SEASON OF DENIAL by Tracy Cooper-Posey
Scandalous Scions Book 7.0
Victorian Era Historical Romance Novel
He’s a rake, she’s a not quite a spinster. Life is interesting when they’re together, but…
When her twin sister, Bridget, betrays Lady Mairin’s trust by marrying a man within the Great Family, Mairin determines she will find a suitable husband elsewhere, no matter what.
Iefan Davies, the family rakehell, who has rejected both the family and society, introduces Mairin to the Duke of Gascony, then teaches her to woo the duke. Between seduction lessons, Iefan shows her the world beyond the ton.
Neither considers the other suitable marriage material, for Mairin has a duke in her sights, while Iefan has no intention of curtailing his bachelor ways, although life is certainly interesting when they’re together.
Season of Denial is the seventh book in the spin-off series following the historical romances of Scandalous Sirens. Scandalous Scions brings together the members of three great families, to love and play under the gaze of the Victorian era’s moralistic, straight-laced society.
Reader Advisory: This story contains frank sex scenes and sexual language.
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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Mairin Williams has still not received any marriage proposals after five seasons. She runs into her cousin Iefan Davies at a party and he introduces her to the Duke of Gascony. The Duke shows an interest in Mairin so Iefan decides to give her advice on how to woo the duke. Iefan also takes her on some adventures to show her the world beyond the ton. Iefan’s advice seems to be working as the Duke is definitely interested in Mairin. Will Mairin finally get the marriage proposal she has been wishing for or will she realize she has feelings for another? This was a great read filled with adventure and romance.
In the continuing story about "The Family", the newest intrigue and adventure does not disappoint. Reading a historical romance is like going on your own adventure.....You never know what the next intrigue, calamity or adventure will take you and finally when you have reached the end of the novel you realize that you have enjoyed the voyage Tracy has written for you. If you are wanting to start this series now......you must start at the first book to get to enjoy the fabulous voyage through the lives of these great characters.
This is book seven in the series and so far this one is my favorite. The book cover was awesome. There is just the right amount of sexyness between the sheets without it being too overbearing. Bring on the next one. I voluntary reviewed an advance copy of this book.
I was spellbound by these wonderfully complex and strong main characters and their story! Action that moves apace with interesting adventures and a developing relationship makes for a very satisfying read. It’s so rare to get a peek beyond the strictures of The Ton and their London society facade so I love the insight into the alternative side of the Victorian lifestyle that Tracy Cooper-Posey often provides in the two Scandalous series: Sirens and now Scions. Picking up any book by Tracy Cooper-Posey is always exciting and I love the stimulation they all provide whether it be for romance; an escape to another world (Victorian England in this case but check out her full book list for more well-written and entrancing scenarios); a raunchy frolic on the way to commitment; or a long slow boil of passion! I was delighted that Season of Denial had all of the above! This unpredictable and interesting story, with delightful repartee and plenty of action, stays true to the captivating stories of the Scandalous Scions series! I highly recommend reading all the books, in series order and don’t forget about the prequel series too, Scandalous Sirens.
I loved the characters and “adventures” the male lead exposes the female lead to. So much fun! Not your normal activities found in most books! This is the first book in this series that I have read, so I was a little confused about all the family members and why the female lead did not want to marry anyone in the extended family. That is the only reason I did not rate it a five. I plan to read it again and I think it will make more sense.
I must admit I was rather sceptical before reading this book. As a rule I am not into historical romance but I really enjoyed this story. Especially the development of the characters was great. I must confess that the supernatural (menage) stories of this author are still my favourite (they really are unsurpassed), but I liked this book very much.
Season of Denial is the seventh installment in the Scandalous Scions series. This is the story of Mairin and Iefan and how they found each other in a moment when they are not so keen on the Great Family. Iefan seems to take pity on Mairin's unexciting spinster's life, and takes her with him on a journey of mischievousness. In the process, they find themselves. This is a story, beautifully well written, of strong characters on a life journey and how two friends fall in love slowly but irrevocably. Out of all the stories so far, for me this is the more relatable. Who hasn't fallen in love with his/her best friend once? Even if you don't like romance, give it a try, it will be very well worth your time!
