Review: The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan

The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A love potion…

Charlotte Langley has always been the prudent middle sister, so her family is not surprised when she makes the safe choice and agrees to wed her childhood sweetheart. But when she finds herself under the weather and drinks a “healing” tonic, the potion provokes the most maddening desire…for someone other than her betrothed.

With the power…

Kingston’s rakehell ways are going to destroy him and he’s vowed to change. His stepbrother’s remote estate is just the place for a reformed rogue to hide. The last thing he wants is to be surrounded by society, but when he gets stuck alone with a wallflower who is already betrothed… and she astonishes him with a fiery kiss, he forgets all about hiding.

To alter two destinies.

Although Charlotte appears meek, Kingston soon discovers there’s a vixen inside, yearning to break free. Unable to forget their illicit moment of passion, Kingston vows to relive the encounter, but Charlotte has sworn it will never happen again—no matter how earth-shattering it was. But will a devilish rogue tempt her to risk everything for a chance at true love?

It’s been a hot minute since I last read a Sophie Jordan historical romance. I’m more familiar with her contemporaries, but I have enjoyed her historicals in the past. The Virgin and the Rogue was my very first read in The Rogue Files series but it holds perfect well as a standalone, which I appreciated. I ended up enjoying it so much! It was a lovely, light-hearted, and easy read that already has me itching to go back and catch myself up on the rest of the series.

The book starts off with a love potion. Well, the heroine getting cramps from her period AND a love potion. Quite the start to a story, if I do say so myself. Charlotte drinks a “healing” potion given by her herbalist younger sister and all of a sudden, it’s made her very lusty. So when she runs into Samuel Kingston, she pounces on him.

This is honestly such a fun premise. Yes, you might have to suspend your beliefs to get into it, but I still enjoyed it all the same. When Charlotte and Kingston meet, they know they are the most unlikely of pairs. She’s a quiet, respectable, demure lady who is betrothed, while he is a former rogue and rakehell. He’s been celibate and clean for over a year and the last person he expects to break him of this is the proper Charlotte. But she shows him just how improper she is after she drinks her potion, and now he can’t get her out of his mind.

I adored Charlotte and Kingston! I loved how he called her Charlie and she called him Samuel, his first name. I always love when main characters get to call each other names no one else can. Theirs isn’t the easiest of romances, with Charlotte being engaged to another man and believing her wanting him is due to the potion, but I truly enjoyed the way the story played out. Charlotte is as endearing as she is frustrating, and I liked her character, faults and all. Kingston is the perfect match for her, the only one capable of bringing out her true character. He was so sweet but also knew when and how to push her. They made a fantastic couple!

The Virgin and the Rogue was a total hit, and now I’m kicking myself for not having read this series sooner. Charlotte’s older sister already has her book, and the next one is about the youngest sister, who I am SO excited for!


Reading Order: The Rogue Files series

#1 ~ While the Duke Was Sleeping: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Scandal of It All: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Duke Buys a Bride: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ This Scot of Mine: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#5 ~ The Duke’s Stolen Bride: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#6 ~ The Virgin and the Rogue: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#7 ~ The Duke Effect: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads (Oct. 27, 2020)


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Release Day Review: Beautiful Sinner by Sophie Jordan

Beautiful Sinner by Sophie Jordan
Series: Devil’s Rock #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 30th 2018
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Locked in with the town bad boy . . .

Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.

If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.

I’m a sucker for bad boys, and you don’t get more bad boy-ish than a formerly incarcerated man. Plus, I love the angst of childhood crushes and unrequited love, so Beautiful Sinner turned out to be exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for. I’ve read the first two novels in Sophie Jordan’s Devil’s Rock series, but this latest installment is a little different from the earlier books. It’s not as action-packed and suspenseful, but more along the lines of a contemporary romance. I loved that this was a little different from the earlier books – I had such a fun time reading about Cruz and Gabriella!

