DAY 4

It Takes a Scandal is a little bit my Beauty and the Beast book. Sebastian Vane was wounded at Waterloo and came home with a shattered knee to discover that his father had gone mad and beggared his estate. His best friend suspects him of stealing and trying to seduce the friend's younger sister, and then his father disappears and everyone thinks Sebastian killed him. Needless to say, Sebastian is not an eligible catch— nor is he interested in subjecting himself to the neighbors' scorn. Until a family moves into the house next door, with a beautiful daughter who tempts him out of his solitude…

I wrote this scene to fit between chapters 15 and 16, when Sebastian went away to see about a possible inheritance. It's not bad, but I think you can see why it was cut.

Deleted scene from It Takes a Scandal

By the time he reached Bristol, Sebastian thought he might have to have his leg amputated after all.

His original plan to throw economy to the wind and hire a chaise came to naught; there were none to be had except at exorbitant prices. The public coach, though, left every day and promised a quick journey, so he took a place. He began to regret it within two hours, and was cursing himself within four. The coach was full, and he had no room to extend his leg. Cramped into place for hours without respite, his knee began to ache as if the French bullets had just struck him.

He supposed it was because he wasn’t used to riding in coaches. He’d had to sell his father’s carriage and all the horses, and now went almost everywhere on foot. Unfortunately, one couldn’t walk to Bristol in any reasonable time, so he bit his tongue and tried to think about anything other than the throbbing pain.

But eventually the journey ended and he hobbled away from the torturous coach in search of lodgings. Despite the ache in his knee, he had an inexplicably good feeling about this. He had sent word to the solicitor before he left Richmond, and a reply was waiting for him at the Rummer Tavern agreeing to an appointment for the following day. Feeling certain it was a good omen, he ordered a bottle of wine with his dinner.

Mr. Black, the solicitor, was a man of middle years. He wore his faded brown hair combed back from a sharp widow’s peak, which combined with his round wire spectacles to give him the look of a sleek barn owl. Sebastian bowed and took a seat, waiting with somewhat strained patience as the lawyer rustled through his papers.

“Let’s see here… Mr. Henry Vane,” Mr. Black said, drawing out a thin file. “Mr. Vane was not a very demanding client.”

“How long was your acquaintance with him?”

Mr. Black adjusted his spectacles. “A little under ten years. He engaged me to handle his business here in England while he was abroad. I believe he never returned to these shores after that.”

Sebastian nodded. That fit with his knowledge of his uncle.

“He was a very sensible man, but not always fortunate in his business dealings. He suffered reverses more than once due to various mutinies and military expeditions, but in the end he came around and died in comfortable circumstances. I have listed his assets here.” He handed a long document to Sebastian. “It will take some time to extract the funds, if that is your desire, but I believe you may realize as much as four thousand pounds if you do. If you choose to leave the investments as they are, the income would be four hundred pounds per annum.”

Four thousand pounds. He reeled at the thought of it. “How long would it take to sell off the investments?”

“A few months at least. The distance will delay things.”

He nodded. “I have more need of a lump sum than an income.”

“I understand, sir. Your uncle left an account with one of the banks here in Bristol; you’ll see it on the list,” said the lawyer, motioning to the list in Sebastian’s slack fingers. “When I inquired with the bank after Mr. Vane’s death, I was told it held close to five hundred pounds, which you have access to today.”

He was saved. Five hundred pounds would keep him for two years. Sebastian said a quiet blessing on his late uncle’s name, and took his first deep breath since reaching Bristol.

By the time he left the solicitor’s office, he had finally begun to absorb the news. He barely felt the throbbing in his knee as he walked the busy streets of Bristol, breathing the sea air and thinking. He thought about his father, who had ruined him, and his uncle, who had restored him. He thought about Mr. Weston, a man who had, by all accounts, enjoyed some immensely good fortune in his life. And he thought about Abigail. Even with this inheritance, Sebastian knew he still wasn’t a very eligible man. The money would wipe out his debts, but without leaving anything to refurbish his house and lands. Now that he wouldn’t owe the majority of his meager income to repayments, though, he could at least begin to make it comfortable enough for a bride.

A bride.

He had thought it before, of course. He had wanted Abigail from the moment he saw her; he’d simply thought it was a futile desire, for her parents would want someone much better for her. He was sure she would want someone better. But she smiled at him, and invited him to call. And when he did, all the Westons received him cordially. She met him at the grotto and kissed him until he forgot everything in the world but her.

Sebastian realized he had been slipping, an inch at a time, from his solitude, thanks to her. And now it was nearly within his reach to offer her everything she wanted: love, passion… and marriage.

The Scandalous Series

<Love and Other Scandals> It Takes a Scandal All's Fair in Love and Scandal' Love in the Time of Scandal A Study in Scandal Six Degrees of Scandal

The Secret of My Seduction