The dissolute Earl of Edgington is the last man Miss Sofia Hargrove ever wanted to see again. Ten years ago, she fell foolishly in love and, worse, she thought he loved her in return. Recklessly, she indulged her passion in a moonlit garden….and was caught. Ruined, she ran to the Continent, and then was devastated again when he didn’t follow. Now, at a London ball, he stands before her and begs for a chance to explain.
Edgington knows Sofia will never forgive him. For ten years, memories of her have haunted him, but his memories pale next to the bright, vibrant woman she’s become. The chance to explain, to ask her forgiveness, burns inside him, alongside the dormant passion he’s never forgotten and a long-held love that will no longer be denied.
Hidden in the crowd, Edgington watched her. Now, it was obvious why he’d come to the ball—for the slight chance he would see her.
He’d heard about her return. It had been in all the papers, the triumphant return of Viscount Hargrove’s sister. They’d been full of her exploits on the Continent, the countries she’d seen, the society she’d kept. Each article he’d devoured, unable to keep the distance he maintained with everyone else, but then, that was nothing new. He’d never been able to distance himself from her.
Ten years since he’d seen her, and she hadn’t changed. Maybe she was a bit older, her hair a bit more gold, but she still looked as she did when he was a callow youth of twenty-one and more than a little infatuated. He remembered every curve of her face, the softness of her skin. The way her mouth moved under his.
Her gaze wandered to the dancing, and a wistful kind of smile occupied her face. His pulse a thunder in his ears, he wanted, quite stupidly, to ask her to dance.
Closing his eyes briefly, he shook himself. As if she would say yes. If he were to approach her, the smile would disappear from her features, as would all emotion. He knew. He’d seen it happen before.
Her gaze moved again and their eyes locked.
For a moment, a split second, her smile remained, and he had an insane hope that all had been forgiven, that, perhaps, he could approach her. Then, all expression bled from her face, and she regarded him coolly, her joy in the evening gone.
His heart sank. He’d known she’d react so, though a part of him had hoped he’d been wrong. A part of him had hoped he could approach her, could ask her to dance, could ask for her hand.
But, of course, he couldn’t. She was Miss Sofia Hargrove. The girl he’d ruined.
BEHIND THE STORY
What’s in a name?
There wasn’t much thought put into this name. There was a scandal and, uh, I came up with Scandalous? The end and stuff 🙂
The Story Behind the Story
SCANDALOUS started as ‘The Confession’, a free short story available on my website. You can check it out here. I expanded the short story and was included in Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America collection.