Cruz Walsh is back in his home town of Sweet Hill after being released from jail for a crime he did not commit. News outlets are all over him, and Gabriella Rossi is a journalist has a connection to the recently exonerated man, though it’s not just because her cousin was the one Cruz was wrongly accused of murdering. Cruz and Gabriella knew each other in high school, had classes together… and crushed on each other, though neither of them realized it. Now, years later, they get a chance to fully explore the chemistry and connection they’ve always felt for one another, but will Gabby let the scoop of a lifetime get in the way of a life of happiness with Cruz?

Beautiful Sinner is a great read. I loved getting a glimpse into high school Gabriella and Cruz, and I enjoyed even more the way they slowly fall for each other all over again. It is surprisingly sweet and tender, given the reason Cruz went to jail, though Sophie Jordan definitely doesn’t skimp out on the sexual tension and chemistry. If you enjoyed any of the previous Devil’s Rock books, I highly recommend giving Beautiful Sinner a try, though it can be read as a standalone!


Reading Order: Devil’s Rock series


#1 ~ All Chained Up: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hell Breaks Loose: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Fury on Fire: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Beautiful Lawman: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Beautiful Sinner: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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ARC Review: Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan

Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan
Series: Devil’s Rock #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Hell hath no hunger like a man let out of a cage . . .

Shy and awkward, First Daughter Grace Reeves has always done what she’s told. Tired of taking orders, she escapes her security detail for a rare moment of peace. Except her worst nightmare comes to life when a ruthless gang of criminals abducts her. Her only choice is to place her trust in Reid Allister, an escaped convict whose piercing gaze awakens something deep inside her. Reid is nothing like her other captors.

He’s tougher, smarter…and one blistering look from him makes her hotter than any man ever has.

Reid spent years plotting escape and revenge . . .years without a woman in his bed. For this hardened felon, Grace Reeves isn’t just out of his league—she’s from another planet, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Escaping Devil’s Rock was tough, but resisting this woman could be the end of him. For a man with nothing to lose, protecting her . . . claiming her as his own, becomes more necessary than his next breath.

I’d been excited for Hell Breaks Loose since I really enjoyed the first Devil’s Rock book, All Chained Up! While I didn’t like this second book quite as much as the first, it’s still a fairly good suspenseful, action-filled steamy romance. I love the idea of the heroes being ex-convicts – although technically, Reid is still a convict… just an escaped one. 😉

Grace Reeves is the daughter of the President, and her life with her political father has been anything but fun. She has no freedom and no social life – so one day, she decides to escape it all. But she must have terrible luck, because instead of freedom, she finds herself kidnapped and held hostage by a gang.

When Reid Allister escapes prison and is on the run to find his younger brother, the last thing he expects is for his brother and the bad gang he got involved with to have kidnapped the President’s daughter. Prison may have tainted his soul, but Reid would never hurt a woman, and somehow finds himself to be Grace’s protecter, unbeknownst to the gang. They think Reid will be delivering her to their boss, but Reid will make sure that no harm comes to her.

The chemistry between Reid and Grace is definitely my favorite part of the story. From the moment they meet, they feel a connection with each other, despite their reluctance. Grace doesn’t want to fall for her dark and dangerous kidnapper, and Reid doesn’t want to fall for anyone, much less the President’s daughter. But while I liked the passion they have for each other, I did feel that the romance was a bit too Stockholm Syndrome-y for my taste.

One other problem I had with this book was that it was really, really slow. I grew a little bored at times and had to skim to parts with more action or romance. If you have a lot of patience with your romances or you love slow-burn, you’ll probably enjoy this more, but I think I just wasn’t in the mood for something slow when I read Hell Breaks Loose. Nonetheless, I did enjoy some parts of it, and if you were a fan of the first book in the Devil’s Rock series, you’ll probably enjoy this too.

3 hearts

Reading Order: Devil’s Rock series


#1 ~ All Chained Up: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hell Breaks Loose: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan

All Chained Up by Sophie Jordan
Series: Devil’s Rock #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 29th 2016
Links: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .

“When the prison doors are open, the real dragon will fly out.”—Ho Chi Minh

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good bad boy hero, but Sophie Jordan certainly delivers with Knox Callaghan in All Chained Up. She packs a punch with all the intensity and sexiness in this first book in the Devil’s Rock series. I don’t usually read prison romances, but this one was unputdownable and highly entertaining. I really enjoyed the main characters, and the romance was off-the-charts sexy – I’d definitely recommend All Chained Up for those who want something different than your typical contemporary romance.

She and he were worlds apart, and that’s how it would always be.

Knox Callaghan and his brother have been in prison for eight years now, after being convicted of manslaughter for killing their cousin’s rapist. Knox has become a hardened, ice-cold man in order to survive prison, and his main goal is to ensure he and his brother don’t get into trouble so they can get parole. But a new, gorgeous nurse threatens everything when he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds himself wanting to protect her more than he wants to protect himself.

When Briar Davis volunteers at Devil’s Rock Penitentiary, she has no idea what she’s in for, and she certainly doesn’t expect to notice a sexy, dangerous inmate. She’s cautious and honestly a little of Knox, but the chemistry starts to build as they see each other again and again. After a heroic act leads Knox to be granted parole, Briar sees him in a whole new light. And when these two meet each other again, this time out of prison, the sexual tension between them ignites – you will seriously need a fan when you read this book!

He wanted to be the only man to touch her. It was total caveman of him, but that’s what he was. A fucking caveman that reveled in rocking her staid little world and making her fly apart. She made him want to pound his chest. Christ. Thinking about her that way was making him rock hard.

Sophie Jordan delivers a heart-pounding, sizzling read, full of tension and sexy-times. I honestly couldn’t put this book down! All Chained Up is a fantastic debut to a new series, and what’s great about it besides the fantastic romance is the set-up for the next book. I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on Hell Breaks Loose – and I’m hoping there will be even more books in the series!

4 hearts

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Devil’s Rock series


#1 ~ All Chained Up: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hell Breaks Loose: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Blog Tour + Early Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Debutante Files #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan continues her new series, The Debutante Files, featuring debutantes on the hunt for Mr. Right.

First friends, then enemies…

Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention—sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction—even if she tries to pretend otherwise.

Now something more…

Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings…she is always there. Mocking him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad … until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.

Buy Links:
Amazon • HarperCollins • B&N • iTunes • Google Play

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I was incredibly excited to read All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue, since I was intrigued by Aurelia and Max in A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin. I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance, and they seemed like they would make a great couple. There’s a well-crafted love-hate relationship between Aurelia and Max, although there was too much hate for my taste. While I did have some problems with this book, it was still an overall enjoyable read. I wouldn’t say All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue is for everyone, but fans of the series should definitely give this a try.

Aurelia and Max used to be close friends, and Aurelia used to have the biggest crush on him, her brother’s best friend. But when she catches him with a maid in a scandalous position, her heart breaks and she ends up drawing an awful caricature of him that accidentally goes public and completely humiliates Max. So ensues their hate-filled relationship. Sophie Jordan did really well with the banter and insults between them. I could just feel that thin line between love and hate, and the chemistry between them was on fire. They do many, many things to get back at one another for the hurts they’ve caused, all the while lusting for each other. I felt like the hate overpowered the love sometimes, but it was still fun to read the back and forth between them.

I actually liked Aurelia – I felt sorry for her mostly, but I still really liked her character. She’s an unwed twenty-three year old bordering on a spinster. To make matters even worse, her brother and his wife are expecting a baby, leaving Aurelia a burden on his finances. So Aurelia decides to finally find a man to marry, though she doesn’t have very many options. When she doesn’t expect is for Max to be there every step of the way, annoying her and deterring her suitors.

