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Author: Rue Allyn Page 1 of 15

Might Scottish History Repeat Itself?

Gentle Readers,

The following tidbit of long ago doings in Scotland was recovered by an anonymous source. We read with interest the, ahem, musings of Lady Peigi about her sister. We are sure you will enjoy them too, especially given the antics of a certain Lord MacDonald at Almack’s last evening.

Yuletide. 1546. Lady Peigi Grant’s account of her sister’s marriage.

There’s something in James MacDonald’s eyes when he gazes at my wee sister, Aileana. He is one of our clan’s greatest enemies, the Devil, we call him. And his reputation is well-earned. He’s demanding my brother marry one of us to him to compensate for her stealing food from his hunting camp, and yet, he doesn’t want to marry me, Lady Peigi Grant. Nay… He wants Aileana. There’s vengeance in his eyes. I can see it brimming there. Unhealed anger betwixt his folk and mine, too. She defied him. And challenged him. She dared to steal from him when he’s stolen from us for years. And therefore, he has singled her out for his punishment.

“I’ll never make ye marry a man ye nay want,” my brother is whispering to us in the corridor, as we peer through the archway into our castle’s great hall to watch MacDonald twist his brimming goblet in slow, calculating revolutions, when we have barely any food or drink for ourselves as it is from MacDonald’s raids. “But Peigi is demure. Older. Well trained in a lady’s pursuits. She’d make a more suitable bride—”

“I’ll nay see Peigi punished for my actions,” Aileana argues, shielding me with her body as if my brother might pluck me right up from the floor pavers himself to deliver me to the Devil. My wee, fierce sister, always protective when I’m frozen with fear just looking at that terrifying warrior in our hall, blond like his Norse heritage, eyes so icy blue. Knuckles so battered from a life lived with a claymore in his fist. “I’ll—I’ll be the one to marry him.”

“Aileana,” I beg, grasping her. “Nay do this.”

“Sister…” Seamus is frowning, but our wee sister just darted away, and sakes, but I can nay stop her!

“I’ll do it,” she’s just announced to the Devil as we chase after her, even though she’s quaking in her boots.

“I accept,” the Devil rumbles in reply without giving any pause.

And there’s a twinkle in those icy blues I didna’ notice before, a promise as he assures my brother that Aileana will nay be mistreated, that any lady of his castle will be afforded all the comforts of her station. There’s something solemn in the way he’s wrapped their hands in a strip of his tartan wool to handfast them—to claim her as his—as if he’s taking this moment seriously.

I realize in awe… “He likes her,” I whisper.

Our people are enemies, but I see curiosity in MacDonald’s astute gaze. Most men overlook the things that make Aileana beautiful, for she is brash, bold, and never afeared of rolling up her sleeves to get work done. God knows we’ve endured enough raids over the years that there is always plenty of work to do. And mayhap, just mayhap…this handfast will be a Christmastide miracle that ends our clan’s bitter feud?

About Twelfth Night’s Bride: Lady Aileana Grant just wants to help her starving clan at Christmastide. So she pilfers some vegetables from the bastard Laird James MacDonald–the Devil, they call him. When the Devil shows up and demands marriage as recompense for the thievery, Aileana can’t believe it when her brother agrees. Even if she’s able to negotiate a severance on Twelfth Night, that’s still two weeks to put up with the laird in enemy territory. She’s counting down the days, even if James isn’t quite the disgusting cretin she’d imagined.

James needs to marry an enemy bride in order to inherit his fortune. Cursed restrictions. He’d been unable to look away from Aileana’s untamed beauty ever since she squared off with him. He might as well handfast with the infernal lass. He’d get his money and perhaps some peace among the clans. He has a fortnight to win the heart of the lady with the voice of an angel despite her sharp tongue.

Twelfth Night is merry and bright as Aileana and James realize a true connection between them. But when Aileana discovers the reason the Devil forced her into marriage, how can she ever believe he truly wants her?

Available Now:

News from the West of England

Gentle Readers, we quote here the greater part of an anonymous letter. We are fascinated, but you may make of it what you will.

