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Lady Evelyn Darlington's first love was the law. But since a woman scholar meets nothing but ridicule from men, she has given up and chosen a future husband. Randolph seems adequate for the task: to provide intelligent conversation and not annoy her too much. Of course, before they can be engaged, she'll have to do something about the murder charge hanging over his head. If only London's top ...
Lady Evelyn Darlington's first love was the law. But since a woman scholar meets nothing but ridicule from men, she has given up and chosen a future husband. Randolph seems adequate for the task: to provide intelligent conversation and not annoy her too much. Of course, before they can be engaged, she'll have to do something about the murder charge hanging over his head. If only London's top barrister wasn't Jack Harding, object of all her unattainable girlhood fantasies. . .
And Seducing Scandal. . .
Jack Harding remembers Evelyn well—but the idea that the gorgeous woman standing before him is little Evie, the professor's daughter, is incredible. He knows better than to enter a business relationship when he wants to pursue pleasure. Yet however desirable she is now, Evie is still Evie—stubborn, smart, and never willing to take no for an answer. Even though proving her fiance's innocence might just cost her her own. . .
"Tantalizing. . .revenge, secrets and misunderstandings. . .with sizzle. " —Romantic Times on Lady of Scandal
"Scintillating. . .will delight Regency readers. " —Booklist on A Perfect Scandal
"Lively, engaging...Gabrielle's barristers will have you swooning! " —Sabrina Jeffries, New York Times bestselling author
"They ain't whores!"
"What would you call seven women who live under your roof then, if not a brothel?" Prosecutor Abrams asked, stalking forward.
"Me lady friends, they are," Slip Dawson explained.
"All seven of them?"
"Me mum always said I 'ad a way with the ladies," Slip whined.
"Did your mother tell you to freely share your women with all the men of the City of London?" Abrams asked sharply, giving the accused a stony glare.
An imposing barrister at the defense table jumped up. "I object, my lord. The prosecution has not brought forth one man 'from the City of London' to testify as to bedding any of Mr. Dawson's lady friends."
The judge sighed and rested his chin in hand, a look of complete boredom on his face. Four of the twelve-member jury rolled their eyes; others snickered.
Evelyn Darlington sat perched on the edge of a wooden bench in the center of the spectators' gallery. Her eyes never wavered from the defense barrister—the only man in the room she knew—Jack Harding. He was the reason she was here, witnessing this spectacle, along with all the other observers in the packed courtroom.
The late-afternoon sun streamed in through the windows, raising the temperature in the crowded room by twenty degrees. Too many unwashed bodies in too small a space should have repulsed her.
Instead, she sat in her seat completely enthralled.
Jack Harding was precisely as she remembered him, as only a few lines near his eyes gave away the years that had passed since she had last seen him. He was tall—over six feet three inches—with chiseled features that gave him a sharp and confident profile. His eyes were a deep green that reminded her of the ferns that thrived during the summer months. His lips were curved in a smile, but she knew they could be either cunning or charming, or both.
Beneath his barrister's wig, she knew his thick brown hair had an unruly wave that he had often impatiently brushed aside when he was concentrating on a legal treatise. He was dressed in a black barrister's gown that would make the complexions of most men appear sallow, but the dark color only served to enhance his bronzed skin.
But perhaps his most fascinating appeal was his attitude of complete relaxation as if he were unperturbed by the judge, jury, prosecutor, and even the audience sitting in the courtroom staring at him. He was infused with a confidence that made one hang on every word that fell from his lips. Without a doubt, Jack Harding probably had women, from all stations in society, swarming around him.
A snort beside her drew her attention. "'E's got 'em by the throat, 'e does."
Evelyn turned to look at the man seated to her left, a squat fellow with beady eyes and fleshy jowls. The overpowering stench of onions wafted from his skin. He smiled, revealing no teeth and swollen gums.
She shifted inches to the right only to brush up against a heavyset woman with a bloodstained apron, sleeves rolled up to her elbows, and work-roughened hands. A butcher's wife, no doubt.
