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H&H Reads: A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex (Part 6 of 6)

For a limited time Chapters 20-Epilogue of A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex are available on Heroes and Heartbreakers to members. To read all of Part 6, please log in or register at right... A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Today, we're excited to bring back our H&H Reads program, with the book that introduced us to Lora Leigh's Elite Ops—Wild Card!

Every Wednesday and Sunday from now until April 20, we'll be posting A Breath of Scandal in six easy-to-read (if not so easy to wait for!) parts. Right before each new part goes up, we'll be taking down the previous one, so make sure you don't miss a single piece of the book. Whether you're a long-time fan of Lora Leigh, or brand-new to the world where dead men don't talk, we hope you'll read along and then discuss each section of the book with us!

Want to be alerted when future parts of the book are live on the site? Log in or register here to be added to the H&H Reads Alert List! Want more Elizabeth Essex? Log in or reigster here to stay up to date on all the news!

Don't think you can wait? Catch up on the whole story now. (See the links at the bottom of this post for more info on where you can get your copy of A Breath of Scandal.) Then, come back to share your thoughts!

Forced by her family into an engagement with a man she can never abide, Antigone Preston knows only a scandal will save her from a loveless marriage. But knocking a man down to the ballroom floor with her fists brings dangerous consequences. She may have ruined her reputation, but now she’s endangered her heart…

The son of an earl and a career navy man, Captain William Jellicoe has no interest in the frivolities of London—and even less in the institution of marriage. But there’s something steering him toward Antigone. He has never met anyone as brazen and unconventional as…himself. But will he risk it all for a woman who still has the breath of scandal hot on her lips?

Chapter Twenty

“You stupid, stupid girl.” Mama paid Antigone no heed, and continued venting her smoldering anger. “And what has that got you? Has Commander Jellicoe proposed? Has he offered you a home? What’s to become of you if Lord Aldridge finds out about him? When he finds you’re no longer a virgin? How could you be so stupid? Don’t think that I’ll have you back in my house after such behavior.”

Her mother’s anger and disdain could not surprise Antigone, but they still burned like an ember embedded against her skin. “Do you think that if you leave me nowhere else to go, I will be forced to choose Lord Aldridge? Do you think to make him the most palatable alternative? It will not work, Mama. You cannot know what he is. He is a monster of the lowest sort who preys on children. You cannot want me to be with such a man.”

“Why not? It isn’t as if you’re a child any longer, though I’ve worked hard to make him think you are.”

Antigone did not think she was capable of feeling any more shock, or of distinguishing any different degree of fear. But she was wrong. A jagged uneasiness scratched across the surface of her skin. Her mother could not mean what she just said. She couldn’t. “You don’t understand, Mama. Lord Aldridge comes to London to go to places like Covent Garden to find young male prostitutes, Mama—children who have no choice but to go with him. Or he finds stable boys in his employment, who risk their jobs and their very livelihood if they disobey or defy him.”

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