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Wicked Designs

Wicked Designs

4.2 57
by Lauren Smith

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For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple: find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a


For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple: find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes. Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon-if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler's niece, the difficult debutante's blend of sweetness and sharp tongue makes him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric's shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard-and to rob him of the woman he can't live without.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Smith's fast-paced historical keeps [listeners] on their toes as they're taken hostage by a whirlwind of characters and an unforgettable romance." ---RT Book Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Emily Parr may be young and naive, but she is also resourceful. When Godric St. Laurent, the dashing Duke of Essex, kidnaps her in a madcap scheme to ruin her Uncle Albert, she relies on her wits to save her. Held captive at Godric’s estate under the watchful guard of the League of Rogues, Emily is pleasantly surprised that Godric and his friends protect and cosset her more than Albert ever did. Even as she attempts to escape, she charms all five rogues with her plucky spirit. The love scenes between Emily and Godric alternate between tender and steamy as Godric introduces her to passion. The sinister threat to Emily’s future, plotted by Albert’s business partner, is silly and overly contrived, but the natural rapport between Emily and the rogues more than makes up for any weak points. Readers will happily ignore the villainy and enjoy the romp through rumpled bedsheets and the 1820s English countryside as Godric and Emily rocket toward their happy ending. (July)

Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
League of Rogues Series , #1
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Smith is the award-winning author of Blood Moon on the Rise, The Bite of Winter, and the League of Rogues series. The recipient of multiple awards in several romance subgenres, she is an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Heather Wilds has appeared in numerous plays on the London stage to great critical acclaim. She has also performed in award-winning films, appeared on TV and in commercials, and works as an audiobook narrator and voice actress.

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Wicked Designs 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I have been reading, and enjoying, historical romances for over 30 years now, this is the first review I am writing for any of the hundreds of books I've read and delighted in. In "Wicked Designs", Ms. Smith weaves a story bursting with wonderfully loveable rouges, each with a depth of character that makes you wish they will each have their own ‘happy ending’.  I can’t wait for the next rouge’s book to be published.  And watching the two protagonists relationship develop was so much fun, I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions.   Because this book has it all, excitement, laughter, romance, sizzle, intrigue, and danger, make sure you set aside an afternoon to read it.  Trust me; you won’t want to put it down.
Mirabelle8 More than 1 year ago
A League of Devilish Rogues! 6 stars As soon as I started reading the first chapter of WICKED DESIGNS, it got me hooked till the very end; I could not put it down and read until late this morning. Lauren Smith didn’t disappoint me with the love story of Godric and Emily! I adored it; the words flew on the pages, a real page turner! It is an amazing story of two tormented young persons, who help each other, trust each other and finally find love in their lives! Miss Emily, is the perfect young lady, being controlled by her uncle and cousin, who desperately need her money. She does not want to marry for money and do not trust men, she only wants her freedom from these two men. Will fate intervene? Her story started with the death of her parents and she fell under these bad men in her family. Godric is an emotionally wounded man; he also belongs to a secret group with his four friends Cedric, Ashton, Charles and Lucien! These rogues are women charmer and Godric is the perfect seducer full of charm and finesse. Their love story starts as Godric, wanting revenge againts one of these men, decides to kidnap Emily in exchange for the money he loss in a financial transaction. As soon as Godric and Emily meet, sparks flare and ignite a sweet tenderness that will evolve, in time, to passion. Beautiful hot chemistry between the captor and the captive! Some scenes are so cute to read, like the scene “when Emily tries to remove the keys from Godric’s wrist while he is sleeping” and “the pond incident” I laughed and smiled, it was so charming to read their adventure. Ms. Smith really wrote a beautiful story filled with tenderness, passion and intrigues. I highly recommend without hesitation, Wicked Designs, her first book in The League of Rogues, and I can’t wait to read her next book in this series; Wicked Seduction, Lucien’s story. I have to say, that Godric’s four friends are devilish and handsome rogues full of charm and tenderness, each, in a different way. I adore reading lives of rogues, they can be so much fun to follow!
