Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: BellesInBlue (Page 1 of 3)


Sam Clemens, editor and proprietor of the finest Society newspaper in the historical fictionsphere, completed the final draft of his front-page advertisement, put it into the tray marked ‘Urgent’, and rubbed a hand over his face. Today’s edition would be late to the boudoirs of the ladies of the ton, the clubs of the gentlemen, and the shadowy world occupied by the (to his mind) half-mythical ‘authors’ who purportedly invented the multiple universes and characters featured by the Teatime Tattler.

Today, his advertisement would take pride of place on the front cover, which might not excite the first two categories of reader, but would, Sam hoped, be seen as an opportunity for the third.

The recent push for Wednesday correspondents had garnered many more bookings, but they were spread through the year. He still had spaces most months, including the second half of April.

He crumpled up his rejected attempts and lobbed them one by one into the waste paper bin. “Promote your book”, one started. “Reach new readers”, said another. “A fun way to promote” followed “Stand out in the billion-book marketplace” into the bin.

He’d done his best. Now it was up to the authors. He rang the bell for the copy boy. “And tell Tom to add the block with the place they can find out more and book their spot,” he ordered. As the door closed behind the boy, he fished his brandy and a glass from the bottom drawer. Time for a quick drink before the proofs arrived, and then he’d be busy all night as the presses rolled.


Mysterious strangers at the Biblio

On Saturday last, your intrepid Teatime Tattler reporter dared the hallowed halls of the Biblio Club, a quiet and discreet gentleman’s club just off St James Street. It had come to our attention that two new authors had been added to the ranks of our benefactors, the Bluestocking Belles, and that their characters might, or might not, be out on the town to celebrate.

Having managed to gain entrance, I took a seat in a shadowy corner and awaited developments.

No sooner was I settled, than the door opened again. A captain in full dress uniform entered. “Thank you Crosby. Beastly night out there. I’ll be glad of some whisky by the fire, please.”

Before crossing the room, the captain looked around, watchful eyes cataloguing the room. And while he did, another newcomer, a blond man with a gold earring and a slight limp, took the place the captain had marked as his own.

One of the chairs by the fire was already occupied, by a fair man in full evening dress: His coat and breeches—of a midnight-blue silk velvet, with a deep band of embroidery on each side on the cuffs—fitted him as if painted on his broad shoulders and muscular thighs. Snow-white lace foamed at his neck and cuffs, matching his pure white stockings with silver clocking. His waistcoat was embroidered, near-painted, in a riotous multi-colour pattern on a salmon pink ground to match the roses in the coat’s embroidery.

The black armband was an incongruous touch. The ton was used to it now, and regarded it as an affectation. But the Marquess of Aldridge sincerely mourned the loss of his mistress.

A glint of gold in the firelight was not normally the cause of second glance in this place, but when it dangled from from an ear – of a man, no less – it caused eyebrows to raise.

The blond-headed man ignored it all, his slight limp almost imperceptible as he moved through the room with the aid of an ebony cane. He rested his hand lightly on the silver pommel. Those who knew Captain Hardacre knew it was swordstick, but he was not challenged, not on a night like this.

Without a by-your-leave, the newcomer took a chair by the fire opposite the young dandy with the rose embroidered coat. At a glance the two men might have been mistaken for twins. Hardacre lifted his chin and caught the other man’s attention.

“Dear chap, you must give me the name of your tailor.”

“I would,“ Aldridge replied, “But then I would have to kill you. Brandy, dear chap?”

Hardacre inclined his head to accept.

His palm rubbed the pommel of his cane, a proxy for the ache in his leg. The jewellery on his fingers caught Aldridge’s attention – particularly the one on his index finger. It was a ring of silver mounted with a square carnelian, blood red in hue. Into it had been set a gold scimitar.

“An unusual jewel,” the man commented.

“I took it from the man I killed.”

“An easier trophy to wear than a shrunken head,” Aldridge replied.

Hardacre grinned. “Perhaps we’ve sparred enough to be introduced. I’m Captain Christopher Hardacre.”

“Aldridge,” the other said, returning the grin and extending a hand.

The door opened again, letting in two gentlemen. “Rather impressive company isn’t it?” The Earl of Chadbourne looked up at his friend, but the Marquess’s ice blue eyes focused on the officer standing the far side of the room. “What is it Richard?” Chadbourne asked.

