Dear Readers, today we have a most interesting report from one of our regular correspondents: 

As we have all been speculating about the missing Siltsbury heir, who was finally located in an island in the West Indies, I must report a shocking sight a reliable source recently witnessed.  That very heir, who has finally made an appearance in Town, was seen at the Covent Garden market in the company of none other than his housekeeper.

Who would not want to be on the arm of such a dashing rogue. That lustrous hair, that exemplary physique, and those full lips that curve up into a mocking smile are enough to make even a staid matron like myself swoon. But I digress (as I fan myself).

My source said the woman had the audacity to take his arm as they strolled about. Can you believe it? Of course the new Earl of Siltsbury might be accustomed to associating with women who are, shall we say, not of the highest class? It’s said he served on sailing ships and engaged in something called Cornish wrestling, until the family solicitor traced his whereabouts and brought him home.

He has been seen at Jackson’s Boxing Saloon, Tattersalls, and White’s as the guest of Lord Ralston, whose wife is his cousin. But while he is now invited everywhere by those of us whose curiosity must be assuaged, the man has declined to appear in society, dashing hopes of the dozen or so suitable debutantes in search of a rich husband. Did I mention the Siltsbury fortune? Of course, such a topic is not suitable for this esteemed publication. I do beg your pardon.

During his visit to the market he was seen carrying parcels. I am not jesting. No other servant accompanied them and the lady, or I should say female, seemed quite taken with him when they departed in a hired hackney. Not the Siltsbury carriage!

My impeccable source also whispered that the housekeeper seemed vaguely familiar. In fact, she bore a subtle resemblance to the wife of the late Baron Colford who died tragically nearly two years ago.

Oh, I do love a mystery, don’t you? I’m sure all will be revealed before the household removes themselves from town.

Your humble correspondent,

Lady W.

The Reluctant Earl

Gerren Stafford, sailor and Cornish wrestler, ran away to sea when his gentle older brother was taunted and killed in a duel, and vowed never to set foot in his homeland again.  When a stranger informs him he is the new Earl of Siltsbury, Gerren reluctantly returns to England with a hidden purpose, and to assume a role for which he is woefully unprepared.

Then he meets Anna.

Anna Jeffries is a baroness who is keeping her aristocratic connections a secret. She uses  her new position as Siltsbury housekeeper to hide from her late husband’s successor, a man she suspects arranged her husband’s death and is now threatening her with harm if she “dares to spread her vile rumors.”

Drawn together by friendship, loneliness, and hidden emotional wounds, Anna and Gerren find solace in passion. But can they find an enduring love or are there too many secrets and lies between them?




When the wrestling match began Gerren circled his opponent, slightly bent at the waist, his arms hanging loosely at his sides. Then he made his move. He aimed for the legs then picked up the man and slammed him on his back, getting an elbow in his nose for his effort. When the fellow rose, they danced around until a second slam kept his opponent on the floor. It took five minutes, not ten, to be declared the winner. The man signaled his moves and Gerren read them easily.

Wiping away the blood trickling over his mouth and chin with the back of his hand, he concentrated on his next opponent and easily outwitted him. Some nights the matches were more even and despite the rules, he’d had fingers broken and a shoulder dislocated that a sawbones had to wrench back into place.

The last brute was a big ‘un, taking all of his strength as they danced around each other in a gruesome minuet, grappling, grunting, and finally slamming each other to the floor several times. At the end of the hour Gerren had more pins and remained undefeated. When the announcement was made, the crowd went wild. The noise in the crowded room didn’t abate until someone began singing a bawdy song and others joined in.

Gerren slipped away to his personal bucket of water outside the back door where he could clean himself in peace. When he finished wiping the blood from his face, he wasn’t alone.

Shiny boots appeared first, followed by a silver-headed walking stick. Sluicing the last of the water over his head and shoulders, he toweled himself dry and hoped he wouldn’t miss that nice tankard of ale waiting for him down the street.

“Oy, what do you want? If it’s to rebuke me for winning when you bet on the other lads, come back next week and wager on the winner this time.” Gerren set his towel aside and pulled on a clean shirt. “State your business. I have a place I need to be.”

“Are you Gerren Stafford from Falmouth?”

“I am although I make my home here in Kingston for now. Haven’t been back in a dozen years. Why?”

“Is there somewhere we can talk privately.”

Gerren glanced at the darkened alley behind the warehouse. “I guess you can say this is as private as it gets. State your business.”

“Your father was Charles Stafford, younger brother of Mathew Stafford, the late Earl of Siltsbury. Charles predeceased his two older brothers.”

“You been studying my pedigree? Say what you’re here to say and be done with it.”

The man took a packet from an inside pocket of his coat. “Gerren Alexander Stafford, my name is Harold Jenkins. I’m the solicitor for the Siltsbury estate and I’ve been looking for you for more than a year.”

“Out with it, man.” Gerren’s body, even in a win, took a beating and he wanted his ale and a woman’s soft bed and body. He had no patience for a fool on a fool’s errand.

“In November, 1818, Mathew Stafford, sixth Earl of Siltsbury, succumbed to a wasting disease in Baltimore, Maryland. He had no male heir, nor did he have any living brothers. Your deceased grandfather and your father were the only ones with male issues and your uncles, like your father, have all predeceased you.”

“What in bloody hell is this about?”

“Congratulations, my lord. It is my duty and my pleasure to inform you that you are the new Earl of Siltsbury and I’m here to take you home.”

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About the Author

Author of eight books on California history and twenty-two romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who retired with her husband to the Southern Nevada desert. Having spent several years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of Ralph, her Siamese cat. She loves dry red wine, all kinds of chocolate, old Jimmy Buffet sailing songs, and curling up with a good book. You can find her in these places:




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