A Study in Scandal by Caroline Linden
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Scandals, #3.5
Release Date: February 16, 2016
After 7 years of keeping her secret, Lady Samantha Lennox is finally going to confess to her father that it was her and not Sebastian Vale that stole the money from him. The Earl of Stratford is a cold, ruthless man with an obsession for perfection, his family is terrified of him. But Samantha will not be the reason that Sebastian cannot marry the love of his life. Her father takes the news oddly well and does not rage or punish her, when a few days pass with no repercussions, she thinks that maybe she got lucky. But the morning of the third day she learns that that was wishful thinking, the earl says that he has decided that she should marry and has decided on Lord Phillip, the second son of the Marquess of Dorre – a cruel, debauched and brutal man. Even her mother is horrified and tries to intervene – a rarity – but her father has decided and expects Samantha to obey.
Samantha runs away to London, thinking her brother will help her – but when she arrives, she is almost kidnapped and then pushed into the river – if not for the quick actions of a stranger, she would have died.
Lord George Churchill-Gray, Gray to his friends is a younger son of the Duke of Rowlands and an up and coming artist. He is on his way to buy some pigments, when he sees Samantha – he is drawn to her, but keeps walking, when he turns for one last look, he realizes she is in distress and goes to help. When one of the men drags her away, he acts and gives chase – only to find her in the river. He saves her and she says she can’t remember who she is. He takes her back to his rented rooms and hands her over the care of his landlady. He doesn’t really believe she has amnesia, but still feels protective of her. When he offers help, she says she must go home. He takes her to the coaching inn the next day, but when she sees her father, she runs again. Gray again offers to help and she gives him the barest of details and only tells him her first name. He brings her back to the house and they settle into a routine and form a friendship.
Soon, Samantha wants more and thanks to the maid Jenny, she knows what she wants thanks to the 50 ways to sin pamphlets that Jenny has loaned her. When Gray’s art is selected for the Royal Academy’s exhibit and he takes her to a private viewing, they go to a pub afterwards to celebrate. She dances and drinks and then boldly tells Gray that she wants him. They make love and Gray forms a new plan – a plan to keep Samantha with him always. But when her father finally finds her, will he force her to marry Lord Phillip and ruin Gray or will true love win the day??
This was an absolutely delightful novella, well written and paced perfectly. I loved Samantha and Gray and believed they were in love. The secondary characters are wonderful, the love scenes warm, the interaction between Samantha and Gray is sweet and the ending is perfect. This is part of the Scandals Series, but it could be read as a stand alone title – although, fair warning once you read this, you are going to want to read the other books!!
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