A Lady's Lesson in Scandal
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"*IN GRITTY, WORKING-CLASS LONDON, SHE DOES WHAT SHE MUST TO SURVIVE . . . *
When Nell Whitby breaks into an earl’s house on a midnight quest for revenge, she finds her pistol pointed at the wrong man—one handsome as sin and naked as the day he was born. Pity he’s a lunatic. He thinks her a missing heiress, but more to the point, he’ll help her escape the slums and right a grave injustice. Not a bad bargain. All she has to do is marry him.
*A NOTORIOUS LADIES’ MAN COULD TAKE HER FROM POVERTY TO OPULENCE . . . BUT AT WHAT PRICE?*
A rake of the first order, Simon St. Maur spent his restless youth burning every bridge he crossed. When he inherits an earldom without a single penny attached to it, he sees a chance to start over—provided he can find an heiress to fund his efforts. But his wicked reputation means courtship will be difficult—until fate sends him the most notorious missing heiress in history. All he needs now is to make her into a lady and keep himself from making the only mistake that could ruin everything: falling in love. . . .
installed her in the vehicle. “Take her home,” he said to the staring coachman, who had twisted from the waist to peer at these curious events. “What—” Nell leaned forward, the light from the streetlamp on the pavement behind him lending her face a bluish hue, rendering in chiaroscuro her panicked expression. “You come with me!” “You said he is coming,” Simon said flatly. “I need to—speak with him.” Her eyes rounded. “Not now! Simon, please—” Please. Her voice broke on that syllable. He
ignorant. If I am wrong, and you involve yourself in the pretender’s cause, then consider my gentle approach to be the courtesy you demanded from me earlier. So long as you make no trouble during my time here, you will be left alone.” Briefly she wrestled with her tongue. Nothing was to be gained by baiting him. But when he had almost reached the door, she leapt to her feet. Her venom could not be suppressed. “We are to be strangers, then? I am glad of it!” He stopped but did not turn. She
that beef, I’ll gladly practice till I’m the Queen of the World.” “How very good to know,” he said. “For such diligence, I think you require a reward.” “Oh?” Interested, she tipped her head. “So long as it’s not another etiquette manual . . .” “You tell me,” he said. “What would you like to do?” • • • The white ball cracked into the red, sending it spinning into the top pocket. Nell straightened with a broad grin. She had an unlighted cigar clamped between her teeth, and as she cast down
let him tempt you,” Mum murmured. “Resist sin.” “You’re raving.” Nell’s throat closed on a hard swallow. “Donald Miller is my father.” Mum had talked of him. A nice, respectable gentleman farmer from Leicestershire, who’d died of the cholera when Nell had been a babe in arms. “Never,” Mum said, still in that wispy, dreamy voice. “A lie. Only Lord Rushden, Cornelia. Long ago, before. He will help you. I took you for your sake. But I can help no longer. Only write to him.” Her heart was pounding
forgotten the natural rhythm of breathing. She put aside the book as her mood clarified: she was annoyed. “I was waiting,” she said. “You’re the one who’s late.” He smiled a little. Put his hands into his pockets and dropped his shoulder against the doorjamb. He looked so utterly at home in this rich house, so casually in possession of its wealth. A dark feeling swelled through her. He stood only feet away, but there was a subtler distance between them that would never be spanned. No matter how