HER SCANDALOUS WISH
Releases February 22!
A Waltz With a Rogue Novella, #3
A marriage offer obligated by duty; an acceptance, compelled by desperation.
At two and twenty and scarred from a fire, Philomena Pomfrett is resigned to spinsterhood, but to ease her dying brother’s fretting, she reluctantly agrees to attend a London Season—to acquire a husband. If she fails, when he dies, with no family and no money, her future is perilous. Betrayed once by love, Philomena entertains no notions of a love-match.
Newly titled, Bradford, Viscount Kingsley, returns to England after a three-year absence. When he stumbles upon Philomena hiding in a secluded arbor during a ball, he doesn’t recognize his first love, believing she died in a fire. Yet, something about her enthralls him, and he steals a moonlit kiss. Caught in the act by Philomena’s brother, Bradford is issued an ultimatum—a duel or marry Philomena.
Bradford offers marriage, but Philomena rejects his half-hearted proposal, convinced he’d grow to despise her. Then her brother collapses, and she’s faced with marrying a man who deserted her once already.
She craned her neck to see around the blasted plant.
Breath held, she deftly parted the foliage and bent forward. There, at the ballroom’s entrance in his formal evening attire, looking every bit the gentleman of refinement with his lovely auburn-headed sister, Olivia, on one arm and the distinguished Duchess of Daventry on the other. Unable to deny the giddiness seeing him again brought her, fleeting excitement filled Philomena.
He swept the room with his brilliant, blue-eyed—slightly bored—gaze, and she jerked backward, kicking the container as she tumbled into the wall.
He can’t see you.
The gossips snapped curious, somewhat distracted glances in her direction.
Drat it all.
Philomena dropped into crouch with only her forehead visible above the blue and white porcelain, and in a moment, the matrons put their graying heads together and launched into another round of on dit. For the first time, Philomena was grateful rumors dominated their narrow attention.
Peering between the ficus’s woven branches, she bit her lip as her stomach toppled over itself. She wasn’t ready to see Bradford. Face tanned, his raven hair glistening in the candlelight, he threw back his head and laughed at something the duchess said. How could he have grown even more beautiful? Deucedly unfair.
Still squatting, she pivoted right, then shuffled left. Where was Giles? He’d promised her a beverage several minutes ago. He was nowhere to be seen, at least not from this awkward position.
Philomena braved another glance to the ballroom’s entrance. Bradford had disappeared into the crowd as well. Good. She could make her escape. A cramp seized her calf as she moved to rise. Curses. Closing her eyes, she gripped the pot’s edge, waiting for the spasm to pass. Pray God no one came upon her hugging the pottery. Rather hard to explain her sudden rapt interest in dirt and greeneries.