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Category: Teatime Tattler (Page 1 of 34)

One of them has to go home

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Master Clint is away fighting Yankees and I’m beginning to suspect that my mistress, Miss Julianne, is possessed by haints. Worse yet, Miss Julianne is figuring that out, too. We been together since we was born, so there ain’t much trouble we hadn’t been into. But when she asked me to take her to see Miss Jetta, the old root doctor whose cabin is hidden in the cypress swamp, I told her I thought that was a line we ought not to cross. So off we went anyway. Then Miss Jetta started coming around in the night putting root bags in the nooks and crannies of the house.

Now I found out that Miss Audrey is in Miss Julianne’s body. She says she’s from a place called the future, but she ain’t a haint. She just wants to go home. At first I was mad at her for taking Miss Julianne’s body, but while Miss Audrey and I been trying to figure out how to get her home, we’ve grown to be good friends. A lot of stuff has happened since Miss Audrey’s been here – some good and some so bad it makes my heart hurt to think about it. I don’t want Miss Audrey to leave, but old Miss Jetta say Miss Julianne and Miss Audrey cain’t both stay. And the time is fast approaching when one of them has to go.

Tess Joseph, 1864
Wren Song Plantation slave
Ladies maid to Mistress Julianne Wren

A Splinter in Time

Charleston antiques dealer Audrey Parrish attends an auction preview at Wren Song plantation, hoping to find relics from her past. Instead, she snags her hand on a bedpost splintered by a musket ball and finds herself at the plantation at the exact moment the shot is fired.

Confederate officer Matthew Orrick is staying in the vacant overseer’s cabin while recovering from a battle wound. Audrey is captivated by him, but falling in love is not an option. Altering Matt’s destiny would impact the fate of generations yet to be born.

After Matt discovers Audrey’s true identity, he demands she abandon her attempts to return to her own time. But Audrey’s feelings for him conflict with her concern for the lives that will be erased if she stays.

When an eleventh hour opportunity arises, Audrey has only seconds to weigh her decision – stay with the man she loves, or return to set her own world right?

Excerpt: Matt discovers the deception.

He went to the end of the veranda and looked out into the night. “You are not the Julianne I have known all my life.”

Audrey had been so infatuated with him she hadn’t thought to look at herself through his eyes. Still, she did not believe that he could be speaking literally.

“Tell me,” he demanded, turning back to her.

“There is nothing to tell.”

“You are changed. It began the evening of your fainting spell. The evening  before, you were as I’ve always known you. Now, the  way you speak, your manner, you are an entirely different person. At first it was entertaining, but now it has grown troubling. Has this to do with your trip to the old root woman? Is that the reason she creeps around here in the deep of night tucking her spell bags into the  nooks and crannies of the house?”

“Miss Jetta comes here at night?” Audrey said, stunned.

“Do you expect me to believe you don’t know she  comes when all the Negroes know? They think she is the reason you have suddenly regained your health. I  should believe so, too, but there’s something deeper going on. Tess knows what it is and she’s protective of it. Tell me,” he demanded, “are you a piece of Miss Jetta’s work?”

She was suddenly afraid—afraid to tell him and afraid not to. “No! I only went to Miss Jetta for help.”

“So, you admit it.”

“No. Well, yes. But…”

They turned at the clatter of a tray being set heavily on the table. Tess stood stone-faced looking at her.

“Tell him.”

Audrey shook her head. “No.”

“Tell him,” Tess said, her voice emotionless.

She looked at Tess with rising panic. “He won’t believe me.”

“He’ll believe me,” Tess said. “Tell him all of it.”

 About Linda Shelby.

Linda Shelby lives on a small ranch in central Oklahoma. She loves reading, traveling to historical places and blending historical facts into her stories. Her novel, A Splinter In Time, won the 2017 OWFI award for best book of fiction.

The Peculiar Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouse

Edward Moran 1876

Mr. Clemens,

I beg your help. Perhaps your readers have information.
I just can’t believe all that has happened in the last few days. My brother drowned in that treacherous storm, and three days of worrying about him and my niece, Abigail. Then such relief when that lighthouse keeper returned her in good health. But now she wants to marry him. A blind girl with no one in the world now but myself and her uncle. What were they doing alone on that island for three days. That strange recluse with the scared face and Irish to boot! Said he fought in the Civil War, our Civil War for the Union and he’s saving money to bring his mother and brother to America. I know the whole town will be talking, rumors from busybodies, and I’ve a funeral to plan for my poor brother. A funeral without a body. I told him he was getting too old to deliver supplies to the lighthouse. If he’d listened to me, he might be alive now.
And that Jeremy, he’s handsome enough from one side, but what do we know about him? Nothing.
Nothing at all.
Abigail’s Frantic Aunt
____________________________

LighthouseAbout the Book

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, Jeremy is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.

Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the parapet of the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.

Excerpt

    Abbey could tell the day was dying, the sunlight ebbing. The air had grown chillier. Her fingers, nose, and toes were numb. She rubbed and moved and massaged them. How she dreaded another night among the boulders. Her stomach was so empty that it churned endless and cramped painfully.

    She shook snow off her cape and curled up under it again. After a while, she slept.

She awoke to the howling of wolves. This time they were much closer. Her fingers wrapped around the club.

    She heard growling and imagined their fierce teeth. She’d heard stories of wolves surrounding a big bull moose and bringing it down, tearing open its neck. The silver timber wolves were large brutes with little fear of humans. Abigail tensed remaining perfectly still as she heard and smelled their approach. A branch snapped. She jumped involuntarily.

    I can’t spend another night here.

    A low growl erupted outside her cape. The muffled sound of front paws digging in the snow terrified her. She felt a canine body bump against hers with nothing separating her but a thick wool material.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Kim McDermott was born and raised in Charleston, SC where she graduated valedictorian of Middleton High School and cum laudi from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in English.  She received a Masters Degree in Counseling from the Citadel and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in S.C. She has nine years of experience in guidance. She is also a Nationally Certified High School English and Language Arts teacher who worked for Charleston Country School District for 28 years as both an English teacher and a guidance counselor.  She is retired and currently teaches English and Creative Writing part-time as an Adjunct English Professor at Trident Technical College.

She has free lanced for numerous regional and national publications including: The State, Charleston Magazine, Standard, Blue Ridge Country, Reader’s Digest, Christian Single, Home Life, Straight, Evangel, Smokey Mountain Magazine, and others.  She won the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s award in l987.  Her first book, All Work, All Play published by Marco. She has two children’s books, a chapter book aimed at elementary age children entitled The Underwear Tree and a picture book, Les Petits Gardes. With Margie Clary, she co-authored South Carolina Lighthouses published by Arcadia Publishing. Her latest book is a suspense romance entitled Hiding published by The Wild Rose Press.

Contact Information

kmcdermottauthor.wordpress.com
www.katherinemcdermott.blogspot.com
www.Facebook.com/Kaatherinemcdermott.Author
www.thewildrosepress.com

 

The Inverness Marriage Maker Strikes Again

“Lorena, my dear, you’ll never believe what I just read in this morning’s issue of The Teatime Tattler!

“That old rag? Sister dear, I’ve told you time and time again that Mr. Clemens’s newspaper is nothing but a scandal sheet. I don’t know why it is you waste your pocket money on such rubbish.”

Lavinia Forrester rolled her eyes. “Rubbish it may be, dear sister, but I’m quite certain there is something here you would find of considerable interest.”

Lorena Clapham put down her sewing and gave her sister a glassy stare. “I am equally certain there is nothing there that I care to hear, Lavinia. Do put it down before the servants see you reading it.”

The Tattler has it on good authority that Miss Cornelia Hardcastle, daughter of Admiral and Mrs. Cornelius Hardcastle was married on Friday last to Mr. Preston Warrington, brother of William, Viscount Warrington, of Cheshire.” She paused in order to witness her sister’s reaction.

She wasn’t disappointed. Lorena’s head jerked back and her sewing clattered to the floor. “Miss Hardcastle, you say? But that can’t be true!”

“After a seaside honeymoon at Brighton, the newlyweds will return to London to take up residence at the Hardcastle home on Leicester Square, which will soon be vacated when the Admiral and his wife sail for Canada where he will take up the post of Governor General of British North America.”

Lorena snatched the newspaper out of her sister’s hands and continued reading, her fury giving her words an angry intensity.

“Our confidential correspondent claims that this is the latest of a long line of successful matches coordinated by Sir Stirling James, popularly styled “The Inverness Marriage Maker” whose own marriage to a duke’s daughter was the result of one of his most challenging schemes. One has to wonder from whence this particular power emanates and how far it can be taken. It is the opinion of this writer that there will soon be an exodus of carriages of desperate parents taking to the Great North Road to avail themselves of Sir Stirling’s skills for their recalcitrant sons and daughters.”

“Miss Hardcastle swore to my son she would never, ever marry. She broke his heart and he’s never been the same since!”

It’s not her fault she didn’t return his affection. And who can blame her? He’s always been such a nitwit. 

“Perhaps now he’ll look for another young lady.”  Not a chance. A wife would interfere with his drinking, gaming, and whoring.

Lorena dropped the newspaper on the table, a faraway look in her eyes. “A marriage maker, eh? You don’t suppose…”

Lavinia’s eyes widened. “Surely you don’t intend to engage the Inverness Marriage Maker? Why, you don’t even know him—and he’s in Scotland.”

