A Scandalous Marriage

A Scandalous Marriage

4.2 23
by Cathy Maxwell, Virginia Leishman

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Leah Carrollton had dreams of meeting--and marrying--the perfect man. Then a scandalous affair ended in abandonment, and she left London rather than face her disgrace. With no one to turn to, Leah ran away to the country. Abruptly Devon Marshall, Viscount Huxhold, strides into her life, enveloping her in his strong embrace and offering her a chance to recapture what…  See more details below


Leah Carrollton had dreams of meeting--and marrying--the perfect man. Then a scandalous affair ended in abandonment, and she left London rather than face her disgrace. With no one to turn to, Leah ran away to the country. Abruptly Devon Marshall, Viscount Huxhold, strides into her life, enveloping her in his strong embrace and offering her a chance to recapture what she'd lost.

Heir to one of England's most honorable titles, Devon has spent his life breaking the rules--and giving Leah and her fatherless child his name is just one more way to flaunt convention. But Devon discovers Leah tantalizes him as no other woman ever has, making him long for all the sweet bliss that marriage has to offer. But can a marriage made in scandal become a happily-ever-after affair?

"For laughter and tears Cathy Maxwell can't be beat(!" --Jill Barnett)

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Jill Barnett
For laughter and tears Cathy Maxwell can't be beat!

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Devon's friends thought it a grand joke that he had been about to dance with Carrollton's sister without realizing it. They claimed he had to be the only person in the world to not know the gossip swirling around the chit's London debut.

The Carrolltons were bad ton if there ever was any. That they had the audacity to not only present their daughter at Court but also expect her to marry well had Society reefing. Yes, she was uncommonly beautiful, but a line had to be drawn somewhere. Numerous hostesses had vowed to snub her.

And although the little scene on the dance floor resurrected all the rumors concerning the circumstances of Devon's parents' deaths over twenty years ago, Miss Carrollton ironically became somewhat of an overnight sensation-as did Lady Trudgill, the ball's hostess.

Suddenly, Miss Carrollton and Devon were on everyone's guest list. Ambitious hostesses smelled scandal. They knew that just the mere speculation of the couple meeting again was enough to ensure the success of their party and a mention in the following day's papers.

Of course, Devon never honored those invitations. He didn't care what Miss Carrollton did, and to prove it he carefully avoided her company.

His circle of friends-all scapegrace rogues and out-and-out bounders to a man, no matter how loyal-couldn't help but sing the praises of such a beautiful young woman who quickly became the Toast, and the talk, of the Town. They ribbed Devon mercilessly, comparing his family to Montagues and hers to Capulets. He pretended it didn't matter.

But it did. It irritated him beyond rationalization.

Especially when he received a terse note from hisgrandfather:

Brewster says you made a cake of yourself atTrudgill ball over Carrollton chit. I am displeased, but not surprised. A Marshall has never been nor will be the subject of gossip.


It had been almost two months since he'd last heard from his grandfather. Another time when he'd been displeased. Devon wadded up the note before tossing it in the rubbish bin.

Unfortunately, a week later, in the Parson's Knot, a club known for high-stakes games, Devon crossed Julian Carrollton's path. He ignored Carrollton until -he overheard Carrollton receiving the same sort of harsh teasing that Devon had received. Carrollton was deep in his cups, but in spite of that fact, his snarled, colorful answer damning all Marshalls to hell, "especially that bastardHuxhold," infuriated Devon.

He'd been called names before, but not by the son of Richard Carrollton.

Something inside Devon snapped.

His parents would still be alive if Richard Car. rollton had not cheated in that long-ago carriage race. Some claimed the broken lynchpin had been an accident, nothing more. Richard had always maintained his innocence-but Devon's grandfather had known differently.

He said his son always took care of his rigs. Someone had broken the pin on purpose. And to his mind the only person who had stood to gain by winning the race had been Richard.

Anguished beyond reason by the death of his only son, Devon's grandfather had protested to the authorities, but there had been no proof, and Carrollton had walked away a free man. Carrollton had refused to accept the winnings from the race, but that had not consoled Lord Kirkeby.

Now, his son dared to call Devon a bastard.

It made Devon furious. Especially when Julian declared in a voice that carried above the sound of the rattling dice cups that his sister would rather "lie with dogs than dance with a Marshall."

Everyone in the room heard him. McDermott Leichester, Ruskin, all gathered around Devon, silently siding with him and waiting for him to take action against his enemy.

Devon sat quiet. He did not have a hot head. He'd ignored Julian's drunken whining in the past. He could do it again.

Or, he could call Julian out, put a bullet in him, and rid the world of his pretentious bragging. Devon's reputation for pistol and sword was famous. His skill was one of the few things his grandfather admired about him. Better yet, his grandfather would be pleased to have justice finally served.

Instead of what he could have done, what people expected him to do, Devon accepted Julian's 'words as a challenge.

So he thought his sister would rather lie with a dog than dance with a Marshall? Devon knew that wasn't true. Leah Carrollton was not immune to him. He'd sensed her attraction to him immediately.

