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After Dark with a Scoundrel: Lords of Vice
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After Dark with a Scoundrel: Lords of Vice

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by Alexandra Hawkins

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Young, tender, and highly impressionable, Lady Regan can’t help but be intrigued by her brother’s wayward friends—the wickedly charming Lords of Vice. One man in particular, the dashing Lord Hugh Mordare  (known simply as “Dare” among the ton), utterly captivates her—in spite of his reputation as a notorious womanizer.


Young, tender, and highly impressionable, Lady Regan can’t help but be intrigued by her brother’s wayward friends—the wickedly charming Lords of Vice. One man in particular, the dashing Lord Hugh Mordare  (known simply as “Dare” among the ton), utterly captivates her—in spite of his reputation as a notorious womanizer. But when she steals an innocent kiss from Dare, Regan is swiftly packed off to boarding school, safely away from danger…and desire.

Five years later, Regan returns—a proper lady and ravishing beauty. Miss Swann’s Academy for Young Ladies has taught her how to behave in polite society. But all the training in the world cannot extinguish her love for Dare. Now, she hopes to beat the master of seduction at his own game—by daring Dare to love her in return. This time, both of their hearts are on the line…and winner takes all.

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St. Martin's Press
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Lords of Vice Series , #3
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After Dark with a Scoundrel

By Alexandra Hawkins

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 Alexandra Hawkins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9234-3


London, August 1, 1817

"What say you, Regan: red, white, or green fire?"

Fifteen-year-old Lady Regan Bishop pursed her lips together as she studied the open book. "Why settle for one when we could have them all?" She tapped the left page with a grimy finger. "However, according to the book we should focus on making each skyrocket in a separate batch. There will be less risk of a disastrous outcome or some such nonsense."

"Utter rot," Christopher Courtland, Earl of Vanewright, said cheerfully. "I have done this dozens of times, and I still possess all of my limbs."

Eight years older, Vane, as he was called by family and friends, treated Regan as an equal and fellow member of the Lords of Vice rather than a troublesome younger sister who always seemed to be underfoot. It mattered little to her that her older brother, Frost, Earl of Chillingsworth, was the true member of Nox, the notorious gentlemen's club situated at 44 King Street between Covent Garden and the clubs of St. James.

With the exception of Frost, the members of the Lords of Vice were the closest thing Regan had to family. Her father had perished in a hunting accident when she was a mere babe, and her eccentric mother had abandoned her young children several years later when she ran off with her lover.

"Why do you encourage her?" Hunter, the Duke of Huntsley, demanded, observing Regan's and Vane's efforts from a respectable distance. He bit into the crisp flesh of the apple in his hand and chewed. "Frost will happily murder you if you blow up his sister."

"No one wants your surly opinion, Your Grace," Regan said loftily.

She cast a glance in Hunter's direction and stifled a giggle. Nicolas Towers, Duke of Huntsley, was a handsome devil with his long dark hair and amber eyes. If a lady was unaware of the duke's wicked appetites, she might foolishly have mistaken him for a chivalrous knight. However, Regan knew the gent better than most. Hunter was no fair lady's knight, but rather a sorcerer who seemed to seduce women with his voice alone.

Unimpressed with such skills, Regan sniffed. Long ago, she had decided that she preferred white knights over sorcerers. "You are welcome to join us if you like."

"I must respectfully decline your generous offer, my dear girl." Hunter gestured with the apple toward the two wooden buckets of water at his feet. "I am merely on hand to put out any fires. The last time I assisted the mad chemist, his antics burned the hair off my left arm."

Regan laughed, recalling the incident. "You singed your fine frock coat and eyebrows, too," she reminded him gleefully.

"Best you remember my fate." Hunter waggled his dark eyebrows at her. "You would look like a plucked goose without all that pretty hair on your head."

"Do not listen to him," Vane said, delivering his sneer over his right shoulder before his attention returned to the canisters arranged on the table. "What color should we start with, Regan?"

She dismissed Hunter's snort with a graceful wave of her hand. "Red," she said decisively to Vane.

"Sticks or without?"

Regan glanced up from the array of canisters and bowls scattered on the table and met Vane's clear blue-green gaze. "What do you recommend?"

"Sticks," he said, reaching for the canister of powdered sulfur. "Less work and it will keep His Grace from pissing his drawers."

Hunter tossed his apple core at his friend, hitting the young earl on the right shoulder. "You should have a care with your language, Vane. You are in the presence of a lady."

Regan fluttered her lashes at Vane. She raised her voice an octave and said, "Almighty hellfire, Lord Vanewright, do have a care. Such coarse language will cause me to collapse with a fretful case of vapors!"

