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Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas Read Online (FREE)

Scandal in Spring Read Online

Read Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4) by Lisa Kleypas full novel online for free here.

 

Prologue

 

“I have made a decision about Daisy’s future,” Thomas Bowman announced to his wife and daughter. “Although Bowmans never like to admit defeat, we cannot ignore reality.”

“What reality is that, Father?” Daisy asked.

“You are not meant for the British peerage.” Frowning, Bowman added, “Or perhaps the peerage isn’t meant for you. I have received a poor rate of return on my investment in your husband-seeking. Do you know what that means, Daisy?”

“I’m an underperforming stock?” she guessed.

One would never guess Daisy was a grown woman of twenty-two at this moment. Small, slim, and dark-haired, she still had the agility and exuberance of a child when other women her age had already become sober young matrons. As she sat with her knees drawn up, she looked like an abandoned china doll in the corner of the settee. It annoyed Bowman to see his daughter holding a book in her lap with a finger stuck between its pages to mark her place. Obviously she could hardly wait for him to finish so she could resume reading.

“Put that down,” he said.

“Yes, Father.” Covertly Daisy opened the book to check the page number and set it aside. The small gesture rankled Bowman. Books, books…the mere sight of one had come to represent his daughter’s embarrassing failure on the marriage market.

Puffing on a massive cigar, Bowman sat in an overstuffed chair in the parlor of the hotel suite they had occupied for more than two years. His wife Mercedes perched on a spindly cane-backed chair nearby. Bowman was a stout, barrel-shaped man, as bullish in his physical dimensions as he was in disposition. Although he was bald on top, he possessed a thick broom of a mustache, as if all the energy required for growing the hair on his head had been diverted to his upper lip.

Mercedes had begun marriage as an uncommonly slender girl and had become even thinner through the years, like a cake of soap that had gradually worn to a sliver. Her slick black hair was always severely restrained, her sleeves tightly fitted to wrists so diminutive that Bowman could have snapped them like birch twigs. Even when she sat perfectly still, as she was doing now, Mercedes gave the impression of nervous energy.

Bowman had never regretted choosing Mercedes as a wife— her steely ambition corresponded perfectly with his own. She was a relentless woman, all sharp angles, always pushing to make a place for the Bowmans in society. It was Mercedes who had insisted that since they could not break into the Knickerbocker set in New York, they would bring the girls to England. “We shall simply go over their heads,” she had said with determination. And by God, they had succeeded with his older daughter Lillian.

Lillian had somehow managed to catch the greatest prize of all, Lord Westcliff, whose pedigree was pure gold. The earl had been a handsome acquisition for the family. But now Bowman was impatient to return to America. If Daisy were going to land a titled husband she would have done so by now. Time to cut their losses.