Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
The scandal would rip through English society—but how can they resist falling recklessly, irreversibly in love?
A series of disasters in Eleanor Lindale’s well-to-do family kept her out of the social whirl where she might have attracted suitors. Now, at age twenty-five, she believes she is irretrievably on the shelf. But her quiet life in Brighton abruptly changes when she’s asked to chaperone her beautiful seventeen-year-old niece, Lady Aurora Crossways, for a brief season before Aurora’s wedding to Philip Radford, Earl of Huntley. Aurora’s flirtatious and boisterous behavior is difficult for Eleanor to manage. More trying still are Eleanor’s growing feelings for Philip, and his for her. But will Philip’s strong sense of honor prevent him from following his heart?
|Publisher:||Open Road Media Romance|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
A fourth-generation Californian of Scottish descent, Amanda Scott is the author of more than fifty romantic novels, many of which appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Her Scottish heritage and love of history (she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in history at Mills College and California State University, San Jose, respectively) inspired her to write historical fiction. Credited by Library Journal with starting the Scottish romance subgenre, Scott has also won acclaim for her sparkling Regency romances. She is the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award (for Lord Abberley’s Nemesis, 1986) and the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award. She lives in central California with her husband.
Read an Excerpt
An Affair of Honor
By Amanda Scott
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1984 Lynne Scott-Drennan
All rights reserved.
It was a summer day bright enough to set rainbows playing upon the breaking waters beneath Brighton's chalky cliffs. The lace curtains in the cheerful, expensively appointed morning room stirred with the motion of a gentle, easterly breeze that drifted through the open first-floor windows of the tall, white-trimmed brick house at Number Twenty-seven Upper Rock Gardens.
Although the breeze carried with it the inevitable crisp tang of the sea, the architect who had assisted Brighton's city fathers in their effort, some fifteen years earlier, to bring the popular little fishing village up to the standard expected by the steadily increasing summertime surge of royal and noble visitors had not been so lacking in good taste as to present the residents of Number Twenty-seven or those of its equally distinguished neighbors with a view of anything so mundane as the town's crumbling chalk cliffs and broad, desolate expanse of blue sea. Therefore, the principal rooms of the homes in Upper Rock Gardens overlooked nothing more unusual than a tidy, cobbled street such as one might find in any fashionable, inland town.
Though the soft breeze stirred the delicate morning-room curtains and even fluttered the swordlike leaves and showy blossoms of the huge, yellow irises arranged in a stoneware bowl on the low table in front of the window bay, it was not strong enough to disturb either of the morning room's two occupants. The elder of these, a fluffy-haired, pink-gowned lady with nearly fifty-five summers to her credit, was the Lady Agnes Lindale. At the moment, Lady Agnes sat upon a gray settee in the window bay, a piece of fancy work resting forgotten in her lap, as she watched with increasing impatience while the lovely young woman sitting opposite her at a parquetry writing table dealt with the morning post.
An errant ray of sunshine penetrated the space between two of the shifting lace panels and dust motes danced along its path as it set auburn highlights glistening in the young woman's thick, high-piled chestnut hair. Silence reigned, broken only by the occasional screech of a gull outside, until Lady Agnes stirred restlessly.
"For pity's sake, Nell! Do you mean to tell me what your sister has to say, or do you not?"
Miss Eleanor Lindale lowered the single-page missive that she had been scanning and looked up to reveal startlingly blue, heavily lashed eyes set deeply above well defined cheekbones in a charming, oval face. She smiled cheerfully at her mother.
"Forgive me, Mama. It must seem an age and more since I began," she replied. "I have merely been attempting—and not at all successfully, I might add—to conjure a meaning out of what appears to be the devil's own web of copperplate."
Lady Agnes's face was turned discreetly away from the morning light—so revealing of one's all-too-rapidly advancing years—but Nell could discern her impatient frown well enough. "I cannot think why it should take you so long," her ladyship said fretfully. "Your sister writes a very elegant hand."
