That Scandalous Evening

That Scandalous Evening

by Christina Dodd

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New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd spins the captivating tale of a nobleman whose path crosses again with the one woman he absolutely cannot resist . . . .

A Disastrous Season

A simple statue began the scandal.

A Lady Concealed

An innocent English miss conceived of it, her hands gliding across the clay, delineating each smoothly defined muscle and sinew, creating a sculpture of the man she worshipped. When the likeness was exposed, along with Miss Jane Higgenbothem's secret tendre for Lord Blackburn, the ton's gleeful contempt sent the lady back to the country in disgrace.

A Gentleman Revealed

Now, a decade later, she's back in London, as a chaperone to her beautiful niece. But to Blackburn, Jane's unwitting model, the cool, reticent spinster is still a challenge. She once made the arrogant rake a laughingstock; so why is he tempted to revive an affair that almost began so long ago, on that scandalous evening . . . ?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061795350
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Governess Bride Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 97,966
File size: 532 KB

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author CHRISTINA DODD builds worlds filled with suspense, romance, and adventure, and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty novels have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and RITA Awards, and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.

Read an Excerpt

"Let us hope no one remembers the scandal." Eleazer Morant stared down his quivering, rabbitlike nose at his sister-in-law. "I will not have my daughter's good name tainted by the tincture of your disgrace."

Already dressed in her outmoded brown traveling garments, Miss Jane Higgenbothern sat upright in the hard chair. She was, she knew, the picture of dignity and tranquillity. She worked hard to achieve that image, and for just such moments as these. Eleazer had not summoned her to this dimly lit parlor just to whine again about that ancient scandal, she was sure. So why was she here?

In well-modulated tones she answered, "I cannot imagine the ton will be interested in anything that happened so long ago. They are ever on to some new tidbit."

"Except that this scandal happened to Lord Blackburn."

She lowered her gaze to her gloved hands. The carriage was waiting. Adorna was waiting. London was waiting.

And Eleazer droned on. "Lord Blackburn is one of the richest men in England. He sets the tone. Everything he does is copied." His knuckles turned white as he gripped the back of an old-fashioned highbacked chair. "Yet despite. all that, I understand there are some who still call him 'Figgy.'"

Jane winced. "My behavior has been exemplary since my return from London," she answered stoutly.

"You still sketch," Eleazer said in a tone usually reserved for accusations of prostitution.

"All ladies sketch."

"Your skill betrays you."

"I'll try to do worse."

"Don't be saucy, miss. Those portraits you do are scathing, as you well know."

Her portraits were really nothing more than quick outlines, impressions Janegathered from the people around her. But Eleazer had once seen one she'd done of him, and he had recognized the parsimony shining in his eyes. He had not forgotten—or forgiven.

Flipping open the fat book of accounts in his hand, he shook it at her. "I can scarcely yet believe I financed that ill-begotten season of yours. It was not my duty to stand the blunt, but I did it on my dear Melba's urging. As I told her then, nothing good can come of this." His fingernails scraped the leather binding. "I was correct, as usual. Nothing good did come of it."

She'd heard this refrain many times. Eleven years ago he had paid for her clothing and rented a house in a fashionable part of London. And how had she repaid him? With disaster. But he hadn't done anything for her. He'd done it for Melba. For Melba, her sister and his wife, whom he had revered with all the meager passion of his mean-spirited heart.

Jane had done it for Melba, too. For her beautiful older sister. Even at the age of eighteen Jane had known she was ill suited to society, but Melba had lightly dismissed her qualms. "Darling, you must marry. What else is there for a lady to do?"

Looking back, Jane suspected Melba had known she was dying, and maneuvered to move Jane from her home to her own household. Now, faced with Melba's widower, Jane knew her sister had been right. It would have been better to be any man's wife than to be Eleazer's mere dependent.

"I've been your housekeeper. I've raised your daughter." She took a quiet breath. "Now I'll be her companion."

He turned to the window and stared out at the street, then leaned forward as if he saw something that interested him. "I could have hired someone else to do those things, and more cheaply."

From outside she heard a shout. Rising, she saw across the street. A rag-clad woman had stolen an apple, and now she cowered from the blows of a streetcart vendor. Jane flinched at the sight. Only Eleazer's largesse stood between her and just such a scene.

"I have never been invited to invest in Blackburn's business concerns." He tossed her a malicious glance. "Because you embarrassed him."

She had embarrassed him? Jane bit her tongue. No doubt that was true. But she wondered, sometimes, why no one cared that Lord Blackburn had ruined her. Why a female's reputation could be held so cheap.

Yet none of this mattered anymore. Eleven years had passed since she'd lost her respectability and her muse in one dreadful episode. "I question if Lord Blackburn's consequence has suffered unduly from the incident."

"Lord Blackburn's repute is ever growing." Eleazer craned his neck to watch the constable drag the woman away. "When he outfitted a regiment and led them to the Peninsula, a dozen young lords imitated him. When he was wounded and returned wearing an eye patch, every modish buck took to wearing an eye patch."

Jane sank back into her chair. "He was wounded?"

Eleazer turned from the window. "I said so, didn't I?"

She didn't want to display interest, yet she couldn't refrain. "Did he ... lose the eye?"

"I don't know. How should I know? As I told you, we are not intimate."

She pressed her glove-clad palms together so tightly the muscles of her arms ached. Lord Blackburn's health was of no concern to her. She chanted in her head.

Yet in London she might see him, just from a distance, and despite her efforts, excitement wriggled along her nerves.

And her nerves leaped when a timid knock sounded and a lanky, ill-dressed Frenchman poked his head in. Monsieur Chasseur, Adorna's French tutor. He had arrived at last. Grateful for the interruption, Jane rose.

Seeing her, he stepped into the chamber, shoulders hunched, clutching a cream-colored, rumpled sheet of paper. "Mademoiselle, I have come to say—"

Eleazer gave a full-throated bellow. "What?"

The cowed son of a gentleman immigrant who had lost everything in the French Revolution, Monsieur Chasseur knew well of the bloody Reign of Terror. Yet he blanched at the sight of his irate employer. "Je regrette, mademoiselle, je ne realise—"

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That Scandalous Evening 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting female lead but aggravating male lead. Decent storyline but just never took off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be one of my favorite books. Jane is not affraid to stand up to Ransom and Ransom isn't a man dropping to her feet begging for her to show him some attention. Starting from their very tumultous past to the end of this book, I was enthralled with the way the characters enteracted with each other!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
charitywoosley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite historical. I fell in love with Ransom almost immediately. The intrigue, mystery, and twist were well written. I've replaced this book over 20 times (I just recently bought the ebook version for my iPad) and it never, ever gets old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is myfavorite book!!! I read the paperback when it first came out and i just bought the nook version
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has always been one of my favorites
CarBear More than 1 year ago
Read this book when it first came out and I loved it! I still have it in paperback, but had to get it for my Nook as well! Great story and great characters!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an interesting story, it didn't fall into too many of the typical developments that come with the genre but some plots felt rather cobbled together.
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Cat59TX More than 1 year ago
Dodd does not disappoint. This is an emotive, sexy read with a hero who redeems himself from his earlier self-centered jerk-iness!
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dabriabria More than 1 year ago
This book made my imagination come alive. I felt like I was watching the story come alive in front of me. This is my favorite of all her books. This is a must read.
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