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The Scandal Series Book 5
by Pamela Gibson
Genre: Historical Regency Romance
Lady Jocelyn Stafford desperately needs a husband to repair her tarnished reputation. Her obvious choice is her neighbor James, a man who once fancied her. If only she hadn’t cruelly rejected his attentions when she found herself wooed by a scandalous rake with a better title.
James Margrave, Earl of Seaton, must have an heir to keep his estate from falling into the hands of his cousin, which means he has to marry. Lady Jocelyn, who still beguiles him, would be perfect if only he could forget old slights. Instead, James asks Jocelyn to help him find a suitable wife, a task she agrees to perform, hoping to redeem herself in his eyes.
When a series of attacks put James’s life in danger, an immediate marriage becomes critical. Jocelyn is willing and available. But can he trust a woman who once broke his heart and is it fair to wed her when she might become the next victim?
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“Do you still play the harp? As I recall, you were fond of the instrument.”
Her face lit up with true animation. “I do, and I brought it with me. Would you like to accompany
me to the music room for a demonstration? You can tell me if I have improved.”
“I would be honored to give you my opinion.” He swallowed the last of his tea and followed Jocelyn into an adjoining chamber. Roberts did not move from her place in the corner.
Jocelyn seated herself behind the instrument, patting the chair beside her. He repositioned the chair slightly so he could watch her fingers pluck the strings and, at the same time, view the expression on her face as she played. When the dulcet tones of Mozart filled the room, Jocelyn closed her eyes and seemed to be letting the music carry her into another time and place where gentle sounds and subtle movements reached the soul.
She had improved, indeed. Beguiled by the melodious tones, he couldn’t keep his eyes off the subtle movements of her shoulders, the way she stroked the strings of the harp with knowing fingers, and the dreamy expression on her face, as if she were one with the music. Her breasts seem to spill over the top of her gown as she leaned forward to reach the farthest strings, and he was mesmerized by the candlelight, the music, and the subtle scent of the flowers on a table behind him.
When she finished, she stopped, opened her eyes, and stared into his as if willing him to move, to put his hands on her and bring her close. He complied, as if drawn by a song that was only in his head, one of yearning and need for human connection. He leaned in, took her face between his palms, and kissed her deeply, running his tongue along the seam of her lips until she opened for him. It was a kiss he’d only dreamed about, her subtle perfume teasing his nose as he left her lips and dropped kisses along her cheek and her neck. Spurred by her soft sounds of encouragement, he kissed her bare shoulder and the tops of her breasts and drew her up as he stood so he could wrap his arms around her.
Her mother wants her to seduce you.
The memory brought him back to his senses, and instead of covering that luscious mouth with his own once again, he placed a chaste kiss on her forehead and dropped his hands.
He swallowed hard. His body was not reacting as a gentleman’s should. He wanted to feel her soft breasts against his chest and kiss her like she’d never been kissed before. He wanted to run his tongue along the lobe of her ear and drop gentle kisses down her neck and along her collarbone. He wanted to move lower and place kisses in the center of her cleavage. He wanted his hands on her. God, he wanted her. Desperately.
I have to leave. Now.
“Forgive me, my dear. I’m afraid your divine music made me lose control.”
She stared at him, her lips parted, her breathing rapid. She clenched her hands and held his gaze, as if forcing herself to remain still.
“Your music was mesmerizing, Jocelyn. I mean that sincerely. I look forward to future musicales where you are the featured artist.” He reached out and took her stiff fingers in his hand, bringing them to his lips. He turned his back so she couldn’t see how aroused he was, then strode into the sitting room, nodded at Roberts, and asked her to tell the butler he was ready to depart.
Jocelyn had followed him into the room and had a crimson flush on her cheeks. Hopefully Roberts wouldn’t notice, but if she’d done a proper job of chaperoning—well, he wouldn’t think about that now.
“I am so glad you found time to dine with us.” If Joss had been affected by their encounter, she gave no hint. The perfect hostess was his Joss. No, not his Joss. He must keep reminding himself. She had dismissed him—cruelly. He was going to marry someone else.
“As I said, invite me any time. I adore your cook. I may try to steal her.”
“You cannot do that, milord. My mother pays her well.”
“Your mother does have a way with getting what she wants, does she not?” He hoped his tone did not sound disingenuous.
The butler arrived with James’s outerwear and led him to the door where his carriage awaited. Jocelyn followed. “Please send a note around when Lady Longley returns.”
“I shall.” He turned, bowed, and kissed her hand as a proper gentleman should. Entering his carriage, he turned and waved then headed home.
Lord, how was he going to get through this farce? His feelings for Jocelyn seemed to grow each time he saw her. Perhaps proximity generated lust.
It is more than lust, and you know it.
Slaking his needs might help him forget that he’d once wanted Jocelyn Stafford more than anything in the world and was cruelly denied.
He could visit a brothel.
He needed to forget Jocelyn, forget someone was trying to kill him, and forget the fact that he was about to saddle himself to someone he didn’t love.
But could he?
**Don't miss the rest of the series here!**
The Scandal Series Book 1
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(recently just got it's 1000th review on Goodreads!)
The Scandal Series Book 2
**Get it FREE May 19-21!**
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The Scandal Series Book 3
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The Scandal Series Book 4
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Author of eight books on California history and eighteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last few years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, the Rescue Cat. She loves dry red wine, all kinds of chocolate, old Jimmy Buffet sailing songs, and curling up with a good book.
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Eight years ago her husband disappeared. Does a hundred and fifty-year-old journal hold the answer as to why?
Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she's sent spiraling down a dangerous path.
When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.
Enlisting her brother's assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?
Sneak Peek from Precious Treasure:
Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.
This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.
Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.
Meet the Author
Terry Segan resides in Nevada. The beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul. The stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.
Her first book, Photographs in Time, involves a pair of matchmakers, who send women back in time to meet their soulmate. The pair are plagued by a nemesis with deadly intentions of ruining the happily-ever-after ending of their clients, as well as their own.
Terry’s second mystery, Precious Treasure, was released earlier this year. The book depicts the plight of a woman in search of her missing husband while also dealing with the spirit of a Civil War soldier. She must figure out the connection between the two or forever live with the mystery.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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