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Desires of the heart…

Garrick of Clan MacLaren burst through the turret door whilst rushing after the distraught woman as she ran towards the battlement wall. Lady Coira Easton almost collided with a kitchen serf who quickly moved out of her way. His eyes briefly met Fira’s as they passed one another on the narrow stairs but he had no time to worry over the troublesome look she gave him. He had bigger problems on his mind than to wonder what she was doing so far from Berwyck’s kitchens.

He hurried to Coira’s side. “Dinnae worry yerself, lass. We shall think of something,” he whispered suddenly finding his arms full when his lady reached out to him for support. He could do nothing less but clutch her trembling body to his own. “Please, Coira… I canna stand yer tears.”

“’Tis hopeless, Garrick,” she sobbed. “If my cousin will not give his consent for us to wed, he will marry me to another. How will I bear it?”

How indeed, he thought remembering his meeting with Dristan of Berwyck. His laird had warned Garrick that his life would be all but over if he so much as touched the hem of Coira’s gown. And now here he was with his arms wrapped around his lady offering her what comfort he could.

“Hush now, my sweet. Dry yer eyes. I willna have this upsetting ye.” Coira lifted her head and he witnessed for himself her tear filled eyes. He swore his heart broke all over again and he could not imagine a life without this woman at his side. He pushed back a lock of her hair when it fell across her face and laid a kiss upon her forehead.

“I cannot marry another, Garrick,” she said, echoing his own thoughts, “not when my hearts desire is to belong only to you.”

“’Twill not come to that, I promise ye.”

“You cannot make such a vow, my love, and I will not hold you to it. You know my cousin better than most. When his mind is made up, he will not change his decision for me to marry no less than a knight.”

“I will make him see reason, Coira, and prove my worth upon the lists,” Garrick proclaimed. “Trust me…”

She gave a heavy sigh. “You know I do with my very life, Garrick. Now kiss me as a token of your affection for I must needs return to Amiria’s solar afore I am missed,” she insisted as she closed her eyes and leaned back her head.

He wasted no time claiming the lady who more than proved her own desires when he deepened their kiss. He was unsure how long they stood there wrapped up in their own little world but the sound of Coira’s name being called from the turret stairs broke the spell woven around them. Not wishing to be caught opening disobeying his liege lord, he reluctantly pulled Coira from his arms.

“I must go,” she declared even though her eyes told him she would rather stay. “I will see you at the evening meal.”

He could only nod in response, not trusting himself to have further speech with the lady. Instead he watched her leave to disappear down the stairway. Garrick leaned his arms against the battlement wall, lost in thought, ’til he felt a hand upon his arm. He did not expect to see Fira at his side. Her eyes were swimming like pools of jealousy for she clearly could not mask the emotions etched upon her mutinous face.

“What is it, Fira?” he asked, almost hating to hear her answer. She had been bothersome of late with hopes that there was something between them. He was unsure where she had gotten such a notion for he had been nothing but polite to her in the past.

“What does that outsider have that I do not,” Fira hissed.

“I willna discuss the Lady Coira with ye,” he answered, hoping she would let the matter rest. Such was not going to be the case.

“Ye shall regret not taking me up on me offer, Garrick. ’Tis best tae stay with yer own kind instead of thinking ye can wed someone above yer station.”

Garrick scowled, her words thrusting into his heart like a dagger. He did not need Fira to remind him that he was only the clan’s piper and not a knight. “Dinnae be daft, Fira. I have already told ye I am not interested in what ye offer tae any of the men who pass through Berwyck’s gates. Be off with ye and mind yer own business,” he snapped harshly as he lost what little patience he had left.

 

Fira gave a laugh. “Ye best remember me words, Garrick,” she answered leaning her shoulder upon the wall and crossing her arms.

“If ye willna leave me in peace, then stay and enjoy yer view,” Garrick huffed. He gave her no further thoughts and made his way back to the Great Hall. He would have been troubled to learn just what the woman had in store for him and his future.

