Cover image for Once a scoundrel
Once a scoundrel
Hern, Candice.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Avon Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
374 pages ; 18 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Library

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When Anthony Morehouse wins The Ladies' Fashionable in a card game, he thinks it's piece of furniture. But he soon learns that it is actually a women's magazine. He plans to sell it to the editor, but when he sees the beautiful Edwina Parrish behind the desk, he changes his mind. Edwina was his childhood Nemesis, besting him in many competitions and winning from him a family heirloom. He's never forgotten it and so proposes another wager: If she wins, he'll give her the magazine; if he wins, he keeps the magazine and gets his heirloom back.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

After winning the Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet in a card game, Anthony finds to his great surprise that he owns not a piece of furniture but rather a ladies' magazine. Once Tony discovers that the editor is not the dried-up spinster he envisioned but instead is his childhood friend and nemesis, Edwina Parrish, he comes up with a wonderfully devious scheme to pay Edwina back for all the humiliating wagers he lost to her as a boy by wagering her for ownership of the magazine. The chance to win control of the magazine is too tempting to resist, but it means Edwina must prevent Tony from discovering her creative uses for some of the magazine's profits. As both try to gain the upper hand in their little competition, Edwina and Tony gradually realize that they might be playing for a different, more important prize. In the second in a trilogy, Hern expertly infuses each encounter between her delightfully appealing protagonists with delicious wit and luscious sensuality. --John Charles Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Appalled to learn that the Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet he has just won in a card game is not a piece of furniture but a popular women's magazine, Anthony Morehouse decides to hand over its unwanted ownership to the editor. But when the editor turns out to be not only stunningly beautiful but is also his childhood nemesis, who won every wager they made and still has a prized Roman artifact that his father never forgave him for losing, he decides to make another bet. This time, Tony is determined to win. Employing flawless period detail, an intelligent plot, and a lively sense of fun, Hern takes a pair of complex, beautifully matched protagonists, gives them a full complement of charmingly extraordinary secondary characters, and sweeps them into a world of propriety, politics, and fashion so vividly depicted that full-color images practically spring from the pages. Witty dialog, sparkling sensuality, and skillful writing add to the mix. Hern (Once a Dreamer) is a popular writer of Regency-set historicals and lives in San Francisco. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Once a Scoundrel Chapter One July, 1801 If he weren't so thoroughly drunk, he might never have got himself into such a fine mess. Anthony Morehouse raked in the small pile of notes from the center of the card table and thought he'd better call it a night. Earlier that afternoon he had bested Lord Reginald D'Aubney in a curricle race, for which he'd won his lordship's favorite pair of matched grays, and had been celebrating the victory with his friends all evening. He'd lost count of the number of toasts in his honor. Clearly, he was too foxed to think straight or he would never have accepted such damned fool stakes. It made him uncomfortable when a gentleman began to put up personal possessions as collateral instead of money or vowels. Tony had never pegged Victor Croyden as that sort of desperate player, and yet he'd just won a piece of furniture from the man. Now, what the devil was he to do with this damned wardrobe or bureau or whatever it was he'd just won? "Well, I'm for home," he said, and tucked the notes into his purse. He'd better take his leave before he won a matching set of chairs. He stood and had to grab hold of the table edge to keep his balance. Devil take it, he really was squiffed. "Care to share a hackney, Croyden? We can discuss this chest of yours and arrange delivery." A burst of laughter from Croyden and similar hoots of mirth from the other men at the table caused Tony to look down and inspect his person. Was something amiss? His breeches gaping, perhaps? A wine stain on his neckcloth? Stockings puddling around his ankles? "What?" "Really ought to pay more attention, Morehouse," Sir Crispin Hollis said. He was the only one not laughing too hard to speak. "It ain't a piece of furniture, you know." "Course it is," Tony said. "Croyden said so. Heard him quite clearly. A chest or bureau or some such thing. Very fashionable, he said. It's all right here in his note." More guffaws rang out in the card room and Tony began to become irritated. It was an idiotic thing to have won, to be sure, but he'd seen stranger stakes. Besides, he hadn't wanted to be rude and ask Croyden to stand down, even though he doubted the wretched bureau could possibly be worth the purse he'd staked. He was only trying to be civil, and look where it got him. All of White's was gathering around the table to see what the fuss was about. "Better look at that note again," Sir Crispin said. Tony fumbled in his coat pocket to retrieve his notes, but his fingers got all tangled up in the purse strings and the whole business was making him dizzy. He gave up. "Just tell me." Fearing he might take a header -- not at all the thing to do in White's -- he leaned on the table for support. "Have you bamboozled me, Croyden?" "Not in the least," the man said, though his smile indicated otherwise. "Made myself perfectly clear. Thought you understood." "Understood what?" Tony's celebratory mood had faded. Wished he hadn't drunk so much claret. Couldn't seem to think straight. Had a fuzzy sort of notion, though, that he'd been played for a fool. "Understood my stakes," Croyden said. "The magazine." "What magazine? See here, Croyden, I may be drunk, but I'm not that drunk. You staked some sort of cabinet and that's what I played you for. Said it was worth my purse. Took your word as a gentleman. If you've taken me in -- " "Nothing of the sort," Croyden said. He held up his hand to stop any accusations, though he did not have the look of a man about to be caught out in a dishonorable wager. In fact, he looked positively gleeful. "I put The Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet on the table and you won it. It's yours, Morehouse, fair and square." "All right, so I won a piece of female furniture." The players erupted in laughter once again. Tony was becoming seriously annoyed. "Well, what of it? It ain't all that comical." The press of spectators surrounding the table had become oppressive, and the roar of their laughter made Tony's head ache. He lifted his hands, palms up, and looked around at his friends and acquaintances. "What? If the blasted cabinet is worth what he says it is, what is so damned funny?" His friend Ian Fordyce took pity on him. He came to Tony's side and put an arm around his shoulders. "I think you'd better sit back down," he said. "And try to pay attention this time." "Don't want to sit down. Want to go home and fall into bed. I'm done in, I tell you." "I don't doubt it," Ian said, "but first you need to understand what you've won, old boy. It ain't a piece of furniture." "It is, by God. If I've heard the word 'cabinet' once, I've heard it a dozen times." "Yes, but it's not furniture," Ian said, his voice quivering with suppressed mirth. "It's a magazine. The Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet. Do you understand me, Morehouse? It's a magazine." Tony took a moment to allow this bit of information to work its way through the bleary pathways of his brain. He'd just won a magazine? A few sheets of printed pages against his entire purse? Could he have been that drunk? No wonder he was a laughingstock. Once a Scoundrel . Copyright © by Candice Hern. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Once a Scoundrel by Candice Hern All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.