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Duke Buys Widow

This morning the Teatime Tattler received reports that the Duke of Ravensmere—in an unusual gesture—outbid a salacious rogue for the lunch basket of Lady Samantha Winston, a merry widow, who has captured his interest and his pocketbook for the outrageous sum of one thousand pounds. One gathers it was all for a good cause, but one has to wonder what other plans the noble duke has for this lady? Follow this column for more information tomorrow. Tonight they attend the fancy dress ball where under our reporter will reveal all that transpires under his curious eyes. Is it possible the duke is smitten with the beautiful green-eyed copper-haired lady?

A Later Update:

DukeYour reporter fears that Lady Samantha Winston gazed over the Duke of Ravensmere’s shoulder and caught sight of said reporter leaning against a tree scribbling on my small pad of parchment. She was heard to whisper to a friend,  “Who was he and was he a friend or enemy? If a foe, what evil intent did he have? And who was the victim?”  Forced to move away, I gave up. What indeed happened at the so-called charitable auction? And what will be the outcome?

An excerpt from ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE

Her attention returned to the Reverend Carlson who stepped to the podium and announced the auction of ladies lunch baskets would begin for the Winston School Foundation’s charitable event. The Reverend read the individual menus and managed to make each sound like a gastronomical feast. One hundred pounds would not be an uncommon sum to be offered and accepted. When it came to Lady Samantha’s turn, she twirled a curl around her finger perhaps to calm her uneasiness.

The Reverend pounded his gavel again and asked for the first bid. Sir Roger Dudley, a well-known libertine, offered one hundred pounds. A silence thundered through the crowd. To the Raven, the Duke of Ravensmere, it appeared a moment of uncertainty crossed Samantha’s sweet face. Their conversation about rakes and disreputable men came to his mind. Her worst fears were now at her doorstep. He gazed upon hands that clutched the handle of her basket with whitened knuckles. Raven took note of this and perceived Samantha as vulnerable. An impossible urge to protect her came over him. She’d placed herself in this position. Damnation.

Anyone who looked as she did in that dress should expect men to offer for her and the picnic lunch. Beautiful and seductive, mere words would be insufficient to compliment her….

Samantha’s wide eyes seemingly implored Raven to help. How could he not come to her rescue?

He raised his walking stick and caught the attention of the minister. He spoke out with deep clarity, “And five pounds, Reverend.”

Lord Dudley peered at the bidder, nodded, and raised his sum to two hundred pounds.

Raven lifted his walking stick. “And five pounds, Reverend.”

Lord Dudley appeared amused and raised the bid to three hundred pounds.

Raven raised his walking stick. “And five pounds, Reverend.” The guests stopped their conversations to watch how the challenge would end.

Lord Dudley raised the bid to five hundred pounds.

The audience gasped at the extravagant sum.

Raven nodded. He stole a glance at Samantha, enjoying the experience. He raised his hand, and silence befell the group.

The Reverend asked, “And five pounds, Your Grace?” with a chuckle.

“No, good Reverend,” answered Raven. He engaged Samantha’s eyes. Her expression was one of blatant terror as her hand lay at her throat. He bestowed a knowing smile to calm her.

The auction appeared over and dreaded silence followed. The Reverend set about to announce the winner until Raven spoke in a resonant tone with the utmost alacrity, “I bid one thousand pounds.”

The hushed assembly looked almost in unison to Lord Dudley, who laughed. “Enough of this

amusement. No damn lunch is worth that kind of money,” he grumbled and walked toward the duke. “I capitulate, Your Grace. Good sport, don’t you think?”

Raven rose from the chair, handed the appropriate bank voucher to the Reverend, and stepped lively to Samantha and her picnic basket. “Shall we?” He extended his arm. Samantha clung to his left arm, and he became cognizant of her quaking. He took her expensive picnic basket in his right hand. “Stay calm. I’m here and you are under my protection. No harm will befall you.” Raven escorted her to a secluded table, which he had prearranged, and his name appeared on a place marker. It adhered to propriety while offering privacy.

“You did want me to offer, didn’t you?” Raven shook his head and grinned since he now admitted he had every intention of offering for her costly basket. He much wanted to be with the enchantress. Samantha enriched his life in ways he dared not imagine. He couldn’t remember a day he enjoyed more and looked forward to the evening.

Samantha flushed and said in a cool utterance,

“Thank you, Your Grace. You’ve saved me from a horrible fate and I am grateful.”

