Scoundrel's Vow

Scoundrel's Vow

5.0 1
by Sherri Browning
     
 
She was young, beautiful, innocent. He vowed to protect her . . . from himself.

The scoundrel's surprise...

Six years of Lady Shelbourne's School for Girls gave her polish. But nothing could tame the passion Calandra Locke felt for Sir Scarborough Weston, her father's employer, the man she'd loved since childhood. She knew that Scar remembered her as a

Overview

She was young, beautiful, innocent. He vowed to protect her . . . from himself.

The scoundrel's surprise...

Six years of Lady Shelbourne's School for Girls gave her polish. But nothing could tame the passion Calandra Locke felt for Sir Scarborough Weston, her father's employer, the man she'd loved since childhood. She knew that Scar remembered her as a horseback-riding hoyden, but surely he would be stunned by the woman she had become. Callie was determined to be his wife. No one knew him better, could make him happier than she. If only he would let her . . .

The scoundrel's dilemma....

How could Scarborough Weston tell his steward's daughter that his desire for her was the one feeling he could not afford to indulge? After all, he was a notorious rake whose fascination with a woman lasted no longer than a successful seduction. He vowed never to hurt Callie, and tried to keep her at arm's length. But even as he set about finding her a suitable husband, Callie's unconventional beauty tested his resolve, her passionate nature teasing him, tempting him, driving him out of control and making him do the unthinkable. Could he really be falling in love?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Can a feisty young miss find love and marriage with Sir Scarborough Weston, whom she's adored since childhood? The odds are against Calandra Locke in Browning's debut Regency--not only is she the daughter of Scarborough's servant, and educated at Scarborough's expense, but the nobleman's shrewish aunt clearly wishes to keep them apart. Furthermore, Scarborough has vowed never to marry and thereby avoid hurting a woman as his philandering father hurt his mother. The scoundrel Scarborough is the most intriguing element. Calandra is one-dimensional, no match for the roguish lord, and her schemes to win his heart quickly wear thin.Although the lead characters lack the chemistry necessary for a romance to succeed, Browning demonstrates potential, especially in her sympathetic depiction of the lovers' backgrounds. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440235279
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/10/1999
Pages:
373
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.89(h) x 1.11(d)

Read an Excerpt

The carriage jostled her across the seat.

Lord knew she was trying to sit like a lady, as Lady Shelbourne would say, with perfect posture and with her hands in her lap. But how did one comport oneself as a lady when one was being tossed and turned and bumped about incessantly?

"Bloody hell," she cursed aloud, then placed her hand over her mouth as if to put the words back from whence they had come.

Her father shot her one of those black looks she remembered vividly but had not seen in a long time.

"So much for Lady Shelbourne's School for Girls." He rolled his eyes. "Can turn any girl into a young lady, indeed."

She adjusted her bodice and sat straight, shoulders pressed against the back of the seat. "They have made me into a lady, Father. I just-- I forget myself sometimes is all. It will not happen again."

It would happen again all right. Just as it had happened every evening at Lady Shelbourne's between nine and eleven. Instead of studying during the appointed hours, she would creep into the stables. The old men and boys there had been so nice and much more interesting than Cissy Goodspeed and Fanny DuBois, her roommates. They'd sworn, they'd laughed, they'd let her tend the animals, and sometimes they'd even played at cards.

She'd played at cards herself once. Whist. And, she had won.

"See to it," her father admonished. "The young lord didn't send you off and pay for years of schooling to see you come back the same as you left."

"Do I look the same as when I left, Father?" She fluttered her eyelashes and smiled demurely. To maintain an appearance of innocence when she was feeling devilishly wild inside was one thing she had learned at Lady Shelbourne's that would serve her.

Her father fidgeted across from her. She did not look up, but she could feel him shifting in the seat.

"No, Calandra, you most certainly do not."

Truly, she hoped not. When she had left Scarborough Park, she'd been no taller than the shrubbery at the garden's gate and plumper than Aunt Lenore's sweets-stealing pug. In fact, she'd battled that pampered pooch on countless occasions for the remainders of Cook's lemon tarts.

Now she felt lovely. A lady did not indulge herself in excess of food or drink. Although Lady Shelbourne did not heed her own rule, the girls under her tutelage had no choice but to do so. Seldom had there been enough food to go around.

