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When the Duke Was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series #1)

When the Duke Was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series #1)

4.2 39
by Lorraine Heath

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They are England's most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways . . .

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


They are England's most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways . . .

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. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman's favor— 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 . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Heath launches a series spun off from her Scoundrels of St. James historicals, which featured noble ladies marrying lowlife rogues. Henry Sidney Stanford, the seventh Duke of Lovingdon and eldest son of the heroine of 2009’s Between the Devil and Desire, commits to dissipation after the deaths of his wife and daughter. His childhood neighbor, Lady Grace Mabry, is embarking on her second Season and wants his guidance as she entertains suitors. Henry is determined to avoid polite Victorian London, but the fearless redheaded Grace has no qualms about knocking unannounced on his bedroom door—or the door of his favorite gaming hell—to request his assistance. Predictability ensues. Heath follows formula with a minimum of period detail or plausibility, particularly with regard to medical matters, and a maximum of swooping dialogue about Grace’s “situation most dire” and the hilariously named villain, Lord Vexley. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Feb.)
Washington Post
“Heath is known for her beautiful, deeply emotional romances, and this one is no different. ‘When the Duke Was Wicked’ is a perfect read, full of tears and sighs and a heroine who is shocked by her own strength.”
Jill Barnett
“She writes the most powerfully moving love stories in romance today.”
Dallas News
“Sensitive, funny and altogether enchanting!”
The Literary Times
“She writes from the heart and it shows!”
Christina Dodd
Heath steals your heart, then takes you on a journey that will leave you torn between tears and joy.
Liz Carlyle
“The Duke of Weddington is perfect hero material. Historical readers will clamor for more.”
RT Book Reviews (top pick) - 4.5 stars - Praise for LORD OF TEMPTATION
Heath is a consummate storyteller, whose characters leap from the pages. Their powerful emotions and intense passions translate exceptionally well to readers, allowing them to become deeply involved in the fascinating plot and leaving them breathless and wanting more.
Kirkus Reviews
For years, the Duke of Lovingdon has lived a debauched life, so when childhood friend Lady Grace Mabry asks him to help her find her own true love, he resists; friends or not, he can't think of a worse person to guide her in matters of the heart. After losing his beloved wife and child, the Duke of Lovingdon stepped outside the bounds of proper behavior and onto the path of a rake. Years later, he sees no reason to change his ways: Emotional distance and an assortment of women keep his needs satisfied and his heart protected. So when Lady Grace Mabry—daughter of family friends and his shadow when she was a girl—begins to seek a husband in earnest and asks for his assistance, he can't help but think she is looking for aid from the wrong quarter. Grace is the most unconventional girl he's ever known and has grown into a stunning beauty. When she convinces him to help her, he is unnerved to find himself hugely attracted to her and not thrilled with the idea of any other man claiming her. For her part, Grace has watched her childhood crush turn away from society and nearly every person who loves him. She hopes that drawing him into her cause will reconnect him to his family and friends and the more mundane joys of everyday life he has missed out on since the deaths of his family members. And as Lovingdon comes out of his shell of grief and pain, Grace must admit that the new version of the duke, combining his young sweetness and his older sensuality, is very potent indeed; if she's not careful, she just might fall under his spell. Best-selling romance author Heath (The Last Wicked Scoundrel, 2014, etc.) spins an emotionally touching tale of a spiritually wounded duke and the extraordinary young woman who saves him—while bringing some modern sensibilities to the couple's trials and tribulations. A sparkling, emotionally powerful historical romance that satisfyingly deals with physical and spiritual damage.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Meet the Author

Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she not only became hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since. Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards, including RWA's prestigious RITA®. Her novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.

