A Loving Scoundrel: Malory Family Series

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Overview

THE MALORYS ARE BACK!
Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love.
When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London's streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises ...

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A Loving Scoundrel (Malory Family Series #7)

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Overview

THE MALORYS ARE BACK!
Johanna Lindsey brings to glorious life her beloved aristocratic family of adventurous rogues and spirited ladies as the Malorys confront the shocking news that Jeremy, the rakehell son of gentleman pirate James Malory, has fallen in love.
When Jeremy Malory hires Danny, a young woman who grew up on London's streets disguised as a boy, as his upstairs maid, he secretly intends to make her his mistress. But Danny surprises him with her dreams of becoming a refined lady and a gentleman's wife. As she transforms from urchin to elegant beauty before Jeremy's eyes, she unwittingly captivates the charming scoundrel. Now high society tongues are wagging: Who is this mysterious newcomer, and what is the truth about her past? No matter that a life-long adversary will go to any lengths to ensure Danny's downfall, Jeremy, who vowed never to succumb to matrimony, finds his resolve weakening as he pursues a woman whose strong, passionate nature rivals his own and promises the kind of challenge a Malory man can't resist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lindsey's formula for bestselling historical romance features modern-thinking heroes and heroines in old-fashioned clothing, who meet in scenes reminiscent of favorite classics-and who then jump into bed with an enthusiasm that would make the authors of said classics blush. Her latest Regency picks up the Malory series (Gentle Rogue, etc.) after a long hiatus, to focus on Jeremy Malory. Raised a pirate but now enjoying the Malory fortune, socially prominent but streetwise Jeremy meets his match in Danny, a beautiful orphan with no memory of her past, who lives dressed as a boy with a group of London pickpockets. After catching her trying to rob him in a sketchy tavern, he promises to release her only after she breaks into the country home of a dastardly nobleman who cheated Jeremy's friend out of precious family heirlooms. Jeremy goes along for the ride, and when they're caught in the act, it takes Danny's quick wit and Jeremy's steady nerve to escape. Oliver Twist becomes Pygmalion as Danny becomes a maid in Jeremy's household and later tries to pass as a highborn lady to help her master escape the clutches of a scheming heiress. Of course, Danny has more in common with highborn ladies than she realizes, and the reader knows that eventually Danny will learn who she is and uncover the evildoer who stole her birthright. The fun of this costume drama, after all, is not in guessing what happens next but in knowing what will and savoring the anticipation. Lindsey brings nothing new to the mix, but she stirs it up with so much energy and spirit that it's hard not to find it delicious. (Apr.) Forecast: Some fans have been waiting more than a decade for the dashing Malorys to return; their enthusiasm-not to mention Lindsey's perennial success-should ensure this hits the lists big. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Witty and sinfully sensual."
Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743456258
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Malory Family Series
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.29 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Lindsey is one of the most popular authors of romantic fiction, with over sixty million copies of her novels sold. World renowned for her novels of “first-rate romance” (New York Daily News), Lindsey is the author of forty-three previous bestselling novels, many of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. Lindsey lives in Maine with her family.
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Read an Excerpt

A Loving Scoundrel


By Johanna Lindsey

Atria

Copyright © 2004 Johanna Lindsey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7434-5625-4


Chapter One

Jeremy Malory had been in some unsavory taverns before, but this one was likely the worst of the lot. Not surprising, since it was located on the edge of what was quite possibly the worst of London's slums, a neighborhood given over to thieves and cut-throats, prostitutes and wild packs of urchin orphans who were no doubt being groomed into London's next generation of criminals.

He didn't actually dare to enter the heart of that area. To do so would probably be the last his family would ever see of him. But this tavern, on the very edge of that den of thieves, was there for the unsuspecting to stumble upon, have a few drinks, and get their pockets picked, or if they were stupid enough to let a room there for the night, to get completely robbed, clothes and all.

Jeremy had paid for a room. Not only that, he'd spread his coins around freely, buying a round of drinks for the few customers in the tavern and giving a good performance of being quite foxed. He had deliberately set the stage for a robbery - his own. But then that's why he and his friend Percy were there - to catch a thief.

Amazingly, Percy Alden was keeping his mouth shut for once. He was a chatterbox by nature, and quite scatterbrained on top of that. Percy's keeping mostly quiet on this unusual outing attested to his nervousness. Understandable. Whereas Jeremy might feel right at home in this element, having been born and raised in a tavern before his father stumbled across him when he was sixteen, Percy was a member of the ton.

