They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.
Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.
I have had the Scoundrels of St James on my ‘to read list’ for months, waiting for the perfect time to begin this series that I’ve been dying to read and devour. This series, which I heard is more on the serious and darker side of the scale, which I would have to agree – it isn’t light and fluffy like some historical romances, but don’t let that steer you away as it was a great read – , it it amazingly written with wonderful interesting characters. Plus a fun factor about this book, is that it’s a sort of retelling of ‘Oliver Twist’ but with Lorraine’s personal spin on it. I was aware of the original story with Feagan and his lads, so it was exciting and interesting to read an authors version of it in the historical romance department for adults.
With In Bed with the Devil, we have Luke – Lord Claybourne – also known as the ‘Devil Earl’ due to that he killed a man – his uncle, but at the time, he didn’t know it – when he was 14 for raping Frannie – future heroine and one of Feagan’s children – which he was imprisoned for it, but later let out by the Old Earl of Claybourne believing he was his long lost grandson and the heir and future Earl. He doesn’t know the man, but from growing up on the streets, he learned to lie really well, so he told the Earl what he wanted to hear so he could get out of jail. The Earl takes him in, along with Feagan’s other children – Frannie, Jack, Bill, and Jim – to learn and teach him the ways of being the future Earl of Claybourne. Luke is practically a social piraha, so he avoids balls and parties due to what people think of him – most won’t even approach him, afraid their reputation will be in ruins if they do so.
Catherine Mabrey, heroine and daughter of the Duke of Greystone and sister to Stirling, knows of Lord Claybourne’s reputation as the Devil Earl, so one night she secretly goes to his house to ask him to kill her friend’s husband due to his violent and abusive ways. Claybourne bargains with her, if she can teach Frannie how to act like nobility and learn their ways so she can fit in, it return he will do her bidding. You see, he wants to marry Frannie, to keep her safe and always protect her, but she wants nothing to do with nobility, let alone marry one and become a countess. Throughout the book as Catherine gives Frannie her lessons, she and Luke also get closer but she knows nothing can come of it since he loves Frannie and wants to marry her. Luke thinks he loves Frannie, but it is just a love that a boy feels for a girl, not the real thing that what a man and woman feels for one another. Near the end, Luke realizes this, that he truly and deeply loves Catherine, that he wants to marry her if she will have me.
I loved every bit of this book, the plot, the secrets – Jack knowing that Luke really was the true heir and rightful Earl – and the characters. Everything, I felt was perfect and I wouldn’t change anything about this book. With this being my second book that I’ve read of Lorraine’s, I have a feeling I am going to be adding her to my ‘favorite authors list’ plus read just about every book she has released.