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All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess
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All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

3.2 35
by Alexandra Hawkins

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Alexandra Hawkins

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sainthill, has done the unthinkable—he's fallen in love. The so-called "Saint" has spent his life gambling, dallying with women, and satisfying his every whim. And he fully intended to continue his wicked ways, until he met the mysterious, exotic, and


Alexandra Hawkins

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sainthill, has done the unthinkable—he's fallen in love. The so-called "Saint" has spent his life gambling, dallying with women, and satisfying his every whim. And he fully intended to continue his wicked ways, until he met the mysterious, exotic, and irresistible Madame Venna—the one woman he can't have…and the only one he's ever wanted for more than an evening.

The proprietress of the Golden Pearl, one of London's most exclusive brothels, Madame Venna takes pride in the lush, decadent club she's created. With a half-mask to conceal her identity, she's careful to safeguard something even more valuable—her heart. But Saint is determined to tear down the walls she's built around herself, and to finally expose the truth—that Madame Venna is a woman very much in love…with him.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fifth installment of Hawkins’s Lords of Vice series (after Sunrise with a Notorious Lord) is highly improbable and often gets in its own way. After escaping an abusive childhood where she was raped by her foster brother, Catherine Deverall took refuge in London, where she learned to be a skilled courtesan. Eventually she became mysterious Madame Venna, the masked proprietress of the Golden Pearl. Attempting to get over a night of passion with captivating Simon “Saint” Jefferes, the marquess of Sainthill, Catherine sleeps with his friend and takes other lovers, while sending her friends and employees to sate Saint’s passion. Unfortunately, their efforts to forget each other through lurid promiscuity highlight the squalor of even the classiest brothel and the unappealing amorality of both characters, making the love-conquers-all theme unconvincing. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“Hawkins creates strong characters and dramatizes high emotion along with sensuality. Fans of Stephanie Laurens and Jo Beverley will enjoy this series.” —Booklist on All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

“There are no men like the Lords of Vice, those dashing heroes created to steal hearts. Hawkins once more fascinates, with an emotional love story of the bad boy who meets his match in an extraordinary woman. Desire in disguise was never so sweet or passionate, and Hawkins hooks readers and draws them all the way in to the perfect ending.” —Romantic Times on All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Lords of Vice Series , #5
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.00(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