This is an original piece by Sherry Ewing. Garrick and Coira can be found in The Piper’s Lady in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Never Too Late.

The Piper’s Lady

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

Lady Coira Easton spent her youth traveling with her grandfather. Now well past the age men prefer when they choose a wife, she has resigned herself to remain a maiden. But everything changes once she arrives at Berwyck Castle. She cannot resist a dashing knight who runs to her rescue, but would he give her a second look?

Garrick of Clan MacLaren can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but as the clan’s piper they would rather he play his instruments to entertain them—or lead them into battle—than to fight with a sword upon the lists. Only when he sees a lady across the training field and his heart sings for the first time does he begin to wish to be something he is not.

Will a simple misunderstanding between them threaten what they have found in one another or will they at last let love into their hearts?

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Mrs. Bingham Tries Again

BinghamHalf-Moon Street, London, 27th August, 1813

My dear Celeste,

I trust your esteemed mama improves in health so that you may soon be free to return to Town, for you are missing the Event of the year. You must know that even we married ladies are all aflutter since the arrival of a certain French gentleman in our midst. Monsieur de Montailhac is the brother-in-law of Sir Richard Hartford, and the son of a French marquis and his wife – a Turkish princess, no less. These details I have from Cecilia Hartford, who is only too ready to boast of her handsome guest.

Indeed, Celeste, I have now been present at two events where the gentleman also figured. I feel such pangs of jealousy against Cecilia, who can feast her eyes on this marvel of masculine beauty every day. He casts even Lord Byron into the shade. His hair is raven black, like his eyes. Oh, such fascinating almond eyes, with a constant roguish twinkle. And his smile makes one forget who and where one is! To the advantages of a trim figure, he adds impeccable style and a delicious French accent that charms us all.

Of course, that odious cousin of Cecilia’s, Mrs Bingham, swoops on the poor man, pushing her poor plain little Lydia at him. [The only man who ever notices Lydia is Jack Barrowman and Mrs B considers him a rustic. She would do well to accept the match for her daughter. It is already Lydia’s third season, is it not?]

And by chance, a little later that day I was in Charters Square in Soho to make a purchase at the showroom of the fine silversmith there, when I espied Monsieur de Montailhac [his name is Arnaut, is it not delightful?] coming out of that very shop, in company with a pretty young lady. They stood and spoke for a time, while I pretended to inspect the goods in the display window. Then he kissed her hand and the smile they exchanged was so intimate, I felt ashamed to be spying on them.

It seems Mrs B is doomed to yet another disappointment over her daughter. But if you wish to see our handsome Frenchman, you should in truth come back soon.

Yr affectionate friend,
Araminta

BinghamAbout the Book

Arnaut de Montailhac’s reputation as a charming rake is well established. Secretly, he longs for a role where he could shine on merit. Perhaps the political events of the summer of 1813 will give him that opportunity.  But when his first official task is to seduce a beautiful young spy, Arnaut suspects he is considered to be nothing more than a charming fribble. However, events quickly turn nasty and he sets off on a quest, determined to prove his true worth. Louise Fauriel, hardworking member of a family of Huguenot silversmiths, is the complete opposite of Arnaut. Linked by the need to smuggle letters from the Bourbon king in exile at Hartwell House to Arnaut’s father, the unlikely pair travel between France and England, with Napoleon’s vengeful agents never more than one step behind. In the desperate race to succeed in this mission, even a rake has no time for love.

Excerpt:       A rake in peril from the ladies

Behind his fixed smile, Arnaut was fuming. He and Richard had taken refuge in the drawing room to settle their plans for the afternoon when Cecilia swept in with a group of ladies. It was evident she was determined to show off her French visitor. Everywhere he looked, he saw ladies nodding and smiling at him. He felt like one of the horses he had seen exhibited at Tattersalls the other day. Servants appeared with tea and cakes. Arnaut was horrified. How could he escape? Yet in less than thirty minutes it would be three o’clock, time for his meeting with Pierre D’Escury in Soho.