This was a brilliant read, Iefan & Marin had decided enough was enough, so my previous comment about this being a corker of a read wasn't far off at all. This went from Iefan showing Marin the kind of thing he got up to away from the family & it taught her a thing or two as well. Also I found chapter 12 exhilarating which I'm sure you will too. Marin was now starting to speak her own mind having adventures, she never thought she would have & all because she fell in love with the wrong or was he man. Put it this way, they introduced The Great Family to a world they never thought they would see. It was a fascinating read. Thank you Tracy, loved it.
Mairin is tolerating her 6th season; ready to go to the country and give up on a match. When Iefan, who stays a bit outside the family influence, takes her under his wing and shows her a more “relaxed” side of the ton. Iefan also gives her tips to snare a duke – quite successfully. It may become a case of “be careful what you wish for”.
The reader is once again brought into this fascinating family, and their private flaunting of societal norms in deference to “family first”. We see many previously highlighted couples and are taken on a grand adventure all in the quest for love.
Absolutely captivating series!! I highly recommend this story and series.
Loved it, now I have to continue with another great series
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EXCERPT FROM SEASON OF DENIAL
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2018
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
As soon as they had disappeared, Iefan emerged. He smiled, his eyes dancing, as he came toward her. “Lady Mairin, you are my savior.”
“I doubt that,” she replied flatly. “Whatever are you doing here, Iefan? I didn’t think soirees were your cup of tea.”
He grimaced, his full lips pressing together. “They are not. The whist game in the smoking salon, however, was.”
“Ah.” She carefully folded Mairin’s letter and slid it back into her pocket. “What happened to cause Westgate to chase you in that way? Did he catch you cheating?”
“Me?” Iefan said. He frowned. “I do not cheat.” There was a note in his voice that rang like struck iron.
Mairin put her hands together in her lap. “I apologize for the inference.” She might have felt guilty about thinking Iefan was even capable of such a dishonourable practice, had her heart not been too full of troubles already.
How long would he linger here? When would he leave her alone? She wanted to think, which she could not do while he stood there.
Iefan studied her, a tiny crease between his brows. “Have you been crying?”
Mairin dropped her gaze to her hands, her heart giving a hard little beat. “I had forgotten that about you,” she murmured.
“If you were being direct, you would call it rudeness.”
She looked up at him, startled. His eyes were dancing once more.
“What are you doing here, anyway, Iefan? You never come to society things. Did you really attend just to play a game of whist?”
“A very rich game of whist, yes. You’re quite right, I would rather be anywhere than in this thick concentration of upper class hypocrisy, but a friend of mine was invited to play in the game and he wanted a reliable partner, so I agreed to help him.”
That Iefan had friends at all was a surprise to Mairin. That those friends were clearly not family was intriguing.
Will and Jack and Peter, and even her older brothers, Cian and Neil, tended to cling together. They went to the same clubs. They kept each other company at events they attended together. They drank together. They got into mischief together. Even Ben, Iefan’s older bother, often kept the company of the family, bringing Dane with him.
Iefan, though, was different. He always went his own way. He rarely came to the family gatherings in Cornwall each September, either—while everyone else in the family attended those if they possibly could.
The type of mischief Iefan got up to was darker and more serious than anything his cousins had tried…or so Jack and Will and the others hinted.
What Iefan actually did with his time was a mystery to just about everyone. Had Mairin just caught a glimpse of the answer? Gambling seemed to fit with the rumours she had heard about him over the years.
She considered Iefan once more, assessing him. “If you did not cheat, then why was Westgate so upset with you?”
“Because he’s a fool and cannot play a descent hand of whist even when money rides upon the outcome.” Iefan shrugged and pointed to the bench. “May I sit beside you? It would be best to linger here for a while, until Westgate gives up the chase. Then I can escape this house and find a better card game elsewhere.”
