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Category: Teatime Tattler (Page 1 of 45)

Castle Stirred by Masquerade Mystery

Tongues have been flapping at the castle all morning. All because of what happened at the masked ball last night. Of course everyone has their version of how events unfolded, but they are all in agreement about one thing.

It all started with the appearance of the mystery woman in a stunning blue velvet gown bordering on scandalous. She got everyone’s attention. Even handsome Sir Griffin, the man who only attended Lord John’s galas because he was seneschal.

You can imagine the surprise when he asked her to dance. Evidently, Lady Mierla’s reaction was priceless. Everyone said she was furious. Fit to be tied. Some even compared her to a fire-eating dragon.

No surprise. She’s been trying to get her hooks into Sir Griffin for ages. Will not take no for an answer. But there’s telling what might have happened if it hadn’t been for the screams.

When we get to this part of the story, everyone starts glancing over their shoulders and crossing themselves. A common occurrence for folks around here whenever speaking of the supernatural. They lower their voices to a whisper and continue.

It seems that Mawde Paisley, the cook at the castle for many years, was startled by someone on her way from the kitchen. The spitting image of Lord John’s son, Trevin. A man who’d been dead for years. Nothing like an uninvited guest to bring the party to an untimely end. Especially when it’s a ghost.

The castle was searched from top to bottom, and guests were not permitted to leave until everyone was questioned. In all the excitement, the mystery lady disappeared. Into thin air.

But I know a little secret. She’s still at the castle. She never left.

Not Long Ago

Erin has met the man of her dreams, but as usual there are complications. It’s one of those long distance relationships, and Griffin is a little behind the times–somewhere around 600 years.

Erin and her employer, March, are transported to a time where chivalry and religion exist alongside brutality and superstition. Something is not quite right at the castle, and Erin and March feel sure mysterious Lady Isobeil is involved. However, Erin must cope with crop circles, ghosts, a kidnapping and death before the truth of her journey is revealed.

Forced to pose as March’s nephew, Erin finds employment as a squire for Sir Griffin.  She’s immediately attracted to him and grows to admire his courage, quiet nobility and devotion to duty. Only she must deny her feelings. Her world is centuries away, and she wants to go home. But Erin can’t stop thinking about her knight in shining armor.

Excerpt

I’ve chosen this passage to post because I wanted everyone to see Not Long Ago is not just about time travel, nor is it just a love story between two very different people.  I tried to make it an adventure that will take the reader to another time and allow them to experience life there as seen through the main character’s eyes.  This part was an especially emotional scene for me to write.  I attempted to portray some of the emotions each of us experience when we’re faced with losing someone we care about, whether it be father, mentor or friend.  

Late the next day, everyone gathered on the banks of the river under a clear sky. On a hill above us, archers waited. Beside them men-at-arms from the castle stood at attention. Clustered below were the castle servants and townspeople. Lady Isobeil, Lady Gwyneth and Kat positioned themselves on opposite sides of Lord John, as far away from each other as possible. He stood at one end of a long, shallow wooden boat filled with brush. Sir Maldwyn’s body had been wrapped in linen and placed inside, his belongings next to him. Water lapped against the boat, a strangely calming sound.

The pain on Sir Griffin’s face was almost more than I could bear. He clenched his jaw and gripped the hilt of his sword until I thought it would break. Faces stoic, the other knights huddled together with their squires. No doubt each of them remembered Sir Maldwyn in his own way.

After all, he’d been in service at the castle long enough to train most of the knights when they were still squires. I thought of my parent’s death and the emptiness I felt knowing I’d never see them again. People everywhere stared at the ground, trying to hold back tears.

All except for Deroc. I can think of nothing more poignant than the sight of him standing over his father’s body while tears ran down his face. Over and over, the boy repeated the same words. “I am sorry Father, I am so sorry.” The overbearing bully who confronted me in the paddock had vanished. All that remained was a pitiful little boy, one who mourned a relationship with his father he’d never had, and now, one he would never experience.