He found himself sandwiched between a formidable matron and her shockingly plain daughter. Not for the first time, he regretted his ability to attract ladies. The girl was gazing at him with a sort of dazed intensity, as if he was a rare item in a museum. Arnaut cast an urgent look at Richard, seated in the window alcove beside an elderly lady wearing a monstrous bonnet. Richard met his eye and gave a faint, apologetic smile. No help from him, then.

Now Cecilia came to stand in front of them. ‘How delightful to see you such good friends already with our guest, Cousin Chastity,’ she trilled. ‘I am sure Monsieur de Montailhac is telling you all about the latest Paris fashions.’

In spite of his growing frustration, Arnaut had to swallow a laugh. Nobody could help the name their parents gave them but ‘Chastity’ did not sit well on this large and opulently endowed lady. She turned towards him and beamed. ‘He is making acquaintance with my dear Lydia here. So charming.’

Lydia nodded and wriggled without taking her eyes from his face. Did the girl have any conversation, he wondered, or was she simply her mother’s puppet? He was hemmed in by these three females. He would have felt less threatened among a hostile crowd at a prize fight. Thankfully, someone else addressed Cecilia and she was obliged to move away.

The clock on the mantelpiece struck the hour. Arnaut gave a silent groan. Think, dammit! he told himself. You have to escape without giving offence. He gave an exaggerated start and stood up, pretending to check the time.

‘More tea, Monsieur de Montailhac?’ Cecilia hastened back, blocking his way. This began to seem like a conspiracy. But he was going to escape. He smiled his most charming smile and handed her his cup, still untouched.

‘Thank you, no. I regret, but I am obliged to take my leave,’ he insisted over her shocked protests. ‘In such charming company I had almost forgotten that I’m engaged to spend this afternoon with an elderly friend of my father’s. He is housebound and so you appreciate I cannot disappoint him.’ It was not so far from the truth. He turned and bowed in the grand style his father had taught him. ‘Ladies, I am desolated but I cannot stay.’

He was aware of the sudden silence and the heads turning to follow him. Straight backed, he marched out of the room, letting out a deep breath once the door had closed behind him.

You can buy the book here       https://tinyurl.com/yaf6frr3

The Rake and His Honour, Arnaut’s story, is the second book in the Montailhac Family series. The first brother’s story is told in Scandalous Lady.   https://tinyurl.com/y978tol5

About the Author

Beth ElliottMy Welsh side has given me a vivid imagination which tends to overwhelm my practical Lancashire side. From a very young age I made up adventure stories and persuaded my childhood friends to act them out with me. When I had to join the real world I was a Languages teacher in several countries before giving in to the urge to write stories. A lifelong love of Mr Darcy Jane Austen inspired me to set my Regency Tales in the age of Napoleon. As I enjoy travelling around the Mediterranean, my characters tend to do the same. But they also go to London, Bath and Brighton, where adventures befall them, even when they try to live a normal Regency era life.

There are notes and pictures – and more information about the slightly exotic Montailhac family – at www.bethelliott.webs.com

Dispatch From the Gold Fields

Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Wyoming Gold Fields Western RomanceHere is the report you requested. Of late, I’ve been exploring the rumors of gold to be found in the Wyoming territory of the former colonies. While the rumors are true, the location of the gold fields is on lands belonging to the Sioux nation. Relations are hostile between these aborigines and the somewhat more civilized government of the United States of America. In addition, the area of the gold fields, known as the Black Hills, is exceedingly difficult to access. Thus, few white men and fewer white women have traveled through the place. I have determined to do so, myself. Not for greed of gold, but for greed of experience. I have never denied my eagerness to see what is around the next corner, tree, rock, or river bend. Be that as it may, I am currently in the boomtown of Cheyenne seeking a guide of good reputation to shepherd my little party [Yes, despite her megrims, my maid Analisa is still with me, but more of her peccadillos at another time.]

