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Dare to be Scandalous (League of Unweddable Gentleman, Book 3) (Ebook)

Dare to be Scandalous (League of Unweddable Gentleman, Book 3) (Ebook)

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After inheriting a small fortune, Willow Perry has everything she’s ever wanted. Except a husband, that is. But not just any husband will do. She’s looking for a grand love—someone who will challenge and excite her. It’s just her folly that the one man who interests her is a notorious rake. He’s as wild and passionate as Willow is sheltered and staid. Love between such polar opposites would be impossible … wouldn’t it?

Abraham Blackwood has devoted his life to the pursuit of pleasure. He’s perfectly happy to run his gaming den and ignore the expectations of society. But meeting the lovely Willow gives him another goal. Revenge. Making her pay for the sins her family committed against his will be easy. Ignoring how much he wants her—not only beneath him, but at his side, forever? That might prove to be infinitely more difficult.

When Willow discovers Abraham’s true intentions, can the fragile bonds they’ve begun to form survive? Or will the cards remain firmly stacked against their happily ever after?

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1826 London

Willow raced up her aunt's stairs, having been summoned back from her daily ride at Hyde Park. Sweat pooled on her brow, and she could feel it running down the line of her back beneath her gown. It was too soon. This day could not be the end of her aunt.
She ran as fast as her riding ensemble would allow and pushed open her aunt's bedroom door, coming to an abrupt halt at the sight of her lady’s maid, the butler, and housekeeper, all of their faces masks of pity and sadness.
"Auntie?" She came and sat on the bed beside her, reaching for her hands. They were cold and limp in hers, and Willow squeezed them a little, needing to rouse her, keep her with her for just a bit of time longer.
"I'm still here, my child. I waited for you."
Tears pooled in Willow's eyes, and she clasped her aunt, her only family left in the world into an embrace, her throat as raw as if a hot poker had pierced her there, making each breath painful and hard.
"I'm so sorry. I went riding. I did not know that you were so poorly."
Her aunt shushed her, the action bringing on another bout of coughs that wheezed and rattled her chest. The hack sounded painful, and if her aunt’s grimace each time she coughed was any indication, the infection was causing discomfort.
"I want you to go riding, even when I'm gone. You will have more time on your hands then. You won't have to trundle after me anymore."
That may be so, but Willow would have to trundle after someone. When her aunt passed, she would need to find employment, and soon. The thought brought her no pleasure, and her stomach churned at the prospect she would not find work. Not that her friends would leave her out on the street, but they had their own lives now, families to take care of, they did not need a friend latching on to them for charity.
"Never mind that," she said, not wanting to talk about what she would do after her aunt passed. The doctor had promised she had some weeks left, not one. Her decline had been so fast in the last few days. Too fast. Willow prayed for time to stop. For her aunt not to leave her alone in this world. "You'll be better soon, and we'll look back on this day and laugh. You'll see. Nothing to fear just yet."
Her aunt's lips twisted into a grin. "I wanted to tell you before I go what I've done." Her aunt squeezed her hands, suddenly stronger and capable as they once were. "You will have time, my dear. To finally do as you wish because I'm leaving you everything that I have. The London townhouse, my estate in Kent, my money. All of it is yours."
Willow stared at her aunt, knowing full well her mouth was gaping. "You cannot. I'm not a Vance."
"No one is. With no children and no one to take on the title, I can do what I wish with everything else. The title and house in Norfolk will revert to the Crown, but nothing else."
"Are you sure, Auntie?" Willow asked. Surely there was more entailed than just the Norfolk property. She could not get everything.
"I will lose the house in Norfolk, but everything else is yours, my darling." Her aunt sat up a little, her eyes bright. "You have been a shining light in my world since Maurice died, the child that I never had. You are my sister's daughter, but you are mine as well. I want you to be safe, to be protected after I'm gone. Making you my heir accomplishes all this. I will rest easy knowing you will be protected."
"Oh, Auntie." Willow's vision blurred at her impossibly good fortune at a time when the loss of the woman before her would be too much to bear. "I love you so much. Thank you. It is too much."
Her aunt sighed, lying back on the bedding, a small smile about her lips. "I'm happy to." She reached up, touching Willow's cheek with her palm. "You will suit being an heiress, just try and keep some of the funds for yourself and not give it away to all the unfortunates. I know what a good heart you have."
Willow chuckled. Even now, as ill as her aunt was, she was making banter, trying to make her laugh. "I will try. I promise." Willow sat back as her aunt slumped into her bedding, her eyes closing with the exertion of having spoken the last few minutes.
She watched her, holding her hand. Her chest rose and fell, telling Willow she was still here. "I will miss you so much, Auntie. Thank you for loving me as you did. I will never forget your kindness."
The housekeeper came over to Willow and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. Willow could not stop looking at her aunt's breathing. In. Out. In. Out. In. She waited for the exhale. It never came. Willow stood, clutching at her aunt's hand. "Auntie. Auntie," she cried, louder this time, but nothing. No breaths. No words. Nothing.
She turned to the housekeeper who stared at her, tears in her own old eyes. "She's gone to be with God, my dear. Come away now."
Willow did as they bade, unable to fathom what had just happened. Her aunt could not be gone. It wasn't possible. She paused at the threshold of the room, looking back at her only relative — the dearly departed sister to her mama. The Viscountess Vance. "I will miss you," she whispered, before leaving the room. "Always."

Main Tropes

  • Heiress
  • Revenge
  • Regency Romance
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