Sir Maldwyn’s body lay on the funeral pyre, in the custom of the Vikings, while Father Alford conducted the service in Latin in a calm and soothing monotone, appearing completely undisturbed by all the pagan customs surrounding him. When he said his last amen, Lord John nodded at Sir Griffin. He began to ease the boat into the water. When it resisted, first Sir Edevane and then the other knights joined him. Together, they gave one last push, and the boat floated free.

Sir Sion remained on the bank, alone in his guilt. He didn’t join the rest, likely because he knew they held him responsible for Sir Maldwyn’s death. Sir Sion’s decision made in haste and in anger had ended someone’s life. No wonder he couldn’t bear to meet anyone’s eyes.

When the boat reached the middle of the river, each archer touched his arrow to flame, notched and loosed it. Their arrows arched upwards in perfect unison, only losing sight of them when they passed between us and the setting sun, briefly dazzling our eyes. In the fading light of day, they struck the raft holding Sir Maldwyn’s body like driving rain. Flames shot high into the air and swallowed up everything. Sir Maldwyn was making his journey home to Valhalla in the manner he had wanted. Not a sound could be heard among those of us watching from the banks, except for Deroc’s quiet sobbing. A north wind began to blow, and I thought I heard a faint noise. Somehow, the wind seemed to bring with it the echo of horns in the far distance. I know it couldn’t have been so, but it sounded as though those ancestors who’d gone before him were welcoming a fellow warrior home.

 

Meet Susan Royal

Susan A. Royal takes her readers on adventures to other worlds where anything can happen and frequently does. She shares a 100 year old house in east Texas with a ghost who likes to harmonize with her son when he plays guitar. She writes SciFi/Fantasy with action, adventure and liberal doses of romance. She is currently working on the third in her time travel series, It’s About Time. Look for her books at MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N. Want to know more? Visit susanaroyal.wordpress.com or susanaroyal.com for a peek inside this writer’s mind. You never know what you might discover.

A sister’s love

Flora hugged her cloak around her, as much for its concealment as for its warmth, though certainly the night grew colder as midnight approached. A dark shape in the shadows of the trees, she could not be seen even if the old hag had men patrolling the grounds. And in the two hours Flora had been watching, no patrollers had shown themselves.

Presumably, the Dowager Lady Rutledge assumed she had her daughter-in-law thoroughly cowed.  And, indeed, how likely was it that such a gentle creature as Chloe would flee into the night?

Flora spread her lips in a fierce grin. Her little sister was stronger than that harpie knew; stronger than Chloe herself knew. She had survived her vicious husband by retreating into herself, but the real Chloe peeped out when she was with her little daughters, or on the rare occasions that Flora was permitted to visit.

Since Lord Rutledge’s death, Flora had been turned away at the door and Chloe had been confined. Flora had laid out far too much of her small stock of coins to confirm that her sister had been locked in her own suite of rooms. If she was successful tonight, they would need to go cap in hand to the Countess of Chirbury. Flora hoped she would take them as her pensioners, for if she turned them away, there was no backup plan.

The last of the lighted windows turned dark. In half an hour, the whole house would be asleep. She began reciting the play Hamlet as a rough measure. When she finished Act II, it would be time to move.

Flora kept to the edge of the shrubbery as she crept closer to the house. When all that separated her from the wall she needed to climb was a large open patch bathed in moonlight, she stopped, waiting for a cloud to cover the moon. In the near dark, she ran across the grass to crouch, her heart pounding, at the foot of the wall.

It would have been too much to hope that Flora’s nieces would be kept with her, so Flora needed first to free Chloe, and then raid the nursery to kidnap the two girls.

She unclasped the cloak, and rolled it into a bundle. Now her childhood prowess at climbing was about to be put to the test. But it was easy. The old vine that draped the wall clung to the stones and provided almost a ladder to the window she had selected, in the suite next door to Chloe’s. Now she would find out whether the help she had been offered was true, or a trap.