He would prove it by seducing her.

Devon rose and left the club, content to let Carrollton believe he'd scored a small victory while in truth the game was just beginning ...

Only much, much later would Devon admit to himself that he'd chosen that course of action not for revenge but because in spite of himself, all common sense, and all reason, he had secretly wanted to see her again.

Contrary to popular opinion, Devon had never considered himself a rake. A rake was a reprobate, a man beyond redemption, a man with no moral fiber.

Devon was none of those things, at least not in his own mind.

In his opinion, his only vice was that he adored women. That wasn't so much of a sin, was it?

He liked women in all their guises-the old, the young, the middle-aged, the rosy plump, the slender, the laughing, the soberly sedate. His cronies thought only of a woman's face or her breasts or what she had between her legs ... and those things were important to Devon, too. But he also admired their intelligence, their spirit, their sense of humor.

He loved the mysteries of their sex: their intuitive powers, their supple strength, their fanciful whims, their serene wisdom. Oh, yes, and their -generosity. God bless their generosity. Their bodies and their minds were his altar of worship.

Consequently, they, in turn, adored him.

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Meet the Author

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

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Scandalous Marriage 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very creative
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a nice story but not very believable. Devon is too perfect. And Leah is just stupid.
SaraO More than 1 year ago
Review I enjoyed this one so much more than the first. Thought starting with the baby’s delivery then flashing back to the start of Leah and Devon’s love then coming back to the delivery was really different. Really cool. I got to know the characters in a way I wasn’t expecting. Their backstory helped explain motivations and feelings…and kept the delivery from seeming too random. Though it must be noted that no one recovers from giving birth as quickly as Leah does. Seriously?! the day after a traumatic (and premature!) birth and we’ve got our heroine throwing the baby in a drawer (yep. a dresser drawer. padded with blankets. duh.) and riding a coach to London. Leah even feels the stirring of desire for Devon. You have to ignore a lot of logic to bridge the unrealistic-ness of this situation. But if you can get past it watching Devon and Leah rebuild their love is rewarding. What was great about this read was how much I enjoyed these characters as people. Getting to know Leah better in this novel makes such a difference…and sheds so much light on her, shall we say, sluttiness of the last novel. I actually liked her. And Devon is simply the sweetest. Even if it took them FOREVER to say the L-word. That confession was pretty obvious way before the characters admitted their feelings. Again, the second in this series keeps the ‘drama’ to a minimum…at least in the main character’s relationships. This semi-drama-free relationship was one of the things I most like about the first book, Married in Haste. No grand displays followed by white knights to be found here. Just major issues sorted out by realistic people. Finally, the epilogue to this book was better than the first in the series. It completed Leah and Devon’s story, giving a Happily Ever After that is the sweetest I’ve read in awhile. Well done Maxwell. Rating: 3.5/5 A swift, sweet novel worth the hour or two of escape it provides.
ZebraNookReader More than 1 year ago
Fabulous!! This whole series is marvelous. Each had is own story but yet they were linked in a subtle way. Tess, Leah, and Anne each provide a their own meaning of womanhood as they shed their girlish innocent. The story line surrounding each woman and her man is genius and artfully done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Devon and Leah's story is one of such a strong love that it leaves a lasting impression upon the reader. I love how Cathy Maxwell definitley makes sure the reader knows how much Devon loves the baby! I loved the end and the connection to present day! Very thoughtful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book could have been better if the aurthor first knew more about the history it takes place. Though far fetched that his horses loses a shoe next to the farm the woman he once loved. Even more farfetched was that she is 9 months and goes into labor. Still the story isnt bad but then the ending is rushed. Ok read! Mild love scences.
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An arranged marriage, some taming of the shrew and a little revolution make for a very goid romance
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1815, Devon Marshall, Viscount Huxhold, races through the Yorkshire countryside to be at his grandfather¿s deathbed. Though he and his dying relative have squabbled, Devon knows he loves the man who raised him when his parents died. He wants to make sure his grandfather knows that also. However, his horse stumbles on the icy pastures injuring a foot. Devon finds a farm where he meets a pregnant Lady Leah ¿The Runaway Debutante¿ Carrollton in a pigsty.

Last year, Devon and Leah found themselves attracted to one another, but family feuds intervened before the duo could begin courting. When her family tried to foster her off on an unacceptable suitor, she fled, thus gaining her nickname. Now, Devon knows he cannot desert Leah and offers her the protection of marriage. As Leah and Devon fall in love, his secrets threaten to destroy their happiness.

A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE is an entertaining Regency romance filled with wit and passion. Though it may seem that this tale is another marriage of convenience plot, the exciting story line takes unexpected but realistic turns, providing freshness and pleasure to the audience. The lead characters are a delightful duo struggling with their scandalous past while the support cast makes Regency England seem alive. Cathy Maxwell shows she is one of the better sub-genre authors with this wonderful tale and works like MARRIED IN HASTE, Leah¿s first appearance.

Harriet Klausner