Scandal’s Deception by Pamela Gibson
Publication Date: July 21, 2021
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Series: Scandal Series, Book 4
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
Jane Stafford, raised in America, is shocked to learn she is a wealthy heiress, her late father was an earl, and her English mother is alive. Anxious to meet the woman she long-thought dead, she travels to London, only to be whisked away by her sinfully handsome guardian to a remote estate to be “schooled” in the ways of the ton.
Gilbert Carmichael, Lord Ralston, chafes at having to make a rebellious young heiress acceptable to society, especially one who is impetuous and blatantly democratic. Because the instruction she needs is more than deportment and dancing. It’s also about how to spot a rake who might woo her for her fortune.
When Ralston learns his ward is to be used as a pawn in an elaborate scheme involving a secret impersonation, he will move heaven and earth to keep her safe. Because proximity has brought the uncomfortable knowledge that his interest may be more than duty—it just might be love.
About the Author
Author of eight books on California history and sixteen romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who now lives in the Nevada desert. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public administration, but her passion is and always has been writing.
Having spent three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, her Siamese rescue cat.
If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com and sign up for her blog and quarterly newsletter. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads.
“Who occupies the room beyond?” asked Jane.
Mother raised her eyebrows. “Your sister of course. How can one maid dress two ladies if they are far apart?”
Jane swallowed several times, trying not to become alarmed. So many surprises in one day were off-putting. “I am to meet her today? Now?”
“You are. I must warn you, your sister is ill. She does not like visitors popping into her chamber while in her bedridden state.”
“Is it serious? Have you called a physician?” Ralston turned into the dutiful guardian, concerned about his other charge’s health.
“No, I have not. Nothing can be done. It must run its course, and that course could take a week or more.”
Ralston narrowed his eyes in concern. “Should Jane remain here. I do not want her to contract something that might be contagious.”
Lady Siltsbury laughed, and her dainty hands fluttered in front of her. “Please. Give me more credit than that. Jocelyn’s ‘state’ is why Jane has been summoned early, and I pray that she is prepared.”
She opened the door and approached the bed where Jane’s mirror image lay propped on large, fluffy pillows, a book tossed on the floor.
“Oh no, Mama. No visitors.” Jocelyn covered her face with her hands.
The girl in the bed was a stranger, but a curious connection seemed to draw Jane closer. She sat on the edge of the bed and gently tugged her sister’s hands away from her face. What she saw would have been appalling if she hadn’t suffered a similar fate several years ago.
Jane’s twin was covered with red welts, and she knew from experience they itched like the devil and scratching made them worse.
She swallowed the smile on her lips and tried to appear somber. “You have hives.”
The woman in the bed, who looked so much like her, widened her eyes and reached out to touch Jane’s face. “I-I don’t believe it. Mama said I had a twin. I thought her addled by excessive strain over the arrangements for the ball. You are real.”
They gazed at each other as if no one else were in the room. Jane broke the silence.
“What was the cause of this catastrophe? Is it possible you have been dining on a particular hothouse delicacy called fresh strawberries?”
Jane’s first experience with strawberries had been at a market fair. A farmer had been experimenting with the plant and offered a sample. They were too delicious to refuse, and Jane had bought a large basket of them to take home. They were delightfully sweet, and she had eaten more than she should. The next day, and for several more days after, she’d regretted her gluttony.
“You look like you want to laugh at my discomfort.” Jocelyn drew the covers to her chin. “Why are all of you in this room? And why is Ralston in here?”
“Lord Ralston is our guardian. He has every right to be concerned about our welfare until we reach our majority, or marry.” She peered closely above Jocelyn’s ear. “I believe I see a new welt on your scalp.”
“I knew it.”
The spots were funny to see. They also were misery incarnate. She held her mirth and tried to look compassionate. But the conversation taking place behind her made her pay close attention.
“The birthday ball is in two days,” said Lady Siltsbury.
“A shame,” said Ralston. “I know you’ve gone to great expense. Jocelyn must remain in bed.”
“It is too late to call off the festivities now, Ralston.”
“Will you host the ball without her?”
“What do you mean?”
“Jane is going to impersonate Jocelyn.”
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