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For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple: find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes. Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with.
He has no plans to marry anytime soon - if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler's niece, the difficult debutante's blend of sweetness and sharp tongue makes him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric's shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard - and to rob him of the woman he can't live without.
What members say
By Yvette on 07-11-14
Interesting Premise for a Story & Nice Romance
When I read a regency novel, I go into it expecting something great from the heroine since women were already at a disadvantage in this era. I look for a heroine who will be a maverick and surpass the confines of that time period and shine through. In that respect, I thought Lady Emily Parr did a great job of showing cunning, restraint, intelligence and charm as she was kidnapped by 5 rogues. --Whoa, now talk about a testosterone rush!!! I loved it when Emily fought the men, especially when she fought Godric St. Laurent, the Duke of Essex. Together these men composed the infamous "League of Rogues." All were men of high societal standing and quite dashing, but the kidnaping of Emily Parr was solely Godric's idea which, for me, seemed an idea not very well thought out by these rogues. Godric planned to ruin Emily as a way of getting back at her uncle, but the man and his faithful friends end up being something else to Emily entirely…that is, they become her friends and protectors. And, that sexy duke with green eyes ended up being the love of her life (Ah, I love a good HEA). The villain in this story is sleazy and vindictive, so I especially found satisfaction in seeing him defeated in the end. This story was further enhanced by the gifted narration of Heather Wilds, who was perfect. OMG, and I couldn't help but think that the name "Godric" sounded so sexy pronounced with an English accent!!!
Overall, this was a good story, but my only note of dissatisfaction was that the sex life between Godric and Emily felt unfinished, and I didn't like that. I want to know that each will be equally fulfilling to one another. Maybe it wasn't meant to be a big deal, but after a few of the other men came back from a tryst with some "ladies of the night" well they tell Godric about some interesting new techniques (mild bondage etc.), when Godric mentions this to Emily she begs him to never do that to her. Yet, Emily was so new at sex that I thought Godric could have had fun exposing her to new things, I mean the girl did really love sex with him…ugh…I don't know…it just seemed like an unfinished thought from the author because it was never touched upon late in the story. The writing came across, to me, as being from a young writer. This is good because it means the writing is only going to get better with opportunities and time. In that respect, I look forward to the other books and hope more depth and density is inserted into the lives and background of the characters.
13 people found this helpful
By 🌿🌸Susynne🌸🌿 on 06-01-15
2nd listen and still wicked! (yummy rogues!)
The creation of the league of rogues is a stroke of genius. I see all the places off shoots were planted for other rogues stories.... well done too! This is a twisted path with several heart stopping moments, some good laughs, some evil betrayal and lots of sexual tension. I thoroughly enjoyed this one!
NARRATOR : Not my favorite. She has a slightly hushed way of speaking with a weird accent or cadence as well. Her voices are distinctive and she does carry the storytelling well. I highly recommend you listen to the snippet or that of several of her performances before deciding.
CREDITWORTHY? I'd say yes if you like the narrator. This was my 2nd time listening and STILL enjoy the book, overlooking the slightly weird narrative.
HEAT FACTOR: A hearty building boil without any moments of crudity.
9 people found this helpful
By Stephani on 07-14-14
Frustrating but enjoyable
Would you try another book from Lauren Smith and/or Heather Wilds?
Yes, I look forward to the next installment in the series
What about Heather Wilds’s performance did you like?
The performance by narrator Heather Wilds makes the story come to life with passion and vibrancy.
Any additional comments?
This is the first book I have listened to by Lauren Smith and currently the only one available in audio. As regency novels are among my most guilty pleasures I am always more than willing to discover a new series. I enjoy getting to know several characters over several books, getting to know each one and go along with them on each of their discoveries. “Wicked Designs: League Of Rogues” the first book in the series “League of Rouges” has done a very good job at giving us a group of men that are among the top of the aristocracy and who are bonded together and abide by their own rules. This book is very well written in regards to the strong male characters. Each of them show their abilities to be dominant and protective but also show an ability to be caring, passionate and slightly vulnerable not to mention being the typical thick headed, heavy handed clods that make them endearing and lovable.
As for Miss Emily Parr our heroin she is more than capable of giving each of the gentle men a run for their money with her quick thinking and sharp wit. My only drawback of this book would be the complete and utter melt down when ever Emily is kissed. It’s as if her brain simply vanishes and we are left with an imbecile. There were one or two points where I found myself actually become frustratingly annoyed with her devolvement into a puddle is unintelligent goo. The love scenes although enjoyable I thing could have used a bit more romance, more sharing of pleasure between them. I tend to prefer the slow in sensual over the rough and ready.
Overall a very good beginning to the series, frustrating but enjoyable in the end. I ended with the thought that I want to know more about these men, the woman that may inter their lives and what journey they will take me on.
3 people found this helpful
By Jessy on 04-26-19
Good book, but terrible (anti)heroes
**SPOILER ALERTS!** All over the place, so watch yourself.
I’m going to do my best here to break down my emotional response to this book. I will say it’s very well written, the narration is superb, and it’s an engaging story. The romantic bits are fan-yourself worthy, but I cannot get on board with the men who make up the league or any male characters except for the butler. Godrick and this League are terribly misogynistic, self-serving, and spoiled brats. I am unable to jump for joy for Emily’s future which will most likely be filled with being locked in her room for having a brain, tiptoeing around Godrick’s temper, and protecting herself from his affairs.
