Ian Lennard, Viscount St. Clair has a deep dark secret. To escape it, he fled England to become a spy on the continent. Six years later he’s back and on the hunt for a bride so that he can fulfill the stipulations in his father’s will and claim his birthright. (He has to produce an heir before he’s 32). Because of his traumatic past, Ian is very secretive and private. So when he learns that an anonymous gossip columnist, Lord X, has been spreading rumors that he’s taken a mistress, he’s reasonably upset and determines to hunt the man down and make him recant. Imagine his surprise when he finds out Lord X is actually the nom de plum of Felicity Taylor, the struggling sister of four who lives off her meager earnings from the newspaper. There's instant attraction between them, as well as antagonism, and Ian begins pursuing Felicity. She, in turn, wants to know all his secrets. He tells her that he hasn’t taken a mistress, that the woman Felicity chanced to see with him and whom she has accused of being his mistress is no such thing. She doesn’t believe him. The following romance between this two revolves around Ian telling Felicity the truth, Felicity never believing him, and Ian paying for it.Love is blind they say. Because the heroine of this story is awful. There's a fine line between being strong and being a shrew. Felicity Taylor has obviously mistaken the latter for the former and crosses that line again and again until she's long lost to the company of dimwitted, obnoxious, "feisty" heroines I so despise. As a gossip columnist, she brags about puncturing the egos only of those who deserve it, of exposing the sins of spoiled rich men for the greater good of deceived women everywhere - these are all excuses, mere bluster to cover up her unprincipled, selfish, hypocritical, meddlesome, self-righteous, disrespectful, and damaging rumor mongering. She's a silly gossip, a precursor to the parasitic paparazzi, and her efforts to elevate her "job" to some sort of art form or religious vocation are ridiculous. She's so in the wrong, is so unaware, so unrepentant. In short, I can't stand her. Other books have featured writer heroines without resorting to this perversion of the profession. I don’t know why Felicity has to be like this. I’m equally bemused by the fact that I actually enjoyed most of the book. Considering my reaction to Felicity, I know this sounds crazy. But even with such a wretched heroine, Jeffries manages to suck me in with the way she writes this story. Ian is a great guy, and so sexy. Even though I wish he’d bestowed his affections on a worthier partner, there’s still tons of chemistry in their interactions, so that, while I'm reading I don’t let Felicity bother me too much. It’s more in describing her character in retrospect that I start to get really annoyed with her. I have no idea why Ian likes Felicity - she slanders him in print and to his face, preaches to him about her nonexistent good works as a gossiper, judges him when she has absolutely no moral high ground whatsoever and doesn't know anything about him besides her own preconceived notions that he's a philandering rake because she’s convinced that all noblemen are scum, threatens and blackmails him, never admits she's wrong, violates his right to privacy, acts like his secrets and his past are her personal property to exploit, manipulates his friends so they turn against him, breaks up his engagement with her lying column… ugh. It's disgusting. I'm even less pleased when the two heroines from the previous books in this series butt in to join forces with Felicity, speculating about and condescending to Ian, championing and praising Felicity and, worst of all, playing matchmaker (Sara's more the problem here than Emily.) If all this wasn’t bad enough, when Ian proposes to her, she refuses him for the stupidest of reasons. She’s dishonest with him and with herself, playing mind games instead of being an adult. She operates from the premise that everyone is guilty until proven innocent and goes through the whole book demanding that Ian prove himself to her. She’s got a bee in her bonnet about the woman she thinks is his mistress, knows he’s hiding something, and is determined to get this secret out of him if she has to pry it from his cold dead fingers, all while blowing the whole issue up with her speculations and irrational jealousy. He tells her the woman isn't his mistress until he's blue in the face, and even though she has no reason not to believe him, she never listens. But still I tore through much of the book. Maybe I was able to just discredit everything that Felicity says without giving her the consideration she doesn’t deserve, gleefully waiting all along for a delicious comeuppance that will have her groveling at Ian's feet. Sadly, I’m left hoping. And when I realize no comeuppance is forthcoming, my interest wanes. After Ian finally gets Felicity to marry him, the spark goes out of the story. The last 100 or so pages were really hard to plow through. Ian has an evil uncle who’s trying to ruin Ian’s efforts to marry because if Ian fails to produce an heir the estate will go to the uncle. Ian’s dark secret also involves this evil uncle. The unraveling of the secret is a disappointment, given that it entails Felicity getting her way and having Ian grovel at her feet instead of the other way around. At this point, Felicity stops treating Ian like crap and decides she must heal him. There’s irony for you. Once she starts acting decent, it’s far too late for me to care. Poor Ian in turn wants to be a martyr and has an attack of conscience, thinking he’s maltreated Felicity – when he really hasn’t. He tries to give her what he thinks she wants, an annulment. All this would be hilarious if it weren't so maddening. It's no wonder he doubts himself and feels horrible after all her mixed messages and guilt trips. I'm beyond annoyed that he feels the need for self-flagellation, apologizing to Felicity and bending over backwards for her. His deep dark secret comes out, there's a rather awkward resolution that dispenses with the evil villain, and our hero and heroine get to enjoy their happily ever after. I can only regret that Ian has to be stuck with Felicity for the rest of his days. The secondary characters are interesting and entertaining - even Felicity's siblings, which is a shocker for me. I love her servant, Mrs. Box, too. The only woman, besides Lady Brumley, who talks any sense. And Ian is a great hero, a well drawn character who's able to carry the book a lot of the way, but Felicity ultimately sabotages it. Sad.