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A scandal at every turn!

Miss Miranda de Courtenay sat in the morning room sipping tea in Highgrove Manor remembering the gentleman she had met at the Valentine’s Day Ball. He had been the stuff dreams were made of. His green eyes had held her spellbound when she had dared to dance with him… a waltz of all things. Her breath hitched with the memory of how she had wished to tame those blond locks back into place when the fell across his brow. And to be held in his arms while they made their way through the crowded dance floor… she had wished at the time that the music would never end!

When her sister Grace entered the room, one look upon her face told her much. Miranda was in trouble… again.

“You might as well just tell me what I did now and get it over with, Gracie,” Miranda said with a heavy sigh before pouring her sister a cup of tea. Grace slid a newsprint across the table. The blaring words of The Teatime Tattler blurred before her eyes. “Oh, no!”

“Oh, yes,” Grace answered before taking a sip of her tea as if this alone would make the latest gossip regarding her sister disappear. “Unfortunately, the article is on the second page most likely because the charity ball was held in Bath and most of Society was in attendance.” 

Miranda opened the newspaper to the second page and scanned the lettering for what would obviously condemn her once again. She began to read aloud.

Gentle Readers:

Only days after the Bath Valentine’s Day ball, this reporter learned of a most tantalizing bit of gossip for your reading pleasure! A certain young lady, Miss M.d.C., was in attendance and it’s been learned she has once more begun her search for a titled gentleman for a husband. Yet, despite the obvious rules amongst the Ton, this reporter learned she danced with a gentleman whom she hadn’t been introduced to. The music barely ended before her brother, the earl, had her escorted from the event. We’ll have to wait to see if Miss M.d.C. is allowed at other events in the Season or if she’ll be exiled to the country.

An Anonymous Reporter of
The Teatime Tattler

Miranda closed the newspaper not caring to read anything else that rag might have mentioned. “Well, I suppose it could have been worse,” she said looking across the table at her sister.

“Adrian will be furious,” Grace groaned.

“When is our brother not angry with me over some slight?” Miranda replied taking up her cup and saucer. 

“You need to learn to control these outrageous notions that continue to flit into your head that you think you can get away with, sister,” Grace fumed. “Society will be lenient for only so long before you’re completely ostracized. You’ll never find a husband if you can’t hold your head up within the ton.”

“I can barely move among them as it is now due to my past schemes,” Miranda said sadly. “Honestly, you’d think I was the only one who was prepared to do anything to catch a title.”

“But you tend to get caught, my dear. There’s a difference,” Grace answered reaching over to take Miranda’s hand. “I want you to find love, dearest sister. That is far more important than any title a man might have.”

“You don’t understand what it’s like to be the only one in this family without one,” Miranda huffed on the verge of tears.

“Maybe not but I do know a thing or two about being in love. Love will carry you through every heartache the world may throw at you. Don’t be a fool to only look at the title and not the man whom you wish to wed.”

Grace finished her tea and left Miranda to her thoughts. Marry for love? She scoffed at the idea. Love was for fools…


This is an original piece by Belle Sherry Ewing. Miss Miranda de Courtenay was previously seen in A Kiss For Charity and The Earl Takes A Wife. She will now get her happily ever after in Before I Found You that is in the Bluestocking Belles’ next box set Storm & Shelter.

Excerpt from Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book Three):

She was not sure what to expect. Being outside alone with a man she did not know was a bold move. If she needed reinforcements, she could easily call out for help, but that would hardly do her reputation any good. It had barely recovered from her last scheme. Society’s memory was short, remembering scandals only until something new came along for them to gossip about—or until something happened to remind them. She couldn’t afford to give them new fodder to chew on.

She could not resist. Miranda took the remaining few steps until she stood next to him, and he rose to his full height, his hair tousled by the evening breeze. She suppressed the urge to push back the lock of hair across his brow that refused to stay in place. Oh my, but the man was tall!

Miranda did not even realize she offered him her hand until he leaned down and kissed the air between her knuckles. His fingers were warm even through the silk of her gloves. How would they feel if her hand was bare? Good heavens! What was coming over her?

