Sins of a Wicked Duke

Sins of a Wicked Duke

by Sophie Jordan

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Overview

She works to live . . .

One would think the last place a beauty like Fallon O'Rourke could keep her virtue was in the Mayfair mansion of London's most licentious duke, the notorious Dominic Hale. Yet Fallon—who's endured nothing but lecherous advances since her father's tragic death—is perfectly safe there . . . disguised as a footman! Beneath the notice of the dark-haired devil with his smoldering blue eyes and sinful smile, Fallon never imagines her secret will be discovered. But how long can her deception last when she begins to wish she is one of the many women traipsing in and out of the sinful rogue's bedchamber?

He lives to sin . . .

Most men envy the duke, never suspecting his pleasure-loving ways are a desperate attempt to escape, however briefly, the pain of a past that's left him with a heart of stone. Only one woman can break down his defenses. Only one woman can win his love . . . if she reveals her secret and succumbs to the sins of the wicked duke.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061579172
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/31/2009
Series: Penwich School for Virtuous Girls Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 239,559
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sophie Jordan grew up on a pecan farm in the Texas hill country, where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times bestselling author of Avon historical romances and the Firelight series. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows.

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Sins of a Wicked Duke

Chapter One

Fallon's steps slowed along the cobbled walk as she approached the modest brick townhouse, home to Widow Jamison. Her toes pinched inside her boots and she longed for her other pair—the men's boots tucked under her bed that Mrs. Jamison deemed unacceptable. A female on my staff shall look as a female ought to and not wear articles intended for men. Fallon sighed and shook her head. Her vanity had long ago accepted she would never be feminine or dainty. Why could not the rest of the world?

The hour was late. She had lost track of time during her visit with Evie and Marguerite. They had a great deal to catch up on—more than their correspondence had ever been able to convey in the two years since they parted ways.

Her gently swishing skirts cut through the night's low-rising fog. Burrowing deep into her cloak, she stopped and gazed ahead at the looming townhouse, lingering in its shadow for a reason she could not pinpoint. Wariness skittered through her as she studied the shadows dancing along the pale brick facade. Dark sensation zinged through her, prickling her nape. An awareness she could not easily dismiss . . . an instinct that had been bred into her ever since her father's murderer dropped her on Penwich's steps.

Her fingers curled around the cold steel gate surrounding the residence. Shivering in the frigid night, she commanded herself to move out of the chill and into the warmth of the house. And yet she could not move.

Then it came to her with the suddenness of a hare bolting from the brush. Lights blazed from the front parlor window. A low hum of conversation floated onthe air, gentle as wind.

Usually, the house sat silent this time of night, Widow Jamison and her three pugs long since tucked into bed following her evening "tonic." What marked the situation as even more unusual was the fact that the widow had departed yesterday to visit relations in Cornwall. Most of the staff had made free with the night to follow their own leisure pursuits, but certainly none had decided to make merry in their mistress's absence. In the parlor, no less. The stern housekeeper would never permit such an occurrence. So the question remained: Who was in the parlor?

Deciding it none of her affair, she eased the gate leading to the back of the house open, shutting it carefully, making certain it did not clang.

Fallon paused as she slipped inside through the servants' back entrance. Loud, indistinct voices overlapped. A female's shrill laughter carried from the front of the house. Then a second female laughed, the sound just as coarse. Fallon winced and resumed her pace down the narrow corridor, her swift steps falling dead on the well-worn runner.

Who could possibly be in the house? Mrs. Jamison possessed no female relations who would make free of her home in her absence. Only a . . .

Fallon stopped, cold dread and absolute certainty sweeping through her simultaneously. She closed her eyes in a long blink and shook her head. Reginald. Of course. Or Reggie as his doting mama called him.

The rare times Mrs. Jamison's thin lips curved in smile were during her son's visits home from school—only twice since Fallon hired on, but twice too many. She had grown well acquainted with the face of darling Reggie on those visits—a face like so many gentleman and noblemen scattered throughout her life. Not gentle. And not noble.

The lad was near her age. Even without the spots on his face and gangly awkward limbs so disproportionate to the rest of his body, he struck her as far younger than her own twenty years. But his youth hadn't fooled her. Nor his mother's blind, absolute affection for him. It hadn't taken her long to learn why all the maids steered clear of him.

She had very nearly flung a book at the cad's head when he corned her in the library. His mother's sudden appearance had stopped Fallon before she did anything so dire. Instead of reprimanding her son, the widow had sent Fallon off with a swift warning. I'll have no tarts working beneath my roof. Take better care to cover that outrageous hair of yours and get yourself to the kitchens.