Her sister shrugged. “He must travel to London on occasion. How else did he manage to induce Miss Hardcastle into marriage when she has sworn against it? I daresay he won’t have half so much trouble with my darling Robin. Oh Sister, he will be ever so much more steady with a sensible wife.”

Lavinia groaned. Poor Sir Stirling. After this seemingly innocent piece in The Tattler, she suspected he was going to be inundated with mail from desperate parents all over the British Isles.

The Marriage Maker Goes Undercover

Fall 2017

Lady Elana Gallaway, known as master spy The Raven, has made a career of navigating enemy territory and risking her life in situations and places no gentlewoman should know exist. She possesses all the social graces, and is adept at sweeping into glittering royal courts on the Continent, then vanishing without a trace after she’s ferreted out the treacherous secrets that drew her there in the name of duty. She’s equally accomplished in London and Edinburgh, or wherever the British King requires her service. But never has a mission struck so close to her heart—or proved so daunting—as finding love for four retired spies.

These operatives have helped her many times, once or twice, even saving her from certain death at risk to their own lives. 

Now, they live solitary lives, lonely lives while surrounded by throngs. Luckily, Elana hasn’t forgotten them. Her career has introduced her to more than enemies. Among her close friends is Sir Stirling James, the famous Inverness marriage maker. He’s just the man she needs.

The Marriage Obligation by Susana Ellis

Cornelia Hardcastle has been determined never to marry since she was eighteen and discovered an ugly family secret. Now that she’s twenty-four, however, her parents want to see her settled so they can move to Canada for her father’s prestigious new government post. Not a chance!

The second son of a viscount, Preston Warrington is more than happy to leave the viscount business to his brother so he can travel the world in search of adventure. His recent stint as a spy for the British in the War with the French has come to an end, and he’s getting pressured to marry and settle down. Hell no!

How could the notorious Marriage Maker from Inverness all the way in Scotland possibly know that these two marriage-averse individuals are perfect for each other?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Duke in disguise

Dearest Sister,

I have some unusual tidings to impart. Some that might even shock you.

Do you remember His Grace, the Duke of Waking? Well, he has decided to pursue a young lady of good birth and fair countenance. The shocking part? She doesn’t know he is a duke. In fact, she believes him to be a mere baronet. He refuses to reveal his identity until she has fallen in love with him rather than his title.

I wouldn’t believe it except I have witnessed his treachery with my own two eyes. He, a lofty duke, has resorted to all manners of misconduct to gain her favor and I fear I have delighted in witnessing his endeavors. Sometimes, I even lend him my aide by furthering the falsehood.

I should feel guilt over my actions, but I simply cannot. He means well and has the most honorable of intentions. I do believe His Grace will succeed if only he can hide his identity. And if he should fail… Well, I cannot even countenance the thought because, dearest sister, I do believe he is half-way in love with this girl already.

I shall write to you soon to abate your curiosity. Till then, I wish you well.

Forever yours,

Opal

To Dodge a Duke

When a duke gets a chance to pursue a lady as someone else, he would be a fool not to take it.

Logan Eastworth, the Tenth Duke of Waking, returns to England to find a woman to marry. When Miss Eleanor Ashford assumes he holds the title of baronet, he does not correct her error. Instead, he plays on her misconception and arranges a house party where he can make her fall for him and not his title.

Miss Ashford desires a marriage of convenience to an earl or higher. Not to some low-life baronet with an estate in the far reaches of England. She has no time for love, even if the green-eyed baronet with a charming smile tries to convince her otherwise.

Miss Ashford has a choice to make. To wed a duke or the baronet setting her heart aflame. Her choice might not be as simple as she believes.

Meet Naomi Boom

Naomi Boom is an author who never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck when she searched for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

She resides in her home state of South Dakota with her husband and toddler. Her dream is to someday find an acreage where she can raise chickens, and continue her writing.

Links Included:

www.naomiboom.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072SXMN6H/
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-dodge-a-duke-naomi-boom/1126611989?ean=2940157547516

Excerpt:

Logan smirked and stood to tower over her. “I think you welcomed my advances very much. I would prove it if you ask.”

Eleanor glared at him and took a step back. “That is unnecessary. I already know I did not appreciate the first example.” Besides, even if she had enjoyed it, it would be inadvisable for her to allow another kiss to transpire. His smirk remained glued to his handsome face, and she said, “Oh, stop it. You think much too highly of yourself.”

He chuckled in response and took a step closer. Eleanor, naturally, took another step back until he reached out and pulled her to him in a rough embrace. Incensed, Eleanor asked, “Who do you think you are? There is never an acceptable time for you to behave so impudently toward me!”

