Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Cerise DeLand Page 1 of 9

A young woman with fire in her speeches tours the country!

Dear Editor Clemmens,

Special from the States. Let me whisper from the near future, some news from across the pond. There is a girl, I have heard, who though plain of face and masculine in stance, is called America’s Sweetheart. Can you imagine? And for what? Because for a little thing of eighteen, she has a voice that carries deep into your heart, or your gut, if you are one to find her stance on slavery and the war unappealing.

Her name is Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, and when she shakes her curlyhead, men do the most amazing things. A protégé of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas, she has invigorated the Northern cause with her sappy speeches about dying soldier boys. Why, believe it or not, the Republican party has hired her to campaign for their candidates in the midterms. 

Imagine such arrogance for her to accept such a task when she does not have the right to vote herself. But she has. 

Of course, those wily men have sent her into the worst of those Copperhead lairs. Places they have no wish to go. And for good reason. Why, not two days ago, she was attacked and some of her curls clipped off by an unruly crowd of coalminers who have no use for this War between the States and forced military service.

I must say, I fear she will be running into difficulty with the woman’s righters if she continues on this path. But for now, she has caught the eye of our dear Susan B. Anthony, whose ardor for a young girl, well on her way to becoming the richest woman in America, will excuse the up-and-coming orator much. 

Though I have the feeling that a blow up is coming from another quarter. That thief in hiding, Julia Pennington, whom Miss Dickinson has taken under her wing, is sure to object to sharing her affections with the grand dame of suffrage.

And then, I too, may have some plans of my own for the young ladies—ones that will see me well-heeled for the rest of my days. And I want you to know that I am not the villain these girls make me out to be. Just doing my job as an investigative reporter.

~Floyd Burns, Reporter for The World

That Dickinson Girl: A Novel of the Civil War

By Joan Koster

BLURB

She’s going to be the greatest orator of the Civil War!

Eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is nothing like the women around her, and she knows it. Gifted with a powerful voice, a razor-sharp wit, and unbounded energy, the diminutive curlyhead sets out to surpass the men of her day as she rails against slavery and pushes for women’s rights. Only two things can bring her downfall—the entangling love she has for her devoted companion, Julia, and an assassin’s bullet. 

Forced to accompany the fiery young orator on her speaking tour of New England, Julia Pennington fights her growing attraction to the ever more popular celebrity. When a traitor sets out to assassinate Anna, Julia must risk her life to save her.

Loosely based on the life of forgotten orator, feminist, and fighter for justice, Anna Dickinson, That Dickinson Girl is the story of one woman’s rise to fame and fortune at the expense of love during the political and social turmoil of the American Civil War.

Available from: 

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BIO of the Author

When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.

An ethnographer, educator, and award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history, and romance into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.

Joan blogs at JoanKoster.com, Women Words and Wisdom, American Civil War Voice, Zara West Romance, and Zara West’s Journal and teaches numerous online writing courses. 

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An older society Dragon does not need a younger lover! Said…no one!

T’is said that a certain older lady who runs the ton is now enamored of a certain young military hero. That cannot be, can it?

I say, I wave my fan at the very idea. How can a lady purport to be one if she encourages a younger man to call upon her in the middle of the night and give her outrageous gifts?

Really! Shameful.

Although I too would really like a fine new pair of horses and a newer phaeton. I say! Wouldn’t you?

LADY, YOU’RE MINE

She’d spent so many years acting like a proper lady, she’d forgotten how to be a woman.

He’s determined to help her remember.

*******

EXCERPT: COPYRIGHT 2022 CERISE DELAND. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“You avoid me,” he told her with a small smile easing his handsome lips. He brought her a glass of cool white wine and settled beside her in a double chair far aft.

They’d been out to sea an hour or more. The day was pleasant, the sea calm, the air balmy.

Not so her heart to have him grace her with his presence.

 Only two others sat near them. Most were fore listening to the Rensfords discuss the construction of the yacht.

“You rattled me the other night,” she admitted freely. “We knew each other too young to be obtuse in our older age.”

He grinned.

