The Seduction of an English Scoundrel (Boscastle Family Series #1)

The Seduction of an English Scoundrel (Boscastle Family Series #1)

by Jillian Hunter

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Award-winning author Jillian Hunter pens a delightful romp of passion and tantalizing trickery proving all is fair in matters of love.

It would have been the wedding of the year–had the groom, Sir Nigel Boscastle, bothered to put in an appearance. To the shock of her distinguished guests, the respectable Lady Jane Welsham is left humiliated at the altar. Yet truth be told, although outwardly ruined she is elated to have escaped marriage to a man she does not love.

Enter Grayson Boscastle, the irresistible Marquess of Sedgecroft (and cousin to Nigel). Grayson’s duty is clear: salvage the young lady’s pride and reestablish the family’s good name, while repairing his own tarnished reputation as one of London’s most notorious scoundrels. Their whirlwind affair is the talk of the ton. Yet nothing is as it seems between the bewitching Lady Jane, who knows that her wedding was cleverly sabotaged, and her charming rogue, as they are drawn into an amusing game of seduction and secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345461216
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/26/2005
Series: Boscastle Family Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 630,171
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.02(d)

About the Author

JILLIAN HUNTER is the author of nine critically acclaimed novels. She has received several awards, including the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Jillian Hunter lives in Southern California with her husband and three daughters.

Read an Excerpt


London, England 1814

The Boscastle-Welsham marriage would have been the wedding of the year—if the groom had bothered to put in an appearance. Sir Nigel Boscastle was so noticeably absent from his own nuptials that the bride’s father had been forced to walk the long-suffering Lady Jane to the altar where, surrounded by a cluster of distraught bridesmaids, the wedding party minus the bridegroom waited. And waited.

“I shall deal with the corkbrain after the ceremony,” the distinguished seventh Earl of Belshire muttered as his daughter stood with her back to their bewildered guests. “The idiot will be late to his own funeral.”

After several minutes of confusion, the minister and bride’s parents decided that perhaps until the bridegroom arrived, Jane’s older brother, Simon, Viscount Tarleton, should stand in as temporary proxy. And so brother and abandoned bride stood. And stood.

At first no one doubted that Nigel would eventually show up to rescue Jane from this embarrassment. If, as one guest in the third pew remarked, he remembered what day it was.

After all, Sir Nigel was hardly known about town for his towering intellect, although his generosity had earned him a loyal following of friends.

The bride-to-be had not wished to be married at the popular St. George’s Church in Hanover Square. A respectable young lady never previously involved in scandal, she avoided fussy affairs as a rule. Yet today the haut ton were crammed to capacity inside the private chapel of the Marquess of Sedgecroft’s Park Lane mansion. To witness a wedding that apparently would not take place.

Lady Jane Welsham, the guests agreed, resembled a royal princess. She positively glowed in an eggshell white satin dress worn over an ivory tissue underbodice. The scalloped hem of the dress foamed daintily around her pearl-seeded slippers. A flowing veil of Honiton lace framed her face, casting in shadow whatever emotion it revealed, to the disappointment of her enrapt audience.

The bouquet of white rosebuds she held glistened from a double-dipping in gilt. White kidskin gloves encased her slender hands, hands that remained remarkably steady considering that their owner was undergoing one of the worst humiliations in a young woman’s life. To be abandoned at the altar.

What could have happened?

Everyone in London knew that the parents of both parties had been planning this wedding since Jane and Nigel had toddled about the nursery in nappies. The Society papers had remarked more than once that rarely had a betrothed couple seemed so compatible.

What had gone wrong?

The bride’s sister Lady Caroline bitterly remarked, “Those flowers will have dried into a sachet if Nigel takes any longer. I shall strangle him for this.”

Her younger sister, Lady Miranda, shook her head in sympathy. “Poor Nigel. Do you think he might have gotten lost? Jane did say he required a map to find his carriage.”

Caroline’s golden-brown eyes narrowed in contemplation. “She’s holding up well under the humiliation, isn’t she?”

“Would you expect less of a Welsham?” Miranda whispered back.

“I don’t know,” Caroline replied, “but I daresay that such bad behavior is probably typical of the Boscastle male. For all his gentle ways, Nigel did descend from one of the most notorious bloodlines in England. Just look at our host Sedgecroft over there, lounging like the lord of lions in his pew with his ladybirds around him.”