The window slid up easily, as she had been promised. And no-one waited to keep her from her sister. Now for a little more light to see if the key was waiting, too.

On cue, the cloud slid away from the moon, and there it was, waiting in the keyhole of the connecting door, as promised. Flora put her ear to the door, but could hear nothing. Chloe had a maid sleeping with her, apparently. But the girl slept deeply, and if the sister remained quiet, they could escape without waking her.

Time to put it to the test.

Flora took a deep breath, turned the key and opened the door.

The scene about takes place around six months before The Realm of Silence. In the book, the new Lord Rutledge has many burdens: a estate bankrupted by his wicked brother, both financially and morally; a mother who hates him; a sister-in-law who hasn’t been seen since she fled into the night with her two children.

The Realm of Silence

(Book 3 in the Golden Redepennings series)

Rescue her daughter, destroy her dragons, defeat his demons, go back to his lonely life. How hard can it be?

“I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved…  the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.” George Eliot

When Susan Cunningham’s daughter disappears from school, her pleasant life as a fashionable, dashing, and respectable widow is shattered. Amy is reported to be chasing a French spy up the Great North Road, and when Susan sets out in pursuit she is forced to accept help from the last person she wants: her childhood friend and adult nemesis, Gil Rutledge.

Gil Rutledge has loved Susan since she was ten and he a boy of twelve. He is determined to oblige her by rescuing her daughter. And if close proximity allows them to rekindle their old friendship, even better. He has no right to ask for more.

Gil and Susan must overcome danger, mystery, ghosts from the past, and their own pride before their journey is complete.

Get the first in series, Farewell to Kindness, for only US 99c for the rest of May, and the second, A Raging Madness, with a US $2.75 discount from Jude’s shop. Just choose the Buy from Jude Knight button, go to checkout and enter the code KWMS6GNW.

A Sister’s Remorse

Lady Gwendolyn, Countess of Drayton entered her older brother’s townhouse and handed her parasol to Edmond’s butler. She should not be out this morning, not in her delicate condition, but she had to ensure her brother’s welfare.

“Is he home, Edgar?” she asked with familiarity. Her brother’s butler had been with the Worthington family for longer than Gwendolyn could even recall.

“He is, my lady, and in his study going over the accounts,” he replied. “If you would follow me…”

“No need, Edgar, but if you could have Mrs. McDaniel’s brew some tea I would be most grateful.”

She did not wait for a reply but made her way towards her brother’s study. She could not wait to gloat over the fact that for once she was not the subject of this morning’s gossip in that horrendous rag, the Teatime Tattler. She had not taken time to read the morning paper herself but instead had hurried across town instead. A smirk of satisfaction turned up the corners of her mouth before she opened the door.

One look at Edmond Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford and her smile fell as she rushed across the room to his side. His head rose from his desk as she came near. Bloodshot eyes met hers and it was obvious her brother had been far into the half-filled brandy near at hand.

“I have lost her, Gwen,” he slurred before rubbing his hand across his eyes as though that alone would clear his vision. “How shall I get her back?”

All thoughts of teasing her brother left her when she placed her arm around his shoulder and leaned down to kiss his cheek. “By talking to her, of course.”

“She will not give me the time of day. Probably deserve it given what she saw,” he muttered before pointing to the paper upon his desk. “And those damn Danver sisters! Why they cannot find someone else to gossip about is beyond me. They continue to spread their tales hoping to be the center of attention.”

“Forget about them, Edmond. No one will believe whatever malicious gossip they are spreading this week. Who reads such nonsense anyway?”

His brow rose at the implication, his ducal stare just as unnerving as always despite being well into his cups at such an ungodly hour of the morn. “Everyone who is anyone, Gwen. You know that first hand,” he whispered, reaching for the decanter.

She pushed the crystal away and scooped up the paper but not before pursing the few lines open for her to read.