Mademoiselle,” he whispered in a husky French accent, causing goose bumps to rise on her arms. His voice was utterly divine!

“Miranda,” she said offering only her first name. It was hardly appropriate, but she did not wish to see his disinterest when he learned she was a “Miss” and not a “Lady”.

Although it might not matter. Many gentlemen present this evening were on the lookout for a well-dowered heiress to enrich their estate. The man before her could be one of them. Even though she could not attach “lady” to her name, she was still wealthy in her own right… or would be when she finally wed.

Love had nothing to do with what really mattered in life—marriage to a husband within the nobility, one with enough wealth to keep her and her children in luxury. Not for her a boring life as a country matron, with nothing to do or to talk about beyond counting sheets and breeding children. She wanted a glittering life as a Society hostess! It would be an adventure. Or so she had always thought, and she would not allow her heart to rule her head.

She bit her bottom lip before she realized she had done so. The man before her could not know it was an automatic reaction when she was worried. She watched his brow arch in surprise before a grin turned up at the corner of his lips.

“Jasper,” he finally replied in return, examining her reaction to his touch. “The evening has become brighter now that you have joined me for a breath of fresh air. Look how the stars above beam in approval that they may gaze down upon you.”

Miranda’s lips twitched at the compliment. Very nice, though she sensed that he used this phrase often. She realized he still held her fingertips and she reluctantly pulled them away before waving her hand towards the crowd inside.

Storm & Shelter:
A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Special Preorder price of only $0.99

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Before I Found You Blurb:

Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Miss to My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?

Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?

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About Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page!

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Mischief and Murder in the Midlands

Dear Mr Clemens

How sad it is to see a maiden fall. And yet, blood will tell, will it not? When a young woman (for I will not say lady) is born and raised in a barbarous foreign land, amid pagans and idolaters, how can she be expected to know the proper way to conduct herself?

Even if she is the daughter of a duke.

And yet, dear Mr Clemens, I am sure your readers will weep, as I do, at the fate of Lady R. W. For she has been — who knows by what wicked stratagems — inveigled into the lair of a Monster.

I speak, Sir, of the Earl of A, a man who hides on his estate in the Midlands, afraid to let the light of day fall on his loathsome face. he fought bravely against the French, or so they say. Yet all that courage has turned to brutality when injuries made him as ugly without as he became within. Even the local villagers shun him, knowing of his madness.

This wicked villain killed his brother and his own wife. His sister-in-law escaped by inches, having hidden his daughter and his niece away for safety.

What then, are we to assume happened when the poor maiden entered his lair? (If she was, in fact, a maiden, and who can know what happens in foreign places where they have harems and the like). Entered, I say, whether willingly or not, and stayed for more than a month!

He must have tired of her, or perhaps she escaped. Be that as it may, she has returned to her family and was recently seen in London, where she is attempting to move among Polite Society as if nothing has happened.

We will know what to do about that, Mr Clemens, will we not?

Articles such as this brought the Earl of Ashbury out of exile and racing to London, then on to Brighton, to rescue Lady Ruth Winderfield, the lady he had come to love. Read on for more.

To Mend the Broken-Hearted

Ruth Winderfield is miserable in London’s ballrooms, where her family’s wealth and questions over her birth make her a target for the unscrupulous and a pariah to the high-sticklers. Trained as a healer, she is happiest in a sickroom. When a smallpox epidemic traps her at the remote manor of a reclusive lord, the last thing she expects is to find her heart’s desire.

Valentine, Earl of Ashbury, was carried home from war three years ago, unconscious, a broken man. He woke to find his family in ruins, his faithless wife and treacherous brother dead, his family’s two girl children exiled to school. He becomes a near recluse while he spends his days trying to restore the estate, or at least prevent further crumbling.

When an impertinent, bossy female turns up with several sick children, including the two girls, he reluctantly gives them shelter. Unable to stand by and watch the suffering, he begins to help with the nursing, while he falls irrevocably for both girls and the lovely Ruth.

