Read The Birthday Scandal Online

Authors: Leigh Michaels

Tags: #Romance, #General, #Fiction

The Birthday Scandal

Also By Leigh Michaels

Regency Historical Romance

The Mistress’ House

Just One Season in London

The Wedding Affair

Contemporary Romance

Assignment: Twins!

Baby, You’re Mine

Backwards Honeymoon

The Best-Made Plans

The Billionaire Bid

The Billionaire Date

The Boss and the Baby

The Boss’s Daughter

The Bridal Swap

The Bride Assignment

Bride by Design

Bride on Loan

Brittany’s Castle

Capture a Shadow

Carlisle Pride

Close Collaboration

Come Next Summer

A Convenient Affair

The Corporate Marriage Campaign

The Corporate Wife

The Daddy Trap

Dating Games

Deadline For Love

Dreams to Keep

Exclusively Yours

The Fake Fiancé

Family Secrets

Garrett’s Back In Town

The Grand Hotel

Her Husband-To-Be

His Trophy Wife

House of Dreams

Husband on Demand

The Husband Project

The Husband Sweepstake

An Imperfect Love

Invitation To Love

Just A Normal Marriage

Kiss Yesterday Goodbye

The Lake Effect

Leaving Home

Let Me Count The Ways

The Marriage Market

Marrying the Boss!

A Matter of Principal

Maybe Married

A New Desire

No Place Like Home

O’Hara’s Legacy

Old School Ties

On September Hill

Once and For Always

The Only Man For Maggie

The Only Solution

Part Time Fiancé

The Perfect Divorce

The Playboy Assignment

Promise Me Tomorrow

Rebel With A Cause

Safe In My Heart

Sell Me A Dream

Shades of Yesterday

A Singular Honeymoon

Some Kind of Hero (novella)

Strictly Business

The Takeover Bid

Taming A Tycoon

Temporary Measures

Ties That Blind

Touch Not My Heart

Traveling Man

The Tycoon’s Baby

The Tycoon’s Proposal

An Uncommon Affair

The Unexpected Landlord

The Unlikely Santa

Wednesday’s Child

Wife on Approval

With No Reservations


On Writing Romance: How to Craft A Novel that Sells
Creating Romantic Characters: Bringing Life to Your Romance


For the Love of Tea

Focus on Photos

Illustrated Review of Ottumwa, Iowa 1890

(IA) (Postcard History Series)

1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity
to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Text copyright © 2012 Leigh Michaels

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.


Published by Montlake Romance

P.O. Box 400818

Las Vegas, NV 89140


ISBN-13: 9781612184760

ISBN-10: 1612184766






For Ashley and Karina



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17



Chapter 1

ady Emily Arden added up the column of household expenditures in her head once more, scarcely able to believe that the total could be so high. She had just dipped her quill in the inkstand to write the sum at the bottom of her list when Mrs. Dalrymple tapped at the door of her tiny sitting room and begged an audience.

“I don’t mean to intrude, my lady.” Mrs. Dalrymple’s voice was even fainter and more breathy than usual. “But it
important, and you did say that I might have a few moments after breakfast.”

“Indeed I did, Mrs. Dalrymple, and I must beg your pardon for the oversight.” Emily pushed aside her account books; the horrid truth would still be there, glaring at her, whether she took a moment to listen to her companion or not. “What did you wish to bring to my attention?”

“I took the liberty of asking Sally to bring fresh tea,” Mrs. Dalrymple went on. She fanned herself as if stunned by her own daring.

Emily was a bit startled, too. Mrs. Dalrymple was such a tentative sort—so eager to please, so terrified of offending—that Emily was often annoyed by her companion’s failure to show the slightest initiative. But of course Mrs. Dalrymple would start to request luxuries at the very moment her employer was making a concentrated effort to cut expenses…

Emily shook her head a little at her own foolishness in thinking that a single extra pot of tea would make any difference in her financial situation. Letting her companion go, on the other hand, would eliminate one mouth to feed and one salary to pay, and it would make the situation significantly easier in the tiny cottage.

