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The Gentleman Refused to Move!

What beautiful aristocratic ward of the Duke of Althorn was seen in the company of Lord Claven, son of the viscount? The chandeliers in the ballroom flickered in waves on the decorated ceiling casting undulating shadows against the walls as he danced her through the French doors and on to the terrace. Out of sight, but not out of hearing, this reporter heard him say, “It’s such a crush in there. I thought you’d appreciate a breath of fresh air.”

Through my quizzing glass, I saw the gentleman, and I use the word lightly, place her back against the rock wall, and station himself in front of her, enclosing the woman in a vise-lock embrace. “You are breathtaking in candlelight.”

I overheard the lady in question protest in a loud voice. “What do you think you’re doing? Do you speak such words to every woman you lure away in the dark?” She pushed him back. Her sardonic laugh was one intended to insult, not inflame his untoward ardor.

“Most likely, it usually entices ladies to explore.”

“That’s probably the most honest admission you’ve made tonight. Don’t come closer. I warn you.”

Gentleman Bastard“Honesty only goes so far, when I want to do so much more. I know you have a fondness for that…bastard.” He hesitated.

“Don’t go there,” she cautioned the lord.

“We all know what Thorn is. He’s had the good fortune to have a high placed aristocrat accept him.”

Her words were loud and clear. “I warn you, Claven. I pack a wicked punch.”

“I know he’s trained you in horsemanship. Perhaps he has trained you in other areas too? Like kissing?”

I brought my monocle closer to see her face. Her lips moved quickly and apparently in anger. “I now prefer to return to the ball.” She attempted to move away.

“No,” he said. His voice was gruff to be sure.

“Kindly remove your body from my path.”

Horrors, the gentleman refused to move!

“You lured me here, my darling.” Now he pinned her against the wall.

I could see that she held her reticule between them.

“You have a vivid imagination.” She attempted to move again. “All right then,” and quicker than quick, she sent her fist to his cheek.

Caught unaware, he stumbled to the side, his hand upon his jaw.

gentlemanI then saw her walk by him with a grin. “Thank you.” The sound of her voice echoed a small triumph. “You can thank Thorn Wick, the duke’s son, for teaching me fisticuffs. Come near me again, and I’ll plaster your face against a wall.”

She exited in a rush and straightened her gown only to run into Mr. Wick. With a casual attitude, she said, “You did teach me the art of boxing. I merely employed that education to accomplish my purpose.”

And what did he answer?  “Indeed it appears you did. I’ll have to discipline him, I see.”

What has our Regency world come to when a lady is not safe with a lord?

Arthur Spectator, Senior reporter, Teatime Traveler

About the BookGentleman Bastard

After three years in England, Thorn Wick, the duke’s bastard son, perfectly flawed, still fights for acceptance in his father’s world as a renowned Argamak Turk  horse trainer. Just when he starts to believe in fairy tales, another obstacle looms to thwart his plans: on a dangerous mission to Barbados, Thorn is stunned when secrets are revealed about his mother. Will he exact revenge for the foul deed?

Alicia Montgomery, ward of the duke, is in love with Thorn. Strong willed and adventurous, she determines she can convince him to admit his feelings. But the reality of loving Thorn too much almost destroys her.

Can Alicia quell Thorn’s demons and prove love can pave the way to their happiness to fulfill their destiny?

A Regency Romance with an Element of Suspense

GentlemanAbout the Author

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she desired. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

 

A Threat From Bolingbrook’s Ghost

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I am writing to respectfully request the opportunity to share the concerns I am having regarding my dearest sister, Laia Grace. She has always been a willful girl, speaking with gentlemen who are not known to me, our father, or indeed anyone in our family. Our father rightfully–despite the obvious pain it has caused all of us–sent her away to contemplate her behavior and now I hear she is conversing with ghosts! Honestly!

