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Author: Bluestocking Belles Page 1 of 18

Are Runaway Brides in the Spirit of Xmas?

Honoured Sir

I write as a concerned member of the public. This recent rash of BRIDES who refuse to do their duty to their FAMILY must be stopped.

Sir, I protest the latest offering from the Bluestocking Belles, this CABAL of females who publish FICTIONAL ACCOUNTS that encourage women to think for themselves.

As if any female has the BRAIN, sir, to know better than her FAMILY about how to choose a husband to protect and care for her.

In their latest book, the Bluestocking Belles offer stories of brides who RUN from excellent matches. The first has a maiden who is upset to find that a young man is marrying her for her dowry and her pedigree. This, young woman, if the WAY of the WORLD. It is not an excuse to flee your responsibilities.

In the second, likewise, the young woman rejects the excellent match her FATHER made for her on the specious grounds that the chosen man has firm ideas about controlling her behaviour. Clearly a case of spare the ROD and spoil the CHILD.

The third story has a commoner who refuses to marry at the behest of her AUNT, even though the COUSIN the aunt choses is a man with a TITLE, and therefore better than such a female might hope to expect.

In the fourth, a girl whose birth is questionable runs from an earl offering, or so she thinks, a liaison that is NOT respectable. What else does such a female expect?

Two more short stories complete the set, on the same scandalous theme.

I wish, sir, to express the most serious of objections to this collection.

***

If you want to know more about these brides and the grooms they choose, buy Holiday Escapes, released tomorrow. More information and buy links here.

Mistletoe and Cold Feet

Tender Readers,

The Teatime Tattler office has bombarded with reports of brides developing cold feet and late nerves, calling off, slipping off, and even running off.

We understand that naval Lieutenant Redepenning—yes one of those Redepennings—has chased after the admiral’s daughter pulling her out of scrapes since she was a nipper. Still, one didn’t expect a young man of his standing to pursue the young lady across half of England only to end up at her aunt’s in Oxford. We understand there was gingerbread involved somehow but the details are sketchy.

As to Lady Julia Tate, the world can guess that Oliver Stanton pursues the woman  for her money. Still, we heard she’d accepted him, and that the marriage would take place. But now she’s gone, and no one knows where. Fantastically, we heard she fled to the Americans, or to the antipodes, or even—we laugh to contemplate it—the future. Wherever she is, it appears Stanton has gone after her. Should we wish a fortune hunter well or no?

The Earl of Chadbourn spent this season rusticating near Wheatton in Wiltshire. Rumors from there are that a local squire’s daughter caught his eye, but she played coy. One hears there are family secrets in his sister’s household. Can they have driven the chit away?

Even vicars’ daughters are not immune, as Mr. Templeton, he that has the holding in Edington, discovered to his distress. His Margaret seemed likely to marry Captain Morledge, an perfectly respectable union, until Viscount Beacham appeared on the scene. Could a man of his standing be serious? Whatever the case, she went missing.  One can only shake one’s head.

About the Book

Holidays, relatives, pressure to marry—sometimes it is all too much. Is it any wonder a woman may need to escape? The heroines in this collection of stories aren’t afraid to take matters into their own hands when they’ve had enough.

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis

On the eve of her wedding, Julia needs to take a moment to consider what she is doing, and where better than 100 years in the past? Unfortunately, Oliver finds a way to chase her through time.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing

Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved at her second-best bridegroom’s Christmas party. 

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight

Travelling with her father’s fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield

With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain? 

These stories are republished here at 20% of the cost of collecting them all from each individual author

Two bonus short stories round out the collection.

Buy here!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3lQYfU8

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3nVfy8l

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Angus & Robertson: https://bit.ly/3k6s3vC

Attractions in Portsmouth

October 1820

Your correspondent is pleased to reveal Lady Lydia Howick has returned to Town after a series of trips to Portsmouth to help her oldest friend, Mrs. Arnaud Bellingham, neé Sophia Brancelli, settle into the couple’s temporary honeymoon cottage.

