Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant, bluestockinged fifth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, for flora than fashion and for science than the season. Pippa is nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, a man with a large estate and little sense, and interestingly, she doesn’t mind the idea. She can live in the country with her dogs and her experiments, and never see another London season again. But before she heads off for the country, Pippa wants to explore the part of London that she’s never seen--the dark corners, the exciting trysts, the scandalous adventures. Just a taste...and then to the country to live out her days. And she knows just who to ask--the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross. Ask any woman with access to London’s dark corners, and they’ll tell you that Cross is the best sort of lover--equal parts charm and wickedness. They’ll tell you that their cousin’s-friend’s-sister had one magnificent night in his arms, and that he sent her away with a string of jewels and a smile. And they’ll tell you that, as part-owner in The Fallen Angel, Cross knows all about darkness and isn’t afraid to take women there. Like any good scientist, Pippa’s done her research and Cross’s reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion--the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? What Pippa doesn’t know is that while Cross’s reputation may be legendary, it’s unfounded. He hasn’t touched a woman in nine years--a fact that makes him no stranger to temptation. But when this odd, unexpected female propositions him, it’s more than tempting...and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts, and giving the lady precisely what she wants.