Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office one day and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades…What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?Daniel has secrets and if The Hawk’s Eye gets wind of them, a man’s life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best laid plans.But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.
Successful playwright Maggie Delamere has no interest in the flirtations of noblemen like Cameron, Viscount Marwood. She once paid dearly for a moment of weakness… and vows to rebuff the wildly persistent-and irritatingly handsome-scoundrel at every turn. But when pressure to deliver a new play hampers her creativity, an invitation to use his country estate as a writer’s retreat is too tempting to resist...For years, Cam has admired Maggie’s brilliant work and he can’t pass up the opportunity to discover if the beautiful, mysterious playwright is as passionate and clever as the words that flow from her quill. He’s never offered a lady his bed without being in it, but if it means loosening Maggie’s pen-and her inhibitions-he’ll do exactly that.But soon Cam’s plans for seduction become a fight for Maggie’s heart. He’s more than the scandalous, carefree rake society believes him to be… and she’s the only woman who has ever noticed.Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |
Continuing, she said, “That’s exceptionally conceited of you, my lord, to assume that you are Lord A—d.” Leaning back in her chair, she gave a thin smile. “I could be writing about Lord Archland. Or perhaps Lord Admond.”
“Lord Archland hasn’t left his country estate in a decade,” the earl answered, “and Lord Admond’s days of scandal happened when red heels and powdered wigs were in fashion. The man written about is undoubtedly, nauseatingly me.”
So much for that defense. “Oh, but you’re far from nauseating, my lord. In fact, you’re enthralling—to my readers,” she hastened to add.
Lord Ashford shook his head. “It amazes me that the citizens of London have such paltry lives that they'd care a groat what I did.”
“The provinces, too,” she added. “I have a thousand subscribers throughout the country.”
He threw up his hands. “Ah, that improves the situation immeasurably. I cannot fathom what my concern was.”
“As my paper states,” she said, “you are London's most notorious rake. Of course people care what you do.”
He crossed his arms over his chest, a movement that emphasized that the width of his shoulders didn't come from the work of a tailor's artful needle.
“One might think that your readers would be far more interested in the food shortages that have resulted from recent crop failures,” he fired back. “Or perhaps they might be intrigued by the East Indian volcanic explosion that caused the crops to fail. Maybe, just maybe, they'd be concerned with Argentina declaring its independence from Spain. Did none of that ever cross your mind, Miss Hawke, rather than reporting spurious gossip about a figure as inconsequential as myself?”
Though she was momentarily shocked that a man as infamously dissolute as Lord Ashford would be so well-informed, she quickly recovered.
“I'd hardly call you inconsequential, my lord,” she countered. “Your family name goes back to the time of Queen Elizabeth. If memory serves, your ancestor Thomas Balfour won himself an earldom as a privateer to the queen—though others merely called him a pirate with a government charter. It seems as though scandal runs in your blood. How could the public not be fascinated?”
It was his turn to look surprised. He likely didn't expect her to be so knowledgeable of his ancestry. But Eleanor was nothing if not thorough. She had Debrett's memorized the way others knew their Bible verses.
“Because I am merely one man,” he answered. “Granted, a man with a somewhat extensive wardrobe—”
Of mistresses, she silently added.
“But hardly worth devoting page after page of precious paper and ink,” he concluded.
“You belong to a gentleman's club, do you not?” she asked pointedly. “White's, if memory serves. And what do you do there?”
EVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ‘80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.
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