Both Regan and Vane laughed. Even Hunter smiled ruefully at the outrageous suggestion that a few impolite words would cause Regan to swoon. She was made of sterner stuff than most of the silly ladies of the ton. With Frost as her reluctant guardian, Regan had been practically raised by the members of the Lords of Vice.

While her upbringing might be considered unconventional by most, Regan had reveled in her freedom. She had learned something from each gentleman. From Frost, she had learned much about the world. He had also taught her how to articulate her views in a forthright manner that would make most ladies blush. Hunter shared his appreciation of prime horseflesh, and Vane, his love of chemistry and his penchant for playing with fire. Sin, the Marquess of Sinclair, taught her to fence. Reign, Earl of Rainecourt, taught her how to avoid a fist, which he often teased her was likely to be a regular occurrence because of her cheekiness, while Saint, the Marquess of Sainthill, honed her gaming skills. And finally, there was Dare, or Lord Hugh, as he was called by his family. The second son of the Duke of Rhode had shared his afternoons with her, teaching her how to fish and swim when she was younger.

To her great disappointment, Dare had abruptly ended their private adventures two years earlier after he had declared her a proficient swimmer.

Regan discreetly glanced down at the gentle curves of her breasts beneath her drab brown dress, and hid her knowing smile. As much as she missed those lazy afternoons by the lake, she was secretly pleased that Dare had finally noticed that she was no longer a little girl.

Or a sister.

Unfortunately, she was uncertain how to proceed with the stubborn gentleman. How could she entice Dare into courting her, if he was deliberately avoiding her? With her thoughts centered on Dare, Regan absently reached for the marble pestle.

"Regan ... watch out!" Hunter shouted, stirring from his slouched position.

The warning came too late, as Regan's hand collided with the glass-and-brass lamp. Hot oil and flame splashed into several bowls, creating a brilliant, blinding flash of white.

Regan screamed, staggering backward away from the shriveling heat as the table became engulfed in flames. Her throat closed up on her as the black smoke threatened to steal the remaining air from her lungs. She felt strong hands catch her and drag her away from the building conflagration, while Vane and several servants frantically tried to extinguish the fire before it destroyed Nox's kitchen.

"Are you hurt?" Hunter shouted at her, sliding his hands roughly over her as he searched for hidden injuries. He lightly tapped her on the cheek when she did not respond to his queries. "Regan!"

"I am well," Regan snapped, attempting to untangle her arms from his unyielding hold. "I am — odds bodkins!" Her words were slurred as she swayed.

To Regan's utter dismay, she slumped into a very ladylike faint.

* * *

Dare stuck his head out the coach window and eyed the commotion on King Street with impatience. He withdrew and pounded on the trapdoor to get his coachman's attention. When the small door slid open, he asked, "What can you see from your perch, Cager?"

The coachman coughed. "A fire, milord. The air is fouled with smoke, and I just caught sight of the fire brigade's pump. It appears we've missed most of the excitement. A damn shame if you ask me."

Bloody hell! It was the perfect ending to a spectacularly awful day. Always the dutiful son, Dare had paid his respects to his father as was expected of him, and the afternoon had quickly disintegrated into a debacle with the appearance of his older brother and his wife.

"Can you tell which building was ablaze?" His friends were going to be disappointed if Madame Venna's brothel had been burned to the ground by a careless patron.

The coachman's face filled the opening. "I daresay it might be Nox, milord."

With a muttered oath on his lips, Dare kicked open the door and leaped from the coach. He pushed his way through the crowd that had congregated on the street. As he approached Nox, he noticed the narrow black column of smoke that was sluggishly rising from the back of the building.

Dare broke through the crowd and circled until he saw what remained of Nox's kitchen. What had happened during his absence?

Where the hell is everyone?


His head snapped to the left, and there he saw Vane, Hunter, and Saint crouched down with Frost's sister sitting on the ground between them.


As he hurried toward his friends, his blue-gray eyes narrowed on the slender young lady, noting the charred holes in her ugly dress and the caked soot marring her too-pale complexion. "What happened?"

Regan's vivid blue eyes gleamed with unshed tears. "It is my fault," she said, her voice husky from the smoke. "I was careless."

"Oh, someone was careless, indeed," Dare said, shooting an angry glance at his friends. "What started the fire?"

"A slight mishap with fireworks," Vane said, the casual, almost amused tone in his voice attaching little importance to the seriousness of the incident.

Dare grabbed Vane and backed him against the nearest tree. "You call this a slight mishap? Christ, man, you almost blew up Frost's sister!"

