The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

The Perfect Lover (Cynster Series)

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Simon Frederick Cynster has a perfect life — one of enormous wealth and impeccable social status. His lean handsomeness turns the heads of naïve debutantes, while his sensual allure ensures he never lacks for more sophisticated partners for a night of pleasure.

However, Simon accepts that he must find a wife to achieve true contentment. Someone who will spend her days as a member of one of England's most influential families...and her nights pursuing duties of a more private nature.

So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Hall...and is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest is Portia Ashford. Simon has never considered Portia as a potential wife, but a heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. As Simon and Portia begin to explore the depths of their mutual passion a shocking murder is committed, and it appears that the next victim will be Portia herself...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060877293
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/07/2006
Series: Cynster Series , #10
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.

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The Perfect Lover

Chapter One

Late July, 1835.
Near Glossup Hall, by Ashmore, Dorset.

"Hell and the devil!" Simon Cynster reined in his bays, his eyes narrowing on the ridge high above Ashmore village. The village proper lay just behind him; he was headed for Glossup Hall, a mile farther along the leafy country lane.

At the rear of the village cottages, the land rose steeply; a woman was following the path winding up the berm of what Simon knew to be ancient earthworks. The views from the top reached as far as the Solent, and on clear days even to the Isle of Wight.

It was hardly a surprise to see someone heading up there.

"No surprise she hasn't anyone with her, either." Irritation mounting, he watched the dark-haired, willowy, ineffably graceful figure steadily ascend the rise, a long-legged figure that inevitably drew the eye of any man with blood in his veins. He'd recognized her instantly -- Portia Ashford, his sister Amelia's sister-in-law.

Portia must be attending the Glossup Hall house party; the Hall was the only major house near enough from which to walk.

A sense of being imposed upon burgeoned and grew.

"Damn!" He'd yielded to the entreaties of his longtime friend James Glossup and agreed to stop by on his way to Somerset to support James through the trials of the house party. But if Portia was going to be present, he'd have trials enough of his own.

She reached the crest of the earthworks and paused, one slender hand rising to hold back the fall of her jet-black hair; lifting her face to the breeze, she stared into the distance, then, letting her hand fall, gracefully walked on, following the path to the lookout, gradually descending until she disappeared from sight.

She's no business of mine.

The words echoed in his head; God knew she'd stated the sentiment often enough, in various phrasings, most far more emphatic. Portia was not his sister, not his cousin; indeed, she shared no blood at all.

Jaw firming, he looked to his horses, took up the slack in the reins --

And inwardly cursed.

"Wilks -- wake up, man!" Simon tossed the reins at his groom, until then dozing behind him. Pulling on the brake, he stepped down to the road. "Just hold them -- I'll be back."

Thrusting his hands into his greatcoat pockets, he strode for the narrow path that led upward, ultimately joining the path from the Hall that Portia had followed up the rise.

He was only buying himself trouble -- a sniping match at the very least -- yet leaving her alone, unprotected from any wastrel who might happen along, was simply not possible, not for him. If he'd driven on, he wouldn't have had a moment's peace, not until she returned safe and sound to the Hall.

Given her propensity for rambling walks, that might not happen for hours.

He wouldn't be thanked for his concern. If he survived without having his ego prodded in a dozen uncomfortable places, he'd count himself lucky. Portia had a tongue like a double-edged razor -- no way one could escape being nicked. He knew perfectly well what her attitude would be when he caught up with her -- precisely the same as it had been for the past decade, ever since he'd realized she truly had no idea of the prize she was, the temptation she posed, and was therefore in need of constant protection from the situations into which she blithely sailed.

While she remained out of his sight, out of his orbit, she was not his responsibility; if she came within it, unprotected, he felt obliged to watch over her, to keep her safe -- he should have known better than to try to fight the urge.

Of all the females he knew, she was unquestionably the most difficult, not least because she was also the most intelligent, yet here he was, trudging after her despite his certain reception; he wasn't at all sure what that said of his intelligence.