May 30, 1812, Diphill Green
Robert Royles’s broad shoulders filled the doorway of one of the unused outer buildings as he stared down at the sinuous length of rope that lay on the rough planked floor. He nudged the frayed end with his left boot, squinting into the shadowed interior.
“Did you charm the rats into chewing through the rope, Catherine?” he asked, amused by the thought.
The question was met with silence.
His fifteen-year-old cousin was resourceful for a female. The burning scratches on his neck and chest were proof that it was unwise to underestimate her.
“Forgive me for not returning sooner,” he continued as if she were standing before him. “Father and Mother have departed for the Owtrams. I assured them that I would look after you in their absence.”
No response.
His mouth tightened at her stubbornness. “Naturally, Mr. Owtram will insist that they remain under his roof. I do not expect we’ll see them for the better part of the week. Do you not agree?”
More silence.
“Come now, Catherine. Don’t be pigheaded about this,” he cajoled, softening his voice as his fingers curled into fists. “Did you really believe Mother would take your side when she learned about us? The worst is over, and now we are alone. I’ve even dismissed the servants for the evening. If you give me your word that you’ll behave, I’ll free you and we can return to the house. A soft mattress might improve your disposition toward me.”
Robert shifted his stance and sighed. “Fine,” he said tersely. “We’ll do this the hard way.”
The ungrateful wench deserved no consideration from him anyway. Truth be told, he liked it best when she fought him. He crouched down and seized the length of rope. She would be more cooperative when he trussed her up. Perhaps he should remind her of her lowly position in their family before he carried her back to the house. He had days to play with his lovely cousin, and he did not intend to waste an hour.
Robert tugged on the rope, and, just as he thought, the girl was no longer tethered to it. He could not fathom how she had managed it. The iron shackled to her wrists, however, was another matter entirely. Unless his ears deceived him, he heard a soft clink of metal from the left corner of the musty interior. The poor girl was probably cowering in the filth. Perhaps he should shove her into one of the horse troughs before he touched her again. He was not one to fuss about cleanliness, but his mother had four days ago locked her rebellious adoptive daughter in one of the old buildings the family had once used for storage. Her scent would not sweeten during her incarceration.
Twisting the rope in his hands, he fought to keep his composure. This was not the moment to lose his temper and rush into the dim interior. Unfortunately, he was not a patient man.
“Why are we at cross-purposes, cousin? If you surrender gracefully, I will unlock your shackles,” Robert said pleasantly. Of course, he was lying. There had to be some kind of punishment for her defiance. While her unflagging spirit was admirable, Catherine had never learned her place in their household. Where his parents had failed, he intended to triumph. Taking her innocence had been the first step in bending the wench to his will. “You must be hungry. Knowing my mother, she has been feeding you bread and water. Come out from the shadows and I shall feed you a meal worthy of a vicar.”
The stark silence was infuriating. His face hot with anger, Robert stepped across the threshold, wondering if his parents would be upset if he strangled his little cousin after he was finished with her body. Perhaps this was the reason why they had not encouraged him to join them on their outing. They wanted the girl to disappear. As far as he could deduce, no one would miss her.
“I can hear you breathing, Catherine. Are you frightened?” he mocked, his muscles tightening as he anticipated their impending battle. “Hoping to sharpen your claws on me, little cat?”
His smile froze as the flat surface of a wooden shovel struck him in the face. The stunning force of the blow sent him sprawling on his backside. Too dazed to speak, Robert’s arms flopped uselessly against the wooden floor.
A grimly determined Catherine stepped out of the shadows. “Why should I use my claws, cousin, when I have a sturdy grain shovel to break your nose?”
She raised the shovel over her head, and this time it connected with the side of Robert’s head. His eyes rolled back as he lost consciousness. Catherine swayed on her feet as the enormity of her actions coursed through her veins. With her wrists in shackles, she used the grain shovel to steady herself.
There was blood on Robert’s face, she thought dully. The first blow had indeed broken his nose. Blood was darkening his blond hair from her second clout to his head. Catherine felt queasy, but she attributed her weakness to lack of food rather than the violence she had just committed against her distant cousin. Robert, the man who was supposed to love her as a devoted brother, deserved much worse than a sore head, but she did not intend to linger long enough to be his executioner.
