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Category: Teatime Tattler (Page 2 of 33)

Scandal in Venice

VeniceThis house is not a brothel.  I Signora Rossi conduct a respectable boarding house—respectable! All Venice knows. And I tell you true. Those English aristos, they bring disgrace on my business. One would expect an earl and his sister to bring renown to an establishment like mine. Instead the Earl of Ambler and that disgraceful sister of his bring me ruin.

When they arrive, I already suspect. His so-called sister comes with no maid, no older lady to, what you call, chaperone. What kind of “lady,” travels with men and no older woman? The clink of their coin sounded more real than their story; I swallowed my misgivings. Perhaps a respectable older woman, delayed along the road, did follow. So far I see no sign of her. The earl, he looks younger so perhaps he really is her brother. She calls herself Lady Charlotte Tyree.

The earl comes in drunk, loud— very late the first night, shouting that he met that English poet Byron, another aristo. A very bad set, that. Me, I try to warn the woman, but the earl? Like most men, he don’t listen. If he visits Venice to study our architecture or take in Tinteretto, I see no sign of it. The few days he doesn’t sleep all day he runs off with that poet to Lazaretto and the Armenians. Only the girl spends time in our many lovely churches. She does the sketching and the studying. Perhaps he plans to pass her work off as his—idiota.

The girl behaves well enough. I began to think her respectable and pity her the company of her spoiled brother. Last week everything changes. Due pescatori still in their fishing clothes and drunk as lords, drop the earl at my door smelling of fish and rotten water. The boy tried to swim Il Canal Grande like his idol, an even bigger fool. He spews canal water—and worse—on my floors. 

VeniceNow scandal in my house. I not bargain for scandal. The medico—the one with the horrid children and nasty mother—he arrives. I stand at my door and before I can blink he comes down my stairs carrying that girl over his shoulder. He dumps her in his ancient gondola and leaves his helper upstairs with the earl. No coin. Not one word to me.

Santa madre di Dio! What is a widow to do?

About the Book: Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil

It’s 1818 and Byron is in Venice. When Lady Charlotte Tyree’s feckless brother attempts to mimic his idol and swim the Grand Canal, putrid fever lays him flat and strands her there. Venice, Christmas, a handsome Italian doctor… her life is about to take an interesting turn.

Pre-order from Amazon or Epub from Smashwords

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, a Bluestocking Belle and regular contributor to The Teatime Tattler, writes historical romance. In addition to her holiday novellas, she writes novels set in the Regency and immediate post-Regency eras.  In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins driven apart by lies and deceit, find their way home from the farthest corners of the British Empire—and find love along the way.

Find out more here.

The girl he had ruined

This author has learned Miss S—- H— has returned from her extended sojourn on the Continent. Tattler readers may remember Miss H— from the Unfortunate Incident a decade past that precipitated such a journey. One wonders how a certain earl will take her return, although when last they knew each other, she was a debutante while he was a mere viscount and the architect of her disgrace.

Readers may recall the scandal, though ten years have passed. Some noted at the time the then-viscount displayed a distinct preference for Miss H—-. He was often seen partnering her in a dance, or offering an arm to walk with her in a garden. Many a brow was raised at the sight, as the viscount had seemed determined to set upon a path of ruination and sin. The lure of the ostensibly innocent Miss H—-, however, had society wondering if perhaps the viscount would set upon a new path, this one leading to respectability and, indeed, matrimony.

However, blood will out, and the viscount’s had always been bad. Caught in clandestine embrace, the viscount disavowed Miss H—-, who had clearly forgotten the lessons learned by many an unfortunate lady before her. Such impropriety shredded her reputation, and only a quick decampment to the continent brought an end to whispers and speculation. There she remained…or she had until her recent return to London.

This author will be watching with baited breath for the reunion of debutant and earl. With the myriad of events planned for this season, surely such an encounter is inevitable?

Scandalous

Cassandra Dean

Part of SECOND CHANCES: A Romance Writers of America Collection

The dissolute Earl of Edgington is last man Miss Sofia Hargrove ever wanted to see again. Ten years ago, she fell foolishly in love and, worse, she thought he loved her in return. Recklessly, she indulged her passion in a moonlit garden….and was caught. Ruined, she ran to the Continent, and then was devastated again when he didn’t follow. Now, at a London ball, he stands before her and begs for a chance to explain.

Edgington knows Sofie will never forgive him. For ten years, memories of her have haunted him, but his memories pale next to the bright, vibrant woman she’s become. The chance to explain, to ask her forgiveness, burns inside him, alongside the dormant passion he’s never forgotten and a long-held love that will no longer be denied.