I can typically ignore misogynistic behavior in period pieces because you must think of the era it takes place. I’ve read a lot of historical romance where the author tries to give the male hero a more modern mindset with some internal reflection and dialogue; however, I've never read a period piece where the "heroes" are essentially the adult versions of the He-Man-Woman-Haters club.
First, Godrick, the…um…hero (?), is a spoiled man child. He and his buddies kidnap a recently orphaned, naive woman without regard to her reputation, health or well being, all to blackmail her uncle. It’s a terrible plan to begin with. For one, they do no research on how their uncle feels about his niece nor how he’s spending her inheritance. From the beginning, we know that the blackmail isn’t going to work. If it wasn’t for Blankenship (I hope I’m spelling that correctly), her uncle wouldn’t have cared at all. He probably would have asked Godrick if her in his possession, and obvious ruination, satisfied his debts.
Godrick is essentially the younger version of Blankenship. If Emily hadn’t “decided” to marry him, he would’ve ended up just like Blankenship making her and any family she had left miserable and destitute. I do not trust Godrick’s affections and his utter denial of facts while in rage is super annoying. He’s the definition of an abusive spouse.
When Emily refuses to marry Godrick out of duty, he throws a tantrum and has her locked in a room. He’s used to getting what he wants to the point that every time Emily has a disagreement with him he either locks her away or literally ties her to him. Godrick never changes in his behavior towards Emily until she almost dies near the end; ironically at Blankenship’s house.
Now, I see the twist with Blankenship’s death: by killing him for near-murdering Emily, Godrick rids himself of his desire to own her and finally sees her as a human being. But it’s too late in the book for this revelation! I feel like there should’ve been way more insight and action that led to this other than a near death experience and immediate revenge. Terrible.
It's obvious this league has little to no respect for women within their class or outside of it. Their definition of wives and mistresses is reminiscent of horses; hell, they treat horses better. Emily points that out in the end but they essentially ignore or berate her for anything and everything she says. They completely disregard her physical health and well being by drugging her, heaving her over their shoulder(s) at any moment of inconvenience, literally tie her to Godrick, taking liberties with her person (Godrick touches her without her permission constantly while the other men leer and tease her), mocking her sadness and ultimate ruination, and undermine everything she says. By locking her in Godrick’s room for his mistresses, they’ve already decided her “usefulness” to which every man refers in deference to Emily. They place no value on her higher than that of Godrick’s mistresses and expect her to behave as such. She’s a pawn and, unfortunately, very naive. Godrick’s ex-mistress really nails it on the head. Hell, I want a book with HER in it!
Then there’s this trust they expect. Without asking anything about her, they condemn her when a new part of her life or mind come up. They’re always shocked and call her a liar when they find out something new or discover she hid things from them…her captors!
This would be a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome except Emily never had a chance to make it in either situation. Regardless, Emily is a victim and never earns real strength.
She told Gordrick no for marrying him and he locked her in her room until he was ready to talk to her again like a dog.
She told Blankenship she wouldn’t marry him and he threatened her with a lifetime of violent rape.
Whether it's pleasure or pain, a gilded cage is still a cage.
To wrap this up, the book is well written and narrated beautifully. I give the story 3 stars because of all the character flaws and lack of development. I think the story could’ve been cut up in places and filled in others where the characters could start to learn from their egos. Maybe not the league or Emily’s uncle, but Godrick. He still has a lot of lessons to learn and, because he got what he wanted, I doubt he’ll learn them. I won’t be continuing the series, but I’m glad I listened to this book.
2 people found this helpful
By Sharon on 02-24-19
Hero is severely dysfunctional in his treatment
I gave this book a chance as I thought the group would later show a reason for helping "his grace" ruin a young girl for his own gain. I don't believe the author gave me enough of a reason to forgive his actions or his friends for helping him. The humiliation she endured over and over was so cringe worthly and yet the story went on like it should be expected. If this is a period piece, am I to assume women were made to endure this treatment and be ok with it? She was the butt of all jokes and it was expected that she should just let them do it. That if she freaked out on them that she was the crazy person. I want to hit every single one of them. That treatment was abusive and yet even in the end it was she that wanted to make the hero feel better.... WhatThe Hell? She deserves better! So much better!!! I felt for him and how his father treated him in the past, but he did nothing to show me he deserved her. Even at the end he was so caught up in himself and what he didn't get to go his way that she had to face the horrors alone. When he finally showed up he lashed out not for grief, but because something he loved was taken from him. How the hell is this called love? His love his conditional. If it goes his way he will be good. If not she has to pick up the pieces. What a crappy hero! This is the first romance novel I have ever wanted to see have a sequel so the hero dies and she finds a better love. He does not deserve her.
2 people found this helpful
By ADUB on 05-20-14
I loved this story! :)
Where does Wicked Designs rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Considering this is my first audiobook, I thought it was fantastic. It was just as much fun as I imagined it would be.