Jeremy didn't mind. He was rather fond of Percy after chumming about with him for the last eight years. If he weren't, he certainly wouldn't have volunteered to extricate Percy from his latest folly - getting royally fleeced by one of Lord Crandle's gambler friends at a house party last weekend. He'd lost three thousand pounds, his coach, and not one but two family heirlooms. He'd been so bloody foxed, he didn't even remember it, until one of the guests commiserated with him the next day and told him all about it.

Percy had been quite done in, and rightly so. Losing the money and coach were no more than he deserved for being so gullible, but the two rings were a different matter entirely. One was so old it was the family signet ring, and the other, quite valuable because of its gemstones, had been passed down in Percy's family for five generations now. Percy would never have thought to use them as betting tender. He had to have been coerced, goaded, or otherwise duped into putting them in the pot.

All of it now belonged to Lord John Heddings, and Percy had been beside himself when Heddings refused to sell the rings back to him. Money the lord didn't need. The coach he didn't need. The rings he must have considered trophies, a testament to his gambling skill. More likely a testament to his cheating skill, but Jeremy could hardly prove it when he hadn't been there to witness it.

Had Heddings been a decent sort, he would have sent Percy off to bed, instead of plying him further with drink and accepting the rings into the pot. Had he been a decent sort, he would have let Percy redeem them for their value. Percy had even been willing to pay more than they were worth. He wasn't poor, after all, as he had already come into his inheritance when his father died.

But Heddings wasn't interested in doing what was decent. Instead he'd gotten annoyed at Percy's insistence and downright nasty in the end, threatening Percy with bodily harm if he didn't stop bothering him. Which is what had annoyed Jeremy enough to suggest this alternative. Percy was quite convinced, after all, that his mother was going to disown him over this. He'd been avoiding her ever since, so she wouldn't notice the rings were missing from his fingers.

Since they'd retired to the tavern's upstairs room several hours ago, there had been three attempts to rob them. Bungled attempts each, and after the last, Percy was beginning to despair of finding a thief to carry out their mission. Jeremy was more confident. Three attempts in two hours meant there would be many more before the night was over.

The door opened again. There was no light in the room. There was no light out in the corridor either. If this new thief was any good, he wouldn't need light, he would have waited long enough for his eyes to adjust to the dark. Footsteps, a bit too loud. A match flicked.

Jeremy sighed and, in one fluid movement, left the chair near the door where he was keeping vigil. He was quieter about it than the thief had been upon entering the room and was suddenly there blocking his path, a mountain of a man, well, in comparison to the short thief, but big enough to scare the daylights out of the urchin, who immediately bolted back the way he'd come.

Jeremy slammed the door shut behind the fellow. He still wasn't disheartened. The night was young. The thieves hadn't gotten desperate yet. And if it came down to it, he'd just keep one of them until they agreed to bring him their best.

Jeremy almost missed the shadow moving stealthily across the room toward the bed. He hadn't heard the door open this time, hadn't heard it close either, hadn't heard a bloody thing for that matter. If the occupants of the room really had been asleep, as was to be expected, they certainly wouldn't have been awakened by this intruder.

Jeremy smiled to himself just before he lit a match of his own and moved it over the candle on the table he'd placed next to his chair. The thief's eyes had been drawn to him instantly. Jeremy hadn't moved otherwise, was sitting there quite relaxed. The thief wouldn't know how quickly he could move to prevent his escape if he had to. But the thief wasn't moving either yet, as he was apparently frozen in his surprise at being caught.

"Oh, I say." Percy raised his head. "Did we finally get lucky?"

"I'd say so," Jeremy replied. "Didn't hear him a'tall. He's our man, or boy as the case may be."

The thief was starting to shake off his surprise and probably didn't like what he was hearing, to go by the narrowed, suspicious look Jeremy was now getting. Jeremy ignored it. He looked for a weapon first, but didn't see the thief carrying one. Of course, Jeremy had his own hidden in his coat pockets, a pistol in each, so just because he didn't see one didn't mean the lad didn't have one.

Much taller than the previous miscreants who'd tried their hand at robbing them, and lanky besides, this thief was probably no more than fifteen or sixteen, to go by those smooth cheeks. Ash blond hair so light it was more white than blond, naturally curly, worn short. A misshapen black hat several centuries out of fashion. He wore a gentleman's coat of dark green velvet, stolen no doubt, and quite grubby-looking now, as if it got slept in a lot. A discolored white shirt was under it with a few ruffles at the neck, black trousers of the long variety, and no shoes. Smart fellow, no wonder he hadn't made a single sound yet.

