A Match Made in Scandal

A Match Made in Scandal

by Melody Thomas
3.5 12

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A Match Made in Scandal by Melody Thomas

An obsession that blooms into scandal

Since childhood, Ryan Donally adored Rachel Bailey, though the brilliant, beautiful lass saw him as just another rowdy boy. The years pulled them apart, carrying Rachel to a place of responsibility and respect few women of her time enjoyed . . . while Ryan ascended to undreamed-of heights of wealth and success, and bound his heart to another.

Now fate has brought them together once again—and Rachel sees not the boy she once spurned, but a breathtaking man she desires. Yet Ryan has moved on and is unwilling to forgive, and Rachel hides a secret shame that could destroy everything she has worked for. Then, in one moment of unrestrained passion, the walls between them tumble, and the price they must pay is a marriage neither can afford. But will a sensuous fire too-long resisted bring tragedy . . . or will it forge a glorious and undying love?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061747434
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Donally Family Series , #3
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 524,441
File size: 630 KB

About the Author

Melody Thomas is a wordsmith, a creator of dreams, and a passionate believer in happy endings. A product of thirteen schools and twenty-two moves stretching across the United States and Europe, she is a self-proclaimed gypsy. Her fascination with historical romance began when, in her teens, she visited the Tower of London and learned that Henry the Eighth had beheaded two of his wives. This was great fodder for her teenage imagination and the start of a love affair with history, intrigue, and irresistible heroes.

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A Match Made in Scandal

Chapter One


With a sigh of frustration, Rachel Bailey thrummed her fingers on the polished banister, the diaphanous froth of her emerald skirt whispering with her movement. Perfumed currents of air mingled with cigar smoke drifting from the ballroom below. She turned, her fan dangling from one wrist, an empty dance card on the other.

She'd tried not to care that so many here found her an intellectual oddity or had excluded her from their social circles.

Especially tonight.

For Cinderella had nothing on Rachel, except perhaps the eye of the handsome prince, or in this case the talented recipient of one of the most prestigious awards in all of Great Britain. A civil engineer could garner no higher honor than the Gold Telford Award, an honor that she would never receive because of her gender, but one that Ryan Donally most aptly deserved. From the gilt-edged balcony of the Palace Hotel, overlooking the ballroom, she watched him, his tall, dark form easily recognizable among the colorful assemblage. Music floated high above the spacious floor to resonate against the dome-shaped roof, elaborately paneled in Venetian mirrors. All about her, the ball was in full swing, the swirl of colors arcing across the polished floor like a rainbow.

Incredibly handsome, Ryan was suited to the petite blonde he held a little too intimately in his arms, Lady Gwyneth Abbott. His future wife, if one was to believe the rumor running rampant among the crowd. She was a jewel of elegant architecture in vermilion silk and upswept blond hair wrapped in a diamond tiara. The two conversed,his vital energy mesmerizing, his open smile reflecting an animated conversation that drew more than Rachel's attention.

Ever since they'd been children, Ryan had garnered attention wherever he went. He mastered crowds as easily as he gathered accolades, his charisma a reflection of his Irish good looks. Now, having amassed a fortune in the iron-ore industry, Ryan himself had since become an international conglomerate separate from his family—and separate from her—a far reach from the uncouth boy who used to throw spiders in her hair when they were children.

Theirs had always been an impossible relationship. He was her curse.

And the very reason she had returned to England.

Drawing in her breath against her tightly laced corset, Rachel knew she was naive to think she could walk back into his life tonight after everything she'd done to him, and not feel panic.

They had not spoken since Kathleen had died four years ago.

She had to find a way to speak with him. She needed to talk to him.

“The woman in my brother's arms is the Earl of Devonshire's niece,” a masculine voice murmured next to her ear and startled her.

John Donally had managed a soundless approach and caught her staring at Ryan. “And of whom are you speaking?” Rachel plucked a fluted champagne glass off the tray of a passing footman.

“You know of whom I'm speaking. I understand that she's the earl's ward and that she's sought after among the ton's bachelors. But she has eyes only for my brother. She's quite beautiful.”

And Ryan's brother, with whom she usually managed an excellent rapport, only jammed the knife a little deeper into her heart. Rachel truly didn't want to know that the girl was flawless as a snowflake. Sipping champagne, she welcomed the wet effervescence against her senses. “Did Lady Gwyneth make him cut his hair?” she asked, for lack of anything charitable to say. She'd noticed Ryan's trademark queue missing.

“I doubt it, colleen.” Johnny crossed his arms. “But you can always inquire.”

“I would very much like to talk to him. He's not been in London for a week.”

“He's been in Bristol. They returned last night.”