"'Tis a matter of time till old Abrams gives up." The woman laughed and rubbed the calluses on her hands. "Ain't nobody can git past that Jack Harding."
Just like old times, Evelyn thought. Jack Harding could charm the habit off a nun and cunningly argue the most complicated legal points while doing so.
But that's why she was here, watching him ... waiting for him. For the years, it seemed, had only polished his raw talent.
The rest of the trial went as expected. Prosecutor Abrams argued about Slip Dawson's entourage of female inhabitants. Jack countered each argument by pointing out the prosecution's distinct lack of evidence followed by a number of witnesses who testified as to Slip's "stellar" character and good standing in the community.
Exactly eleven and a half minutes after the start of the trial, the judge cleared his throat, cutting off Prosecutor Abrams in midsentence.
"As all of the relevant evidence has been presented," Judge Tobias said, "I ask for the jury to deliberate on the charges and come to a verdict."
The jury, not bothering to leave the courtroom, huddled in the corner.
In what must have been record speed, the foreman stood—his barrel-shaped chest puffed up with self-importance. "We the jury find Slip Dawson not guilty of keepin' a brothel."
The spectators burst into cheers, turning the courtroom into a scene of chaos. Hands reached out to give Slip Dawson a hearty slap on the back as he proceeded out of the room—a free man.
The pounding of Judge Tobias's gavel was a distant thumping, completely ignored by the people.
Evelyn stared as Slip passed, a cockeyed smile on his face, and she wondered how many of today's observers were patrons of his "lady friends."
Her gaze returned to Jack Harding.
Jack extended his hand to Abrams. The prosecutor looked like he had sucked on a lemon, sulking in defeat, but he shook hands with Jack nonetheless. Jack then bent to gather his papers and litigation bag from the desk.
She waited until he turned to make his way out of the courtroom, then stepped into the aisle.
"Mr. Harding," she called out.
He stopped abruptly, his gaze traveling over her face, then roaming over her figure before returning to her eyes. His lips curled into a smile.
"I believe you have the advantage of knowing my name. How can I be of assistance, Miss ..."
"Lady Evelyn Darlington."
His brow furrowed in confusion before his eyes widened in surprise.
"Why, Lady Evelyn! I don't believe it. You were a girl the last time I saw you. It's been a long, long time."
"Ten years since you were a student studying under my father to become a barrister at the Inns of Court."
"Ah, yes, my pupilage. From what I remember, you always had a voracious appetite for the law. You often visited your father's chambers, listening to his lectures. I have vivid memories of you following me around, taunting me with your extensive legal knowledge."
Heat stole into her cheeks at his words. "From what I recall, you needed the additional tutelage."
He laughed, a rich, pleasant sound. "Touché, Lady Evelyn. I probably did. Now please tell me, have you come today to watch the proceedings? Many do."
She shook her head, then looked up at him. "I've come to seek your services."
"My services? No one seeks out my 'services' unless they are in trouble. I cannot imagine you in trouble." A sudden frown knit his brow. "Last I heard, your father, Emmanuel Darlington, inherited his brother's title and is now the Earl of Lyndale. I understand he is currently lecturing at Oxford. Is he well?"
"It's not about my father, but a close acquaintance."
"Ah, I see. What crime has your friend committed?"
"None! He's been wrongfully accused."
"Pardon, Lady Evelyn," he said. "I meant no offense. What crime has he been accused of?"
She looked to both sides, her eyes darting nervously back and forth, then whispered, "Murder."
He cocked an eyebrow. "A serious offense, to be sure. Who is he?"
She took a deep breath and gathered her courage. "My soon-to-be betrothed."
He stiffened visibly, and a shadow crossed his features. "I'm very sorry, Lady Evelyn, but my docket is completely full. Murder trials take a significant amount of time to properly investigate and prepare, and I would be remiss to even consider representing your acquaintance."
A thread of panic ribboned through her. "But you must. If not as a service to an innocent man wrongfully accused, then as a favor to a girl you once knew."
