from Barnes and Noble
Order from Indie Bound
Order from iBooks
Alternate for Rhapsody Bookclub
by Gayle Callen
Book 2 of the "His" trilogy
(The books do not have to be read in order.)
Lady Emmeline Prescott is shocked
when Sir Alexander Thornton, the most incorrigle scoundrelin England,
suddenly notices she even exists--and starts flirting with her!
To win a wager, Alex must win a
kiss from an innocent maiden. But first he must get past the gigly
girl's chaperone--her straitlaced older sister, Lady Emmeline. And to
his dismay, it is the enchanting, levelheaded Emmeline who intoxicates
him with her soft sensuality and emminently kissable lips.
"His Scandal is a treat for romance
lovers, and serves a tasty repast of seduction, humor and inept
Romance Reviews Today
"This delight romp is fun
and sexy...yet it also has a poignancy that may bring a tear or two to
Romantic Times Magazine
(The following is the property of the author and Avon Books, and cannot
copied or reprinted without permission.)
London, September 1588
At the top of the marble stairs, tall,
swung open, and the queen’s courtiers within the great hall
stare, knowing that the moment they’d all waited for had
petite woman stepped into the hall, flanked by two men, identical in
way, from their black hair to their swarthy skin to their midnight
Even the orchestra faltered as whispers
spread out in
a hiss. One of the brothers was Viscount Thornton, newly returned from
on their enemy, Spain, before the armada had sailed. His heroism had
lauded by Queen Elizabeth, and his bravery had won him the hand of his
Lady Roselyn. The crowd surged forward to ingratiate themselves with
new hero, then the tide seemed to flow backward as they all hesitated.
Which one was Lord Thornton--and which
was his scandalous
No one wanted to congratulate Sir
spent almost a year and half deceiving society when he posed as his
spending money that wasn’t his, misleading noble maidens with
of marrying a viscount. His scandals had shaken London to its core, and
clear proof of who deserved the viscountcy.
Just when the confused murmurs rose
like bees buzzing
to protect their hive, one of the brothers stepped aside and bowed to
couple on the last stair above the crowd. Concluding the obvious, the
swarmed forward, swallowing up the viscount and his wife.
Alex Thornton was glad for the escape,
even though his
brother shot him a frown over the heads of his adoring audience. Alex
and turned away, grabbed the first tankard of ale that floated by on a
servant’s tray, and drained it quickly.
He hadn’t even begun to get
drunk when he saw Lord
Manvil, who’d been working with him on a bill for the House
Alex pushed his way through the crowd,
“Manvil! Might I have a moment of your time?”
The man turned from his wife and smiled
beneath his huge
mustache. “Lord Thornton, welcome back!”
Alex gave a lopsided grin.
speaking with the knight instead of the viscount. I was wondering if
had some time to discuss that bill we’ve been-“
Manvil held up a hand. “This
is highly improper,
Sir Alexander. Such private business among the Lords can no longer be
Alex widened his eyes, trying not to
let this newest
slight affect his temper. “But I’m the one who
“Nevertheless-ah, it is Lord
Alex turned to find his brother
standing behind him,
obviously having overheard the humiliating encounter with Lord Manvil.
make matters worse, Spencer was trying to hide his worry and pity.
Alex grinned. “There you go,
Manvil, just the man
you needed. I’m sure you can bring Spence up on all the
“Alex, don’t leave
us,” his brother said.
“You’ve hardly had a chance to familiarize me with
all your work.
Lord Manvil, I’m sure you see the necessity of-“
interrupted, backing away.
“Manvil can explain the whole thing. I’m done with
all this, remember?
And ’tis about time, too.” He grabbed another
tankard of ale and
leered at the maidservant carrying it.
Then he went off to find the first of
many maidens he
would woo away from their outraged mothers for a dance. By midnight, he
propositioned two married women, one of whom had slapped his face, and
other--well, he’d find out her thoughts later that night in
It was good to be himself again.
Scandal was what he did best, after
London, April 1589
Alex Thornton was fresh out of new
beside his friend Edmund Blackwell, he sighed as he watched the hall
of glittering couples dancing merrily beneath vaulted ceilings.