This reporter has learned from the “D” sisters that a certain Duke of H has been caught in a compromising situation by his fiancé at a recent house party. This would hardly be of much interest except the lady who was found sprawled in his lap was none other than his ex-mistress – or is she really an “ex”? Inquiring minds will eagerly await news of how the rest of this story unfolds…

Remorse filled her at her early thoughts to rub whatever news focused on Edmond today in his face. She threw the paper into the hearth and enjoyed a moment of satisfaction whilst she watched it burned. She then went and pulled the bell cord.

When a maid entered, she went towards her brother to help him rise. “Send for my brother’s valet and have food sent up to His Grace’s bedroom,” she ordered. It was time for her brother to pull himself together.

Coming this summer… One Moment in Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two

In the meantime, dive into Gwendolyn’s story in Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth, Book One, currently #FREE at online retailers.

They will risk everything for their forbidden love…

When Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington is forced to marry a man old enough to be her father, she concludes love will never enter her life. Her husband is a cruel man who blames her for his own failings. Then she meets her brother’s attractive business associate and all those longings she had thought gone forever suddenly reappear.

A long-term romance holds no appeal for Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton until an unexpected encounter with the sister of the Duke of Hartford. Still, he resists giving his heart to another woman, especially one who belongs to another man.

Chance encounters lead to intimate dinners, until Neville and Gwendolyn flee to Berwyck Castle at Scotland’s border hoping beyond reason their fragile love will survive the vindictive reach of Gwendolyn’s possessive husband. Before their journey is over, Gwendolyn will risk losing the only love she has ever known.

Excerpt:

Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington strode across the floor of her brother’s study, carelessly threw her bonnet onto a high backed leather chair, and crossed her arms. The missive she held in her hand had driven all thoughts of a trip to the milliner with her friend Lady Calliope out of her head. Her shoe tapped a rapid staccato on the wooden floorboards. Her brother remained indifferent to her demand for his attention whilst he continued writing. The insufferable lout did not even have the decency to acknowledge her presence in his pursuit to finish his correspondence. She cleared her throat, hoping to gain his notice.

He continued whatever business he was attending to without a pause, except to say, in a barely civil and flat monotone, “You did not knock.” His disinterest in her presence served as a reminder of his place within his household, as if she could ever forget she was subject to his directives.

Her brother had had the arrogance to send a servant to deliver his note to her bedroom. He should have come there himself to speak with her, given the news he wished to impart. She tossed the crumbled parchment onto his desk. He, in turn, swatted it aside like it was nothing but a pesky insect.

“You have been given your instructions, Gwendolyn. We have nothing further to discuss.”

“Do not take that tone with me, Edmond. You may hold our father’s title, but that in no way gives you leave to treat me as if I must comply with demands such as these,” she fumed. Where had her carefree older brother of years past gone? Surely some measure of the young man she had adored in their youth lurked behind the expressionless mask of this unfeeling cad before her?

Edmond Gerard Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford, set his quill down. The blue eyes he at last bothered to turn upon her were just as cold as his voice. Since he had inherited his rightful title of duke after their father’s passing, along with all the responsibilities such a position held, Gwendolyn hardly recognized her brother. She swallowed hard, knowing she could not easily sway this uncaring man. Still, she had to try.

“Mother will hear of this,” she warned. “She will not allow her only daughter to be wed to a man in order to fulfill some business deal made years ago.”

“Mother is fully aware of the obligations that must be met. I should not have to explain how things of this nature are done, sister. Arranged marriages happen every day within the ton. Yours will be no exception.”

“Brandon, then. Surely my younger brother cares what happens to his sister since you have made it painfully obvious you do not,” Gwendolyn retorted sharply.

“He is my brother, too, if you would care to remember.” Edmond sighed heavily. “Both mother and Brandon have been summoned to return to London immediately. The marriage contract was agreed years ago and bears the signatures of all parties, including your own. You would have already been wed, had it not been for father’s death.” Edmond leaned his elbows upon his desk, fingers forming a steeple as if contemplating his next counter to whatever argument she could muster.

She quickly thought of the first excuse that crossed her mind. “I am still in mourning,” Gwendolyn declared through clenched lips.