"I can refer you to a number of proficient criminal barristers. I am not the only—"
"Then as a favor to my father, your former pupilmaster." He hesitated, and she knew she had struck upon a nerve. Her father was a revered Master of the Bench—otherwise known as a Bencher—by many students, and she knew Jack was no exception. From what she recalled, Jack Harding owed Lord Lyndale even more than most.
He shifted the papers in his hands, then nodded. "I cannot promise anything, understand, but perhaps this conversation would be better suited elsewhere."
Relief coursed through her that he was even willing to further discuss the matter. "Yes. Certainly."
His hand cupped her elbow, and he led her out of the courtroom. As they weaved their way through the halls of the Old Bailey, she was conscious of his tall frame beside her, his firm fingers on her sleeve. She glanced up at the clear-cut lines of his profile and was once again struck by his air of authority. In this legal arena, he radiated a strength that drew her eye, impossible to look away.
He slowed his pace so that she could keep up, and a group of barristers waved as they passed. A voluptuous woman with a scandalously low bodice, a bright yellow flower tucked between her breasts, gave Jack a jaunty wave.
Evelyn couldn't help but ponder whether she was one of Slip Dawson's "lady friends."
"You are quite popular, Mr. Harding," Evelyn said.
"I am known as the people's lawyer."
"At the expense of the Crown's prosecution?"
His humor apparently returned, his eyes lit with laughter as he looked down at her. "You must not judge me too harshly, Lady Evelyn. From what I gather, my reputation is the very reason you sought me out today."
He was correct, of course. She had done her research. No other barrister, within the two jurisdictions covered by the Old Bailey—the City of London or the County of Middlesex—was a more successful criminal barrister than Jack Harding.
"You're right," she said. "I would be nothing short of lying if I said I hadn't followed your accomplishments over the years. I just never anticipated that I would so urgently require your services."
And she did desperately need his aid—a life depended upon it. For that reason alone, she refused to take no for an answer. She must convince Jack Harding to take the case, no matter the cost.
His gaze roamed once again over her form as she swept by. He had been stunned to learn that the beautiful woman standing in the middle of the spectators' gallery, waiting for him, was Lady Evelyn Darlington—the daughter of his pupilmaster when Jack was a mere student, striving to become a barrister. She had changed much in the ten years since he had last seen her poring over her father's papers. She had been a child then—close to twelve—now she was a woman full grown.
Her golden hair was piled in an elegant style atop her head. A few loose tendrils had escaped the pins and brushed the slender column of her throat. Her facial bones were delicately carved, and her lips temptingly plump. But it was the turquoise eyes, the shade of a tropical ocean—exotically slanted and tipped with thick lashes—that made his breath hitch.
She wasn't as tall as he preferred his women, but even in the demure blue gown she wore, any man could see she was generously curved.
She made a circuit of the room, taking in her surroundings—a small desk in the corner, wooden chairs lining the perimeter of the room, and a bookshelf containing several well-used law books—with wide-eyed interest, and he was struck with a thought: Evelyn Darlington may have grown into a beautiful woman, but her scholarly aura seemed quite the same. She appeared quite serious, unaware of her beauty and how it affected men.
He closed the door, strode forward, and placed his bag and the papers he had been holding atop the desk.
Her eyes widened at the thick stack of litigation documents. "It's a wonder you can sort through such a voluminous amount of paper. Are they all pertaining to Mr. Dawson's case?"
He chuckled at the unmasked fascination in her voice. "Hardly. I was not lying when I said my docket was full. Truth be told, your friend will be better off with another barrister. There are several highly competent barristers we passed on the way here. I can escort you to any you choose today and request that they take the utmost care with the case."
"No," she rushed. "None other will do. You have not lost of late."
His gaze sharpened at her admission. "I'm flattered that you think so highly of me and that you have followed my career, but at the same time, I never anticipated that you would seek to hire me. Does Lord Lyndale know that you're here?"
Thick lashes lowered. "No. I haven't told my father of my intentions to retain you."
"He doesn't approve of your choice of betrothed, does he?"
She hesitated for a heartbeat before answering. "It isn't relevant."