Ghost GossipFrom what I have learned from our brief correspondence, the ghost is none other than the recently deceased Lord Bolingbrook of Mansfield Park, where my sister is currently residing. Truly, I am concerned for her welfare, both mental and physical. I know not the cause of the unfortunate viscount’s demise, but I hope it was nothing violent that would cause him, in his present form, to lash out against my sister. I am aware of the rumors of his recent journey to America and it is said that he never returned, except in this sorry state. I can only pray that my sister’s strength of will and good sense will keep her safe.

Despite how clearly disturbing this turn of events has become, I feel it incumbent on me to share it with you and your readers in the hopes that they might learn from my dear sister’s sad story.

I thank you most sincerely for your time and consideration,

Mrs. Rose Fotheringay-Phipps

(Character references may be enquired of A Dandy in Disguise or my cousin-by marriage the Marquis of Merrick)

Ghost GossipAbout the Book:  My Lord Ghost

She only wanted to save his soul. He needed to save her life.

Laia Grace wasn’t raised in society and besides meeting men was so much fun! But when the naive Regency miss introduces herself to wrong person, her father decides that it’s time she grew up. If only he knew that the house he was sending her to had a ghost in residence.

Marcus is haunting his own home, living in the secret passages and priest holes while he tries to deal with the horrific events that led to his brother’s death.  But when an angel shows up and coaxes him into telling her his story, he discovers a reason to live.

Will he be willing to risk both his own life and his heart to save her?

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B01LORII5G
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/my-lord-ghost
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-lord-ghost-meredith-bond/1124573645?ean=2940153715186
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/663761
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-lord-ghost/id1156415358?ls=1&mt=11

About the Author

Meredith Bond’s books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won’t soon forget.

Kitchen Gossip

The following is a rendering of a conversation between Sinjun, butler to the Earl of Claverlock, and the valet of a visitor to The Beeches one month before the events described in the novel If Wishes Were Earls. Sinjun, as per usual, is doing all the talking.

Kitchen gossipCome along to the kitchen where we’ll enjoy some privacy.

There now, sit by the oven, I have it heating for scones. His lordship prefers my scones to the cook’s but don’t tell Mrs. Smith. Did you know that’s not her real name? She never was married, for a start. I can’t tell you her real name because you would recognize it in an instant and then you’d wonder what the daughter of such a grand family is doing working in the kitchen of a manor house in a small village in Cornwall. And well may you ask! My dear, it is a tale fraught with disaster and heartache. But I promised a confidence I shall not break.

Let me pour you a cup of tea. Milk or lemon? Neither? How strange.

You’ll have noticed a few changes since you were last here. We’d all understand if the earl secluded himself in his library for the remainder of his days. The house has fallen below the standards we’re used to.

Who am I kidding? We’re living in a hovel. That third wife hadn’t a housekeeping bone in her body. We all know what she used her body for, don’t we. You will have heard, I don’t doubt, that the child wasn’t his lordship’s issue. Yes, she declared to all and sundry as the life drained from her broken body that she’d taken a lover. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I tried to warn his lordship, before he departed for London. I said he should take the full year of mourning after the death of Lady Suzanne.

Now there was a pleasant woman – thick as a plank but nice about it.

Unfortunately his lordship was tempted by a seductress. He scandalized us all by returning with a new wife. I ask you. Nothing good could come of such a match. But it’s not for me to say. More tea?

Kitchen GossipA Giveaway

Dear reader, is there more you’d like Sinjun to say on the subject? Leave your question and I’ll attempt to wring the answer from him.

One commenter will receive a hand-knitted (by me) washcloth and a bar of handcrafted soap. (USA and Canada only.)

About the Book

When a mysterious note directs Miss Miranda Large to a tiny village in Cornwall to find her heart’s desire, she has no choice but to go. An enchanted keepsake heightens her curiosity. A snowstorm forces her to accept the hospitality of a sullen, albeit sexy and handsome, earl and Miranda’s wish doesn’t seem so out of reach

Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, is not in the mood to start his search for a new wife. He wants to be left alone with his books and his dreams of revenge. But the arrival of a headstrong, sharp-tongued spinster forces him to play the charming host. Not a difficult task, given her intelligence and beauty. Suddenly, he’s not terribly eager for her to leave.

