Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge. From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.
I swoon for love letters. In fact, one of the first gifts I gave my husband was a book of famous love letters. Who doesn’t love love? And that’s only part of the reason I am so I am so grateful to be a part of this year’s RFTC Valentine event. I’m also happy the event gave me the opportunity to revisit a couple whose spark delighted me from the first time I put them in a scene together.
Allow me to introduce Sophia and Hugh, now more formally known as Lord and Lady Randolph. This scene picks up a few years after their book, Lady Scandal. Lord Randolph has been away, leading secret negotiations for the Under Secretary’s office. But he must write his wife and tell her he’ll be home early. Lord Randolph isn’t the love letter type…or so he thinks.
—Randolph paused, lifting his quill away from the parchment.
Such formality would not do. Not when he and his lady had been apart for an excruciating fortnight. Excruciating, he smiled, mostly because he couldn’t help picturing her as she’d been their last night together.
His lovely wife, clad in the silk nightgown he’d had specially made…wild-eyed, breathless, succumbing with abandoned pleasure to his teasing lips.
He groaned as their separation became singularly painful once again.
But enough indulgence. He must concentrate—he had news. And good news at that. Holding a knife against the paper, he tore off his false start and began again, tossing to the wind all convention.
…After all, if his time with Sophia had proved anything, it was that rules were meant to be broken.
Randolph frowned down at paucity of his script, comparing it to the stretch of ivory blankness beneath. Once he cut the paper, perhaps his letter would not appear so…brief.
He readied the knife—Lord knew he wouldn’t be able to fill all that space if he tried—but he could not make the cut. Surprisingly, he found writing to Sophia rather…pleasant. Almost as if she was at his side at this very moment.
Yes. It was pleasant feeling, indeed. He determined to continue his letter. But what should he say?
Something that would make her sigh, of course. And, by the end, smile.
Not the smile that had been infamous when society called her Lady Scandal—that smile that was reported to turn men, as she would say, into the most accommodating of creatures.
No, he wanted her small smile—the slight upturn of her strawberry lips—the secret smile she saved only for him.
A sense of triumph always followed the thought that she was his and his alone.
He re-inked the quill and let his mind wander…
He that moment sizzle through him—an echo of their first exchange’s power. He stayed within the stillness that followed, savoring. Then, he continued…
He chuckled. She had used him as she pleased, and continued to do so. But, because she’d been unable to remain aloof, being wrapped around her finger did not bother him in the least. They were bound together. Now just by earthy vows, but by shared recognition.
He thought of the way she sighed when she called out his given name, and did not sign his title. Instead, he signed, simply,
A space too small to make a reliable tear remained. So he added another line.
Sophia touched the little valley at the base of her throat with a full heart and slightly damp eyes. What had possessed Hugh to write her such an extraordinary letter? She did not know, but she would to treasure it forever. She wished she could respond, but, according to his missive, he would be home any moment.
A delicious thrill of anticipation flooded her senses. She closed her eyes, suspended in the feeling.
Excited as she was, she could not shake the idea Hugh’s letter deserved an answer.
Ah! She could write one now—quickly—and have the Butler instruct Randolph to read it as soon as he entered the house.
Inspired, she sat at her desk, pulled out a clean sheet and dipped her pen in ink.
Now. How should she begin? Randolph? Hugh? Her lips turned up.
He liked it when she called him that.
Really? Was that the best she could do? She frowned down at the paper. Writing a response was harder than she expected.
She cocked a brow. Better. But would that be enough to make her enigmatic husband understand how deeply she’d been moved by his words? No.
Honest. Perhaps too much so?
She paused, startled by the truth that had come sliding from her pen. A truth that filled her with love—and a profound gratitude. She would not have survived that darkness without Hugh by her side. Not—she grinned—that Hugh was any kind of saint.
Sophia waved the piece of parchment until the ink was dry. Then, she delivered it to the Butler, saying Randolph must see it as soon as he arrived, as it concerned a matter of great urgency.
As reached her the master chamber, she heard Randolph’s booming voice in the entry hall. Smiling, she told her maid her service would not be needed tonight.
Check out Hugh and Sophia's love story in Lady Scandal.
He had everything under control, until she proved him wrong...London, 1784Sophia Baneham has lived in the poison of her dead father's shadow for longer than she cares to admit. Now she exists outside of polite society's influence, holding gambling parties for London's most dangerous men. When a man walks into one of her soirees, a compelling mix of charisma and icy control, he offers the lady of sin a wager she can't refuse...Lord Randolph is a spy in the service of His Majesty, but he's given an oath to protect the daughter of his mentor. Even as his gamble of marriage starts to spiral out of control and his passions ignite, Randolph is determined that he'll handle things his way...But when danger closes in, Randolph won't just have to protect Sophia from an intended killer. He'll have to protect her from himself...
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