His eyes roamed down the length of her pink floral gown and his brows rose in unsuppressed amusement. “Your mourning period is long since over, as your garments surely attest. Resign yourself to wedding Lord Sandhurst.”

She stomped her foot in frustration. “Bernard Sandhurst is a lecherous old man and ancient enough to be my father.” She barely held back a cry of despair. “How can you condemn me to a life with that horrible person, however long the vermin will still remain on this earth?”

“I am doing the best I can to save this family from financial ruin. You should be grateful Sandhurst will still have you, given the limited amount I could spare for your dowry. I will not be swayed in my decision, Gwendolyn, and Sandhurst can no longer be put off. He has all but stated his time waiting for you is over. He has been as patient as one could ask of a man getting on in years. You are now twenty years of age and should have been wed with children of your own by now.”

Thoughts of being intimate with a man who repulsed Gwendolyn made her shudder. The few times she had had the displeasure of being alone in the same room with Lord Bernard Sandhurst, he had mauled her with his cool clammy hands. He reminded her of a fish, and an unappealing one at that.

“Edmond─”

Her brother cut her off with a wave of his hand. “Father made this decision and you must abide by it, along with the rest of us.” Edmond picked up his quill and examined the tip before dipping it into the inkwell.

“You are a duke, Edmond. Surely you can pay the man off so I can find a worthy man to love.” She silently pleaded with him, and, for the briefest instant, she held the smallest measure of hope he would accede to her wishes.

His piercing blue eyes leveled on her but briefly. “Love is for fools. Better to marry for wealth and a decent position in society than to lose your heart to such a frivolous emotion as love.” Edmond returned to his work, the quill scratching across the parchment. The sound echoed in her head as though the missive sealed her fate. “Resign yourself to your marriage Gwendolyn. Sandhurst has made arrangements for the wedding to take place two weeks hence.”

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Bio:

Sherry Ewing is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

You can learn more about her on the tab above or visit her on one of these social media outlets.

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Too Spirited to Wed?

Dear Readers,

Word has reached us this morning of a possible rift in the happy march toward marital bliss that we recently reported on between Lord M. of B-upon-Sea and the young and beautiful Miss T.

The difficulty, we are told, arose during an evening soiree at the home of Miss T. Tuesday last, when Lord M. recounted watching the execution of the Cato Street Conspirators outside the Old Bailey. The event was not attended by any of the ladies at the soiree, but a degree of interest was expressed in hearing Lord M.’s account of the hangings and subsequent beheadings of the notorious traitors. Lord M. provided a most colourful recital, we are told, and initially failed to observe some agitation on the behalf of his betrothed. When her discomfort did reach his notice, the couple removed themselves to the rear of the salon and held a heated exchange over a table of fancy cakes and sandwiches.

To the surprise of Lord M., Miss T. revealed an interest in politics and current events, that had hitherto been hidden from him. In a heated whisper, she expressed an aversion toward public executions in general and reservations about the efficacy of our court system, with particular regard to the evidence required in treason proceedings. Lord M., we can confidently report, was quite astonished. Our informant tells us that he left Miss T.’s side shortly thereafter and, with only a brisk farewell to the young lady’s mother, hurried away.

At this time we can only speculate on the cause for Miss T.’s unusual outburst. Although not a family of standing on a par with Lord M.’s lineage, the T. family has a long and respected history within the City of London, going back through several generations. One of Miss T.’s most noted forebears, it is true, was very much involved in the pursuit of justice in the case of the Popish Plot in the late 1600’s and it is said that this gentleman and his wife did great service to the country, at no little cost to themselves.

We are left to wonder, then, what strength of spirit and independence has passed down through the family to Miss T. and, most importantly, whether Lord M. is looking for such spirit in his future wife.

Expect further updates in due course.

The Road to Newgate

London 1678. Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

Excerpt

London, 1678

1 Nathaniel Thompson

“All the world has been to the Bartholomew Fair! What do you mean you’ve never been here?”