“Don’t look so satisfied.” She cast him quelling glance, yet couldn’t help but laugh at his insouciance. 

He took a drink of his wine. “I’m not only pleased you confess I ruffled your fine feathers, but you are still miffed with me.”

“Angry is the word, Magnus.”

He mashed those fabulous lips of his together. “If you say so.”

“I do.” She took a hearty drink of the wine he’d had the good sense to bring her for this conversation.

“I would think my intentions would be a great compliment.” He lifted his glass in the direction of the Countess of Huntington and her friend. “Some would definitely welcome similar statements.”

She snorted. “What they’d welcome would be a proposal to be indiscreet.”

“I could give you that too if it would bring you closer to the prospect of accepting my desire to make an honest woman of you.”

“I am already an honest woman.”

He looked her over with the careful compassionate eyes of a lover. “I know you are, darling.”

She thrilled to his ardent words and fumed at his audacity. “What I mean is—“

“I know what you mean, Cass. You are a widow. Of independent means. With a sterling reputation. Wealth. All the freedom and power of a dragon of the ton. And you have no need of me. Not my title. My money. My name. Or my hand in marriage.”

“Exactly.”

“What you do need is the man I am.”

She opened her mouth to continue to argue…but halted, stumped over that last.

He stared straight into her eyes. “I know about William.”

That took her aback. “He was a good husband.”

He looked off to the horizon, licked his lips then took a sip of his wine. Finally, he faced her. “How good?”

“He was kind.”

“Left you to your own devices.”

“He was considerate.”

“And gave you all the money you needed to furnish the house, throw tea parties, visit your modiste and go south to the sea.”

She emptied her glass. He was right. How he had learned this was beyond her. Gossip, she supposed. Heaven knew, no one was free from it. But when what the ton knew was true, it could wound and make one bleed and want and cry.

She got to her feet. The pitch of the boat did not help and she thrust out a hand to catch hold of her chair. “I must go.”

She managed to get across the deck to head down on the steps to go below. She’d found the ladies’ retiring room there minutes ago, but the first door was that to the map room. There she hoped for privacy. It contained one small desk, two chairs and a round flat table. Small enough to compose herself and wipe her tears.

Except right behind her came Magnus.

“No, no.” She put up her hands to ward him off as he closed the door behind him. “Go back up. Leave me.”

“I did not mean to make you cry.” He shook out a large white handkerchief that he’d extracted from inside his coat.

She grabbed it and dabbed at her cheeks. “Well, you did.”

“I want you to allow me to court you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

He shot backward. “I am many things. Proud, determined. Never that.”

“I apologize. I mean…” She waved the handkerchief. “I am beyond the age of courting. I will look ridiculous.”

“I don’t care. I want you to have it.”

She glared at him as if he had two heads. “Now you are, pardon me, delusional.”

“Never. I want you to have the joy of it. Dancing and flirting. Being treasured and chased.” He took a step toward her and in that tiny room, they stood together, flesh to solid flesh. He put his hands on her shoulders and smiled down at her. “William never gave you any of that. You should have had it, Cass. Young and beautiful as you were, you would have had a host of young men drooling to dance attendance on you. Be your beau, your beloved. But you never had the pleasure.”

“Oh, you can sweet talk among the best of men.”

“Not so sweet was what you did have.”

The truth bit deep. “Papa had no money for his youngest daughter to debut. William knew it, learned it somehow. He saw me. William saw me. At church one Sunday when we were in town and he offered to Papa for me.” 

She remembered the lazy Sunday afternoon her father had called her into his study and he’d told her of her future. A day so much like today, bright and tranquil. “I was sixteen when William decided I was to be his wife. He’d told my father then, but they both waited two years to inform me. Imagine.”

Magnus put his arms around her and drew her against him. His hands stroking her spine, she rested her head on his shoulder as if it were the most natural pose in the world. She felt the rough wool of his uniform and the point of a medal on her cheek, but she welcomed the succor as she had never embraced any before.

“He paid my father to marry me.”

Magnus grunted. “Cass,” he murmured and held her more dearly to him.