-Aimee22- More than 1 year ago
The very first thing I noticed was the Gazette Girl. Sort of a historical twist of Gossip Girl's insight on the scandalous lives of the elite. That little tidbit aside . . . I couldn't put this book down. The action in this book starts quickly and I found myself immediately sucked in. I was really impressed with Emily's strength, courage, and wit, especially after she is kidnapped. She even surprised me a few times and I was proud of her for that. Enter Godric and the League of Rogues. Hunky, wealthy bachelors who are up to no good and when they are wronged they seek to mete out their own justice. Unfortunately, that put innocent Emily smack dab in the middle of their plot for revenge and it changes each one of their worlds. Emily proves to be quite the intelligent and challenging captive-- even Godric can't deny the desire he feels toward Emily. The tension between the two was palpable and I can't deny I wanted her to fall in love with Godric. Despite kidnapping her, he still made sure she wanted for nothing and was taken care of. He really was a roguish rake, but I loved him. :) I enjoyed seeing how the characters came together, grew, and changed. Life is not always black and white, but rather a mix of both when you get to the true nature of humanity. Sometimes, something amazingly beautiful comes out of the darkness, and that's what I felt when I finished this book.  It was heartfelt, tension packed, tender yet heart wrenching, had some LOL moments, and was a great read. I can't wait for the rest in this series! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the moment I picked up this book, I practically couldn't put it down! I almost feltas if I knew all the characters personally as the authir details them out perfectly without going on for so long you grow bored. Canwait for book2 in the series!
RomanceReaderGirl1 More than 1 year ago
Great Historical Romance Debut.  Five devilish rogues and one woman at this point I am going to state, “take me with you, oh handsome rouges, let me be that one woman!” Onto what I thought of Ms. Lauren’s historical debut. I really enjoyed this book. At first I was intimidated by so many characters being introduced but don’t let that stop you. This is the first book in a series, so it would make sense to have all the characters introduced. Really- you’re paying attention because you want to know which rogue you’ll click with. The story unfolds quickly with Emily Parr being kidnapped on her way to a ball by five gentlemen. What I like about Emily is she doesn’t just sit back and cry she puts up a fight with these guys. She knows she cannot physically outmaneuver them so she uses her brains to get her out of the the situation. Since it wasn’t an equal fight she is taken to Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex’s estate to be held captive. Once there, Emily attempts to escape but is again, outmaneuvered, this is when she changes her strategy and friends these gentlemen to learn why she was the lucky girl taken from her carriage. The mastermind behind this kidnapping is Gordic St. Laurent, Duke of Essex. Emily’s uncle owes him and to get payment he takes Emily. He had a dark childhood and doesn’t feel worthy of love or giving love. His true nature is to care for people and after he kidnaps Emily a whole new side of him begins to blossom. I know you’re thinking, “oh, she falls for her kidnapper oh-so typical”…yes, but no… There are four other gentlemen that find Emily’s feisty personality intriguing and we see tension occur among life-long friends. This story has a fast moving plot with great dialogue between characters, that kept me turning the page. Ms. Smith gives her characters a lot of depth and you begin to like these characters because each one is unique. This is great read and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. Wonderful, historical debut Ms. Smith. You have yourself a new fan!!  *I was given an advance copy of this book for an honest review. 
a_banks More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book!  I found myself at times wishing that I were Emily, so that I could have the attention of the League of Rogues bestowed on me.  I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.  I hope it's not too far away.  I'm not sure how I stumbled across this author, but I am oh so glad that I did!