Behind him, Regan slowly climbed to her feet with Saint's assistance. "Dare, leave Vane alone. He was not responsible for the fire. If you feel the need to throttle someone, it should be me. I was the one who knocked over the oil lamp." She covered her mouth with her dirty hand and moaned.

At the faint sound of distress, Dare released Vane and walked toward Regan. The misery in her eyes was eloquent as her tears cut muddy tracks down her face. When he gently pried her hand away from her mouth, she cried, "Oh, God, Frost is going to kill me!"

"Do not fret, sweet. If you are unhurt, your brother will only maim Vane for his foolishness."

Dare caught Regan in his arms as she swayed. He swept her up and held her slender body tightly against his chest. "How bad is the damage?" he asked, directing his question to Hunter.

The duke gestured at the partially burned kitchen. "Not as bad Vane deserves for his recklessness. The kitchen will have to be rebuilt, but the rest of Nox is solid. The gambling resumed the moment the smoke cleared from the main rooms."

Dare gave his friends an exasperated look. "Then why is Regan sitting in the mud?" He whirled about and headed for the front of the club. "Has anyone sent word to Frost?"

"I asked them not to," Regan murmured into his coat.

Dare grunted at the news. His friends would have ignored Regan's request and sent for Frost. Regan would not appreciate the men's high-handed actions, but Frost was her guardian. He deserved to know what had happened.

Dare nodded to Berus as he walked through the front door and headed for the stairs. If the steward of Nox had thought it odd that Dare was carrying Frost's sister, he was polite enough to keep his mouth shut.

"Do you require assistance, milord?"

Find Frost, Dare mouthed silently to Berus. "Lady Regan requires some privacy while she recovers from her mishap," he went on aloud for Regan's benefit, ignoring the steward's raised brows as he strode by the servant. "See to it that we are not disturbed."

All of the doors and windows had been opened to clear the smoke. However, Dare was confident that no one would follow them upstairs to the private rooms that only the founding members of Nox used.

"Very well, milord."

As he entered the large drawing room, Dare bumped one corner of the billiards table with his hip while he made his way to the nearest sofa.

"You can put me down, Dare," Regan said as she brought a hand to her hair and pushed the unkempt mess from her tearstained face. "I vow never to faint again. It was a humiliating exercise."

His grip tightened at her confession. "You fainted?"

Regan sighed. "A momentary weakness. If I have a say in the matter, it shall never happen again."

Dare froze at her horrified gasp. "What is it?"

"I cannot sit on the sofa!"

"Of course you can." He ignored her protest and dropped her on the sofa. "See? You're sitting."

Her eyes seemed to glow as his actions sparked her temper. "Have you noticed that my dress is covered in soot, mud, and other things that I dare not contemplate too closely?" she demanded. Her arms opened, encouraging him to inspect her ruined dress.

Dare crossed his arms over his chest and brought a fist to his mouth to conceal his grin. Poor Regan. She looked like a bedraggled waif who had never been intimate with soap and water. He knew from experience that she was a fetching little minx when she was scrubbed clean.

Dare scowled at the unbidden thought.

He walked over to the small cart and concentrated on the glasses and several crystal decanters. "You need something to calm your nerves."

"My nerves are just fine."

Dare poured her a small glass of brandy anyway. Picking up his own glass, he tossed back the contents and winced as the brandy burned a path down to his gut. He poured more brandy into his glass, and picked up Regan's before he returned to her side.

His gaze strayed to her dirty skirt. Hot embers from the kitchen fire had burned a dozen holes into the fabric. There were large smears of soot across her bodice as if Regan had used the front of her dress to clean her grimy hands. The delicate features of her face looked like they had been painted in soot. Only her eyes and ears seemed untouched by today's mischief. Much of her thick black hair had been freed from the long braid that she preferred to wear. The uneven lengths suggested that she had been close enough to the fire to scorch some of the strands.

"Christ, you're a mess, Regan." He handed her the glass of brandy. "Drink it."

Regan took the glass and sniffed suspiciously at its contents. "I do not particularly care for brandy."

"Now, that is a shame. Drink it anyway." Dare sat down next to her on the sofa. "You're going to need some false courage when you face Frost."

Regan managed a baleful glare as she sipped the brandy. After several generous swallows, she took a ragged breath. "Why? Do you think he will be very angry with me? Turn me over his knee?"

Dare cupped his glass with both hands and studied the amber liquid. "So that is why you begged everyone not to summon your brother. You are worried he might paddle your backside for this mischief, eh?" When she did not reply, he added, "Regan, Frost indulges your every whim. Mayhap more than he should. Vane has more to worry about than you."