“It sounds hideous, primitive. I was bought. Paid for. Papa took the money to pay his debts. I never knew until William told me years later just before he died. He sought redemption, I suppose, or wished to clear his conscience before he drew his last breath. By then, I had cut myself off from my family and I had no one to scream out my misery or my insult. I vowed then no one would ever disparage me so, not ever again. And they haven’t.”

“They respect you,” he said, drawing back to regard her with sympathy.

She huffed. “My due for being a dutiful wife. Yet William was good to me.” She looked up into this man’s starkly handsome face. “He never asked more than that I be a good hostess.”

Magnus caressed her cheek. “For his political ambitions.”

She dropped her gaze to the red of his uniform. “I did it. That was easy. To check menus and make seating charts. To ensure there was always brandy in the crystal and port on the sideboard.”

“And for you, there were all the comforts.”

“Oh yes, every one.”

“But he was not a friend.”

She bit her lower lip.

“Or a companion.”

She shook her head.

He raised her chin and delved into her eyes. “Or a lover.”

She considered the fact that with this man she could be totally honest as she had never been with any other person in her adult life. “I am not a virgin, Magnus.”

“He had you.”

Those were definitely the right words. Simple possession without any emotion. “He did.”

He lowered his face to hers, his lips a breath away. “Did he kiss you?”

“Sometimes.”

Those enchanting blue eyes of his narrowed on her. His lips brushed across hers. “Did he make you want?”

Him? “No.”

“Can I?”

At his words, the world spun and she was giddy with a need she’d known only once before. Forbidden then. But now hunger fueled curiosity and carelessness. She put her mouth near his and whispered, “Let me see.”

The grin he gave her was in his gaze and the rapture erupted in his fierce embrace. His arms around her bending her over the table, he took her down and spread her upon the cool wood. His hands holding hers, he put his lips to hers in the gentlest of claims. A butterfly’s kiss made her sigh. A marauder’s kiss had her gasping.

His kisses became long luxurious explorations, his tongue insistent, probing and thorough. Her hat fell off, the pins pulling her coif with it. But he was ardent, reverent and she cared for nothing but his tender lips and ravenous fingers. 

He bit her earlobe and laughed at her shiver. He licked his way down the column of her throat to her cleavage. She arched in abandon, her desire for more, a compulsion she could not sate. He swept two fingers inside her bodice and pulled at the fabric. She wiggled beneath his heavy weight and rejoiced at the urge to find fulfillment.

But he was no novice at seduction or ladies’ gowns. He had the silk down, his hot mouth upon the hard begging point of her breast. She moved and he gave her what she wanted and shoved the fabric beneath her other heaving breast. With both his hands on her naked flesh, he spread wet lavish kisses from one to the other. 

A knock came at the door.

Fright blasted her bliss.

He grumbled about intrusions as he pulled her upright. “We will have more of this. Soon.”

She and he tugged her gown back to its original position. Her heart hammering, she told herself to be grateful to whomever was on the other side of that portal. Yet the adventurous girl in her—shocking as it was—did not wish to be saved. 

She stared at him as he ran his fingers through her disheveled hair and pulled at her little curls over her ears. 

Then he bent and dusted off her broad-brimmed chip hat, quite crushed. His smile was totally evil as he pushed the thing into her hands. “Here, before you go, don this.”

In the hallway, people conversed. 

“Good god, how many are out there?” she said as she fought with her hair and her hat.

“Whoever it is, we will stare them down and dare them to babble about this.”

Should she laugh or cry? “You have not been in society very long.”

“You have not seen how frightening I can be.” He chucked her under her chin. “Ready now?”

“No! Button your coat.” She righted him as best she could, then tried to get nearer the door so that she did not appear to hide behind it. Even that was silly. She would either look like a young girl compromised alone with a man—or a complete coward. “Now. Do it.”

He nodded and yanked open the door.

“Ladies,” he greeted whomever stood there while Cass figured her future in London now would be selling fish on the docks. 

As if he were in this room merely consulting on navigation of the seas, he gave their intruders a most courtly bow, then ran two meaty hands through his long tousled golden locks. “The cousins, I see. Good of you to find us.” 