But as the snow falls and the winds blow, Edward discovers there’s more to Miranda than a lively wit and a lovely face. And Miranda wonders if the trappings of wealth are enough for true happiness.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0QJSHA/
Nook: http://bit.ly/2ifWvXO
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/if-wishes-were-earls-2
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/if-wishes-were-earls/id1184695145?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
All other retailers: https://www.draft2digital.com/book/209375

Kitchen GossipAbout the Author

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. As soon as she discovered her grandmother’s stash of romance novels, all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.  Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys, and two cats. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.

Writing under the pen name Grace Hood, she has two novellas published with The Wild Rose Press.

Website: http://www.luannastewart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Luanna_Stewart
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Luanna.Stewart.nau
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/luannastewart/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14104212.Luanna_Stewart
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/luanna_stewart

Is any jewelry box safe from the thief that stalks London’s best houses?

1930's advertisements from newspaperLondon, March 23, 1938

Lord Stansom’s newly established Metropolitan Police is facing increasing pressure to catch the thief plaguing London’s finest houses. As of yet, no culprit has been found. Is any beautiful piece of jewellery safe in this city? It appears not.

The latest victim is the venerable Lord and Lady Chemsford. A ruby encrusted bracelet all the way from the foreign lands of Egypt, and is now lost to the vile fingers of our slippery thief. And as of yet, no sign of the police being able to catch the culprit.

Detective Rowan Cox has been assigned to the case, described as the force’s most effective man, despite being a hang on from the notoriously Bow Street Runners, the organisation extinguished for its questionable tactics. It is said Mr. Cox is known for always getting his man, and is well familiar with every seedy back alley in London.

Sources have revealed that Mr. Cox has been shadowing the arriving guests at some of the best parties in Mayfair. What can we make of that? It is not some hungry waif, or some hardened criminal that stalks the bedchambers of London, but a member of the ton itself?

Lord Stansom absolutely disputes this, but it seems his man, Mr. Cox, has other ideas, having turned his investigation to the very members being victimised. By his actions, it would seem he believes that the targets for this housebreaker, the valuable pieces of jewellery that go missing in the middle of the night, are being selected at society’s most illustrious events. No vagabond would ever gain entrance to such lofty parlors.

Lord Stansom still denies the culprit could be a member of the higher orders. How can we trust this new Metropolitan Police force if they cannot catch a simple thief? And what of this Mr. Cox, who is determinedly turning his attention to the esteemed members of society? Does this internal misunderstanding signify a bumbling and misguided organisation? We should hope not. Unless this thief is caught soon, the more lowly segments of society will get ideas that the Metropolitan Police are thoroughly incompetent. And then where would be all be?

For now, we are left to wonder who will be the next victim of this relentless thief. The royal household perhaps?

Excerpt:

Book The Thief Taker by Camille OsterThere was a queue for alighting at the house’s entrance and they sat in the darkened carriage waiting their turn. The house was brightly lit, with golden lights shining through the windows. The ball was already in full swing and they could see dashing gentlemen in black and women in colorful gowns.

“Do you think Captain Heresworth is there already?” Millie asked.

“I expect so,” Serephina responded.

“Do you think he likes me?”

Mrs. Rushmore chuckled. “I think he’d be there with bells on if it brought your attention.”

Millie turned her gaze back to the bright windows and their carriage slowly moved up the line. Serephina wondered if Millie was actually quite attached to the young Captain. She would never admit it so blatantly.

Turning her gaze out the other way, Serephina saw a man leaning on the wrought iron gate on the other side of the street, wearing a brown bowler hat and a green jacket. He was watching the scene intently, eating what looked like pistachios out of a small brown paper bag. By his dress, it was clear he was not a gentleman. His sharp eyes seemed to survey the coming and going carriages.