Max, unfortunately, was a disappointing hero. I really wanted to love him – he had great potential, but I just couldn’t forgive some of the cruel things he does to Aurelia. There definitely should’ve been a LOT of groveling coming from him, but I sadly, there wasn’t very much of it. Because of his tragic past, he doesn’t believe in love, but I felt like his past doesn’t justify all the hurt he causes Aurelia. I was shocked sometimes at how cruel he was – he’s still holding a grudge against her after all these years for the caricature. I didn’t really understand why – she was fifteen when she humiliated him, and he was a grown man. He shouldn’t have let the drawing affect him at all. Aurelia was definitely in the wrong for the creating the drawing – she had no claims to him… but she was a GIRL. A girl completely undeserving of Max’s rage and hate. But Aurelia is tough and hates him right back – which leads to fight after fight over many years, with undercurrents of lust mixed in.

I also wanted more of Max actually IN LOVE with Aurelia, but that was only apparent at the very end of the book. I enjoyed this book for the most part – it’s an easy, fast-paced novel, but there were some things that I just couldn’t get over. While I loved the love-hate relationship, I was disappointed in the development of the romance. There’s just so much fighting that there wasn’t enough tender moments to make me invested enough in their romance. I really wish I could love this book more, but I only ended up liking it. If you’re a fan of the series, you might end up loving it more than I did.

3 hearts

Now here’s an excerpt from All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue! ❤

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Max knew it was Aurelia the instant she sat down at the table. Or rather, the moment she plopped into the chair across from him. The black gown she wore was so indecently tight she wasn’t capable of sinking into her seat with any standard of grace. Her ridiculous disguise could not hide her from him.

He stilled, his entire body going rigid. The dress. Her. At this table. None of it was right or proper. Familiar ice chugged through his veins at the unexpected sight of her here of all places. The most illicit of clubs. Young ladies of privilege weren’t supposed to know places like this even existed, much less step across the threshold. He shouldn’t be surprised. Aurelia had never fit Society’s vaunted criteria for young womanhood.

The laughter and buzz of conversation faded to a dull growl around him as his gaze tunneled through copious cigar smoke to peer at Aurelia. He tracked her every curve, missing nothing. Not the absurd wig of golden hair piled atop her head. Not the olive-hued skin. Nor the whiskey-warm eyes.

His body reacted instantly. How could it not? He was a man in possession of healthy appetites, and however much he did not care for the chit, she was thoroughly beddable in that scandalous dress. He’d known she was voluptuous, but he had no idea she had been hiding a courtesan’s body beneath her clothes these many years. And that was what every man in this room thought as they devoured the sight of her. That she was a whore for the taking. A quick glance around confirmed that.

The backside he had glimpsed before she sat down was well-rounded with generous cheeks that would fill a man’s hands. He eyed the narrow waist that pooled into flaring hips. His mouth dried. Her body was made for sex. No quick and gentle mating that ladies with delicate sensibilities engaged in under the cover of darkness. She would take everything a man could give and revel in it. All he could give. Rough and fast. Base and primal. She wasn’t a fragile piece of crystal that would break beneath a hard shag.

He leaned back in his seat as though needing to insert additional space between them. His hand slid beneath the table to adjust his cock were it had grown achingly hard. He huffed out a breath, furious that she should make him feel this way. He did not like her. He’d sooner take a viper into his bed than this chit that had caused him such grief.

No one called him Cockless Camden anymore. At least not to his face, but it took years to put an end to that. Even now he knew the slur was still whispered behind his back. People thought it. The repercussions of that caricature followed him still. Every time he got naked with a woman, he read the surprise in her eyes. The relief.

“Gentlemen,” she greeted, her gaze fixing on him. The taunting light in the brown depths made his skin tighten with familiar battle-readiness. “Room for one more?”

“Always room for so beautiful a lady,” the man to Max’s left replied as he shuffled cards.

What the bloody hell was she doing here? He stared hard at her, letting his gaze convey his outrage.

She smiled prettily, her plump lips curving beneath her scarlet domino. The domino was a joke. As was the wig. Anyone who was more than a passing acquaintance with Aurelia would recognize her. Which only made her ten kinds of a fool for even stepping foot in Sodom. Even right now her cousin, Declan, was upstairs.

“Thank you.” She treated each man at the table to her smile. “What is the wager, gentlemen?”

