After a youthful infatuation went terribly wrong, Lady Samantha Lennox gave up all thought of suitors and happily-ever-after. But when she angers her strict and demanding father, the Earl of Stratford, he retaliates by arranging a marriage for her to a man she could never admire, much less love. In a panic, Samantha flees to London, only to find herself lost, alone, and nearly kidnapped—until an unlikely hero saves her.
Lord George Churchill-Gray is an artist, not a knight in shining armor, but he doesn’t hesitate to rescue Samantha from disaster and offer her temporary sanctuary. He wouldn’t mind if she repaid him by modeling for his latest painting. He’s enchanted by her face… her smile… all of her, really. But with every study he sketches, he falls a little more in love with her, and Samantha begins to suspect her scandalous actions might lead to the sort of love she never thought to find…
Click title below for link to Amazon: A Study in Scandal (Scandalous)
Lady Samantha Lennox is carrying the guilt of an act of theft she committed years ago. While the theft wasn’t for her own benefit, and was intended to right a wrong, the results had the opposite effect than she’d hoped. Unable to live with the lie any longer, Samantha decides to confess her actions to her cruel father, despite her mother and brother begging her not to. She hopes that her genuine remorse will soften her father’s hard heart, but he retaliates by engaging her to a man who is as cruel and cold as he is.
On an impulse, Samantha boards a stagecoach to London, hoping to obtain her brother’s help. No sooner does she arrive, but she’s accosted by two lowlife criminals intent on kidnapping her. A passing gentleman, George Churchill-Gray, realizes what’s happening and comes to her rescue. His pursuit causes one of the oafs to push Samantha into the river, and as Gray is saving her, they escape.
Gray takes Samantha to his rooms, and allows her to stay there, with the landlady caring for her, while he goes up to his attic studio to stay. As well as being the son of a duke, Gray is an artist. Samantha doesn’t want to disclose her identity until she decides what to do, and Gray, being a perfect gentleman, doesn’t press her. She eventually comes to the conclusion that she has no choice but to go home and throw herself on her father’s mercy, but she procrastinates, as she’s grown very fond of her rescuer.
Gray is intelligent enough to realize that Samantha is carrying a heavy burden, and is living in dread, so he is in no hurry to have her leave. She begins to catalogue his paintings, and he asks her to pose for him. These two amiable and likeable people form a fast friendship while a simmering attraction starts to develop. Just as it appears that Gray may be the answer to Samantha’s prayers, happiness is snatched out of their grasp.
For those who have followed this series, Samantha is sister to Benedict, whose story is told in Love in the Time of Scandal. They have both suffered at the hands of their cruel father, who is truly an odious villain. Gray and Samantha are wonderful protagonists, deserving of their happy ever after. A Study in Scandal is a very well written and enjoyable read. I recommend reading the whole Scandalous series by Caroline Linden in order to fully appreciate all the nuances of this story, and of course, the references to the notorious pamphlet, 50 Ways to Sin. Reading this was pure delight!