Worried that he might be feigning sleep, she jabbed his soft belly with the shovel. Robert did not flinch. Dropping to her knees, Catherine set the shovel aside, but kept it within reach. The iron chain linking her wrists clinked as she methodically searched the man’s frock coat and then waistcoat for the key. She suspected her cousin had no intention of freeing her, but he was a resourceful man. He would have convinced that pious harridan who gave birth to him to give him the key.
Catherine grinned for the first time when her fingers retrieved the small iron key from the pocket of his waistcoat. With her head bowed, she bit her lower lip in concentration as she positioned her wrists so she could insert the key into the left cuff. It popped open, and she switched the key to her left hand to release the right cuff. The iron clattered to the floor, and she let herself feel a small measure of hope. She was finally going to be free of this household and the cruel, selfish people who dwelled beneath its roof.
“Let’s see how you like being shackled, cousin,” she taunted before she rolled him over onto his stomach. She dragged his limp arms behind his back and secured his wrists with the shackles Mr. Royles had used on her after his wife had whipped her for seducing their son.
In truth, she doubted the Royles were any blood relation to her at all. Catherine knew the story of her ignoble birth. Although her mother had been married, her husband was not Catherine’s father. It was a humiliating predicament. Catherine was physical proof of their adultery, and as soon as her mother had given birth to her unwanted bastard daughter, her sire had paid Mr. Royles to take the infant away. She supposed she should be grateful that her mother had not ordered her neck broken. The lady had other children and a reputation to protect. Other people had murdered for less.
To their neighbors, the Royleses had claimed her as a daughter, but Mrs. Royles had revealed the truth of her origins years ago. Catherine Royles was born with the mark of sin, and she had spent most of her young life paying penance for her parents’ wickedness.
She gradually came to despise them for it.
Catherine climbed onto her feet and roughly grabbed her cousin by his arm. “Come along, Robert. ’Tis the shadows and rats for you.” She grunted and strained her arms as she slowly dragged him across the dirty floorboards. “The servants will find you before your parents. Then again, they hate you as much as I do. Maybe they’ll ignore your muffled cries for a day or two.”
The servants kept to their own business. None of them had risked their necks when Robert had cornered her near the dairy, shoved her to the ground, and ravished her with practiced brutality. During the past year, she was not the only one to notice him watching her in a not-so-brotherly manner as her slender figure had gradually ripened into a woman’s curves. They had each in turn warned her that it was only a matter of time before the master’s son gave into his lust. However, not one of them had spared her the humiliation of her cousin’s touch; nor had they come to her defense when she told Mrs. Royles of her son’s attack.
“I wouldn’t shed a tear if those blows to your head curdled your brains,” she muttered, breathing heavily from her exertions. Catherine sat down on the floor beside the unconscious man. She grabbed the hem of her dirty dress to reveal her stockings. Threadbare and dirty, she swiftly stripped them from each leg. “If given the chance, I’d dance a jig on your grave, but your mother would see me hang from the nearest tree for the crime. Even if I was innocent.”
Grimacing, she put her hands on the young man again and pushed him onto his side. Catherine grabbed one of her stockings and gathered it into a ball of fabric. “Open up, cousin,” she said, and enthusiastically stuffed the filthy stocking into his slack mouth. She picked up the remaining stocking and placed it over his mouth, tying it at the back of his head so he could not spit out his gag.
Catherine straightened and admired her handiwork. Robert would be furious when he awoke, but she had no intention of remaining to savor her victory. She stood and crossed the room to retrieve the rope he had dropped. It took her a few minutes to bind his legs. To ensure he was unable to wiggle his way to the door and summon help, she used the remaining rope to tie his legs to the nearest wooden post.
Robert moaned and his eyelids fluttered as he struggled to awaken.
Clearly, she had not hit him hard enough.
Still dazed, his forehead furrowed in confusion until he recognized her face. His eyes widened, and his body strained and bucked against his bindings.
“Good. I didn’t think we’d have a chance to say our farewells.” Catherine patted him on the cheek. “Oh, don’t look so glum. Someone will eventually find you and cut you free.”
Robert mumbled something.
She could tell by his expression that it wasn’t complimentary.
Catherine stood and pretended to brush some of the dirt from her skirt. “Your mother dragged me in here to contemplate my countless sins. I would suggest you do the same. Perhaps the rats will take pity on you and chew on the ropes. Farewell, cousin. We shall not meet again.”
Catherine ignored the man’s muffled shouts as she headed for the door. She picked up the grain shovel on her way out, and shut the door. From there, she made her way to the house to gather what she needed for her journey.
By the time Mr. and Mrs. Royles returned from their outing, Catherine would be long gone from Diphill Green.