Cassandra Dean, author of the bestselling Teach Me, entices readers once more with a tale of passion, love and second chances.

Excerpt

Hidden in the crowd, Edgington watched her. Now, it was obvious why he’d come to the ball—for the slight chance he would see her.

He’d heard about her return. It had been in all the papers, the triumphant return of Viscount Hargrove’s sister. They’d been full of her exploits on the Continent, the countries she’d seen, the society she’d kept. Each article he’d devoured, unable to keep the distance he maintained with everyone else, but then, that was nothing new. He’d never been able to distance himself from her.

Ten years since he’d seen her, and she hadn’t changed. Maybe she was a bit older, her hair a bit more gold, but she still looked as she did when he was a callow youth of twenty-one and more than a little infatuated. He remembered every curve of her face, the softness of her skin. The way her mouth moved under his.

Her gaze wandered to the dancing, and a wistful kind of smile occupied her face. His pulse a thunder in his ears, he wanted, quite stupidly, to ask her to dance.

Closing his eyes briefly, he shook himself. As if she would say yes. If he were to approach her, the smile would disappear from her features, as would all emotion. He knew. He’d seen it happen before.

Her gaze moved again and their eyes locked.

For a moment, a split second, her smile remained, and he had an insane hope that all had been forgiven, that, perhaps, he could approach her. Then, all expression bled from her face, and she regarded him coolly, her joy in the evening gone.
His heart sank. He’d known she’d react so, though a part of him had hoped he’d been wrong. A part of him had hoped he could approach her, could ask her to dance, could ask for her hand.

But, of course, he couldn’t. She was Miss Sofia Hargrove. The girl he’d ruined.

Buy links:

Amazon: AU | US | UK
B&N

Cassandra Dean is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical and fantasy romance and is a 2016 finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia’s coveted R*BY Award. Her latest novel, SILK & SCHOLAR, is book 4 of her popular Silk Series featuring law-loving peeps and their happily ever after.

Cassandra is proud to call South Australia her home, where she regularly cheers on her AFL football team and creates her next tale.

Visit Cassandra’s website at http://cassandradean.com

Join Cassandra’s mailing list at http://cassandradean.com/extras/newsletter-postcard-mailing-list

Follow Cassandra on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraDean and on Twitter @authorCassDean

Contact Cassandra at cassandra@cassandradean.com

 

Silver eyes. It’s uncanny

1st June 1794

Today, Town will be nearly empty as the ton streams to the border between Wales and England, to a remote valley where the reclusive Duke of Bleidrich rules a fiefdom older than the four kingdoms.

Seldom does His Grace honour Town with his presence, and then to the benefit of Westminster rather than the rounds of Society. Never in living memory has he held a ball. What can be the reason? Is the duke in search of a duchess? Or can the rumours be true? Seven years ago, the duke installed a ward in the castle schoolroom, a maiden understood to be a younger daughter of Baron Whitleaf of Northern Lancashire. Will Isadora Whitleaf defy her humble origins to become the next Duchess of Bleidrich?

And if she does? No one can give details, but all agree there is something uncanny about the Bleidrichs.

1st July 1794

As Society stream back from the celebrations in Bleidrichvale, the Teatime Tattler has been able to confirm that the rumours about Miss Whitleaf were unfounded. The stated reason for the ball was to celebrate the eighteenth birthday of Lord Nathaniel Marrock, younger brother of the duke, before he left for his Grand Tour of those parts of the continent still available to travellers.

The true reason? Our editor has been told in confidence by several Grande Dames of the ton that His Grace was most attentive to their own particular charge. We have also heard from some of the young maidens, who described the duke as remote and scary. Given the gentleman’s high estate, we do not see this as an insuperable bar to matrimony, and even those who shivered at his silver eyes, did not deny him beauty of form to an unearthly degree.

He may be uncanny, but he is rich, titled, and handsome.

 10th October 1794

In an update to our story several months ago about the Duke of Bleidrich and his ward, we have recently heard that Miss Whitleaf has married. And married not the master, but the schoolteacher. Marriage to the highest noble in the land would have been a considerable step up for Miss Whitleaf. Marriage to a village schoolmaster, even one who has been tutor to the younger son of a duke, must be seen as a descent.

But then, Miss Whitleaf, more than any, must know the truth about the Bleidrichs. Has she chosen the better part?

12th August 1804

Ten years ago, the Duke of Bleidrich raised hopes in the hearts of matchmaking mamas and their daughters, when he held a ball at his remote estate. And then, nothing. Until today.

Today, dear readers, the finest in the land have been stunned to receive an invitation to another ball in Bleidrichvale. What surprise has the duke in store for us? The Teatime Tattler will not venture to make a guess, but warns readers that the Bleidrichs are known to be uncanny.

