THE LAST WICKED SCOUNDREL

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Readers who enjoy historicals with gothic flavor will devour the fifth and final entry in Heath’s Scoundrels of St. James series, a novella featuring the mysterious and handsome Dr. William Graves and gentle widow Winifred Buckland, the Duchess of Avendale. William’s careful care of Winnie after years of abuse at the hands of her late husband is sweet and touching, but it’s hard to forgive him for sheltering her for so long, even as she becomes a strong, capable woman. Their gentle romance is sometimes overshadowed by the chilling mystery at the heart of the story, and fans of the series may wish for more cameos by Heath’s scoundrels, in a happier setting.

Winnifred Buckland, the Duchess of Avendale, wept with relief when her abusive husband died in a house fire three years ago, so she’s rightly terrified when she believes she’s being haunted by his ghost. There can no other explanation for why family jewels keep disappearing, objects are inexplicably moved from spot to another and his scent lingers in her room late at night. When Winnie confesses her fears to Dr. William Graves, who helped her recover from the near-death injuries her husband inflicted, he agrees to help her get to the bottom of the mystery. But Graves is hiding secrets of his own about what happened in that fire three years ago—secrets that may destroy their newfound love. (AVON, Jan., 176 pp., $1.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Audrey Goodson Kingo