A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS – Jo Beverley
England 1764 and 1765
Best friends Georgia and Dickon, the Earl of Maybury and his beauteous Countess, married very young; she was sixteen, he only a few years older. They were two bright stars in Society until, inexplicably, the easy-gong earl was killed by a sword through his heart in a duel over a carriage race. The killer, Sir Charnley Vance, ran from the scene and was never seen again. Nasty gossip arose that Dickon was killed by Lady Maybury's lover so they could be together. Georgia retired with her family to the country for a year of mourning that seemed endless. It's not that she didn't love Dickon; he was her best friend, and she was very young after all. Three years of marriage failed to produce children, and she missed the gay dresses and parties and being the center of attention.
And now Lady May is back in Town and determined to regain her place among the ton . Perhaps she'll marry a duke this time.
Lord Dracy, former lieutenant in the Royal Navy, retired after unexpectedly inheriting a depleted barony. He hopes to bring the estate back to some prosperity by setting up a stud. He and Georgia 's father strike a bargain after a horse race. She doesn't know anything about the deal; she just knows that she is to help ease Dracy—who is not used to moving in high circles and whose face is badly scarred—into London Society.
The men who made up Lady May's court are happy to see her again, but she gradually senses coolness from others, especially the ladies. Rumors about the old scandal arise again . . . and they are worse than ever.
Georgia accepts Dracy as an escort. He had once thought to find a comfortable wife, but the lively Lady May—one of the very few to take his scar in stride—presents a challenge he can barely resist. Georgia finds herself attracted to Dracy as well, but her ambitions are higher than an impoverished baron. Georgie may sound very self-centered, but we must remember how young and spoiled she is. Is her heart is big enough to overcome her faults?
These seemingly mismatched protagonists' actions and dialogues make A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS a thoroughly enjoyable book. Conflicts abound in their relationship and the in rest of the plot, and minor characters add more interest, but Georgia and Dracy take first prize for fun and appeal. Be sure to look for the highly engaging A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS by the ever popular Jo Beverley.