INCLINED TO SCANDAL
by Zoë Mullins
A misfit in proper society, Lady Georgiana will risk her future for a night of pleasure with Captain Wrath.
Lady Georgiana Knolls is a misfit in proper society, only there because her brother insists she have a Season and learn what it means to be ‘a lady’. The rules and etiquette forced upon unmarried women of her class are stifling and she breaks them more often and more publicly than is wise.
Which is how she meets Captain Wrath. His arrogance and confidence are nearly a match for her own and for a chance of pleasure with him, she will risk the future she’s been waiting for.
After years at sea, Captain Wrath is ready to resume the mantle of the Earl of Rathbridge. His first good deed? To save his best friend’s sister from blackmail by offering her the protection of his name…as her fiancé. The faux betrothal turns real when he realizes she is the same beauty who’s been sharing his bed since his return.
The earl is ready to make things right, but to do that, he will have to unmask a blackmailer, convince his best friend that he is suitable marriage material for his beloved sister and prove to Georgie that becoming his wife won’t stifle the independence she craves.
Rath was surprised that Lisette recognized him when he presented himself at the private entrance to her personal rooms at Chez de Sauveterre. The last leg of the trip had been difficult, the storms seeming endless. He hadn’t shaved in weeks, his hair needed a good wash and his clothes, though still well-cut, were caked with dirt, saltwater and blood. He did not look the part of a peer of the realm, or a partner in Sinclair Knolls, one of the most prosperous shipping and import interests in England.
Lisette had taken one look at him, seen behind the filth and grime and flung herself into his arms. His former mistress was ten years his senior but nothing in her countenance betrayed her age. Though in her mid-forties now, she still looked fresh and carefree, with her white-blonde hair pulled back in a loose knot. Her blue eyes swam with tears at the sight of him.
It was always at Lisette’s home that he regained his land legs. His coachman followed behind him with a small trunk filled with the clothes and toiletries that would turn the feared Captain Wrath into the Rowan Grayson Sinclair, the Earl of Rathbridge or that devilish Lord Sin, as some still called him.
He assured her of his health and general well-being before being seen up to a private guest room. He was relieved to see Gisele and Richards awaiting him in his room. They must have received word that his ship had at last made port.
He wrapped an arm around Richards’ shoulders and kissed Gissy on the forehead. They had been his faithful servants for years and appreciating their company, he regretted that he saw so little of them.
He’d met Richards when he had been a footman in his parents’ employ, but the young man had shown potential. Upon setting up his own lodgings in Albany, Rath had asked him to become his personal valet.
By then, Gisele went where Richards went, and had taken on the role of housekeeper, cook and maid.
Tonight, the two worked together, putting to rest the fearsome Lord Wrath and revealing the gentleman beneath. Richards stripped him out of the offensive rags, and Gisele ran to dispose of them.
Richards was nothing if not serious about his work, and Rath knew by the look he gave the sodden clothing that Richards was planning to take them out back and burn them. Rath hid a grin. He would never see the ‘offensive garments’ again. Richards set them by the door and turned back to the trunk, pulling out Rath’s more fashionable London attire.
“Not the jacket, not tonight.”
Richards lifted his brow as if to admonish him. The world, however, would not end if he showed up downstairs in his waistcoat and shirtsleeves. He glared back at Richards, who frowned, but silently relented.
Gisele laughed at them both. “You two have the same argument each time you come home.”
“That was hardly an argument,” Richards grumbled. “It’s hard to argue with a man who looks like a naked caveman. We must do something about that hair and beard, my lord.”
“Of course, Richie.”
“Come on, caveman.” Gisele held out her hand. “I happen to like you naked and hairy. Though not so filthy as you are now.”
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A prolific writer, even in elementary school, she was jotting down poems and stories whenever she had the chance – usually during math class.
After many years of working in corporate communications, Zoë decided in 2015 it was time to focus her energy on the kind of writing she loved – hot romances with strong, alpha heroes and quirky, independent heroines.
Zoë’s husband of nearly 20 years threw his full support behind that dream and loves to tell people his wife is a romance author. They live in Atlantic Canada with their two crazy collies. When not at her computer, you will find Zoë chasing after her muddy dogs, working in the garden or helping to renovate their money-pit of a house.
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