Nell chuckled but glanced doubtfully at the page of weblike lines which she had been attempting to decipher. As she did so, the furrow forming between the straight, narrow brows that gave such emphasis to every expression of her candid blue eyes cleared magically. "Ah ha!" she pronounced on a note of distinct triumph. "It is the rains that were early. Do you know, Mama, I had stared and stared at that word before, but by merely glancing at it just now, it suddenly became quite clear. At first, all I could make of it was onus, but one knew that could not be right. Though, to be sure," she added musingly, "what on earth early rains have got to do with anything ... Oh, I see. Something to do with the lower crop yield having put Crossways all out of frame. As if a few bushels more or less of whatever it is he grows on that monstrous estate would matter a cracked groat to a man with pockets lined as deeply as his are."
Miss Lindale glanced up at her indignant parent just as Lady Agnes stretched a well tended hand toward the elegant silver-gilt vinaigrette placed conveniently upon the polished oak table at her right. Withdrawing the crystal stopper, she waved it gently beneath her straight little nose, a gesture that brought a rueful twinkle to Nell's expressive, dark-rimmed eyes.
"I do beg your pardon, ma'am. I should not have said such a thing. At least," she amended candidly, "I should not have said it so bluntly." She flicked the letter. "But Clarissa puts me all out of patience. She does indeed write an elegant fist, but she has crossed and recrossed her lines till I cannot tell where one thought ends and another begins."
"Well, it cannot matter, after all," Lady Agnes replied vaguely as she replaced her vinaigrette on the table. "Clarissa always writes very much the same thing, does she not? If one of the children has not fallen out of a tree, another has thrown out a rash, and the expense of the doctor's visit has all but reduced the family to bread and pig's knuckles for supper. Let her but try to hold house here in Brighton," she added with an air of weary but patient endurance, "and I daresay she would soon cease to cavil about the expense of keeping up an estate in Kent."
Only half listening, Nell frowned again. "She does mention the expense of something. One moment, whilst I ..." She broke off, turning the sheet more toward the light and peering at it through narrowed eyes. "Oh, of course. A London Season would be an outrageous expense. It looked like louder session, you know. No one, you will be relieved to hear, dearest ma'am, has fallen or gone ill. She concerns herself with Rory."
"Rory, indeed," Lady Agnes sighed, airing an old grievance. "The child is the Lady Aurora Crossways, and so she should be called. I cannot imagine what my poor papa would have had to say to such a nickname."
"Even Grandpapa must have agreed—had he ever had an opportunity to express himself on the subject—that to have called any child with Rory's shaggy plaits and eternally muddied petticoats Aurora would have been outside of enough," Nell said with an indulgent smile. "Perhaps, however, the little ragtag gypsy who last visited us will have outgrown her hoydenish ways. It is time for her come-out, you know. By heaven," she added, her tone changing to one of exasperation as she returned to her task, "I do wish Clarissa might have seen her way clear to adding a second sheet to this letter, instead of crowding all this lot onto a single page!"
"She is merely being frugal," Lady Agnes stated repressively.
But Nell could not be repressed so easily as that. "Clarissa is an unconscionable pinch-penny and nothing else," she retorted. "There is no point whatsoever to this sort of economy. She cannot have feared you might be put to so much as a ha'penny's expense for the extra sheet, because Crossways has not left Kent and, as you see, was there to frank this letter for her. So it is merely that Clarissa could not bear the pain of parting with a second sheet of her precious letter paper."
"Well, perhaps she does carry her sense of economy a bit far sometimes," Lady Agnes admitted reluctantly, "but—"
"At least she comes by such strong notions honestly enough," Nell teased, hoping to stop the impending lecture before it began.
Lady Agnes stiffened, much like a raffled partridge. "If you mean by that impertinent remark to imply that your own mother is a nipfarthing, Eleanor Lindale, I'll thank you to—"
"I would never say anything so improper, Mama," Nell protested with a chuckle.
"Well, you certainly should not. Not that Kit has not said that very thing to me."
"He never did! What a shocking bouncer, ma'am. To accuse your only son of such a thing. Kit would never speak so to you."