Cass nearly fainted with delight that those outside were Adelaide and Laurel.

He paused, threw them a half smile and turned toward Cass. “Breathe, my darling. You’re saved.”

He swung wide the door and the two young ladies to whom she had appeared only as a regimented fire-breathing dragon gaped at her. She could picture the image they saw. Her eyes dreamy. Her cheeks aflame. Her lips swollen from kisses. Her bodice awry and skirts rumpled.

Welles pulled his coat to, then threw her a wink.

Addy and Laurel rushed inside and shut the door. They did not ask her anything nor did they comment on her disarray. They went to work to straighten her gown and pin her hair so that minutes later, the three emerged and rejoined the party on deck.

The Countess of Huntington, that bird of rumor, was—blessedly—nowhere in sight. 

******

LADY, YOU’RE MINE, BOOK 4 in NAUGHTY LADIES

Lady William Downs revels in her reputation as a Society dragon, a Diamond (still!) at her age, too—and a widow of independent means.

Colonel Lord Magnus Augustus Welles is home from the savagery of the wars. Heir to his ailing father the Duke of Ruscombe, Magnus wants a wife. He knows just who that will be. But the lady doth protest far too much.

To woo her is easy.

To win her he’ll persuade her with the best gifts of all—a new phaeton, horses—and, yes, himself. In all the racy ways she’s never enjoyed!

THE AUTHOR, CERISE DELAND

Cerise DeLand is the USA TODAY Bestselling author who has written more than 70 novels in her nearly 4 decade career. Find her on Amazon, Bookbub and her new YOUTUBE CHANNEL, Travels with Cerise!

Scandal in the Ballroom?

Dear Mr Clemens, if you were not present yourself at the splendid ball held in the Hanover Square rooms last night, you may have missed one of the juiciest tidbits of gossip that any worthy correspondent could possibly pass along to you this week. Imagine the sight of two earls’ daughters facing off in the middle of Lady Newsham’s grand event! Yes, society’s darling, the beautiful Lady G. M., approached a relative newcomer to the London social scene, Lady H. deR., and unexpectedly and rather scandalously was treated to an earful by that rather intrepid young lady (who some say is merely hoydenish and quite improper). 

Some expected their exchange to end with fists flying, but I must report it did not come to that, to the disappointment of many, I am sure. What a shocking spectacle that would have been! And the cause of this incident? A man, of course. But you may be astonished to hear that the fellow in question is a commoner, a baronet’s son, Mr. C.H., the very one Lady G. M. threw over last season on account of his being exposed as a fortune hunter! Apparently there is no limit to what trouble a handsome face may cause.  Yours truly, Lady M. in Portman Square

My Dear Lady M: Lacking said anticipated scandalous spectacle of fisticuffs, I must assure you that a heated conversation between two noble ladies in the middle of a ball does NOT constitute one of the “juiciest tidbits of gossip” I have come across, but as the ton has been unusually devoid of greater scandals this week, I thank you for the report! It is entirely too bad that you were not near enough to actually overhear the exchange between the ladies. Now, THAT might have been juicy. But I have now learned on good authority from someone who was close by that Lady G.M. started it with the best intentions of cautioning Lady H. deR. about said gentleman, and that young lady responded with a vigorous defense on his behalf, audaciously calling Lady G. M.’s own actions and beliefs into question. 

Ah, such innocence! It seems both Lady H. deR and the gentleman in question were recently in the wilds of Derbyshire, where they were among the guests attending the nuptials of Lord F. and his bride, Miss T., in the village of Little Macclow. One imagines Lady H. deR. had plenty of opportunity to fall under the spell of said handsome if questionable fellow. We can only wish her well and hope she will not come to regret her actions. —Yours sincerely, Samuel Clemmens, editor, The Teatime Tattler

Her Perfect Gentleman 

(Book Three, Tales of Little Macclow Regency Romance Series)

She is the worst thing that could happen to him. He might be the best thing that could happen to her. How will two hearts on such opposite tracks find their way to true love?

