The Scoundrel: Club Southside Book 1

He was hired to protect her.

Someone doesn’t like what I write. That’s okay, erotic romance isn’t for everyone, but I like it and it pays the bills. First, there were private messages on social media, followed by emails—both full of vitriol and venom. Coming home after a day out in London, I knew someone had been in my home. I got on the first flight out of London and landed in Chicago.

A mercenary with a dark history. I thought I’d never see the light of day again until Robert Fitzwallace walked through the door and dragged me out. After two years of healing, Fitz recruited me to head up the operations for the new Cerberus Group in Chicago. Like our counterpart in London, headquarters are located over a lifestyle club—the Windy City’s newest and best…Club Southside.

After pacing in front of the club, beautiful, curvy Samantha breezed into Cerberus looking for protection. I accepted her as a Cerberus client even though I knew I would not be able to resist her. It doesn’t take long before I give in to my need, her need, and take us to the edge of an all-consuming desire.

When danger rises from the shadows costing Cerberus one of its own, I’ll risk everything to keep her safe.
No matter the cost.

Welcome to Club Southside. Cerberus has opened an office in Chicago over the Club. The team takes on jobs no one else wants. They handle everything from protection, covert rescue operations, and cybercrime to reconnaissance and more. These men are driven and deadly, willing to do what is needed to complete their missions and to protect the women they love.

The Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2023
The story is the first in the new Club of Southside series and is a spinoff from some of the other books that will include several main characters from them that revolved around the Baker Street BDSM club. The Southside club is an American version of Baker Street in London and even includes a Cerberus office. The office will be under Adam Wheldon (Ice Dog: A Mercenary Masters) who is away, and Kingston ‘King’ Coltraine.

The story begins in London with erotic romance writer and gamer, Samantha Butler, concerned that she has a stalker. What started out as small bits and pieces of social media spurs, then emails have escalated. Her sixth sense knows that this isn’t something to just ignore. Taking it to the police, had them accusing her of a publicity stunt to gain attention. When she goes to her cottage, she knows something is definitely wrong—even though nothing appears out of place—it can’t be ignored. Grabbing a few items, along with her laptop, phone, and passport, she heads to Heathrow and flies to the United States, and lands in Chicago. Even at that, she still believes someone is trailing her. Dropping her bag at a locker in Union Station, she will then go to Southside to Cerberus. Will they think the same as the police, that she is making this up?

The story’s plot is a fascinating mystery, and suspense, including life and death danger, with romance along the way. King questions Samantha as to why she didn’t go to Baker Street in London to their Cerberus office—but she really is unsure who to trust. The one thing that happens, is that King believes her, he involves Fitz who agrees he needs to take the case, protect her, and together, they will do what they can to find out who, what, and why. Because Samantha is a member of Baker Street, that will give King access to her information. For a man who has only scened with women, never a relationship or collaring a sub, Samantha brings out something different in him—he decides she is his—at least for now, but he wants more—forever.

“I can’t figure out which frightens me more—the thought of someone wanting to kill her, or my finding that elusive part of my soul.”

“Samantha might be a romance novelist, but in some ways, she wasn’t a romantic. She didn’t really believe in true love or fated mates, but meeting Kingston Coltraine had changed everything. Everything. She knew in her soul nothing would ever be the same again. In some ways that scared her as much—if not more—than whoever it was that was stalking her.”

King: You know, for a romance writer, you’re not a big believer in happily ever after.
Samantha: Why?
King: Because I do believe in happily ever after, and I do believe we have something special. What do you think?
Samantha: I think you might be as crazy as my stalker, but I also think I like your crazy a whole lot better.

The story is a well-written, mystery romantic suspense tale that has a great cast of characters, and plenty of interactions, with a sizzling chemistry of dominance, submission, and passion between King and Samantha. I liked the secondary characters, and think we’ll be seeing stories about them within this series. I do hope Dillion will be one—he proved to be an asset to the case.
5.0 out of 5 stars I will take THAT type of Scoundrel any day!
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2023
This was a wonderfully written novel. It was the first in the series that I have read, but I will be going back and catching up on missed books soon - especially Fitz's! There was nonstop action - of one sort or another - from beginning to end, asJames just has a way of securely grabbing your attention and keeping you glued to the pages until you get to the very end.

Kingston...aka...King or Scoundrel. OMG… what is there to say about the man beyond YUM!! He went through literal he!! and came out the other side intact. Yeah, it took some recoup time, but he's back on his feet, and the prowl. He is a pure Alpha - with all that entales. Make no mistake, he is bosy and controlling, but intentions are for safety and overall wellbeing not just for the "kicks" of being in control. He also has a softer side. That concerned, guilt-ridden, emotional, more humble King that knows his vulnerabilities can be used against him, and others, so he tries to keep them as close to the vest as possible.

When he sees Samantha outside the club/office he not only notices, but begins tracking her actions. By the time he encounters her inside, his Dom side takes charge of their exchange - despite her initial protests. Samantha is an independent author of erotic books who's picked up a stalker. With escalating threats to her safety, and the London police blowing it off as a publicity stunt, she fled to Chicago. She's familiar at Baker Street (the club over which Cerberus was located in London), and to Fitz. Samantha can be described as outspoken, strong-willed, intelligent, hard-working, attractive, emotional, caring, loving, empathetic, but also blatantly bratty and defiant at times. She is definately a nice pairing for confident, no-nonsense King.

The story takes you through a series of escalating and threatening emails. Identifying not only what happens, but the team's response and plan of action. You will need to read for yourself to find out what this stalker's so upset about, what they're planning, and how the team plans to intercede. Then… will all go according to plan? Cross your fingers y'all! 🤞

I received an ARC, and voluntarily leave this honest review.
4.0 out of 5 stars First of a spin off series
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2023
This is my first book by Delta James and it was easy to tell that THE SCOUNDREL is the first book in a spin off series of Cerebus, a private black ops company whose agents are part of a club their company offices share space. The author made the connection between the two series seamless and informative without being overwhelming to a new reader.

I liked the plot of the story that surrounded Samantha the romance novelist and brought her to Cerebus in Chicago. I also found King’s backstory and company history compelling. These two kept me eagerly waiting to find out what could happen next.

People that will like descriptions and terminology related to the lifestyle will be happy with the attention to these details. I personally found that little dry and it detracted some from the heat. I also thought there was too much repetition of some topics that had been covered already.

As a whole, this story was solid and developed the secondary characters I could be invested in knowing more about in subsequent books.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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