RITA Award-Winning Romance Author

March 22, 2016

Bound By One Scandalous Night

Marrying a stranger

On the eve of battle, Lieutenant Edmund Summerfield rescues mysterious Amelie Glenville from attack by marauding soldiers. Heady from the anticipation and uncertainty in the air, they spend the night together, but their scandalous actions have one inescapable consequence…!

The illegitimate son of an aristocrat, Edmund won’t consign his unborn child to the same fate, so he offers Amelie marriage. With a honeymoon spent weathering a storm of scandal, can these two strangers hope to turn their convenient marriage into something real?

The Scandalous Summerfields—
Disgrace is their middle name!

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Bound By One Scandalous Night

Early hours of June 16, 1815, Brussels, Belgium

Brussels was in chaos.

Bugles blared in the streets, their sounds echoing off the huge buildings of The Grand Place, repeating, over and over the call to arms. All officers and soldiers must report for duty!

For battle.

This night Wellington learned that Napoleon and his army crossed into Belgium and were marching towards Brussels. Wellington’s soldiers needed to mobilize quickly to stop him.

Lieutenant Edmund Summerfield of the 28th Regiment of Foot wound his way through townspeople of all shapes and sizes, and well-dressed gentlemen and ladies still waiting for carriages to bring them back from the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. Everywhere men were shouting, women wailing, children crying. Soldiers in uniforms of all colors rushed to and fro. British and Hanoverians in red, Belgian and Dutch in dark blue, British light cavalry in light blue, Rifles in dark green, Highlanders in plaid kilts. The array of colors mimicked a carnival, but the mood was tense, a tinderbox that with one spark could turn to riot.

Edmund forced himself to remain calm. He shifted his bag from one shoulder to the other and wished his head were clearer. He’d spent the evening in a tavern, drinking and playing cards with fellow officers too low in rank and importance to be invited to the Duchess’s ball. The bugle’s repeated call, still resounding through the tension-filled air, had sobered him greatly.

He pushed his way to the curb of the Rue du Marais. Horses, wagons, carriages, men and women dashing on foot, blocked his way. Through the kaleidoscope of color he spied a vision in white across the street, an angel amidst the tumult. While he watched, a man in laborer’s clothing grabbed her around the waist. She beat on the man’s arms with her fists and kicked his legs, but this man, rough and wild-eyed, dragged her with him.

Edmund bounded into the busy street, heedless of the traffic, narrowly missing being run down. He made it to the other side and chased after the man abducting the woman. Her shimmering white gown made it easy not to lose sight of her. The man ducked into an alley between two buildings. Edmund reached the space a moment after.

“Let me go!” the woman cried. Her blond hair, a mass of curls, came free of its pins and fell around her shoulders.

The man pinned her against the wall and took the fabric of her dress in his fist.

Vous aimerez ce , jolie,” the man growled.

“No!” cried Edmund. He pushed his bag like a battering ram at the man’s head.

The man staggered and loosened his grip.

Edmund dropped his bag and slammed his fist into the man’s jaw, sending him sprawling to the cobbles. “Be off with you! Allez! Vite!”

The man scrambled to his feet and disappeared into the dark recesses of the alley.

Edmund turned to the woman. “Did he hurt you? Vous at-il blessé?”

She looked up and the light from a street lamp illuminated her face.

He knew her!

“Miss Glenville!”

She was Amelie Glenville. Her brother, Marc Glenville was married to his sister Tess.

Her eyes, wide with shock, looked past him.

“Miss Glenville?” He touched her chin and made her look at him. “Do you remember me? I am Tess’s brother, Edmund. We met at your parents’ breakfast two days ago.”

Her face crumbled. “Edmund!” She fell into his arms. The beautiful Amelie Glenville fell into his arms. Who would believe this?

When Amelie entered the room that morning, for one heady moment he’d been caught in the spell of her unspoiled beauty. Fair of face. Skin as as smooth as cream. Cheeks tinged with pink. Eyes as azure as the sea. Hair, a mass of golden curls, sparkling in the light as if spun from gold. Lips lush and ripe for kissing. Innocent. Alluring.