The last thing Christopher Haslitt needs or wants is another involvement with a wealthy, high-ranking, unmarried young lady. He is still trying to repair both his heart and his reputation after last season’s disaster left him branded as a fortune hunter. Five days in Little Macclow for his best friend’s wedding should be only a brief delay on his path to redemption. But he hasn’t counted on spending it with five unmarried daughters of earls, one of whom has her sights set firmly on him!

Lady Honoria deRaymond finds Mr. Haslitt more attractive and charming than any other gentleman of her acquaintance. What’s more, his perfect manners include overlooking her tendency to be impulsive and not always quite proper. She knows the rules; she just has trouble sticking to them. Marriage to a high-ranking peer, as her family expects for her, will mean a highly visible life of constant pressure to conform and behave properly. Could Mr. Haslitt, a baronet’s son, be her means to escape such a fate? Can she possibly win his heart in just five days? When she returns to London, her one chance to forge a different future may be gone.

Sweet with a little sizzle, the Tales of Little Macclow are linked by their shared setting in scenic Derbyshire and recurring characters. They follow a shared chronology and, while best read in order, they are complete stand alone romances with happy endings that will warm your heart.

Little Macclow—a village tucked away and maybe touched by magic…at least the magic of love.

Universal link:  https://books2read.com/u/bwrPAa 

Amazon direct link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BMLQCLSW 

https://www.bookbub.com/books/her-perfect-gentleman-regency-romance-tales-of-little-macclow-small-village-sweet-regency-romances-book-3-by-gail-eastwood 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63623044-her-perfect-gentleman

Excerpt: 

She straightened and stepped towards him. “I should check your arms. It will only take a few moments. We can do it here, right now.”

He scowled. “No, absolutely not. It would be highly improper.”

“Because I am a lady?”

“Yes, of course because you are a lady! And an unmarried one, even worse. I would have to partially disrobe. You should not see a man in his shirt sleeves unless he is your husband!”

“I have already seen you in your shirt sleeves—bloodied ones at that! And I have seen arms before. Must I remind you that I do have a brother?”

“Yes, one who would flay me alive if he were to learn I allowed this to happen.”

“If I see how your scratches are healing I will know if you need to continue to use the salve. I am trying to help you. It is for a medical purpose.”

“This is not an emergency. With Jennie on Wednesday, I felt the situation was.”

“This could become one if you do not heal properly.” She crossed her arms, tapping her foot. “Little Macclow is too small to have a doctor, or even an apothecary. We are in the stillroom, a place where medicines are prepared. We are alone here, and no one will see. We can do it very quickly. You needn’t even remove your waistcoat. You are teetering into the brotherhood of the narrow-minded again!”

“No. I am trying to protect your reputation—and mine. If someone should come along and see—especially given what some are already thinking….” 

The panic in his eyes hurt her heart. Did he think she was trying to entrap him? “No one will. But if they should, we can simply explain. Everyone here knows you were injured rescuing Jennie. Most know I have been making salve to help you heal.”

If only she had a salve that could heal his heart. “Do not try to pretend that no woman besides your mother has ever seen you in your linen. We both know that isn’t true. Please, take off your coat.”

*  *  *

Of course women besides his mother had seen him in his linen. Beautiful women, willing women, women whose whole intent had been to see him out of his linen. Not respectable, innocent women like Lady Honoria. Not a woman who tempted him against all good sense. 

Truly, she had no idea what she was asking of him. Keeping tight control over his reactions to her was difficult enough under the most ordinary of circumstances. How was he supposed to manage it half-dressed and with her undoubtedly touching and inspecting him?

The noises from the kitchen continued unabated, reminding him of just how nearby other people were. Could her wish possibly be accomplished quickly enough to avoid anyone catching them at it? 

She still stood there waiting, chin up, arms crossed and toe tapping impatiently. She looked adorable, magnificent, irresistible. “You are making propriety more important than your health, Mr. Haslitt. You will not convince me that such a priority isn’t absurd. What do you think will happen if we break the rules?”

Loss of control. Emergence of baser instincts. Her discovery that he did not always want to be the perfect gentleman. “Oh, the total disintegration of society, of course.” At this moment everything in him argued in favor of such a result. He wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless. She was far too trusting.

