Date Published: August 1, 2018
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
What is the price one must pay to protect one's honor? Or that of another? It has been two years since the duel that changed Julian, Lord Trevelin's life. He is now happily betrothed to Miss Jane Leavitt, a wealthy debutante. Her influence has helped to restore his reputation among Society. Her father, however, has not allowed the connection to be made public. He disapproves of Trev's penchant for looking into unsavory matters such as pinched diamond necklaces and dead downstairs maids. He will allow the couple to set a date for their wedding when he is satisfied that Trev will look after his own reputation with the same care as does Jane.
Meanwhile, Trev is taken with the rumors about Miss Hannah Andersen, a young lady newly arrived in London for the season. Her military father was said to have put a period to his existence in order to escape the consequences of fleeing a battle with his wife and child. She, however, insists his death was an accident. Trev can't resist attempting to set the man's reputation to rights. He is assisted by his ethereal friend, Willy, and the boot boy-cum-valet, Jack. When several more "accidents" occur, Trev's list of murder suspects grows. And then his cousin Evelyn threatens him with ruin if he does not release Jane to his clutches--only, this time, it will be her honor that shall be irrevocably tarnished.
The Scandal in Honor is book two in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries. Be sure to also read the first book in this captivating Regency-era mystery series about one man's journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
Other Books in the Lord Trevelin Mystery Series:
The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 1
Published: June 2017
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Julian “Trev” Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, had everything a gentleman could want--good looks, a fortune, and plenty of charm. When a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. His life is forever changed, but Trev is still loyal to his friends. When one is accused of murder and another's diamond necklace is stolen, he does what he must to help them. As the two cases merge, Trev finds an ally who isn’t put off by his scar and the scandal of the duel--Miss Desdemona Woodmansey. As their investigation into the murder reveals just how treacherous the mask of polite society can be, both Trev and Desdemona are put in grave danger. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a killer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret? Be sure to read the first book in this series about one man's journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
There comes a time when a man must choose to do that which he should not. The memory lies like a flame about to be extinguished, flickering in the past for lack of notice. And yet, when brought to mind, it flares to life, along with the shame…and regret.
The air pierced my lungs like a thousand tiny icicles, but I remained rooted to the spot. Jack tugged at my sleeve, crazy with fear for me, and still I did not move. I thought perhaps I would never see Silvester House, or even England, again. I was in the power of my cousin, Evelyn Rogers-Reimann, and he was not a merciful man.
England February 1814
I strolled into the salon of Silvester House to find Mrs. Smurthwaite seated on the divan under the window, her face pink with delight. Stopping short in astonishment, I suppressed a groan. I managed my best smile, a triumph I am told. (The scar that disgraces my mouth stretches into oblivion when I am at my most affable. As I refuse to smile so giddily into the mirror, I must rely on the opinion of others.)
“Trev,” Walter Leavitt hissed as he rescued his glass from colliding into my unyielding form. “How did she get in?”
I turned to my friend; he possessed the same glorious red hair and eye for the absurd as his younger sister, Miss Jane Leavitt. That she was at long last my betrothed was one of the few satisfactions I had yet known in my then five-and-twenty years.
“I have only just learned,” I murmured for his ear alone, “how Mrs. S. has regularly availed herself of my home.” I gave him a long stare. “It’s Hatch! He allows her entrance at any hour of the day or night merely to plague me. I should not be surprised to learn he has made a present to her of the key.”
Leavitt brought his glass to his lips with a roll of his eyes. “You ought to turn him out.”
“I can hardly do so!” I said, appalled. “He has been with the family forever.”
“Well, she’s ghastly,” he said, his voice flat. He regarded her over the rim of his glass. “Jane would not like it.”
“She is aware of Mrs. S.’s eccentricities,” I said with a shrug, “and endures it with good grace.” I gave the lady under discussion a slight bow, grateful that she was hard of hearing. “Furthermore, she is not in the least ghastly.” (‘Twas a bald lie.) “She is a lonely old woman, and my nearest neighbor.”
“Shall you not join me, my lord?” she crooned from her place by the window. “It has been long since we have controversed.”
Leavitt leaned to whisper in my ear, never taking his fascinated gaze from Mrs. S. seated across the room. “I believe she meant to say ‘conversed.’”
“I am aware,” I said, a trifle shortly. No one had endured the woman’s corruption of the King’s English with more regularity than I.
“She is waiting,” Leavitt said with a nudge to my shoulder.
“Indeed! For you. She has grown as enamored of you as that corset she sports,” I murmured as I started across the room to claim my seat next to the infernal creak of it.
“If I must!” he griped, depositing his goblet on the credenza with a perilous tinkling of glass.
We sat, one to either side of her. Silently, I prayed for composure. I had no wish to dissolve into laughter at Leavitt’s antics. He was sure to make a mockery of her words behind her back.
“Now!” she said with a punishing blow to my thigh, one she doubtless meant as an amicable swat. “When are you to wed that sister of his?”
I smiled, my marriage to Jane being my favorite subject on which to ‘controverse’. “It shall be a summer wedding. June, I believe, if Jane has her way. She is determined to carry roses for the ceremony.” In truth, she much preferred lilies. I dissembled so as to mask the fact that my future father-in-law refused to allow us to set a date. It had taken a year for him to consent to our betrothal, and another for it to be made public. I, however, remained unconcerned. An older man with an enormous belly, I knew I need merely out-live him, if necessary.
“June? Haven’t you waited long enough for connubile bliss? You have been betrothed for nigh on a year!”
“True,” I said, “but Miss Leavitt is adamant as to the flowers, and one must wait on such things.”
“Which reminds me,” Mrs. Smurthwaite said, turning her gaze upon Walter. “You ought to be on the hunt for a wife, as well. That Miss Hannah Andersen would do nicely, I should think.”
“Miss Andersen?” Walter said, with an inadequately concealed shudder. “I daresay m’father would have much to say on that score.”
“Why? Whatever could be abjectionable in her?” Mrs. Smurthwaite asked with a lofty air.
I met Walter’s sardonic gaze over the top of her head. “For one,” he said as he thrust out his hand and unfurled a finger, “she’s a pauper. Second, she’s not had a proper coming-out, and third, it is said that her father made away with himself. I should think that more than enough concerns to render her very objectionable,” he added with a waft of his hand.
“I fear it is not equitable to judge those we do not know,” I admonished lightly. Privately, I also found Miss Andersen quite beyond the pale. I stroked the corner of my mouth where dwelt the scar that had nearly undone my life, and felt myself a hypocrite. I had reasons, however; if my future brother-in-law were to attach himself to one such as Miss Andersen, all that had passed to restore my reputation could be lost.
I thought, then, of Jane; how I had nearly been denied her hand due to the whispers as to the origin of my injury. I concealed a shudder of my own as I recalled that I had once contemplated putting a period to my existence. And then I reminded myself that Miss Andersen’s father was only said to have killed himself. The actual truth of the matter was unknown.
About the Author
Award-winning, best-selling author Heidi Ashworth lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes sweet, traditional, Regency-era romance, romantic comedy, and mystery. She is the author of the Miss Delacourt series, published by Montlake Romance. The second book in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries comes out August 2018.