His heart clenched when Regan squeezed her eyes shut in a futile attempt to stem her tears. "Ho, what is this?" Dare set his glass on a side table and pulled her onto his lap before he recalled that she was too old to be comforted in this manner.

Regan was no longer a little girl whom he and his friends could coddle and spoil. Two years ago, when she stepped out of the lake dressed only in a wet chemise molded to her body, Dare had realized that his thoughts about Frost's sister were not innocent or brotherly. From that day forward, he had tried to put a respectful distance between him and Regan.

Until now.

Regan seemed oblivious to Dare's inner conflict or the possibility that anyone could enter the room at any moment. Like a cat, she curled against him, pressed her face into his shoulder, and shuddered.

"You can talk to me," he said, his body noting how perfectly she fit against him.

"Do you know why I have been spending my days at Nox?" Regan straightened and took another sip of brandy. "Lady Karmack. She has taken an interest in me, of late, and has been badgering Frost endlessly."

Dare rubbed Regan's back. "What does she want from Frost?"

Regan grimaced. "My brother will not say. Needless to say, Lady Karmack is a disapproving old biddy. Can you believe that she actually lectured me when she caught me wearing breeches?"

The outrage in Regan's hoarse voice made Dare chuckle. He could not stop himself. Regan could be as outrageous as her brother when she put her mind to it. "And why do I suspect, my darling Regan, that you deliberately sported your scandalous togs in front of the lady?"

Regan huffed and shifted on his lap. Dare stifled a groan. "Frost would not let me slip a beetle in Lady Karmack's teacup so I had to do something!" Almost nose-to-nose, their gazes met. "Oh, Dare, I fear that Lady Karmack hopes to convince Frost to send me away."

Her lip quivered.

Dare swallowed thickly as he concentrated on Regan's lower lip.

"Rubbish. Frost is not sending you away from us." He gave her a reassuring smile as he tenderly stroked her hair. "Nor will he bow to a stranger's opinion."

"Lady Karmack is a distant cousin," Regan corrected. "Very distant. My father's side of the family, I believe."

"Well, the details hardly matter since you belong to us," Dare said before he could stifle the words. His stomach muscles clenched as the fear he saw in Regan's expression faded and was replaced with a sly, very shrewd look that he never expected from her.

"Do I?" she asked, a small smile teasing her lips. "Will you be my faithful white knight, Dare?"


Excerpted from After Dark with a Scoundrel by Alexandra Hawkins. Copyright © 2011 Alexandra Hawkins. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Alexandra Hawkins is an unrepentant Anglophile who discovered romance novels as a teenager and knew that one day she would be writing her own.  In “The Lords of Vice” series, she has combined her love of English history, mythology, and romance to create sensual character-driven stories that, she hopes, will touch readers’ hearts.

Alexandra lives in Georgia with her husband and three children.  You can visit her website at alexandrahawkins.com.

