William Graves is the last of Feagan's scoundrels. A onetime grave robber turned royal physician, he has devoted his life to saving others—because he knows there is no way to save himself. Especially not around a lady like Winnie. Though undeserving of her touch, he cannot resist. His passion cannot be tamed…even in the face of certain danger.
Winnie, the Duchess of Avendale, never knew peace until her brutal husband died. With William she's discovered burning desire—and the healing power of love. But now, confronted by the past she thought she'd left behind, Winnie must face her fears…or risk losing the one man who can fulfill all her dreams.
As the final book in the Scoundrels of St. James series, the lives of all of Feagan's charges comes full circle as they resort to any means necessary to keep a friend safe in this gripping and sensual story. Not only do we get to revisit old friends but the quiet and supportive doctor William Graves finally gets his HEA after admiring the emotionally scarred Winnie from afar ever since nursing her back to health from a severe beating. A secret, and their class differences, has kept him from claiming her the way he wants but when she starts experiencing mysterious sounds, smells, and misplaced objects he rushes to her rescue once again which allows him to get extremely close to her.
William has always been the most serious of all of Feagan's gang. His childhood was unconventional as it revolved around dead bodies which easily segued into his career of physician. He was close to his father but his mother was abusive which led to a life-altering event that led to his father's abandonment and a lifetime of guilt. Guilt is just one of the many reasons keeping him from Winnie, along with his belief that he's not good enough for her. But when the past comes back to haunt her he becomes her protector and gives her the strength to defend herself. In his quietly supportive way he helps her become an independant woman capable of choosing the man she wants.
Winnie's marriage was a nightmare of abuse, belittling words, and a lack of affection. She felt that nothing she did was ever right which still has her questioning her decisions today. With the death of her husband she felt a sense of relief, but when frightening events start occurring she fears she's losing her mind or being haunted. She immediately turns to William for answers as he values her ideas and stirs strong sexual longings in her that she's never felt before. Propriety has her fighting her attraction though until her need for comfort and safety have her acting on the sexual tension that's always been brewing between them.
William knows the truth of what's happening to Winnie. The elaborate plan concocted by him and his friends to keep Winnie safe appears to be unraveling and the time is fast approaching when all the lies will have to end. Until that time the romance between him and Winnie explodes and lets her finally know what it feels like to be loved. Along with a sexy and heartwarming romance comes an enthralling and suspenseful mystery. This mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat with tension that builds to where Winnie's fear is palpable. The final moments when she has to face her past head-on are heart-pounding and have the story wrapping up in a fast-paced and immensely satisfying way. This story as a whole is the perfect ending to a delightful series where a ragtag group of children band together throughout their lives to make something of themselves and find their HEAs in some unexpected, but perfect, pairings. I'm sad to see this series end but glad to know that we'll be revisiting this world as the children of Feagan's gang have their stories waiting to be told.
My rating for this is an A-
*I received this book from Edelweiss for review in exchange for my honest opinion.