Serephina’s breath froze. She knew who he was. This could be the Cox that Turner had warned her about. She didn’t know how, but she just knew. Ruthless was the word that reverberated through her mind and she could see how it applied to the man. Suddenly, she wanted to flee, but she calmed herself, realizing he couldn’t see her in the darkness of the carriage.

Putting her hand up to her mouth, she studied him. He was large and muscular, his form showing through his clothes. His jawline was strong, with high cheekbones and full lips. This was not a man who’d lived an idle life. Her eyes took in the lean muscles along his arms and thighs, and a trim waist. Not a man to be trifled with.

He was looking for her—hunting for her, she realized, and Turner’s warning crashed back into her mind. Serephina felt a tremor work its way up her spine.

Before she knew it, it was their turn to alight.

“I’m so excited for this evening,” Millie said. “This will be a grand ball, I think.”

Serephina only nodded, refusing to raise her eyes from the pavement as their carriage moved away.

“In we go, then,” Mrs. Rushmore said and Serephina raised the skirts of her pale green gown. Unable to help herself, she threw a look back at the man as she reached the top of the stairs. His gaze absently met hers and her heart froze, but his eyes traveled on, releasing her from the hold they had on her. Clenching her fist, she walked into the house, guided by liveried footmen.

Buy at Amazon

About the Author

Camille Oster authorCamille Oster is fascinated by tumultuous periods of history, such as Victorian times and the English Civil War. Of late, her interest is turning more toward 20th century time periods, about to start work on a new series set in the late 1930s. She has written twelve historical novels and a further thirteen other, mostly contemporary, novels.

Although Swedish originally, she’s lived in Auckland, New Zealand for two decades.

Her books are available exclusively at Amazon.

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The Dias Imposter

Fazenda Oliveira, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, 1872

Join me behind the slightly ajar larder door as I spy on two Fazenda Oliveira kitchen maids discussing their new colleague.

The Fazenda

Celina wiped her hands on her apron and glanced over her shoulder toward the kitchen entrance. Thinking they were alone, she turned back and smirked at Estela across the large kitchen worktable. “This new maid is going to be trouble for sure. Have you noticed how all the men simper when she’s around? Where on earth did they find her?”

Estela waggled her eyebrows. “Well, she’s supposed to be old Adriana Dias’s niece raised in the Falkland Islands.”

Celina frowned. “Where?”

“You know. The Islas Malvinas. The Falklands, as the English call the islands now.”

“Uh-huh.” Celina snorted and winked at Estela. “If she’s Adriana’s niece, then I’m Imperador Dom Pedro Segundo’s lady, Princess of the Two Sicilies, Teresa Cristina herself! A red-haired, green-eyed Dias? Such a thing does not exist.”

The Coffee Plantation

“True.” Estela spread her arms in an imitation of grace and poise. “If she’s a Dias, I am Senhora Consuelo, Monarch of Fazenda Oliveira. All must bow to before me.”

Celina lifted her wooden spoon like a scepter. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Senhora.”

“And yours, Imperadora.” Estela’s curtsey dragged the hem of her skirt against the floor.

A serious expression replaced the mirth in Celina’s eyes. “Silliness aside, have you listened to her accent? She doesn’t speak like anyone I’ve ever heard, not even the English gentleman who visited last month. Grew up around the English? I do not think so.”

“Well,” Estela replied, “I heard that she just appeared at Adriana and Ricardo’s house. Popped up out of nowhere. One day it was just the two of them, the next they had a niece. No one seems to know how she got here.”

“Really? She’s a strange one for certain.” Leaning over the table, Celina continued in a whisper, “Have you noticed the way the young master looks at her? She better watch out there.”

“Why?” Estela’s voice held a note of indignation. “Senhor Gustavo is so handsome and rich and nice.”

