Scandal of Love

By: Janelle Daniels



“Well, at least it shows he has honor.” And honor was a quality she held in high esteem.

“Yes. Try to remember, he was the biggest catch a few years ago, there must be a reason for that besides his fortune.”

Sera nodded. “I need a bit of time to think this over.”

“Of course. I’ll leave you to make your decision.”

Both standing, Sera reached out to hug Aubrey. “Thank you so much for coming.”

“You know you can always count on me. Send me word when you make a decision.”

“I will.”

Sera slumped into her chair once Aubrey left. She knew it was the wisest choice to agree to this marriage with Lord Devericks. No scandal would be attached to her name, and her children would never have to face the taint of having a loose woman as their mother.

At least he was honorable. That was something in his favor. He had done what was necessary to settle his father’s debts.

But why had he been on the continent so long? Had something happened to cause him to leave and for his father to gamble their fortune away? It seemed too coincidental that both things had happened around the same time.

Aubrey had said that women found him very attractive. It wouldn’t hurt to have a handsome husband to look at for the rest of her life. Her children would certainly thank her for securing their good looks.

Resting her head on her hands, she wanted to cry. She was basing this momentous decision on that fact that he was handsome and honorable in one instance. Hardly enough information to give her hope about their future together.

But was there any other choice? If she wanted marriage, she needed to decide on a fortune hunter now. And what better choice than the man who had supposedly ruined her?

Honestly, she should be grateful to him. She hadn’t expected him to offer for her.

This was her chance. He was titled and she had money. She would be able to keep her friends and have children.

But would it be enough? Would she truly be satisfied in a marriage without love?

She didn’t seem to have a choice. She would have to marry Lord Devericks and hope that she found contentment.

Standing up, she walked out the door to tell her father of her choice. She just wished it felt like happy news instead of a death sentence. In a way, it was. Her dreams had died.

Two days later, their engagement was set in the eyes of the ton. There had been many moments during the announcement of her engagement that she had worried about her decision, but there was no going back now. A broken engagement, especially after her previous scandal, would be even worse than before.

No. She would marry Lord Devericks.

Her father had been pleased with the arrangement. At least as pleased as he could be considering her fiancé was not the Duke of Wathersby, and that she would not be a duchess.

While no one besides Aubrey had come to visit her the previous day, they flooded her doorstep en-masse once her engagement was announced. Not that she received any of them. She just couldn’t face the smiles and congratulations yet.

She hadn’t even met her fiancé for heaven’s sake! When he had arrived to speak with her father, she had been ushered out on a last minute shopping excursion.

Tonight was the first time they would meet each other, but since it was at a public affair, there was no room for awkwardness or their plans would be ruined.

“Ready for this?” Aubrey asked, walking into Sera’s receiving room.

Sera nodded, smoothing the shimmering ivory silk of her ball gown. She was grateful Aubrey had offered to arrive with her at the ball. All eyes would be on her tonight, and she was happy to have someone at her side through it all. “You look wonderful,” Sera said, admiring how the rose silk of Aubrey’s gown made her skin look flawless.

“Thank you.” Aubrey reached up to her hair, touching a pink rosebud that secured her coiffure. Her friend shined, and Sera hoped that she would catch the eye of one of the gentlemen tonight.

“Well, let’s get on with it. The sooner we’re off, the sooner it will be over.”

“Don’t worry, after tonight everyone will have something else to talk about.”

Sera donned her matching pelisse, smoothing the material once again. “I know. I just don’t like it. I hate that I have to pretend to love someone I’ve never even met.”

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