RISK OF RUIN by Tracy Cooper-Posey
Scandalous Scions Book 11.0
Victorian Era Historical Romance Novel
Now she belongs to another, he realizes too late that he wants her.
Lady Annalies is the daughter of the Earl of Innesford, but rejects society. Instead, she embraces the Bohemian art world, and lives in secret with her patron and lover, Tobias. The only person who knows the truth is her cousin, Peter, who furiously resents the burden of knowing how she courts disaster for the entire family.
When sales of her paintings diminish, putting her in financial straits, Annalies turns to Peter for help, as he has always helped her in the past. Peter grasps the chance to involve himself in her life, to head off the catastrophe she flirts with every day. The entanglements increase when he realizes it is not merely the risk of ruin which draws him to her.
This book is the eleventh in the Scandalous Scions series, bringing together the members of three great families, to love and play under the gaze of the Victorian era’s moralistic, straight-laced society.
This story is part of the Scandalous Scions series:
0.5 Rose of Ebony
1.0 Soul of Sin
2.0 Valor of Love
3.0 Marriage of Lies
3.5 Scandalous Scions Boxed Set One
4.0 Mask of Nobility
5.0 Law of Attraction
6.0 Veil of Honor
6.5 Scandalous Scions Boxed Set Two
7.0 Season of Denial
8.0 Rules of Engagement
9.0 Degree of Solitude
9.5 Scandalous Scions Boxed Set Three
10.0 Ashes of Pride
11.0 Risk of Ruin
12.0 Year of Folly
13.0 Queen of Hearts
A Sexy Historical Romance
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This is the latest installment of the Scandalous Scions series about The Great Family, who lives within the ton, but makes their own rules. Annalies is a fabulous artist, who is living scandalously with a man she is not married to. The only member of her family who is aware of the arrangement is Peter Wardel. She forces Peter to keep her secret and turns to him when her world implodes. It is a fast paced romance with lots of twists and an ending that surprised me. The characters are well developed and the story has good depth and provided lots of intrigue. Great book in a great series!
Lady Annalies is risking all for herself and possibly her family by pursuing her painting career and moving in with her patron. When financial problems occur, she turns to Peter for solutions. He has always been a sounding board for her but realizes now he has a more personal interest in her well-being.
This delightful family always breaks with the standards of early England, but now we see the personal career struggle to follow the rules of the Academy who can make or break an artist. A wonderful lesson in economics, a deepening of the relationship, and an enchanting journey to this most fascinating time as written by this author.
Risk of Ruin is the next instalment in the Scandalous Scions series. This is the story of Annalies, Peter and why not, Tobias too. The background of the story is the art world and, as a trained historian, I can't start to tell how much I liked it. It's a very precise image of the academic art world, that in the end would result in the artistic vanguards in opposition to the official art. What I liked most about Annalies is that she is strong about her decisions and living her life in her own terms, even though it could imply not only her ruin but that of her family, too. What I liked most about Peter is he finally realises that and accepts her as she is, Tobias included. And what I liked most about the ending is that none of that really matters because you can have it all... Love the series!
A female non-conformist in a Regency Romance! What a great idea! Now, what about this relationship with Peter—how will that work into the story? Can’t wait to find out!
I just love the beginning and how I felt as if I had been dropped directly into Annalies’ mind. I can really emphathize with her situation and eagerly read the story to follow the steps that this strong woman takes to achieve her dreams.
I also really admire and enjoy how Tracy Cooper Posey maintains historical accuracy in even the smallest details and how in every book she introduces me to new historical figures like James Tissot and historical events.
A must read story with a great plot, relatable characters and an ending that I did not expect but love.
Thank you Tracy Cooper Posey.
What another brilliant episode in this huge family, with an artist this time, who in my eyes broke about every rule she could to paint. Then of course love got involved. Well with an author like Tracy, we can expect nothing short of brilliant. I loved the ups & downs as well as the sad & not so sad bits.
A moving story told excellently.
Thank you Tracy once again.
I love this series, which takes place in the very strict moral Victorian age and this book definitely breaks many of those morals. But we also have three closely-knit families that love, understand and accept their own, where society would shun and in some cases do harm to them. We have a young woman who has chosen to live a very unconventional love and secret life. She's also a woman with talent that finally realizes she will not be held back by what this society's strict views of what a woman is capable of doing on her own merits. We have a love that is realized too late for the one he loves has chosen another and the anger he has for her acceptance in what she has chosen.
You must read this book and decide for yourself what side you chose and will the families discover the truth and accept it, or will the final outcome surprise everyone, even to the three involved. I tell you it's just an awesome story.
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EXCERPT FROM RISK OF RUIN
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2019
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Over her mother’s shoulder, Annalies saw Peter standing at the door of the drawing room. He looked as though he had just arrived there. He was turning his head, taking in everyone in the room.
He had bathed and changed since the chapel. His tuxedo was perfectly cut, the shirt collar stiff and the tie a luxurious silk. The shoulders were agreeably wide, too. Like most of the men in the great family, Peter was tall, which allowed his well-made suits to hang properly, giving him a long, elegant line that he took advantage of.
Annalies might have called him a dandy, except Peter never seemed to care about his appearance, or take great pains with it. He never adjusted his clothing where anyone might see him do it. Nor did he brush at the cloth or pluck away lint, or minutely adjust his cuffs and sleeves or his tie.
Despite his careless air, Peter appeared in the most fashionable apparel made by the most sought-after tailors, and he wore it well.
His tuxedo, tonight, was another fashion-leading garment. Most men wore plain black for their evening suits. Peter’s suit, while cut exactly the same way as a standard and proper tuxedo, was a pale grey fabric which might possibly be silk, for it had the same dull gleam which Annalies’ silk garments did. She twitched to touch the flecked grey fabric and find out for herself. His waistcoat was cut very low, so that most of his shirt front was on display.