It had been eight months since he'd
given his twin brother
Spencer's identity back to him. Eight months of constantly explaining
disappointed people that he'd only posed as the
Alex had vowed to enjoy his own life
again, without the
responsibilities of a noble title. He would do as he pleased, drink,
himself into oblivion, and find willing young women to enjoy it all
Sad to say, those pleasures had grown
of late. Each party blurred into the next. He needed a change,
new to interest him.
"Edmund, are you as bored as I?"
Edmund shrugged, and his gaze surveyed
the crowd. "I
Of course Edmund wasn't bored--he
hadn't grown up among
the nobility. He was one of those rare men who'd worked hard from
to achieve success, and had been knighted for his efforts.
Alex almost envied him.
"We need to enliven the evening," he
continued. "I propose
Edmund rolled his eyes. "You know you
can outdrink me."
"No, something new." He met the bright
gaze of a lady
and gave her a smile. "We seem to have the attention of several young
"Until their mothers see where they're
said dolefully, folding his arms across his chest.
"And there is our
challenge. I wager that I can
get one dewy-eyed innocent to kiss me before you can find one who'll
that face of yours."
"A virgin? I'd be beetle-headed to
accept such a thing!"
Edmund scoffed. "You've stolen kisses from half the girls here."
"Not the challenging ones, I haven't,"
Alex said. "So
to make this interesting, I shall pick out the girl for you, and you
pick out mine."
A slow grin eased Edmund's deceptively
hard face. "I'll
wager five sovereigns. But what happens if an angry father decides that
kiss compromises his daughter?"
Alex shrugged. "We have to marry
sometime, do we not?"
"As if you would ever be trapped
against your will,"
Edmund said. "Very well. I'll be magnanimous and allow you to choose
They turned to look out on the great
hall. Couples whirled
about, and women were lifted in the air by their partners. Crowds of
talked and ate and laughed. Who to choose for Edmund?
Then he saw her--blond, pretty, and not
enough to look down upon Edmund, who'd begun manhood as a common
Due to her overly protective family, it would be difficult for Edmund
get even close to her.
Alex cleared his throat and clasped his
his back. "I have the perfect girl. Elizabeth Langston."
Edmund looked doubtful. "Her name is
Alex pointed to where she stood alone
with her parents,
"She is quite beauteous," Edmund said.
"But surely you
had a specific reason in choosing her?"
"I shall just warn you to beware her
Edmund sighed and continued to search
the crowd. Finally
he displayed a triumphant smile. "Ah, now there is
a woman who'd be
a challenge for you."
"Who?" Alex asked, feeling a pleasant
Edmund inclined his head toward the
merry dancers. "Lady
The younger daughter of the Marquess of
Kent. When the
crowd parted he saw her laughing face, her shining hair the color of
finest chocolate from the New World. Though he'd never conversed with
he had often noticed her loveliness and her musical laugh.
He was almost...disappointed.
Oh, she was pretty, but the flirtatious
glances she bestowed
on every dance partner suggested a woman easily kissed.
Edmund laughed. "Do not be so
disgruntled, my friend."
"She will be no challenge. Is there
something you are
not divulging?" Alex asked, his interest returning as Edmund smirked.
And then he saw another woman, an
older, paler imitation
of Blythe, approaching the girl while wearing a censorious frown.
gave her partner an apologetic look, slid her arm into the other
and walked away.
"And who is that?" Alex demanded.
Edmund grinned. "That was Lady Emmeline
"Let me guess--a spinster," Alex said
Edmund's smile showed almost every
tooth in his head.
"I am certainly going to relish taking your money."
"You haven't won yet, my good man.
There is not a woman
born I can't cajole. It will be easy to elude one sister in pursuit of
Edmund gave him a formal bow. "Then I
wish you luck,
sir--you'll need it. Shall we begin?" He took himself off without a
Alex's gaze returned to the two
sisters, now standing
together near the banqueting table. Blythe's smile was lively as she
to her sister's obviously serious words. Emmeline had none of Blythe's
vivaciousness, and her dark hair had a reddish tinge to it. Perhaps if
smiled occasionally, she would have ensnared a man by now.
