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Miss Kathleen's Scandalous Baron
When the young American debutante, Miss Kathleen Hawks, arrives in town for the London season, the last thing she expects is an attraction to the scandalous Lord Billingsley. He’s the kind of aristocrat she detests, one who only cares for his pleasures.
Andrew Grainger is handsome, young and very wealthy. He loves carousing with his pack of friends from his school days. When he stumbles across the prim, yet charming Miss Hawks, he should avoid her at any cost. After all, she’s an innocent young miss, barely out of the schoolroom. But…there’s just something about her he finds irresistible.
When a chance encounter in a darkened library leads to scandal for the pair, they must choose to brave the Beau Monde, or give into its dictates. Is there any possibility that what appears to be a match made in Hades, could turn into a match made in heaven instead?
Kathleen Hawks fumed all the way to her brother’s study. Alex must have talked to their mother. Again, she had allowed her emotions to overrule her actions. When she arrived at the door, her heart fluttered, but knowing she had to get this over with, she tapped on the door.
Her brother’s voice, bade her enter. She purposely turned the knob and opened the door as she inhaled and exhaled slowly to prepare herself for what she suspected would be an unpleasant conversation. “Good morning, Alex. You wanted to see me?”
Her brother moved behind his desk. “Please, take a seat.” His set features clearly shouted his displeasure.
Once she settled back in her chair, Alex sat in the chair behind his large desk and began speaking. “Kathleen, I spoke with Ma and she told me the two of you argued at breakfast. She’s concerned over your defiant attitude, and she feels I may have made a mistake regarding Mr. Jones.”
Oh, dear, when will I learn to control my tongue. “I’m sorry I was disrespectful, but she made several derogatory comments regarding my betrothed. I let my temper get the best of me.”
Her brother’s stubborn expression did not bode well, and she waited for the proverbial axe to fall. “I agree with Ma. I want you to reconsider your engagement to Mr. Jones. You’re only eighteen, and he’s ten years older than you. I don’t believe you are well-suited. Your temperaments are vastly different. His only concern seems to be his responsibilities at his father’s bank. You were always so playful and vivacious. Now, you’ve changed and I cannot like it.”
She gripped the arms on the chair. The last thing she needed to do was agitate her brother. “You’re wrong, Alex. So what if we have a few differing interests, we love each other and that is what is important. You gave William your permission for the marriage before we left last fall.”
Alex stared her down. “I realize that. However, I should never have given it. As you well know, I had quite a few grave issues to deal with at the time, too many to have made such an important decision, one that involves your future happiness. I’m seriously considering sending him a letter telling him I am withdrawing my consent.”
She clasped her hands together to keep them from trembling. It was all she could do to remain seated. “Please, you can’t do this to me. I love William, and he loves me.” Then throwing caution to the wind, she stood and shouted, “I. Know. My. Own. Mind!”
“Kathleen.” Alex’s flushed face resembled a storm cloud as he stood and placed his powerful hands on his desk. “I will not tolerate your disrespect, young lady. Ma is ashamed of your behavior, and so am I. When you arrive in London for the season, you either promise to give this opportunity the Barringtons are offering you, or I will write the letter withdrawing my consent today.”
Her stomach clenched as she tried to rein in her anger. Alex was seriously considering withdrawing his permission. She had to placate him, if she wanted to continue her engagement to William. “Please, don’t write the letter. I’ll go to London, and I promise I will participate fully in the parties. I’ll even keep an open mind.”
Alex resumed his seat. “Good. That’s more like it. I do have your best interests at heart, Darlin’. I want you to be sure Mr. Jones is the right man for you. He’s the first man to show you any attention. Please take this time to be sure of your love for him. That’s all I ask.”
Whenever her very American brother grew angry, their mother’s strong Virginian upbringing took over, and his southern drawl came through. Now that he had to spend much of his time in England, he had worked hard to minimize it.
“I suppose it can’t hurt, but I will not change my mind. Now if you will excuse me, I’ll return to my packing, so I will be ready when the duke and duchess arrive tomorrow.” She stiffened her spine, turned, and left his study.