And smiling at him during their introduction.

The next moment, though, he was introduced to her fiancé, a most correct young man, a Scots Grey cavalry captain and son of an earl. Reality set in and Edmund instantly dropped her from his mind. Even if he wanted to court some young woman—which he did not—a viscount’s daughter like Amelie Glenville would never do for a bastard like him.

And here she was embracing him.

“What are you doing here?” He asked her. “Why are you alone?” She’d obviously been to the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. Her white gown must have been lovely before it had been so roughly handled.

She drew away and tried to sort out her clothing. “Captain Fowler left me here.”

The fiance? “Left you? Why?”

She huffed. “We had words.”

“He left you because of a quarrel?” No gentleman, under any circumstance, would desert a lady on a city street in the middle of the night, especially not on a night like this. “What about?”

“It does not matter,” she snapped.

She sounded more angry than alarmed, at least. That was fortunate. Did she even realize what almost happened to her?

“And I have no idea how to walk back to the hotel,” she continued in a peeved tone. “Can you direct me?”

Good God. The man left her without her knowing the way back? “I think I had better escort you.”

She rubbed her arms.

He shrugged out of his coat. “Here put this around you.”

“May we go back now?” Her voice wobbled a bit. “It is the Hotel de Flandres.”

She’d be better off staying angry. “I remember what hotel it was.”

He picked up his bag and offered her his arm which she readily accepted and held with an anxious grip.

They stepped from the relative quiet of the alley back into the cacophony of the street.

“Hold on tight,” he cautioned and she gripped even more tightly as people bumped against them, the soldiers hurrying to battle, the others to somewhere safe.

Good God. What possessed Fowler to abandon her on such a night? This was not an afternoon stroll through Mayfair. It was after one o’clock in the morning and the soldiers on these streets would soon be facing battle; the townspeople, possible occupation by the French. She’d already discovered what could happen to a beautiful, unescorted woman when emotions were so high.

She was lovely enough to tempt any man. Even him.

But he must not turn his thoughts in that direction.

“Do you not have to go to your regiment?” she asked as a company of Belgian cavalry rode by, the horses’ hooves drumming on the stones of the street.

He did need to reach his regiment as soon as possible, but why stress her with that knowledge? “I am more in fear of what my sister and your brother would do to me if I left you alone on the street. My sister would draw and quarter me. Your brother would probably do worse.”

“Why would they ever know, unless you told them?” she retorted peevishly. “I have no intention of speaking a word of this night to anyone.”

So much for trying to use levity to counteract this nightmarish episode.

“Then blame my conscience,” he said. “I would think very ill of myself if I abandoned you.”

“Unlike some gentlemen,” she muttered.

“There will be plenty of time for me to reach the battle.” He hoped. “I doubt Napoleon will disturb his sleep.”

Fine words, but who knew how close Napoleon was to Brussels? Edmund had heard varying accounts. One thing was certain, though. Men would fight soon. And die.

He concentrated on getting her through the crowd without further mishap. The streets cleared a bit when they reached the Cathedral of St. Michael and Gudula. It rose majestically into the night sky, its yellow stone glowing against the black sky. Men would be stopping at that gothic church for a few prayers before battle, Edmund would wager. It could not hurt to pray a little.

Pray not to die.

Edmund shook his head. Don’t think such thoughts, he told himself, but he’d seen too many battles on the Peninsula, seen too many good men die while he survived. Soldiers always talked of having only a finite number of battles in which to remain unscathed before it was time to die.

Miss Glenville swiped her gloved fingers across her eyes. Was she weeping? If only he could have prevented this ghastly night from happening to her. She was too lovely and unspoiled to have been so roughly treated. To think what that ruffian had in mind to do to her, made him tighten his hand into a fist.

He needed to distract both of them from their thoughts. “So what did happen with Captain…Captain Whatshisname?” He only pretended to forget.

“Fowler.” She spoke the name as if it were an term of contempt.

“Captain Fowler.”

“We quarreled and he walked away and left me.” She turned her head away.

The scoundrel. “What sort of quarrel would make a man abandon you?”