She lifted the lid of the basket, but he grasped her gloved hand with superb gentleness.

“Allow me. I can’t remember when I have enjoyed the outlay of so much money before. Of a

certain, there are no dull moments when you’re around. I do believe you are a sorceress. I couldn’t allow Lord Dudley to attempt to compromise you in any way.” To protect her at all costs became a necessity to him.

“As you have stated, it’s for a cherished cause, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Your Grace. Congratulations. However, I would remind you, I cannot be purchased with such ease.”

“Perish the thought. I’m well aware of the fact. I bid for a few hours of your time. Don’t read anything into my actions and let it discomfit you. If lunch with me is so distasteful, I am prepared to leave you alone.” He realized he was a bit curt, but it appeared with her, the conversation always held a challenge. Raven rose from the chair…

The gentle hand that restrained him relieved Raven. Samantha removed her gloves and placed them in her reticule. “I fear you might have misunderstood me,” she said with a sly smile. “I’m happy to be with such a handsome man at this event. Because of you, its success has exceeded any expectations. There will be sufficient funds for the school. I owe you a debt of gratitude.”

He made sure to use a soft tone of voice. “For a few hours, can we cease the verbal barbs and enjoy this repast?”

“Is it your intent to call a truce, Raven? We will be the talk of the ton. Harbinger tongues will wag and link our names together. I hope that doesn’t distress you.” She paused and gifted him a smile. “I want to enjoy this special moment with you and gaze into your amazing dark gray eyes. Yes, I would like a truce.” Her reached out to his.

About the Book: ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE

dukeWhen a spirited woman disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, passions ignite and planets collide.

   Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

   Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

   Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?

   Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Wild Rose Press  and order direct any of the five books.

About the Author, SANDRA MASTERS

From a humble beginning in Newark, NJ, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ, to the boardrooms of NYC, and a fantastic career for a broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, I have always traveled with pen and notebook. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. I’ve traded boardrooms for ballrooms, left my corporate world behind and never looked back. It was nothing I expected, but everything I dreamed. My current occupation is Living The Dream.

I am a storyteller. Gather round me, sip some chocolate cocoa, and allow me to transport you to where you never been. I have more yesterdays than tomorrows. I am a woman who has known many things content to look through a lens of make-believe to bring you romance.

WEBSITE

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

The Duke of Danby is at it again!

If our readers don’t know about the Duke of Danby, the Teatime Tattler is happy to enlighten you.

It all started during the Christmas of 1812, when he decided to be more proactive (read: interfering) in the lives of his grandchildren. In his opinion, the lot of them were not doing their duty and his patience had grown thin. Thus, His Grace summoned each of his grandchildren from near and far, to attend him at Christmas in Yorkshire. His gift that year? A Special License for each one of them, though some did avoid the parson’s noose during the holiday. Still, Danby managed to marry off ten of his grandchildren within a fortnight, which is rather impressive, if you ask me.

After that, the duke quieted a bit, interfering only on occasion until last Christmas, when he turned his attention to his great-nephews and nieces with a whole new set of Special Licenses and matchmaking schemes. Once again, His Grace was quite successful in seeing a number of them settled.

Those who survived without being leg-shackled breathed a sigh of relief as Twelfth Night came to a close and began making plans to enjoy the coming season, assuming Danby would leave them in peace until the following holiday.

One should never assume anything where the Duke of Danby is concerned.

As luck would have it, Danby is NOT saving his matchmaking for Christmas and fully intends to see several of his great-nieces and nephews married before the season is done.

You can find these new stories in the Regency Romance Collection – the four books of When the Duke Comes to Town with twelve brand new novellas with the scheming and matchmaking of the Duke of Danby.

Evading-2About EVADING THE DUKE

Jane Charles – Ruined By a Lady

There is nothing Samuel Storm wants more than to leave London behind him and return to his plantation in Barbados, until he sees a portrait come to life. At least he’s fairly certain the girl across St. Paul’s is the same one depicted in the scandalous painting he owns back in the Caribbean. But how can he be sure? And why would a lady pose for such a painting?

Lady Jillian Simpson has made many mistakes in her life, but the worst was falling for an artist who took advantage of her trust. She is fairly certain her father has found and destroyed all of the paintings, all but one, at least until she encounters the dashing Mr. Storm and learns another exists. But after everything she’s experienced, how can she ever trust him with her secret or her heart?