Women! He'd spent the entire drive west considering them. His great-aunt Clara had recently died and left him her house in Somerset. The inheritance had served as a catalyst, forcing him to review his life, to rethink his direction, yet his unsettled state had a more fundamental genesis; he'd finally realized what it was that gave his older cousins and his sisters' husbands their purpose in life.

The purpose he lacked.

Family -- their own branch of it, their own children -- their own wife. Such things had never seemed critical before; now they loomed as vital to his life, to his satisfaction with his lot.

A scion of a wealthy, wellborn family, he had a comfortable lot in life, yet what worth comfort against the lack of achievement he now felt so acutely? It wasn't his ability to achieve that was in question -- not in his mind, nor, he'd warrant, in any other -- but the goal, the need, the reason; these were the necessities he lacked.

Crucial necessities for a satisfying life for such as he.

Great-aunt Clara's legacy had been the final prod; what was he to do with a rambling country house if not live in it? He needed to get himself a wife and start building the family he required to give his life its true direction.

He hadn't accepted the notion meekly. For the past ten years, his life had been well run, well ordered, with females intruding in only two arenas, both entirely under his control. With countless discreet liaisons behind him, he was a past master at managing -- seducing, enjoying, and ultimately disengaging from -- the wellborn matrons with whom he habitually dallied. Other than that, the only females he consorted with were those of his own family. Admittedly, within the family, they ruled, but as that had always been the case ...

The Perfect Lover. Copyright © by Stephanie Laurens. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents


A Letter from Stephanie Laurens
If you love historical romances with dynamic characters, sensual delights, and captivating situations, you won't want to miss The Perfect Lover by New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens -- the latest in a long line of wonderful romances about the wealthy, well-born, powerful Cynster family. Here's what the talented creator of this pedigreed clan has to say about The Perfect Lover, her future plans for the Cynster family, and her Bastion Club series.

Dear Heart to Heart Readers,

I'm delighted to announce the latest addition to the Cynster novels: The Perfect Lover. This book tells the tale of Simon Cynster, the younger brother of the twin sisters I wrote about in the paperback duo On a Wild Night and On a Wicked Dawn. Simon is the youngest male Cynster of the mostly Regency-era "Bar Cynster" generation I've been writing about. Although he was never a member of that notorious crew, Simon is nevertheless a Cynster to his toes. As his bachelor days roll on, he increasingly feels the need to establish his own branch of the family tree. But, to establish a family, he needs a wife….

Fate lends a hand, first in the guise of Simon's recently deceased Great Aunt Clara, who delivers a prod from beyond the grave in the form of property of his own. Her posthumous contribution is abetted in the here-and-now by that terror of the ton, the inimitable Lady Osbaldestone. It's courtesy of her ladyship that Portia Ashford, heretofore the bane of Simon's existence, is present at a house party he has to attend. Wherever Portia and Simon are together, sparks, confusion, and unexpected discoveries are bound to fly.

Compelled, as always, to keep a protective eye on Portia, Simon discovers she's set on embarking on some wild scheme -- one that involves assessing gentlemen, although for what she refuses to tell him. Unknown to Simon, Portia has reached her own emotional watershed. She wants children of her own, and for that she's decided she needs a husband. But she is determined to find a gentleman who won't expect her to be meek, mild, and all the other things she's not. In her typical fashion, she draws up a list and sets out to find a gentleman to meet her exacting standards….

Needless to say, both Simon and Portia find what they are seeking in the one place they'd never thought to look.

Then a murderer strikes, and the house party is plunged into a round of suspicions and revelations. Before Simon and Portia can grasp the future that beckons, they must unmask the killer and prevent him from removing Portia, not just from Simon's arms, but from this world.

While The Perfect Lover completes the stories of the male Cynsters of Simon's generation, there are five female Cynsters whose stories have yet to be told, and five male Cynster-in-laws who need to be accounted for. The next five Cynster novels will tell their stories and offer glimpses of familiar Cynster connections and their young families.