24th August 1804

Isadora Harris, formerly Isadora Whitleaf, is the new Duchess of Bleidrich. Yes, dear reader, you read that aright. The Duke of Bleidrich has reached down into the commonality to lift up his bride.

His Grace travelled to the far reaches of Yorkshire to retrieve his widowed bride, marrying her by special license in York a scandalous five weeks after her husband’s death.

Furthermore, the lady comes with a considerable encumbrance in the way of a family. We have been unable to confirm how many are her own, and how many she and the eccentric Mr Harris added to their family by adoption, but we are told that the ducal nurseries, schoolroom, and dining table have been considerably expanded to add twenty-four place settings for the Harris children.

The correspondent we sent into Bleidrichvale has suffered an unaccountable memory lapse, and has been unable to tell us what else he has discovered. We will report soon.

24th September 1804

Sam Clemens sat at his desk, turning a sheet of paper over and over in his hand, staring at nothing.

Joe the printer, coming through from the workshop, stopped in the doorway.

“Fancy visitors, those, Sam.” Joe had stepped aside to let the lord and lady pass, being careful not to let his inky apron touch the lady’s fine silk.

Sam’s voice seemed to come from a distance. “Hmmm.”

“An advertisement? Not scandal. Not those two.” The man made Joe shiver: silver eyes under a dark wing of brow, and the lady was unusual, too. Eyes of forest green, and the loveliest face he’d ever seen. But they were no gossipmongers, that was for certain.

“I came for the front page, Sam. You said you were writing up the news from Yorkshire. About Bleidrich and the Harrises.”

Sam looked blankly at Joe, and then back at the sheet of paper. Joe moved closer, hoping it was the copy he needed, but it was blank.

“Story?” Sam seemed to shake himself awake. “No. There’s no story from Yorkshire.”

“No story? What am I to put on the front page?”

With a problem to solve, Sam was galvanised into action, and in the rush of moving things around, finding extra copy to fill spaces, and getting the paper to print, the weird incident was forgotten.

But later that night, as they sat over a celebratory mug of ale, Joe remembered where he had heard of silver eyes. “Sam,” he asked his editor, “was that the Duke of Bleidrich and his wife who came to see you today?”

“Yesterday,” Sam said, for it was three in the morning. And then his eyes went suddenly blank and he gave his head a quick shake as if to dislodge a blockage in his thoughts. “Bleidrich? Fine chance that would be. The duke in my newspaper office? No, Joe. You must have been dreaming.”

Someone was, Joe thought. But he wouldn’t mention it again. That way, there’d be no risk of drawing that silver gaze on him.

There was no doubt about it. There was something uncanny about the Bleidrichs.

To find out what happened ten years ago, and what brought about the marriage after a decade, read The Heart of a Wolf, a short story in Lost in the Tale. Lost in the Tale is released on 6 September. Buy links on Jude Knight’s website at http://judeknightauthor.com/books/lost-in-the-tale/

Come sample Jude’s wares in her second short story/novella collection

The Lost Wife: Teri’s refuge had been invaded: by the French, who were trying to conquer their land, and by wounded soldiers from the English forces sent to fight Napoleon’s armies. The latest injured man carried to her for nursing would be a bigger challenge than all the rest: he had once broken her heart. (short story)

The Heart of a Wolf: Ten years ago, Isadora lied to save her best friend, and lost her home and the man she loved when he would not listen to her. Ten years ago, Bastian caught his betrothed in the arms of another man, and her guilt was confirmed when she fled. Ten years on, both still burn with anger, but the lives of innocent children and the future of their werewolf kind demand that they work together. (short story)

My Lost Highland Love: Interfering relatives, misunderstandings, and mistranslations across a language barrier keep two lovers from finding one another again. The Earl of Chestlewick’s daughter comes to London from her beloved Highlands to please her father, planning to avoid the Englishman who married her and abandoned her. The Earl of Medford comes face-to-face with a ghost; a Society lady who bears the face of the Highland lass who saved his life and holds his heart. (short story)

Magnus and the Christmas Angel: Scarred by years in captivity, Magnus has fought English Society to be accepted as the true Earl of Fenchurch. Now he faces the hardest battle of all: to win the love of his wife. A night trapped in the snow with an orphaned kitten, gives Callie a Christmas gift: the chance to rediscover first love with the tattooed stranger she married. (short story)

The Lost Treasure of Lorne: For nearly 300 years, the Normingtons and the Lorimers have feuded, since a love affair ended in a curse that doomed dead Lorimers to haunt their home, the Castle of Lorne.