Very flamboyant looking for a thief, but probably because he was such a handsome young lad. And he was definitely recovered from his surprise. Jeremy knew to the second when he would bolt and was there at the door before him, leaning back against it, crossing his arms across his chest.

He offered a lazy smile. "You don't want to leave yet, dear boy. You haven't heard our proposal."

The thief was gaping again. It could have been Jeremy's smile, but was more likely his speed in getting to the door first. But Percy noticed it this time and complained, "Damn me, he's staring at you the way the wenches do. It's a man we're in need of, not a child."

"Age is irrelevant, old man," Jeremy replied. "It's skill we're in need of, so the package it comes in doesn't matter all that much."

The lad, blushing now, was insulted, apparently, and with a glower toward Percy spoke for the first time. "Ain't never seen a nabob so pretty is all."

The word pretty started Percy laughing. Jeremy was no longer amused. The last man who'd called him pretty had lost a few teeth because of it.

"Look who's talking, when you've got the face of a girl," Jeremy said.

"He does, don't he?" Percy agreed. "You should grow some hair on those cheeks, at least until your voice drops an octave or two."

Yet another blush from the boy and a distinct grumble: "It won't grow - yet. I'm only fifteen - I think. Just tall for m'age, I am."

Jeremy might have felt sorry for the lad because of that "I think," which implied he wasn't sure what year he'd been born, which was usually the case with orphans. But he'd noted two things simultaneously. The boy's voice had started out high-pitched, then lowered before he'd finished his speech, as if he were going through that awkward time in a boy's life when his voice started changing to the deeper tones of manhood. And yet, Jeremy didn't think it was a natural slip, it had sounded much too contrived.

But the second thing he noticed upon closer examination was the lad wasn't just handsome, he was downright beautiful. Now, the same thing might have been said about Jeremy at that age, except Jeremy's handsomeness was decidedly male, while this lad's handsomeness was decidedly female. The soft cheeks, the lush lips, the pert little nose - yet there was much more. The chin was too weak, the neck too narrow, even the stance was a dead giveaway, at least to a man who knew women as well as Jeremy did.

Still, Jeremy might not have drawn the conclusion he did, at least not quite so soon, if his own stepmother hadn't used the same sort of disguise when she'd first met his father. She'd been desperate to get back to America, and signing on as James's cabin boy had seemed to be her only option. Of course, James had known from the start that she wasn't a lad, and to hear him tell it, he'd had a great deal of fun pretending to believe she was a boy.

Jeremy could be wrong in this case. There was that slim possibility. And yet he was rarely wrong where women were concerned.

But there was no need to expose her. Whatever reason she had for hiding her gender was her business. He might be curious, but he'd learned long ago that patience reaped the best rewards. And besides, they only needed one thing from her - her talent.

"What do they call you, youngun?" Jeremy asked.

"None o' yer bleedin' business."

"I don't think he's figured out yet that we're going to do him a good turn," Percy remarked.

"Ye set a trap -"

"No, no, think of it as an opportunity for employment," Percy corrected.

"A trap," their thief insisted. "And I don't need wotever it is yer offering."

Jeremy raised a black brow. "You aren't even a little curious?"

"No," said the thief most stubbornly.

"Too bad. The nice thing about traps is - you don't get out of them unless you get let out. Do we look like we're letting you out of this one?"

"Ye look like ye've bleedin' well lost yer minds. Ye don't think I'm alone, d'ye? They'll be coming for me if I don't return when I'm expected to."

"They?"

The question just got Jeremy another glower. He shrugged, unperturbed. He wouldn't doubt she ran with a pack of thieves, the very bunch that had systematically been sending their numbers in, one at a time, to rob the unsuspecting gentry who had blundered into their territory. But he doubted they'd come looking for her. They'd be more interested in obtaining the expected fat purse first, before they thought of any rescuing. If anything, they'd assume this attempt had failed, that she'd been apprehended, knocked out, or killed, and would be sending in the next thief soon.

Which meant they should wrap this up and be on their way, now that they had their quarry in hand, so Jeremy said congenially, "Sit down, youngun, and I'll explain what you've volunteered for."

"I didn't vol -"

"But you did. When you came through that door, you most surely did volunteer."