But she dismissed the idea almost instantly. She had accepted responsibility when she hired Mrs. Dalrymple, and it wasn’t as if a middle-aged and completely ineffectual companion had a great many posts to choose from. If Emily were to let her go, even with an excellent reference, the woman would be fortunate to find any employment.

Mrs. Dalrymple’s eyes grew huge. “I was so afraid I might be overstepping my place! Shall I run to the kitchen to cancel the order?”

“No—why do you ask?”

“You were shaking your head, my lady.”

“About something else entirely. Of course you must order tea when you want it. Now, what is it you wished to speak to me about?”

“Oh, my lady, you are so good to me. I can hardly bring myself to ask…but I did swear that I would, and…”

Emily’s head was starting to throb. If past experience was any guide, Mrs. Dalrymple might take half an hour to come to the point, and even then she was apt to leave her listener not quite certain of what she was trying to say. Tea was sounding better by the moment. At least Emily would have something to do while she waited.

“It’s the squire, you see. Sir Cedric. It happened as we were making the last arrangements for the village flower show. Quite a surprise it was—a shock, in fact.” Mrs. Dalrymple blushed and stammered a little. “And…and he…he wished to know if it could be announced at the show next Saturday.”

Emily settled back in her chair to wait out Mrs. Dalrymple. Despite her best efforts, her mind wandered back to the list of expenditures—she was already doing without new clothes, and it wasn’t as if she kept a carriage or a full staff of maids. She’d chosen this path herself, and she’d known from the outset that her limited resources couldn’t be stretched to luxuries. But if she even had to give up things like tea and sugar…

Sally appeared, laden down. “There’s a couple of letters as has just come, my lady. I put them on the tea tray.”

Emily’s gaze wandered to the folded pages lying next to the hot water jug. The handwriting on the top one was a dark and spiky slash—her father had obviously been feeling particularly unsympathetic toward his wayward daughter when he’d dashed off that missive. She didn’t have to read it to know that much; if it was ordinary business, the Earl of Chiswick turned the matter over to his private secretary. He only wrote to her himself when he was angry or in a mood to issue orders. And since she hadn’t done anything for at least a month to make him angry…

I wonder which family he has in mind this time to marry me into.

She set the earl’s letter aside and glanced at the other one. Mrs. Dalrymple set the teapot back on the tray. “That’s the duke’s handwriting, is it not? It looks strange somehow.”

Emily put out her hand for her cup. Her companion was right; the Duke of Weybridge’s fist was not the confident sprawl she remembered. The address looked cramped, almost painful, and even the scrawled
that franked the corner of the letter wasn’t quite as strong as she remembered it. “I wonder if Uncle Josiah is ill.”

“You must not wait to find out, my lady.”

“If you don’t mind…” Emily broke the wafer and spread the sheet on her knee, trying not to listen to Mrs. Dalrymple’s fluttery and repetitive exclamations that of course she understood, yes indeed she did.

My dearest Emily,

Time marches on, and I will soon celebrate my seventieth, and I suspect my last, birthday. My various complaints are too numerous for me to list and too tiresome for you to read, so my energy (and this paper) are better spent in other ways. It is sufficient to say that at his every visit—and they are growing more numerous—my doctor shakes his head in despair.

I hope you will find it possible to visit me for my birthday. I suspect you may be in shallow water by now, with only your mother’s legacy to draw upon and your father no doubt still determined to bring you to heel. Therefore, I have given orders for a post-chaise to arrive the day after this letter, so you may make the journey in comfort.

Since I will not long need my worldly goods, I have no wish to collect more birthday trinkets. Perhaps this year we shall play turn-around instead. I have it in mind to make a gift to you and spend my remaining days watching and enjoying your happiness.

Your loving great-uncle, Josiah Weybridge

P.S. I do hope you believe me, dear Emily, when I say that you have always been my favorite of my niece’s children.

Other books

Journey to Atlantis by Philip Roy
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie
Blood Water by Dean Vincent Carter
The Prisoner by Carlos J. Cortes
Color Blind (Team Red) by Hammond, T.
A Sister's Promise by Renita D'Silva
One White Rose by Julie Garwood
Past Due by Catherine Winchester Copyright 2016 - 2024