I am an absolute fiend for Sarah MacLean’s historical romances — and by that I mean, this she can not write quickly enough to satisfy me. MacLean has been crafting winning stories since her 2010 debut, complete with witty heroines, sizzling heroes and brilliant repartee. So getting the first look at MacLean’s next novel, Winter 2012’s Rules of Scoundrels book two, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, has me over the moon.

For those who haven’t tried a MacLean yet (I say, because if you read romance, you will try them) it should come as no surprise that these novels are “Gateway Romances,” in the words of RT’s Elissa. Also, “Hi, my name is Whitney and I am a pusher.” I have been known to say oh-so-innocently to absolute strangers, “Have you ever tried a Sarah MacLean?” As though I don’t know that they will be compelled by the gods of romance to read not one but all of this new author’s works. (If Sarah MacLean’s books were junk food, they’d be Pringles, “once you pop, you just can’t stop.”)

Lucky for us, MacLean has been writing at a fast pace. Just this spring the author embarked on the Rules of Scoundrels series, her third in as many years, with A Rogue by Any Other Name. (Yes, titles so clever that you just want to die are one more excellent reason to read Sarah MacLean.) And when it comes to the upcoming One Good Earl, I am already excited. Why’s that you say? Well not only is it a MacLean (aka insta-awesome) but we’ve already met the key players and the author has perfectly set the stage.

Here’s what we know about the story so far: OGEDAL will take place at least in part at The Fallen Angel, the notorious gaming hall started by four men who are determined to make the Regency world bend to their rules. (Don’t you just get shivers?) And this book will be all about Cross, (whose full name is Jasper Arlesey, Earl of Harlow — but he never, ever uses it.) Cross is a brilliant mathematician, the club’s accountant and, in MacLean’s own words, “Cross proves smart is sexy. He has a lightning-fast mind, a wicked tongue, and is always in control. Until Philippa shows up! Oh ... and he can divest a woman of her clothing without the use of his hands.” Is it just me or is it getting hot in here?

Yummy hero aside, we also met this Earl’s heroine in MacLean’s most recent novel, A Rogue by Any Other Name. Philippa Marbury is a glasses-wearing, math-loving blonde with a sassy tongue — making her both a signature MacLean leading lady and exactly how the I like my heroines! (And it’s worth noting that Philippa’s academic bent fits the trend towards scholarly ladies as seen in the latest books by Sherry Thomas and Tessa Dare, as well.) In the very final pages of Rogue, we see this historical Brainy Babe face off against a shirtless and sleep-rumpled Cross in a manner that I know left me — and all the other readers out there — dying to get their hands on this book. Because not only is Philippa very engaged to someone who is very much not Cross, the confrontation ends with Philippa saying, “I require ruination. And I hear you are an expert in the subject.” Right? RIGHT? I know. (Okay, so I’m back to Cross, but really, can you guys blame me? No, no you can’t.)

One look at cover and it’s plain to see that we aren't getting an average heroine. Just look at the dark dress and those glasses! So what does the author think about this cover?

I love everything about this cover — I honestly think it's the most beautiful romance cover I've ever seen.

While the Rules of Scoundrels series is linked together by four fallen heroes who are partners in London's most exclusive casino and princes of the London underground, at their core, my books are heroines' journeys, which the Avon art department has always embraced. I adore the female-only covers (not that the steamy inside covers aren't gorgeous, too!) and One Good Earl Deserves a Lover takes them to the next level.

This cover is all Pippa — the way she stares cheekily right at the reader, as though at any moment she could ask a bizarre question or say something utterly out of context. I love the deep-rich blue and the desk (I mean, when was the last time you saw a romance novel cover with a desk on it?!) and the spectacles!!

This book is dedicated "To girls who wear glasses," and when my editor asked me what I'd like on the cover, I had only one answer — spectacles! I'm so so thrilled that the art department put them in. They play such a big part in the book, and they're perfect here.

- Sarah MacLean

As a girl who wears glasses, I am overjoyed at a heroine who can rock a pair herself. Just one more reason I can't wait for the book's release date. You know that January 29, 2013 is circled in red on my calendar!

So I want to know, what do you think of the latest Rules of Scoundrels cover? Tell me in the comments below. And for more genre coverage be sure to check out RT's Everything Romance Page!

Tags: RT Daily Blog, Romance
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