Captain B will return to his West African Preventative Squadron within the month aboard his prize ship, HMS Black Condor, once repairs are complete. Sadly, we regret to report, without his longtime surgeon, Dr. Cullen MacCloud.

Lady Lydia confided, in her delightful, non-stop chatter, that the charming doctor, a long-confirmed bachelor, succumbed unexpectedly to the wedded state in a whirlwind courtship followed by late-night nuptials in Portsmouth.

He exchanged vows with Miss Willa Morton, daughter of the late Dr. Andrew Morton, former surgeon aboard the Arethusa whom Dr. MacCloud recently replaced. His new wife will accompany him on the ship’s mission to patrol off Napoleon’s prison island of St. Helena for the next two years.

Lady Lydia was agog at the idea that Mrs. MacCloud will be working side by side with her husband to care for the three-hundred men of the forty-gun frigate’s crew. And she is intrigued to note the surgeon’s wife has managed to accumulate as much medical knowledge as her brother, even though being left back in Edinburgh while her father and sibling sailed the world with the Royal Navy.

Your faithful scribe suspects some sort of havey-cavey circumstances in that the aforementioned MacCloud-Morton nuptials occurred directly after the unexplained disappearance of Miss Morton’s brother, William, from his physician’s assistant duties aboard the Arethusa.

This correspondent also would be remiss not to question all the time Lady Lydia has lately spent in Portsmouth assisting the Bellinghams. One can only suspect what naval attractions might hold her interest for so long away from Howick House on St. James Square. There have been reports of sightings during the Season of said lady in the company of a gentleman wearing the bright red jacket of a Royal Marine officer.

One might worry at what Lady Lydia’s father, Lord Howick, thinks of her long sojourns in Portsmouth. However, we have it on good authority he has been preoccupied with the sad business in the House of Lords over the summer. And then there are the whispers about his preoccupation with the willowy, tall Titania acclaimed in the recent production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Covent Garden.

About the Book

Willa Morton has lived the last ten years of her life as “Wills,” physician’s assistant to her Royal Navy surgeon father. Their subterfuge works well until he collapses and dies of a heart attack.
Dr. Cullen MacCloud resents his latest posting, away from his friends on the African Squadron. Wills, the deceased surgeon’s son, is a sullen sprout, but Cullen’s stuck with him. Since the posting is temporary, what could go wrong? 
What if these two have more in common than they think? Will a thin blanket hung across the middle of a tiny cabin be enough to protect against the desire smoldering between them?

In “Pride of Duty,” live today, follow the further adventures of the dashing Men of the African Squadron and the daring women who love them. Available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/37wptLS

And today is the last day to still get the first entry in the series, “Pride of Honor,” for FREE on Amazon, here: https://amzn.to/31vU1cI

Excerpt from Pride of Duty

50º47’56.36”N, 1º5’28.5”W

Portsmouth, England, August 1820

Dr. Cullen MacCloud tipped back the too-dainty chair in the small Portsmouth tea shop and threw a stern look at the sullen young man across from him. He hated having to make do with furniture not built to accommodate his broad shoulders and bulk.

He pushed his feet flat onto the floor and leaned forward to better intimidate William Morton, the most impertinent excuse for a physician’s assistant he’d ever encountered. He could not for the life of him fathom why his predecessor, the recently deceased ship’s surgeon, had importuned the captain to make sure (in writing) the young man would be able to continue to work alongside him in the ship’s surgery.

Cullen had hoped getting away from the ship to a different setting might soften the slight young man’s demeanor. Instead, the damned cod lifted his chin, still belligerent, as if he could challenge Cullen’s words.

Christ, but he’d had a hell of a week. First he’d had a hopeless argument with his father. The bastard had used his court influence to get Cullen assigned away from his former Captain Arnaud Bellingham to the current posting. Arnaud was still awaiting final overhaul and crewing of his prize ship, the Black Condor, to return to the West African Squadron, and had moved to Portsmouth with his new wife, Sophie.