Everything in him clenched hard. He wanted to wrench her up from the table, drag her from the club and stuff her into a carriage for home. Only that would call more attention than necessary. Not that she didn’t deserve a little public shaming, God knew, he had suffered enough of that over the years. Thanks to her. Pummeling anyone who dared call him Cockless Camden to his face and shagging half the women in the country had gone a long way in proving his virility and dismissing the moniker.

But if Aurelia’s presence here went public it would ruin her. He couldn’t do that to Will or Declan. Instead, he traced the rim of his glass as he stared at her, hoping she grasped the full extent of his fury. Hoping she was afraid.

“We play for high stakes.” He raked her with his eyes. “Too high for you, I am certain.”

He knew the dig would wound. He knew because he knew of her brother’s dwindling funds. Her pin money could not be very prodigious.

She sniffed and pulled back her shoulders. An action that only pushed out those magnificent breasts. Everything in him twisted tight as the edge of an areola, dusky-dark where it met her olive-hued skin, came into view. Reaching for his glass he downed it and signaled for another one.

And he wasn’t the only one getting an eyeful. Every man at the table was looking, salivating at the sight of her flesh. Scowling, he took in each of their hungry stares before returning his gaze to her.

“High stakes don’t frighten me,” she announced.

“They should,” he growled and then added beneath his breath. “Daft girl.”

She heard him. Or read his lips. The hands that rest on the top of the table curled into fists. “What’s amiss? Afraid you will lose?”

“One night upstairs,” the man to his left blurted, boldly tossing down the gauntlet. “Winner claims one night with you in an upstairs chamber,” he clarified as though his meaning wasn’t evident. The bastard then winked at Aurelia.

Max arched an eyebrow, waiting for her to flee. Now she would surely see. Now she would understand that she had gotten in over her head. He watched, waiting for her to come to her senses and excuse herself.

Her brown eyes locked on his as she asked, “And if I win?”

He slid his hands beneath the table and gripped his thighs, his fingers digging deep as he leaned forward. Mad chit. She was not doing this. He shook his head once at her. Hard.

“Whatever you want. Name your prize,” one of the other men offered, leering at her chest as he did.

Her gaze roamed over each man at the table, assessing. Four in all, counting him. She thought she could best all of them? She was playing with fire and she knew it.

“I’ll have…” Aurelia paused, her gaze resting on him again, considering. “Your clothes.”

The man beside him choked. “Our clothes?”

She nodded, smiling pertly.

“You’ll have each of us strip down to our bare arse right here?” another demanded.

“You cannot think to win. You will lose,” Max hissed, letting that sink in her fool head. She would lose and be at the mercy of one of them. In that moment, he did not think she would prefer to be subject to him. Not as furious as he was.

She shrugged one shoulder. It looked as smooth as marble, and he imagined touching it, stroking the flesh and discovering if it was as soft as it appeared. One of the men at this table could very well win that privilege if he let her do this. Daft female.            He should just walk away. Let one of them have her. It would serve her right, playing with fire.

And yet she was Will’s sister. He couldn’t leave her to these wolves.

“I’m in,” he announced, hating to utter the words even as he had no choice. He would take the wager and he would win and save her from this mess.

He admitted there would be some satisfaction in beating her. She thought she could win. For no other reason would she have agreed to these terms. He would relish besting her.

The other men quickly chimed in their own accord.

“Let us begin then, gentlemen.” Still wearing that insufferable smile, she nodded for the game to commence with a magnanimous wave of her hand.

The cards were dealt quickly and efficiently. He watched everyone’s faces closely as they played, reading for the slightest reaction.

He trained his features into a mask of impassivity. No expression. Even when the first two men tossed down their cards in defeat. Rising, they stripped off their clothes with grumbles.

A crowd gathered, jeering at their pale, naked bodies on display. Aurelia dipped her gaze to her cards, but not before he read the amusement glimmering there. She was enjoying herself. Bloody fool. She hadn’t an inkling of the predicament she was in.

“Having a good time?” he bit out.

“Adequate,” she retorted, treating him to a chilly smile.