“His what?” Miranda asked in a scandalized whisper.

“I can hardly shout out the word, Miranda. That woman in the deep pink dress is Lady Greenhall, his last lover.”

“And he brought her here, to Jane’s wedding?”

“If there is one.”

“Well, his brothers are said to be no better,” Miranda added. “The lot of them should have their foreheads branded with an R for rogue.”

“I wonder what Sedgecroft thinks of all this,” Caroline murmured. “He does not look exactly pleased, does he?”

The host in question, the chapel’s owner, Grayson Boscastle, the fifth Marquess of Sedgecroft, sat thinking that the bride had the most appealing derriere he had seen in quite a long time. Not that he made a point of lusting after young women in wedding dresses, but he had been staring at the back of her for over two hours now. A normal man’s curiosity could not help but be aroused. What else was he to look at? He wondered whether the rest of her was as appealing.

Besides, he was pointedly ignoring the guests in his family’s pews: various cousins and dozing uncles; two former mistresses, one of whom had brought along her bumpkin sons; and his three younger brothers, who were sprawled out in irreverent disregard for the holy ceremony.

If the ceremony ever came to its usual unhappy conclusion, that is, the entrapment of another man in wedlock.

His brother, Lieutenant Colonel Lord Heath Boscastle, leaned forward from the pew behind him. “What do you think?” he asked in amusement. “Should we start taking bets on whether he’ll show?”

“He’d better show or answer to me,” Grayson said darkly. “I’ve spent half a day already staring at—well, staring at something usually reserved for a husband’s eyes, let us say.” Nigel happened to be their cousin, a Boscastle whom Grayson actually liked, although at the moment he felt like clobbering him for being such a dolt.

A grin broke across Heath’s handsome face. “The last time I saw such a collection of Boscastles in church was at Father’s funeral. Who invited the mistresses?”

“I think I did,” Grayson said, suppressing a yawn. “God knows I’ve been sitting here so long my brain’s gone stiff.”

“You invited them to a wedding?”

“It’s not my wedding, thank God.”

“Well, it is your chapel.”

“Ergo, I invite whom I please.”

“Someone might have thought to invite the groom.”

Grayson folded his arms across the chest of his charcoal gray long-tailed coat. “This thing has gone on so long I’m tempted to marry the woman myself.”

“Say it isn’t so.”

Grayson gave a deep laugh. “It isn’t.”

“By the way,” Heath said, stifling his own laughter, “I had to refuse a supper invitation for the pair of us at Audrey’s last evening. Where the blazes were you when I called?”

Grayson grunted. “Flushing Drake and Devon out of gaming hells so we could put on a pretense of family approval for this wedding.”

“I thought nuptials made you nervous.”

Grayson’s blue eyes glittered with devilish lights. “The avowed bachelor in me is dying by the moment.”

Heath’s grin faded. “And the soldier in me senses the trouble has only begun. How is the hot-blooded Helene?”

“Considerably cooler the last time I saw her, at least toward me. We did not come to an arrangement.”

“Ah. So, anyone new caught your eye?”


“No, Gray? Not yet?”

Grayson glanced around. Two of his former mistresses appeared to be engaged in a battle of frosty glares. Open hostilities seemed possible.

His younger brothers, Drake and Devon, and one of Drake’s disreputable gambling friends had been discussing a certain young demirep they had met last night. The discussion had escalated to an argument when the trio discovered she had promised herself to them all. A fight seemed inevitable.

Chloe, the younger of Grayson’s two sisters, leaned from her pew to whisper to the bridesmaids, all of whom looked more upset than the bride.

Seeded like grenades amid these three dangerous camps sat a small but select group of the beau monde. Politicians, aristocrats, debutantes, and marriage-bent matrons who regarded Grayson much like a fortress to be seized.

He placed his fingers inside his neckcloth as if to ward off the marriage noose. It undid him, the air of holy matrimony, the warring mistresses, the militant bridesmaids, the responsibilities he had inherited almost overnight. No one, least of all him, had expected the sudden death of his father last year when the marquess had learned that his youngest son, Brandon, had been killed in Nepal. Grayson still blamed himself for not being there to deliver the news.