Of course, she laughed. “There you have it. I’m glad you see you are being ridiculous.” 

With a sigh, he surrendered. Best just be quick, for every reason. 

About the author:

Award-winning author Gail Eastwood started writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on paper, and blames Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne for making her a devoted Anglophile at a very early age. After detours into journalism and rare books, she finally found her path writing Signet Regencies acclaimed for their emotional depth and innovative plots. Twice nominated for RomanticTimes Magazine’s Career Achievement award, a Golden Leaf winner and twice a Holt Medallion finalist, Gail had to put writing on hold to deal with family health issues for almost 16 years. But now she’s back doing what she loves best and offering readers a new, heart-warming Regency series set in a small village possibly touched by magic (or it is just the power of Love?), Tales of Little Macclow. 

“One of the genre’s most imaginative storytellers, a master at painting pictures of Regency life,” 

—Romantic Times Magazine

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An unexpected death of a fine man raises eyebrows and questions!

It has come to this editor of this newspaper’s attention that the young Mr. Ingleby, a clergyman who promised to be such a patron of all that is good and Christian in Hertfordshire society, has died.

Mr. Ingleby, a young graduate of Oxbridge, who had lately taken orders, came to Hertford to temporarily stand in at the pulpit for Mr. Greene, who was called away to attend the bedside of a sick relative. From all accounts, Mr. Ingleby’s goodwill toward others and charming manners did him good stead with his neighbours, and he proved to be a popular dinner companion amongst the parishioners.

But alas, trouble has befallen the town of Hertford, for at the very day of a local baking competition, Mr. Ingleby had no sooner bit into a baked tart produced by Mrs. Greene, the wife of the former reverend, than did he suffer choking pains and collapsed, never to rise again. Even worse, the money raised by the competition to support the repairs for the church roof, has disappeared.

With a theft, a death, and eight bakers suspected of having done away with the charming Mr. Ingleby, who can say if this was simply a culinary accident or murder? Rumour has it that the young clergyman was kind and generous toward his neighbours, but consistently spoke ill of his hostesses, Mrs. Greene and her niece, Miss Poppy Morton. Could these two women have decided to give the gossiping Mr. Ingleby a taste of his own medicine?

Should any readers have information which may provide useful in this investigation, please write to the editor or speak with Constable Henry Dyngley.

Title of book: The Poisoned Clergyman
Book blurb: Poppy adores Constable Dyngley, but he is engaged. When his fiancée hires Poppy to clear her name, can Poppy put her jealousy aside?
Welcome to book two in the exciting new series The Perfect Poison Murders from bestselling author E.L. Johnson!

When Poppy’s uncle is called away, in his place arrives Mr. Ingleby, a pretentious clergyman with a passion for pies, a penchant for puddings, and a distaste for poor and sick parishioners. It’s not long before Poppy wishes he was gone, especially when she learns he has been gossiping to the neighborhood about the humble fare served by her and her aunt.
But when the tart-loving clergyman dies at a local baking competition, it is clear that Mr. Ingleby has been poisoned by one of the bakers present. But who?

Poppy and her favorite constable, Henry Dyngley, must work together to find the poisoner among the bakers. But her romantic hopes for their future are dashed when he introduces her to his fiancee, who begs for Poppy’s help to clear her name as a murder suspect.

Can Poppy and Dyngley find the true poisoner, or will the murderous baker pull off a sweet crime? Can Poppy overlook her jealousy to save Dyngley’s fiancée, at the risk of losing the man she adores? It is a bittersweet feeling to know you may do the right thing, only for someone else to reap the benefit.

Find out in a new historical mystery from bestselling author E.L. Johnson. This is the second in the Perfect Poison series, starring Poppy Morton and Constable Henry Dyngley. 

Author bio:
E. L. Johnson writes historical mysteries. A Boston native, she gave up clam chowder and lobster rolls for tea and scones when she moved across the pond to London, where she studied medieval magic at UCL and medieval remedies at Birkbeck College. Now based in Hertfordshire, she is a member of the Hertford Writers’ Circle and the founder of the London Seasonal Book Club.