“What do you suppose I mean?” Anne says, arching two fine, black brush strokes – eyebrows in a more commonplace face.

It is a genuine surprise. My wife has lived all her life in London. I’m astonished that she has never experienced one of the most famous attractions in the city.

“Well, look about you, Nathaniel,” she says, tucking her arm back into mine. “It is not exactly genteel. Why did you think I was so keen to come?”

She smiles, a dimple playing in her cheek, but I suppress a groan. Of course, her family would not have stooped to visit such a place. Various choice answers spring to mind, but I wind my fingers in hers and hold my tongue. This is our holiday; not to be spoiled by awkward thoughts of Anne’s relations. Instead, I kiss her smooth dark hair.

She is right about the fair. It is a storm of activity, and much of it far from decorous. Thankfully, we’re here in the late afternoon, not the evening, but even so, there are few families present. Instead, the fair attracts courting couples, scrubby urchins chasing rats, and saucy girls up for a lark during a few hours excused from sewing work or service. Working men, their bellies warm with ale, crowd around stalls to trade insults and roar out wagers. We pass a trio of buxom dames, glorious to behold in citrus satin stripes and sweating under their wigs. One drops her purse and bends to retrieve it. When she stands, we are treated to the sight of her ample flesh escaping the confines of her corset. Her friends squeal and point as Anne clutches my arm. She has to dip her head to hide her laughter.

After that, we take our time strolling past stalls selling lucky charms, playing cards, fans, dice, snuff boxes, trinkets, all manner of things. My wife is entranced. She stops to pick up goods, quizzes traders on their prices, gasps at a troupe of acrobats, and teases me to win her a prize. I keep a firm hand on my purse and an eye out for any pocket-pickers, otherwise content to watch her enjoy it all.

We have been married for just over four months. Without taking anything away from my love for Anne, I will admit that married life is rather trying. When contemplating the changes that matrimony would involve, I failed to anticipate that the wonderful physical freedom to be with her all night long would also impact on my comings and goings during daylight hours. Perhaps I came to this marriage business a little late. I was more set in my ways and routines than I knew.

At any rate, I am thirty and she is ten years younger. Anne has a young witch’s smile, silken skin, and bright, challenging eyes. I saw her and wanted her. I let go years of cautious bachelorhood and sneaked Anne to the altar when her family was not looking. It goes without saying that I have never been happier. But I’m a busy man, and while she does not complain, I’ve this curious guilt – an unaccustomed itch of responsibility, you might say – when I think about her sitting quietly at home when I am at work. After a neglectful week when I’d been out in Sam’s Coffee House until the small hours and quartered in my office above Henry’s print shop as soon as light broke each morning, I promised her this outing.

Kate Braithwaite

Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

I only sought a lady’s maid… and now this…

Such goings-on in the manor of Lord and Lady M–!

I had it from Lady M– herself!

A faint rapping came upon the door. The soft voice of Emma, the parlour maid, followed. “My Lady?”

“Enter,” I called.

Emma entered and curtsied to me. “Pardon me, My Lady, but the young woman is here about the position. Would you like to see her in the morning room?”

“Yes, thank you. I’ll be there presently.” With a sigh, I stood from my seat at the desk and stretched, glancing around my bedroom with a wince. Dresses, chemises, ribbons seemed to have strewn themselves over every available surface. I was sorry for Hannah, my maid, but she truly was not well, and the trip away with her daughter would do her the world of good. I desperately needed a lady’s maid.

Never mind, perhaps this one will be suitable.

I straightened my bodice and patted my hair back into position. Earlier this morning, Emma had tried her best with my coiffure, but she had never been trained as a lady’s maid.

C’est la vie.

My husband Lord M—’s ancestors frowned down from their portraits at the picture I must make with my less than salubrious attire, but I was, indeed, trying to remedy that situation this morning.

Emma stood beside the closed door to the morning room, curtsied and opened it. I entered, and the portal clicked closed behind me.

The girl, dressed in a tidy shirt and skirt, stood beside the fire in the grate, her pelisse over her arm. She curtsied, then looked directly at me, which I found refreshing.