The epidemic over, Ruth and Val part ways, each reluctant to share how they feel without a sign from the other. Ruth returns to her family and the ton. Val begins to build a new life centred on his girls. But danger to Ruth is a clarion call Val cannot ignore. If they can stop the villains determined to destroy them, perhaps the hermit and the healer can mend one another’s hearts.

This is a new release in the The Return of the Mountain King series. Published on 23 March, you can preorder now through Books2Read: https://books2read.com/Broken-Hearted

Did Cupid’s Arrow Find Its Mark?

Lady Constance Whittles was unsure of her feeling for the gentleman who had been her escort last night. She wasn’t sure why… or did she? Lieutenant Terrance Abernathy had conducted himself in a gentlemanly manner the entire night. With Aunt Penelope acting as chaperon, the Lieutenant had escorted them to the theater and the play had been lovely. His banter in the carriage and during the intermission had kept them laughing but something was missing that made her want to see him again.

If she searched her heart deep enough, Constance knew the reason. The Lieutenant wasn’t Viscount Digby Osgood. She gave a heavy sigh and the sound echoed in the blue breakfast room where she awaited her aunt. Just thinking about Digby caused her heart to take flight even though he had ended their relationship over two years ago. She had attempted to tell him she would wait for him until his business abroad for his father was over. But he had insisted she move on with her life. If only she could…

Her aunt entered the room followed closely by a maid who pushed a tea trolley and placed the cart next to her aunt once she was seated next to Constance at the table. Aunt Penelope all but tossed a folded newsprint into Constance’s lap.

“Page seven, half way down,” her aunt said who was clearly upset with whatever she had read. She poured a cup of tea and handed the china to Constance. “You may wish to take a sip before you peruse that rag! I highly doubt we’ll be able to enjoy breakfast this morning.”

Constance took a sip of her tea and then set it down on the table. She unfolded the newsprint. The Teatime Tattler… Good heavens! What had Samuel Clemmons written that had her aunt so upset?

Gentle Reader ~

It has come to this reporter’s attention that Lady C.W. may have finally… finally, dear readers… moved on from her past relationship with a certain Viscount who left her two years ago. Seen at the theater with Lieutenant T.A., could Cupid’s arrow have found its mark with these two potential love birds? Only time will tell! As the details unfold,  you’ll read it here first on the most reliable source of intel for all of London Society.

Submitted by an anonymous reporter
The Teatime Tattler

Reliable?” Constance muttered before folding the newsprint again and tossing it aside. “When did that gossip rag become reliable?”

Aunt Penelope nodded to a servant who made her a plate of food from the sideboard. “You should speak to Miss Amelia. Certainly, she must have a say on what her brother prints.”

“I highly doubt she’ll be able to sway her brother,” Constance replied before quietly thanking the servant who placed a plate in front of her.

“You work for her, Constance! Surely, she would talk to Samuel to ensure her employee’s reputation is not smeared across his newspaper.”

Constance set her fork down. “To be honest, is there really anything that isn’t true? I am trying to move on from Digby and I was at the theater with the Lieutenant. The only thing that was in error was the speculation that I was in love with the man, which I am not.”

“I’d bet my new green bonnet it was those Danvers sisters at it again putting their nose in everyone else’s business,” her aunt fumed.

“It doesn’t matter who tipped Mr. Clemons off and we shouldn’t let this upset us. Now let’s try to enjoy our breakfast and go about our day.”

As Constance put on a bright face for her aunt’s benefit, she refused to let a bit of gossip get the best of her. Let them say whatever they want. As far as she was concerned, Cupid’s arrow had missed her by a long shot where the Lieutenant was concerned!


Belle Sherry Ewing brings you A Second Chance At Love previously published in the Belles’ box set Fire & Frost. It’s now released for individual sale.

Excerpt:

“As I live and breathe, Digby Osgood.” She watched his eyes widen before his spectacles began to fog up as the warm air of the shop hit them. His cheeks were red, probably because of the cold outside, and she hid a smile at her imagination, which almost thought he was blushing because she addressed him so informally. She should not have been so presumptuous and quickly corrected her mistake. “I mean… Lord Osgood.”