Cullen had hoped until the very last moment he could somehow thwart his father’s ambitions, but he’d lost the battle. No one in the Royal Navy fought the Admiralty once a decision had been made. He’d been aboard the HMS Arethusafor a full week, and sharing quarters with the former surgeon’s peevish offspring.

He’d been pleasantly surprised at how well organized and kept the surgery had been on his arrival. Most of the time, he and William had inventoried medical supplies. Cullen had gone over Dr. Andrew Morton’s logs for the last two years to get an idea of the state of the health of the officers and crew.

Young Morton had been very thorough in his accounting of the surgery, and helpful in explaining the ship’s shifts and routines. Cullen had not been surprised at the daily line of crewmen seeking medical assistance. When a ship was in port for provisioning, or re-fit, the men tended toward boredom, which in turn produced a steady stream of “ailments.” Once they were back at sea, and in action, the medical complaints would slow to a trickle.

He leaned closer to the argumentative young man. “Why can ye not see the wisdom in leaving the ship to continue yer studies in Edinburgh? Surely yer late father would want ye to follow in his profession.”

“I’ve been trained thoroughly by my father. Why, I know more than most of the second-year students at Edinburgh Medical School.”

Cullen sat up, re-assessing the rude young twig. “Then why not get at least yer first year so ye can set up a proper practice? What’s keeping ye here?”

He couldn’t see the young man’s neck for the voluminous wrapped neckcloth he affected, but he imagined that part of his anatomy burned as brightly as his boyish face. However, something about the long, sooty lashes framing cool gray eyes nagged and buzzed like an obnoxious fly at the back of Cullen’s brain.

“How old are you? Ye’ve not even the beginnings of a beard. Who are you to tell me ye know so much? I’ve been to Edinburgh. I completed my studies there, and I’ve been serving the King’s Navy ever since.”

William snapped his face away from Cullen’s inspection and stood, staring a long time out a window near their table. He turned suddenly, his face still a shade of scarlet. “I can see you resent my presence in the surgery, Dr. MacCloud. I won’t impose upon you any longer. I’m sure one of my father’s associates would be glad to have my assistance.”

With that, he turned on his heel and headed for the door only to be intercepted by the one of the Arethusa’s marines.

Cullen rose from the table at the look on the marine lieutenant’s face.

“Dr. MacCloud, Mr. Morton. We need you. There’s been an accident. Two men were fighting and fell from the tops.”

Cullen turned to hasten out the door in the wake of the marine and was a little surprised to see young William fall in behind without a sound. The boy’s usually dour face transformed into one of concern, and intent. It was only then he realized the insolent cub hadn’t revealed his age. What was he trying to hide?

About the Author

Andrea K. Stein, the daughter of a trucker and an artist, never knew it would take the hard-work ethic of her father to achieve the light-filled magic of her mother’s art. After helping raise a combined family equaling the Brady bunch without Alice, she retired early from a 30-year career as a newspaper and publishing professional and fled to the mountains. She interspersed a seven-year stint as a Colorado ski patroller with nautical adventures as first mate to a crusty, old British delivery captain, accumulating some 20,000 miles at sea. While delivering yachts up and down the Caribbean, she also earned a USCG offshore captain’s license. Now, she tells award-winning tales of the high seas from her writing room in Colorado. She has nine titles self-published on Amazon since 2014.

Andrea can be found at the following online haunts:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorandreakstein

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/highseasromance/_saved/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_andrea_k_stein/

Twitter – @andreakstein

Website: https://www.andreakstein.com

Weeksville Fireworks

Item forwarded from the New York Papers:

Well, if this don’t beat all. Sit here with me and see if you don’t agree.