What other book might you compare Wicked Designs to and why?
This book is reminiscent of Kresley Cole's MacCarrick brother series. The boys of the League reminded me a lot of the MacCarrick brothers. They are chock full of rakish rogues who are well to do, but tend to get into mischief. However, they are no match for their witty and strong heroines who make them come undone.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
When five devilish rogues kidnap a woman to get back at their enemy, they get much more than they bargained for. ;)
Any additional comments?
The action starts quickly and I found myself immediately sucked in. I was really impressed with Emily's strength, courage, and wit, especially after she is kidnapped. Considering she was up against five men? She even surprised me a few times and I was proud of her for that. Enter Godric and the League of Rogues. Hunky, wealthy bachelors who are up to no good and when they are wronged they seek to mete out their own justice. Unfortunately, that put innocent Emily smack dab in the middle of their plot for revenge and it changes each one of their worlds. Emily proves to be quite the intelligent and challenging captive-- even Godric can't deny the desire he feels toward Emily. The tension between the two was palpable and I can't deny I wanted her to fall in love with Godric. Despite kidnapping her, he still made sure she wanted for nothing and was taken care of. He really was a roguish rake, but I loved him. :)
As a side note** I really loved the narrator's accent in accordance with this being set in England. It totally put me right there with Emily!
5 people found this helpful
By Anonymous User on 12-04-18
A Rouge meets his match
Loved the book!! The League of Rogues are out to kidnap sweet, innocent Ms. Emily Parr to ruin her to get back at her uncle for his scheming. They did not expect her to have spunk and fight back!! She is finally tackled and drugged and brought to Godric, the Duke of Essex estate. In reality they are not going to ruin her in that sense. They all take to Emily and after a few days she takes to them also. Emily is light where Godric is dark. Emily might bring him out of his darkness. When Emily learns that Blankenship has hired mercenaries to get her she fears for the Rogues lives and escapes with the help of Godric's valet Johnathan. Godric is outraged when he learns Emily is gone and goes after her. He finds them together in a rented room and is furious not letting her explain. It finally comes out who Johnathan really is and they need to protect Emily. When they bring her to London Tanner the hired mercenary finds her and brings her to Blankenship. A fight breaks out, Emily is stabbed and stumbles down the stairs just as Godric enters the foyer!! There is so much activity in this book, it's hard to put down. An awesome read!! Heather Wilds was excellent!
1 person found this helpful
By Amazon Customer on 10-19-18
Hmmm Not so much
Gave this a lot of opportunity. I really wanted to like the story and especially the narrator. But both fell short. Narrator did a good job occassionally on the male voices but she was VERY inconsistent. The story was simplistic and a bit stupid. Maybe could have stayed for the story if the narrator had been better. Also the narrator couldn't keep her male voices male, but she read like she was reading a fiscal report. Too bad. I had Hope's.
1 person found this helpful
By Tracy T on 11-11-14
Too much filler, and 2 hours too long.
Well, not one of my favorite listens\reads that's for sure. This story would have been better if it was about 2 hours shorter. It was way too long. Too much filler. Too much blah blah blah thinking. Slow moving. Just found myself saying "okay already, get on with it, geez"
There was not nearly enough dialogue for my taste. The concept and plot was good, but the story just went astray with too much nonsense filling up the pages. Then an abrupt ending.
I did like the heroine, she was smart for the most part and witty. The hero was okay. They did have some decent chemistry and some nice sex scenes, so there is that.
As for the narrator... UGH.. She sort of sucked. Sorry. There are 5 men in the League of Rogues, all present for most of the entire book, and all sound the same, and not at all manly. They all sounded so feminine, it was so disappointing. Which did not help the already lacking story.
Sometimes a narrator can make an okay book better, this did not occur here.
6 people found this helpful
By Tesla's Fire on 12-02-18
To the Point...
I did not read these books in order and ended up reading this one last. I am glad I did because I think I would have skipped the rest which I found entertaining. I was baffled by this one. The best analogy that comes to mind is that of a continuous chalk scratch on a black board. Really. I mean it. It is that bad unless you are an individual that enjoys root canals and brain freezes. The main female character starts out logical, intelligent, and a fighter. But quickly her thoughts and actions are mired with irrational lust, stupidity, and confounding behavior. The main male character (not a hero) and his band of misogynistic frat boys are truly amoral, not very smart, abusive,and just downright irritating. Does lust in the end justify spending a precious credit on? That is up to you. I would skip and enjoy the rest.
2 people found this helpful
By Teresa on 11-14-18
Found the story was spoiled by the narrator sounding like she was talking to children.
By Sue M. on 10-13-18
This story definitely deserves the five stars I have awarded. The characters are extremely well written and quite believable. I recommend this book which includes the audible version to anyone who likes their historical romance with a a bit of steam. I will certainly continue to read books by this author.
By Lucie K on 06-12-14
I loved the book , but not the narrator. To me the performance was lifeless.
1 person found this helpful
By xelfi on 07-17-19
loved this book
I love this book because it has all the elements of passion, romance, wickedness and a fairy tale ending