Her face still burned at the memory even as the insult echoed with dreaded familiarity. Master Brocklehurst's charge of vanity frequently rang out through the halls of Penwich for any girl whose hair showed beneath their caps. With her fiery tresses, Fallon had always attracted his particular ire.

Lifting her wool skirt, she increased her pace, eyeing the long length of hall. The small room she shared with another maid was at the far end, near the set of stairs that led up to the family's quarters.

Suddenly another sound rose on the air, mingling with the distant laughter. Her pulse skittered at the dull thud of approaching footsteps. She didn't know whether to quicken her steps or freeze in her tracks. The heavy tread grew. Air froze in her lungs.

A shadow descended, casting a pall over the corridor's floor. Her heart seized in her chest. Clutching the edge of her cloak near her throat, she prayed merely another servant approached, retiring for the night.

She lurched sideways, hoping—absurdly—to blend with the wall. She watched as black Hessians became visible, then buff trousers, then an opened waistcoat and rumpled lawn shirt. Her gaze drifted up and dread clawed through her.

Reggie. And well into his cups, if his rumpled appearance and the slight sway to his stance were any indication. His bleary eyes had no trouble spotting her where she hugged the wall.

"There you are, love." Hiccup. "Fancy that. Thought I would have to search every room to find you." Hiccup.