Rose Gordon – The Wooing Game

The first meeting for James, Earl of Wynn and Miss Charlotte Cavanaugh was not so spectacular. Come to think of it, neither was the second which led to a hasty marriage followed by three years of speculation as to why the two were never seen in the same room. But that’s all about to change…

When an anonymous letter of admiration—and scandalous invitation—arrives for Charlotte, James realizes this might be his chance to start over, and thus begins The Wooing Game.

Samantha Grace – One Less Lonely Earl

Colin MacBride, Earl of Blackwood, is well aware that only a fool would answer the Duke of Danby’s summons. But with many mouths to feed, poor fields, and a failing flock that might not survive winter, he sets aside a decades’ old feud with his neighbor and calls on him to make a proposition. If Blackwood sheep are allowed to winter on the duke’s land, Colin will share the profits when they are sheared in the spring. Naturally, the duke has a better idea, and it involves a lovely young lady who is dear to his heart. Colin can use the land if he agrees to hire Meredith Halliday to be his niece’s governess, then convince her to quit before the man the duke has chosen to marry her arrives in Yorkshire. Oh, and if Colin would flirt with her a bit to build her confidence, that would be splendid, indeed. Appalled to be labeled a Lothario for hire, Colin storms from the study and straight into the old curmudgeon’s trap—and she is every bit as beautiful and charming as promised.

Thwarting-the-Duke-Generic-2About THWARTING THE DUKE

Ava Stone – Lady Hope’s Dashing Devil

Lady Hope Post has suffered the most rotten luck over the last year. She’s lost the love of her life. Her great-uncle and Machiavellian matchmaker the Duke of Danby has a special license just waiting for her somewhere. And after one tiny little phaeton accident in the park, the most devilish earl attempts to blackmail her over the incident.

Thaddeus Baxter, the Earl of Kilworth has every intention of restoring luster to the earldom he’s inherited from his ne’er-do-well cousin, but when an adventurous lady upends his phaeton in the park, all of Thad’s perfectly respectable plans are tossed out the window. What are the odds he’d cross paths with the same girl who’d nearly brought down his cousin’s earldom in the first place? And what are the odds he’d lose his heart to her as well?

Julie Johnstone – It’s in the Duke’s Kiss

Lady Emmaline Radcliffe always knew she never wanted to marry a man who embraced the rules of Society. But when her mother threatens to secure a suitable match for Emma if she cannot make one on her own, Emma sets out to determine if her girlhood infatuation is the love she’s been looking for. Nathaniel did save her life once, after all. But when she finds herself in the arms of the gentleman’s brother—the serious and proper Duke of Blackbourne—she begins to question all she ever thought she desired.

Lucian, the Duke of Blackbourne, is tired of playing keeper to his irresponsible brother. He vows to quit, but when his brother resolves to seduce the impetuous Lady Emmaline, Lucian knows he must save his foolish brother and the innocent debutante from themselves. Yet his plan to intercede goes awry when he finds himself drawn to the woman who is everything he was positive he didn’t want in a wife.

But his brother won’t give up so easily, and soon Lucian’s well-intentioned plans are revealed. Now to keep Lady Emmaline’s heart he must prove that he’s truly not the stuffy, sneaky duke he seems to be.

Sue London – Her Reluctant Lord

Miss Agatha Chase has more than enough problems simply keeping her household together, with three younger brothers and one aged servant. Now a great-uncle she’s never heard from before has offered to sponsor her for a Season in London. She is far too old for such frivolity, but everyone tells her that you don’t say no to a duke!

Laurence Garner has unexpectedly inherited his brother’s title, Viscount of Rothering. He’s a man of honor, but the tiresome duties of nobility chafe for a man used to the open sea. And now he’s squiring an insipid miss around London as a favor for a friend! If only something exciting would happen.

Outwitting-the-Duke-GenericAbout OUTWITTING THE DUKE 

Deb Marlowe – The Earl’s Hired Bride

Because an unmarried Earl must be in want of a bride . . . Every debutante in the ton wants to be the Countess of Hartford—and mistress of Hartsworth Castle. Never mind that Hart has no interest in marrying just yet, the young ladies hunt him as ruthlessly as a pack of hounds after the elusive fox. What he needs is a hired bride—one who will give him some room to breathe, but is guaranteed to call it off at the end of the Season.