Now the last Marquis of Lorne, the last of the Lorimers, is one of those ghosts, and the Duke of Kendal, head of the House of Normington, holds the castle.

Kendal doesn’t care about the feud or the ghosts. He wants only to find the evidence that will legitimate the son his Lorimer bride bore him before her death, and to convince his stubborn housekeeper to marry him.

But the time allotted to the curse is running out, and his happiness depends on finding the Lost Treasure of Lorne before the 300 years draws to a close. (novella)

 

The bogus seamstress: Madame Latour eavesdrops in her own dress shop…

Mimi Latour paused at the top of the stairs to the kitchen and listened to the voices of her workers drifting upwards. Thank le bon Dieu there were no customers.

“What do you think of the new seamstress?” Dolly Isaacs asked.

Peggy O’Shea snorted audibly. “Seamstress, me fine fanny. If she’s a seamstress, then I’m the bloody duchess of Connemara.”

Dolly giggled. “I know. Did you see her hands? All smooth and white and not a callous on them.”

“That won’t last. Wait till she stabs them with a needle a few times. She can’t even sew a straight hem.”

“But she does beautiful embroidery,” Dolly said.

“And who learns to embroider, I ask ye?”

“Ladies!” they chorused.

Scare bleu! How could Lady Elinor Ashworth think she could blend in as a seamstress? She was nobly born, but no one could know that. If only her mama were still alive…

“And the way she talks, like the grand lady of the manner,” Peggy went on. “And who give her that black eye? That’s what I’d like to know.”

“Madame said what she’s a widow.”

Peggy snorted again. “Runaway wife, more like. I’ve seen men do their wives like that afore. Can’t blame her for leaving the blighter.”

“But why is she here?” Dolly asked. “She’s awful friendly with Madame, even sleeping upstairs. You don’t suppose…”

“That one of us is about to get the boot?” Peggy asked her tone glum. “Aye, maybe. Ma needs on me wages to feed the little ones. I dunno what we’ll do if I’m let go.”

“You’re a good seamstress,” Dolly said. “We can find other work.”

Peggy sighed. “Easy for ye to say. Ye’re English. What other shop would hire an Irish seamstress?”

Mimi had heard enough. It was time to nip this in the blossom, as the English say. She started down the stairs, her knees complaining at every step. The voices below stopped.

“Time to go back to work, girls,” she announced. “But first I wish to talk to you.”

Dolly and Peggy exchanged guilty looks.

“Yes, I heard you.” Mimi glared at them. “Such talk is très mal, very bad. Madame Brown will be with us for a short time only, so no one’s job is in jeopardy. But if I hear more gossip from either of you…” She let the threat trail off unspoken. “Now back to work.”

The girls scrambled up the stairs at breakneck speed. When they were gone, Mimi sank into a chair. “Oh, Ellie, what were you thinking?”

Lady Elinor’s Escape

By Linda McLaughlin

 

Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him.

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin’s life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a rescuer of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled by guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with the secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00CHSNEII

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-elinors-escape-linda-mclaughlin/1100559263

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lady-elinor-s-escape

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312406

Excerpt:

“Excuse me, madam, but I could not help overhearing you say that you must leave for London immediately. Allow me to introduce myself. Stephen Chaplin, Esquire, at your service.”

Elinor turned to face the gentleman who had suddenly appeared. She stared at him through a haze of black, taking advantage of her veil to get a closer look at this tall, dark-haired, seemingly well bred gentleman. He was above average height, with finely chiseled features, and while he could not, strictly speaking, be deemed handsome, there was something in the intense scrutiny of his light brown eyes that drew her to him. By the cut of his bottle green Superfine coat, which emphasized his broad shoulders, but was not so tight as to hamper movement, and his casually tied neckcloth, she surmised he was no society dandy.

“How do you do?” she said politely, extending one black-gloved hand.

“Fine, thank you.”

As he took her hand and bowed over it, Elinor savored the warmth of his touch for a moment. It had been a long time since someone had touched her out of kindness. Suddenly realizing she was clutching his hand, she withdrew hers. He studied her, his gaze seeming to penetrate the veil, and she could only stand like the veriest lump under his scrutiny.

“I beg your pardon, madam, but what did you say your name was?”

“Eli—” Elinor broke off and feigned a cough, panic bubbling up inside. Her name. Dear heavens, she needed a new name. If she told him who she was, he would never agree to take her to Mimi. She stared down at the gentleman’s yellow nankeen trousers and shiny brown boots. “Brown,” she stammered. “Ellie Brown.”

“Mrs. Brown, may I offer my assistance? I’m heading for London myself and would be pleased to convey you as far as Chippenham, where you may pick up another stage coach.”

