Sun
Apr 20 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Caroline Linden’s It Takes a Scandal (April 29, 2014)

It Takes a Scandal by Caroline LindenCaroline Linden
It Takes a Scandal
Avon / April 29, 2014 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital

Sometimes It Takes a Scandal...

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To Reveal Your Heart's Desire

...Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

Sebastian Vane has had a tough seven years. He came home from Waterloo with a serious injury that has left him with a limp and in constant pain to find that his father had gone insane and sold off most of his assets for pennies on the pound. And then things got worse.

His father had disappeared, not turned up dead. A missing man couldn’t be judged incompetent, which meant Sebastian had no grounds to contest the sale of the land in court. A missing man wasn’t the same as a dead man, which meant Sebastian couldn’t even inherit the remaining property and begin to rebuild his estate. With his father missing, he was effectively bankrupt, unable to sell Montrose Hill but barely able to maintain it. In his darker moods, he thought that if he had decided to kill his father, he damned sure wouldn’t have done it in a way that made things worse for him.

Now Sebastian lives in isolation for, whenever he does venture into the village, the townspeople give him a wide berth, afraid he will strip off his clothes and run naked through the streets attacking people, as his father once famously did. And then Abigail Weston and her family move next door. Her father is a wealthy industrialist who bought the neighboring estate as part of his plan to move the family into more elevated society. Abigail comes across Sebastian several times while walking in the woods that separate their two estates. Her commonsense ways and refusal to accept rumor at face value gradually coax Sebastian from his shell and has him longing for what he cannot have.

She was an heiress; he was deep in debt. She had loving and attentive parents who would want to see her well matched in marriage; he was rumored to be as mad as his lunatic father had been, a murderer and a thief. She was a beauty; he was a cripple. She had a tender heart and a warm spirit that would make her attractive to any man; he was too far gone in his lonely ways to make any woman happy. He told himself that even if he tried to get her, he would fail, and yet… There was that spark that seemed to leap between them. It seemed to have caught something long-forgotten inside him and set it smoldering, and he wasn’t even sure he wanted to put it out again.

So, now it’s decision time. Will Sebastian have the courage to leave his safe cocoon, to brave the disdain of those around him, to risk everything for a chance with Abigail?

Abigail had split a crack right through the hard shell around his heart. Just seeing her made his heart lurch, and touching her set his blood roaring through his veins. But kissing her … Kissing her stripped away every notion that he should - or could - avoid her, and left him only with the insatiable desire to see her again. And that meant he had to force himself out of his hermetical ways and call on her. London ladies expected gentlemen to call on them.

Sebastian’s struggle from darkness to light, from fear to courage, from loneliness to wholeness is one of the highlights of It Takes a Scandal. And, in the hands of Caroline Linden, it is both an effective, and affective, journey.

 

Learn more about or order a copy of It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden, available April 29, 2014:

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com.

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