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Book CoverSandy M’s review of When the Duke was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, Book 1) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance published by Avon 25 Feb 14

Lorraine Heath has done it again. Of course, there was never any doubt in my mind. In this new series, she’s taken on the children of those we’ve come to love in her Scoundrels of St. James series, and as usual her characters immediately throw angst and emotion your way, levying up secrets that cause doubt, all the while paving the way for that love of a lifetime to show them they’re much stronger than they ever realized.

Grace knows it’s time for her to marry, and she’s got scads of suitors to choose from. Why, then, is she hesitating making a choice? She wants an all-consuming love like her parents have, someone who wants her for herself and not that very generous dowry waiting in the wings. But how can she tell who’s true and who’s not? It’s time she found out.

Knowing it might be like spitting in the wind, Grace goes to her friend and first crush, the Duke of Lovingdon. He’s left polite society behind these last two years since the death of his beloved wife and daughter. Now the perfect debauched rake, his drinking and whoring are legendary. It’s the only way, you see, to keep the grief at bay, to make sure no one else can burrow into his heart where there is no room for another to love.

To Grace, who better to ask than this new Lovingdon – perhaps she can also quietly make him see reason to be once again the man who cares about his family and living the life he was meant to. But Lovingdon refuses her request – at first. He has no idea how persistent Grace is in this particular matter, because this is something she simply needs to know, having very good reason in fact – something even Lovingdon doesn’t know about her.

I love a tortured hero, and Lovingdon becomes much more tortured as his feelings for Grace grow through the story. He wants her, he nearly has her a time or two, but he makes himself walk away because he knows he just can’t have her after the love he’s already known. He has not one thing to offer her, and that deep of a love can’t happen again for a man, can it? Grace is about to help him figure that out.

As usual, Lorraine Heath gives readers a fascinating couple who have a history, a wonderful rapport, and a love that is slowly eased out of them to bloom at full impact when it’s least convenient. We also get a glimpse of the original characters who began the entire series and it’s nice to catch up with them. I’m glad Ms. Heath has decided to go this way with a new generation of those sexy and sensuous scoundrels we love to read about.

sandym-iconGrade: A


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. After all, he’s familiar with all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman’s favor. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent how to distinguish honest emotions from false ones. How better than 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…

No excerpt available.