The weight of family obligation had fallen upon his broad shoulders like a shroud. There had been so many questions he longed to ask his father, and now it was too late. The selfish pursuits he had so enjoyed suddenly held no appeal. He could find little pleasure in his previous life.

He did not like the man he had become, and lately had begun to wonder if he could ever change.

And now this, his first public test as patriarch of the Boscastle clan. How to handle the abandonment of the bride by his own cabbage head of a cousin.

“What does one do in such a situation?” he muttered to himself.

Heath shook his head, looking mystified. “It’s too bad our Emma is so far away in Scotland. She’d know exactly what to do.”

Emma, their older sister, had been recently widowed and was giving etiquette instructions to the elite of Edinburgh to occupy her empty hours.

Grayson returned to his leisurely, more enjoyable inspection of the bride’s heart-shaped backside. Very, very nice, he thought. Not a bad choice at all for a bride, if one had to choose one. Of course, Nigel had already claimed her. A pity he hadn’t shown to pick up the package. Still, who knew what lurked in the shadows of that veil? A beauty or a beast? A siren or a shrew?

This provocative rake’s reverie ended when Heath tapped him on the shoulder to speak again. “The bride is quite lovely, isn’t she?”

“Hmm.” He steepled his fingers under his clefted chin, his expression neutral. “I haven’t made a study of it. I suppose she might be. It is hardly a thing I would notice.”

“You great liar, Grayson,” Heath said with a subdued laugh. “Those blue eyes of yours are absorbing every detail right down to her garters.”

Well, some of his less admirable qualities had not changed. He was still a man even if he wasn’t sure of anything else.

“That is a rather crude remark to be making in chapel, Heath,” he said with mock piety, as he eyed his once-mistress Mrs. Parks from the other end of the pew, where she sat between her two boisterous offspring from a previous affair. She had been a successful mantua maker when she’d taken up three years ago with Grayson. His generous pension had left her nicely settled for life, and she maintained a friendly relationship with him. “Need I remind you, dear brother, that we are in a holy sanctuary?”

“Is this your first time here, Grayson?” Heath inquired in a droll voice.

“Second,” he whispered, clearing his throat.

He took another look around the chapel. One of the bridesmaids had started crying. The bride was comforting her. The guests were definitely becoming restless, squirming in their seats, wondering in whispers what was to happen. He was going to have to take action soon, make up some ludicrous excuse for Nigel’s behavior. He began practicing in his mind.

It was highly improbable, but he could not rule out the possibility that his blasted fool of a cousin had fallen down the stairs in one of his satin slippers and knocked himself unconscious. The guests who knew Nigel would not find this difficult to believe.

He turned his attention back to the appealing figure who stood at the altar with her white shoulders held high. A man would have to possess a heart of stone not to feel some empathy, some urge to protect her from the pain his own relative had inflicted.

He spoke quietly to Heath. “One has to admire her for not bursting into hysterical tears or shredding her flowers in a fit as a few other women I know might have done.” And with this, he directed a teasing frown at Lady Greenhall and Mrs. Parks, neither of whom were known for their submissiveness.

From one of the pews on the same side of the nave, an elderly MP had just been awakened by his wife. In a befuddled shout, he asked if the accursed wedding was over yet.

“It never began,” Mrs. Parks whispered to him in embarrassment. “The groom appears to have gone missing.”

The gentleman shook his head, gazing in pity at the abandoned heroine at the altar. “She’s bearing up well, I’d say,” he said gruffly. “Stoic, like her father. That’s the stuff of old stock. Welsham backbone can’t be broken.”

“The poor innocent must be shattered,” Mrs. Parks murmured, sniffing back tears. “To be jilted by the man she has loved her entire life. I wonder what she thinks of this.”