Celina raised her brow and tilted her head. “He may be beautiful to behold, but be wary. Have you not heard the story of why he was sent away for all those years?” Estela shook her head and stretched closer to Celina, who continued, “Rumor says he got one the maids with child and then killed her out of fear that Old Dragon Lady Consuelo would disinherit him for consorting with a peasant.”

A pink glow crept across Estela’s cheeks. “I can’t believe Senhor Gustavo could do such a terrible thing. He’s always been kind and polite to me.”

“That’s because you look like a cow.” Celina pursed her lips. “Believe me. If you looked like this Maria, you would have much to fear.”

Estela scowled. “As if you look so much better. You’re just a jealous cow yourself. Senhor Gus would not hurt a dog, much less kill someone.”

“So you believe, but what I know is that the girl disappeared. When her family came looking for her, they were sent away under threat from Consuelo.”

“That doesn’t mean the girl’s dead.”

“Perhaps.” Celina straightened up and placed a fist on each hip. “What I know for certain is this. We already have enough Oliveira bastards littering the ground and Senhora Consuelo is determined there will be no more. This Maria will be trouble. You can count on it!”

About the Book

Set during the aftermath of the American Civil War, Confederado do Norte tells the story of Mary Catherine, a child torn from her war devastated home in Georgia and thrust into the primitive Brazilian interior where the young woman she becomes must learn to recreate herself in order to survive.

October, 1866.
Mary Catherine is devastated when her family emigrates from Georgia to Brazil because her father and maternal uncle refuse to accept the terms of Reconstruction following the Confederacy’s defeat. Shortly after arrival in their new country, she is orphaned, leaving her in Uncle Nathan’s care. He hates Mary Catherine, blaming her for his sister’s death. She despises him because she believes Nathan murdered her father. When Mary Catherine discovers Nathan’s plan to be rid of her as well, she flees into the mountain wilderness filled with jaguars and equally dangerous men. Finding refuge among kind peasants, she grows into a beauty, ultimately attracting the attention of the scion of a wealthy Portuguese family. Happiness and security seem within reach until civil unrest brings armed marauders who have an inexplicable connection to Mary Catherine. Recreating herself has protected Mary Catherine in the past, but this new crisis will demand all of the courage, intelligence, and creativity she possesses simply to survive.

Buy it on Amazon

~Excerpt~

I dreamt the dream again last night. In the small hours, I awoke in a tumble of bedclothes and bathed in perspiration despite the howling snowstorm blanketing the city. I rearranged quilts and plumped pillows, but sleep remained elusive. My mind refused to be quiet.

As often happens after such a night, I felt unable to rise at my usual hour and remained abed long after the maids cleared breakfast from the morning room. My daughter-in-law, bless her heart, meant well. I told her it was ridiculous to bring the doctor out on such a frigid day, but apparently the very old, like the very young, are not to be trusted in matters of judgment. After the doctor listened to my chest, a studied sympathy filled his eyes and he gently suggested that perhaps I should get my affairs in order. No doubt he wondered at my smile for he couldn’t have known I have no affairs other than my memories and the emotions they engender.

Unlike most elderly persons, I don’t revel in slogging through the past. It isn’t wrapped in pretty ribbons or surrounded by a golden aura. Instead, its voices haunt my dreams, demanding and accusatory. Until recently, I’ve resisted their intrusion into my waking life, but I now believe the past can no longer remain buried in nocturnal visions. It must be brought out into the light of day. From its earliest moments onward, the past’s substance must be gouged out, pulled apart, and examined bit by bit until its truth is exposed. While total objectivity may not be possible, I have concluded that committing the past to paper is my best hope for sorting facts from imaginings. Perhaps then I will achieve the peace that has so long hidden its face from me.

You see, when I was quite young—only a girl really—I killed four people. Two were dearly beloved, one was a hated enemy, and the last was a dangerous criminal.

About the Author

Linda has been in love with the past for as long as she can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws her in. She supposes it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on her grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into her work.

As for her venture in writing, she has this to say. “Writing has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself, ‘Let’s pretend.’ ”

Linda resides in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

“History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire  

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