I have often confessed my love of Lorraine Heath many times already so it will come as a shock to say that at the beginning of “The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James) I didn’t love it. I had a hard time getting the hero and the heroine. Well there is a fantastic reason for this!
I have read and loved the previous two books in the: Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Series so I was familiar with Avendale and his ruthlessness and selfishness. When he sees Rosalind Sharpe he is immediately drawn to her. Rose knows how to work a room, a crowd, how to be charming and basically how to steal from her audience. She is a con artist.
So this is the reason that I didn’t like her and Avendale. Basically because when they meet she is not herself. She is pretending to be someone else. This is not a big spoiler because there are so many rich and wonderful parts of the story that unravel the minute we understand why Rose does what she does.
Avendale rich, handsome and unbeatable cannot believe that he has been con. He considers himself a worthy opponent of any men, especially a women. The minute he discovers who Rose really is, or what she is, he sets off to find her. And find her he does!
No one can do chemistry and tension like Heath! Rose and Aavendale were a fantastic couple! As pay back for her deception, Avendale takes Rose as his mistress until he is ready to dispose of her. He obviously doesn’t really know Rose and when he does he can’t help but fall head over heels. Rose was such a rich character. She alone could have made me love this story. Avendale is a true rake turned hero. He does such beautiful things for the people that Rose is protecting that it brought tears to my eyes. Her brother crushed my heart. I had to put the story down and take a breath.
I have to bend down my head in shame that I could have doubted Heath. Beautiful, entertaining, and heartbreaking story! Just when we think Rose and Avendale have faced it all, Rose’s past catches up to her. Ultimately, Avendale has to let her go… Needless to say, this was a phenomenal story. It was one heart stopping moment after another. Another fantastic read by Heath!
**ARC provided by Publisher**