“After Dark with a Scoundrel” by Alexandra Hawkins

STORY: Young, tender, and highly impressionable, Lady Regan can’t help but be intrigued by her brother’s wayward friends – the wickedly charming Lords of Vice. One man in particular, the dashing Lord Hugh Mordare (known simply as ‘Dare’ among the ton), utterly captivates her – in spite of his reputation as a notorious womanizer. But when she steals an innocent kiss from Dare, Regan is swiftly packed off to boarding school, safely away from danger.and desire.

Five years later, Regan returns – a proper lady and ravishing beauty. Miss Swann’s Academy for Young Ladies has taught her how to behave in polite society. But all the training in the world cannot extinguish her love for Dare. Now, she hopes to beat the master of seduction at his own game – by daring Dare to love her in return. This time, both of their hearts are on the line – and winner takes all.

REVIEW: This is the third book of “Lords of Vice” series, and there are seven of them. Lords of Vice are seven friends, very close, more like brothers. All seven are titled, rich, Rouges, Rakes and Scoundrels and very proud of it. Rules for these men are there to be broken.

We meet all of them, (Sin, Vane, Hunter, Saint, Frost, Dare and Reign) in “All Night with a Rogue”, where we can’t but fall in love with Sin, who is one sick Rogue. I just loved everything about that story. All the characters, the plot, pace, dialogue and humor. In this first book we get a glimpse of each of these men, and we are intrigued with each one. From the beginning, from the first moment our Hero looks into Juliana’s eyes, we’re hooked. We root for these two and we are rewarded with telling of a wonderful love story.

In the second book “Till Dawn with the Devil” the boys are back and Reign’s story is just full of twists and turns and once more we’re just lured into their world with a very compelling story in which one more Lord of Vice succumbs to love. Ms. Hawkins yet again did a wonderful job in telling the story of Reign and Sophia. All the characters were very well-developed, and we’ve gotten to know more of our Lords and their lives, and at this point we are well into the series that we need to know more of Dare and Allegra. What happened, how it happened and why it happened?

“After Dark with a Scoundrel” opens with Regan, Frosts sister at fifteen who was basically brought up with the Lords of Vice as brothers. She had a fancy for one in particular, Dare. And here is where I met my first problem with this book. Dare is eight years older than Regan, and while at her twenty to his twenty-eight, all is well and good, I had a big problem with a twenty-three year old dallying with a fifteen year old sister of his best friend. I just didn’t buy it. It felt wrong. On top of all that, Frost’s only reaction upon finding those two kissing is to send Regan to a Boarding school. Dare gets off scot-free. Fast forward, and I mean FAST, five years and we get to meet the little Regan at twenty, back from school and still what? In love, in infatuation with Dare that she set out to seduce him? Yet again, I’m not buying it. As for Dare, at sixteen he falls madly, passionately in love with Allegra, who is his age as well. He loves this girl with all of his heart and soul, and she cheats on him with his older brother Charles, (the future Duke), who has no qualms of getting the stupid chit pregnant and passing her off on his younger brother.  When push came to shove, Allegra admits to Charles having fathered her child and in that moment Dare’s heart breaks, but still he would have married her, however question remains if he would have forgiven her.

Eleven years later, we see Dare living with the consequences of this triangle. Allegra’s panting for him, demanding his presence, Mrs. Randall wants him for her lover, and Regan is after him also. What’s a poor Scoundrel to do, but seduce his friend’s sister and never even thinking much of the consequences of the liaison? NOT BUYING IT! NONE!

I wish this story was thought through better. It had so much more to give us. It was rushed, and it suffered. BIG TIME! I wanted to feel the pain of a boy who was mentally abused by his father as well as physically by his brother. A young man who was badly used by a girl who played him falls, who has broken his heart, and afterwards for years played on his sympathies. I wanted to know that at twenty-three he knew better than to kiss a girl who was vulnerable and innocent. Yes, I know. He’s a Scoundrel. But even though he is, I needed him to have honor. To have shame. He showed none. Frost baffled me as well. He finds out that his best friend takes his sisters virginity, and he coldly throws him out. Really? Seriously? That’s it? NOT BUYING IT!

I’ve anticipated this book for a while and it let me down. I expected more of this story. Dare’s story should have been as compelling as the other two. I will buy the next four in the series. At this point I’m invested in these men. I like them. I want to meet the women they fall in love with. I also want to let Ms. Hawkins know that she can do better than this book. I know it.

I read the first two books and I LOVED both of them. Do I recommend you read this one? I’m divided on that question. If this was not a part of a serial, I’d tell you to skip it, but since it is, I’d say go ahead and read it, and then if you don’t mind and have the time, stop by and tell me what you thought of it. I always welcome other people’s opinions.