“A newcomer,” he murmured studying the man with as if he might probe the secrets of his soul.

“But not unknown to you, I’ll warrant.” The Earl shook his head. Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, knew everything, or so it seemed.

“Did you doubt it, Will? I wonder what Campion is doing in London?” the Marquess said. He handed his hat to the doorman and set out to find out.

“Thank you Crosby,” the earl said, following suit before following his friend.

Richard Campion halted in the act of taking a seat in a quiet corner. “Glenaire?” His gaze searched the room, noting the other men present then fixed on the Marquess. Campion started forward, meeting the other man more than half way. “By all that’s holy.” He clasped Glenaire about the shoulders in a rare public display. “What devilment has brought you away from the lofty heights of White’s?”

“I find the Biblio more conducive to quiet conversation and the clientele most interesting, present company included. Are you a guest tonight or have you obtained a membership?”

Garrick of Clan MacLaren fell through the doorway, collided with a well-dressed figure who had opened the door, and fell upon the floor. Laughter rumbled from the man who followed him, the man’s hand extended to assist Garrick to his feet.

“Easy now, Garrick. The first few minutes once you have traveled through time can be startling,” Dristan of Berwyck laughed as he slapped Garrick upon his back.

Garrick gasped. “Ye canna be tellin’ me we are like those future gals that continue to show up at yer gates, me laird.”

“Aye…” Dristan mused aloud looking the doorman up and down. “I can see I have once more traveled to some point in the future.”

“Ye have been here afore?” Garrick asked.

“Although I did not care for it overly much, Riorden de Deveraux and I slipped through time long ago but ’twas to some bookshop and an inn.”

Garrick crossed himself. “How shall we return to Berwyck, my laird?”

“These things seem to work themselves out. For now, let us join the other men by the fire. If I recall they serve a find brandy.”

Garrick was unsure if he wished to enter the room or go out the way he came in fear of where else he might end up. He made to follow Dristan ’til the man closing the door spoke up.

“My lord, perhaps you would like to leave your cape with me,” he suggested.

“Your name,” Dristan inquired with his hand upon the hilt of his sword.

“Crosby… at your service.”

Dristan took the cloak from his shoulders and nodded to Garrick to do the same. “I expect its return upon our departure.”

Crosby nodded. “Of course, my lord.”

“Come along, Garrick. Let us join the other men for a drink.”

“Aye, me laird,” Garrick replied. He hesitated but a moment afore he took a deep breath, handed his garment to Crosby and stepped forward wondering what this future world had in store for him.

Aldridge, who had met Dristan before, raised his brandy glass to him, and nodded, then introduced him and Hardacre. Soon the two medieval gentlemen, the sea raider, and the marquess were sharing tales and brandy.

A dark man, tall and moustached, walked in, gazing around the dimly-lit room as he softly closed the door.

Still frozen from his ride, although he’d already groomed and bedded Charro down in a stallion box, Xavier moved closer to the fire and turned his back to the roaring blaze, his fingers spread wide behind him to better warm them.

“I’d appreciate a little of that warmth, sir,” Aldridge said to the man in the fringed leather coat – no, a shirt surely – who had just blocked all the heat from the fire by standing in front of it.

He raised an amused eyebrow when the man turned. “Aldridge,” he introduced himself. “And my new friend Captain Hardacre. You would be?”

“Arguello, Xavier Arguello, of Rancho de las Pulgas”

Xavier reached out a hand and Aldridge returned his firm grip, then shook the captain’s as well.

“From Spain? How fares your land under the invader?”

“No,“ Xavier grinned, and perused their surroundings, “from what I daresay would have been nearer to your American colonies. From California. As to invasions, we haven’t had much of an invasion since the Americans took it from Mexico, but there are an awful lot of previous gold seekers now claiming land… some of it ours… and Southerners looking to make it Confederate… but you don’t want to hear about that now.” Xavier ducked his head in apology.

Aldridge glanced at Glenaire, who was watching them from across the room. Interesting, but more in Glenaire’s field of expertise than his own.

Richard cast Glenaire a glance before shifting his stance to more closely observe the newcomer. He’d read about the Spanish colonies on the west coast of the New World, but he’d never met anyone from that location.