"Well, it was by way of being the same thing, I'm sure. He said I had nip-farthing notions. You know he did," Lady Agnes insisted indignantly. "And merely because dear Sir Henry and I do not choose to loosen the pursestrings at his every least whim."
Nell remembered the incident in question clearly—her handsome young brother angry and frustrated; her mother indignant and full of righteous reason; her mother's man of affairs volubly censorious. But although her eyes danced at the memory, she managed to preserve a tolerable gravity of countenance.
"To a gentleman of nineteen summers without a penny to bless himself, I daresay that the matter of a new shirt is something beyond a mere whim, dearest ma'am, and for you to suggest that your dressmaker might simply mend the lace and add new collars to his old shirts was hardly a notion destined to please him."
"And why not, may I ask?" demanded her ladyship. "I daresay Millicent might even have added new lace—particularly if she was careful to use only goods unencumbered by that odious import duty—and the result would still have cost a deal less than it cost to allow that disgracefully expensive tailor of Kit's to make an entire new shirt. I cannot approve of such extravagance."
"No, ma'am, and how shocking that you should have been saddled with two such expensive offspring as Kit and myself, with nothing at hand to discharge the burden but that dreadful pittance Papa left for the purpose." She said nothing about Lady Agnes's reference to smuggled lace, of course, for smuggling had become so prevalent a fashion that most people felt they were losing some of the best opportunities that life had to offer if they did not acquire some duty-free goods. But Nell's eyes were twinkling wickedly by now, and since they both knew to the farthing what a very comfortable independence Mr. Lindale had left to his widow, there was little Lady Agnes could say in reproof. She had recourse once again to her vinaigrette, instead.
"Kit did get his shirt, did he not?" she pointed out, albeit a trifle weakly. "Three of them, actually. I am persuaded I could not be so unnatural a parent as to wish to deny my darling children the necessities of life."
"No, indeed," Nell agreed, adding irrepressibly, "Moreover, as I recall that particular incident, there was little else to be done once poor Kit showed you how his old shirts were quite bursting at the seams."
"In a better world, one might expect one's son to stop growing at a reasonable age," Lady Agnes mused with a long sigh. Then she gave herself a small shake and added more firmly, "But there is nothing at all wrong in having a well ordered sense of economy, my dear. Though you may tease me and complain of dear Clarissa's frugality, it would do you no harm to cultivate such careful habits yourself. No man wishes to take a spendthrift to wife."
"Mama, for pity's sake, I am no spendthrift. I am, however, five-and-twenty years old, so it is perfectly clear that no man wants me for his wife, spendthrift or not! I have been placed irretrievably upon the shelf, and well you know it." She grinned again, easily stifling her annoyance that the subject had once again risen its head to plague her. "I shall spend my declining years being an expensive prop to my adorable, if overburdened, mama."
"Fiddlesticks!" retorted Lady Agnes, ignoring provocation for once. "'Tis early days yet, my love, for well you know you've had little chance to find a suitable husband. I have forever been telling you these past two years that you should put yourself more in the way of meeting eligible gentlemen."
Smiling, Nell shook her head. "I cannot think it would have done me the slightest good, ma'am. What self-respecting gentleman would give me a second glance in a roomful of blushing, seventeen-year-old debutantes?"
"Nonsense," objected her ladyship stoutly. "'Tis not as if you are ill-favored, my dear. You were quite the prettiest girl in London or Brighton the year you made your come-out."
"Ah, but shy and inarticulate in company, ma'am, so I didn't take. And there was never a second chance."
"So unfair," sighed her ladyship. "No other family of my acquaintance has been so cursed. Six deaths in as many years. And so ill-timed. Each new one coming just as we were about to put off our black gloves."
Nell nodded agreement. "And except for dearest Papa," she added, hoping to clear the troubled frown from her mother's face, "not one of them was worth the effort of putting them on." Lady Agnes looked up in immediate protest, and Nell laughed. "Come now, Mama, and admit that my sentiments, though highly improper, are perfectly sound. Uncle Edgar was a crusty curmudgeon who never cared a wink for anyone but himself."