First having Hero Williams return to our little Brooklyn town of Weeksville, successful and philanthropic, was as pleasant an event as I’ve ever experienced. Not that him having either of those two attributes surprised me. Look how his family braved the perils any former slaves had to face to make a new life in the North. Any child reared with that background has to have gumption. As a boy he was always curious, adventurous and dogged. His teacher always remarked how he was first to come to class and the last to leave. I knew in my soul that boy would go far. And as to being generous, again his family never failed to say thank you, never failed to repay a kindness many times over. Why would he be any different?

That he’s successful and freely shares his blessings with others is no surprise. What is a surprise is our intrepid generous millionaire is in love. And not being too subtle with it either. Imagine asking me to hand Adelaide Hanson a note before the festivities started. He insisted I make her read it too. Lord have mercy the look on her face! She knew what the note’s one-line missive meant. I sure didn’t. 

Of course I’d read it. He didn’t seal it so obviously it wasn’t meant to be kept private – or exclusively private. “Let’s light the fire again” is what it said. I couldn’t make head nor tale of it. Naturally since he makes fireworks I thought it might refer to some display or such. Her expression told me otherwise. Whatever fire that note referred too has nothing to do with fireworks. No siree. I’ve been watching the looks they’ve been exchanging since she read it. 

I know longing when I see it. I’ve married enough couples to know when it’s present and when it isn’t. Adelaide’s been courted by Oscar Thompson for almost a year now and I’ve never seen that kind of light in her eyes or his. But when she looks at Hero and he looks at her, it’s there. A fire has been lit again. The fire of love. True love.

But how’s it all going to end up? Hero left Adelaide two years ago with a ruined her reputation until Dr. Shannon’s examination proved her virtue was still intact. Not that that made any difference to Oscar’s mother. No one’s good enough for Emmaline Thompson’s son, least of all an orphan charity case, no matter how talented, hard-working and Christian. 

I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out. Oscar’s got the respectability and the stability Adelaide’s always wanted, but I don’t know. More than Roman candles are lighting up this Fourth of July. If I were a betting man – and being a minister I most certainly am not – I’d put my money on Hero.

About the Book

One night in 1896 Adelaide Hanson and Hero Williams shared their hopes and dreams. She to be an artist like Edmonia Lewis. He to amass great wealth. Hero went off to start a fireworks business. Adelaide remained in Weeksville hampered by a ruined reputation until a doctor’s examination proved her still a virgin. Two years later Hero, now a self-made millionaire, returns to share his wealth with the community that sheltered his family from the violence of the Post-Reconstruction South. He has also returned hoping to ask Adelaide for her hand. She, however, is anticipating a marriage proposal from the son of one of the Black community’s most prominent families, despite his mother’s disapproval. Hero begs for a chance to change Adelaide’s mind. Although still in love with him, she is unwilling to risk her heart or face societal opprobrium again. Then Hero makes an offer he hopes she won’t refuse: a chance to revive what they shared two years ago by viewing a private fireworks display designed especially to light the fire between them again.

Light the Fire Again is one of seven steamy fireworks-featuring romances in the Fireworks anthology, proceeds from which will go to ProLiteracy, an adult literacy organization. So enjoy some great sex while supporting a great cause.

Buy it here: https://amzn.to/3ktzVH8

Excerpt:

Red and white checkered tablecloths fluttered gently in the warm July breeze. Summer sunlight glinted off glass pitchers brimming with iced tea, lemonade and water. The event attendees had filtered out of the hall and were lining up at the collation tables. Everyone grinned and smacked their lips as the delicious scents of collards, cornbread and fresh baked biscuits, sweet potatoes, and chicken, both baked and fried, filled the air.

Adelaide’s stomach growled. She pressed a fist against her gut to quiet it. She hadn’t had breakfast and regretted offering to help serve.

“Hurry up Adelaide,” Emmaline Thompson barked. “Set those platters beside the others, go back for the last tray then be ready to serve.”

Adelaide bristled, tempted to deliver a tongue lashing of her own but kept silent and complied.