Have you heard? The duke’s daughter’s been arrested. Now, do I believe it’s true? I’m afraid I do indeed and not only that, but they’ve thrown her maid in gaol. Her maid, you know, is a gypsy girl, and she’d be pretty if only she were English. I heard the guards talking about how she stole her eggs and she had lace about her person too. I’m certain this must have been pinched also because how else might that kind of beggar afford lace?

The guard walks out with my maid’s sister, you know, so I speak with authority. He says the maid was due to wed before she got herself arrested and I wonder at the wisdom of allowing such folk to purloin such Christian traditions as greedily as they do our legally gained produce.

The duke’s daughter is a lady Lydia and I’m not sure if you recall it, friends, but we came out together three Seasons ago, though she was never so fortunate as I. I married my Yorkshire lord and settled right to breeding, whereas the lady Lydia ran out on her earl. She might have been a countess by now, if she’d not caught herself up among such gyspy folk. What can one expect though, when one’s brother is already married and living among them?

It’s a terribly sad moment, you know, to see one’s former schoolfellows fallen in the world. Not just her, but all her family must now become barred. She’ll not be able to set foot in society again, I shouldn’t wonder, and who can survive without it? I, for one, cannot admit to ever having known her at all anymore. Not even to despise her at a summer ball.

This is what comes, you see, of losing your mama so young, for I’ve always had you to guide me away from such indecent connections. I am grateful, Mama, for your counsel, and your society which is a gratitude not all married matrons recollect to their mothers. Today’s events have put me in mind, however, of the warnings you were kind enough to proffer, regarding associations with such tribes and I wished to express my gratitude as soon as three sets of twins might allow me, which is to explain why these events occurred before Christmas, and I am only now passing on such vital outcomes.

About A Holiday Season at Clifton Hall:

Yorkshire, 1821:

The Romany have been barred from Lancashire for ten years under the old duke. The new duke, however, has new rules and encourages them to travel thither this Christmas. It’s a special season for the royal Romany House of Brishen. They have a new royal babe and a wedding to celebrate.

Or do they?

Stari Besnik is betrothed to Chal Brishen, the Romany King’s youngest brother. The marriage negotiations have taken so long, she doubts his commitment to her. Meanwhile, Chal is doing everything he can to meet her father’s demands for Stari’s bride price, as is the Romany men’s tradition. He determines to do this without his brother’s help. He wants no man aiding him to earn his bride!

Impatient to be with the man she loves, Stari seeks to gain what’s required at an old market. When she’s accused of theft and imprisoned, her life with Chal seems further away than ever.  The penalty for theft in a market town is death by hanging – and no Romany does well under English law.

Can Chal gain his bride by Christmas? And who’s the real thief with such a strong connection to Clifton Hall?

A Holiday Season at Clifton Hall is a Regency Christmas novella following on from Always a Princess and The King’s Mistress.

It includes the prologue to the final title in this series: An Impossible Duchess.

Available Now: Amazon

Excerpt:   “We’ve brought no trouble here,” Stari declared quietly. “However, the trade is fair.” She spoke through gritted teeth, extending her palm.

The fellow shrank away as though she’d the pox. “I’ll not take yer hand, gypsy. I’ve still business to make today.” His glance raked once more over her skirts, glaring disdain.

Despite his rudeness, Stari hoped Lydia wouldn’t seek another stall. They’d been among the English long enough. She longed to return to the woods outside this dark, dank, ill-scented town.

“Oi!” A shout behind made them all turn. The providore stood, red-faced with fury as he waved an empty basket in one huge, hammy fist. “Thieves!” he bellowed, his glare riveted on Stari. “You’ll pay for my eggs, girl! One way or another.” He advanced menacingly towards her as louder shouts came from the growing crowd behind him.

“No!” Stari cried out, aware the gallows awaited any thief in a market town – and a Romany woman had precious little with which to barter. “I’ve taken nothing.”

Lydia’s palm slid into hers, tensed and ready. “We’ve taken nothing.” Out of the corner of her eye, Stari  spied the Frenchwoman hurrying away, her little boy lifted up into her arms, clutching something close inside his coat. Eggs?

She raised her free arm to point out the true culprits, remembering, suddenly, the desperation in the woman’s face. The joyless stare from her young son. What if eggs are all they have for Christmas? Like all Romany, Besnik had endured lean times, but the Romany aided each other. If a Romany house had no meat for Christmas, another furnished it in a fair trade. A Frenchwoman struggling to feed her hungry child in England had no recourse at all.

