With the dazzling blend of romance, humor, and poignant storytelling that has made her one of the world's best-loved authors, Johanna Lindsey presents the passionate Regency-era tale of an earl's daughter who dares to pose as the wife of a deadly mercenary in order to save her former guardian.
Lady Margaret Landor first met Sebastian Townshend as a child, when he caught her peeking into her older sister's engagement ball. Tall, dashing, and charming, Sebastian was one of the most sought-after bachelors in Kent and cut a romantic figure she would not soon forget. Never did she dream that one day she would be living at his family's magnificent estate with Sebastian's father, the eighth Earl of Edgewood, as her guardian--while Sebastian is banished from his family due to the tragic results of a duel.
When life at Edgewood takes a sinister turn with the earl suffering a suspicious number of life-threatening accidents, Margaret wonders if Sebastian's younger brother and his wife have grown impatient to inherit the earldom. Setting out to find the one man she believes can set the situation to rights, she discovers that Sebastian Townshend has forged a new identity for himself on the continent.
Now known as The Raven, a deadly mercenary, notorious for accomplishing any mission no matter how seemingly impossible, he has vowed never to return to England. Not until Margaret meets his outrageous monetary demands does Sebastian agree to return home, reluctantly posing as her husband in order to facilitate his return to society. When he learns she cannot afford to pay his fee, he suggests a scandalous trade.
As Margaret and Sebastian work to uncover the intrigue at his father's estate, a fierce passion blooms that neither of them anticipated and neither can resist. But can Margaret persuade Sebastian to abandon the dark path he believes is his fate and claim the life--and love--he deserves? Breathtaking in scope and wondrously passionate, Marriage Most Scandalous is Johanna Lindsey at her finest.
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June 14, 2005
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Excerpt from Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey
LIKE MANY TOWNS AND VILLAGES throughout Austria, Felburg had its share of Baroque architecture in its churches and its plaza, its fountains and charming squares. Where Vienna over-whelmed, Felburg offered peace and quiet, which was why Sebastian Townshend decided to spend the night there as he passed through the Alpine hills.
The job he had just finished had been frustrating, taking him from France to Italy, back to France, then to Hungary, and finally to Vienna. His mission had been to retrieve stolen books, very rare books that a wife had absconded with. His current employer didn't want his wife back, just the books. Sebastian had them in his possession now. The wife hadn't been cooperative, though. He'd had to steal them from her.
It had been a distasteful task but not as abhorrent as some of the jobs he'd taken over the years since he'd left home. For quite a few years he hadn't discriminated. He simply had little reason to care about anything. Disowned by his father, all ties to his family broken, and carrying a bitterness deep inside himself that he refused to acknowledge, Sebastian wasn't a man to trifle with. You had to have a reason to live in order to value life. He didn't particularly value his.