Relief flooded through her at his offer, but could she trust him? No proper young lady rides in a closed carriage with a gentleman who is not related to her. The words of her governess rang in her ears. “I do not think—”

“Of course, you are cautious,” he interrupted smoothly. “Any genteel lady would hesitate to trust a strange gentleman.”

“But I am not a lady,” she blurted. If Aunt Sarah learned that a ‘lady’ had been here, she would know where to look for her. “I am merely a seamstress.”

“Really,” he drawled, doubt evident in his tone.

“Yes, I have a position awaiting me in London.” She was surprised, and a bit uncomfortable, at how easily the lies flowed from her lips, but they were necessary.

Meet Linda McLaughlin

Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it’s only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. She lives in Orange County, California.

You can find her online at:

Website: http://lindalyndi.com

Blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LindaMcLaughlinAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lindamclaughlin

Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

To Love A Knight

Dear Diary:

I have a medieval man in my shower.

Knight

Yes… I just wrote that and no… I’m not drunk, but maybe I should be. How else do I explain the strange trip through Time that took me 800 years into the past and then again to return home to present day San Francisco? I wish I could say I dreamed the whole thing but then I can hear Fletcher humming some medieval melody and the steam from his shower is escaping through the crack at the bottom of the bathroom door. Just listen to him! That deep baritone voice makes my heart flutter like the wings of a hummingbird in flight.

Fletcher… I swear my face flushes inferno hot each and every time he even glances in my direction. He is the stuff dreams are made of. Really! I’m not over exaggerating or lying just to make this entry interesting. I mean who would make up this stuff? If I were an author, I’d probably have a bestseller on my hands. Now isn’t that thought a hoot?

But I digress from telling you about this incredible man who continues to watch over me. He gave up everything he had just to follow me through Time. This chivalrous knight who gave no thought as to his responsibilities to his family and liege lord. A noble knight who now finds himself out of place and time in a future world that no longer values the very essence of all he held dear in another life. I’m unsure how he’ll ever adjust to modern living, despite the brave face he puts on for my benefit.

I’m in love with him. Even writing those words scares the hell out of me, and I’m terrified of what the implications of those feelings could mean to my heart. I could blink, and he could be gone in a heartbeat if God decides such is our fate. I came back to my own place in time because of the anguish I heard in my mother’s cry that spanned centuries. Would the same happen to Fletcher and those he, too, left in day’s long since past? His father, a younger sister, not to mention those he cared about at Berwyck Castle. It’s a lot to consider and it makes my head hurt with just the thought of losing him now that we’ve found one another.

He left his sword leaning up against the wall near the bathroom door, a twelfth century item appearing totally out of place among the things in this room of modern living. The ruby jewel in the hilt winks at me as though the stone has a secret to tell. My only thought is how Fletcher will react when he sees me in my best negligée that I put on just for him. He’ll think me overly bold, but I never wanted a man more than I do tonight. Now if only I can convince him to share my bed, which will be no small task. He’ll probably tell me we can’t until we’re married. He has much to learn about the twenty-first century!

I’ll write more when I can. I just heard the water go off and I’ve only moments before I’m confronted with the man who makes my heart sing. I can only hope that whatever happens between us, that we won’t lose what we have found with each other. Time brought us together. I’ll be damned if I’ll allow Time to tear us apart.

Jenna


Knight

To Follow My Heart: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book Three)

Bestselling author, Sherry Ewing, brings you the next installment of her Knights of Berwyck series, To Follow My Heart.

Love is a leap. Sometimes you need to jump…

After a gut wrenching break up with her fiancé, Jenna Sinclair heads to the coast to do a little soul searching. To say everything is subject to change is putting it mildly. Her world is not only turned upside down, but pretty much torn asunder when she is pulled through a time gate on the beach beneath the Cliff House and transported more than eight hundred years into the past.

Fletcher Monroe, captain of the garrison knights at Berwyck Castle, has wasted too much time pining for a woman who will never be his. When he finally decides to move on with his life and focus on his duties, he is suddenly confronted with a woman who magically appears at his feet. This could either be the best thing that has ever happened to him or another cursed event in a string of many. He soon finds he is wildly attracted to her, but she’s scared to death of him ─ not a very encouraging beginning.

From the shores of California to twelfth century England and back again, Jenna and Fletcher must find a way to reconcile their two different worlds before Time forever tears them apart.

Buy Links:

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo|
Amazon AU | Amazon  BR | AmazonCA Amazon DE | AmazonFRAmazon UK

You can learn more about Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing on her page on the tab above with the Belles or on her website here.

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