His arm imprisoned her as he smiled down on her. “Isn’t there? Would it have been preferable to fall into the ravine?”

She swung her head around to find they stood mere steps from the rushing waters. She gulped and turned to face him. Obviously, it was best to stay away from the ravine, but she would not concede his point. “Yes. It would have been much more desirable.”

Loved and Lost

Fira poured the last of the ale into a goblet held out in front of her, yet her attention remained on the man across the Great Hall who paced in front of the turret stairs. A pinch to her already bruised back side tore a snarl from her lips as she swatted away the outstretched hand of a knight.

“Not tonight, Sir Turquine,” she bellowed, causing the knights at the table to chuckle.

“I told you ’twas a lost cause, brother,” Taegan laughed. “She has her mind set on another this eve!”

“You cannot blame me for trying,” Turquine retorted. “Be a good lass, Fira, and bring us more ale. We have a long night of drinking afore us.”

Grumbling to herself, Fira returned to the kitchen to refill her pitcher. The knights had a mighty thirst this night and she would be lucky if she saw her bed afore the dawn. Her gaze traveled through the doorway and her heart flipped with his nearness. No other man in the hall held her interest, although she had taken several of them to her bed at one time or another. Nay, the only one she cared about was the clan’s piper.

He was a handsome man with his tawny colored hair and bright green eyes. She had thought she had a chance with Garrick of Clan MacLaren. After all… he had never once made any advances towards her, not like the rest of the men she had bedded. Mayhap ’twas why she was attracted to him… he had never been anything but respectful towards her and because of this, he had unknowingly slipped into her heart.  They had been on friendly enough terms for a while now and she had thought she was making progress in possibly wringing a proposal from him, or so she had assumed. Then she arrived at Berwyck and everything had changed.

’Twas as though the other women in the kitchen knew where her thoughts had led as she began overhearing their conversation about her nemesis.

“She be a true lady, that one is. No uppity airs, no demanding ways. She does her deceased brother proud, she does,” boasted one of the serfs.

“Do not forget she is Laird Dristan’s cousin and as such ’twould be wise tae treat her with respect lest ye wish tae feel the heat o’ the Devil’s Dragon’s wrath,” another replied with a shudder.

“Bah!” Fira fumed. Slamming the pitcher down upon the table, she wagged her finger at the women who had no issue gossiping amongst themselves. “She doesna belong here and should go back tae France or wherever Sir Morgan found her.”

“Yer just jealous because ye have lost the favor o’ our handsome piper.”

“I havena lost him,” Fira boasted, “and I can have him in me bed with a crook of me finger, I can.”

“Ye may get him in yer bed, but yer reward will likely be a babe in yer belly and nothing else,” another called out.

“He willna marry ye, ye silly girl.” A chorus of laughter erupted from those near enough to hear the conversation.

“Besides, I have heard Laird Dristan say he will look no lower than a knight fer her husband.”

“Then ’tis settled. Since Garrick holds no title, he is considered beneath her station in life so our laird willna let them marry,” Fira retorted with a smirk.

“Ye think that matters when yer in love? Ye best set yer sights on someone else fer ’tis plain fer all tae see Lady Coira has won Garrick’s heart.”

“Ye know nothing of Garrick’s heart,” Fira yelled.

“Then take a look,” the woman mocked, taking Fira by the arm and pushing her towards the doorway to observe what was taking place inside the hall.

Fira’s heart lurched when she espied the Lady Coria and Sir Morgan descend the stairs and Garrick bowed low afore the lady. Their conversation was brief but ’twas enough to see for herself the man she wanted for her husband had eyes only for another. Even whilst he took his place at the table to break his fast did he continue to stare upon Lady Coira. Only when the lady raised her chalice in a silent salute and Garrick returned the gesture with a smile did Fira finally begin to realize she had lost him.

“Heed my words, Fira, and leave him be. Another has already claimed him,” the woman taunted afore returning to the kitchen.

A sob tore from Fira’s lips. Life was so unfair and more so for someone in her position. She ran from the Great Hall to find her home, not caring if she would be punished come the morn for leaving the hall without finishing her duties for the night.


This original piece is a companion to The Piper’s Lady by Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing. The Piper’s Lady is one of eight novella’s within the Belles’ 2017 anthology, Never Too Late.

Never Too Late
A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Release Date November 4, 2017
Special Pre-order price ~ $0.99
25% benefits the Belles’ mutual charity The Malala Fund

Buy Links:

Amazon US  | Smashwords

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You can learn more about Sherry on her page here with the Belles or find her on her website here. Sherry loves to interact with her readers so be sure to sign up for her newsletter or join her Facebook Street Team to keep up-to-date.

 

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