"Very true," agreed Lady Agnes, "and it was unpardonable of him to leave all his money—family money at that—to that disgraceful woman from Somerset who had the unutterable temerity to call herself his housekeeper. Housekeeper, my—"
"Indeed," Nell chuckled, pursuing the subject with relish. "And Cousin Frederick's carriage accident can only have been providential, since he was but a skip and a hop ahead of the bailiffs. Only think of the scandal he might have brought down about our heads had he lived much longer than he did!"
Lady Agnes shuddered delicately. "True enough, I fear. It did seem somewhat hypocritical to wear mourning on his behalf, though I had got quite accustomed to my blacks by then. Nonetheless, my dear, it was very sad when Aunt Hester passed on."
"Perhaps," Nell mused. "I never knew her as you did, of course. To me, she was merely a rude old lady whose breath smelled of peppermint and whose clothes emitted clouds of snuff whenever she moved."
"Filthy habit, that. All very well for gentlemen, of course, and both Sir Henry and Mr. Brummell do take theirs with such a natty air. But I cannot approve of the habit for a gentlewoman."
"Of course not, ma'am. And even you will be hard-pressed to explain why we were all plunged into deep mourning when Aunt Agatha's second husband died. He was a sour creature and no connection of ours at all. I should have thought six weeks of black gloves would have answered the purpose well enough."
"And so it should have," Lady Agnes agreed. "But you know very well that your Aunt Agatha would have been offended if we had not observed all the proprieties. Besides," she added with a sigh, "you could not have danced in black gloves, and by the time the six weeks had passed, the Season here was over anyway. And the following year, poor Mr. Pallworthy went to his reward. Your aunt would never have forgiven us if we had behaved shabbily then, for not only was he our first cousin, but he had been the vicar at Parkhurst—and thereby her confessor, you know—for years and years."
"Sometimes," Nell said thoughtfully, "I cannot think how Aunt Agatha came to be your twin, Mama."
"Why, in the usual fashion, of course, my dear." The twinkle that lit her ladyship's eyes gave her a sudden resemblance to her youthful daughter. "Not but what I don't follow your meaning well enough. I may be a nipfarthing, but no one would ever accuse me of being cross-grained."
"No, indeed," Nell agreed promptly. "Why, you are quite the kindest, most generous-hearted person of my acquaintance. And Clarissa agrees. I daresay she would not so much as consider sending poor Rory to spend six weeks with Aunt Agatha. Only think how nipped about and confined the poor child would be!"
"Agatha wouldn't have her," Lady Agnes stated flatly. "Not for one week." She paused with an arrested look, then bent a suspicious eye upon her daughter. "Are you suggesting that we are to have that doubtful pleasure, Nell? For I must tell you—"
"Is it not wonderful, Mama?" Nell interrupted quickly. "And just when you have been saying that I should go about more, too. For you must have guessed that Clarissa means to launch Rory here in Brighton. At least," she amended, "she means for me to do so."
"Why on earth, if she means the girl to come out this year, did she not do the thing properly in London?" demanded Lady Agnes. "I am sure Clarissa never said a word about any of this to me."
"Since Rory did not turn seventeen until mid-June," Nell explained patiently, scanning the letter in order to be certain of getting her words right, "Clarissa felt she was too young to make her come-out during the London Season. She also"—this on a wry note—"mentions the expense. I daresay she thinks it will be cheaper here."
"Well, of course it will cost less if she means to do it from Upper Rock Gardens," replied Lady Agnes, a bit tartly. "In London, she would have had to hire a house, and that would have been dreadfully dear."
"Crossways can afford it, however."
"I did not say he couldn't, Nell. How you do take one up! Does Clarissa expect me to absorb the expense of this visit?"
Excerpted from An Affair of Honor by Amanda Scott. Copyright © 1984 Lynne Scott-Drennan. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Too much talking.
I have enjoyed many of her books , but this one is just boring. For romance you don t get the typical bantering between the couple instead you you aunt, the young spoil bride to be and the groom to be nothing that make you really want continue other see if it gets any better . I'm a little half way through
Historical background that is well done. Romance and drama thru to the end. She always surprises me with the way she brings about the desired ending,