When the Duke Was Wicked
Lorraine Heath

Heat Level: Hot

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 . . .


I love dukes. Any duke will do really and with Heath’s latest novel I was entrapped again. Smitten would be a better word choice. The Duke of Lovingdon is a tortured hero. He married young, lost the love of his life and has sworn of love for the future trading HEA for debauchery instead. So of course he needs a woman to heal him.

Enter Lady Grace Mabry and her desire to find true love. She needs Lovingdon to help her determine the roués and rogues from the one who will really treat her the way she deserves. If that helps get Lovingdon back to polite society and the bosom of family and friends all the merrier. This storyline is priceless and the reverse psychology that Grace employs on Lovingdon works a bit too well for her. I really enjoyed how she didn’t want to fall for Lovingdon at all, refusing to go back down a road toward her childhood crush. Yet, Lovingdon can’t seem to stop wanting to be the one in her arms, kissing her lips, or occupying her time.

Of course in this version of Regency England, Grace is provided plenty of leeway when by association she would’ve been ruined after the first scene in her book. Since this is the first book in a series of stories about the children from the Scoundrels of St. James series, I could believe these adults would be able to get away with more than others.

If you’re looking for a classic friend to lovers story this book fits the bill. There are a few villains, but I find it entertaining when a hero is able to rescue his heroine from the clutches of some evil man.

So I think others will like this book if they enjoy midnight meetings, dukes who pride themselves on sticking to their word – even if they do a few naughty things in between, heroines who aren’t the standard fare, and love blooming in unexpected places.

For readers who enjoy Beverley Kendall

Reviewed by Landra