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The Seduction of an English Scoundrel (Boscastle Family Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid historical romance reader for over 20 years now (since high school). I left for a few years as the stories were getting boring and predictable and the characters just plain dull. I came back this year and found a few new authors - Jillian Hunter being one. I just finished the book last night and was very pleased with the result. I really enjoyed the story of Grayson and Jane from beginning to end. I liked that Jane was a strong, smart, funny and attractive woman and Grayson was equally appealing in all ways. I felt from the beginning they were an excellent match. As many other reviewers noted, this is a very funny read. The banter back and forth between these two is excellent and you are bound to smile often during your reading of it. The love scenes are descriptive and sexy without being too dirty (it's about romance not porn) some authors forget that. The story line was a bit predictable but, Jilllian Hunter had a great way to keep the game going between the two of them so, that each had victories along the way. In the end of course, the victory was shared - as it should be. I really liked these characters and was sad to see the story end. It's nice to feel as if they come alive when an author does a good job developing them throughout the story line. The secondary characters in the book - her parents & brother, his sisters and brothers and some of their friends was nice to see too. It gave more dimension to the story than just the hero and heroine. I'm confident anyone that reads this will be pleased. I say buy it, read it, add it to your library and do not lend it out - you won't get it back! Enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the things I love the most about Jillian Hunter's books is her wit. Her sense of humor is evident and often catches the reader off guard causing them to burst out chuckling. This sense of humor is again predominant in The Seduction of an English Scoundrel. Grayson Boscastle, Marquess of Sedgecroft, comes to the aid of Lady Jane Welsham when she is disgraced by being left at the alter by his cousin, Nigel. Little did Grayson know that the jilting was an elaborate plan between Nigel and Jane, so the arranged marriage would not happen. Grayson then agrees to escort Jane to try to help elevate her social status so she won't become a spinster. He didn't bargain for the instant chemistry between the two. There are lots of fireworks in this book! Seems Jane and Grayson can't keep their hands (or lips) off each other whenever they are alone, and soon the attraction becomes irrestible and much more than Grayson bargained for. But when Grayson finds out about the ruse of a wedding, he decides to get even with Jane before asking for her hand in marriage. This is where Hunter shines - the banter between the two has the reader actually laughing out a few times. Grayson has a plan to pay back Jane for her deception. Jane finds out about it and turns the tables on Grayson with her own plan for payback. But in the end, all is well in London. The character development is supurb. The reader can choose which main chacter to cheer on - Jane or Grayson - hoping that one outdoes the other's antics. No matter which side you choose, you'll still be the winner in reading this book! We are given glimpses of the inner sides of the characters, as they are developed. We're instantly smitten with Jane's determination to not have her life dictated by her parents. We're enchanted by Grayson who is a lovable rascal trying to do the right thing now that he is head of the family. The plot line was good but on the predictible side. Even so, it is very entertaining and leaves the reader with a smile. The side plots are very funny and keep things interesting. The interlude between Nigel and his wife (previous governess to the Boscastle clan) is absolutely hilarious! This is the first book in a trilogy by Jillian Hunter. If the other two are as much fun to read and as interesting, I can't wait for them to become available! My only complaint is Ms. Hunter needs to write faster, as I hate waiting for the next book to be published. Ok, so maybe I'm impatient, but that's how I am with my favorite authors! If you haven't read any of her previous books, try this one - you'll become a Jillian Hunter fan too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read six of the series so far.  It seems the first book in the series is ultimately my favorite.  In the first book, you seem to learn the names of  other siblings or characters so you want to read more books to learn about those characters also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first Jillian Hunter (and first Boscastle novel), and I absolutely fell in love with Jane and Grayson. This book is witty, funny, and very romantic. Jillian Hunter writes very well, and I would highly recommend her. Don't hesitate to pick this one up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lady Jane Welsham had been promised to Sir Nigel Boscastle since birth. They grew up as close friends. Though they did not love each other, Society expected them to someday wed. However, upon her wedding day Lady Jane is jilted. Sir Nigel has run off. ............................................. Lady Jane is sent to her family's private mansion to recover from all the rumors and humiliation. Although ruined in the eyes of Society, she is delighted to have escaped a loveless marriage. No one knows that Jane has willingly sacrificed her reputation to gain her freedom. All was going according to plan. But then Grayson steps in. ............................................. Grayson Boscastle, Marquess of Sedgecrost, is furious when his cousin, Nigel, does not show up for his wedding. In fact, Nigel has disappeared with all his belongings. As the new head of the family, Grayson finds himself weary of his status as a scoundrel. He is determined to shed his past reputation. To do so, he sets out to salvage Lady Jane's pride and restore her honor. .................................................................... ...................... **** A terrific beginning to the Boscastle trilogy. The author has succeeded in giving all the secondary characters some fascinating depths without sacrificing the plot or story of the main characters in the least. This amusing tale of scandal is very well done and leaves me looking forward to Chloe's story. ****