Because a girl with no prospects will do what she must to help her family . . . Miss Emily Spencer must do something. Her mother’s health is failing and the notorious Duke of Danby is growing dangerously close. Why not hide in plain sight and pretend to be the Earl of Hartford’s betrothed? And getting paid for her troubles? It’s just what she needs to make her family comfortable again.

Because love comes when you least expect it . . . Sparks fly when the two put their plan in motion—and deeper emotions grow. But how can they be together when the path they’ve forged only leads to their inevitable break up?

Aileen Fish – His Unsuspecting Heart

Lord Giles Graves would rather spend his evenings in the House of Commons than circulating amongst the ton. Then his grandmother sends him on a fool’s errand requiring him to gain entry into her former home. Now he needs an invitation to call on the new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Minnet.

Miss Tabitha Minnet isn’t particular about titles and income, as long as her future husband is kind, honest and an excellent kisser. The one she’s particularly interested in happens to be the brother-in-law of her dearest friend. Lord Giles is quite the catch!

While pretending to be enamored with Miss Minnet, Giles avoid the poor, innocent young lady his great-uncle Danby has chosen as Giles’ bride. At least that part is going as planned—until Miss Minnet appears to be falling in love.

Giles cannot wait until the Season is over and his life will return to normal.

Lily George – The Captain Takes a Bride

Lord Richard Carew has just returned from his last ocean voyage with more cargo than expected – a fortune to call his own and a child entrusted to his care. Unsure if he should settle down or heed the call of the sea once more, he enlists the help of governess Laura Stephens to raise his young ward. As Laura quietly turns his house into a home and his ward into family, Richard wonders if perhaps his existence as a wandering rake is as appealing as it used to be.

Miss Laura Stephens has nothing to call her own – raised a penniless orphan, she must make her way in the world. Thanks to Captain Carew, she has a roof over her head and some measure of independence – as long as she doesn’t do anything so foolish as to fall in love.

Dismissing-the-Duke-GenericAbout DISMISSING THE DUKE

 Jerrica Knight-Catania – Flirting With Scandal

Esther Whitton has gladly spent the last few months enjoying the quiet calmness of a Yorkshire winter, devouring books and attempting to keep herself from falling for a man she knows she can never have. But when her Great-uncle Danby announces they’re all going to London for the Season, she decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone and follow her heart before it’s given away to another.

Timothy Hargood knows his place is in servitude, and therefore pining after a woman destined to be the wife of a peer is completely pointless. But when she makes the first advances, how can he resist?

Star-crossed from the start, this unlikely pair must try to find a way to be together, even if it means thwarting the all-powerful Duke of Danby to do so.

Claudia Dain – The Husband Hunt

Miss Julia Whitton is in London to find a husband, but only the proper sort of husband, one who has a stellar house with the funds to see to life’s luxurious essentials without strain. She meets a moderately attractive man with a truly superb house on her first day in London. Unfortunately for Julia, Mr. Peter Grant must rent his house on Portman Square to pay off his brother’s gaming debts. Julia and her family move into Peter’s house and to her shock and fascination, Julia finds little notes secreted all over the Portman Square property. Each note reveals a bit more about Peter and Julia, sensible in the extreme, finds herself falling in love with Pete re the Pauper of Portman Square. Should any London Season possibly begin on worse footing?

Olivia Kelly – Look to the Stars

Leonato Blakeley, heir to the earldom of Pennyworth, has no intention of marrying any time soon. He’s got against marriage, unless the term is being paired with his name. His great-uncle, the matchmaking Duke of Danby, has arrived in town, and Leo needs A Plan.

American heiress Miriam Rosenbaum has crossed an ocean to study the stars with the best scientists in the field. Well, perhaps her mother thinks they’re in London to find husbands for the scandalous Madcap Rosenbaum sisters. But Miriam is determined not only to visit the Royal Observatory, but participate in their groundbreaking research.

Together, they might have a chance at accomplishing their goals. But when the Season is over, walling away from each other might be their greatest challenge yet.

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1nFDZWT
B&N – http://bit.ly/1nGKite
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1R4j0c9
iBooks:  Evading – http://apple.co/1ZbgPoS
Thwarting – http://apple.co/1UHoUkB
Outwitting – http://apple.co/1ZbgWkt
Dismissing – http://apple.co/1pzxXZQ

 

Duke’s sister-in-law runs off with dashing rake, pursued by betrothed

gretna (1)

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Greetings to you good sir!  It is I, Miss Fanny Aberthnot, one of your most admiring readers, writing you yet again to report on a scandal most disturbing.  While, like your kind self, I have a true fascination with all things involving the gentry, it is with much distress that I bring this deplorable situation to light.