Shaking his head, he tightened his focus on the cards he held, placing one on the table and drawing a new one with nary a change in expression. There were just three of them left now, Aurelia, himself, and the man to his left.

The stranger knew what he was about. Not so surprising, since the wager had been his idea. He was confident and hard to read. Max’s gut churned uneasily, suspecting that he and Aurelia had perhaps been lulled into a swindle by a sharp. He glanced down at his hand, hoping for her sake that it was enough.

He watched the stranger draw fresh cards and then lift his gaze to Aurelia. “Well, my love? What have you?”

She toyed with the edges of her cards, bending them slightly as she was not supposed to do. Not that any man at this table would correct her. No, she was by far too mesmerizing in her shocking gown, her breasts on full display.

Max’s fingers clenched around his cards, the knuckles whitening. “Be quick about it. We haven’t all night.”

Her gaze shot to him. “I’m sorry. Am I keeping you from more diverting sport?”

“You’ll be free to go about your diversions soon enough,” the stranger smoothly inserted, locking gazes with Max. “Once the lady and I adjourn to one of Mrs. Bancroft’s chambers upstairs.”

“Awfully confident, aren’t you?” he asked, the silky edge to his voice deceptively calm.

The stranger smiled widely, revealing yellowed, furry teeth. “Our friend here is impatient, Madame. Shall we put him out of his misery and let him face his defeat?”

“After you,” Aurelia insisted.

“Why not?” Furry Teeth shrugged. “Let us be done with it then. And on to more pleasant pursuits.”

Apprehension finally flickered within her eyes. The emotion was visible for just a moment through the eyeholes of her scarlet domino. Now she feared she might have overstepped, did she? When it might be too late. Fool. Did she expect him to save her? Blast her, he should leave her to hang herself. Let the brute take her upstairs.

Furry Teeth fanned his cards out before him with flourish. Applause erupted around them. Max stifled a curse and flung his cards down on the table. He’d lost.

Furry Teeth chuckled and wagged a finger at Max. “You, my friend, best undress yourself whilst I take this little morsel upstairs and collect my winnings.” Rising, he extended a hand toward Aurelia. “Come, sweetings. A wager is a wager, after all.”

Aurelia lifted her bowed head just as Max started to rise. Not to undress himself but to stop that filth from touching her. Wretched girl or not, he would not let this vermin take her. He could not. His friendship with her kin demanded he protect her. Even if that meant reneging on a bet.

“Do you not wish to see my cards?” She queried softly.

All eyes turned to the table as she spread her cards in an arc. Surprised gasps rippled all around them.

She’d won.

Furry Teeth let out an oath.

She leaned back in her chair in the manner of a victorious queen and leveled her gaze on him. “A wager is a wager,” she echoed. “I believe I’ll collect my winnings now.”

Furry Teeth began stripping off his clothes in angry movements, revealing his pale skinny limbs. Entirely naked, he quickly sank back down in his chair and sat there sulking much like the other two men who had already shed their clothes.

Aurelia lifted an eyebrow at him. “Well, my lord? Do you not honor your bets?”

“Honor?” He chuckled low and deep, the sound raw and prickly in his throat. “That is not a word I expect you to understand.”

Her smile turned brittle. “Are you delaying on purpose? The hour grows late, my lord.”

He shoved to his feet, sending his chair skidding backward. He yanked off his jacket and vest, his eyes never leaving her face. Reaching behind his neck, he pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside on one smooth move.

A woman nearby made a hissing sound of approval.

The corner of his mouth kicked up in acknowledgement. He knew he was well-formed. He spent a goodly amount of time riding, fencing, swimming, fighting. He was not ashamed. That said, he did not appreciate being forced to undress so that he could be ogled and made a spectacle of. Again. The first time had been at her hand, too.

Anger, hot as molten rock, poured through him. It was in his every movement. The crowd fell silent around him as he removed one boot, then the next. His hands went to the front of his trousers and hesitated.

She watched him, her throat working as she swallowed.

“Is this what you want?” he demanded.