Glenaire considèrs his options. He planned to feel Campion out about the Duke of Margis, but reconsidered in the face of this gentleman from California. The Biblio frequently had visitors from unusual places—and times—but could this one be trusted? Xavier caught his look and nodded, then turned toward him.

Richard raised his brow at Glenaire who shrugged then sat. Waiting as Aruguello approached, Richard smiled and gestured to an empty chair between him and Glenaire. “Please join us.”

“Thank you, Gentlemen,” Xavier said, sitting and awaiting developments.

An amiable gentleman joined them and handed a goblet of brandy to Glenaire before taking a seat. I’m Chadbourn. I understand you gentlemen are new to our lovely club. Let me be one of the first to welcome you. My friends (he nods toward Glenaire) call me Will.

Xavier stood and extended his hand. “Thank you for the welcome, Will. I’m Xavier. It’s been a long… ride, I think” he said, with a furrow of his brow. “I seem to have fallen into a different time, as I once did, when I met… ahh… her Grace the Duchess of Haverford, I believe it was. Have any of you made her acquaintance, or have missed her time altogether?”

Richard introduced himself and nodded to Chadbourn. “I’m sorry to say I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting the Duchess of Haverford, though I know of her, of course.”

Will grined. “Once you meet the Duchess of Haverford, you don’t forget her. Eleanor is a formidable woman.” He raised his glass to Aldridge, who was listening without shame, and grinned back.

Richard scowled. “Certainly her reputation is better than the only duchess I know personally.”

Glenaire raises a haughty eyebrow. “Do tell…”

Richard leaned toward Glenaire and spoke in an undertone. “I know I can count on your discretion. Perhaps we could talk later about her Grace of Stonegreave.”

Glenaire nodded imperceptibly. The analytical engine that is his brain, filed the contact away. This man may be useful.

“Senor Arguello, tell us of this California. What is life like on your ranchero?” Campion asked. He’d just as soon not have duchesses as the topic of conversation lest the name of one particular duchess arise, as it always seemed to do. Even after several years in retirement at Stonegreave, talk of Marielle was still of interest to society.

“The Rancho de las Pulgas, it is called. South of San Francisco. My wife and I have just returned there… it’s been quite a few years. It’s the biggest old Spanish Land Grant in the western side of the San Francisco Bay Area. A few thousand horses, even more cattle, hay, and grain. A nice spread.“ He added in an undertone, “I never thought to see it again.”

Undoubtedly the gentlemen continued their fascinating conversations, and perhaps in time the two groups merged. But alas, I could not stay to observe, having been noticed in my quiet corner by the estimable Crosby and escorted, none too gently, to the door.


Welcome to New Belles:

Rue Allyn and Lizzi Tremayne

The Teatime Tattler is delighted to welcome Rue Allyn’s hero from The French Duchess, Richard Campion, and Lizzi Tremayne’s hero from her Long Trails series, Xavier Arguello. May we and our readers enjoy many happy hours watching them through these pages and the pages of the books they inhabit.

We invite you to take the time to learn more about Rue and her books, and Lizzi and hers, by clicking on the links in the previous paragraph.

Throughout time, it has never been too late for love…1645


I hope you enjoyed your stay in Regency England via Nicole Zoltalk’s Blog. You are now in 17th Century England!

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to London in 1645: a time of intense political and religious upheaval.

Civil War


King Charles I by Anthony van Dyck

In 1645, England was in the midst of a civil war between King Charles I with his Royalist supporters (or Cavaliers) and Parliamentarians (or Roundheads) who wanted a parliamentarian government rather than a royal monarchy.

The English Civil War lasted from 1642 to 1651, and the end saw the trial and execution of Charles I (Beheaded in 1649), the exile of Charles II (in 1651), and the replacement of the English Monarchy with the Commonwealth of England (in 1649-53) followed by The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell (in 1653-1658) followed by Richard Cromwell (in 1658-59).

The English Monarchy was restored in 1660 when King Charles II returned from exile and retook the English throne. This date also marks the beginning of the Restoration period of England.

The period of time between the beheading of Charles I (in 1649) and the Restoration and return of Charles II (in 1660) is known as an Interregnum.

King Charles I portrait by Anthony van Dyck

Religious Upheaval, Puritanism, and an Attack on Christmas!