“Good morning, and you would be Rachael,” I said, as I seated myself in one of the comfortable French chairs.

“Yes, My Lady. Good morning to you. Thank you for seeing me today.”

“Mmm. You understand I seek a lady’s maid. Have you a character?”

She handed over the single sheet of paper, folded and sealed. I glanced at the seal. Sutherland, no less.

“And what was your position at Sutherland’s?”

“If it pleases you, My Lady, I was a parlour maid there, but me mum trained me to be a lady’s maid since I was young.” She dropped her eyes to her wool-lined pelisse and the fingers of one hand crushed her carefully pleated skirt as she stood waiting for my next question.

“And you do not wish to continue as a parlour maid?”

She swallowed hard and looked back at me. “No, if it pleases you. I wish to better myself, to honour the memory of my mother.”

“You’re well-spoken. Your mother’s doing?”

She nodded. “Yes, My Lady.”

“And why do you wish to leave the employ of the Sutherlands?”

She took a deep breath and tightened her jaw. She finally answered. “Do you wish to hear the acceptable answer to that question or the truth?”

I smiled at her. The girl had gumption. “I appreciate being given the choice,” I said, with a wry grin. “The truth, please. Always.”

“It’s to be the truth, then.” She tightened her jaw for a moment. “I’d aspired to the position of lady’s maid there, but one young Master Sutherland… he was a bit free with his hands on more than one occasion, and… well, luckily, I was blessed to be holding a hot warming pan in mine, and… no one was injured, but the noise was tremendous.” Her lips twitched, but she kept a straight face. “Several other servants rushed to the room. I escaped and stayed as far away as possible from the young master. Fortunately, or unfortunately,” the girl looked down at me with a grimace, “on the same day, a young girl from the estate, Sofia, came into service as a tweenie.” She looked at me again, her brow wrinkled.

“Go on, please,” I said.

“Not only has her whole family been sent out to the coast in the Clearances, but Sofia was waiting for her young Robert, the son of the old Tacksman, and the love of her life, to return from his military service, but, well, things have gone badly for the young miss. Very badly. I know it is just a matter of time before…. well, before she is dismissed… and then his attentions could return to me. I’m a good girl and don’t want to go that way, if it pleases you, My Lady.”

I frowned at the character in my hands, as yet unopened.

Was there any point opening it?

 

Author’s note:

For those of you who have read the first book in The Long Trails series, A Long Trail Rolling, this is the first of Scotty’s stories. As you may remember, Scotty is the trading post proprietor in A Long Trail Rolling, my award winning debut novel. Scotty’s real name is Robert, not Scotty, but you’ll have to read the as-yet unwritten books to find out the reasons he changed his name!

I invite you to wait to hear the rest of Scotty and Sophia’s story in the boxed set by the Bluestocking Belles, coming later this year!

Meanwhile, check out my other books on my website!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

About Lizzi

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced in the Gold and Pony Express Country of California before emigrating to New Zealand.

Busy raising two boys, farming, and running her own equine veterinary practice, she never thought she’d sit down long enough to write more than an article. A serious injury, however, changed all that, and planted her in one place long enough to jump-start her new career as an author!

With Lizzi’s debut historical romance, A Long Trail Rolling, she was: Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings; Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award for the best unpublished full manuscript; Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel and third in the 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section; and Finalist, 2015 Best Indie Book Award. Her newest novels and novellas, all released in 2017, are currently entered in more contests, and she’s working on her next novel!

When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding or driving a carriage, playing in the garden on her hobby farm, singing, cooking, practicing as an equine veterinarian or teaching high school science. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Lizzi is new to the Belles, but she’s loving the friendships she’s already developing with the rest of the ladies. She adores how they’re so progressive, organized, and fun. Best of all, they are all willing to put themselves out there, together, to achieve more, create more, than would be possible going it alone.

Lizzi loves to connect with her readers!

You can learn more about Lizzi and her books here or on these social media sites:

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