4 1/2 stars This is such a beautifully crafted story. Courtney Milan is incredibly talented.When I first started this book, I was concerned by the premise that the hero would be set-up to be ruined by the heroine. I don't like mean people. Mean people suck. So I took a deep breath and moved forward, carefully. Well, before i knew it, I had stepped on to a run-a-way train. It was WAY past my bed time and ~sigh~, what a story. Jessica is strong and intelligent but she's always been a man's possession. I loved watching her come to the realization that there are good men. And that Mark respects her and sees her as an equal. Mark is positively appealing. He is truly virtuous. And I don't mean his virginity. I mean his integrity and goodness. It is so sexy and I fell in LOVE.One of my favorite things about Mark is that he's a champion of women. I love the scene when he's speaking to the numb-skull Tolliver and Tolliver says.... "But, Sir Mark! She's wearing scarlet. She made you give up your coat. You can't really believe she's an innocent. She...she could be a fallen women!""There is no such thing as a fallen woman-you just need to look for the man who pushed her"........"When someone falls," Mark said, "you don't throw her back down in the dirt. You offer her a hand up." (I've always resented how nasty "polite society" was to women)Mark and Jessica have an incredible connection and watching their relationship grow was lovely.And when they finally make love, it was perfect!Great read! and I can't wait for Smite's book.