"Ah, he doesn't." Her hesitation spoke volumes, just as when a witness paused those few critical seconds before formulating an answer on the witness stand. It usually meant a lie was forthcoming, or in Evelyn's case, an omission of importance.
He motioned for her to sit in one of the chairs in front of the desk. He ignored the chair behind the desk and occupied the one across from her.
Leaning forward, he said, "Tell me everything."
She took a deep breath, her breasts straining against the fabric of her bodice. "Mr. Randolph Sheldon, my soon-to-be betrothed, is under suspicion of murdering an actress in the Drury Lane Theatre."
"An actress? Was she his lover?"
Her cheeks flamed red. "No! She was a distant cousin."
"Why is he suspected?"
"He was seen fleeing from her bedroom window."
"Let me guess. Her body was found in her bedchamber?"
She shifted in her chair and twisted her hands on her lap. "Yes. She was to give him something."
He ignored her obvious discomfort and continued his questioning. "How was she killed?"
"She was ... stabbed, wearing only her night rail."
"Who discovered her?"
"The neighbor heard screams, and she called the constable. Witnesses claim they saw Randolph jump from the window."
"That is enough evidence to cause concern," Jack said. "The prosecution will surely seek to indict him."
Evelyn's chin rose a notch. "But he's innocent! I've known Randolph for years. Our families were neighbors at our country estates in Hertfordshire. We took many summer strolls together."
"I still think it best that Mr. Sheldon be represented by another lawyer. I don't see how my representation would aid your father."
"Don't you see? If we are to be officially engaged and the reading of the banns begun, it would affect Father's career at Oxford, for his daughter to be engaged to an accused murderer!"
Jack leaned back in his chair. All his gut instincts warned him not to get involved with Lady Evelyn Darlington, but she was right. The resulting scandal would adversely affect her father's career.
And he did owe Lord Lyndale. If it was not for the eccentric Master of the Bench, Jack would not be practicing law, would not be enjoying his success, wouldn't have more money than he knew how to spend, and certainly wouldn't be basking in the fickle affections of the ton. In fact, it would be safe to say, Jack would be nothing at all; he would most assuredly be wenching, gambling, and drinking to excess.
But what disturbed Jack more than Evelyn Darlington's being besotted by a man who most likely killed another woman in cold blood was the fact that Lord Lyndale clearly was unaware of his daughter's intentions to seek out his legal services.
That and the undeniable truth that he was drawn to Evelyn himself.
Looking into Evelyn's mesmerizing blue eyes, Jack struggled to hold on to his firm resolve.
Excerpted from In The Barrister's Chambers by Tina Gabrielle Copyright © 2011 by Tina Sickler. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted August 31, 2011
In 1814 London Lady Evelyn Darlington dreams of becoming a barrister, but society refuses to allow females to pursue scholarly intellectual endeavors; even one who loves the law like she does. Her chosen betrothed Randolph Sheldon is accused of murdering a Drury Lane actress who is a distant cousin of his. Evelyn asks her father's former student barrister Jack Harding to defend Randolph. She explains her intended was not having an affair, but was seen running from the brutal crime scene from the horror of what he saw. Jack's only stipulation is he will tell her father Lord Lyndale who he owes so much to that he is taking on a case indirectly involving his daughter. Evelyn's stipulation is she works the case with him.
Jack has been attracted to his mentor's daughter from the first time he saw her though she was taboo in his mind. Whereas Jack insists he loves her mind though another part of his anatomy would beg to differ, Evelyn always admired Jack's brain and passion for the law. As they follow clues in exquisite and seedy neighborhoods while their client is not very cooperative, they fall in love, but first seek the rumored murder victims tell all journal of paying customers.