loverofromance More than 1 year ago
Lady Jane, has been stood up at the altar by her fiancée, and close friend. Everyone is heartbroken for her, but Jane can’t wait for the opportunity to find true love. Jane has a secret that she hatched, and she is joyful at the current events, now she knows it will be up to her to make her own fate. But there is one obstacle that she didn’t plan on…Grayson Boscatsle. Gray is furious at his cousin, and knows that it is up to him to maintain the family honor, and seek reparations for the wrong done. But for some reason, Jane doesn’t seem all that heartbroken over what has happened. Gray just assumed she is putting a good front, and he insists that he escort her around town, and show others what he sees in her. But before long, he starts to fall in love with her, but the secret that Jane is hiding from him, will bring about a sensual game of seduction and secrets…but who will win and triumph? Jillian Hunter has been around for quite some time, but for some reason this is the first time I have read a book of hers. She has been on my watch list for a while, and I just had to try her out when I noticed this series on the shelves of my local library. So I thought I would be “original” and try this series in order. Let’s see if I can complete this “mission impossible” since I seem to have the worst habit of reading a series out of order. Any who….I will say that I truly loved this story. Now it did take me a bit of time to get into the book, but I think I was just adjusting to the unique writing style of the author. This book was a ball of laughs and giggles, and I loved this couple. They were so engaging, especially to this reader, and the interaction between them was contagious, I just almost wished I could just jump into the pages and join in their fun. Now the real fun…doesn’t happen until toward the end and wow did that surprise me. Normally, with a plot line like this one, you don’t expect it to turn out this way, but this author really twisted her way with this story; I loved her creativity with the series of events. The way she forms these characters, well it was just charming. I loved every one that played a part in the story. What I also loved was seeing the family of Gray…their comradery and teasing of each other, added a certain flair to the story and a bit of drama at times. But what exquisite drama it is! An lighthearted and playful story with a touch of sensuality and moving emotions…Deliciously SEXY!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the funniest romances I have read in a long time-the plot twists are great fun and I really like Jane and Sedgecroft.Some people may find the hero overbearing, but he means well, and Jane certainly manages to hold her own. I've read several other books in this series since I've read tis one, and I plan to read them all. I liked this one so much, I've already reread it twice.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1814 London, Nigel Boscastle jilts his bride Jane Welsham who stands stoic at the altar by herself. As Nigel¿s cousin, host Grayson Sedgecroft knows he must do something to make this right as he admires Jane¿s butt that he has had a delightful look at for hours and her strength of character. Grayson offers his sympathy to Jane who knows that Nigel has eloped with his governess Esther. Grayson vows to make this right. --- While he sends his brother Heath to find the hiding groom, Grayson vows to make Jane acceptable in polite society by escorting her around town and fake a courtship so that others will follow his example. Still he cannot resist kissing her and both lose some control. Grayson begins escorting Jane not just because of noble intentions as he finds her intelligent and desirable. She reciprocates but worries once he learns the truth of her involvement with her fiancé¿s elopement.--- The cast of this fine Regency make for a delightful romance as the lead couple is a strong duo and the superb support characters, mostly their respective families, bring depth and insight to the protagonists as well as fun to the tale. To Jillian Hunter¿s credit, the entertaining story line contains no phony pretensions of late suspense, but instead satirizes that technique. More information about Esther would have clarified her age as she seems much older than he since she was his governess. Still that is minor while THE SEDUCTION OF AN ENGLISH SCOUNDREL is a straightforward pleasant story.--- Harriet Klausner
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While I thought the story line had promise, the writing really lacked. The characters were boring and predictable and I found myself frequently skipping paragraphs to get through the book.
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I didnt know what to expect when i bought this book. I will say that it was great to read. Im not really into all of the seduction stuff, but other then that it was a great book.
Katelovesbooks More than 1 year ago
I loved the whole story! I'm already on the third one. I highly recommend!
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