The ladies of the ton won’t stop whispering about deliciously wicked Jack Dodger—once a thieving street urchin, now the wealthy owner of London’s most exclusive gentleman’s club. There’s no pleasure he hasn’t enjoyed, no debauchery the handsome scoundrel won’t provide for the lords who flock to his house of carnal intrigue.
London’s most virtuous lady—honorable, uncorrupted, and all too human…
Olivia, Duchess of Lovingdon, would never associate with such a rogue. So when Jack is named sole heir to the duke’s personal possessions, the beautiful, well-bred lady is outraged. Now, Olivia is forced to share her beloved home with this despicable man.
Caught between the devil and desire…
But Olivia’s icy disdain is no match for Jack’s dangerous charm. His touch awakens desire. His kiss demands surrender. She will struggle to bar Jack from her heart…but her body, coveting divine release, will not let her bar him from her bed.
With the second installment in the Scoundrels of St James, we have the deliciously wicked Jack Dodger, owner of a gentlemen’s club – Dodgers- where men go to gamble and take pleasures with women. Money is everything to Jack, he’s always looking for ways to earn his next coin. He is one of the most gossiped about men when ladies take their tea, which they discreetly dub him ‘Deliciously Wicked Jack Dodger’. He is also a rascal with a heart stopping devilish smile. Warning, never forbid him to do anything, that just eggs him on to do it. At just five years old, his mother sold him to a man in hopes that he’d be taken care of, but at the time she didn’t know she handed her son over to the very devil himself. jack spent three days with this man, subjected to molestation, being touched by a man in ways a child should never be touched, he escapes to live life on the street and is later taken in by Feagan. He was dubbed Dodger due to that he was good at dodging people while pit pocketing them.
Out of the blue, jack is given guardianship to the late Duke of Lovingdon’s five year old son, Henry. This bit of news astounds him and it most certainly doesn’t sit well with Olivia, Henry’s mother. Other than being baffled, Jack takes his responsibility serous and sets out to look after Henry. He takes time getting to know the boy, bringing him out of his shell, buying him a puppy, reading to him, taking him to the Crystal Palace, taking him for a train ride, and showing him how to dodge. Henry gets attached to Jack in no time and practically worships him, while it takes Olivia a bit to warm to him. While seeing to his guardianship duties to Henry, he sets out to marry Olivia off soon as possible, but that task becomes complicated as Jack starts to care for her. Slowly Olivia knocks down jack’s protection walls that he’s built and they eventually give into their feelings.
Jack always thought all he cared ab out was making the next coin, but he realizes he wants more. He wants Olivia an Henry forever in his life, for theme to be a family.
I will say this, in my opinion, this is a much more serious read than In Bed with the Devil due to the subject that was discussed about what Jack endured as a child. I have never read a book about child molestation before and quite frankly the subject and act is just sickening, grown men acting out adult fantasies on poor innocent and defenseless children. I think that part is what endeared me to Jack and made me love his character and even though his memories haunt him, he still managed to rise above it. From his experiences, he also tried to take in young boys off the street to give them jobs at Dodgers so they weren’t subjected to the sick and twisted pedophiles he was when he was a boy. Jack was extremely lucky to get away – sadly he was the only one that did. This is one of the reasons Lovingdon chose Jack as Henry’s guardian, he knew he was a strong man who he could count on to teach Henry important lessons in life plus keep him safe. Plus, he felt like he owed it to Jack as they have a special connection that isn’t mentioned until the end, which I don’t want to post as it would be considered a major spoiler, however my gut feeling had a hunch about it before it was reveled.
I felt like this was a fabulous book with a dark sinister plot that made the hero very endearing and will pull at your heart strings. It might possibly be my favorite of this series. I highly recommend it to hose who love historicals set in Victorian England with a rascal of a hero who learns to overcome his hard painful past to find love unexpectedly with a widow Duchess and her son.