What kind of match for a noted lady?

 

The Teatime Tattler has just confirmed that Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne has gone on a mission for her grand mere. We all love her grand mere and ache in our hearts that she is infirmed. Who can deny the woman, certainly not her granddaughter. We all would like to see the vibrant and beautiful belle settled with a family of her own, but alas, young women today have these ideas about marriage. Lady Nanette is no different. I have it on good advice that she has taken on the quest to avoid being matched to someone for whom she doesn’t care. She longs for a love match. Really. Don’t we all. 

There was a time when this writer thought she had found it in Lord Morgan Fitzhugh before he left to serve the king. We all mourned the loss of his father and older brother, lost at sea on their trading ship. The reluctant lord has his demons to bear that resulted in his declaration of remaining a bachelor.

My news today is about the unsuspecting couple. Lady Nanette and Lord Fitzhugh have been stranded in a snowstorm. No has been able to reach them. As you know, Sommer by the Sea is experiencing the worst snowstorm in years. While many have settled into the safety of their homes, Lady Nanette struck out for her grand mere’s closed castle in the center of Lord Fitzhugh estate to retrieve a prized possession for her grand mere. She wants to hold it once again before she passes.

I have it on good authority that Lord Fitzhugh hasn’t let her go alone. Fighting through an avalanche and tunnel cave in, they must depend on each other to escape. In the process, they both have the potential of finding something they’ve been searching for. If only they will open their eyes. 

 The Duke’s Lost Love

Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne and Lord Morgan Fitzhugh, the reluctant 5th Duke of Preswick grew up near each other in Sommer by the Sea, Nanette at her grandparent’s now closed down Dunamara Castle and Fitzhugh at Preswick Hall. 

Fitzhugh is with his three closest friends. Each of them suffers a form of feminine defeat. After a night of drinking, they decide to swear off the company of women for three years and instead study chivalrous love. 

The following morning, Nanette and her three ladies arrive at Fitzhugh’s doorstep in a broken carriage. She is on her way to Dunamara for two reasons, retrieve an item for her ill grandmother and to avoid a dinner party to meet yet another suitor she will find lacking. She seeks the solitude of Dunamara to determine if her ideal is realistic or a dream no man can fulfill. 

Fitzhugh takes her to Dunamara. A freak snowstorm strands them at the castle. Fighting through an avalanche and tunnel cave in, they must depend on each other to escape. In the process, they both have the potential of finding something they’ve been searching for. If only they will open their eyes. 

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Excerpt:

“It’s because of you that I acted.” Her voice was low and composed.

Her statement caught him off-guard. For a moment, he thought he had misunderstood until he peered at her. “Me?” He quickly moved from embarrassment to confusion. He didn’t take his eyes off her.

“I’ve witnessed situations where people willfully rejected taking action. They looked on as if the situation was an entertainment. It’s much the same amongst the ton. Along with too many insulting innuendoes and uncaring, hurtful, and yes, intentional acts of total disregard at the expense of someone.

“But not you. I took notice of you all those years ago. The example you set. You didn’t walk away from others when they needed assistance. I made a pledge to myself I would never be, nor be associated with, that type of person.

“No. I am not brave. I am a thinking, feeling person who doesn’t define acts of kindness as a weakness, but rather as a strength. I have learned your lesson well.”

“Don’t make me out to be something I am not. There are many more like me, better than me.” He closed his saddlebag.

“So you may think. But if you looked, I mean more than a passing glance, you would see the truth. At least that has been my plight. I haven’t met anyone who can meet my standard. ”

He returned to her.

“And I will not accept anyone less.” She added before he said anything.

They were both searching for something. He hoped with all his heart Nanette would find it. She’d grown to be a beauty one any man would be proud to have as a wife. He tilted his head as his gaze travelled over her face and searched her eyes.

His body heated as he caught a glimpse of her, the real Nanette. Aware of her intelligence and independent spirt, now he found her banter warm and enchanting. He admired her fire, her ice. Deep down, he wanted to find out more about her warmth.

 

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