Excerpt & Giveaway for Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

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Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
The Rules of Scoundrels # 4
By: Sarah MacLean

Releasing November 25th, 2014
Avon Romance
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking-in London’s darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city’s most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered...until now.

Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana’s secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear...including her heart.
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“There are other ways,” he said.

“What other ways?” she asked. “Consider my sister-in-law. Consider your wife. They are barely accepted here, untitled, scandalous.” His eyes narrowed at the words, but she pressed on. “The title saves them. Hell, you supposedly murdered a woman and weren’t fully cast out because you were a duke first, a possible killer second—you could have married if you’d chosen to. The title is what reigns. And it always will.

“There will always be women after titles and men after dowries. God knows Caroline’s dowry will be as big as it needs to be, but it won’t be enough. She’ll always be my daughter. She’ll always carry my mark. As it stands, even if she found love—even if she wanted it—no decent man could marry her. But if I marry Langley? Then she has the possibility of a future devoid of my sin.”

He was quiet for a long minute, and she was grateful for it. When he finally spoke, it was to ask, “Then why not involve Chase? You need the name, Langley needs a wife, and we are the only people in London who know why. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

Under the guise of Chase, Georgiana had manipulated dozens of members of Society. Hundreds of them. Chase had destroyed men and elevated them. Chase had made matches and ruined lives. She could easily manipulate Langley into marriage by invoking Chase’s name, and the information he had on the viscount.

But need was not want, and perhaps it was her keen understanding of that balance—of the fact that the viscount needed marriage as much as she did, but wanted it just as little—that made her hesitate. “I am hoping that the viscount will agree that the arrangement is mutually beneficial without Chase’s interference.”

Temple was quiet for a long moment. “Chase’s interference would speed up this process.”

True, but it would also make for a terrible marriage. If she could win Langley without blackmail, all the better. “I’ve a plan,” she said.

“And if it goes to waste?”

She thought of Langley’s file. Slim, but damning. A list of names, all male. She ignored the sour taste in her mouth. “I have blackmailed bigger men.”

He shook his head. “Every time I am reminded that you are a woman, you say something like that … and Chase is returned.”

“He is not easily hidden.”

“Not even when you are so …” He made a show of looking at her feathered coif. “Ladylike is, I suppose, the word for this ensemble?”

She was saved from having to either spar with Temple or further discuss the lengths to which she was willing to go for her daughter’s future by the orchestra’s completion of the set. She pulled away and curtsied, as was expected. “Thank you, Your Grace.” She emphasized the title as she stood once more. “I believe I shall take some air.”

“Alone?” he asked, an edge in his tone.

Frustration flared. “You think I cannot care for myself?” She was the founder of London’s most infamous gaming hell. She’d destroyed more men than she could count.

“I think you should take care of your reputation,” Temple replied.

“I assure you that if a gentleman attempts liberties, I shall slap his hand.” She smiled a wide, false smile and dipped her head, coyly. “Go to your wife, Your Grace. And thank you for the dance.”

He held her hand tightly for a moment, until she met his gaze again, and he cautioned softly, “You cannot beat them. You know that, don’t you? No matter how hard you try—Society will always win.”

The words made her suddenly, unpredictably furious. She tamped down the emotion and replied, “You are wrong. And I intend to prove it.”
Author Info:

Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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SAHM to four rowdy kids. Avid reader and blogger.

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