From New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath, comes the second book in a brand new series, The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, featuring three eligible bachelors...and the scoundrels that reside within each.
Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can't escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he's not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning, he realizes she doesn't remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she's his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.
While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can't be denied, regardless of consequences. So when Ophelia's memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.
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They were so young, the ladies who smiled and batted their lashes at him. Even the ones who were on the far side of five and twenty were too innocent for his tastes. They were all light and airy as though burdens were unknown to them, as though life encompassed nothing more than enjoyment. He preferred his women with a bit more seasoning to them, savory, spicy, and tart.
An exception to his preference for the tart had arrived. The haughtiness of the voice set his teeth on edge. He should have known he’d not escape her notice for the entire evening. That Lady Ophelia Lyttleton was one of Grace’s dearest friends was beyond his comprehension. He didn’t understand why the sister of his heart associated with such an arrogant miss when Grace was the sweetest, gentlest person he’d ever known. Stubborn to be sure, but she hadn’t a mean bone in her body. Lady Ophelia could not claim the same. Her presence at his back proof enough.
The ladies who had been gifting him with their attention blinked repeatedly and went silent for the first time in more than two hours. Because they were there, because he was striving to give the appearance of being a gentleman, he would spare Lady Ophelia the embarrassment of ignoring her. Even though he suspected he would pay a price for his generosity. He always paid the price. The lady was quite adept at delivering stinging barbs.
Slowly he turned and arched a brow at the woman whose head failed to reach his shoulder. And yet in spite of her diminutive size, she managed to give the appearance of looking down on him. It was her long, pert, slender nose that tipped up ever so slightly on the end. She had been a constant aggravation whenever she visited with Grace and crossed paths with him. But devil’s mistress that she was, she was very careful to slight him only when Grace wasn’t about to witness her set-downs. Because he loved Grace too much to upset her—and she would be appalled to know he and her friend were not on particularly pleasant terms—he had borne Lady Ophelia’s degradations, convinced that he was walking the high ground while she was slogging along in the muck.
It made no sense to him that such a beauty could be such a resounding termagant. Her green eyes with the oval, exotic slant were challenging him with a sharpness that could slice into one’s soul if he weren’t careful. While he was twelve years her senior, as she had grown toward womanhood, she had mastered the art of making him feel as though he were a dog living in the quagmire of the gutters again. Not that others among the aristocracy hadn’t made him feel the same from time to time, but still it irked more so when she was the one responsible for the cut to his pride.
“Boy,” she repeated with a touch more arrogance, “do fetch me some champagne, and be quick about it.” As though he were a servant, as though he live to serve her. Not that he found fault with those who served. Theirs was a more noble undertaking and their accomplishments far outstripped anything she might ever manage. She, who no doubt nibbled on chocolates in bed while reading a book, without thought regarding the effort that had gone behind placing both in her hand.
New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases for a publicist, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. In 1990, she read a romance novel and became not only hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since.
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