77517 More than 1 year ago
The constant camaraderie between a group of dukes better known as the League of Rogues is hilarious. I found myself wishing I was in this book with these characters. Their loyalty and easy-going nature will appeal to anyone. A kidnapping gone awry, turns a plan to settle a debt into a tennis match of love. The escape attempts are comical. Soon all these Rogues find a special place in their hearts for their spit fire captive. She’s just as captivated by each and every one of them as well. Yet only one holds her heart. Both love birds have a harsh history. Orphaned and alone. Both have built walls around their hearts to protect themselves. This book conquers the aged old “fear of love”. Brings back the times of loyalty and reputations. While the plot thickens and takes unexpected twists and turns outside of the League of Rogues. There’s just as many surprises inside this legendary group of Dukes. I couldn’t put it down and when I had to, I cut everything short to sneak back and read. The author holds you captive from cover to cover. It’s a fun and charming read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Wicked Designs.  I loved the friendship between the League of Rogues and the friendship between Emily and the League of Rogues.  Emily had so much spunk she kept the league on their toes.  I cannot wait for the next installment. Well done Lauren Smith
Lori_Zalewski More than 1 year ago
Find this review and more at Lusty Penguin Reviews! Wicked Designs, A League of Rogues Novel by Lauren Smith, is an entertaining Regency romance with a touch of mystery and suspense thrown in. Colorful descriptions of the time period draw the reader into Smith’s enchanting story. Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, discovers Albert Parr has embezzled his investment monies. In order to seek repayment, Godric and his friends in the League of Rogues kidnap Emily, Parr’s niece. Emily might be young, but she is feisty and intelligent—which I just loved about her—and she manages to trick Godric twice before finally being captured. Furthermore, Emily is rightly concerned about her future marriage prospects. Godric, on the other hand, is not because he is focused only on revenge. Even while Emily gets to know her captors, she is always plotting an escape because she values her freedom the most. Emily can’t help but be intrigued with Godric because he is handsome, strong, domineering, and at times, he shows hints of gentleness. Emily wonders if she could fall in love with such a man. Godric is ensnared by Emily’s beauty, her sprit, her smarts, and her cleverness and falls hard for her. Having never felt this way for a woman before, Godric is completely thrown by the emotions Emily stirs up. These newfound feelings leave Godric confused and vulnerable, which, at times, cause him to lash out and say nasty and cruel things to Emily. Godric struggles with his desire for Emily and the need to do right by her, which made me love him. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two figure out their love for each other. Their sexual chemistry sizzles, and their bedroom play is sensual and passionate. Emily’s sassy nature is a perfect match for Godric’s stubbornness, making them a couple to cheer for. Another aspect of this story that I truly loved is Smith’s development of secondary characters, Ashton, Charles, Cedric and Lucien, the other members of the League of Rogues. These men had no idea when they helped Godric that Emily would cast a spell on them all because she has a pure soul, loves the outdoors, and is playful as well as brainy. I really enjoyed the interaction between the other rogues and Emily. I’m also looking forward to future stories to see the ladies who will bring the other rogues to their knees. With a spunky and independent heroine and a memorable hero, Wicked Designs is an engrossing story that readers will be glad they picked up. I received an eBook copy of the book for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
2_PMVH More than 1 year ago
"The League of Rogues" are a infamous group who are known for their many escapades with women, their money and power. If you mess with one, they all come down on your head. This legendary league are made up of a duke, viscount, baron, earl and a marquee. The first story is of Godric St. Laurent, the Duke of Essex. He is deeply emotional scarred from his childhood. After his mom die, he father beat him and blamed him for his Mother's death. He has only loved one woman, his mother. Godric truly believes he doesn't deserve to be loved. Emily Parr is still grieving for her parents' death and lives with her uncaring uncle. The only things he has brought into her life is loneliness and the evil and creepy Mr. Blankenship. What she doesn't know about Blankenship is he always wanted her mother but since he could not have her, Emily will do. Her uncle steals 20,000 pounds from Godric to settle some debt but needs to sells Emily to Blankenship for the rest. Who will protect her? Godric can't have his money back, so he decides to steal her uncle's only valuable item, Emily. He will ruin her in society's eyes. On the way to a ball, "The League" kidnaps Emily but she will not go down without a fight! Miss Emily Parr is a heroine of the first order with her spunk and courage. Her many escape attempts involve any door she can reach, under a bed, a wardrobe and even a horse. Godric wants her badly and will torment her with his caresses and kisses. Emily fights a good fight but she decides to love him with all her heart. She kisses him "from her heart" and Godric is doomed. Lauren Smith