1645By the mid-17th century, Puritans—whose initial goal was to purify the Church of England and abolish any connection with Catholicism due to the idea that the entire organized religion of Catholicism was corrupt—had considerable influence in America and most of Europe. Puritans had power in government and thus the ability to influence laws. In the 1640s, the parliamentary party (working within the elected parliament) began working to suppress saints’ and holy days, including Christmas! This attack on Christmas came about for several reasons: they disliked the extravagance and disorder associated with the celebrations surrounding Christmas, and they saw Christmas as an unwelcome reminder of Catholic traditions (Christ’s mass). Further, they argued there was no biblical justification for celebrating Jesus’s birth.

By 1644, parliament went so far as to stress that December 25th should be a regular day of fasting and humiliation, as it happened to coincide with their weekly holy day. Further, people were directed to consider it a specific time of penance for past carnal delights associated with the holiday.

In January 1645, Parliament fully abolished and made illegal any observation of holy days, apart from Sundays. By 1659, Christmas was even abolished in parts of America, specifically the New England area, which had a strong concentration of Puritans. In fact, though the ban on Christmas in America was repealed in 1681, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that people widely began celebrating Christmas again in Boston!

A Year Without a Christmas from Never Too Late takes place during this time, when Christmas celebrations were prohibited, and is a theme of the story.

17th Century Fashion

We’ve all seen the extravagant neck ruffs associated with the Elizabethan era. By the 17th century, ruffs began to disappear to be replaced with broad lace or linen collars. Sleeves, which had previously been tight and fitted, became loose and flowing—many had slashed sleeves which revealed the shirt or chemise beneath.

Women’s clothing still consisted of bodices, petticoats, and gowns with wide lace collars and matching kerchiefs. Waistlines raised and lowered throughout the century, favoring a longer, loose silhouette. Men wore shirts, doublets, and hose, and for the first time, shoes began to have heels.

The influence of Puritanism can be felt in fashions of the time, with many apart from the extremely wealthy wearing more somber colors and significantly less lace, which was considered extravagant and wasteful. However, the higher the rank, the more lace was worn as success in Puritan eyes mean that a person was particularly blessed and therefore more Godly.

Women wore the bulk of their hair loose, with the top section pulled back into a bun, and often had bangs or fringe. Married women quit wearing lace caps so characteristic of the previous era. For men, long curls were fashionable. Cocked hats, pinned on one side with a mass of ostrich plumes was characteristic of the 1630s. The ascendance of the wig did not come about until the 1660s.


Henrietta Maria of France, Queen of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck


Hester Tradescant, second wife of John Tradescant the younger, attributed to Thomas De Critz, 1645.






Philip IV in Fraga by Diego Velazquez


Fashionable heeled boot with butterflies to prevent chafing from spurs.






Comment on all eight blogs in our tour and be entered to win a $25 gift voucher from Amazon and a print copy of Never Too Late!

You can get to all eight blogs via the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website once all tour stops are published.

Farewell from 1645

Thank you for stopping by. We hope you found your stay informative. Your next stop, takes you back to the beginning of the tour on Jude Knight’s blog, where you’ll visit New Zealand in 1886. Or you can return to the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website and pick a year.

I wish you safe travels. Good luck. Try not to land in the midst of the Battle of the Somme!

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Titillating Truths Revealed Over Tea…

On Tuesday, the newly wed Lady Theodora Stonemere and I had the occasion to take tea. It was quite the visit as I have learned so many tidbits about some of my favorite former patrons.

You see, I am the former Madame of The Market. But, since I married my long lost sweetheart, I have become Lady Hartfield.  And now I sip tea with those ladies daring enough to associate with me and I occasionally offer a smidgen of guidance here or there.

On Tuesday, Theo, Lady Stonemere, came to tell me how she and her rather highhanded husband are doing. Lord Stonemere is struggling with his wife’s rebellious nature, and she is finding it difficult to stay out of trouble.

But she tells me that despite their issues, marital relations are going along smashingly! I knew that visit to The Market I arranged for her would turn the trick.

Of course, we are both worried about poor Lord Brougham. He is Stonemere’s best friend, the two were inseparable before Stone married, but Brougham appears to still be very much a bachelor.

Theo is worried that the man will meet a woman who steals his heart but won’t surrender hers. He’s broken the hearts of so many ladies over the years, it seems he might be due for a taste of his own medicine.