Sadly, my letter yet again involves his most gracious Duke of Summerton, or rather not him, but his sister-in-law, Miss Beatrice Hawkins.  As I hear it, while she was residing with the duke and his wife, her older sister, the Duchess of Summerton, she became engaged to a merchant gentleman from the north, a Mr. Bainbridge.  It is my understanding that the betrothal was arranged by her distant cousin and former guardian, Sir Alfred Hawkins.

The scandal ensued when she, reportedly under the guidance of the Duke himself, fled the city in a most perilous and suspicious manner with none other than one of London’s most scandalous rogues, Lord Michael Carver, Earl of Bladen.

While news of their where-a-bouts is strictly guarded, it is feared that misfortune has befallen them and that, out of concern for his future bride’s safety, Mr. Bainbridge has set upon their trail to rescue her.  Since he departed London, however, news of Miss Hawkins and the earl has been sparse and there were even reports that their carriage was set upon by thieves.  As a result, it is now believed that Miss Hawkins is traveling with the earl and without a proper chaperone.

As you know, this is most unacceptable for a proper lady.  More than that, a woman who would do so would be considered severely damaged and certainly not welcome in any proper parlors throughout the realm.  The potential for her complete ruination is unfathomable!

As for the earl, Lord Bladen, a widower and no stranger to scandal himself, it is unsure what part he is playing in this drama.   In some parlors, it has been suggested that Miss Hawkins and the earl have long been concealing an “affair de couer” for some time.

It has long been hoped that Lord Bladen would one day cease his rakish behavior and return to proper society.  Among most of the bon ton, he is known for his penchant for dueling and had in fact been doing so under the guise of defending a gentle woman’s honor on several occasions.  This does seem to cut him as a romantic figure.  During his last bout he suffered the loss of his right eye and now sports a devilish black eye patch.  You can imagine how such a dashing figure as he could cause many a young lady to swoon!  (Especially if she were given to such frivolous ideas—of which I assure you, I am not!)

Oh, but if he were but to reform and return to the arms of gentle society, it is certain that he would be welcomed by all. He is an earl, after all, and many gently bred mothers would welcome the former rake into their families should he choose to cast his hat once again into the marriage mart.

Sadly, this is the extent of my knowledge of this scandalous affair at this time.  No one is certain how it will end—will it be with Miss Hawkins married to the man to whom she is betrothed?  Will His Grace, the Duke intervene yet again to prevent the nuptials?   And, what’s to become of Lord Bladen?  Will he somehow intervene in Miss Hawkin’s betrothal? I assure you, as soon as I hear the slightest of hints as to the outcome, I promise, I will be diligent informing you and your readers.

Once again, with kind regards,
Fanny Aberthnot

About A Most Delicate Pursuit

A Most Delicate Pursuit_LaBudA notorious earl and a brokenhearted young lady are running from love . . . until their foolproof scheme backfires in the most decadent way.

Though he’s fiercely loyal to his friends, Michael Carver has managed to avoid romantic entanglements by cultivating a reputation as a rake and a gambler. Believing himself incapable of intimacy, the Earl of Blandon avoids anything more than lighthearted flirtations or trysts with married women—which leaves more than enough time to slip out into the wilderness for a little fishing. All is well until Michael agrees, as a favor, to keep his best friend’s stubborn yet alluring sister-in-law company.

After one failed engagement, Beatrice Hawkins would rather become a spinster than risk her heart again. Her family, however, is relentless when it comes to finding her a suitable match. So when the roguish earl suggests they join forces to feign courtship and throw everyone off their scent, Beatrice only hopes the ton will take the bait. But at the hunting lodge where Michael takes her to escape prying eyes, Beatrice finds herself lured in by the unexpected charms of a man who has so much love to give—even if he doesn’t know it yet.

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About Pamela Labud

PamelaLabudPamela Labud, author of historical, paranormal and fantasy romance fiction, also writes sexy historical western romance stories as Leigh Curtis. She’s been published in book length fiction since 2003. Her first print book, Spirited Away, was published in Kensington’s Zebra line, earned a Double RITA nomination. Since then she has published in both print and electronic formats. You can read more about Pam at: http://www.pamlabud.net, and Leigh at http://www.leighcurtiss.wordpress.com.

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