Mairin cleared her throat. She wanted to refuse his request. She wanted to be alone. Yet it was a perfectly polite request and a reasonable one under the circumstances. She shifted on the bench and tucked her skirts more closely around her, to give him room.
Iefan nodded his thanks and sat, thrusting out a long leg and resting his loosely curled hand on the other knee.
He wore perfectly acceptable evening clothes, including a fashionable tie instead of a cravat. Put amongst a room full of lords, Iefan would be indistinguishable, except for his height, which he had taken from his father, Rhys, and his wild, thick hair that never seemed to behave itself.
He had his father’s high cheekbones and thin cheeks, but his chin was square and his nose straight. His mouth was usually held in a cynical curl at the corner. In fact, he was making that same sour smile now as he looked at her.
“I don’t think I have seen you for several years,” he said. “Should you not have been married years ago?”
She flinched. “If this is the way you engaged in conversation with ladies, your continuing bachelorhood is completely understandable.”
He smiled fully, showing even, white teeth. “I do not generally trouble myself with conversations with ladies.”
“So I have heard.”
His smile grew. “I did not fail to notice how you shifted the subject away from my original observation, either.”
She blinked. “I beg your pardon?” Oh, how she wished he would leave! Now she remembered why she didn’t like him. Whenever she had been in his company, growing up, she had been left with this same uncomfortable churning in her chest and her heart.
“You were crying, when I arrived,” Iefan replied.
“If you were a gentleman, you would have let me shift the subject,” she said, her jaw stiff. Of course Iefan would pursue it!
“Yes, if I was a gentleman, I would have. You and I both know my heritage.” There was no resentment in his voice.
“You’re the son of royalty,” Mairin pointed out.
“A disowned princess,” he amended. “Sometimes, my mother is more common than my father.” Despite the terrible words, he was smiling with a fondness that made Mairin catch her breath. She had not thought him capable of such warmth. Then he cocked his head, considering her once more. “Would it surprise you if I told you I am rather good at card playing?”
“Not at all,” she assured him.
He nodded. “There is a reason for that.”
“I heard Ben speak of your card-playing once. He said you remember every card that has been played.”
Iefan dismissed that with a slight shake of his head. “A parlor trick that certainly helps but that is not why the Alex Ramseys of the world seek me as a partner and pay me half their winnings for the privilege–”
“They do? Half the winnings?”
“Yes,” he said shortly. “But that is not what assures the outcome. It is understanding men and how their minds work that is the true skill. Knowing their greed and hope will outweigh their good sense gives me the advantage even before the cards are shuffled.”
“That is terribly pessimistic.”
“Honest people don’t gamble,” he said flatly.
“Then you did cheat,” she replied.
His lips parted. Then he laughed. It was not a polite chuckle, either. It pulled from his belly and seemed to surprise him, too.
He shifted on the bench so he could face her squarely. “I don’t cheat,” he said. This time, there was no anger. “There is no fun in cheating, while there is an intense pleasure in properly beating a man who thinks he is superior.”
Mairin caught her breath. “Does the ton really treat you that badly?”
Iefan shook his head, with an expression that said he was amused by her question. “I would have thought, after so many seasons being paraded in the marriage market, that you would have acquired more wisdom by now.”
Mairin thought of the crumpled letter in her pocket and the hurt that it had delivered. “I have acquired more than you know.”
“Oh? Is that why you sit alone in the conservatory? Licking your wounds, Mairin?”
“Yes,” she said flatly.
His eyes widened, just a bit. Then they narrowed thoughtfully. “I see.” He leaned a little closer and lowered his voice. “Then you are losing hope that you will find the husband you seek outside the family?”
Her middle jumped, making her heart work. “You heard about that?”
Iefan sat back. “I do talk to the family every now and again. Ben told me about the gathering when you and Bridget turned up your noses at every man in the family.”