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When the Duke Was Wicked 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me engaged from the beginning. As an avid reader of historical romance, it takes a lot for me to really get emotionally involved in a story (been there, read that, etc) but this book had me on pins and needles the entire way through. Not to mention at one point toward the end I was sobbing. There were some difficult obstacles Grace and Lovingdon to overcome, and they overcame them in believable, real life ways, I didn't at any point feel like I needed to just accept the storyline since it is "fiction". I love that this book starts a series about the children of the Scoundrels of ST. James, as I've read those books and know all the characters. I can't wait for Drake's story!
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
The first book in Lorraine Heath’s newest series, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James. This is the story of the next generation, the children of the heroes and heroines from Heath’s dramatic Scoundrels of St. James series set in Victorian England. Victorian England isn’t my favorite setting for historical romance but, written well and with a great plot, I do enjoy them. The Regency and Georgian eras just seem to me to be more frivolous, fun, and light whereas the Victorian era seems stiff, dark, and heavy in comparison. However, some of my favorite historical romance authors, Sherry Thomas, Maire Claremont, Courtney Milan, and Monica Burns all write stories set in this era. Lady Grace Mabry—daughter of Frannie Darling (from Surrender to the Devil) and Lovingdon—adopted son of Jack Dodger from Between the Devil and Desire—are childhood friends. Although he is nine years her senior, she has crushed on him since she was seven and he made her feel special and beautiful when other children teased her. Grace is now of marriageable age and going through the duties and rigors of a London Season. She wishes to make a love match but she also sees so many marriages around her go bad and isn’t sure how to tell if a man truly loves her. So she asks Lovingdon (once a happily married man) how to recognize when a man truly loves her and not just for her money, by helping her find a love match. She also holds a secret close to heart which makes her fearful of finding the right man who will love her completely, honestly, and faithfully. The Duke of Lovingdon married very young and lost a beloved wife and daughter to illness. He cannot forgive himself for letting them die and so he refuses to love again. As a result, he drowns his sorrow in promiscuity, gaming, and drinking—sowing his wild oats now—that is often uncomfortable and painful to read. Grace misses her childhood friend and hopes that, by enlisting his help, she can help draw him out of his empty life of relentless debauchery. He reluctantly helps her without truly agreeing. They meet improperly—she often visits his bachelor lodgings alone and at night—as Lovingdon fights a strong and growing attraction to her. He feels badly about it, though, on two levels: Grace is his oldest friend and he feels he is betraying his first wife’s memory. "She was Lady Grace Mabry, lover of kittens, thief of biscuit tins, and climber of trees. What the devil was he doing thinking of her wrapped in silk sheets?" Still, he does lovely little things that clearly display his love for her, especially when he helps her friend’s troubled marriage. He kisses her passionately and always tells her the truth. She can’t help but fall for him all over again. "He had done her a great disservice by demonstrating how a man who loved her would kiss her. How could any man measure up to that?" (p243) Grace is brave; she eats life. Despite her love for him, Grace is determined to wed for love; if she must, she will pine for Lovingdon only secretly in her heart. She knows he is tormented by his past and does not want to live with a man haunted by his love for another. She doesn’t want to wait around for Lovingdon forever. She wants a man who will love her fully. "Her happiness, her joy, mattered to him." (p273) I love that the password to get in to Dodger’s Drawing Room is “Feagan!” You’ll have to read the first series to appreciate this detail. Grace’s beloved and protective stepbrother, Drake, an orphan child of the streets raised in her household as a sibling, is devoted to her happiness. His story is the next installment in this series. The forced wedding reminded me of the climactic incident in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short story, "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist." There is a villain in the piece and a twist that makes Lovingdon finally realize his unique love for Grace. I had to laugh, though, at the villain’s stupidity since Grace’s family and friends are a bunch of street-smart people who would no doubt track him down. There isn’t a lot of humor in Lorraine Heath’s stories, but they’re not so dark that they are depressing. They are about damaged people finding peace, love, and joy. A sexy and sweet, romantic, and poignant story, and a fine beginning to a promising series.
Zeeelicious More than 1 year ago
When the Duke was Wicked is Lorraine Heath’s first book in her brand new series Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James.  You should note that this newest series flows with her other series Scoundrels of St. James, in that the main characters are Lady Grace Mabry (Sterling and Frannie’s daughter in Surrender to the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James #3) and Henry, the Duke of Lovingdon (Olivia Stanton’s son in Between the Devil and Desire (Scoundrels of St. James #2).  This story kicks of the series in a good note since it slowly introduces us to the other scandalous gentlemen that will feature in future books.  This is a rather sweet story between childhood friends who grew up together and ultimately fell in love. I loved the seamless way the hero and heroine fell in love with each other.  It was not fully drawn out and I love the passion that both possessed.  I also love that Henry was a “tortured hero,” blaming himself for his wife and daughter’s deaths and vowing never to fall in love again.  I thought that Grace was the perfect independent woman for him, showing him that loving someone, even for a short while was worth it rather than not loving at all. I was naturally drawn to this story because I loved the Scoundrels of St. James series and interested to read about how my favorite characters would be featured in this book.  Naturally, we see Olivia, Frannie, Sterling, and Dr. Graves in the book which I really loved. When the Duke was Wicked really did start off the series in an awesome tone and I can’t wait for the next! Received ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.