To continue, I have interviewed a number of guides only one of whom has proven suitable. The first was a shifty-eyed drunk whom I would not allow within my chambers. The second, a Mr. J. Bridger, is a quite famous mountain man. He was sober and very entertaining, but his English is so poor I could scarcely understand him. Heavens, the man could not even read. Nor was his hygiene acceptable.

The third man, Mr. W. Hickock is also quite famous. He is very colorful wearing pistols holstered on each hip and having long, locks of hair, which were kept scrupulously clean, unlike Mr. Bridger. I had almost agreed to accept Mr. Hickock’s services despite his exorbitant fees when the most unruly and oddly dressed female I had ever seen burst into the room and drew her pistol, holding me and Mr. Hickock at gunpoint.

“Y’ ain’t a goin’nowheres without me Bill,” the woman stated. “And I ain’t a lettin’ y’ dilly dally with some hoity toity female foreigner. ‘Til I sez otherwise, I’m the onliest woman whose skirts y’ kin lift.

Did I mention that this creature wore men’s pants and a fur covering that looked as if it had once been part of a bear? I bristled at being called hoity toity by anyone of such obviously low stamp, to say nothing of the idea that I might ‘lift my skirts’ for any strange man. Before I could issue the set down this woman deserved. Mr. Hickock was on his feet, nobly placing his body between me and the pistol’s line of fire.

“Now Jane,” he said in a tone used to sooth wild animals. “You know I wouldn’t try to two-time you or any woman to whom I commit myself.”

“I know nothin’ of the sort, and won’t ‘til y’ agree t’ marry me.”

“I’m already married, Jane, as you are well aware.”

“Don’t keep you from cattin’ around with saloon dancers and squaws.”

Mr. Hickock cast a glance at me and could see I was less that pleased over what I’d heard and seen. I shook my head at him. He sighed and picked up his hat, then took Jane by the arm and escorted her from the room.

I have discovered that very few words are needed in this part of the world to convey significant information. Mr. Hickock perceived correctly that I would not be needing his services in any capacity. Yet he was kind enough to send another guide for me to interview.

This character, one Skinner Jones, I might have rejected instantly. Jones personal hygiene looked and smelled no better than Mr. Bridger’s. However, the educated speech that came from Jones’s mouth roused my interest, so I invited my guest to share tea with me as we discussed the possibility of escort from Cheyenne to the Black Hills.

Jones, despite all appearances and scents, was surprisingly erudite. Our conversation ranged from the Souix and their situation, to life on the Wyoming trails, and from there to the exigencies of my own travels. We discussed Dickens, Milton, and Shakespeare. I was introduced to new authors such as Poe, Melville, and Clemens. (Hence my communication started with that last author as a result of reading some very entertaining tales written under the pen name of Mark Twain.)

Not only was Jones an educated, well-spoken, and entertaining conversationalist, the guide exhibited a startling degree of comfort with proper conduct during a tea service. When I probed for more of Jones’s background, the guide became evasive and skillfully re-directed my questions. In another person, say of Mr. Bridger’s ilk, I might have become wary enough to decline that person’s escort. However, the combination of Jones’s manners, obvious erudition, and skillful handling of the most probing questions sparked my curiosity.

By the time we had finished our tea and conversation began to lag, I had made up my mind. I offered Jones the job. The guide would accept only if I chose to avoid the Black Hills and would be willing to travel to other safer locations in the territory. Jones guaranteed me I would not be disappointed. A description of Lake Yellowstone, the Wind River, and an area called Smoke Valley intrigued me so much that I was eager to dispense with any plans to visit the black Hills. There was one other item which decided my cooperation with Jones’s plans. Throughout our conversation, I observed that Jones behaved more like a female—the handling of cups and saucers, a certain delicacy of conduct when eating the cakes and drinking the tea, and a number of very subtle mannerisms that, in this wild western environment, perhaps only another delicately raised woman might recognize. What in the world was such a woman doing masquerading as a teamster? How had she come by the skills to, as is said in the west, ‘skin mules’ and earn the regard of men such as Mr. Hickock?

