A Waltz with a Rogue Novella, #3
A marriage offer obligated by duty; an acceptance, compelled by desperation.
At two and twenty and scarred from a fire, Philomena Pomfrett is resigned to spinsterhood, but to ease her dying brother’s fretting, she reluctantly agrees to attend a London Season—to acquire a husband. If she fails, when he dies, with no family and no money, her future is perilous. Betrayed once by love, Philomena entertains no notions of a love-match.
Newly titled, Bradford, Viscount Kingsley, returns to England after a three-year absence. When he stumbles upon Philomena hiding in a secluded arbor during a ball, he doesn’t recognize his first love, believing she died in a fire. Yet, something about her enthralls him, and he steals a moonlit kiss. Caught in the act by Philomena’s brother, Bradford is issued an ultimatum—a duel or marry Philomena.
Bradford offers marriage, but Philomena rejects his half-hearted proposal, convinced he’d grow to despise her. Then her brother collapses, and she’s faced with marrying a man who deserted her once already.
See What Readers Are Saying:
What a breathtaking novella…She eloquently yet entertainingly takes readers into the lives of high society during London’s Season, creating a fantastically gossip inducing backdrop for this fun & romantic tale. ~Pure Jonel
I swear Collette Cameron nearly gave me a fit of the vapours with HER SCANDALOUS WISH! ~Monique D
Ms. Cameron’s ability to draw you into the characters will have you traveling the same roller coaster as Philomena & Bradford. So buckle in for a wonderful 5 star+ ride. ~Dee Foster
“Had me grinning from chapter one.” ~Aleen-Lampshade Reader
Ms. Cameron has “hit the ball out of the ballpark” again with this delicious novella. ~J. Hougland
A woman surveyed the heavens, the moon illuminating her upturned face and flaxen hair as she rested one shoulder against the other entrance’s post. In her white gown, a wide, whitish ribbon encircling her curls, and her features faintly blurry in the half light, she appeared ethereal. Angelic.
“You made a wish too.” Bradford stepped forward.
Giving a startled squeak, she whirled to face him and tripped on something—a root or uneven stone, perhaps. Unbalanced, she flailed her arms, dropping her fan.
He sprang forward and caught the tempting armful around her trim back. Generous breasts pressed his chest, leaving two molten spots, and her fragrant hair teased his nose. Inhaling the flowery essence blending with the honeysuckle-laden air, he tightened his embrace. She fit into the hollow of his arms as snugly as a hand fits a custom-made glove, her plentiful curves promising passion.
Who was she?
“Good God, are you insane?” She scrambled free of his embrace then gave his chest a forceful shove. “You scared the stuffing out of me and ten years off my life, you ill-mannered lout. You might damn-well warn someone before you prowl up behind them unawares.”
Though he couldn’t see her features clearly, he didn’t doubt the sharp-tongued angel glowered at him as she bent to retrieve her fan.
“What are you doing gadding about out here alone?” She jabbed the accessory toward the path. “Shouldn’t you be inside dancing, or seducing, or doing whatever handsome, privileged men do at these affairs?”
What was she doing lurking in the bower alone?
“How do you know I’m handsome? I could be a pock-scarred, toothless troll.” He couldn’t identify her in the shadowy enclosure. Had they been introduced tonight? “It’s too dark to make out my features. I know, because I’m doing my utmost to see your face. If it’s anything like your voice, I can expect utter loveliness.”
“Of all the flowery hogwash—” She poked her head out the entrance, her champagne-colored hair shiny in the lantern light, and after looking both ways, she retreated deep into the bower.
Was she expecting someone? Not unusual. Many lovers took advantage of gatherings to indulge in an assignation. Disappointment that she waited for someone prodded him, nonetheless.
“I beg your pardon,” she said. “That was unpardonably rude.”
Transparent, honest, and quick to apologize. How refreshing. Perhaps she truly was an angel.
“I’ve never been able to bridle my waspish tongue, I’m afraid.” Her husky, self-conscious laugh had him imagining all sorts of things she might do with her tongue.
Bradford edged nearer. Something niggled in the back of his mind. They’d met before. He’d bet on it. Probably before Father had hied him and Olivia off to the sweltering, disease-riddled ends of the earth.
Three years wasted on a doddering old fool’s pursuit.
Ah, well. Naught could be done to alter the past. He much preferred the present and the intriguing sprite hovering in the arbor. He typically avoided blondes, but this woman with her light hair drew him. “No apology necessary. I confess, I was so disconcerted by your wish mirroring mine, I didn’t think to alert you to my presence.”
“You did give me a tremendous start.” Releasing a musical laugh, she flipped her fan open and waved it before her, not coyly but fervently, as if overheated. “I confess. I’m mortified you overheard my wish. You must think me a ninny, talking to myself.”
He was forgiven. Just like that. No pouting or fussing. Definitely an angelic being.
“Not a bit of it.” After all, his wish had been as silly. “I dare say, we are at our most honest when we speak to ourselves, are we not?”
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