jojoNE More than 1 year ago
With her Scoundrels of St. James series ended, it's time to shine a light on the children of that ragtag group of individuals in Ms. Heath's new Scandalous Gentleman of St. James series. Grief and loss play a big role in this intensely emotional series starter that gives us wonderfully memorable characters, witty banter, and unrelenting sexual tension as friends morph into lovers. Grace Mabry loves her parents immensely as they've stood by her through a traumatic time in her life. Because of this closeness she knows it's time to get married as she desperately wants her father to see her in her wedding dress before he goes blind. As her parent's marriage is based on love she wants the same for herself as she wants to be accepted for herself body and soul, despite the physical and emotional scars she now carries. To help her in her search she employs the begrudging help of her childhood friend (and crush), the Duke of Lovingdon. Not only will he be helping her he'll be getting the push he needs to reenter society after the loss of his wife and child. As he guides her through the clues to and definition of love she realizes she's still in love with him and it's a heartbreaking struggle to get him to see the truth of their closeness. Grace is a strong-willed woman who's comfortable being just one of the guys as she smokes and plays cards as good as they do. She embraces life wholeheartedly, and after everything she's been through and still has hanging over her, she deserves to live life to the fullest. Grace is understanding and supportive and will do anything to bring Lovingdon back to life, even if he won't end up with her. She's a wonderful heroine who brought a smile to my face as she often did the unexpected. Lovingdon is a man in pain and after many years his guilt is still eating away at him. He feels responsible for his wife and child's deaths and it seems as if he's doing penance for his perceived failure. He insists he'll never love again and lets his self-hatred culminate in numerous meaningless affairs and drinking. Helping his friend Grace is the spark that slowly starts his journey to healing. He comes to realize certain truths about himself and that having Grace as just a friend isn't near enough. His descriptions of love soon hit too close to home, and as Grace is once again put in danger from a nefarious suitor, he realizes her importance in his life and rejoins the land of the living wholeheartedly in a race to save her from ruination. Lovingdon and Grace's relationship was delightful to watch evolve. Their banter was playful but rich in sexual tension. Both characters have been through the emotional wringer but their mutual loss bonds them in an unexpected way and is seen in some of the story's quieter moments. Gracie's fears of rejection were understandable and Lovingdon's reaction to her tale was the epitome of romantic and brought a tear to my eye. Ms. Heath handled this issue in a believable and caring manner I've not seen in a historical work before and with an epilogue that further reinforces Ms. Heath's talent at handling sensitive issues. Along with these two immensely likable characters comes a slew of secondary characters, friends who have their own emotional issues but who are protective of those they claim as friend. These Scandalous Gentleman are intriguing in their own right and have me greatly anticipating the next installment in this series.
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
I have to confess that I love Lorraine Heath. To me, she is a fantastic and engaging writer. I’ve read a couple of her books and she always crabs my attention and I end up buried with my nose in the story until I finish, When the “Duke was Wicked” (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #1) was no exception! I’m so glad I started this book on the weekend! This was such a great romantic and loving story! Once again Ms. Heath does not disappoint. I loved Lady Grace Mabry. She was such a fine character. I loved that she was strong willed and mischievous, it makes sense given her parents history (Frannie Darling is her mother, she was in “Surrender to the Devil”). For anyone that doesn’t know, Frannie was an orphan and ran a gambling house, an occupation that she did not give up once married into society. Grace, although a member of the Ton goes to gambling houses and visits Lovingdon at his residence without a chaperone-she is not the conventional Proper English Lady. The Duke of Lovingdon was equally as fantastic. They both had such excellent chemistry and the best part is the strong friendship that they had. Grace was in love with Lovingdon for practically all her life. Lovingdon for his part is nine years her senior, he is a widower after losing both his wife and daughter to a terrible illness. He is angry in his grief and decides that all his good works were for nothing. Even though he was an outstanding citizen he has lost what he values most and he decides that he will spend the rest of his time drinking, gambling and getting himself into as much debauchery as possible. Grace comes to him with a request. She wants him to help her find love. Lovingdon was always a close family friend and he watched Grace grow from a young girl to a young women. She realizes that he knew love and he would be the best guide for her. Lovingdon refuses Grace as first but he always had a soft spot for her or for his “Little Rose”. The more time they spend together the more they begin to care for each other as more than just friends. Lovingdon, however, knows that he will never love again. While at first Lovingdon viewed Grace as a child he quickly came to realize that she was a strong and fun loving women. Grace was an excellent card player and equally excellent with rum. Although he finds himself comparing her to his deceased wife Juliette, he can still appreciate Grace and her free-spirit. Needless to say I loved this story. I loved how their friendship unfolded into a mature relationship. I have to say that even though I’ve read Lorrain Heath she still caught me by surprise! Grace carries a big secret, one that is haunting her and keeping her from completely confiding in Lovingdon. I really applaud the author for bringing to light this matter! Also, I shouldn’t be surprised but there was a twist and some adventure at the end! Of course Grace and Lovingdon end up together but their journey was so beautiful and sweet! Both these characters were good and sweet and very flawed! I think that is one of Heath’s gifts, her ability to present these characters that you fall in love with despite or because of their flaws. I highly recommend Heath in general but this book in particular. You will love Grace and Lovingdon and they will take you on a fun and exciting journey!
