Mar 20 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Elizabeth Essex’s After the Scandal (March 25, 2014)

Elizabeth Essex
After the Scandal
St. Martin's Press / March 25, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

When Lady Claire Jellicoe agreed to a walk in the moonlight, she never imagined her titled companion might have brutal motives. Nor could she have dreamed up such a brave rescue by the most unexpected savior of all: an inscrutable nobleman with a daring plan of escape - and a deliciously tempting embrace…

Timothy Evans, the Duke of Fenmore, has palmed more treasures than he can count. Even for a man who grew up thieving in London’s stews, a stolen bride should be beyond the pale. But Fenmore won’t let scandal ruin the spirited beauty’s reputation. And now that she’s stolen his heart, how can he ever let her go…?

The Duke of Fenmore is doing what he always does at balls, even one at his grandmother's Richmond estate, when he sees a young woman leaving the ballroom with a Very Bad Man.

Tanner was already moving, preparing to employ lethal habits of his own - his old friends stealth and guile. Stealth and guile, and single-minded devotion. Because he was devoted to Lady Clair Jellicoe, this exquisite orchid of a young woman he had never met, never danced with, never so much as spoken one single word to in all his years of propping up ballroom walls.

He has never dared.

Tanner Evens, ninth Duke of Fenmore, was madly, deeply, irrationally, and altogether secretly in love.

Yes, Tanner is beyond smitten. He is stupid in love. He is outrageously smart as well as canny and dangerous—leftovers from his early life on the streets of London before he was restored to his birthright (see previous books), as well as his continued secret work for the government. But when it comes to Lady Claire, he is terrified to approach her, terrified of rejection. So he plans to steal her, as he has stolen so many other things in his life, and it begins with rescuing her from the Very Bad Man. This begins their night of danger and adventure, which only gets more interesting when they come across the dead body of a maid.

“Yes. But not every man, nor certainly every duke, would feel that such efforts needed to be made on behalf of a mere maidservant. And that is why I thank you.” She gave him another of her small smiles, a demitasse of sweetness. “Besides being a nice man, you really are rather remarkable.”

He knew he was remarkable. Remarkable for the differences that separated him from other men. Different for the way he saw the world and the people in it. … Different but never before remarkable in her eyes.

His chest was not going to crack open—it had already melted under the warm sun of her regard. But he allowed his mouth only to say, “You are kind,” even while his mind was silently shouting, Yes, yes. I am remarkable.

If only because this remarkable, exquisite girl had said it was so.

He would do anything—anything for her. Anything she asked. And she did not even have to ask. It seemed impossible that she did not know this—know the power she had over him.

See what I mean? Stupid in love. But very cute. The night they spend on the trail of a murderer does indeed result in a great deal of scandal and a closeness that surprises them both.

That she was clever as well as kind and beautiful had not seemed possible - too much for a man like him, who lived so entirely at the behest of his relentless brain, to hope for. But the realization that she clearly had a first-class mind hidden behind all that astonishing beauty excited him more completely than all of his inchoate longings from afar never had.

My God—he could talk to her.

And Tanner discovers that a real life with Lady Claire is going to be so much more exciting and enjoyable than his fantasies.


Learn more or order a copy of After the Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, out March 25:

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for

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