Copyright © 2012 by Alexandra Hawkins


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. With her 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.

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All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
slfoster01 More than 1 year ago
When I first read the editorial review of this book, I actually dreaded getting it - the 'Catherine sleeps with his friend and takes other lovers, while sending her friends and employees to sate Saint’s passion." part of the review made it sound like all this was going on, like the other books, within a few months time period (after the prologue). When it finally came out, I just decided to get it- no need to interrupt the series. After reading the book, which moved along pretty quickly, I realised the story takes place over about a seven-year period starting from Catherine leaving her foster family- which as a beginning had promise. The dreaded passage takes place two years before the story ends and we only read about in retrospect, when Frost blurts it out. These two characters didn't really have a relationship at that time. As other reviews have stated, there were a lot of gaps; the story didn't flow very well, it just seemed like a series of events taking place and written down as they happened. I wanted more about her father- why he never married and spent so much time and energy looking for his 'illegitimate' daughter, how she ended up with this foster family, what happened to the foster family and her blackmailer. Next thing you know Madam V decides to disappear, then ends up living with Dare and Regan, then she and Saint are getting married with her father in attendance (although her comment about Saint needing time to establish a timeline kinda explained their separation after Madam V disappeared). Overall, not the best Lords of Vice story, but readable and left me looking foward to the next installment. Hope it's better- a more complete and satisfying read in the vein of Till Dawn with the Devil, so far my favorite of the bunch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. Not my favorite in the series but it was still really good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading several reviews, I had read the paperback and also felt there was part of the story was missing. Right when the climax of the book was trying to fix the negative issues in the book. It went from okay talk to the villian to boom she's leaving......where's the rest???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a huge story line gap that left me wondering if it is a flaw in the ebook or with the author. One chapter she hates her father and is being blackmailed by her adopted father and the next her father is at her wedding and everyone is happy. Makes no sense! What about the adopted family who all know her true identity? Surely they would need to be dealt with? Why was her father trying to reach out to her? Just to giver her a dowry?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Lord of Vice series, however this book was sorely lacking. I felt there was no conclusion to Madame V's situation with her adopted family. It seemed that whole chapters were missing from the book. A total let down... I hope the next book is better.
PrettyAR More than 1 year ago
Alexandra Hawkins never leaves me unsatisfied. Her stories about the Lords of Vice are... decadent. I enjoyed this story as much as her others. I fell in love with Saint as the leading man. One of my favorite parts of the book was when the author took us back in time to before any of the LoV married. "Seeing" them in that light was interesting. As always, there was a lot of fun as well. I laughed a good bit over the men's antics and Frost's ability to not die when he is constantly being strangled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im still trying to understand how the story end in the last 10 pages.... it was incomplete and none of the story lines got resolved.... such a dissapointment for this series i love every one of the lord of vice book but it was such a rush under develop story line for saint.... with so many incomplete plots ... i hope hunter and frost have a better love story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very chopy seems like parts are missing not worth buying at all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very excited for this new release and it was nothing but a disappointment. The main characters lacked the chemistry that prior lords of vice had in their stories. I could not even finish the book which is surprising because I could not put the others down. I could not stand the story line and I found myself annoyed rather than entertained. I hope Frost is next and that it is the complete opposite of this tragic installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Lords of Vice series. The book began very well and I was hooked up until chapter 30. There seems to be a huge part of the book missing. Nothing is resolved as far as the villains in this book or her long lost family. I am very disappointed in how this book ended, big build up and fell seriously flat in the end. I am hoping Frost and Hunter's stories are better written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this book had the typical antics of the Lords of Vice which have provided comic relief through the series as a whole, I found the book imposible to like. The fact Madame V slept with Frost, a close friend to Saint, was a let down in itself but the fact that she was all for an Incestuous liasion with her half brother was way too much for my liking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lords of Vice is one of my favorite series. The characters are funny and creative at "Courting" their ladies. All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess is a key piece in the series as it tells Saint's love story. Is it the best in the series, definately not. There is a lot of time line jumping, so you really need to pay attention to the dates at the start of the chapter. If you've been reading the series you have to put the time lines in perspective to the other stories or you'll be fooled into thinking the worst of Sin, Reign and Dare. When I finished, I found my self asking but what did Saint do about this? Hopefully we'll see some resolution in the next book. All in all, I'd say All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess is worth the read, but be prepared as it's not an easy read .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this one in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this installment in the Lords of Vice series. I was closely following the story, then lost it between Chapters 30 and 31. My question is... was this poor editing or did the author expect us to mentally fill in all the action that seems to have happened in the gaps before the rushed ending? Not well done :(
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Crystal Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book The reason that I picked this book to read was because I have read the others in this series and I just can’t get enough. I really love the cover of the book too. I love the Lord of Vice series and each one always leaves me with a lasting impression. I love reading how all seven are there for each other. They are closer than family. No one can do anything to them except them and they always have each others backs. I enjoy when each one find the woman just for them. It might not be what society thinks they should do, they don’t care and seem to not do any wrong. When I read Simon Jefferes, the Marquess of Sanithill, aka the Saint and Charlotte Deverall aka Madame Venna’s story I was hooked. I got so into all of the mystery of the life that they both lead. I hated what their childhoods where like. I think that since they went through what they did that, it made them better suited to each other. I could just imagine myself in the story. The thing that mad me mad at them was that they fought their feelings for each other. They reminded me of little kids. If they had just talked or quit being so pig-headed six years wouldn’t have been wasted. I know to make a good story, there has to be some conflict. They had an instant connection from the first time that they layed eyes on each other. While four of the Lords of Vices found the women to make their lives complete, that still left three of the group and they we not go down easily. You can just imagine them kicking and fighting all the way. That is what makes it that much sweeter in the end. The author did a great job in bringing out all the personalities in each one of her characters. Even if Frost does make me laugh, it’s a miracle that he hasn’t got himself killed by now. So much emotion is in this book and you can feel it. Somethings you like and some you don’t. I can’t wait to read Hawks and Frost’s story which will be coming out. You wonder if after the two books are done will it be the end or will the author write a little mini version so that you can see how everyone’s lives turned out several years later. If you love historical romances then this is a must read. Make sure that you read each and every one. You will enjoy them like I did.
Tammi_D More than 1 year ago
Ms. Hawkins is one of my top ten favorite authors. I never pass up a book by her. I have never been disappointed and All afternoon kept me wrapped in it's embrace from page one all the way till the end. I have enjoyed each and every Lords of Vice book and I know I will continue too. I So can not wait for Frost's book. On Pins and needles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened to the Lords of Vice I fell in love with? This book was (hate to say it) poorly written. Very disjointed. I kept going back thinking I must have missed a chapter. It felt as if chapters of this book were written alongside the other books and just thrown together in this one and given a title. HUGE chunks of time and very important pieces seem to be missing. I didn't like the storyline but I could have overcome that if I didn't feel as if so much of the story was left flowing in the breeze.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars. I love reading about my Lords of Vice but this installment was just okay for me. Don't get me wrong Saint is as yummy as all his fellow rogues and Madame Venna was actually a refreshing change from all the virgin heroines. The story-line was decent but for some reason I wasn't as enthralled as with previous books. I will still continue with the series though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Buckland More than 1 year ago
Good story and continues the series nicely - well done. Worth reading and making up your own mind as to quality of storytelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just OK not the best of the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago