Today I present the final installment in Lorraine Heath’s Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James series with a review. Please be sure to read the excerpt, don’t forget to check out the other tour stops to see what other readers thought of the book, and enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win a $25 eGift card to the eBook Retailer of your choice.
What is it about the bad boys, the rakes and the seemingly irredeemable that so captures our attention and has readers clamoring for more? Lorraine Heath’s rakes in her Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James are tainted by society’s brush as the rakes and dangers to virtuous young women, wrapping up with a story featuring the very rich Duke of Avendale and the woman that brings him joy in The Duke and the Lady in Red.
The Duke and the Lady in Red
A Duke with wealth to rival the crown, a con artist and a singularly mysterious character that is the impetus for all of the deceit is the major triangle on which this story is built. Lorraine Heath takes her time to gently unfurl each element of the story, giving readers tiny nibbles to whet the appetite and provide plenty to wonder about as you tear through the pages.
Rosalind is using her wits, beauty and ability to read the weaknesses of the people she encounters to gain money for the support of herself and some mystery impetus. Intelligent, resourceful and pragmatic, Rose knows that her own options are limited, so using the few tools she has at her disposal is a logical and profitable choice. A new opportunity arises, and Rose takes the opportunities, entering the Twin Dragons gaming hell, now allowing women admittance. Clad in a stunning red dress, Rose poses as a widow and starts to search for her mark. Avendale is instantly attracted and intrigued, her slight remove, the banter and his inability to have her fawning at his person or jokes makes her unique in the women he encounters.
With the mark chosen, Rose knows that playing this last con to the end could end her career, and set her up with all the money she would need. But, it isn’t long when Avendale realizes her intention to steal, and offers her a bargain: one week with him and she will receive the money she was after, and more. But even that offer brings Avendale a sense of surprise, as Rose sets her own condition: he may not ask her reasons or motivations.
Whit (Avendale) is bored with the same old diversions and silence, and Rose intrigues him like no other. Yes, his bargain is for a week in his bed, but the inherent honor and concern he holds for people that he cares for is a well-hidden but finely honed trait, and one that won’t stay hidden. While their moments together are sensual, he carefully picks his moments to peel back the layers that Rose holds close, and in the process is able to let go of some of his own issues.
From a rather non-traditional business arrangement, to friendship that quickly slides into true regard and love, the gradual unwrapping of each character’s secrets is timed with precision, Heath had me smiling and in tears in equal measure as the truth of Rose’s situation and responsibilities slowly started to come clear. And Whit’s reactions and honest desire to protect, care for and make things better, whether or not Rose accepted his overtures at first showed a determination from both characters that is bone deep in both of them, and one of the many traits that made them the perfect match.
With the reveal of Harry, much of Rose’s protective, secretive and fierce nature then have a reason. What I don’t think anyone expected, although glimpses were seen, was Avendale’s acceptance and the full force of his determination to be all that both Rose and Harry need, as befits both his personality and his position.
I think that as a wrap-up to the trilogy, you can’t get much better. Each book I read from Lorraine Heath has reinforced my love for historic romance. In this series, this is my favorite of the three: intrigue, emotion, intelligence, passion and the palpable relationship between the characters had me reading this book in one sitting.
Title: The Duke and the Lady in Red
Author: Lorraine Heath
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
Published on: 28 April, 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 21 Hours
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Sparks fly in the finale of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place series, as the last wicked rogue meets his match.
When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.
However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.
Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.
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A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.