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

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Number, #1) - Sarah MacLean 3.5-4 starsThis was a fun book, and while it might fall into the "spinster throws caution to the wind" category of the romance genre, I found it highly entertaining. My main complaint would be how quickly the physical relationship ratchets up... then again, our Heroine is all of 27-28 years old!But I love the "meet cute" between Ralston and Callie (Calpurnia). It's when she's 18 and feeling rather outcast at a ball during her 1st Season. She's sulking a bit in the garden near a maze, when she realizes that this tall, dark, handsome gentleman is also on that garden bench. He tells her wonderful things - charming things, even letting referring to her as an "emperess", due to her being named after a Roman emperess. Just as she begins to develop a huge crush on this guy, he enters the maze, and she discovers that he's meeting an inamorta. Callie thinks that Ralston was only saying those things to her in order to remove her and get to his assignation.Fast forward 10 years, and Callie's still a spinster. She thinks she's too high on the shelf for love, and after her youngest sister becomes engaged to a highly titled young man (and it's a love match), Callie becomes tired of the usual comments about how unfortunate her own Seasons were... blah, blah, blah. I commiserate with Callie, as any woman would who didn't marry before the age of 25. Callie's brother (also unmarried), the earl, basically challenges her to stop being the all-too-perfect woman and start grabbing life by the horns. So Callie makes a list of the nine things that she'd love to do - things that no proper lady would even think of. The top of the list is Kiss Someone - Passionately. And after having had a sherry or two with her brother, Bennie, Callie decides there's no time like the present. She whisks off to Ralston's house, and ends up in his bedchambers as he's playing the piano. Ralston is so intrigued by this perfect-miss's presence, that he does kiss her - passionately. Ralston's never before known half-sister, Juliana, has just shown up on his doorstep, and Ralston needs a lady of impeccable breeding and reputation to mentor Julianna, so that J will be accepted by English society. Because, you see, Ralston's mother left Ralston, his twin Nick, and their father and ran off to Italy, where she managed to remarry an Italian merchant, have Julianna, and then leave J and her father, too.But neither Ralston nor Callie understand the bargain they've just made. And we, the readers, get the joy of watching these two people who'd seem least likely to fall in love do just that.It's a whirlwind ride, and one that reminds me a lot of Julia Quinn's Regency romances. Fun, fun, fun! (And quite steamy!)