Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation—and her life—will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game...and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca | Release Date: April 5, 2016| Genre: Historical Romance
Emma Chadwick has taken a position as bookkeeper at Roderick Bentley’s gambling hell. In this scene, she has just witnessed her handsome employer speaking privately with one of the women from the brothel that is housed in the west wing of his club. She assumes their relationship is an intimate one and rushes along to her office in embarrassment…and perhaps a bit of jealousy.
Unfortunately, Roderick follows her.
He tilted his head. Her subtle refusal to allow him entrance to her office had not gone unnoticed.
“I need just a few moments of your time before you get started on the books.”
“Of course. How can I be of service?”
“I believe you just saw me finishing a meeting I had this morning with one of Mrs. Beaumont’s girls.”
“Sir,” Emma replied, “there is no need to speak of it.”
His brows lifted at her interjection. “Actually, there is—”
“No, there isn’t,” Emma insisted, feeling her cheeks warm with a blush she couldn’t prevent. “What you do in your private hours is none of my business.”
As soon as she finished speaking, she noticed a secret sort of smile tugging at his lips.
“I believe you misunderstood. Jillian came to me after her shift to ask if we had a position open for a new maid.”
The warmth in Emma’s cheeks spread through her body in a wave of embarrassment. “A new maid?”
Her discomfort increased as he seemed to struggle to hold back his amusement. “She recently discovered she is in a…delicate condition and is interested in a change of occupation.”
“I see,” Emma replied, a bit stunned. The young woman in green was expecting a child. She had not been consorting with Mr. Bentley in his office—she had been asking about a job.
Emma was astounded by the enormity of her error.
“I will need to consult with Clarice, but I believe we shall be able to find something suitable for the girl. I wanted to alert you to the fact that she will need to be added to the payroll.”
“Of course, Mr. Bentley.”
“Roderick,” he corrected gently.
With the curl of amusement still hovering about his mouth, he turned to leave. Emma started to close the door behind him, but he turned back and placed his palm flat against the door, preventing her from closing it farther.
“One last thing.”
Her senses leaped into high alert. There was something about that phrase…
Before she could pinpoint the reason his words made her pulse flutter erratically, a flash of mischief in his bright gaze caused a seizing of her breath.
“It is not my habit to seek companionship from the girls in the west wing.”
The statement was uttered in a lowered, intimate tone, as if the conversation had just crossed a significant threshold. One she was not quite certain she had agreed to traverse. “As I said, such a thing is none of my concern.”
He dipped his chin and his smile widened, lengthening the masculine curve of his lips. The look he gave her was laced with an intensity she could not deny. “I know it isn’t. But I wanted you to know anyway.” Then with a casual bow of his head, he turned and walked away.
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About the Author: Amy Sandas's love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother's Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children near Milwaukee