writes in my favorite style, humor! She has witty and hilarious dialogue. She writes great secondary characters like the butler named Simpkins, who is more surrogate dad to "The League." Then she throws in steamy up against the wall scenes, a adorable puppy, a drowning duke, a misguided and likeable ex-mistress, a crazed villain and even an old nemesis reappears. Ms. Smith writes a story in a story with "The League of Rogues" and I can't wait to read the love stories of the 4 remaining! I give this book my highest score or 5 fingers up and 10 toes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The concept seemed unique until I read more. How does kidnapping a woman exact payment from an uncaring impoverished uncle? It only serves to ruin the woman's reputation rather than secure payment of any debt. Many things were in flux during this tale. Godric sites Emily's need of a romantic proposal then declares that they will marry. The gentlemen expect trouble and are well versed in various fighting techniques. They carefully guard Emily. Yet one is caught off guard and seriously wounded. Emily is severely ill, possibly a lung infection. She feels shards of glass in her throat and heavy bricks on her chest, she can barely speak one moment and the next is passionately kissing and speaks quite freely. This was overlong with repetitive sentences in each paragraph. This may be due to the author's profession, but there is no need for such length coupled with a very small font.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Head off to another world and another time Well paced well conceived and a fun read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't judge a book by the cover. This was awsome. Emily is kidnapped by a group of rogues. Great characters, well written, mystery, angst, danger and fabulous passion. Awesome read can't wait to read more of the rogues stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
This charming historical romance is the story of Emily and Godric. Kidnapped by Godric in a power play to extract revenge over unpaid debt from her uncle, Emily soon finds that being Godric's prisoner is much more preferable to the lonely existence she was living before. But when danger threatens, will the tenuous bond they've formed strengthen their relationship or will all be ruined? This story was reminiscent to me of the types of historical romances I used to read under the bed covers with a flashlight as a teenager. The older hero kidnaps the young virgin heroine and she can't help but fall for the dashing kidnapper - and naturally the hero falls hopelessly in love with the heroine in return. It was a fun romp and thoroughly delightful! I particularly enjoyed the interactions between Godric and the other members of the League of Rogues, their sense of humour and witty dialogue made me smile. There is a good mix of suspense, action and romance in the story to keep the plot moving at a good pace. I did find that the other league members behaved more familiarly with Emily than I would have expected but I think this was to emphasize the brotherly affection and regard they held for her as well as the difference in her reaction to Godric's physical touch as romantic and exciting rather than familial. Emily herself for an 18 year old showed remarkable bravery and ingenuity and was worthy of being called a heroine. Godric, though at first seeming to be a heartless kidnapper is of course nothing of the kind and develops a tendre for Emily, realizing that despite how their relationship has started he must find a way to keep her in his life. Overall this was a delightful read, with lots of plot twists and turns, sensual love scenes and a wonderful introduction to secondary characters who will hopefully get their own stories as the series continues. 4 stars!
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
This is book 1 in the League of Rogues series. Miss Emily Parr can't believe that she has just been kidnapped.  She soon learns that Godric St. Laurent, the Duke of Essex, has taken her to get her uncle to pay him the money that he stole. She does anything in her power to get away from Godric and his friends. Godric kidnapped Emily for the sole purpose of getting his money back. He never imagined that he would be so attracted to her.  Having long decided that he would never marry, he wants to make Emily his mistress. Knowing that marriage is the only way to salvage her reputation, Emily refuses to become his mistress. Godric doesn't give up and Emily is soon in his bed. Godric claims that Emily is too good for him. Can she convince him that their love is worth fighting for? This was a wonderful introduction to what I predict will be a tremendous series. The men that make up the League of Rogues will intrigue and delight you. I loved Emily and Godric together. The chemistry between them practically jumped off the page. I loved that Emily played down how smart she was. This enabled her to make her escape attempts.  Of course, the League was able to get her each time, but this just intrigued Godric even more.   I loved that Smith allowed us to get to know the other League members. Because of this, I'll have to read the other books as they become available. I'm already invested in their lives!! She also gives us some hints as to who she might pair up in the future and this has me eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Next up is Lucien, the Marquess of Rochester.  His lady of choice is Honoria Sheridan one of his friend's sisters. Will he break one of the League's rules to get the girl? Find out when Wicked Seduction comes out tomorrow!!