And there's other exciting news! Alternating with those Cynster novels will come novels of a new series. These are stories of another group of gentlemen in Regency England. Finding themselves transformed by circumstance into sitting targets for matchmaking mamas, they form a private club to enable them to select and secure wives of their own choosing. The prologue for the first Bastion Club novel is included in the back of The Perfect Lover. The first book in the series, The Lady Chosen, will be released in the fall of 2003.

Happy Reading,
Stephanie Laurens

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Perfect Lover (Cynster Series) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
apollard More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Laurens always spins a good if predictable story. She needs to put down her thesaurus though. Interdigitated? Perspicaciousness? Big words aren't bad, but let's stick within the realm of words that are actually used, please.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1835 though he is wealthy, belongs to a very prominent family, and can score with just about any female he chooses, Simon Frederick Cynster believes it is time to marry. He has no one in mind, but Simon feels that the right loving wife would fill the hole in his soul. However, he also knows he must not announce his intentions to the Ton or he will face an unending queue of wannabe wives. Simon stealthily begins his quest at a house party, but is amazed to find childhood friend Portia Ashford as the best candidate. He becomes further convinced when they share a kiss that stirs his blood. He had never seen Portia in that light, but now all he must do is persuade her that marriage to him will not destroy her vaunted independence. He begins his campaign to win her love while she surprises herself by coveting more of his kisses. However, a murder occurs with the evidence pointing towards Portia probably being the next victim unless Simon can work the Cynster magic and keep his beloved safe. Fans of the Cynster series will appreciate the tenth tale starring a charming couple. The story line contains much of the magic of the previous novels, but that is a two edged sword. The plot is exciting with plenty of intrigue and a fine lead duo, but also tends to leave long time readers having trouble delineating Simon from previous heroes such as Lucifer (see ALL ABOUT LOVE). Still Stephanie Laurens continues to rock readers with her newest strong historical romance, THE PERFECT LOVER. Harriet Klausner
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Bri: The Perfect Lover was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Having read all the previous Cynster novels by Mrs. Laurens, this one didn't let me down in the least. While the overall formula of rake must fight his own fears of love and convince the girl to marry him was there, the characters made it decisively different. Portia Ashford and Simon Cynster, the last available Cynster, have been friends since birth. Both intelligent, prideful and stubborn they have played the games of dueling tongues for a decade. While Simon has a reputation for being, a rake and Portia a woman against marriage, choosing to spend her time on personal endeavors instead of trolling the ton that is until work in an orphanage helps her see the desire of family. Attending Lady O, a character I always loved, a saucy, wise, revered woman of the ton, Portia decides to test her husband assessing abilities at a country party. Simon a family friends just happens to be attending at the same time. As sparks fly, and Simon always the protector, assumes his role only motivated in a different way murder and fear threaten Portia before either can decide what they feel. Portia was different in this one in that she is extremely independent and intelligent to a fault. Over analyzing everything. Simon on the other hand isn't the domineering conqueror of his previous Cynster sires. Oh the instinct is the there, but having been surrounded strong females Simon's character rightly evolves with those influences and patiently waits for Portia to figure it out. A must read, enjoyed it greatly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the first few but a great book overall. If you love the Cynster series this will fit right in.
Aline92706 More than 1 year ago
You read one of the Cynster series you want to read all of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished On A Wild Night and can't wait for The Perfect Lover! I have heard it is incredible. Write faster, Stephanie!!
van_stef on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing. What else can I say.
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RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Good book and great series!!  Recommend very highly!!
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The best of her books and the best of the Cynster series. Too bad the author could not keep maintaining such excellence. A
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limhall4u3 More than 1 year ago
I own all Stephanie's books . Anyone interested in the historical romance genre would be wise to pick up any and all of her books . I liked watching the grown up Simon Finally catch his mate !!!!
remoe More than 1 year ago
it was a different type of love store very enjoyable a must read
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