May 16 2017 11:14am

Victoria Alexander Excerpt: The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

Really, it's too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders's favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what's a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he's escorting the world's most maddening woman to the world's most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she's certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

Get a sneak peek at Victoria Alexander's The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen (available May 23, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

But the more he enjoyed her company, the more he wanted to be with her, the more his conscience nagged at him. He hadn’t been honest with her, and he couldn’t ignore a growing sense of unease. Guilt probably. Cer­tainly all he was really hiding was his uncle’s involve­ment in searching for Lady Heloise. Of course, Derek had sent her luggage astray in an effort to lengthen their stay in Paris, which probably was unforgivable. As much as his conscience might bother him, he vowed never to let her know about that. As for the rest, Aunt Guinevere was family and as such was his responsi­bility. Until India’s cousin was found safely, his great-aunt’s future was at stake. Keeping India in Paris—and away from the authorities—was still an excellent idea. Besides, when one really considered everything, he was doing nothing more than extending a lady’s stay in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Pity the one woman in the world who wouldn’t appreciate that was the one he needed to keep here.

Even as he dressed for dinner, he couldn’t get his mind off this new India. Would she be wearing the purple dress again or did Estelle have something else in mind for her? He rather hoped so. He did like sur­prises. Good ones anyway.

Bloody hell. He paused in his efforts to knot his necktie and stared in the mirror. He was beginning to like her. Perhaps more than like her. This was certainly a surprise and he wasn’t sure if it was good or very, very bad.

India Prendergast was the exact opposite of every­thing he’d ever wanted in a woman. She was soundly practical, terribly sensible and horribly annoying. She knew everything, or at least she thought she did. She was stubborn and determined and overly concerned with propriety. And he had serious concerns over whether she ever indulged in anything he would con­sider fun. In very nearly every way he could think of, she wasn’t at all his type of female, not the type he was usually attracted to. The type he dreamed about. The type he fell in love with.

This was not, by any means, love. The very idea was ridiculous. He’d been in love several times, and what­ever he was feeling now was nothing like that. No, love in his experience was swift and all-consuming and, for good or ill, brief.

One did not fall in love with the indomitable India Prendergast. Even if she was clever and independent and self-assured. Even if her smile seemed a reward for good behavior. Even if the best moments of the day were those spent with her, especially those when he was driving her mad. And hadn’t the thought of kiss­ing her lingered in his mind? He grinned at his image. It made no sense, but there it was. In a few short days, she had become a part of his life. Filled a hole he hadn’t known was empty.

Had he already lost his heart to India Prendergast?

It was an interesting question. A question fraught with both excitement and terror. A question that, at the mo­ment, he couldn’t answer. Not really. Even more inter­esting was whether it was even remotely possible that he could win her heart. Finding her cousin and keeping Aunt Guinevere and her friends out of prison paled in comparison to that.

But there was no question about one thing.

In more ways than he had imagined, India Prender­gast was the biggest challenge of his life.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Alexander.
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New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

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