The first Barrister Regency romantic legal thriller is an entertaining tale starring two intelligent and obstinate protagonists. Jack understands what he faces on the case; he must find proof to exonerate Randolph which could cost him the girl while failure will cost him the girl most likely anyway. Although the fast-paced story line follows the anticipated path, readers will relish Tina Gabrielle's enjoyable legal historical thriller.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2012
In the Barrister's Chambers was a page turner from beginning to end. Hero Jack Harding took my breath away, just as he did Evelyn Darlington's. After reading Lady of Scandal, I was anxious to read another one of Tina's Regency titles...and this one surely does not disappoint! Tina gives away just enough to tease the reader, and keep her on the edge of her seat. I had a lot of fun being "seduced" by Jack Harding, as well as guessing the identity of the infamous killer.
In the Barrister's Chamber is not to be missed. Kudos, Tina Gabrielle!!
Posted December 8, 2011
Review by Sarah L: definitely a delight to read. It had an engaging storyline along with murder intrigue that kept me guessing until the end. There is also great character development. I enjoyed getting to know both Jack and Evelyn as they were very likeable characters. They are folks that I'd have enjoyed getting to know in real life. As for Randolph, he's not an unlikeable character by any means but I would definitely agree with Jack when he thought "He is just a boy; what she needs is a man." Evelyn is a strong, independent woman and it's obvious she would dominate in any relationship with Randolph. Jack and Evelyn however have great chemistry and work very well together as a team. Jack is a much better match for Evelyn.The interaction with the other 3 barristers was great. They were amusing, charming and flirtatious. I look forward to reading the rest of their stories and can't wait until the next one is released in September, 2012.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2011
Tina Gabrielle has created convincing three dimensional characters in her book In the Barrister's Chambers. The characters speak, act and seem to feel the way a real person would in a similar situation. The plot has many twists and turns that keep you riveted to your seat and turning pages to see what happens next. Lady Evelyn Darlington loves the law. After all she was raised by her widowed father who was a professor at Inns of Court that took pupils under his wing for tutelage. One such pupil was Jack Harding. Lady Evelyn had been entranced by Jack Harding even as a child. Jack Harding is now a successful barrister and Lady Evelyn requires his services for her soon to be betrothed who has been accused of murder. After convincing Harding to accept the case, Lady Evelyn manages to worm her way into the investigation at every turn. Because I don't believe in giving out spoilers, I will not talk about the rest of the book....but know it is a fabulous read. It does contain some well written areas that firmly sizzle on the page. In the Barrister's Chamber is an excellent read. It contains romance, intrigue, mystery, and some revenge. You can't go wrong reading this one. Kensington Publishing provided this book free of charge for an honest review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2011
Posted October 5, 2011
Tina Gabrielle's In The Barrister's Chambers is a must read. Its full of intrigue and searing passion.
Lady Evelyn Darlington is much loved daughter of law professor Emmanuel Darlington. Evelyn has learned to love the law as much as her beloved father but since she is a woman there is no place for her in the courtroom. Evie picks Randolph Sheldon a fellow learning from her father. Randolph is an easy going gentleman and won't get in Evie's way. But before she can even think about getting engaged to Randolph she must help clear him of a wrong murder charge. She turns to top barrister Jack Harding, a former student of her father's.
Jack Harding loves his work as a barrister in the courts of London. He can't believe the vision standing in front of him is his former professors all grown up daughter. Jack is reluctant to take the murder case of Evie's soon to be betrothed. For starters he is extremely busy and mainly he doesn't think he can keep neither his mind nor his hands off of her.
Once Jack realizes if he doesn't help Evie she will investigate on her own. The seedy side of London is no place for a well brought up lady. Spending so much time with Evie proves that neither can fight their searing attraction to each other. But the real killer will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden even if it means danger to Evie and Jack. Will their new found love be able to overcome the danger drawing closer and closer?
In The Barrister's Chambers is an absolute delight. The chemistry between Evie and Jack is tantalizing and mesmerizing. Their attraction is just not the physical, intellectually they are a perfect match for each other. The intrigue of the murder takes you into the seedy side of London and you feel you are right there in the thick of things. I am looking forward to more books by this talented author.
Loved It! Tina Gabrielle delivers again. This well written romance has a good murder/mystery plotline as well. Jack Harding sizzles and Lady Evelyn tantalizes, the passionate romance comes to life. Highly Recommended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2012
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Posted October 19, 2011
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