Can society's most notorious rake redeem his reputation and become the man Daphne deserves?
He's spent years scandalizing society.
Now, this rake must change his ways.
Society's most infamous scoundrel, Daniel Winterbourne, the Earl of Montfort, has been promised a small fortune if he can relinquish his wayward, carousing lifestyle. And behaving means he must also help find a respectable companion for his youngest sister--someone who will guide her and whom she can emulate. However, Daniel knows no such woman. But when he encounters a childhood friend, Daniel believes she may just be the answer to all of his problems.
Having been secretly humiliated by an unscrupulous blackguard years earlier, Miss Daphne Smith dreams of finding work at Ladies of Hope, an institution that provides an education for disabled women. With her sordid past and a disfigured leg, few opportunities arise for a woman such as she. Knowing Daniel's history, she wishes to avoid him, but working for his sister is exactly the stepping stone she needs.
Their attraction intensifies as Daniel and Daphne grow closer, preparing his sister for the London Season. But Daniel must resist his desire for a woman tarnished by scandal while Daphne is reminded of the boy she once knew. Can society's most notorious rake redeem his reputation and become the man Daphne deserves?
“Madam,” he drawled, icing that single greeting with an edge of steel. “If you are here with the hopes, I’ll debauch...”
The woman shoved her hood back, and Daniel froze with his foot suspended. There was nothing that marked the woman as any grand beauty. Her crimson hair, pulled back tightly at the base of her skull accentuated the sharp angles of her heavily freckled face. But there was something familiar about her. Too familiar.
And as she collected the cane resting against her seat and struggled to stand, his mouth parted. He swung his gaze to her face. It had been countless years since he’d seen her, or spoken with her, but the green eyes, freckled face, and wooden cane all marked her identity.
“Daphne.” Surprise pulled that word from him.
“Lord Montfort,” she greeted tightly. ...I won’t call you ‘my lord’ or ‘lord anything’...you’re just a boy and I’m just a girl, so we’re equals, and this is just my lake as much as it is yours...
That long ago memory of her, hands on her hips glaring at him from beside the brook, whispered around his mind, until now, forgotten.