As for drink, well, Calandra could not count the few sips she'd had of Master Bartley's Scotch whisky as overindulgence, could she? The stablemaster had insisted that she try it on the eve before her departure; but when he'd found she liked the taste, he had quickly taken it away. A good thing, too, because she'd seen the man's son drunk and it looked to be a far from pleasant experience.

The carriage rocked again, nearly sending her from her seat. She grabbed on to the window's edge in the nick of time. To save herself from cursing, she bit the edge of her lip. Her father looked her over and nodded in approval.

"I daresay the master will be pleased."

Her heart raced wildly. "Is the master in residence, then?"

Sir Scarborough Weston.

The last time she'd seen him, he had been stripped to the waist, leaning over his washbasin, his bare chest glistening with moisture. It was an image she would never forget.

Without knocking, she had walked into his bedchamber. She'd acted surprised, had stammered an excuse. "I am sorry, sir. I do not know what got into me. I should have knocked. I can see you are busy . . ."

He'd looked at her with the blackest of expressions, as if he'd been going to yell. Instead, he had smiled. "No, Callie, 'tis all right. So long as it's just you. . . ."

Just you. Likely he would never know the pain his words had occasioned. Just you. He had let her remain, watching, as he'd washed, unconcerned for his appearance. If she'd been a fine lady, he would have excused himself, covered up quickly, made it a point to see her when he was clothed in order to apologize. But she was only Callie, the servant's plump daughter, all of fourteen years old.

Still, she had enjoyed watching him, had felt privileged to be alone with him in his room. For six years she'd held on to his parting words.

"Likely I shan't even know you when next I see you, Cal. You'll grow to be the fairest maiden this side of Devonshire, and I will kick myself for not having snapped you up when I had the chance."

If she had her way, he would do more than kick himself now. He would be falling all over himself to make the past up to her, to win her over.

Well, she could dream.

Truly, she doubted he'd even given her a thought in all of her years away from Scarborough Park. She imagined his reaction when he would see her again for the first time in six years.

He would gape at her and marvel at her beauty. Lost in admiration, he would take her hand and lead her down from the carriage. He would finally stammer out an introduction, and kiss her hand at the end. Then--and only then--would he look directly into her eyes to see the fire that burned there for him, and he would know her right away.

My darling Calandra, he would say. My darling, you have returned to me at last, and you have become lovelier than I ever imagined--

"I said, Calandra, darling, look."

"I am sorry, Father, I was-- Oh, yes. Scarborough Park!" She nearly stood in her seat to get a look at the magnificence of her surroundings, the house and gardens she dearly loved and had missed so terribly.

They were not on the official approach but only just crossing the bridge. She could almost see the whole house. Set a little on an incline, the stately main house was made of lovely white stone and not the ubiquitous red brick that made up Lady Shelbourne's and so many other houses of the day.

Scarborough Park.

The carriage jostled her across the seat.

Lord knew she was trying to sit like a lady, as Lady Shelbourne would say, with perfect posture and with her hands in her lap. But how did one comport oneself as a lady when one was being tossed and turned and bumped about incessantly?

"Bloody hell," she cursed aloud, then placed her hand over her mouth as if to put the words back from whence they had come.

Her father shot her one of those black looks she remembered vividly but had not seen in a long time.

"So much for Lady Shelbourne's School for Girls." He rolled his eyes. "Can turn any girl into a young lady, indeed."

She adjusted her bodice and sat straight, shoulders pressed against the back of the seat. "They have made me into a lady, Father. I just-- I forget myself sometimes is all. It will not happen again."

It would happen again all right. Just as it had happened every evening at Lady Shelbourne's between nine and eleven. Instead of studying during the appointed hours, she would creep into the stables. The old men and boys there had been so nice and much more interesting than Cissy Goodspeed and Fanny DuBois, her roommates. They'd sworn, they'd laughed, they'd let her tend the animals, and sometimes they'd even played at cards.

She'd played at cards herself once. Whist. And, she had won.

"See to it," her father admonished. "The young lord didn't send you off and pay for years of schooling to see you come back the same as you left."