"Wrong room," their thief tried to assert. "Ye've never walked into the wrong room by mistake?"

"Assuredly, though usually with my shoes on," Jeremy said dryly.

She blushed again and swore a blue streak.

Jeremy yawned. Much as he'd enjoyed the cat-and-mouse bantering, he didn't want this taking all night. And they still had a good distance to travel to reach Heddings's house in the country.

He injected a note of sternness in his tone when he ordered, "Sit down, or I will physically put you in that chair -"

Jeremy didn't have to finish. She ran to the chair, practically dove into it. She definitely didn't want to risk his touching her. He forced back another smile as he moved away from the door to stand in front of her.

Percy, amazingly, injected a bit of logic into the proceedings: "I say, we could explain this on the way, couldn't we? We've got our man. Is there any reason to remain in these god-awful accommodations a moment longer?"

"Quite right. Find me something for binding."

"Eh?"

"To tie him up with. Or haven't you noticed that our thief isn't being the least bit cooperative - yet?"

At which point their thief desperately bolted for the door.

Jeremy had known it was coming, one more effort to escape them before it was too late. He'd seen it in her eyes just before she flew past him. He was at the door before she could get it open, though, and rather than just lean his weight against it to keep her inside, he decided to find out conclusively whether he was right about her sex and put his arms around her instead. He'd been right. Those were definitely female breasts under his forearms, packed down flatly, but unmistakable to his touch.

She didn't just stand still there and let him discover that. She turned around, and good God, that was even better, since he wasn't letting go of her yet. The very last thing he'd expected to find that night was a pretty wench wiggling about in his arms. Now that he was positive she was a wench, he was quite enjoying himself.

"I suppose I should check you for weapons," Jeremy said, his voice lowered to a husky note. "Yes, indeed, I really should."

"I ain't got -" she started to claim, but ended on a gasp as his hands slid over her derriere and stayed there.

Rather than pat her pockets as his suggestion had implied, he gave each rounded check a gentle squeeze. Supple, soft she was, and suddenly he felt an urge to do more than just feel her with his hands; he wanted to press her loins firmly to his, pull down those ridiculous trousers she was wearing, run his fingers over her bare skin, and enter her wet warmth. He couldn't have been in a better position to do so, his hands cupping her luscious bottom.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey Copyright © 2004 by Johanna Lindsey . Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 152 )
Rating Distribution

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(101)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have read hundreds of historical romance novels and Johanna Lindsey is one of my favorites. If you are looking for fun, quick reading romance's buy the Malory series of novels. They are very quick paced and you don't want to put it down. I have yet to find a title by this auther that I didn't like.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    one of the best book i have ever read

    this book was outstanding!!!!!!!! Johanna Lindsey usually writes books that makes me feel as if I was actually there in the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    love it

    I really love this book, it was a wonderful story. like all her Malory's novels

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    Well worth the wait

    Very good book;I enjoyed finally getting to read about the Mallorys again. I cannot wait till the next one comes out. I am a huge fan and am only sorry she doesn't write more. I encourage you to read her books if you would like to get lost in a moment; her books bring the characters to life. She writes with much passion and has great characters.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2004

    Good book

    Very entertaining book. Not quite gripping, but good nontheless.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2004

    Excellent as always!

    Johanna Lindsey, as always, provides us with a wonderful story and characters you can love. The Mallory family has been entertaining me for years now. I have every book every written by her and reread them frequently. Hers are the only books I will not lend out for fear of them not being returned!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2004

    A wonderful Malory Tale

    A Loving Scoundrel by Johanna Lindsey is another marvelous Malory novel. Jeremy Malory sets up a trap to catch a thief. He needs this thief to help a friend retrieve jewels lost in a fixed card game. He gets more then he bargained for when he enlists Danny in his scheme. Danny had no memory of her life before she joined the street gang at the age of 5. She had disguised herself as a boy to fit in. By helping Jeremy she is kicked out of her gang. Danny figures Jeremy owes her. So, she strikes a bargain with him. Danny will work as his upstairs maid if he will help her refine herself. What comes to pass is a battle of wills. Jeremy to bed her and Danny to stay out of his bed. When trouble from her past comes to harm Danny, Jeremy will do anything to protect her. This is a wonderful continuation of the Malory clan, the witty conversations, smoldering passions and the interfering family. You can not go wrong with a Johanna Lindsey novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2004

    Great book!