Reaching inside his coat, he pulled out a linen handkerchief and began wiping his glasses before placing them back on the bridge of his nose. “Lady Constance,” he said just as formally. He gave her a welcoming smile before removing his hat. “It has been too long.”

Her breathing elevated just seeing Digby again, and she moved behind the desk to try to calm her thoughts. Still… she could not prevent herself from taking in the sight of him. His black hair curling at the edges was slightly damp where his hat had not covered his head from the falling snow. A slight cleft in his chin had always fascinated her whenever they had been together in the past. His face reminded her of the sculptures she had seen in her aunt’s garden; classical and timeless. But it was his vivid blue eyes that were her undoing. He gazed upon her as though asking if he was assuming too much by being here. The silly man.

“Too long indeed. There are not many who would brave such inclement weather to venture outside,” she finally answered.


A Second Chance At Love
A Frost Fair Regency Romance
By Sherry Ewing

Can the bittersweet frost of lost love be rekindled into a burning flame?

Viscount Digby Osgood returns to London after a two-year absence, planning to avoid the woman he courted and then left. Surely she has moved on with her life; even married by now. A bit of encouragement from a friend, however, pushes him to seek the lady out. Can she ever forgiven him and give them a second chance at love?

Lady Constance Whittles has only cared for one man in her life. Even after he broke her heart, it remains fixed on him. Another man tries to replace him, but she soon learns she can never feel for him a shadow of what she still feels for Digby. One brief encounter with Digby confirms it; she is more than willing to forgive him. Can they truly take up where they left off?

Charity projects and a Frost Fair on the Thames bring them together, but another stands in their way. Will he tear them apart?

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About Belle Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page!

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Where does that woman get her information?

Sam Clemens shoved the offending article across his desk and then tugged it back, once more scanning the pages. He was the proprietor and editor of the Teatime Tattler, London’s–nay, the ton‘s–premiere scandal sheet. If anyone published tales such as those within these covers, it should be him. And yet, this person had scooped him. Him! With all his contacts, all his reporters sniffing out stories, all the correspondents (anonymous and named) who sent him letters unasked when something of interest happened in their vicinity, all the readers who waited impatiently for the two editions he published each week!

“How does she do it?” he asked Arthur, the boy who responsible for keeping him supplied with coffee, cigars, and ink, and for running his copy to the presses.

Arthur shook his head. “Must know folks,” he offered.

She must. “The Hicklestones? I knew the earl had married a neighbour, but I had no idea about her daughter. Why didn’t I know that? And that little tidbit about where Viscount Charmly first met the Dowager Duchess of Fambrough! Mind you, I don’t know that I believe it! Still, it’s true the old duke met his wife in Italy somewhere, and no-one knows anything about her people.”

He glared at the offending book. “Who failed to let me know that the Marquis of Gamford was back in the country, and reuniting with his child bride, now all grown up? Why weren’t we first with the story that she was living retired in the country? And if her name was linked in gossip with a local man, are the happy couple, in fact, happy?”

Sam made a note to send someone to Somerset to find out.

“Then there are the Millchurches.” Another sigh. He had actually covered the story of the attempted murder, the treachery, and the arrests. But the story behind the story had happened without him finding out, as did the rather nasty story of the Baron Collinwood, his cousin, and the vicar’s missing daughter.

There were other stories in the book, too, but they did not concern him. “I don’t care about the Enright stables, though there might be a story in the way Durridge cheated. Have to look into that. But they’re not ton, Arthur. No-one can say they are. Same with that agent who purchased a wife in Scotland while he was out of mind with fever, and the retired naval commander who discovered the mystery behind the girl in charge of the ruined bookshop.” He flipped through the book one more time. He might have covered the story of the woman torn from her lover and forced into marriage to a devil; after all, she had been a gentlewoman. But her relationship with the local miller put her below his notice. And the other two stories didn’t trespass on his territory at all, the one about a nun who was actually the wife of her sworn enemy being set in Scotland in medieval times, and the other some kind of futuristic fantasy about a farmer’s wife in far away New Zealand, where only sealers, whalers, missionaries, and tattooed natives lived. Even if,  seventy years from now, New Zealand did have colonial settlers, they were unlikely to be visited by angels. Unemployed wanderers, certainly.