Stari’s arm fell slack. She closed her lips, praying the French mother and her son stayed safe. Meanwhile, the crowd hemmed right round her, louder, larger, and more menacing as they called for the law.

“Fetch the Watchman! Hang the thieves!” Their cries grew uglier. The pushing and shoving sent her forwards, practically into the goosepen.

Stari’s gut lurched as she struggled to hold her stance, flushing as cruder suggestions were made about disposing of two women in the Oldyards. They’d be lucky if the watchmen arrived in time.

Secrets Unveiled in Westerfield Manor

Greetings, dear readers, and gather around as we delve into the enchanting tapestry of Westerfield Manor, where secrets lie beneath the polished veneer of Regency high society. In the historic halls of this venerable estate, a tale of mystery, love, and destiny unfolds—a tale that has tongues wagging and quills at the ready in the hallowed realms of gossip.

Lady Genevieve, a paragon of grace and refinement, and the dashing Lord Ashford have become the unsuspecting protagonists in a challenge that transcends time and family ties. Their quest? To unearth the concealed secrets that have lingered within Westerfield Manor for generations, like whispers carried on the wind.

At the heart of this clandestine adventure is a missing treasure—a brooch of exquisite craftsmanship, whispered to possess a magic of its own. Lady Genevieve, with her keen intellect and unwavering resolve, joins forces with the charismatic Lord Ashford to solve the riddles of the past. As the clock ticks towards the midnight deadline, the duo races against time, navigating the labyrinth of Westerfield Manor in search of answers.

Secret letters passed through the ages like precious heirlooms reveal a saga of love and intrigue that transcends the boundaries of time. The very walls of the manor seem to whisper tales of an age-old romance, echoing the sentiments of a bygone era.

Amidst the flickering candlelight and the rustle of silk gowns, Lady Genevieve and Lord Ashford find themselves entangled in a web of mystery and desire. As they draw closer to the truth, their own bond deepens, mirroring the profound magic that only true love can conjure. It is a love that defies the constraints of a society bound by rules and expectations.

As the clock strikes midnight, the secrets of Westerfield Manor are laid bare, and the legacy of a family is rewritten. The enduring commitment of Lady Genevieve and Lord Ashford serves as a testament to the transformative power of love—a force that illuminates even the darkest corners of the past.

Dear readers, as we pen down this tale of whispered secrets and hidden desires, let us raise our quills to Lady Genevieve and Lord Ashford, the architects of a love story that transcends time and societal constraints. May their journey inspire us all to look beyond the façade and seek the enduring magic that lies within the recesses of our own hearts.

Until next time, dear readers, who knows what secrets may be unveiled in Ms. Casie’s next story? I am certain it will be a tale to savor and enjoy.

About The Lady and the Christmas Brooch: Amidst the splendor of a Christmas ball, Lady Genevieve and a charming rogue Lord Ashford find the secret to her destinies intertwined in an antique brooch. Can their growing love defy society’s demands, or will their love reveal the true magic of the season?

In the historic halls of Westerfield Manor, an entwined tale of mystery, love, and destiny unfolds. Lady Genevieve and Lord Ashford embark on a challenge to uncover the hidden family secrets that span generations—before midnight. Amidst the allure of the past, they find themselves drawn into a web of intrigue fueled by secret letters, a missing treasured brooch, and the whispers of an age-old romance. As midnight draws near, Genevieve and Ashford’s bond deepens, revealing that true love, like the secrets of the past, is illuminated by those willing to look beyond the bounds of a restricted society. In a spellbinding story weaving together destiny and unwavering commitment, the legacy of a family finds itself rewritten by the enduring and profound magic that only love can offer.

About Christmastide Kisses, a Bluestocking Belles with Friends collection:  Six charming holiday season romances from award-winning and best-selling authors. The Bluestocking Belles and Friends brighten your holidays with:

  • A beleaguered uncle whose wards have run off every governess–what he needs is a wife, if only he can persuade the latest applicant
  • A country solicitor who becomes an earl and then finds a secret that changes everything
  • A very proper clergyman battles very improper urges when he and a lady with a murky past find themselves snowbound
  • A viscount whose search to unearth generations-old family secrets kindles the fire of love for his lovely search partner
  • A former army captain wonders if the best friend of his ex-fiancee is the woman he should have married
  • A vicar with a misspent youth and the duke’s daughter who brings out the best in him

Six gentlemen and the ladies with whom they discover the power of a Christmastide Kiss.

