic characters including Lillian's pert sister and chatty, mischievous friends ensure that it's never boring.