Peter leaned against the side of the archway with one arm languidly propping him up. His ankles were crossed and his other hand was in his trouser pocket, which had the effect of holding the long front of his jacket back out of the way, and displaying his hips.
It was the very air of casual indifference, as if Peter didn’t give a damn about joining the rest of the family.
Nevertheless, Annalies found herself moving across the room, her satin train swishing behind her. She did not make a decision to speak to him, but drifted there like a windblown russet leaf, to stand before him.
He didn’t move an inch. His dark brown eyes settled on her. “Good evening, Lisa Grace.”
She had forgotten the effect of Peter’s voice. It had a deep resonance to it, a timbre which always made him interesting to listen to, no matter what he was saying. Now, though, the rumble of his voice seemed to stroke along her spine, so that she shivered.
“It has been so long since I saw you, Peter.” She managed to speak without stuttering or otherwise revealing her odd reaction to him. Like most fashionable men, Peter had a beard, but he kept it neatly trimmed, so that it outlined the clear line of his jaw and chin. His mustache curved with a sinuous line around the corners of his mouth, to join the beard, below.
Her gaze shifted to the tanned skin of his neck, below the beard. The longer locks of his thick, dark brown hair were still damp from washing. They curled around his ear to lay flat against his flesh.
Annalies folded her gloved fingers in upon themselves, to resist the almost overwhelming urge to brush the damp curls away from his flesh. She drew in a breath, reaching for calm.
“It has been as long since you saw any of the family, I believe.” Peter’s voice was stiff. Polite. His gaze shifted from her face, to move around the drawing room behind her, as if he was ready to end the conversation right now.
Annalies couldn’t tear her gaze away from the tanned, warm flesh of his throat. She could detect his scent, which was mixed with damp and soap. It was abruptly all she could sense.
Something stirred deep in her belly and wicked thoughts rose. An impulse stuck her, strong and alluring. She wanted to sway closer and press her lips to his skin—and not just his throat, although she would start there.
Annalies blinked and thrust the astonishing idea away. He still had not properly looked at her. “Are you angry with me, Peter?”
His gaze pulled back to her face. “Angry about what?” His tone was indifferent.
He’s lying. She knew it in her heart, even though there was no hint that he didn’t give two bits about her, or the secret she had made him share with her, which he had professed to resent knowing.
Annalies regathered her composure, which was crumbling in a most annoying way. She could barely pull together two thoughts in a row, without having to tear her gaze away from the width of his shoulders, or his very agreeable height, or the thick silkiness of his hair, which wasn’t really brown at all. It wasn’t black, either. It was a charcoal shade that was most interesting.
Her wandering thoughts and the restlessness building inside her finally came together in her mind. Shock parted her lips.
She felt lust for Peter.
The last time she had seen Peter, she had been a maiden and unaware of the practices of the bedroom and the pleasure they could bring. Instead, she had simply thought of Peter as a very close friend inside the family, who liked to help her with her art and seemed to enjoy her company. She had enjoyed any time she spent with him and always looked forward to the next occasion.
Now she understood why she had felt that way. Had she always physically longed for him, and not understood what was drawing her to him?
Now, though, she knew. She understood exactly what was making her body throb, an invisible tide surging through her.
Her long silence warned him. Peter’s gaze settled back on her face. He lifted a brow.
Did he feel anything at all for her? Not that she should care at all what Peter might feel, Annalies quickly told herself. Only, now she was a woman and was aware of such things, she couldn’t help but wonder with a feminine vanity if he felt anything for her at all.
She was well aware of Peter’s proclivities. The entire family knew, for he had never hidden his preference for wine and for women with less than stellar morals. Society was littered with rakes who were a danger to any self-respecting debutante. Peter put them all to shame.
Did he look upon Annalies merely as his simple cousin, besotted with painting, and uninteresting because of it?
Her heart thudded quickly as she speculated. Did he see anything different in her, now? Did he find her wisdom about men appealing? Did he appreciate her appearance? It would be flattering if a man like Peter did notice.
Annalies thought of a certain duke who liked to work his way through as many maidens each season as those maidens’ mamas would tolerate, which some of them did with one clear eye upon his dukedom. The idea of that aging Lothario leaning over her, his breath on her neck, made her feel nothing but disgust.
But if Peter were to do it…!
Annalies realized she had not spoken for far too long. Peter’s eyes narrowed as he considered her. She shook herself mentally, to rid herself of the useless and dangerous thoughts. She gripped a fold of her skirt with her spare hand, for courage. “I wonder, might I speak with you, Peter?”
“You are speaking with me.” He didn’t even smile.
“Alone.” She hesitated. “Preferably behind a closed door.”
He straightened up from his indolent pose with a snap, as if he was alarmed. “No. I don’t think so.” His voice rasped over the low notes. “In fact, if you will excuse me, I see Will over there—”
A similar sort of alarm speared her. “Please, Peter,” she said quickly. “I…I need help.”
His gaze roamed over her face, while a tiny furrow appeared between his brows. She realized he was searching for a hint of what troubled her. She had caught his attention at least.
He shook his head. It was a tiny movement. For a moment Annalies thought he was repudiating her, refusing to even hear her out. Her heart froze and pain slashed through her. Until this moment, she had realized how much she had come to trust that Peter would always be there for her, that he would help her no matter what the problem was.
He shifted on his feet, turning so that the archway was clear and waved toward the airy, high-ceilinged foyer. “The library, then.” His tone was resigned and she realized with a jolt that his head shake had been his way of expressing irritation or disbelief over the fact that she was once more in trouble.