Might a scandalous lady with a warm heart and a lively mind be just what a respectable gentleman needs?
Return of the Scandalous Lady
Perilous Secrets Book 4
by Barbara Monajem
Genre: Historical Regency Romance
ago, Frances Templestone left her husband and ran away to France with
a lover. Now she’s back, widowed and more mature, but mostly
unrepentant. A social pariah, she stays out of sight while her
daughter Julia has her first London season.
Until Julia, who is as impetuous as her mother, sneaks out to a masquerade with an unsuitable man. Frances hastens to the rescue, and when she sees Julia about to get into a coach with a handsome stranger, she accuses him—very publicly—of being a rake who ruins innocent girls.
Soon she learns that Jasper, Lord Canterwell, is a respectable man. He wasn’t at the masquerade seeking an easy conquest. On the contrary—his daughter is missing, and he is searching for her everywhere. Aghast, Frances offers to help him. Rudely, he spurns her.
But Frances is determined and Jasper is desperate. Might a scandalous lady with a warm heart and a lively mind be just what a respectable gentleman needs?
Lord , who fears his missing daughter was ruined and abandoned to her fate, has resorted in desperation to questioning a prostitute in Covent Garden. But Frances , who intends to help him whether he wants it or not, interrupts their conversation.
The harlot shook her head and pressed her lips to Lord cheek, saying softly, “Please, sir, take me to the hackney stand and drive off with me as if we’re going to tryst someplace. It doesn’t look right if I take money for nothing. They’ll reckon I told you something I shouldn’t, and Lord knows what they’ll do to me, but thinking of that poor girl, I couldn’t help myself.”
“Very well,” he said, steering her past two carriages, one of them driving off and the other with the steps down.
“Stop!” cried a familiar female voice. “I must speak to you, my lord!”
“Frances, don’t!” Aunt Horatia pleaded from inside the carriage, but it was too late. Frances was already dashing away, determined to speak to Lord before he left with that woman.
She had no intention of interfering with his dealings with the prostitute—that was entirely his business—but perhaps a few short words would make him understand that she’d thought of a way to help him.
He turned and glared at her. “ again! For what do you intend to scold me this time? I hardly think the broadsheets will take me to task for seeking amusement in Covent Garden, but I feel sure they’ll wonder at your unseemly behavior.” He glanced at the carriage and lowered his voice. “While your daughter watches! Are you quite mad?”
did feel slightly mad. She’d always been impetuous, but she seemed to have lost her habitual self-possession. “I just want to speak with you.”
“I already told you that I shall keep my mouth shut,” he retorted. “Kindly leave me be.”
“I’m trying to help, you stupid man!” Frances turned to the harlot clinging possessively to Lord arm. “I beg your pardon for interrupting,” she said politely. “I shan’t deprive you of your customer. Give me a moment, and then you may have your way with him.”
The harlot curtseyed and thanked her, but Lord glare intensified. “In what possible way can you be of any use to me?”
“I may be able to help you find who you’re looking for,” Frances hissed, “but this isn’t the place to discuss it, unless you want your private affairs to the world. If you would please visit me early tomorrow before the hour for morning calls, I shall explain.”
Her daughter Julia’s sweet voice drifted from the carriage. “Yes, please do, sir. Come to breakfast. Ten o’clock. We all want to help, even Auntie here, despite being scandalized.”
He nodded, giving a heavy sigh. “Very well.”
Frances turned to the harlot. “I see you are admiring my gown,” she said. “This new sort of flounce will be all the rage soon.”
“It’s beautiful. I have never seen the like before,” the woman said ruefully. “Perhaps I shall try copying it.”
“That will require both skill and patience.” Frances bent over, lifted the hem of her gown, and ripped the ruffle off. “Here, take this as a sample.”
The astonished prostitute thanked her. Lord seemed equally astonished, but not in a good way.
Thank heaven for Julia, thought Frances as she climbed into the carriage, because he absolutely loathes me.
Don't miss the rest of the series!
The Smuggler's Escape
Perilous Secrets Book 1
**Start the series for FREE!!**
His Lordship's Incorrigible Wife
Perilous Secrets Book 2
The Infidelity Curse
Perilous Secrets Book 3
USA Today bestselling author and winner of the Daphne, Maggie, Holt Medallion, and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem is the author of more than thirty novels and novellas. She wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. After publishing a middle-grade fantasy, she settled on historical mysteries and romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Sometimes there’s a bit of fantasy mixed in, because she wants to avoid reality as much as possible.
Barbara used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and to succeed at knitting socks. She managed the first (don’t ask) but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays. Learn more at www.BarbaraMonajem.com.
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