Scandalous Again (Switching Places Series #1)

Scandalous Again (Switching Places Series #1)

by Christina Dodd

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Two exquisite cousins must exchange identities in a scandalous deception.

Madeline de Lacy, the duchess of Magnus, prides herself on being one of the most sensible young women in England, which is why she can't believe that, in a turn of the cards, her noble father has lost his entire estate — and her! — to a stranger.

On a mission to salvage her family fortune, she changes places with her cousin and companion, sending the meeker Eleanor to confront the man who had won Madeline's hand. Now, Madeline is free to enter the home of a notorious gambler, and pretends to be meek, humble, and competent with an iron. She is, of course, none of those things; she simply is resolved to win her family's fortune back. Just when she thinks matters can't get worse, she meets Gabriel Ansell, the earl of Campion, and they do. Horribly worse.

Four years ago, Madeline was engaged to Gabriel, and worshipped his arrogant kisses. Now, being forced to marry a man she doesn't know pales in comparison to the ordeal of facing Gabriel again, the man who betrayed her — Gabriel, the only man she ever loved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060092658
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/05/2003
Series: Switching Places Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,305,520
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author CHRISTINA DODD builds worlds filled with suspense, romance, and adventure, and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty novels have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, won Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and RITA Awards, and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.

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Scandalous Again

Chapter One

Suffolk, 1806

"Now, Madeline, I realize you've only just arrived home from your tour abroad, and you deserve to rest, but I'm afraid that's not possible."

Madeline de Lacy, the Marchioness of Sheridan, the future duchess of Magnus, bit into the first good English beef she'd had in almost four years, chewed, swallowed and smiled beatifically across the sunny breakfast table at the bluff, red-cheeked bulldog of an Englishman. "Why is that, Papa?"

"I wagered you in a game of piquet and I lost."

She stared. Placing her knife and fork carefully beside her plate, she glanced at the dumbfounded footman, frozen in place as he bent to pour Magnus his morning coffee. "That will do, Heaton. Place the carafe on the sideboard. We'll call you if we need you." When Heaton had left, she gazed at her father and repeated -- for she wanted no misunderstanding -- "You wagered me in a game of chance and lost."

He continued eating steadily, silverware clinking and flashing. "No use trying to soften the blow, I say. Not with you, m' dear. Sturdy girl. Sensible girl. Always said so. Glad of it."

Drawing on that famed sensibility, she said, "Perhaps you could give me the details of this extraordinary bet."

"Had the bad luck to play not knowing he had gained a pique, which reduced me to -- "

Madeline took a fortifying breath. "No, Papa. I mean -- why would you put me in a game as ante?"

"Well, he suggested it."

"He being ...?"

"Mr. Knight."

"And you agreed because ... ?"

"I'd just lost our fortune and all our estates. You were the only thing left."

Amazing how rational he made his actions sound. "So in a run of bad luck, you wagered everything we have -- and your only child?"

"Yes. At the time, it seemed a wise move."

Her brows rose. After the death of her mother seventeen years ago, when Madeline was five, her life had changed from that of a sheltered daughter to one of a girl dealing with the frequent disasters orchestrated by her beloved papa. By the time she was twelve, she knew how to direct a household, to plan a party, to deal with every kind of social disaster.

She was not prepared for this. Yet her heartbeat remained calm, her brow unwrinkled, her hands relaxed in her lap. She'd faced catastrophes of Olympian proportions before -- almost all the result of her father's careless disregard. Her composure would not be compromised now. "How so?"

"At least if he won you, you'd be assured of having our estates under your control, or at least the control of your husband." Magnus chewed thoughtfully. "It's almost the same as offering the estates as your dowry."

"Except if the estates had been offered as a dowry, I would have the advantage of knowing my husband and agreeing to the match." It seemed a point her father should concede, although she had little hope of that.

"There is that, but really, what difference would it make if you know the chap? You were already engaged once. You loved him. And that proved a disaster! What was his name? Brown-haired fellow with those damned disturbing eyes." Gazing up at the gilded, cherub-decorated ceiling, Magnus stroked his chin. "He was a hundred times more suitable than this Mr. Knight, but you jilted him. Rendered London speechless for at least" -- he chuckled -- "eight seconds. Until then, didn't know you could lose your temper. What was his name?"

A crack appeared in her tranquillity; her hands curled into fists. "Gabriel Ansell, the earl of Campion." "That's right. B' God, I'll never forget. Magnificent in your wrath! Reminded me of your mother on a rampage."

Madeline didn't want to hear this. She didn't like to be reminded of her rage, or her loss of control, or that night and what followed. Afterward, for the first time in her life, she'd tossed decorum aside. She'd gone abroad to forget, and hadn't come back until she'd achieved forgetfulness. She never thought of Gabriel anymore. She scarcely remembered his name.

"Your mother was just like you. Always level-headed except when she flew into the boughs, then the oceans quailed." Turning toward the closed door, Magnus shouted, "More kippers!"

Picking up the bell at her elbow, Madeline rang it. The butler answered. Heaton had undoubtedly raced to the kitchen to share the extraordinary news with the household. She addressed Uppington in a composed manner. "His Grace would like more kippers." Anything to fill his mouth and stop him from talking about Gabriel. About Lord Campion.

Uppington bowed. In his rush to handle yet another of Magnus's "situations," he had buttoned his tailed jacket askew. "Aye, my lady." He refilled their plates.

Madeline bent her attention to her meal. A less formidable woman would have had her appetite destroyed by Magnus, but if Madeline allowed her father to destroy her appetite every time he scrambled their fortunes, she would be a wraith. She saw no wisdom in that.