Buy Link:

More News from Lady Ablethorp

Dear Readers,

One of our favorite sources of scandal and on dit, Lady Ablethorp is at it once again. This conversation was overheard in its entirety by our intrepid London reporter.

“Have you heard?” Lady Ablethorp said as she approached her friend dressed in a frothy pink gown and chapeau, whilst carrying a charming pink umbrella, though no rain was in sight.

“Heard what?” the Honorable Miss Patricia Helmsworthy said with keen interest.

The day was balmy with a few clouds ambling above them. Lady Ablethorp looked around, checking none of those she planned to skewer were in the vicinity of Bond Street. Thankfully the coast was clear. “Did you hear about Lady Jersey?”

“I have not.” Miss Patricia Helmsworthy said, leaning closer.

“It appears that most esteemed lady was caught in a gust of wind and somehow her skirt and her chemise flew into the air, up around her head. Her privates were exposed!”

”Indeed!” Miss Patricia’s eyes went wide.

Lady Ablethorp tapped a finger to her cheek. “She was wearing drawers, but they are like chaps, and they made not one bit of difference.”

“Shocking!” Miss Patricia tittered, a flush rising to her cheeks.

“There is more! Lord Kingfisher received a new pair of teeth, and they look mighty strange.”

Much to Lady Ablethorp’s dismay, Miss Patricia merely sniffed.

“Word is, his teeth came from a dead soldier at Waterloo.”

“Indeed,” Miss Patricia said in a somewhat bored voice.

Not at all what Lady Ablethorp was expecting. More disappointment.

“I have a pair of those myself!” Miss Patricia grinned, showing teeth resembling a favorite mare of Lady Ablethorp’s. If she recalled, the mare’s name was Bernice. Lady Ablethorp cleared her throat, then offered a smile. “Yours are quite nice, my dear, though they must have belonged to a very large soldier!”

Miss Patricia sniffed again. “Indeed.”

“Have you traveled lately?” Lady Ablethorp asked knowing well that the Honorable Miss Patricia Helmsworthy had traveled recently, she suspected much to the lady’s chagrin.

“Indeed!” Miss Patricia said, with a wide smile as she rested her hands atop the handle of her umbrella. “To the Lake District, in fact.”

“And was it a comfortable trip?” Lady Ablethorp raised her monocle.

“Oh, indeed, it was, though I did have to share a bed at the Winged Swan, a quite charming inn.”

Lady Ablethorp winked, though it may have looked more like a twitch to observers. “You did not sleep alone?” Lady Ablethorp feigned shock. “In truth, it would be quite lowering for the Honorable Patricia Helmsworthy to share a bed at the inn, common practice or no.” It was her turn to sniff.

“Indeed. As I mentioned, I did share a bed!”

Why was the woman smiling? Lady Ablethorp waited for Miss Patricia’s embarrassment, for her horror. “Honorables” were not meant to lower themselves to cozying up in bed with a stranger. That was for the middle class and poor. And yet Miss Patricia seemed unabashed. Lady Ablethorp waited. And waited. Finally… “Were you not discomforted sharing your bed with riffraff?“

Miss Patricia rolled her eyes skyward. “Not in the least. For the bed I shared was with the Captain Lansdowne.”

“The marquess’ brother? That captain?”


There were those teeth again. “One of the heroes of Trafalgar?”

“Indeed.” Miss Patricia said, her smile increasing.

Lady Ablethorp was confounded and began to imagine Captain Lansdowne. Tall and stately and fit. Very, very fit. And young, not yet thirty. Lady Ablethorp liked the young ones best.

“Are you sure it was the dark-haired handsome one?” Lady Ablethorp said.

Miss Patricia smiled so wide it looked as if her cheeks might break. “We two spent a lovely night beneath the covers. Most lovely indeed.”

What a lucky duck.