SummerSnowFalls More than 1 year ago
Lady Grace Mabry is determined that she will not marry a man who does not love her. Her substantial dowry ensures that she is always surrounded by men, but how to tell who loves her and who loves her money? Grace enlists the reluctant help of Henry Lovingdon, Duke of Lovingdon and a man she has known (and loved) since childhood. Along the way, Henry teaches Graces all of the subtle signs that indicate a man loves a woman. And Grace teaches Henry that although his deceased wife and daughter will always hold a special place in his heart, he can love again. I absolutely adored this book from beginning to end. It is a beautiful tale of love, loss, and finding love again when believing you deserve it least. This story invokes a maelstrom of emotion that can take you from laughing out loud to quietly sobbing in the space of a few pages. Yes, this book actually made me cry! The courtship of Henry and Grace was a delight to read. Both characters have experienced such tremendous loss in their short lives. In Henry's journey, he must learn to overcome this loss and create space in his heart to both honor the love lost and cherish the second love gained. Grace must learn to love herself as she is and see herself as the beautiful woman others' believe her to be. If you read this book - and I heartily encourage you to do so! - you will understand just how powerful that lesson is for Grace. Henry and Grace understand the fragility of life, how precious and fleeting it can be. It makes their love all the more intense and emotional. Grace's resilience under extreme pressure is endearing and a key attribute that pulls Henry from his shell of a life. Though Grace has loved Henry since childhood, she knows he is not the same boy she fell in love with. Henry swears he will never love again and builds immense walls around his heart. To watch this couple come together within such an emotionally complex plot was such an exquisite experience. A powerful tale that tackles extremely difficult and painful subjects with aplomb and tact. A poignant and romantic story to begin Ms. Heath's latest promising series, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James. I highly recommend picking up a copy as soon as possible! Originally posted at Plot Twist Reviews [dot] com
Anonymous 19 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovely romance that kept me reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About time a story where the main characters are not perfect but real!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What's not to like about Lovingdon and Grace?
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
You will need your tissues for this one! Lady Grace has a plan to reform the wicked Duke of Lovingdon and pull him back from his debauched ways since the death of his wife and child. By having him help her find a sincere suitor, she hopes to draw him back into society and find the perfect man at the same time. She wouldn't mind if that man were Lovington, since she's had a crush on him since she was a child. But she would settle for getting him back in the world of the living and continuing to have him for a friend. Lady Grace has no shortage of suitors because she's got a huge dowry. She's noticed that some of her friends haven't faired too well at picking a husband after the first blush of courtship has worn off, so she wants some pointers from the scoundrely duke about how to tell when a man really loves her. At first reluctant, Lovingdon gives in and starts giving her advice—some of which comes in the form of demonstrations of how scoundrels act. However, the closer he becomes to Grace, the clearer it becomes that he shouldn't have anything to do with her because he is a grief-stricken man who has vowed never to love again. She deserves someone who can love her with all his heart, yet Lovingdon is loathe to see anyone else wed her. This book involves an interesting twist involving a health issue that I have never seen dealt with in an historical romance, so it was a unique story line for me. This series follows the second generation of St. James characters, and I'm eager to read about the rest of the scandalous gentlemen!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adored grace and Lovington. I'd definitely recommend this book to fellow historical romance novel fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The mastectomy plot twist did not work. At least try to stay true to the time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so difficult to get through because the author kept repeating the same story line throughout the book and everything about it was completely predictable. Several times i just wanted to quit and start something new, but because i paid for it I kept going. Very disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is truly an exceptional book about love lost and love found! About perfection and imperfection. Love is available to all who seek it!  Thank you so much for When the Duke was Wicked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Rhodes123 More than 1 year ago
Romance, Historical, Part Of A Series.... This Book Is Totally Awesome! I Would Recommend This Book If You Want An Fast Paced, Addicting Read, That Is Extremely Well Written, With Great Characters. Throw In A Little Intrigue And Voila...A 5 Star Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED THIS BOOK! Best historical I've read in a long time. Loved the humor and the caring and the absolute healing that takes place between both characters. Its funny and hot and sexy and just made me smile. "Are they serving rum tonight?" Hahahhaha