"Will there be anything else, my lady?" Uppington asked.

"Not ... yet." Although, she reflected, perhaps she should ask for a cricket bat or any blunt object with which to beat sense into her parent. Actually, it was far too late. She knew that ... or she might have tried it. She was accounted to have a good swing. "Papa, did you lose the queen's tiara?"

"No! Not mine to lose." Magnus actually looked alarmed. "It belongs to you, who will be a duchess in her own right. Your mother wore it in her wedding portrait. Elizabeth herself would come back and haunt me if I wagered the tiara."

The queen's tiara had been given to one of Madeline's ancestors, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth the First, for saving Elizabeth's life. Solid gold and encrusted with jewels, the tiara was worth a fortune in cash and sentiment, and the queen decreed that, regardless of their gender, the eldest child of the family would inherit the title ...

Scandalous Again. Copyright © by Christina Dodd. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Scandalous Again 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1806 Madeline de Lacey returns to England after four years overseas to escape what she perceived was the betrayal of the man she loved, Gabriel Ansell. When Madeline learned Gabriel gambled, something she abhors due to her chronically playing father, she felt her fiancé stabbed her in the back. Now she is back, but learns her dad did it again. He lost the estate and her playing piquet. She is stunned to find out she is the fiancée of Remington Knight. Instead of meeting with Remington, Madeline has to keep her father from joining the game of the century. She pretends to be her companion Eleanor, who she sends to London as her to meet with Remington. At Mr. Rumbelow¿s estate where the game will be held, Madeline runs into Gabriel, who treats her with disdain even though he knows he still loves her and she loves him too, but his gambling remains a wedge between them. This is an engaging regency romance that works on several levels as reader obtain a taste of an era in which women are ¿assets¿ of a man and gambling can ruin a family. The story line is action packed and the tension between the lead couple is taut though why she slept with him after she dropped him four years ago lessens Madeline, a strong protagonist otherwise. Christina Dodd provides an insightful tale that fans will enjoy as it showcases social issues of then and now. Harriet Klausner
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jen Book purchased by the reviewer for pleasure Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I love historical romances. I’ve had the two books in this series sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I was in the mood for a historical romance, so I actually decided to pick up the books. But I wasn’t sure of the order, and I actually ended up reading this book (book 1) after it’s sequel. However, since the books are taking place simultaneously it wasn’t too frustrating to me. The premise behind this series is that a duchess and her cousin / companion end up switching places. The duchess’s father has wagered her away in a card game and she’s supposed to head to London to meet her new betrothed. But on the way, she learns of a huge house party / card game and thinks her father is going to do more damage. So she sends her cousin to London to hopefully call off the wedding while the duchess goes to to the party to stop her father. But of course, nothing is as simple as you’d hoped it would be… and that makes for a good story. This book follows Madeline, the duchess, and Gabriel. These two were engaged a few years in the past and she ran when she felt she was betrayed. Now they run into each other at the house party and the sparks are still there, however the trust isn’t. I liked Madeline, but had some mixed feelings for Gabriel. But, they are good together once they get past all those trust issues. Madeline was fun to watch. Her whole life she grew up knowing she was going to be a duchess, so she’s a super strong and independent woman. So, when she’s decided to take on a role of a companion… well, it’s just a fun ride for the reader since she can’t contain her opinions and that superior air. Then there is Gabriel. He’s at the house party to stop a criminal and get revenge for his brother’s death. Running into Madeline is an unexpected, but delightful surprise. I often felt he was a little heavy handed in how he dealt with Madeline and I personally would’ve run the other direction. But, it did work for these two characters. All in all, these books don’t have to be read in order, but I would recommend it. The last 50 or so pages of One Kiss from You have Madeline and Gabriel and seeing them together was rather spoiled by not having read this book. Also, Scandalous Again does set up the whole switch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Christina Dodd produces a historical romance with passion, love, humor and suspense. Her two main characters are well rounded and have personalities that all readers can adore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The heroine is both selfish and judgemental. She doesn't confront who she must (her father) and goes around stepping on everybody else. I didn't get why she had to honor her father's debt. She was a heiress to the dukedom in her own right so most of the properties were probably entailed and she was going to get them whether she married or not. The only redeeming features were the hero and the steamy sex scenes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 6 months ago
" He grabbed her, kissed her and ignored her protestations" This is assault, not someone you are hoping will be a love match for any woman. I rarely give one star, but I would not want anyone to read this and think it was romance. No means no.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great story. I always love her characters and this one had great suspense that kept me turning the pages.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intetesting premise, but i just never got into the story or the characters. Not sure whether i'll readthe second book.
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urbangirl72 More than 1 year ago
I am sorry I read the other one first because Madeline isn't as cool as Eleanor. Madeline granted is spoiled from being rich so her upbringing didn't encourage maturity, but Eleanor is the better person. I liked Gabriel. He seemed to have matured over time more so than Madeline. I think he loved who he preceived her to be and not who she acted like. I had a hard time with her in this book and kept reading hoping to hear more about what was going on with Eleanor through the grapevine. Anyway, just to finish the story about them read both books.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Premise of this one sounded like a lot of fun, and the two women had been out of society just long enough to make the deception somewhat believeable. Some fun scenarios ensued, but then it just pretty much lost me. The whole "if you really love me you'll trust me even though I'm letting you leave here for parts unknown with a notorious criminal who may or may not also kill people--plan? What plan? Winging it sounds good" bit even stretched my capacity for suspending belief. It did interest me enough that I'm going to try Eleanor's story, though, and hope for more credibility.
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