Sins of a Wicked Duke
by Sophie Jordan
I haven't read anything by Sophie Jordan before, but with my love for women passing as men I couldn't *ahem* pass this one up. And I'm glad I didn't because I've found a new author to glom!
Ever since Fallon O'Rourke was orphaned at a young age she's had a rough time of it. She may not be your typical beauty, but with her Amazon height and unforgettable red hair men want her and women hate her. So after losing another job, and with no references, she decides to disguise herself as a man and get a job. Unfortunately the first job that comes her way is as the valet to the one man she never wanted to see again - Lord Dominic Hale.
Dominic Hale has lived up, or should I say down, to every expectation of him. All he loves - besides having sex with women - is painting. Abused as a child in a overly strict and religious home, he has made it a point to be everything his family tried to beat out of him. But lately he can't break free of his ennui. Until he meets a red-headed Amazon who he can't get out of his mind, but can't seem to paint accurately onto a canvas either.
This book surprised me. It isn't often that an author creates two tortured characters, let alone ones that are so real. Fallon hates the aristocracy to the point of blindness. But a blindness that we can easily see in ourselves. Dominic was abused as a child and hasn't grown up because of it. His way of getting even with his family is to live a useless life. It takes the outside perspective of hero and heroine to see that the only people they are hurting with this way of thinking and behaving is themselves. Quite an unusual way to bring a hero and heroine together, but perfectly executed.
The sexual tension is what really moves this book along. Personally, I find that I get bored with a book once the characters have sex because there isn't any sexual tension left afterwards. If this book is an example of how Jordan usually writes, then she's a master at keeping the characters, and the readers, wanting more. The interludes between Dominic and his valet Fallon are wonderful. I love that Fallon is really the aggressor in this book. Dominic hasn't a clue that his valet is a woman, so nearly all the heat and wanting are from her point of view. Even when Dominic finally discovers her identity, he doesn't go after her, but feeds her desire so she comes after him.
Finally, the plot was interesting but never got in the way of the romance. I was interested in both characters' back stories, and many times wondered how these two would end up together after all they had been through.
Bottom Line: Be prepared to stay up all night reading this one!
“It's a man's world in Regency England, and sometimes to be treated well you have to become a man - even if it means you have to subdue your lust for your employer.”
April 2009, 384 pages
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?
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.