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After Dark with a Scoundrel (Lords of Vice Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 249 reviews.
AAR More than 1 year ago
AFTER DARK WITH A SCOUNDREL by Alexandra Hawkins is a delightful historical romance set in 1822 London. It is the Book third in "A Lord of Vice"novel and can be read as a stand alone. Book One "All Night With a Rogue",Book Two "Till Dawn With The Devil". It is written with depth,details and twists and turns.It has romance,family secrets,betrayal,murder,romance,love passion,sweet sensuality,mystery,letting go of past hurts,and finding true love. The hero, Lord Hugh Mordare,(Dare),is the second son of a Duke,handsome,sexy,one of the notorious Lords of Vice,has been betrayed by a past love,exciting,can't forget Regan.His brother,Charles,is cruel,married the love of Dare's life years earlier out of spite and revenge.Constantly fighting with Dare even as young boys,although,their father did encourage it.The heroine, Lady Regan, is beautiful,sexy,smart,intelligent,witty,loves mischief,raised by her brother,Frost,one of the notorious Lords of Vice and his friends,has been attracted to Dare as a fifteen year old girl,She is sent off to a Young Ladies finishing school to learns manners,and learn to be a true lady.She is gone for five years and upon returning,causes much mischief.She is determined to seduce Dare.It has a sweet seduction between both Dare and Regan.Dare must learn to let the past go and forgive if he truly wants to find true love and happiness. When Dare believes Regan is searching for husband,he comes forward to claim her as his.He decides he will marry her even if he has to lie to do that.While a family crisis is always lurking with Dare's family.His brother is killed,a murder committed,Regan pushed into fast moving traffic,and Dare is severely beaten.This is a sweet,engaging Regency where family secrets and madness are revealed and love truly does prevail.If you enjoy Regency,secrets,love,romance,fast paced story this is the one for you. I have enjoyed all three of "A Lords of Vice" novels.Some may not,but at a time when young girls where often considered broodmares only and not the intelligent,bright young women they truly where,This is an heartwarming story of love that continued through five years and blossomed until a beautiful love affair.This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at St.Martins' Press and My Book Addiction and More.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1823 Lord Hugh "Dare" Mordare, the second son of a Duke, is a close friend of Frost Bishop. Through him he has known Frost's sister Lady Regan for years, who is an honorary member of Nox's Gentlemen's Club. All changes when Dare and Regan kiss as both are stunned by their reaction; that is far from sibling-like. She is shipped off to Miss Swann's Academy for Young Ladies boarding school while he returns to being a rogue. Five years later Regan comes back to London with plans to drive Frost crazy and to seduce Dare. Frost is ready to pull his hair out with his sister's antics while Dare remains resolute to keep Regan away from the Lords of Vice like he is. However, she proves a worthy adversary and soon they marry. As she learns of his dark secrets, she finds herself in the midst of madness. The latest Lords of Vice (see Till Dawn with a Devil and All Night with a Rogue) is an engaging Regency gothic romantic suspense as the brave heroine finds herself in peril; perhaps from the man she loves. Fast-paced from the moment they kiss even before she is exiled, After Dark with a Scoundrel grips the reader as Alexandra Hawkins' fans will think of Hitchcock's Suspicion placed in an early nineteenth century milieu. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loverofromance More than 1 year ago
A GReat addition to the LORDS of VICE!!! Lady Regan, was raised by her brother, a member of the Lords of Vice. As such she grew up learning to climb trees, fishing, fencing lessons and gambling. Regan is not your typical English miss. But when Regan and "Dare" are caught kissing, her brother sends her away to school and for five years she has been patient. Regan was hurt when her brother sent her away, and from the only family she has ever known. Now she is ready to take part of the Season, and put her brother in his place a bit, and seduce Dare and show him what she is made of. Dare was betrayed by the only woman he ever loved, who married his brother because he was the "heir". Dare is the second son, and has been a member of the Lord of Vice, but there is one woman who has held his interest more than any other, but she is forbidden, but when she comes back to London, and he is forced to escort her, passions between them are inflamed and this time it won't be just desire than could be dangerous to them... After Dark With A Scoundrel is the third installment in the Lords of Vice series. I am very proud of myself for having read this series in order so far....I hope I can keep going strong. I have the worst habit of reading a series out of order. But since all of the books are at my local library, I decided to try this one in order. In this book we have Dare's book, and we have Regan as the heroine. Now I will say that if you have yet to read this author, and you love historical romance and you want to get started into historical romance...this series just might be for you. I feel like this author is underrated, but as far as regency romances go, this author is at the top of the list. You can never go wrong with Alexandra Hawkins. We begin with bit of bad luck for Regan. Regan is a bit of a tom boy, and has a connection and bond with all of the Lords of Vice, and you see the close ties she has with them. AT the beginning she is only fifteen, and through a twist of events, she ends up in a sensual embrace with Dare, which she doesn't expect but that kiss changes her. When her brother forces her to school, she is furious and hurt. Now we skip ahead five years, Regan is still just as mischievous and sassy as ever, five years at school hasn't changed her personality, she just has a better way of seeming to be more polished. She is determined to come to London and make some changes in her life. Her first goal is to show up with no notice to her brother, and to seduce the one man she craves. This heroine...was so fun, and she definitely has the type of personality you can just enjoy while reading her. This story definitely had me laughing, and the kind of creative schemes she comes up with, and then join that up with her wit and sass...well she is a heroine you can adore. This is a story that brings together steamy chemistry, full of life characters, enticing mystery, a enchanting mix of flavors and spices to make you hunger for more. WICKEDLY SENSUAL!!
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No clear reason these two fell in love. Too bad because they are both interesting people and this could have been great. Not a good romance at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really love this couple. The fact that there is so much Frost in this book makes it even better. A very convincing story about love, family and drama. I love it.
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I actually read a later bbok in this series first, and became intrigued by the characters of Regan and Dare. This is probably one of my favorite booksin this series. Regan is not your usual bland heroine (though none of the women in the Lords of Vice books are bland)and I love the way Dare solves his problem when Regan's brother tells him to stay away from her.
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Thus is a great read The story is fun and the twist at the end is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horray for #3....I will definitely keep reading. I look forward to #4!
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These books are awesome! And to think I almost stopped reading after the first book!!! I loved this book and it made me love and look forward to Frost's story.... which I thought would be impossible. Not to mention the books re only getting better, which is most rare... only the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn and Loretta Chase's Carsington series have felt that way to me.
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