Yet she was the daughter of a
marquess--surely men must
be lining up at her door, if only for a share of her wealth. So why had
Hell, he didn't have to care about the
sister; he only
had to outwit her. And for that to succeed, he had to win the younger
So he began to follow Blythe about the
longing glances her way, ready for the moment their eyes would meet.
It came as she was talking to Emmeline,
whose back was
to Alex. Over Emmeline's shoulder, Blythe glanced up and saw him there,
ten paces away, watching her. He held her gaze and gave her a slow
tinged with a slight wickedness. It was something he was naturally good
Blythe smiled back, and her cheeks
She returned her attention to her sister, but she eventually glanced at
again. He inclined his head, and this time her face reddened. He
with one hand--a miscalculation, for her smile faded, and she looked
Very well, he had tried the easy
method, and was relieved
that Blythe would be more challenging. The moment Emmeline left her
Alex was there, bowing before Blythe. That lovely blush returned to her
"Lady Blythe," he murmured, reaching
for her fingers
and kissing them. When he didn't immediately let go, she disengaged her
"Good evening, sir," she said, a
on her face. "Have we met?"
"No, my lady, but how can any man not
know your name?
I am Sir Alexander Thornton, and I would gladly pay a king's ransom to
"An exchange of coin is not necessary,
she said, followed by a spirited laugh. "Dancing is such a joy that
gladly indulge you for free."
And then he whirled her out into the
Lady Emmeline Prescott had once again
misplaced her sister.
She wanted to stomp her foot in frustration, but even in childhood that
never gotten her her way, especially after her mother had died.
had learned at an early age that her father expected her to rely on
but watching over Blythe tested her very intellect and patience.
Emmeline sighed. Her sister was a good
high-spirited, and seemingly unaware that her dowry and her beauty made
a worthy prize to men.
Surprisingly, a dowry alone did not
seem to matter, since
Emmeline, a wealthy heiress in her own right, seldom had male callers.
She preferred not to dwell on what
could never be. She
had Blythe's happiness and romantic success to worry about. Emmeline
determined that her sister would have the husband she herself never
She would be a part of Blythe's family, a dear aunt to Blythe's
and know the peace of seeing her sister happy.
If only she could keep Blythe from
mischief, and help
her to settle on the perfect man.
Then she saw her sister in the midst of
Who was she with? Every time Emmeline almost caught a glimpse of the
dark-haired man, someone stepped between them. She skirted the edges of
hall, keeping out of the way, until she could finally see the couple.
Her sister's partner bowed as the dance
ended. When he
straightened, Emmeline felt a jolt of awareness. She had seen him from
distance at court. He was broad-shouldered, with a litheness that made
an excellent dancer. Short black hair framed a face distinguished by
skin and the only clean-shaven chin in the hall. When he smiled at
his white teeth were blinding. A pearl earbob dangled from one ear,
a brocade doublet well tailored to his impressive chest and a short
that hung back from his shoulders. Oh, he was too handsome of a man,
even of foreign birth.
Suddenly he looked directly at
Emmeline, and she managed
to meet his unsettling gaze with a cool nod. He laughed and swept
into the next dance, leaving her to feel strangely thwarted. Which was
It was easy to discover his identity
among her acquaintances.
Sir Alexander Thornton, the younger son of Viscount Thornton. She was
informed of his half-Spanish heritage and his dubious reputation. Her
acquaintances made clear that he was not interested in marriage, that
was a favorite of the queen and actually kept mistresses.
Sir Alexander was not
a man Blythe should be trifling
Her sister usually reserved her
flirting for young men
close to her own age, and Emmeline knew a stern warning would only make
do the opposite. Surely there had to be another way to keep Sir
away from her sister.
Just then the man had the gall to meet
her gaze over
her sister's shoulder and grin at her, leaving her flustered and all
from Amazon ~ Order
from Barnes and Noble
Order from Indie Bound
Order from iBooks