Sins of a Wicked Duke. Copyright (c) by Sophie Jordan . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Sins of a Wicked Duke 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Orphan Fallon O'Rourke is sent to the Penwich School for Virtuous Girls where forty or so young girls are routinely punished. Master Brocklehurst battered Fallen with a strap for removing her cap. The beating leads her to make friends with Evie and Marguerite who all make a wish on a shooting star. Upon leaving the abusive school, Fallon finds work as a servant, but her beauty and unwillingness to be a sex toy for the males in the households consistently lead to her firing. Desperate and tall and solid at least for a female, she cuts her hair and dresses up as a male. She obtains a job as a footman working for Dominic "Demon Duke" Hale. However, Fallon never counted on falling in love with her employer who is renowned for his seductions. Meanwhile he wonders why the new footman remains in his head seemingly all the time until he realizes why and plans his next seduction. This is a fabulous historical romance starring two individuals with deep scars caused by childhood tragedies. The theme of a woman masquerading as a man has been done many times (Shakespeare in Love for instance), but Sophie Jordan keeps it brisk and amusing through her lead couple who know life's prime lesson is you always walk alone; that is until now. Fans will enjoy this fun frolic as the Demon Duke falls in love with his "footman". Harriet Klausner
PeachesTB More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book last night..much to my yawning today. I am a connoisseur of both romance and historical romance and read both for many years. Ms Jordan is a first for me. I have never picked up her books to read and was pleasantly surprised with this author. This book was very good. The male character in the book was delectable, strong, sexy, and OH sooo yummy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and well executed. What I liked most about this author is that she keeps your interest starting with the first chapter and adds on after that. To where near the end you can't seem to keep ur nose out of the book. I'm off today to buy more books of this author to see if she continues this in her other books as well. Good Job..well done of you. I look forward to reading the other books of yours.:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I normally do not write negative reviews. This is not completely negative. It is only the first few pages that really bothered me. I didn't like the way the author represented the male character and female character. It was horrible the situation that the female was put into. It is one thing to know that the character is a rake/scoundrel, but to have the female character right there forced to watch it was horrid. I pressed through praying it would get better cause it was such a bad beginning. Finally, as it got further into the book I started liking it more. I just wish the scene where they meet could be revised. The rest of the book got better and I enjoyed it. Just change the beginning.
Lark-Howard More than 1 year ago
Okay, I admit I'm a huge fan of historical romance in general and Sophie Jordon in particular. Once again, she's written a wonderful, original story I couldn't put down. The beautiful Fallon O'Rouke has been in service since leaving school. Unfortunately, she's finding it impossible to keep both a position and her virtue in a world where men of privilege expect more than housekeeping from comely servants. After fleeing the insistent son of her latest employer, Fallon decides to apply for her next position disguised as a young man, only to find herself in the employ of the Duke of Damon, the most notorious rake in London. Dominic Hale has come by his reputation honestly, flaunting his libertine behavior most outrageously. Lately, however, he's become restless until even alcohol and women in copious quantities and combinations no longer distract him. His thoughts keep drifting to a lovely red-h aired woman he'd met briefly one evening. Now his new valet's obvious disapproval is ruining the little pleasure Dominic still takes in his vices. Being Dominic's valet gives Fallon the chance to see behind the duke's public mask . As her attraction to him grows, poor Dominic is puzzled that he cares what the naïve young man thinks of him. He never suspects the valet is really the red-haired beauty he can't forget. Then one night in the dark, a case of mistaken identity changes everything for both of them. One of the things I love about Sophie Jordan's's books, is her heroines are as charming and flawed as her heroes. Fallon is smart and feisty but she carries around a grudge that taints her view of the world in general, and male aristocrats in particular. Determined to earn her independence, she sees betrayal where there is only benign neglect and as a result becomes her own worst enemy. Dominic, unlike most heroes labeled wicked, truly is unrepentant and determined to live down to the worse of his shocking reputation. Still, he has his own eccentric code of honor that makes one cheer him on and fall under his spell. And of course he's VERY hot. As in all Ms. Jordan's books, "Sins of a Wicked Duke" is a rich, original story that goes beyond the ballrooms of the ton. Fallon is a servant who must work to survive. Dominic is a duke with past that tortures his present. Their story is compelling, romantic, sexy and ultimately heart-warming. I love everything Ms. Jordan writes and this is another not-to-be-missed historical romance!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was great. I was not sure with the posing as a boy,ploy. But considering all her trouble getting work as a woman,it was a logical choice. Even in todays world, women are still not always afforded the same respect a man receives. The romance was hot, hot, hot! It was a real page turner. I liked the way both main charactors worked through their problems. Both having cruel beginnings in life, forged a bound to over come all and find love. My kind of romance! Will add to my permanent library. Definately worth reading again.
AlyssaGoodnight More than 1 year ago
Her father dead a world away, Fallon O'Rourke spends her formative years at Penwich School for Virtuous Girls, where the headmaster takes perverse delight in attempting to beat the sass and spirit right out of the statuesque, fiery-haired miss. He fails miserably, and so it is no surprise that the virtuous Fallon cannot seem to hold a position for any length of time among the blue-blood households that would employ her. She attracts the sort of attention that demands she defend herself and subsequently finds herself sacked time and again. With no other options she chops off her hair and garners a position as a footman in the home of the notorious Demon Duke. Having endured a painfully strict childhood himself, Dominic Hale, Duke of Damon, credits it-at least in part-for his nickname. Of course it doesn't help that he spends his days soused in liquor and sin, a different woman parading through the house each night. But he has come to terms with his life, the numbness and the loneliness, and refuses to answer to anyone. When the agency sends a disturbingly disapproving footman to his home, he can't quite figure why he is so affected by the lad-until he discovers the lad is a lass and sets his sights on seducing her. Let the battle of wills begin. Sins of a Wicked Duke is pure Sophie Jordan, with its irrepressible emotional pull and pull-out-the-stops sexual tension. Don't be surprised if, while you're cheering for Fallon's stand as a virtuous woman, you're simultaneously thrilling over the eventuality that Dom with topple it-and her. Right into his bed.
Kalira18 More than 1 year ago
