Book 4 in the Cynster series - or Book 5 if, like me, you count The Promise in a Kiss as Book 1 - features Vane's younger brother Harry, known as Demon. After seeing three of his fellow Bar Cynster members happily chained in marriage, Harry knows that he'll be next if the women in his family have anything to do with it. So he decamps to his stud at Newmarket, a place where he's very sure he won't encounter any marriageable women.
A new jockey at his stables catches his attention - the jockey's bottom, in particular. It's not a man's rear. And he's right: the jockey is actually Felicity Parteger, the ward of his nearest neighbour. She's investigating a race-fixing scandal - the obligatory Laurens A-plot and this time, thankfully, one which doesn't take over the story. The last time Harry - Demon (I really think these nicknames are silly!) - saw Felicity, she was in pigtails and still obviously a teenager. Now, she's 20 to his 31, and she's beautiful. Not only is she beautiful, but he's attracted to her.
To my relief, this story proceeds a little differently to the four earlier books. Harry actually *fights* his attraction to Felicity - Flick, as he calls her - and he doesn't propose until almost half-way through the book. Very sensibly, Flick turns him down. She's been in love with Harry all her life, but she knows that he doesn't love her. He proposes for reasons to do with propriety and also, as she knows, because he finds her attractive. But she will only marry for love.
How their courtship develops, against the backdrop of the A-plot and, eventually, the London season and the rest of Harry's family, is generally well-told. This time, Laurens develops the romance steadily and well, instead of marrying her characters off in the first half of the book and thus taking away any romantic suspense. This is *definitely* an improvement on the earlier books, and I really felt as if I was reading a love story.
I also liked Flick a lot. She's an independent young woman with a mind of her own, and she's determined not to be pushed around by Demon. She has a sense of humour and intelligence coupled with innocence, but she won't let Demon use his greater experience and age to get the better of her. One of Laurens' better heroines so far.
But there's still the unanswered question of how Laurens' heroines manage to escape pregnancy while they're blithely and happily having sex with their men before marriage.
Laurens' choice of nickname for her hero here led to a lot of distracting repetitions, too: "Demon leashed his demons..." and similar phrases occur throughout. And she *really* needs to look up 'disinterest' in a dictionary. It does *not* mean 'lack of interest'; it refers to a state of non-involvement or objectivity.