Lady Emma's Dilemma (9781101573662)

Praise for the Novels of Rhonda Woodward
Moonlight and Mischief

“With its nicely nuanced characters, richly satisfying love story, and graceful writing, Woodward's splendid tale will delight any Regency fan.”

—Booklist

“A very good traditional Regency, with interesting, multi-dimensional characters and plenty of sexual tension.”

—All About Romancev

The Wagered Heart

“A very likable heroine and historically accurate writing that shines … enjoyable.”

—All About Romance

“Remember the name Rhonda Woodward, because this author is developing into a top-flight Regency favorite.”

—
Romantic Times
(4 stars)

A Spinster's Luck

“Woodward gives romance readers much to enjoy. … The tale flows smoothly and naturally, with several refreshingly different plot twists, and the ending is thoroughly satisfying.”

—Romance Reviews Today

“Talented newcomer Rhonda Woodward [has] penned an enjoyable tale with a mix of mischief and matrimony.”

—Romantic Times

REGENCY ROMANCE
COMING IN JANUARY 2006

Rake's Ransom and A Loyal Companion
by Barbara Metzger

Together for the first time, two stories of passion from one of Regency's biggest stars.

0-451-21793-4

Lord Ryburn's Apprentice
by Laurie Bishop

After years of bad luck, Georgians Marland strikes gold when a rich relative takes her in. Unaccustomed to the norms of the ton, however, Georgiana finds herself in need of instruction—and infatuated with her tutor.

0-451-21731-4

The Ruby Ghost
by June Calvin

Penelope recognizes the home of her new employers—a castle from an eerie recurring dream. Other bothers include ghosts and a rakish family relation who rubs her the wrong way. That is, until he determines to show her his true colors—and protect her at all costs.

0-451-21011-5

Available wherever books are sold or at
penguin.com

Lady Emma's Dilemma

Rhonda Woodward

A SIGNET BOOK

SIGNET

Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, December 2005

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Copyright © Rhonda Woodward, 2005

All rights reserved

EISBN: 9781101573662

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Printed in the United States of America

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter One

1817

“W
ell, if I am going to take a lover, I had best meet a few gentlemen,” Lady Emmaline Fallbrook declared in a flawlessly serene tone of voice.

“Emmaline!” the dowager Duchess of Kelbourne exclaimed in a sharp whisper, whipping her regal head around quickly to see if the people streaming past their theatre box had heard her granddaughter's outrageous statement.

Keeping her expression calm, Emma gazed at her grandmother with barely suppressed amusement. She knew her comment was outrageously scandalous, but did not care. With a delicious feeling of mischief she watched the play of emotion cross the old lady's surprisingly unlined face.

In truth, it gave her a secret thrill of satisfaction to see her normally imperturbable grandmother's flabbergasted expression. Since she was a child, it had been a great feat to elicit such a reaction from her.

“Did I shock you, Grandmère?” she asked, raising her brows in feigned innocence. “That would be above strange since you have been telling me for years that I have grown dull from too much time spent in my own company.”

The dowager's jewels, flashing beneath the light of the chandelier, matched the glint in her perceptive steel blue gaze. “Saying you have kept yourself from Society for far too long is a far cry from suggesting that you take a … a … I shall not repeat such outrageousness! To make such
an announcement where just anyone might overhear—Well! I confess myself shocked at you.”

Emma reached over and laid her hand upon her grandmother's arm and finally gave way to her suppressed mirth. “You must forgive me, Grandmère, you know how much I love to tease you.”

As the noise of the crowd, still flooding in from the streets, reached almost deafening levels, Emma scrutinized her grandmother's expression.

Despite the good lady's words to the contrary, Emma could tell that Grandmère was not as shocked as she pretended to be. This knowledge afforded Emma some measure of relief.

Just as Grandmère opened her mouth to reply, the velvet curtain at the entrance of their box fell aside. An elegant gray-haired gentleman, dressed completely in black, except for his parchment white shirt and cravat, stepped in and made an elegant leg.

“My dear duchess,” he intoned, “I cannot express my delight when I glanced up to see that you had decided to treat us all to your most desirable presence.”

“Harwich!” Grandmére cried out like a young girl. “I wondered if you would be in Town this Season!” She held out her gloved hand to him.

By the way he lingered over Grandmère's hand, Emma had a suspicion that the earl had once been one of Grandmère's beaux.

“You remember my granddaughter?” the dowager asked, sending a look to Emma that showed a great deal of pride. “Emmaline, I am sure you recall Lord Harwich.”

Smiling up at the earl, Emma said, “Indeed I do. I spent some time with your daughter in Bath last spring and enjoyed her company immensely. I trust that Lady Davinia is in good health?”

“She is very well, Lady Fallbrook. And I know she certainly enjoyed your company as well. I must say that it is
very good to see you again. I clearly recall the year of your come-out, what, nine or ten years ago?”

“'Tis gone thirteen years, sir,” Emma said with a smile.

“Truly? I remember it so vividly. Everyone was agog with your beauty and poise. As they are again.”

“You are too kind, Lord Harwich.” Feeling the blush come to her cheeks, Emma chided herself for being such a pea goose. Her grandmother may have it right after all; she had allowed herself to become much too provincial and had lost some of her polish.

“Not kind at all. Just yester eve I supped at Lady Colhurst's and half the evening was spent discussing the dash you have already cut through Town.”

Grandmère waited long enough for Emma to thank the earl again before tapping him lightly on the wrist with her sandalwood fan. “Unless you have guests waiting for you in your box, why don't you join us?”

Lord Harwich's smile anticipated his answer. “How kind, my dear duchess. As a matter of fact, my guests sent their regrets at the last moment—how exceedingly lucky for me.”

The elegant old lady blushed at his gallantry and the earl seated himself on the gilded chair between her and Emma.

Other books

By Honor Betray'd: Mageworlds #3 by Doyle, Debra, Macdonald, James D.
Changeling Dawn by Dani Harper
Luring Lucy by Lori Foster
Confessions by Sasha Campbell
Not Quite Perfect by Annie Lyons
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
Work Song by Ivan Doig


readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2022