Mairin sighed. “That was such a long time ago. It wasn’t meant to insult anyone.”
“I wasn’t insulted,” Iefan said. “I even know why you said it.”
“You do?” Mairin couldn’t help voicing her surprise and doubt, for even she was not entirely sure why she and her twin had settled on such an ambition. Not anymore. Once, though, it had seemed quite clear, simple and straight-forward.
Iefan shrugged in response to her skepticism. “The family is closed-in. Their sameness chokes you. Marrying anyone else would release you from the familiar.”
“Yes,” she breathed, stunned. It was as if Iefan had reached into her mind and plucked her feelings from the buried morass of the past. Now she remembered why she had been so determined to marry well outside the family.
“That is why you sit here, sunk into your misery,” Iefan added. “I estimate this is your…sixth season?”
Mairin swallowed. He had named the number precisely.
“Five previous seasons and still unwed,” he said softly. “Now, a sixth lies before you and you don’t even have a dance card on your wrist.”
“It is in my pocket,” she said, stung.
“And how many names are on it?” Despite the awful question, his tone was gentle.
“One,” she admitted and looked at her silk gloves. Her cheeks burned. “Bridget and Will are married. Did you know that?” It was easier to speak the words if she did not look at him.
“I did. I also know she was with child. It should have been born by now.”
“Last August,” she admitted. “A girl.”
“Bridget marrying a man in the family…I wonder, do you feel betrayed, Mairin?”
Mairin closed her eyes. “Yes,” she whispered, for that was exactly what she felt. Until Iefan had spoken the words, she did not know it, but now the truth throbbed in her chest. It was why she carried the letter with her. It was why she kept reading it and experiencing yet again the hot rush of hard feeling that rose in reaction to Bridget’s happy news.
Her eyes ached and prickled. If she cried in front of Iefan of all people, it would be the utter end. She swallowed and blinked and breathed, forcing the tears back.
“Why do you continue with this charade?” Iefan asked, his voice as soft as hers. “Why do you not give up and go live in the country and enjoy the bucolic peace and quiet, with an untroubled mind?”
The raw wound he had just prodded made her speak with the same bluntness he had delivered upon her. “I would wither and die, if I did. I would suffocate!”
“Ah!” He breathed the word, with a note of surprise and satisfaction. “Do you mistakenly believe, then, that marrying into some other man’s family would provide freedom and adventure?”
Horror jerked her chin up. She stared at Iefan, the dawning realization making her shrink back on the bench. “I…had not thought of it that way,” she admitted, her throat tight.
Iefan’s expression was one of commiseration. He got to his feet. “It seems you’re in quite a pickle, Lady Mairin,” he told her. “Damned if you don’t marry and damned if you do.”
Mairin looked up at him, her heart heavy. “Thank you for the clarification.”
His smile grew warmer. The dry curl at the corner of his mouth smoothed out. “Cheer up,” he told her. “You may yet have your adventure.”
“Is that what you do? Have adventures?”
“I suppose…yes,” he admitted.
“Ladies don’t have adventures,” she pointed out. “Not if they wish to remain ladies.”
“Oh, there are ways to have adventures that don’t involve spoiling your reputation,” he assured her.
“Not that I am aware of.”
“You cling too hard to society’s rules, Mairin,” Iefan replied. “That is why you are doomed.”
Hurt tightened her chest. “Your conversations impart the same sensations as always.”
“A nicely two-faced insult typical of the ton,” he said, although he sounded amused, not angry. “You don’t like talking to me because you find honesty uncomfortable.”
“Truth unleavened with empathy has that effect upon everyone,” she snapped. “Good evening, Mr. Davies.”
“Lady Mairin.” He bowed and turned away, toward the path back to the conservatory door, but not before she saw his smile, rich with enjoyment.
He liked making her feel this way. Damn him.
Mairin watched his back slip between palm fronds and disappear. With some luck she would go another handful of years without seeing him. Iefan Davies ruffled her far too much to speak to him more frequently than that.