The second in my scandal series with heroines whose scientific knowledge and intellect are an affront to early Victorian’s increasingly staid society. The family’s second sister uses her extraordinary olfactory senses to sniff out her perfect match, a husband who fits all her scientific criteria.
Lady Laura Jamison has a gift and she’s not afraid to use it. She’s after a husband, but not just any husband. She wants a man who meets her logical and scientific criteria. Her extraordinary olfactory senses lead her to Richard, the Earl of Winchester. He might not know it-yet-but he’s her perfect match.
Richard has no time for family friend, Laura, the mad scientist. He’s been pursued by many a female, but never on the premise that one sniff can decide your soul mate. Besides, he wants to marry a sweet and docile woman, a socially acceptable young lady, the exact opposite of Laura.
But when he’s tasked with stopping fraudulent trading in Britain’s railways shares, he finds he needs Laura’s help. As they work to expose the culprit, Richard begins to think Laura may be on to something, because when he’s with her, passion and desire explode with one look, one touch, one kiss…
“Half an hour at most until we can end this farce. Then we’ll be free to bid each other a far-from-fond farewell.”
The Earl snorted, the indelicate sound contrasting with the refined air he presented this morning in his long charcoal frock coat with tailored sleeves displaying decorative gold buttons. A gold-threaded gray vest fitted snugly underneath, while a gold bar sporting an enormous topaz winked from the elaborate folds of his thrice-about neckcloth.
Laura twisted her neck a little more and looked lower. Immaculate trousers – with the newer style front fastening instead of a buttoned-over flap – covered an acre of legs and finished at blindingly-polished walking boots.
Living up to her family title of Miss Inquisitive, she moved her gaze higher again and back to his thigh’s evident musculature, honed from time spent on horseback. The mechanics, and easy access, of one row of buttons down the simplified closing on his trousers fascinated her, purely from a scientific point of view.
Botheration. The air had warmed all of a sudden. She lifted her ivory and lace fan. Even waving the fragile creation rapidly back and forth didn’t dispel her flush. Not blush, as she’d never admit to such a state. Dealing with the Earl might be a hardship, but she and her sisters had never found it taxing to peruse the Earl’s decidedly-masculine physique. She risked one more peek. No, not difficult at all. When her appraisal reached his face, she saw a wide smile and a display of even white teeth, and she smiled in return.
“Uh, uh,” he said, wagging a finger. “You misunderstand the reasons for my happier expression. Unlike you, I’m looking forward to the next three months and the chance to study your fiscal strategies. I’d like to compare my investing skills to those of your astute sister’s.”
His mouth widened into a roguish grin. “I’m also flattered by your scrutiny of my anatomy and amused by your blush, especially after your studies into animal reproduction.”
Her free hand flew to her cheek and her heavy reticule knocked her arm. “I never blush.” To have him observe her ogle him was embarrassing and gave her another reason to be irritated by his company, petty though her reasons might be. She tugged, but her hand was imprisoned under his. With her nose raised a fraction, she said, “For the sake of propriety, I was ensuring your garments were intact. You’ve a reputation for disappearing into dark corners and re-emerging with your clothing askew. As though hasty hands ripped your garments from your body.”
“Tut, tut, my pet. Has jealousy driven you to spying?”
“Jealousy? Over the class of females you consort with? I was reassuring myself your clothing was intact for the sake of my elderly aunt. The entire congregation watched that woman, the Countess, beckon you to the back of the church. Heaven knows what you were doing while the bride and groom were signing the register.”
Winchester chuckled, long and low. “I doubt even my sullied reputation could support the story that I dragged the Countess into a shadowy niche for a quick tumble. At least, not with my sisters watching me like hawks.” He dipped his head closer. “I may excel at dispensing pleasure, but I like more than a few minutes to enjoy a rendezvous.”
She forced herself to stand motionless, to not react to his latest coarse taunt. “I’ve no interest,” she said, between calming breaths, “in knowing any details of how you entertain–”
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I now live in a sunny part of Australia after spending many years in developing countries in the South Pacific.
My greatest loves are traveling, anywhere and everywhere, meeting crazy characters, and visiting the Australian outback. I adore history, especially the many-layered society of the late Regency to early Victorian eras.
In and around London, my titled heroes and heroines may live a privileged and gay life but I also love to dig deeper into the grittier and seamier levels of British life and write about the heroes and heroines who challenge traditional manners, morals, and occupations, either through necessity or desire.
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