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

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

I had it from Lady M– herself!

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

“Enter,” I called.

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

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

Never mind, perhaps this one will be suitable.

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

C’est la vie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She nodded. “Yes, My Lady.”

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

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

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

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

“Go on, please,” I said.

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

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

Was there any point opening it?

 

Author’s note:

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

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

Meanwhile, check out my other books on my website!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

About Lizzi

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

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

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

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

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

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

Lizzi loves to connect with her readers!

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

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The Poor Wee Lass!

HighlandsThe Highlands are agog with the news of the impending marriage of Ailsa Cameron to the dreaded Laird Duncan MacLean. Clans MacLean and Cameron have been enemies since St. Columba walked these lands. All know these two clans rather break bones than bread. Now, they are binding together for peace.

And that poor lass, Ailsa Cameron—she is a sweet, tender soul they say. Ailsa the Tender— as she is known—will be no match for Black Duncan MacLean. The Laird is a man who likes to display the heads of his enemies on pikes, not display the type of affection the lasses like. The man doesn’t smile and lives a spartan life few came withstand. Worse, he has vowed to kill any Cameron who steps on MacLean land.

Yet, there may be hope for the bride and her groom…Black Duncan has loved before and had his heart crushed like heather beneath a foot. If Ailsa can somehow reach the heart he has buried then a chance for love and happiness exists.

All fear that Ailsa doesn’t stand a chance.

An excerpt from The Marriage Alliance

Duncan MacLean took stock of the lass. Her curtain of blazing tresses draped down to her hips. She had green eyes. Easy to notice since she gawked at him. Her complexion seemed fair, if not pale with fear. Her fine features exhibited a delicate quality yet a resoluteness radiated from her high cheekbones that should have held the rosy bloom of youth and health. Comely lass…If she closed her gaping mouth.

“She’s puny,” Duncan said to his two trusted commanders, Caelan and Lachlan. These two men had been at his side since he wielded a wooden sword. He valued their judgment, sought their advice and half the time adhered to it, and they guarded his back.

“It’s her inferior bloodline,” Caelan replied.

Duncan agreed. If Cameron men were stunted, it was only proper their women were even smaller than wee. He expected too much from a Cameron Female.

“At least, you’re not wedding the Urquhart lass. What’s her name?” Lachlan asked Caelan while peeking at the Cameron female.

“Nessie,” Caelan grunted.

“Oh aye, the Loch Ness monster,” Lachlan said, with a brief laugh. “At least this one’s a bonnie lass.”

“I do not care about her looks,” Duncan replied, secretly pleased she bore no resemblance to her father.

Lachlan snorted. ‘That’s what every man says until he’s shackled to a beast.”

Caelan smirked and Lachlan puffed his chest with pride.

Duncan blocked out Lachlan. It still dumbfounded Duncan that he was taking a wife and a Cameron no less. MacLeans and Camerons had been enemies since before his birth but that ended with a priest and a vow before the Lord. Warring with the Camerons sounded much more thrilling than standing before a priest and vowing his life to her.

When the red-haired rat offered peace for both clans to war against their common enemy the MacKinnons, his plan shocked Duncan. When Cameron offered marriage to his only daughter, he felt insulted. For some daft reason, he never pulled his broadsword from it scabbard and cleave Cameron in half but instead, he sat and listened. For some reason unfathomable to him even now, he decided to wed the lass.

Duncan smirked. Much as he expected, this puny woman to behave as a Cameron, ready to run, she remained at his side. She must have realized there was no escape or rescue but she kept her head lowered.

He stared at the top of her head, waiting for her to spare him one glance. She had the loveliest hair he had ever seen, streaks of auburns, coppers, golds and bronzes blended to create her silky strands. He only beheld such radiant tones when the sun set over the highlands. In the deep recess of his mind, he was grateful her hair wasn’t the palest of blonde. Hers pleased him.

It was convenient he preferred her waving tresses since he would only see the top of her head from the rest of his days. The woman hadn’t looked past his chin.

That might not be a bad thing. He recognized her fear of him, after all, he was Duncan MacLean, and it was right he be feared. Yet, she risked his displeasure and wrath to state her wants even as her voice trembled but her daring pleased him. How much more spirit she had hidden away? Duncan wanted to seek it out, see her face color from it. Hell, he was enjoying the prospect of having her as his wife.

But she was Cameron.

Forgetting that truth could kill him.

He barely survived the last betrayal.

As he recited the vows, she leaned toward Father Murray. While he pledged his troth, never raising his voice but adding more bite when he heard her hiss, “Must he stand there with his arms crossed as such?”

Father Murray waved her to silence. She shrugged. Duncan smothered his grin. Aye, her spirit pleased him. She wasn’t weak like other Camerons. When he vowed to love and cherish her, she humphed in a high-pitched tone like a mouse trapped in a cat’s mouth.

He was the cat.

About the Book

Her hand in marriage could secure peace and safety for those she longs to protect.

Lady Ailsa Cameron is not the most patient of souls. She has even slept through a few high masses. Still, this gentle lass never did anything wicked enough to deserve her father’s pronouncement that she must wed the dread Black Duncan, Laird of Clan MacLean.