The doors of the Cathedral opened, revealing the glow of candlelight inside. A man in uniform emerged, head bent. Edmund hoped the man’s prayers would be answered.

He turned again to Miss Glenville. “Tell me what you and Captain Fowler quarreled about.”

She swiped at her eyes again. “I certainly will not.”

He persisted. “Is that what is making you weep?” He feared it was the other man’s mistreatment of her.

“I am not weeping!” she cried. “I am angry.”

Anger was better. Good for her.

Better for him, too. He was caring too much, caring about never seeing a beauty such as Amelie Glenville again if he lay dead on the battlefield.

“It is really none of your business, you know,” she snapped.

“No doubt,” he persisted. Ungentlemanly of him, but it distracted him from morbid thoughts. “But you say you will not speak of this, say to your brother or my sister. You should talk about it with someone, since it is plaguing you so. I am unlikely to say anything to anyone.”

After all he might soon be dead.

“Why would I talk to you?” she responded in an arrogant tone.

He’d almost forgotten. He’d been talking with her as if she’d consider him her equal. “Yes, wise not to tell the likes of me.”

“The likes of you?” She sounded puzzled.

Need he explain? “Surely the scandalous details of my birth were whispered into your delicate ears.”

“What has that to do with it?” she asked, then smiled wryly. “But you are correct about the details of your birth being whispered in my ear.”

He gave her a smug look.

“Your sister told me more about you,” she went on.

He laughed. “What did she tell you? That I was a horrid boy who teased her and played pranks on her?”

“Did you?” She glanced at him, but quickly glanced away.

This was better. Who would guess that he’d think talking about himself was desirable? It kept them both from more painful thoughts, though. “Tess could not have informed you of my wayward ways in the army. My sisters know nothing of that. Their ears are delicate, too, you see.”

She batted her eyes at him. “Wayward ways? Are you some sort of rake? I have been warned against rakes.”

“Oh, be warned, then,” he joked. “I am a shameless rake.”

“Are you?” Her voice lowered to almost a whisper.

Had he gone too far in this bantering? Had he reminded her of the ruffian who’d accosted her? “You are quite safe with me, Miss Glenville.”

She glanced at him again and her good humor had fled. She turned away. “Yes. Safe.”

If only he really were a rake, he thought. He would steal a taste of her lips and take the memory with him into battle.

They walked in silence until they reached the Parc de Brussels, its main paths lit by lamps. The Parc looked almost as busy as day, but this time other couples were not leisurely strolling on the paths. They were either hurrying into the shadows or clinging to each other.

“Shall we cross through the park?” he asked. “It will be safe enough tonight. Or do you prefer we walk around it?”

“We may cross the park,” she responded.

She was still lost in her own thoughts. Edmund wanted her to talk to him again. Seeing so many sweethearts affected him. How many would be torn apart forever? He supposed they were trying to grab one more moment of feeling alive. Perhaps that was what she and Fowler quarreled about. Perhaps Fowler asked her for more than she could respectably provide. Soldiers leaving for battle often wanted one last coupling with a woman.

As they walked through the park, he heard faint sounds of lovemaking coming from behind the shrubbery. Surely she noticed, too. Heard the sounds.

“I suspect your Captain Fowler might have asked for liberties,” he tried to explain. It did not excuse Fowler’s abandoning her, but maybe it would help explain his behaviour to her. “Men often want a woman before battle.”

She stopped. “You think he propositioned me?”

 

End of Excerpt


Bound By One Scandalous Night  is available in the following formats:

North America Harlequin

ISBN 13: 0373298781

ISBN 10: 978-0373298785

March 22, 2016


Connected Books

Bound By One Scandalous Night

Book 2 in the The Scandalous Summerfields Series Series


Behind the Book

Bound By One Scandalous Night

Part of Bound By One Scandalous Night is set in England’s Lake District. By 1816, the Lake District had become a popular tourist attraction, partly because travel to the Continent (Europe) had been impossible during the Napoleonic Wars, but also because of a guide book penned by poet William Wordsworth in 1810.