Well, I say. Would you look at the time? I’m due at Madam La Fleur’s for a fitting within the hour. I hope to have more news on Lord Brougham for my next visit! Until then, here is an excerpt from His Hand-Me-Down Countess (Lustful Lords, Book 1)

Since the recitation of their vows that morning, Stone had barely spoken to Theo. Nerves stirred again as he glanced at the brave face she had pasted on upon their arrival at the wedding breakfast her parents were hosting. Despite the tension around her eyes, he assumed most of their guests wouldn’t notice it, or would chalk it up to bridal nerves as she smiled and welcomed all their well-wishers.

Concern filtered past his walls until he asked, “How are you holding up, Lady Stonemere?”

Her cheeks flushed an enticing shade of pink. “I am fine, Lord Stonemere.”

“Good. I believe these are the last of our guests and we may take our seats soon.” He nodded at the group of arrivals just entering her parents’ foyer.

Stone watched his bride beam at each guest and wondered how much longer they would be required to indulge their company. The last group filed past until they stood alone in the dark-paneled entry hall. The impulse to take her there and then, feed off her vitality, soak up her liveliness, and mark her as his lanced through him. He burned to stretch her out across his bed, bind her to it, and make her scream her pleasure. Yet he knew to use her thusly would at best shock her and at worst send her screaming from their breakfast.

Without any indication of his filthy thoughts, he tucked her delicate hand into the crook of his arm and led her into the dining room to their table. What kind of man desired to use his wife in such a coarse manner? Did his need to command her body and soul stem from some cancerous mass that tainted his own soul?

“Regrets so soon, my lord?” She watched him warily as she sipped champagne from a delicately etched crystal flute.

“Regrets? No.” He frowned, confused by her query.

“Then you may wish to consider schooling your features when you look at me, or our guests may be led to believe that you intend to whisk me away and thrash me as opposed to ravish me like a dutiful bridegroom.” She set her glass down and smiled sweetly at him.

Chagrined at being caught out by his bride, he dug deep to smooth his features and shut down his lecherous line of thought. Casting his most devastating smile in her direction, he took her hand and carried it to his lips. Skin against…moleskin. A strong reminder that his wife was a lady, not a prostitute, or even a widow. And yet his desire refused to abate.

His gaze lingered on the swath of skin exposed above her neckline. It pleased him to see the gooseflesh his touch raised. And the soft sigh that escaped her kissable lips teased his inner beast, made him desperate to elicit more such sounds from her.

She softly cleared her throat and lifted one silky eyebrow. His lips curved up at her less-than-subtle reminder. “I suppose I should have gathered from our previous conversations that you have a tendency to say unexpected things in the most inappropriate of places.”

“If by unexpected you mean true, then I suppose you should.” The little minx agreed so effortlessly with his observation that he couldn’t resist smiling.

“Quite so. I see you shall keep me on my toes. Be warned, madam. You will find me equal to your challenge.” A strange sense of contentment chased away his consternation and left little room for his previous inner debate. As long as his wife continued to engage him in conversation, he had no time to worry about things he could not change.

His Hand-Me-Down Countess (Lustful Lords, Book 1)

His brother’s untimely death leaves him with an Earldom and a fiancée. Too bad he wants neither of them…

Theodora Lawton has no need of a husband. As an independent woman, she wants to own property, make investments and be the master of her destiny.

Unfortunately, her father signed her life away in a marriage contract to the future Earl of Stonemere. But then the cad upped and died, leaving her fate in the hands of his brother, one of the renowned Lustful Lords.

Achilles Denton, the Earl of Stonemere, is far more prepared to be a soldier than a peer. Deeply scarred by his last tour of duty, he knows he will never be a proper, upstanding pillar of the empire. Balanced on the edge of madness, he finds respite by keeping a tight rein on his life, both in and out of the bedroom. His brother’s death has left him with responsibilities he never wanted and isn’t prepared to handle in the respectable manner expected of a peer.

Further complicating his new life is an unwanted fiancée who comes with his equally unwanted title. Saddled with a hand-me-down countess, he soon discovers the woman is a force unto herself. As he grapples with the burden of his new responsibilities, he discovers someone wants him dead. The question is, can he stay alive long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill him while he tries to tame his headstrong wife?

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About the Author

Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!

