I'd really, really love to give this book a better rating, but I can't. 1. Because it reminds too much of other books I've read where the Heroine is completely wild and passionate and the Hero is completely repressed but wants the Heroine so badly that he finally sees the light. At the very end of the book.2. Because even in the world of romantic "historical" romance, this book goes way outside the boundaries of belief. We don't have to just suspend belief, we have to completely suspend our disbelief, too. With two people like Simon and Julianna and with the situation set up by the author, there is NO WAY that these two people can ever, ever be together and have any sort of HEA. Not even because he's a duke. We get a taste of "reality" at the end, where Simon is completely cut by the Beau Monde at a ball. This would be their life, and it wouldn't be pretty. Not even if they didn't care, because their children and family would pay the price. Forever. And Simon's sister, Georgiana's actions of "selling" her true-story to the London papers was so unreal... Sorry.I like Julianna. And I like Simon, even though he's been a repressed jerk throughout this entire series. But we find out why... and so, dear readers, we're supposed to feel sorry for him, and no longer hold him accountable for his actions. Hmmm. Because he "sees the light" when Julianna forces it upon him. Hmmm.There's so much sexual tension between these two, it sizzles off the page. She's made him a bet that in 2 weeks, she can show him how dull his passionless life is. And he's going along with that bet, against his better judgement. Simon is intent on making a solid, respectable match with a dull English lady before the news of his sister Georgiana's pregnancy and the birth of her child hits. He hasn't much time, although since there's several months lapse between this book and the 2nd book, we have to wonder what the heck he's been doing all this time! Why NOW is it so urgent? Why did he wait until Georgiana is about to have the child. And WHY and HOW would the news get back to London anyway? Georgiana is in seclusion/hiding way up in Yorkshire; and no one at Minerva house will break the news. So why is Simon so convinced that everyone will hear? And censure him and his family for it? Surely there are scandals in other families; the Ralstons seem to have enough rank within the nobility to have weathered their storms. Why not the Duke of Disdain? Or is it for that very reason that Simon is sure this horrid scandal will ruin him and his family: because he's been among those who've condemned and cut others with similar or lesser scandals? There's a lesson in there somewhere....The beginning and even the middle of this book is wonderful. It's when we pass the 2/3rds mark that it all falls apart. Since Ralston (the eldest) and Nick both know about Georgiana (Nick lives with Isabella at Minerva House for goodness sakes!), they should understand why Simon is pursuing Lady Penelope. I guess for whatever reason, Ralston doesn't see what's happening in front of him: that Simon and Julianna are falling in love. And that surprises me, because Ralston's not that dumb; nor is Callie (his wife) or her sister Marianna. But somehow, no one knows....When the mother who left Ralston, Nick, and eventually Julianna returns to Society with a bang - she interrupts a dinner party at Ralston House and basically announces that Julianna is illegitimate - all hell breaks loose, even more than it's already done. Because Julianna has been so hurt by this woman, and now she's been crushed. Because Julianna fears that she's just like her mother, and her mother is intent on making it so. This particular blow is more than Julianna can recover from in polite Beau Monde Society. So Julianna runs away to Minerva House, only to discover that Simon is there.I wish that the author hadn't painted her characters into such a corner! I realize she's trying to say that Love Conquers All, and show us that Simon's reputation means nothing to him. Except we all know that's not the Real World. If only the author had made it possible for the "scandal" of Georgiana to be overcome... or shown for the small scandal that it would be... if only she hadn't brought back the Mother... if only she hadn't completely broken Simon and Julianna. But she did. And because she did, I can't like this book AT ALL.It makes me suspect this author and her other books... I feel as if I've experienced a heartbreak, too. And because the author seems to have borrowed from other plots to create this book (and those books managed to find a way around their "scandal" without breaking everyone and everything), I have to say I can't applaud her "unique" contribution. She could have done the job and her characters much more justice and given her readers a far better story.