"Do I look the same as when I left, Father?" She fluttered her eyelashes and smiled demurely. To maintain an appearance of innocence when she was feeling devilishly wild inside was one thing she had learned at Lady Shelbourne's that would serve her.

Her father fidgeted across from her. She did not look up, but she could feel him shifting in the seat.

"No, Calandra, you most certainly do not."

Truly, she hoped not. When she had left Scarborough Park, she'd been no taller than the shrubbery at the garden's gate and plumper than Aunt Lenore's sweets-stealing pug. In fact, she'd battled that pampered pooch on countless occasions for the remainders of Cook's lemon tarts.

Now she felt lovely. A lady did not indulge herself in excess of food or drink. Although Lady Shelbourne did not heed her own rule, the girls under her tutelage had no choice but to do so. Seldom had there been enough food to go around.

As for drink, well, Calandra could not count the few sips she'd had of Master Bartley's Scotch whisky as overindulgence, could she? The stablemaster had insisted that she try it on the eve before her departure; but when he'd found she liked the taste, he had quickly taken it away. A good thing, too, because she'd seen the man's son drunk and it looked to be a far from pleasant experience.

The carriage rocked again, nearly sending her from her seat. She grabbed on to the window's edge in the nick of time. To save herself from cursing, she bit the edge of her lip. Her father looked her over and nodded in approval.

"I daresay the master will be pleased."

Her heart raced wildly. "Is the master in residence, then?"

Sir Scarborough Weston.

The last time she'd seen him, he had been stripped to the waist, leaning over his washbasin, his bare chest glistening with moisture. It was an image she would never forget.

Without knocking, she had walked into his bedchamber. She'd acted surprised, had stammered an excuse. "I am sorry, sir. I do not know what got into me. I should have knocked. I can see you are busy . . ."

He'd looked at her with the blackest of expressions, as if he'd been going to yell. Instead, he had smiled. "No, Callie, 'tis all right. So long as it's just you. . . ."

Just you. Likely he would never know the pain his words had occasioned. Just you. He had let her remain, watching, as he'd washed, unconcerned for his appearance. If she'd been a fine lady, he would have excused himself, covered up quickly, made it a point to see her when he was clothed in order to apologize. But she was only Callie, the servant's plump daughter, all of fourteen years old.

Still, she had enjoyed watching him, had felt privileged to be alone with him in his room. For six years she'd held on to his parting words.

"Likely I shan't even know you when next I see you, Cal. You'll grow to be the fairest maiden this side of Devonshire, and I will kick myself for not having snapped you up when I had the chance."

If she had her way, he would do more than kick himself now. He would be falling all over himself to make the past up to her, to win her over.

Well, she could dream.

Truly, she doubted he'd even given her a thought in all of her years away from Scarborough Park. She imagined his reaction when he would see her again for the first time in six years.

He would gape at her and marvel at her beauty. Lost in admiration, he would take her hand and lead her down from the carriage. He would finally stammer out an introduction, and kiss her hand at the end. Then--and only then--would he look directly into her eyes to see the fire that burned there for him, and he would know her right away.

My darling Calandra, he would say. My darling, you have returned to me at last, and you have become lovelier than I ever imagined--

"I said, Calandra, darling, look."

"I am sorry, Father, I was-- Oh, yes. Scarborough Park!" She nearly stood in her seat to get a look at the magnificence of her surroundings, the house and gardens she dearly loved and had missed so terribly.

They were not on the official approach but only just crossing the bridge. She could almost see the whole house. Set a little on an incline, the stately main house was made of lovely white stone and not the ubiquitous red brick that made up Lady Shelbourne's and so many other houses of the day.

Scarborough Park.

Meet the Author

Sherri Browning is a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she currently resides. The Scoundrel's Vow is her first novel. Readers may write to her at P.O. Box 115, South Hadley, MA 01075 or visit her on the Web at www.sherribrowning.com.

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Scoundrel's Vow 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Scoundrel's Vow-- couldn't put it down. The book captures first love and all its joy and pain...and joy. Scar is a tortured hero, and the way he longs for Callie but refuses to hurt her is touching and tender. Callie is so sweet as she goes all out for true love. I was really pulling for these two to make it! And Callie's father had me in tears, the dear man. Lively writing, terrific characters. A great read. I'll be looking for the author's next book.