All her life Lady Diana Fanshawe wanted to marry Lord Blakeney, but her families eccentricities and her mother's lack of social grace left her with no choice but to marry the elderly Lord Fanshawe. He was a wonderful man but upon his death she is determined to make a happier, more passionate marriage- preferably with Blakeney. But when she meets Sebastian Iverley, Blakeney's cousin, at a house party she enters into a wager with Blakeney that she can get the somewhat cold and very awkward Sebastian to kiss her. Sebastian has always disliked his cousin for the cruel way he was treated and he is excited that such a beautiful and amazing woman has taken an interest in him, even contemplating marriage. When he finds out the motive behind Diana's kiss he is devastated but wants his revenge. He inherits his uncle's title and becomes Viscount Iverley and gains a little town polish and sets out.
The new polished Sebastian catches Diana's eye but at the same time she misses the old Sebastian and especially does not like the way he is suddenly so much more suave with the other ladies. Sebastian is trying to make Diana jealous and it works but at the same time he begins to think he cannot go through with his revenge. Diana realizes that she wants so much more from Sebastian and this time it is her contemplating marriage. But Sebastian has trouble letting go of past hurts and Diana is crushed when he reveals he knows about the kissing bet and that he only slept with her revenge. But circumstances arise that continue to throw them together and this time it is both of them that want more than they believe the other is willing to give. It takes work and time and lots of caring for them to work out that they love each other and are perfect for each other despite any problems they may have had in the past.
So now I get to go through and detail every sing thing about this book that I loved and I'll start with what made this book so great, and so different from many other romances; the characters. Diana is simply amazing as she is not a simpering virgin, she didn't have a horrible marriage, and she is more experienced sexually than Sebastian. Her desire to marry Blakeney makes sense and I loved reading about her realizing that Sebastian was the man she wanted to be with and how she loved him. Sebastian was even better as he miles apart from the typical romance novel hero as he was a virgin (!!), he was awkward socially and just did not have the confidence and lady killer attitude of so many, and I loved that so much. He is suffering from so many past hurts with what he went through and it really effects his relationship with Diana, but he is able to get through it with her help.
Diana and Sebastian went together very well and really complemented each other perfectly as she had the confidence and he really needed her push to get the ball rolling for them. He did take his revenge a little too far obviously and it really hurt her, but it was all made okay because as their relationship progressed they both realized they had made mistakes and wanted to move past them so they could be with the other. The sex was amazing and super hot, even his first time and when done for revenge purposes, and I enjoyed reading about these two getting together. Diana's obsession with marrying Blakeney in the beginning may seem ridiculous but when taken into account with her having no choice during her first season it made sense to me that she kind of reverted back to her childhood crush and was rather blind to his faults. Secondary characters were a treat as usual, especially Diana's eccentric family.
Rating: Absolutely amazing! I knew I was going to like it right away because Sebastian was just so different from the usual hero and it continually got better.