For as long as she can remember, Lydia Westland has dreamed of glittering London society. Finding herself at last in England, she is determined to make the most of this opportunity. Clutching her copy of 'Blunders in Behaviour Corrected' she sets forth to find a suitably titled husband. But what she finds instead is Rhys Rhodes, a second son with a past that is anything but glittering. To Rhys, Lydia is everything he has lost - innocence, laughter, joy - and everything he cannot have.
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May 26, 2003
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Excerpt from Love with a Scandalous Lord by Lorraine Heath
A true lady shall comport herself in a dignified manner which will serve to draw little attention to herself.
Miss Westland's Blunders in
As the dark crimson coach sped along the narrow country lane, Lydia Westland gazed out the window and fought to maintain an air of casual indifference, to give the impression that traveling in a coach bearing a ducal crest was an everyday occurrence for her, to be taken in stride. When in fact, it was the most exciting adventure of her life.
With a contented sigh, she settled back against the plush interior padding. Traveling back home had never been this comfortable or elegant. She couldn't help but be impressed by the pomp and ceremony.
The coachman's beautiful crimson coat was adorned with silver braid. His white trousers fit snugly and stopped just below his knee, leaving his white stockings and black shoes clearly visible. Beneath his hat, he wore a white wig. As did the two footmen who stood on the back of the vehicle. She was amazed they didn't fall off.
As the coach passed beneath a massive archway supportedby two stone columns, her heart picked up its tempo to beat in rhythm with the pounding hooves of the six gray horses that led the way. The well-built vehicle smoothly turned onto another road where magnificent towering elms lined both sides like a regiment of well-trained soldiers. Dappled sunlight broke through the abundant leaves overhead to create a breathtaking scene.
"I'd forgotten how large Harrington is," her step-fathersaid quietly.
Lydia darted a glance his way. The lines in his beloved face had deepened since the new Marquess of Blackhurst had sent a cable to inform him of their father's failing health. She ached for her stepfather and all the sorrow he would endure in the following days.
Grayson Rhodes had been a constant in her life for almost as long as she could remember. She was seven when he'd arrived at her family's farm to help them harvest cotton shortly after the War Between the North and South had ended. His hair had been a little blonder then, his face considerably paler. Now it clearly revealed where the sun and wind had staked claim to it. More tan, more weathered.
The distinguished lilt of his voice had intrigued her and been a bit more pronounced then than it was now. His impeccable manners had fascinated her. They alone had remained steadfast through the years, while every other aspect of him had changed. His shoulders had broadened, his hands had roughened, and every time he looked at the woman sitting beside him, Lydia knew his love for her mother had grown stronger.