I had to know the answers to these questions and more. When I do, I shall write them down and if I obtain Jones’s permission will seek to publish the Legend of Skinner Jones. In the interim, I will be able to continue sending to the Tattler small tidbits detailing my adventures in Wyoming in the company of Skinner Jones.

Western Romance WyomingAbout the Book

One Night’s Desire, Historical Western Romance (1870 Wyoming)

A WOMAN ON THE RUN ~ Rustlers, claim jumpers and fire, nothing will stop Kiera Alden from reuniting her family. But an accusation of murder threatens her dreams and sets Marshall Evrett Quinn on her trail. She may be able to escape prison bars and eventually prove her innocence, but she can’t escape Quinn’s love.

A LAWMAN IN HOT PURSUIT ~ Marshall Evrett Quinn is relentless in pursuit of law-breakers, and pretty Kiera Alden is no exception. Clever and courageous, she evades him until chance encounter turns the tables. Finally, he has this elusive desperado under arrest, but success is bittersweet when she captures his heart.

Buy Links for One Night’s Desire:

Amazon–http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Desire-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00DL3ALFC/
B & N–http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-night-s-desire-rue-allyn/1115916242?ean=9781440567186
Crimson Romance–http://www.crimsonromance.com/historical-romance-novels/one-nights-desire/
Kobo–http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/one-night-s-desire

Excerpt

You can read an excerpt of One Night’s Desire here http://rueallyn.com/2c2ONDexcerpt.html.

Rue Allyn About the Author

Rue Allyn is the award-winning author of Historical, Contemporary and erotic Romance. When not writing, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at  contact@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.

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I had a terrific time today providing some of my research on my current work in progress, tentatively titled The Legend of Skinner Jones. This book tells the story of Boyd Alavarez and Elise Van Demer, two secondary characters from One Night’s Desire ~ Wildfire Love Book 2. The action of the Skinner Jones story takes place a few years after that of One Night’s Desire. Here’s a little more information about that book.

Cousin’s Plans Make Nunnery Look Good

nunneryLady Coira Easton stared out the window whilst she waited in her cousin’s solar with trepidation. It had been many a year since their paths had crossed and she had mixed feelings about their reunion. ’Twas not because she was afraid of him or what she had heard about his reputation over the years as the Devil’s Dragon. Nay… such was not the case. She was just uncertain as to where her life would lead her now that he was her only relation.

She knew most of what was said about Dristan of Berwyck was a falsehood. Rumor’s had reached her as far as France about her cousin’s ruthlessness upon the battlefield. But she was certain his skill with a sword was how he had become a champion knight for King Henry II. Surely he would find a place within his household for her. She hated the thought of having to join a nunnery.

The solar door swung open and he filled the space with his presence. Coira had forgotten what an impressive sight Dristan was but the welcoming smile upon his face set most of her fears to rest.

“Cousin,” he said opening his arms. “’Tis been far too long since our paths have crossed.”


She went to him and was enfolded into a fierce hug. “My Lord Dristan,” she murmured. “’Tis good to see you. Thank you for receiving me.”

“You can cease with any of that title business, Coira. We are family. As such, we need no formalities between us.”

“How are your mother and father?” she asked, wishing her own parents yet lived. He took her hand and ushered her to a seat by the fire.

“They are well, the last I heard from them.” He went to pour them a goblet of wine and Coira had the distinct feeling he did not wish to have speech about his parents.

“I pray you do not mind that I am here.”

“Mind? Why ever would I mind?”