As leader of the Spartans of the North, Duncan MacLean has inspired many a gruesome tale throughout the majestic highlands and beyond. Duncan accepts Laird Cameron’s offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage and pledges to make war against their shared enemy, Clan MacKinnon.

Duncan aches to possess his ravishing bride as passionately as he vows never to lower his defenses again. Love blooms between them nonetheless, until betrayal incites a war. Clan MacLean is in danger as are Ailsa and Duncan – but the thing in most peril is their love.

Can past enemies become lovers at last? Or will the flame in their hearts be consumed by the fires of war?

Pre-order Link for The Marriage Alliance

About the Author

An Air Force brat, Mageela Troche has lived throughout the world then landed in New York City. She wanted to leave the same day she arrived. Yet, with her stubbornness, Mageela learned to like the place and the libraries were the main reason. Since she was a little girl, Mageela wanted to be an author and an actress, however, once in college, she changed her life plan in the pursuit of money. After all, college loans must be repaid.

With life’s twists and turns, she returned to writing and focused on the romance genre. Mageela Troche’s first break came when she sold a short story to a magazine. She sold two more before the publication of her historical romance novel, The Marriage Alliance. She has gone on to write four more novels and a novella.

Mageela is currently writing in the cramped corner of her Big Apple apartment. She is the proud owner of a Black-masked lovebird named Boobula. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found online at MageelaTroche.com

Ian Mackintosh Tells All

Your reporter was fortunate enough to spend a sunny afternoon with a handsome young rogue named Ian Mackintosh. Ian is one of many sons of John chief of Clan Mackintosh. Although it can be said young Ian is a devilishly handsome rogue renowned for ruining more than one young lady’s reputation, it can also be said that he is a man of honor and courage. While men despise him, women love him. A tall, well-muscled and handsome man with big blue eyes and a smile that makes most members of the female sex swoon, it is easy to understand how women are so drawn to him.

Is it true that you fell in love with Rose before she fell in love with you?

I think not. She was in love with me from the beginning. She simply refused to admit it

Is is true, young Mackintosh, that not long after you asked for Rose’s hand, you broke that troth?

To a certain extent, yes, that is true. But when I saw the error of my ways, I immediately sought out Father MacBrodie to rectify the situation.

Was that before or after the sweet young woman took your clothing and left you stranded in the loch?

 I fail to see where that is important. We were married that afternoon.

The readers of our daily paper do find it important. Again, I ask you, was it before or after she took your clothes?

After.

Why did she leave you sans clothing in the loch? Was it because you had broken her heart and had left her to suffer the indignity of being known as another of your conquests?

That most certainly is not true! If anything, I was her conquest. The woman is as stubborn as the day is long.

By Sonja Pieper from Karlsruhe, Germany (Eilean Donan Castle) [CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

By Sonja Pieper from Karlsruhe, Germany (Eilean Donan Castle) [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

But she is such an innocent young woman, a widow and very tiny young woman. How did she do it?

My wife might be a wee slip of a woman, but I challenge you to find anyone who is as determined as she, or as stubborn. I was swimming in the loch after a slight misunderstanding –

That misunderstanding being the breaking your troth?

 Yes. That misunderstanding. I was swimming when she took my clothing. I had to walk all the way back to the keep without so much as a leaf to cover my manhood. I ask you, is that something an innocent young woman would do?

I suppose not. However, Rose tells me that you are quite stubborn and set in your ways.

 I am but a meek and mild pup in comparison to my innocent wife.

Is she more stubborn than you?

I am not stubborn. I’m simply determined.

I think your wife would beg to differ. But on to my next question. Is it also true that you took Father MacBrodie away from giving last rites to Seamus and demanded he marry you and Rose immediately?

No, that is not true! He was done with last rights. Seamus did not mind. He was already dead.

Is it also true that you went to the altar wearing only a plaid and nothing else?

 That is also not true. I had my sword.

ians-rose-genericAbout the Book:
Ian’s Rose: Book One of The Mackintoshes and McLarensThey should never have stolen his wife.Ian Mackintosh and his bride, Rose, return to McLaren Lands to rebuild all that was destroyed by the previous laird. Believing bad times and evil men are behind them, they’ve let their guard down. Ian’s world is turned upside down one cold winter’s night when Rose is kidnapped.Desperate, he is willing to make a deal with the devil himself in order to ensure her safe return. And he may have done just that when he agrees to work with the brother of the man responsible for tearing his world apart.Is there a price too high to save the woman you love?

Ian’s Rose: At iBooksNookKobo, and Amazon.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, storyteller and cheeky wench, SUZAN TISDALE lives in the Midwest with her verra handsome carpenter husband. Her children have all left the nest. Her pets consist of dust bunnies and a dozen poodle-sized groundhogs – all of which run as free and unrestrained as the voices in her head.

You can visit Suzan at her website: http://www.suzantisdale.com

You can visit Suzan at her website: http://www.suzantisdale.com

Get text messages on new releases! Text CheekyWenchUS to 24587

You can find her blog here: yourcheekywench.com

Follow her on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/suzantisdaleromance
Twitter@suzantisdale

 

 

 

 

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