    I like this story. I think it's one of the best in the Malory series. I like them all. Can't wait till the next book. I want her to start writing about the Anderson especially about Drew.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    Excellent read.

    I have read all the Mallory's stories and the last couple I have not been pleased with. However Jeremey's story was an excellent read and it went with the other Mallory stories. I read the book twice in to days I absolutly love it. I have waited for years for the book ever sence Jeremy was introduce and the wait for this book was well worth it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2004

    Love it

    I love the way how Johanny Lindsey writes. So if you have the the hole Malory family books so far this is another I recommend becasue on this book the oldest son of James Malory meet his true match. If I love it you will love it two

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    Loving Scoundrel

    I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other ones in this series. As a matter of fact I haven't totally enjoyed a book by JL in quite some time. Her last few books have been rather dull. This one does have a little bit of bite to it but not enough for me to recommend it. Of course everyone has there own opinion, and this is mine.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2004

    Great Malory Novel

    This book was true to the Malory name, that Johanna Lindsey has created. I highly recommend this book and any others by her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2004

    Another wonderful Mallory man!

    It seems like I've been waiting forever for Jeremy Mallory's story, and now that I've just finished it, I can honestly say it was worth the wait. I just hated to see it end. After a few hectic months, I took the day off my own writing to read, and what a wonderful choice I made. I loved every single page. Jeremy is sexy and adorable and charming and all grown up, yet still so true to the character we already knew and loved. And better still, we get to revisit James and Anthony - and even Warren and Drew! (I wonder if Drew will get a book soon - I hope so.) Also, the heroine, Danny, is wonderful - very unique and strong and a pleasure to read. Grab this one, you won't be sorry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2004

    Lindsey returns in style!

    One of her best books, and I have them all! If you loved James and Anthony Malory's exploits, and those of their niece Reggie, you will LOVE this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2004

    The old Lindsey is back!

    One of the better books that she has written in some time, this is a definate return to the Johanna Lindsey that some of us have been wanting to see. In this wonderful next book in the Malory series, Jeremy is joined with many of the other characters that we have come to know and love. The story is funny, warm, and has all the qualities that make a Lindsey novel what we love!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2004

    Excellent histotrical romance

    Jeremy Malory helps his friend Percy Alden recover family heirloom rings he lost when gambling under the influence. The distraught Percy has avoided his beloved mother for he knows how upset she would be if she sees his ringless fingers. Heddings who won the rings has refused to sell them back to Percy, which is why they are in a dump of a tavern in London¿s worst slum............................ They capture fifteen year old Danny, who grew up on the means streets as a pickpocket. They quickly learn the tall male teen is a beautiful female urchin Dani. They enlist her help giving her no option besides the law; Dani steals back the jewels from Heddings. However, by assisting a member of the Ton, she has violated the rules of the street felons and is exiled. Honor forces Jeremy to hire Dani as a servant. He tutors her to act like a lady and soon begins falling in love with Dani. She has loved him from the first moment she saw his ¿pretty¿ face. However, Dani knows that an aristocrat would never marry the likes of her and anything less would shatter her heart.................... The return of the Malory mob is a reason for rejoicing for fans of the series. The exciting story line is at its best when it furbishes a regency equivalent to My Fair Lady starring two fine protagonists. When the terrific tale twists into too easily resolving the class distinction issue, readers still obtain a wonderful subplot, but also will wonder what if Johanna Lindsey left the concern at its most difficult. Still Malory fans will appreciate this delightful addition to one of the author¿s best ongoing sagas.................. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    Synopsis

    Found on the web - With the humor, lovable characters, and romantic intensity that have distinguished Johanna Lindsey's six previous 'Malory novels and made them her strongest bestsellers, 'A Loving Scoundrel delivers a passionate love story and a not-to-be-missed reunion with the Malorys-a family of dashing rogues, rakehell adventurers, and spirited ladies. When Dani, a young woman who grew up on the streets of London as a pickpocket, is banished from her gang because she helped Jeremy Malory steal back the jewels his friend lost in a card game, Dani demands that Jeremy give her a job. Intrigued, Jeremy hires Dani as his upstairs maid, although he wants her as his mistress. Dani blossoms into a lady under the tutelage of Jeremy and his housekeeper but Dani refuses to be anything more than a servant to Jeremy because she knows he is not the marrying kind. When Dani attends a ball with Jeremy people remark on how familiar Dani looks, which raises the question of her true identity and threatens not only her chances of capturing Jeremy's heart, but her very life.

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