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Once Upon a Scandal
The marriage of convenience has always tickled my fancy. How delicious to force two people in conflict to live in close quarters as man and wife! Especially when they are torn between their growing passion for one another and their determination to resist the bonds of love.
In ONCE UPON A SCANDAL, Lady Emma, desperate to protect her unborn child from illegitimacy, weds a tenderhearted, gullible youth. Her husband, Lucas, finds out the shocking truth on their wedding night and leaves England for seven long years. When Lucas finally returns, he catches her in the act as she makes her living the only way she knows how: stealing from the wealthy nobles who have wronged her. Lucas, now an embittered, hardened man, makes her a bargain: give him an heir...or be exposed.
Though she'd be happy never to suffer a man's touch again, to get the divorce Lucas has promised, Emma must first submit to his sensual seduction. And she soon discovers that during his travels in the East, he's learned quite a lot about arousing a reluctant woman!
Emma couldn't move, she couldn't speak. She could only stare up at her husband as the moment stretched into an eternity. Lucas exuded a raw animal power that terrified her. As he straddled her on the floor, she could feel every muscle in his brawny body. No longer a boy, he had become a stranger, a savage man with impenetrable dark eyes.
Panic rushed through her like a great wind, stealing her breath. she couldn't bear the suffocating weight of his body. Not for another instant.
She thrashed beneath him. "Let me up. Let me up!"
Yanking Emma to her feet, he marched her down the passageway. She was forced to half-run to keep pace with his long strides. At the end of the corridor, he opened a door and shoved her inside. She found herself in a large, dim-lit room. A banked fire glowed on the hearth, and a bed with bronze velvet hangings dominated the room.
This must be her husband's bedchamber.
She whirled to face him. "Just what do you intend to do to me?"
Lucas closed the door with an ominous click. He sent her a black look, barely visible in the shadows. "Exactly what you deserve."
I've had fun setting my stories in Regency-era England. Last autumn, while visiting London, my husband and I walked the streets and toured the elegant old mansions of Mayfair, where once upon a time Emma and Lucas embroiled themselves in scandal.
This has been an exciting year for me! A Glimpse of Heaven (St. Martin's, Dec. 95) has been nominated for RT's Best Regency Historical, while Never a Lady (St. Martin's, Nov. '96) has been chosen as a finalist for the National Reader's Choice Award. Now RT has given me a 41/2 review for ONCE UPON A SCANDAL.
For an autographed color bookmark and poster, send an SASE to Barbara c/o St. Martin's Paperbacks, 175 Fifth Avenue, NY,NY 10019. Also, check out Barbara's
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