Fallon was fascinating. I read this book in one sitting, just as I have with Ms. Jordan's other books.
spitzlady More than 1 year ago
All Fallon O'Rourke really wants is a home for herself. Ever since leaving Penwich's School for Virtuous Girls, she's been having to leave her places of employment, because the men of the households can't keep their hands to themselves. One night while fighting off the son of an employer a stranger comes by to see if she needs help. She gets into the carriage of the Duke of Damon. The Duke is one of those men Fallon hates, ones who think of nothing else but their own pleasures. Determined to get employment Fallon cuts her hair and disguises herself as a man. She gets employment in none other than the Dukes house hold. How long can she keep the charade up? This was a pleasant book, but it didn't really get to me. I think the best part was when Fallon really let Lord Hunt, whose father sent her father off on a goose chase, have it. The plot of a girl in boys clothing really didn't work for me this time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a veey enjoyable read.
Anonymous 7 months ago
excellent+read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
so+good...just+finished+it+and+I+am+gonna+read+it%0A+again.%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A
jjmachshev on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Sins of a Wicked Duke" is Sophie Jordan's latest historical with moderate heat about a young woman whose temperment and looks have made it hard for her to keep a job. So she does the unthinkable--cuts her long hair, disguises herself, and hires on as a footman! Fallon's life took a hard turn as a young girl when her father died. She was sent to a school where her flame-red hair earned her especially harsh treatment from the headmaster. She hated every moment, but did cherish the two friends she made and kept. After escaping the school, she's had a hard time earning her keep as a servant, simply because she refuses to become a man's toy and tends to speak her mind. After losing yet another job, Fallon comes up with the perfect plan...she'll become a footman! But 'best laid plans' and all that since the house she hires out to is that of the licentious duke. If anyone can penetrate her disguise, it's certainly a man who knows women as well as the Duke.Dominic grew up with all the privileges of his station. He also grew up under the severe tutelage and control of his grandfather, who blamed Dominic's father for the ruination and death of his daughter, Dominic's mother, and was determined to punish Dominic for his 'blood'. After being told so often that he was a devil, Dominic decided to live up to his name...and he's done quite the bang up job of it ever since. Now he's jaded and becoming bored with life, until he meets a beautiful servant girl he can't seem to forget.Not a bad read, just not very memorable. I had difficulty becoming attached to either of the lead characters and that affected my enjoyment of the plot. What was nice about this story is the lack of any danger or intrigue. This is purely a romance about two people who should be all wrong for each other...but discover that nothing levels the playing field like love.
Catherine331 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading multiple enthusiastic reviews at multiple sites I decided to pick this book up. Unfortunately this book didn't work for me nearly as well as it did for those other happy readers. The description of the book sounded promising and the details mentioned by the reviews were ones that I usually like. For some reason it just didn't come together for me in this book. I spent most of the book with one eyebrow cocked struggling to believe in the characters and their motivations.For some reason I could never bring myself to like Fallon. I know that her pity party of one was supposed to make me feel for her, but it didn't work. I found her whiny and the type of person that would cut off her nose to spite herself. Her father died years ago following the demands of his employer. Fallon is unwilling to move past it and has a hatred for all noblemen (because her father's employer was one). The employer had paid for her to go to a school after her father's death, but that only deepened Fallon's dislike of him. The school she was sent to had a sadistic headmaster who got his jollies out of beating the girls enrolled there and watching them suffer.This sounds like a nice background for character growth and the realization that it is narrow minded to blame a large group of people for the actions of one man. Unfortunately I didn't see that happen until the last few pages. When it finally did happen I didn't believe it. It seemed like she stayed mired in her bitterness the whole book until the author realized the end was coming up and had Fallon play lip service to character growth so that she and Dominic could get their HEA.Very little was ever made out of the fact that Fallon was a servant and Dominic was a duke. I know it was brought up a few times by Fallon to explain why they could never be together but it seemed like lip service. When they finally got together in the end the class difference was ignored in a way that I found laughable. I know that Fallon blamed her looks and the fact that she wouldn't put out for not being able to keep a job, but I really don't believe that. She seemed to have no awareness of the fact that she was a servant and what that meant to her standing in the world. The girl couldn't keep her mouth shut and her rudeness contained if you stapled her lips shut. I think that was the real reason she couldn't keep a job.Dominic was a pretty bland character. He was made out to be this dissolute rake that still managed to be sexy to Fallon. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. Usually there is something about the rakes that wallow in darkness that fascinates you even as their actions repel you. He didn't have that spark. Because of this lack I couldn't understand what Fallon was so fascinated by. She apparently saw something in him that fascinated her enough to look past his skeezy behavior. I wish I had seen it too.One last point... I really dislike the fact that Fallon's charade lasted for so long. It made the rest of their relationship seem really rushed. It seemed like the minute Dominic saw she had breasts he worshipped her. Very irritating. I don't know if I'll try this author again. If the rest of her books are styled in this manner I don't think they'll work for me.
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Sophie Jordan is a go to author for me
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celesteworld More than 1 year ago
I have read most of Sophie Jordan's and found this one to be just as good.   This story is about Fallon O'Rourke.  She is alone in the world and has to work to support herself.  She realizes that as a man she would not only earn a better wage, but she would be left alone by over aggressive men.  What's a girl to do...pose as a man!  This is an entertaining story.  I realize the hero of the book pushes some readers buttons, but I like him!  I thought he was just the right about of crass and full of sexiness. This book is well worth the time it will take to read it.   
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The was the first novel I've read by this particular author and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing technique. I was a little put off in the beginning by the sordid behavior of the hero but as the characters were developed what made them to be the people they were was explained. It is a well written story that will hold your interest if you enjoy historical romance novels that have more depth than many novels today. I look forward to enjoying more of this writers books.