Reverend Johnson, Hero and several clergy and civic leaders headed for a white linen-covered table decked with red, white and blue ribbons set aside for the guest of honor.

Hero glanced her way, catching her eye. He smiled. Not a broad enjoy-your-day smile, but a narrow I-remember-you grin.

She remembered him too.

Her stomach growled again, this time from a different hunger.

She speared chicken on to plate after plate, forcing a smile with every “You’re welcome” she said to each guest served. The letter in her pocket gave her no reason to smile.

Reverend Johnson had given her the envelope in his office. She recognized Hero’s handwriting immediately. If Reverend Johnson hadn’t been present she’d have ripped it up. She’d shoved it in her pocket, planning to do just that when the minister asked her to please open it then and there.

The envelope contained two pieces of paper: one an article from the Brooklyn Eagle announcing the reason for Hero’s return to Weeksville. His family, known for their generosity to causes dedicated to uplifting the Negro race, had several monetary gifts for their former neighborhood. The reporter recounted the family’s harrowing escape from the South then chronicled their rise to wealth. Their most recent success was attributed to the series of fireworks Hero had designed over the last two years. The article ended by quoting Hero.

“Yes, God has blessed us with success, but I’ll be forever grateful to a muse who inspired me late one August night.”

Adelaide re-read the quote several times. Just seeing the words “August night” set her sex pulsing. She laid the article aside and read the second piece of paper. A hot fist of awakening curled low in her belly as she mouthed its simple words.

Let’s light the fire again.

About the Author

Michal Scott is the erotic romance pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, a retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. Inspired by the love mystics of Begijn, Audre Lourde and Bell Hooks, Rev. Anna writes erotica and erotic romance with a faith arc, hoping to build a bridge between the sacred and secular, spirituality and sexuality, erotica and Christ, you and a well-written spiritually-stimulating and erotically-arousing story. She uses story settings to give insight into the African American experience in the US. Besides erotic romance, she writes inspirational and sweet romance as Anna Taylor and gothic romance and women’s fiction as Anna M. Taylor. Sign up for Michal’s newsletter so she can keep in touch with you: https://mailchi.mp/106e6b05cdfe/michal-scotts-newsletter

Has the Runaway Bride Returned?

Imagine our surprise, dear reader, at what we saw today on the corner of Milsem and Bond Streets. A certain runaway bride, six months gone from London.

You may remember the scandal we wrote about six months ago; a nobody of a chit, Miss F., who trapped Lord B., the handsome and mysterious earl, into marriage. She was discovered in his bed. Drugged and placed there by her wicked uncle, the earl said. Said we, pull the other one, my lord.

Whoever came up with the ruse, they were wed within days, and a week later the new Lady B. disappeared, run away with a sailor.

Lord B. retired from Society immediately after. Does he know she has returned? And what will he do when he finds out?

‘A Gentleman Honors His Word’ is a bonus short story in the new box set by the Bluestocking Belles, coming out on 15 November. In Holiday Escapes, four runaway brides who first saw their stories told in the Bluestocking Belles’ first box set, long out of publication, are brought together again.

Holidays, relatives, pressure to marry—sometimes it is all too much. Is it any wonder a woman may need to escape? The heroines in this collection of stories aren’t afraid to take matters into their own hands when they’ve had enough.

Holiday Escapes

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis On the eve of her wedding, Julia needs to take a moment to consider what she is doing, and where better than 100 years in the past? Unfortunately, Oliver finds a way to chase her through time.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved at her second-best bridegroom’s Christmas party. 

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight Travelling with her father’s fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain? 

These stories are republished here at 20% of the cost of collecting them all from each individual author

But wait, there’s more

Two bonus short stories round out the collection.

The Fugitive Fiancée

What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.

A Gentleman Honors His Word

Dickon marries Letty to save her, but she flees him a week after the wedding, and runs off with a sailor. Now he has until their ship reaches London to give her a good reason to come home.

Order now

Order now from Amazon. Other links coming.

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