Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers #1)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers #1)

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love

  Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Summarizing the basic plot in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I came up with the following list:

Aging spinster? Check.
Dashing rogue? Check.
Spinster pining after rogue for years because he's the first man to have truly "seen" her? Check.
Too many coincidences bringing said spinster and rogue together to be anything but believable? Check.
A realistic and genuinely sweet romance? ...Wait a minute.

Callie met Ralston after spending yet another ball as a wallflower. He comforts her and makes her feel all sorts of gushy-mushy feelings, thereafter leaving for a midnight tryst with another lady.

Flash-forward to nearly a decade later. Ralston is still the rake he was then and Callie's an official spinster with no prospects in sight. Seeing as her prim and proper personality hasn't helped her much throughout the years, she feels she might as well be adventurous and reckless. After composing a list of reputation-risking tasks, she promptly visits Ralston that very night with the hope of completing the first outrageous item on her list: kissing.

You see, Juliana, there comes a point in a woman’s life when she’s willing to do anything to be kissed.

The chapters that follow such a promising beginning left me terribly disappointed because I felt all the great potential shown initially was being hugely ignored. Nonetheless, I, being the hopeful creature I am, read on anyway, and actually came to enjoy the book. I'm not entirely sure when I went from wanting to kill Callie to admiring her and even laughing aloud at her antics, and from rolling my eyes at everything Ralston said to swooning every time he appeared, but the transformation gradually crept up on me before I fully realized it.

Eventually, I came to adore Callie and Ralston, as independent adults but more so as a couple. My original belief, that it was pure lust on his part and novelty on hers that was keeping them together, changed as the story progressed and I began to truly feel the love between these two. A huge part of that is due to the fact that Maclean never portrayed Callie as a sudden bombshell as soon as Ralston started falling for her; rather, she was still the average-looking woman she was always presented as, but it was Ralston's feelings for her that changed and he started seeing her as beautiful.

Overall, this is an entertaining and enjoyable beginning to a series that will hopefully get better with each sequel. Even while reading Nine Rules, I was more interested in Nicholas than Ralston, and am really looking forward to reading his book soon!

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