Coira sipped her goblet whilst she watched her cousin take a seat across from her. “Your poor relation comes to beg lodging from her rich cousin does not bother you? Generally this does not sit well with most people.”

“You are hardly poor and I am not like most people. If you would take a moment to recall, I sent Morgan to find you. Hence you are welcome here.”

“You are too kind, Dristan,” she whispered in relief taking another sip of her wine…

“We will find you a suitable husband.”

… and coughed on the liquid as it began to choke her. “A husband?”

“Aye! I have several noblemen in mind that would be more than adequate to provide a good enough life for you. I will ensure none who press their suit is anything less than a knight,” he said with a satisfied smile.

Adequate? Dristan I–”

“No need to thank me. I shall see to all the details and send runners to those who I think will make a good match.” He drained his wine, stood, and came over to her side. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss upon her cheek. “’Tis good to see you, Coira. Relax whilst we have a room prepared for you and I will see you later at the evening meal.”

Dristan left just as quickly as he arrived whilst Coira sat there stunned. She had a notion a nunnery was looking more appealing than a life spent with some unknown man who would only make an adequate husband.


This is an original piece by Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing that gives you a behind the scene look into The Piper’s Lady which can be found in the Belles’ 2017 anthology, Never Too Late.

Blurb:

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

Lady Coira Easton spent her youth traveling with her grandfather. Now well past the age men prefer when they choose a wife, she has resigned herself to remain a maiden. But everything changes once she arrives at Berwyck Castle. She cannot resist a dashing knight who runs to her rescue, but would he give her a second look?

Garrick of Clan MacLaren can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but as the clan’s piper they would rather he play his instruments to entertain them—or lead them into battle—than to fight with a sword upon the lists. Only when he sees a lady across the training field and his heart sings for the first time does he begin to wish to be something he is not.

Will a simple misunderstanding between them threaten what they have found in one another or will they at last let love into their hearts?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  | Barnes & Noble   | iBooks  |  Kobo | Smashwords

Amazon AU  |  Amazon BR  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon DE  |  Amazon ES  |  Amazon FR  |  Amazon IN  |  Amazon IT  |  Amazon JP  | Amazon MX  |  Amazon NL  |  Amazon UK

Bio:

Sherry Ewing 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 all with a happily ever after ending. An Information Technology Specialist by day, she enjoys writing romance novels to awaken the soul one heart at a time at night. You can learn more about Sherry and her work on the tab above or on these social media outlets:

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Why Harry Went to War

Ottawa, September 1914

William Wheatly glared at his only son through a haze of smoke. He struggled to keep from covering his nose and mouth, assaulted by the stench of stale beer and unwashed bodies. During the interminable train ride from Calgary to the capital Will envisioned their confrontation, but he never imagined he would find him puking in a third rate tavern. He came to confront failing grades, not drunkenness.

He took two steps forward, rage washing through him. The whelp had no idea the sacrifices it took to send him to university. The whole family did without, made do, and reused just to pin their hopes on Harry, a slacker who obviously had more hair than sense.

“What the Hell do you think you are doing?” He roared at his son. The boy lifted his head, gave a wobbly smile and planted his face on the filthy table.

“Mr. Wheatly! Harry wasn’t expecting you.”

Will shot a furious glance at the speaker, a boy he vaguely remembered from Harry’s visit home the previous summer. “Obviously not,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “I can see why he’s failing at least.”

WWIThe boy—he thought his name was Brodie, but couldn’t remember clearly—sat up straight. “No sir! Harry is no drunkerd. At least it isn’t—I mean…”

“What exactly do you mean, Mr.—Brodie, is it?”

“Yes sir, Angus Brodie. Harry’s ever a good fellow. Don’t drink—well beyond the occasional pint, it’s just Miss Albright, you see.”

“Albright? Who the Hell is she?”

Brodie registered shock. “Everyone knows Elsbeth Albright!”

wwi“The chit in the papers? The one that is marrying the Governor General’s nephew? What does she have to do with my son?” Will demanded.