The color rode high in her face, crowding the edges of her domino. She was getting more than she bargained for. She realized that now.

He leaned across the table, flattening his palms on the baize surface and bringing his face inches from her. “This is what you’ve been so curious about? Is it not?”

Her breath escaped in a sharp hitch. “You flatter yourself.”

“You set the stake, not I. Shall I satisfy your curiosity at last?” His voice dropped to a whisper. “Now you can infuse some reality to your artwork. That will be a refreshing bit of change.”

Her nostrils flared. Her words escaped in a low hiss for his ears alone, “There is truth in my drawings.”

Her words struck him like steel striking flint. He laughed once, hard and unforgiving. “You’re about to witness the truth. Pay close heed. So next time, I expect you to get it right.”

“I’ve drawn you once. No need to repeat the task.”

He tsked. “Come now. I fascinate you as a subject. You know it. I know it.”

“Rubbish,” she spat, her gaze sparking fire through the eyeholes of her domino.

“Shall I prove it?” Shoving back off the table, he dropped his hands to the front of his trousers. Tearing loose the buttons, he shoved them down and stood naked before the room. Unlike the other men, he did not sink into his chair. He let the room have a look. He let her drink her fill.

Her mouth popped wide in a little o. Those eyes of hers traveled over him, missing nothing. She looked everywhere. Especially there.

Those big brown eyes of grew larger yet. She looked for so long and so intently that he stirred. He knew he should have felt a stab of embarrassment as he grew before her eyes. Or perhaps not. This was Sodom where all manner of illicit activity happened before all manner of audience, after all. Nothing was too shameful. Nothing private.

His response to her irked him. The stroke of her gaze shouldn’t make him randy as a green lad. Any other female, fine. Only not her.

“Gor,” a woman clucked from the crowd. “I wouldn’t mind a ride on that.”

Fire lit Aurelia’s cheeks.

She had failed. She might have won the wager, but he was the victor. She had planned to embarrass him and failed. Satisfied, he sank down in his chair.

The crowd dissipated around them. The men hastily redressed and retreated, but he remained where he was, naked in the chair, holding her gaze for long moment.

“Not so cockless. Am I?” he queried lightly.

“You’ve proven that well enough,” she replied evenly, the color in her face becoming less red and more pink.

“Do well to remember it in your spinster bed,” he flung out. “Or perhaps someday you will wed and have but a puny rod to take between your thighs. You’ll think of me often then, will you not?”

“You’re vile.” She surged to her feet and started past him, but he grabbed her wrist, squeezing the delicate bones in his grip. She looked down at him, her brown eyes luminescent within her mask.

He rolled his thumb against the inside of her wrist, feeling her pulse flutter there as wild as a moth’s wings. “Don’t ever come here again.”

“You do not command me.”

“But that is what you need. A strict hand to lead you.” His gaze raked her. “Look at you. Look where you are.” He waved a hand about them.

“I command myself.”

“Do you? Very well then,” he sneered, flinging her from him as though he could not stand the feel of her a moment longer. “Next time I’ll let any manner of man take you upstairs and claim your virtue. If, in fact, you’re still in possession of it—“

His words hit the mark. A stricken look crossed her face before disappearing and giving way to a cheery smile. “You forget yourself, Camden. You did not rescue me. It is you who lost the wager to me.”

Still wearing that bright smile, she turned away, her hips moving in a way he had never noticed before, swaying as she took small, tight steps in her black gown. A gown that he suddenly envisioned wadded up in a ball at the foot of his bed. That would be one way to command her, he thought, watching hungrily as she disappeared through the crowd of Mrs. Bancroft’s sitting room. Indeed, he could command her in his bed. Beneath him. If he didn’t find her so detestable, that would be the perfect place for her.

Reading Order: The Debutante Files series

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan An Heiress for All Seasons by Sophie Jordan All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

#1 ~ A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#1.5 ~ An Heiress for All Seasons: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads

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Sophie JordanSophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with anything that has a happily ever after. You can visit her online at

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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