Ryan's older brother peered over the balcony, his dark curly hair catching the light from the Venetian chandelier. “He and Lady Gwyneth, and the girl's sister,” Johnny said. “He just purchased property there.”

“Can he really want to marry her, Johnny?”

“What do I know about Ryan's heart? Since Kathleen's death, he's kept his emotions locked away so tightly none of us have been able to make sense of anything he does.” Slipping a hand into his pocket, Johnny turned. “He's not the same man he used to be. Don't be lulled into thinking otherwise.”

“Does he ever speak of Kathleen?”

Johnny folded his arms and leaned against the balustrade. “Why have you come all the way from Ireland to be here tonight, colleen?”

“Despite everything else he's done these past four years, Ryan still chairs Donally & Bailey Engineering.” She studied the champagne bubbles in her glass, realizing they were perfectly formed spheres and, if she held them to the light, they glittered. That such perfection could result from the nasty by-product of massive chaos and organic upheaval was the essence of true chemistry.

Rachel swiveled her glass in the light and blinked as Johnny's handsome face suddenly came into focus over the crystalline rim. Realizing he might construe too much from such unusual whimsy, she sipped. “You have to admit the award is well deserved. He's required reading at Edinburgh and Go_ttingen.”

“And naturally, you're filled with admiration for his talents.” Johnny plucked the glass from her fingertips and set it on the table beside the richly gilt Corinthian column. “Methinks you've imbibed enough, colleen.”

recaptured her glass, prepared to do battle for one more taste. “What will she be thinking to see the two of us all alone up here, cozy as lovebirds grappling over my champagne flute?”

His dark eyes filling with mischief, he deftly snatched the glass from her hands and set it on the tray of a passing footman. “She'll be thinkin' that we've known each other all of our lives, Rachel.” Taking her elbow, he forced her gaze from the glass of spirits disappearing down the back stairway that led out to the hotel kitchens.

A Match Made in Scandal. Copyright © by Melody Thomas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Match Made in Scandal 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Four years have passed since the death of Kathleen changed her husband Ryan Donally into a womanizing angry person and her best friend Rachel Bailey into a guilt laden soul. He has become an award winning civil engineer rumored to marry soon the lady Gwyneth Abbott while Rachel fled to Ireland to perform engineering projects. Now Rachel, an engineer too, is back in London ostensibly to expand the Rathdrum project. However, she knows she is really there to plead with Ryan that she needs him to help heal her heart as she feels guilty over the horrible accusations she made when Kathleen died in childbirth. She also feels guilty that she had desired him although he was married to her best friend.................. However, Ryan, who once loved the only woman who could defeat him at croquet, refuses to forgive her. Still he is unable to ignore his desire for Rachel and soon they make love as if the world is about to end. Forced to marry, their relationship though filled with blazing passion, looks doomed to failure unless each forgive her transgressions and reconcile with the past........................ A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL is a terrific Victorian romance starring two likable but remorseful individuals who have never come to grips with the death of Kathleen, a person they both cared for. The story line is driven by the lead couple as each needs to find a way to move past their grief although four years have passed. Fans will appreciate this fine 1870s drama in which love is the only hope to bring about healing................. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant believe how some viewed this story; this is one of my favorite all timers in the historical romance genre, i came across Ms. Thomas awhile ago, i think her stories are so romantic that the characters stay with you for awhile. The whole series is a Must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is TERRIBLE! The heroine and hero have been in love with each other for years, but he marries her best friend, she runs off to college, heroine's best friend and hero's wife dies in childbirth, so heroine ignores him and the child (whose godmother the heroine is) for 4 years. Already sounds clugy and pointless doesn't it? Well it only gets worse! The heroine is a willfull jackass always jumping into problems and the hero (oh yes, who is engaged to another woman) is always running after her. Dear Lord, after page 47, I skipped ahead to page 150, hoping this drivel would improve....it did not, so I skipped to page 240 and by this time I was screaming to myself "hurry up and END for God's sake!" Do yourself a favor and walk, no RUN, past this one quickly. Too much bloody angst, anger and heartache for a romance novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Main characters are constantly referencing the past, but so much is never explained. If he always loved her, why did he marry her best friend? She mentions that he kissed her and then left town. When was that and what was that about? Various times her crush on his older brother is brought up. What happened with that and why is the older brother no longer involved in the business? I felt frustrated at the end of this book, because the past influenced their lives, but we aren't told enough about the past.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading Melody Thomas' work. Her stories are not routine, and neither are her characters. When I finished reading this book, I promptly went out and looked for more of her stuff and it makes for a great read. The plot details are well thought out and the reader has to think a little about what is going on. I recommed this book - it was difficult to put down