He shook off the unproductive thought. “Arthur, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I am writing to this Mrs. Jude Knight to offer her a job. Clearly, her sources are better than mine.”

***

Sam has been reading Chasing the Tale, Jude Knight’s latest book. It’s a collection of eleven short stories, perfect for reading when you’re too tired for something longer, or want something to finish while you have a short wait. Get it now for 99c before the price goes up to $2.99.

May Day Frolic at Courtland Manor

Your erstwhile correspondent has disturbing news of the May Day Frolic doings at Courtland Manor last week. It seems not only did the bride, Miss Esme Harvey, never appear in the chapel at the appointed hour of her wedding, but that another young lady, her friend Lady Willa Sheffield, also disappeared from the same event later that afternoon!

We shudder to think of the reasons. Were they both lured away by some nefarious person? Were are they colluding together to escape the frolic? Miss Esme to escape her wedding and Lady Willa to confuse us or deter us from finding Miss Harvey? Did they—oh, my dear reader—run away with gentlemen? Men whom we do not know? Or worse, have they been kidnapped?

We did have it on good authority that Miss Harvey was a bride very enamored of her groom, the Marquess of Northington. Had her affections changed? Had his? So radically in such a short period between engagement and wedding date? And why?

We understand less about motives for the disappearance of Lady Willa Sheffield, the daughter of the Earl and Countess De Courcy. We grieve for that lady who has already endured much grief personally. Her two previous fiancés died tragically young and unexpectedly. And now we wonder if there has there been another gentleman who has interested her? Is there another love affair brewing? The vicar of the church where Miss Harvey was to be wed and a new friend of Lady Willa tells us that no love affair led her to disappear. But what then occurred? What do we not know?

And how will we possibly find these two young ladies who have disappeared into thin air? Your dedicated correspondent desperately wants to know if you have any clues to these two ladies disappearances. Do write to me here at the Tattler should you have any information.  Miss Harvey’s parents, the Viscount and Viscountess Courtland, and Lady Willa’s, the Earl and his Countess, have sent out many to find them. But at this time, we have no indications of where or why the two ladies have vanished.

Please help us! Haste is of the utmost importance.

 About the Book

LADY WILLA’S DIVINELY WICKED VICAR, Book 4,

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FROLIC

She believed she destroyed any man who loved her.

Lady Willa Sheffield had beauty, education, charm, a handsome dowry…and a curse for killing any man who proposed. When she falls for a man who has favor with someone who answers all prayers, she questions if she’s right.

He would move Heaven and Earth to marry her.

Reverend Charles Compton has everything a lady could require: wit, ethics, good family and stable position. But no money and no title. And for a lady who is an earl’s daughter to wed well, she needs a man of some gravitas. But a vicar of a small parish—with rousing political ideas and little income—must move Heaven and earth to make a good future.

Who can doubt the determination or the inventiveness of a man in love?

AMAZON Affiliate:  https://amzn.to/3qbv8gH

About the Author

Cerise DeLand loves to write about dashing heroes and the sassy women they adore. Whether she’s penning historical romances or contemporaries, she’s praised for her poetic elegance and accuracy of detail.

An award-winning author of more than 60 novels, she’s been published since 1990 by Pocket Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington and independent presses. Her books have been monthly selections of the Doubleday Book Club, Rhapsody Book Club and the Mystery Guild. Plus she’s won countless 4, 4.5 and 5 star rave reviews from Romantic Times, Affair de Coeur, Publishers Weekly and more.

To research, she’ll dive into the oldest texts and dustiest library shelves. She’ll also travel abroad, trusty notebook and pen in hand, to visit the chateaux and country homes she loves to people with her own imaginary characters.

And at home every day? She loves to cook, hates to dust, lives to travel and go to Jazz class once a week!

Four Weddings and a Frolic Series

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