About The Bond: Rosamund is at a dangerous crossroads…

Lady Rosamund Fielding hides a secret so terrible it could ruin her, her family, and Major General Lord Rhys Lansdowne, the man she loves. Rose and Rhys were inseparable in childhood—their friendship was the one shining light in Rose’s dark upbringing.

Yet when Rhys proposes, Rose refuses, for he can never know her shameful truth.

Returned from the Napoleonic wars and now the Marquess of Ravenscroft, Rhys is determined to uncover the reason behind Rose’s rejection and win her hand and her heart once and for all.

Yet Rose’s father, Earl Fielding, is demanding Rose accept Brigadier Viscount Pennworth’s marriage proposal, threatening dire consequences if she does not obey.

Time is of the essence as Rose faces this difficult crossroad, where she is forced to confront past demons and choose a path.

Should she marry Rhys, deceiving him, and forever be branded a liar in his eyes? She cannot.

Wed Pennworth? Never.

Or flee? Away from Rhys, away from her father, and away from all she holds dear.

Rose has faced many dangerous choices in her life. Will this final one destroy her?

Available Now:  Amazon: Everywhere Else:

About Samma Brand:  Award-winning author Vicki Stiefel now also writes as Sanna Brand, whose Regency Romance, THE BOND (The Secret Tales Book 1) launches May 15. Vicki has also written the fantasy romance series, The Made Ones Saga, as well as The Afterworld Chronicles, an urban fantasy series. Her award-winning mystery/thrillers feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte.

Vicki tapped into her love of knitting to produce Chest of Bone The Knit Collection and co-write 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters.

After running The Writers Studio with her late husband, William G. Tapply, Vicki taught fiction writing at Clark University.

She is currently working on THE DECEPTION, The Secret Tales Book Two.


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Will Scandal Prevent the Mistletoe Assembly?

Dear readers,

This letter, we assume it is a copy, was left on the editor’s desk anonymously. The information contained herein is so scandalous that we feel obligated to print the missive in its entirety. You dear readers shall be the judges of whether or not you each believe attendance at the Mistletoe Assembly is appropriate or not.

Dear Mrs. Pearler,

I have heard quite reliably that all the tickets to the Grand Mistletoe Assembly have been sold and while I congratulate you on the success of the event to be held at your magnificent residence, I must point out a grave error that must be resolved.

I, Lady Agatha Witherspoon, third cousin to Lady Cowper, was unable to procure one!

Surely, you can find room for one more person, especially one who is held in high regard by members of the ton and who travels in the best circles. I was so looking forward to attending as I heard from my cook (not that I listen to idle rumors from belowstairs, mind you) that you will be serving an array of  delicacies only those of us with the most refined palettes will appreciate.

A monstrous rumor has also been circulating (not that I gossip, but one cannot always leave a room when other people’s conversations are taking place) that tickets have been sold to a female boxer, a woman who was once accused of murdering her husband, and the widow of a philandering artist. I shudder to think these three creatures will be mingling with the crème de la crème of the ton. My heart is palpitating at the mere thought. (Excuse me while I ring for my maid to bring my vinaigrette.)

I suppose you must allow riffraff in when they pay the price of the ticket to a charity ball, but perhaps you’ll consider a charity lecture or sermon next time. I am thrilled of course that your event has already brought in a considerable sum for the foundling home you support. I gather even more will be raised from the silent auction that will take place. If you can find one more ticket, for me, I guarantee that I shall be bidding on the exquisite diamond necklace you are donating to the auction. Are you not afraid of thieves, setting such a tempting item on display? With your unfortunate lack of diligence in ferreting out suitable patrons, you may have one in your midst.

I do hope to hear from you soon. I must have time to order a new gown.


Lady Agatha Witherspoon.

About the Stories in The Grand Mistletoe Assembly: a Regency Christmas Anthology: Can the festive ball of the Season bring these couples together in time for the holidays? A collection of Regency romances with star-crossed lovers, fast-paced plots and timeless connections. Cuddling under mistletoe, fine lace, snowy linen: true love can be found in the flickering lights of a hundred gas lamps. Pearler House is bedecked for the holidays and everyone is attending the event of a lifetime.

He gambles for a ticket to the ball, but might win the love of his life.

