A child to bring them together? Or a scandal to rip them apart?
Six years ago Lady Laura Campion’s lover was killed leaving her expecting their child. Young and heartbroken, Laura believed her parents when they told her the baby had died. Hiding a shattered heart behind a mask of frivolity she became Scandal’s Virgin, flirting with the very edge of disgrace. Then she discovered her child lived and was in the hands of powerful, ruthless Avery, Lord Wykeham. Laura will go to any lengths to get her child back – but Avery is prepared to use all the weapons at his disposal to keep his adopted daughter. Fighting an irresistible attraction and deep mistrust, can they find a way to secure the wellbeing of the child they both love and yet find their own happiness?
April 1816 The park of Westerwood Manor, Hertfordshire
Keep still! The circular image shook, swooped over immaculately scythed grass, across flowerbeds fresh with young growth, over a flash of bright blue cotton… There.
The watcher’s hand jammed so hard against the branch that the rough bark scored the skin from the knuckles. Yes. Glossy ringlets the colour of autumn leaves, determined little chin, flyaway brows over eyes that must surely be clear green. Beautiful. She is so beautiful.
And then the girl smiled and turned, laughing as she ran. The telescope jerked up and a man’s face filled the circle. Hair the colour of autumn leaves, stubborn chin, angled brows, sensual mouth turned up into a smile of delight.
‘Papa! Papa!’ The child’s voice floated back through the still, warm air. The man stooped to scoop her up and turned towards the house as she buried her face in the angle between neck and broad shoulder and clung like a happy monkey. Her laughter drifted on the breeze towards the woodland edge.
The telescope fell with a dull thud onto the golden drift of fallen beech leaves and the woman who had held it slid down the tree trunk until she huddled at its base, racked with the sobs that she had stifled for six long years.