I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath
Also in this series: When the Duke Was Wicked, Once More, My Darling Rogue
Series: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #3
Published by Avon on April 28th 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
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.
When Rosalind Sharpe sees the Duke of Avendale, she knows he will be the perfect target for her next con. However she can’t resist the desire he brings out in her, which she has never felt before. From their first meeting, sparks ignited, and an instant attraction was there, but Avendale is determined to make sure Rosalind stays with him for however long he wants. He knows she is keeping secrets, just like he has secrets he keeps deeply buried, but there is something more to Rose than he expected and he is drawn to her in a way that makes him feel energized and full of life, the first woman who hasn’t bored him in the longest time. But when he gives her a sum of money to help pay off her debts and he finds her attempting to flee in the night, he is furious, and catches her and gives her a proposition spend one week in his bed or he will report her to Scotland Yard. Then as secrets begins to unravel and he learns the truth of her past and who she is trying to protect, he will prove to her that their love is stronger than any fear or secrets she may possess…
The Duke of Avendale, is the son of Winnie from the “Last Wicked Scoundrel” who married the infamous Dr. William Graves from the Scoundrel of St. James series. We learn some unique things about him that connect with that book. So if you have read it…you will understand his character, and when his “secrets” are revealed you see why he is who he is, a scoundrel and rake and lover of all things scandalous. He is a bit of a rebellious sort, he refuses to let himself love at all. He has a shield around his heart, because of an event that happened in his past that shielded him off from emotion and from his mother and step father. He has a close bond to his friends. He is loyal and dedicated, and has a heart of compassion that is hidden beneath a tough exterior of raw sensuality. He was quite a great hero, because at the beginning you just see you average wicked scoundrel, but then you start to see a deeper side to him…and what a hero he is….everything you need or want in one.
Rosalind Sharpe is not your normal average heroine, in fact especially in the beginning, she is quite the cunning and deceitful heroine…and I didn’t know how much I was going to like her in the beginning, and at first you know she is hiding quite a bit of herself and her past, but you also see that she is doing it for a good reason. That she wouldn’t sacrifice her integrity for something so small as money…that there has to be another reason…and boy is there ever. But no worries I refuse to divulge on the reason…because in all honesty the mystery of it is part of what makes this story superb. I kept guessing on the reason and who she was doing it for…and it definitely blew me away. What we see is a woman who has had to sacrifice many part of herself for someone she loves and will do anything for. She is sassy yet sweet, passionate and in need of love and affection. You see how she just thrives on what Avendale gives her, but you also see how she gives as much as she gets….she will do anything to protect those she loves. There is a poignancy to her.
Plot and Story Line
The Duke and Lady in Red is the third book of this latest series by Lorraine Heath. If you have yet to read this series yet, but have read her previous “Scoundrels of St. James” series…this is a series you have to pick up. Because this series is focused on their children and the stories that they have. I am not sure if this is the last book (it might be which saddens me because what fun it is reconnecting with all of these characters). It starts off at the Dodgers Club, but there is a little kick to this club…they are inviting women to be included….to drink ,gamble and taste in other certain delights. And this is the location where our hero and heroine meet for the first time and begin a passionate affair. Avendale is on the hunt for something fresh and new, and is quite bored with his current lifestyle. And he knows that Rose is his ticket to becoming alive again. Then we get to see a part of Rose, her character is stand offish at first, but then it turns into something more when you sense the secret that she is hiding…the kicker of the story is that you don’t know WHO it is. We know his name “Harry” and what a side character…one of my all time favorites. And then once you see the truth revelaed…this is where Avendale shows his true colors, and I grew to love him even more. But then I warn you that the story doesn’t end there…nope, this is where you will need a box of tissues. Before I had picked this one up, I had heart I might need one….but I didn’t believe how emotional it would get…I don’t know why I was so surprised how much I cried in this story….since Lorraine Heath is at the helm of the story, but still…it shook me to the core.
I’m so skilled at convincing people of lies, but I don’t know how to convince you of the truth. I love you with all my heart and all of my soul. I will love you until I draw my last breath.
I still am having aftershocks just thinking about it. It overwhelmed me in ways I didn’t see, and the love story is quite intense at times, and I couldn’t put this down once you learn certain truths, and these characters…oh my…they felt so vivid and real to me, I almost felt I could touch them, and the plot this author weaves for us is precious, engaging and intensely emotional.
What a beautiful cover….and I just had to share the stepback..because isn’t that just beautiful. I just love the vivid red colors and the white background…and the rose on the bench beside the heroine…definitely has significance.
What a beautifully written story to tug at your heart-strings from beginning to end. A tale that is weaved with emotion, engaging characters, a sensual setting, and a love story to remember! HEARBREAKINGLY ROMANTIC!!