The story begins at a house party at the Duke of Hampton’s country seat, hosted by the duke’s son, the Marquis of Blakeney. For the widowed Diana, Lady Fanshawe, it's the ideal setting to finally fix the interest of the marquis, with whom she has been infatuated since girlhood. The gentleman whose interest she does attract, however, is Blakeney’s cousin Sebastian Iverley, a bookish and misogynistic recluse of no social graces whatsoever who is only at the house to conduct research in the library and who is deeply irritated by the guests. The situation strikes Diana and Blakeney as funny, and they enter a bet on whether Diana can get Sebastian to kiss her. Diana almost instantly regrets the bet, but feeling honor-bound to carry on and more than half-fascinated with Sebastian, she encourages him until he seizes the moment for a remarkable kiss. Unfortunately, he overhears his cousin talking of the bet and leaves, hurt and confirmed in his prejudices. A few months later Sebastian arrives in London as the new Viscount Iverley. With the help of his two best friends, he acquires a new wardrobe and some polish as it’s his plan to make Diana fall in love with him, then reject her in turn, and break her heart.
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Grade: B+Check Review