When the Duke was Wicked is Lorraine Heath’s first book in her brand new series Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James. You should note that this newest series flows with her other series Scoundrels of St. James, in that the main characters are Lady Grace Mabry (Sterling and Frannie’s daughter in Surrender to the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James #3) and Henry, the Duke of Lovingdon (Olivia Stanton’s son in Between the Devil and Desire (scoundrels of St. James #2). This story kicks of the series in a good note since it slowly introduces us to the other scandalous gentlemen that will feature in future books. This is a rather sweet story between childhood friends who grew up together and ultimately fell in love.
The story starts off with an amazing encounter between a naked Henry and Grace in the middle of the night. For me, that scene set the tone for the whole book. Henry, now a widower, has been in a scandalous binge for about two years. Grace, on the other hand, is in a bind and wants Henry to help her pick out a man that is not interested in her dowry alone. Sparks fly between Henry and Grace as Henry tries to stay away from her and refuses to help and Grace, trying to annoy him into helping her.
I loved the seamless way the hero and heroine fell in love with each other. It was not fully drawn out and I love the passion that both possessed. I also love that Henry was a “tortured hero,” blaming himself for his wife and daughter’s deaths and vowing never to fall in love again. I thought that Grace was the perfect independent woman for him, showing him that loving someone, even for a short while was worth it rather than not loving at all.
The only beef I have with this story is that it started off a little weak for me. In fact, I had started reading this book last year and stopped because I wasn’t caught up in the story and it took me a while to warm up to the main characters. However, I am glad that I finished it because the story blew me away in the end. It may not be one of my favorite Heath books but it is a keeper.
Another thing that I want to point out is that I was drawn to the character Drake. He is the boy that Frannie and Sterling took in and raised him as one of their own. He now manages Dodgers (the gaming hell managed by Jack Dodger) and seems to be another tortured soul. I love my scoundrels like that.
I was also naturally drawn to this story because I loved the Scoundrels of St. James series and interested to read about how my favorite characters would be featured in this book. Naturally, we see Olivia, Frannie, Sterling, and Dr. Graves in the book which I really loved.
When the Duke Was Wicked really did start off the series in an awesome tone and I can’t wait for the next!
They are England's most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways . . .
Lady Grace Mabry's ample inheritance has made it impossible for her to tell whether a suitor is in love with her— or enamored of her riches. Who better to distinguish beau from blackguard than her notorious childhood friend, the Duke of Lovingdon?
With no interest in marriage, Lovingdon has long lived only for pleasure. He sees little harm in helping Grace find a proper match. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman's favor— by demonstrating his wicked ways. But as lessons lead to torrid passion and Grace becomes ensnared in another man's marriage plot, Lovingdon must wage a desperate gamble: Open his heart fully—or risk losing the woman he adores . . .