High society’s rules make it impossible to meet. Is their love doomed to remain a scandalous secret?

A young woman forging a career as a bare-knuckled boxer. A footman looking for something more … and an overturned platter at the event of the year.

Will her secret stand in the way of their second chance at love?

He’s her brother’s best friend, and he wants her for Christmas.

What’s an earl to do when his sister’s best friend becomes the one temptation he can’t resist?

Experience the joy of the season with six all-new tales of passion. Some are sweet, some are spicy, all will capture your heart.

Available at:

About the Authors:

Bestselling author Sara Adrien writes hot and heart-melting regency romance with a Jewish twist. As a law professor-turned-author, she writes about clandestine identities, whims of fate, and sizzling seduction. If you like unique and intelligent characters, deliciously sexy scenes, and the nostalgia of afternoon tea, then you’ll adore Sara Adrien’s tender tear-jerkers.

Jemma Frost:  Jemma Frost writes steamy, unconventional romances for an easy escape into history. She grew up in the Midwest where she visited the library every day and read romance novels voraciously! Now, she lives in North Carolina with her cat, Spencer, and dreams of stories to be written! She also writes contemporaries under the name Hallie Bennett.

Nina Jarrett, best-selling author, likes to tell mischievous tales of life-changing decisions and character transformations while drinking excellent coffee and avoiding cookies. When she finished school she moved on to work in non-profits assisting recovering drug addicts in South Africa. She now lives in Florida with her real-life hero and fellow bibliophile.

Edie Cay writes Regency Historical Romance about women’s boxing. She obtained dual BAs in Creative Writing and in Music, and her MFA in Creative Writing from University of Alaska Anchorage, and has gone on to win numerous writing awards. Once a month she interviews other authors on the Paper Lantern Writers YouTube channel! Tune in.

Award-Winning and International Bestselling author Tanya Wilde developed a passion for reading when she had nothing better to do than lurk in the library during her lunch breaks. Her love affair with pen and paper soon followed after she devoured all of their historical romance books! She lives in South Africa and when not writing, loves to go off on adventures.

Pamela Gibson’s novelette is called Lily’s Scandalous Secret and features Emily’s aunt, Lily Whittington, from Scandal’s Promise. She’s back in London and meets a man from her past who invites her to the ball. Their “connection” is instant, but Lily shies away because she has a terrible secret and can never marry again.

Excerpt from Lily’s Scandalous Secret:

He took her hand and gently rubbed her covered wrist. She closed her eyes and let herself feel the erotic strokes, imagining those fingers elsewhere. When the carriage stopped, Alastair leaned closer.

“I know we’ve just recently become reacquainted, but it seems like the years have fallen away. May I escort you to the charity assembly at the end of the week? Your niece told me you are reclusive, although I’ve yet to understand why, but I shall honor your decision if you choose not to go.”

She wanted to say yes. She wanted to spend as much time in Alastair’s company as she could before returning to Langston Grange. She wanted to savor his expressions, his seductive voice, and his turns of phrase. She wanted memories of him to cleanse the horrors in her past.

Others would be at the assembly, people he knew and who had known his deceased wife. His daughter would be there. No. She couldn’t risk being recognized by a dowager who might remember the old scandal.

The evening had been perfect, and here she was, contemplating ruining it by refusing to give him the answer he sought. She shouldn’t be churlish. Nothing happened at the theatre. She was being a ninny. She should say yes, say she was looking forward to the assembly.

They entered the quiet house and slipped into the drawing room, away from the prying eyes of the night footman. “Can I offer you a brandy? My nephew’s late father put down an impressive cellar both here and at Cardmore Hall.”

“I have a better idea.” He looked into her eyes as he slowly tugged her glove completely free. He lowered his mouth to her hand, and when his lips touched the inside of her wrist, tingles went straight to her center. His tongue traced a pattern there that nearly melted her knees, then he drew her gently toward him and kissed her.

She’d forgotten what a delicious kisser he was, eliciting murmurs and sighs as the kiss deepened and their tongues entwined. His mouth brushed her ear. “Say yes, Lily. Say you’ll attend.”

When his lips caressed her neck and feathered kisses behind her ear, she knew what her answer would be.

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