No such thing as vampires

Inside a Parisian tavern on July 13, 1789

Francesca sat at a table with her fellow conspirators. All night they sang songs to give them courage. People had been arrested and tossed into the Bastille for the slightest reason.

“It’s not right. We will free the prisoners. We want justice,” Armand shouted.

“We want food,” shouted several others.

The crowd went crazy with anger and too much drink.

“Are we really going to attack the Bastille tomorrow?” She whispered to Pierre besides her.

“If they don’t surrender the prisoners, we will. Come up to my room, and I will show you the plans.”

She pushed him away and got up. It was her shift for clearing the tables, not that she’d go anywhere with him. All the girls knew Pierre, so she didn’t have to.

As soon as she had a full tray of dishes and entered the kitchen, Chloe pulled her aside. “Did you see this in the newspaper, Francesca?”

“What does it say?”

“It says there are vampires in the city. The rumor is they are waiting for a war, so they can feed on the fallen in the open.”

Francesca put the dishes into the large sink. She separated out the empty pints. “Chloe, you are funny. There is no such thing as vampires.”

The girl crossed herself. “You don’t believe. Oh, Francesca, may God protect you.”

Francesca smiled while tying her kerchief on her head. “I’m done, and may God protect you, Chloe. I’m off to pray.” She walked out the back door into the dark on her way to Notre Dame.

As she hurried around the corner, she ran past a gentleman with a tall hat. He didn’t follow her, and she was relieved. Francesca didn’t want to admit it but the talk of vampires chilled her to the bone. She pulled her shawl closer about her shoulders and looked behind her. No one was there.

From Peasant to Vampire Princess (Secrets behind Vampire Princess of New York)

by Susan Hanniford Crowley

(Note: Francesca is Noblesse Vander Meer’s human name. Marie is Margot’s human name. Jacques is not Louis’s human father.)

They all laughed with the French vampires around the table, finishing a grand meal. As the Arnhem Knights retreated to the large meeting room on the main floor, the royal family moved to a parlor off the main bedroom.

Max and Evie took the love seat closest to the blazing fireplace. Jacques, Margot, and Louis took the sofa and Donovan and Noblesse the other chair. The seating was a loose half-circle around the fire.

“How did you become a vampire, Francesca?”

“We hadn’t heard from you, Mama. Then Grand-mère died. I had nothing. When I told the priest I was going to Paris to find you, he gave me some coins, and with Grand-mère’s last sweet bread wrapped in cloth, I started walking. Afraid, I went to Domrémy first to pray, to ask the aid of Sainte Jeanne D’Arc. Then I walked until it was dark.”

“You went alone?” Margot asked.

“I had no choice. There was no one to walk with me. The first night I was attacked by bandits. They took the little I had, tied me to a tree, and talked how they would use me. I was fortunate that they drank themselves into a stupor. It was my one chance to get away, but my bounds were too tight. Then I saw her.”

“Who?” Louis asked.

“The Maid herself in armor and sword. She cut my bounds and said one word, ‘Run.’ I ran until morning and found refuge for a few hours in a small church many villages away. I don’t know how many days or weeks I walked begging food and sleeping in churches.

“When I came to Paris looking for Marie Therese Aquilla, no one knew you. Unable to find you, I took cleaning jobs and fell into the spirit of the Revolution. I held a sword shouting protests to free the prisoners. Then we stormed the Bastille. I was shot and remember falling.”

Margot wept and leaned on Jacques.

“Max picked me up, carried me away, and made me a vampire.”

Max interrupted. “She was a magnificent warrior. Still is for that matter. I told her that she was the noblest of creatures. I named her Noblest.”

Noblesse smiled and added, “I named myself Noblesse, because I thought I was damned. It took me a long time to adjust to being a vampire. Max, being an excellent father, was very patient. He taught me how to be a civilized vampire, and how to run what would become an international business.”

Margot sighed and wiped her eyes. “You became a vampire because of me.”

“No, Mama. I believe that I’ve been watched over. I have not always believed I was fortunate, but now I know I am.” Noblesse kissed Donovan on the cheek. “I’m a very happy vampire. Don’t cry, Mama. How did you become a vampire?”

