This is the second book in Ms. Hawkins’ Lords of Vice series, and sometimes second books are a bit of a letdown after a great start by the first out of the gate. Not so in this case. I actually like this book better than the debut of the series, All Night with a Rogue. The characters are intriguing and I really like the storyline behind our hero and, thus, our heroine as it’s unveiled how they are unfortunately connected through tragedy.
Reign is tired of being shunned and gossiped about since his wife’s death years before. Her parents have never believed their daughter accidentally died, that Reign had to have been involved, and they keep the gossip alive. So taking his life back during a ball, a blue-bowed dress catches his fancy. Finally spying the woman and her bows, he finds her in conversation with a nobleman he despises, getting rid of the man in short order to have the beauty to himself.
Nearly losing her sight in an accident when she was very young, Sophia has grown up as normal as possible, considering her disability. Dancing is not one of her favorite things, and when the Earl of Rainecourt ushers her to the dance floor, their encounter goes awry from the beginning. Sophia leaves him behind with a sigh of relief, because of his high-handed behavior and because she knows who he is.
What Reign doesn’t know is Sophia is the lone survivor of the horrible night her parents died at the hands of his father, who then ended his own life. Vowing to keep his distance at his realization, he discovers that’s easier said than done, Sophia is a woman a man just can’t forget.
Unbeknownst to Sohpia, her brother has made marriage arrangements for her, not allowing her to choose her own husband, all to take care of his gambling debts. Refusing to be used in such a way, Sophia turns to Reign instead, the lesser of two evils for her at that point. But that changes very soon.
Reign and Sophia are an intriguing pair. They come together despite their common past, an attraction between them neither can deny. Trust comes early, which is a breath of fresh air, because trust and love usually come very late for heroes and heroines in romance.
Reign thinks he will never marry again, his first wife’s deceit and anger more than enough to entice him to remain single for so long. But Sophia sneaks into his heart before he realizes it; her intelligence and zest for life making him look at her much differently than any other man before. And she just inherently knows he never could have murdered his wife, feels his pain and frustration at how society has viewed him over the incident.
Just when love is in the air, life deals them another blow, and Ms. Hawkins throws in a curve ball you don’t see coming. The intertwining of Reign’s and Sophia’s lives is much more complicated than anyone thought, and it’s a doozy when all is revealed.
TDwtD is a terrific second book in this series. I had it read in a day and then bemoaned the fact it was over. And now waiting for After Dark with a Scoundrel, out sometime next year, is going to be torture.
Few women can resist a man like Gabriel “Reign” Housely, the Earl of Rainecourt. With divine good looks, delectable charms, and delicious wealth, he would seem to be every marriage-minded mother’s dream match for their daughters. But not so, given the mysterious death of his first wife. Fortunately for Gabriel, he has no plans to seriously court any of the London ladies ever again. That is, until he shares one unforgettable dance with a mysterious stranger…
Exquisitely beautiful though decidedly modest, Lady Sophia usually shuns the festive ballrooms of London society. But when a man who calls himself “Reign” enters her life—seemingly from out of nowhere—and shows her true kindness, her wary young heart begins to melt. Of course, Sophia would be shocked to learn the truth about Reign’s past. But when scandal strikes, this devilish stranger may be her only salvation…
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