Ullswater, the largest lake in the Lake District, by J.M.W. Turner

Ullswater, the largest lake in the Lake District, by J.M.W. Turner

Daniel Defoe wrote about the area as early as 1724, calling part of it, “the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England.” In 1778 a Jesuit, Father Thomas West, published A Guide to the Lakes, which was even more effective in encouraging tourism. Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes was perhaps the most effective in drawing people to the area.

Wordsworth lived in Grasmere in the District for sixty years. The area also drew other poets. Coleridge, Wordsworth and Southey became known as the Lake Poets. In later years Beatrix Potter came to live there.

Wordsworth lived in Grasmere in the District for sixty years. The area also drew other poets. Coleridge, Wordsworth and Southey became known as the Lake Poets. In later years Beatrix Potter came to live there.

One of Wordsworth’s most famous poems had been inspired by the sight of daffodils he and his sister had seen in the area:

Daffodil native to the Lake District

Daffodil native to the Lake District

One of Wordsworth’s most famous poems I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud had been inspired by the sight of daffodils he and his sister had seen in the area:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

The Lake District remains the UK’s most popular national park, attracting up to 15 million visitors a year to explore its beautiful scenery of fells, farms, and glittering lakes.

When Edmund and Amelie arrive in the area, will its beauty help them heal and forge a life together?


Reviews

Bound By One Scandalous Night

  • …In the latest book in her “Scandalous Summerfields” series, Gaston seamlessly weaves realistically imperfect, richly layered characters into an impeccably researched historical setting. The result is a poignant, compelling love story that is both true to the period and completely satisfying as a romance as well.

    — John Charles in Booknotes for the Poisoned Pen Bookstore
  • Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

    Deliciously romantic, BOUND BY ONE SCANDALOUS NIGHT, the second book in award-winning author Diane Gaston’s THE SCANDALOUS SUMMERFIELDS series, is a witty, passionate tale that is sure to warm the hearts of any historical romance fan…In the pages of this novel, Ms. Gaston does a wonderful job of bringing to life the chaos and uncertainty in the streets of Brussels on the eve of battle. An absolute delight, this story is one that readers will find hard to put down…Do yourself a favor; enter into the deliciously romantic world of Diane Gaston by picking up a copy of BOUND BY A SCANDALOUS NIGHT today! I am sure you will enjoy it just as much as I did.

    — Dottie, Romance Junkies
  • The story skillfully brings visions of the past into the present, side stories supporting the main plot, but still strong stories in themselves. A well turned book with strong characters and supporting characters who behave in censorious way I assume aristocracy would have in the Regency era. A very entertaining novel.

    — Orchid, Long and Short Reviews
  • 5 Stars!

    …passionate romance, the right touch of danger, a hero to die for and a heroine who is his match. Take a step back in time and live through the uncertainty of life during that era.

    — Debby Guyette, Goodreads
  • 4 Stars!

    Different historical locations come alive in the story, and a country setting is especially enjoyable as various activities are observed. Lots of secondary characters are very likable, while a few are individuals with despicable behavior and are easy to despise. BOUND BY ONE SCANDALOUS NIGHT entertains with intriguing circumstances and a wide range of sentiments. Diane Gaston creates a number of emotional situations for her romantic couple in the second Scandalous Summerfields novel, where feelings are conflicted and doubts are hard to erase.

    — Amelia Richard, Alwaysreviewing.com
  • 4 Stars!

    Diane Gaston’s writing style flows smoothly. The main characters are very well developed; though it takes them awhile to learn that trust between couples is essential to a marriage. I can hardly wait to read the next installment in the Summerfield family. Highly recommended!

    — Detra Fitch, Huntress Book Reviews
  • 4 Stars!

    This romance is is not torrid romance, despite its scandalous start.  Rather it is romance that slowly unfolds as the young lovers learn to understand each other and appreciate a life they each had not expected.  While Edmund and Amelie do have a rather passionate bed life during the day they not quite as forward.  This leads to misunderstandings that are well resolved at the end.  This book also features a charming romance with Amelie’s maid that I enjoyed.
    Bound by One Scandalous Night is a charming and heartwarming Regency.

    — Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club