“Led him on. Harry thought—he may be a damned fool, but she flirted with him all winter and he believed—that is…”

A kind of peace came over Will. Better a fool over a woman than over a bottle of rum, he thought. Harry isn’t the first boy whose first love broke his heart. “Well, that’s over then,” he murmured.

‘Yes, Sir, though between us, I don’t think it ever really started except in Harry’s mind.

Will nodded. “Help me get him out of here Brodie, there’s a good man.”

“To his rooms, then?”

Will thought about that. If they took him to his rooms he’d have to leave him there. “No,” he said at last. “To the Chateau Laurier.”

Brodie’s eyes widened at that but he didn’t argue. He pulled Harry up with remarkable gentleness and put an arm around his shoulders.

###

wwiHarry awoke with a sick stomach and a head full of carpenters pounding hammers in his brain. Why did I wake at all? He wondered. A voice, calling his name, sounded far away. It was a man’s voice, not Elsbeth’s. At the thought of her he squeezed his eyes shut. He didn’t want to wake up ever again.

“Harry, damn it, wake up! It’s almost noon.”

There it was again. He opened one eye and then the other on the last sight he hoped to see. His father scowled down at him.

An hour, a bath, and two cups of coffee later he stared back at his father in sullen silence, He had stopped listening to the lecture an hour before.

“Don’t be a damned fool. A woman like that never planned to take you seriously. She used you to practice her games and snares.”

Harry surged to his feet. “You don’t know her,” he shouted. “It wasn’t her. It was that damned father of hers. Wants to cozy up to the Governor General. Thinks the rest of us are dirt under his feet. Elsbeth isn’t like him.” Harry wished he believed it a bit more strongly. He very much feared his father may be right.

“We didn’t send you here to chase women. How are you going to get into law school?”

“I don’t want to be lawyer!” Harry snapped.

“What do you plan to do with yourself? Be the best educated farmer in Saskatchewan?”
“I want to be a writer. You don’t need university for that. Elsbeth said—”
“Don’t mention that woman’s name to me again. Bad enough she’s queening it all over Ottawa.”

Harry turned on his heel.

“Where are you going?” his father demanded when he strode toward the door.

“I don’t know. Anywhere but here.”

###

wwiIt was long past dark when Harry returned, sober, safe, and unsmiling. Relief so strong he couldn’t even be angry flooded Will. Visions of Harry flinging himself into the Rideau locks had haunted him all afternoon.

“Harry, thank God. Where have you been?”

“I enlisted.” Harry raised his chin and glared at his father, daring him to criticize.

Ice froze Will’s heart. Canada had technically been at war since August when Britain entered the war, but little war frenzy had reached Saskatchewan. Here in the capital, however he had seen posters, and newspapers. He’d heard the beligerant language in the hotel lobby. “Enlisted,” he gasped, hoping he had misheard.

“Borden is calling for an expeditionary force to fight the Kaiser. I’m going to do my bit.” The boy’s chin rose a bit higher. “Don’t try to argue me out of it. I signed. There is no going back. We report to Valcartier for training in three weeks.”

Three weeks? Will’s heart sank. “You damned fool. If you’re determined to throw your life away over some chit who never was worth a Yankee dollar, go ahead. But before you go you better go home and say good-bye to your mother and grandmother.”

Harry turned green. “But I—”

“You owe them that much. It isn’t as if you have any university career to resurrect.”

Harry opened his mouth to object and closed it. His eyes held a world of sadness that cut his father to the quick. He nodded then. “I’ll go. But you can’t stop me. I’m going to fight.”

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About the Book

Never Too Late: Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday Anthology. It’s never too late for love!

Links to Various Retailers

About Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

After two years at the mercy of the Canadian Expeditionary force and the German war machine, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images of darkness. When he encounters color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form a widow and her little son, hope ensnares him.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband left her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation when he died. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

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