Margot smiled and held Jacques’s hand. “I was working in the kitchen of the palace, when Princess Sophie became ill. The queen heard I had experience as a healer and asked to see me. Only nobility could touch the royal children, so the queen had me finely dressed and called me ‘Lady Aquilla’. She told her ladies that I was robbed while traveling, and afterward mistaken for a commoner. She said that the name belonged to a noble family of Italy. I did not argue with the queen. The baby princess was gravely ill, and she asked me to help her care for the child.”

Louis looked straight into the fire, pain etched on his face.

“I tried everything I could think of for the little one, but she died. The queen did not blame me. Then I became ill, and she hired Jacques and his sister Gabrielle to care for me. She did not miss that I cared for Jacques, who did a variety of jobs at the palace.”

Jacques said, “When I knew your mother was dying, I changed her. The queen heard she had died and paid me to provide a proper burial for the ‘sweet lady’. I had to buy a casket and have a mass and burial. I purchased the plot in St. Marguerite’s. In the middle of the night, I dug her up so she would not awaken terrified of being buried alive.”

“What happened to your sister?” Noblesse asked.

“When she became ill, I tried to change her too. She did not survive. Gabrielle is buried in the grave at St. Marguerite’s.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thank you.”

“How did you become a vampire, Louis?” Max asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it. You may if you wish, Father.” Louis continued to stare into the fire.

“We smuggled Louis out of Temple Prison. He was only ten. We replaced him with another boy’s body already dead from disease,” Jacques said.

“Some of the books say that there were witnesses with him when he died.”

“Mesmerization is a wonderful tool.” Noblesse’s mother smiled and winked at Donovan.

“But there is DNA evidence from the Prince of France’s heart interred at St. Denis,” Noblesse said.

“Ever hear of tampering with evidence?” Jacques asked. “It was in Louis’s best interest that the world think him dead.”

“You aged him with Shuma Moot?” Max asked.

“Yes. We needed to age him fast, so we could leave Paris for a while,” Jacques said.

Louis looked angry and sad at the same time, but he didn’t add to the conversation on his life. Noblesse felt torment radiating from him. She reached into her pocket and took out the little book.

“We are family here, wouldn’t you agree, Louis, my brother?”


“A French writing desk that Donovan bought for me survived the explosion at the Arnhem Society, though it did break in half. In it we found the little book with the information about my mother and Jacques. It’s a dear book written by a mother, mostly about the love she had for her children.”

Noblesse stood up and walked over to Louis, who looked confused. “It has helped a great deal in my life. I give to you, because by rights it is yours.” She handed him the book, and he opened it.

“What is it, Francesca?” her mother asked.

“It is a diary of Queen Marie Antoinette, hidden for centuries.”

Louis’s expression melted into sorrow, as he read. A blood tear slipped down his cheek. “Thank you, my sister Francesca.”

Noblesse returned to snuggle with Donovan in the love seat. The family sat quietly together watching the fire for a long time.

Louis stood facing the fire, swinging his arm as if to throw, but in the last minute held the little book against his heart instead.


Noblesse is the daughter of the Vampire King of New York Maximillion Vander Meer. In his absence, she is the CEO of VMeer Industries and is an Arnhem Knight (a vampire warrior sworn to protect human life in New York and render aid to other supernaturals.)

But in the over two hundred years, she’s been a vampire, Noblesse has never found a true love or discovered what happened to her mother who disappeared just prior to the French Revolution.

Noblesse has to choose between two men. Both profess their love. Both are keeping a secret from her. One wants to destroy her, and one wants to love her forever. But which one?

Buy Links:

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Meet Susan Hanniford Crowley

Susan has been writing since she was 8 years old. She started out writing animal stories as a child and grew into a science fiction and fantasy author. Her short stories appeared in anthologies edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Her novella Ladyknight published in the Spells of Wonder anthology went international. In 2006, a friend suggested paranormal romance and it’s been her passion ever since. Currently, she has two paranormal romance series, a mythology romance, and a steampunk romance. Susan specializes in vampires and rare supernaturals. She enjoys incorporating historical mysteries and places of interest into her novels, and does intense research.

Susan, the founder of the Nights of Passion blog, a member of RWA and SFWA,  speaks at scifi and romance conferences. In her day job, she is a webmaster. Married for 38 years, she is a mother and grandmother. Her goal is to give her readers as much fun as possible. Susan believes we all need more fun in our lives.

Website: www.susanhannifordcrowley.com

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Blog: http://nightsofpassion.wordpress.com

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