bouncyberthaCR More than 1 year ago
5 - "Lucky for you, I seem to have developed a taste for rogues." Stars! Lauren Smith in the space of two books has gone from an unknown, to an unforgettable author to me. "Give me time and you'll never want to leave." It is hard to fully put into words my reasoning for this, but on occasion a reader will connect with a writer, whether it be due to the subject matter they cover, the style of their writing, the characteristics of the individuals they bring to life, or just their vivid imaginations and the stories that they give you, but it all just clicks into place, and you know that you will forever now be desperately waiting for them to finish writing their next book so that you can eagerly devour it. "Care for a noonday tumble?" If there was ever a genre of romantic writing that I would laugh at you and say 'not likely' too, it would be Historical. I as I am sure a lot of my fellow readers read a fair few under the covers with a torch in my teens, and believe me the Mills & Boon/Harlequin type fiction I read in those times, formed the base of my voracious appetite for books now. But its notsomuch a genre I would want to willingly go back to now. That is until I started the first book in Lauren's League of Rogues series, Wicked Designs is quite simply an absolute masterpiece of storytelling. I got lost in this book, I didn't care that I had been transported back to the Summer of 1820. All I cared about was the Characters (of which there are many and they are varied), the thrilling and fully engrossing story line, and the fact that I had been proved totally and utterly wrong with my assumptions. "It wouldn't be so horrible to be the lover of a Duke." Emily and Godric together were great, Godric and the rest of the League together were fantastic, the League in general, be still my fluttering heart . I cannot wait for more of the lives and loves of each of the rogues to be developed and expanded upon as further books are released in the future. I never thought I would ever be giving a book of this genre 5 stars, in truth I would give it 6 if I could. I LOVED it that much. ARC provided by the author, and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Godric and Emily's story was a very entertaining and exciting book. The League of Rogue's contain some of the most endearing and sexy men of the ton. I have enjoyed all the rogues and cannot wait to read the next rogue's facinating tale from this author.
AneMailname More than 1 year ago
The characters in this book are lovable and endearing. The way the Hero and Heroin meet is deplorable! LOL But they soon realize all is not as it seems. The people you want to hate are so despicable that it is easy to hate them. I wanted to literally choke one of them. The league of Rogues has definitely intrigued me. I can not wait for the next book! I find that I really want to know all about the other "Rogues" in the group. I really felt bad for the heroin and the way she has been "handled" by her uncle. I am sure that happened more often that we can think of in those times. Excellent writing kept me very interested and I ended up reading well into the night. Thank goodness for tablets!!
TamiV More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy taking a short trip in history to get me out of the hustle and bustle of current life. In Wicked Designs, I not only was able to take a vacation, but I also had the opportunity to meet a bunch of incredible characters. The interaction between Miss Emily Parr and all the "Rogues" made me want to be a fly on the wall, instead of on the pages, and this book didn't disappoint. I would forget that I wasn't sitting on the back of the horse or in the dining room with them all having a laugh at whatever situation had come up next. I can't wait until September when the second book comes out. I've already fallen in love with all the Rogues and can't wait to see how they get their happy endings.
LesiaCh4 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, and cannot wait to read about the remaining League of Rogues. A group of five best friends, rogues all, they will do anything for each other, even die. In this story the author created a heroine who may seem weak and helpless, she is anything but. Emily will soon meet the infamous League of Rogues, and will be a pawn in their game. The sparks will fly! There is so much that will happen in this book, treachery, heartbreak, seduction, mystery, and kidnapping. Our hero, Godric, has his own demons to fight, but when he meets Emily and seduces her, she will teach him so much more. This book is a must read! Lauren Smith did a wonderful job writing this story, and I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy reading this book from the first page to the last....
Anonymous 5 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
Loved the characters, the story line, everything! There were a decent amount T of mistakes- misspelling, and missing words, and words placed in the wrong order. But that didn't really take away anything from the story. I will be looking into the rest of this series.
Anonymous 9 months ago