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A SCANDALOUS excerpt | Kimberly Bell

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A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…

None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.

The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…

But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.

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It was late afternoon when Nicholas left the study and he was exhausted. There was only one person who would understand all of the feelings he couldn’t quite find words for. He promised himself he was only going to talk to his friend. He wouldn’t do something foolish, like try to kiss her again. Not that Amelia would notice. She had a remarkable knack for attributing his romantic gestures to playful teasing.

He crossed his property onto the Bishop estate and let himself in. Today, it was a good thing the Bishop household treated him like a member of the family. The staff were rushing around in a frenzy cleaning and moving things in preparation for the engagement party. If he’d waited for someone to notice and announce him, he might have waited all day.

He found Julia first, in the upstairs library, leaning precariously over the back of an armchair with her head angled to an open window.

“The house is in a flurry. Do you know—”

“Shh!” She nearly tipped herself and the chair over in the process of shushing him. “They’ll hear you.”

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