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Category: Cerise Deland

He jilted her! How can she receive him?

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(Overheard at Lady P’s Brighton Ball last night! Sent by one of our discreet correspondents!)

My dear Lady P., I heard the most ridiculous news a few hours ago. About one of those Irish girls that Lady W. chaperones here this Season. 

I know, I heard, Lady L! The second of the triplets married in haste yesterday. To that dashing Marquess, too. What brass! I do sigh in exasperation. What else can you tell me to make my daughter’s chances this Season wan so disastrously?

Well, come closer. Ahem! At the wedding?

Yes…

Who should appear but the very fellow, Lord G, who jilted the third Devereaux girl two years ago!

No! Outrageous. Why, I would never let such a creature darken my doorstep? Why would Lady W. allow him inside?

He helped the Marquess save his intended, the second sister!

The second sister had a…problem?

Indeed. I have it on good authority she was carried away and the Marquess and Lord G., along with that dashing Colonel of the Royal Buffs, rescued her.

Dear me! And so now Lord Grey…I mean Lord G. is admitted to the presence of his former intended.

Just so. And I understand that she gave him a very cool reception.

As she should. Smart girl. 

Clever Lord G., eh?

pastedGraphic.pngA nibble of my newest cherry? YES! LADY, NO MORE (Encounter of hero and heroine in a bookshop)

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Excerpt, LADY, NO MORE, all rights reserved. Copyright 2022, Cerise DeLand.

She had penned a note to Hadley yesterday and asked him to meet her here today. He had promised to be her adviser on men she found interesting and she had found one. In truth, she sent over the request to him to meet her not so much because she needed his insight into Lord Parnham but because she’d spent the whole of yesterday pining for Hadley’s poetry. Or lack thereof.

Foolish. Certainly. But there it was.

A need to talk with him, if for no other ridiculous, ironic reason than to hear his opinion of another man.

Leaving Fifi to sit on the bench outside under shade of a tree, Laurel entered the shop and paused to inhale the refreshing scent of paper and ink, leather bindings and the dust of decades upon the numerous shelves. The shop was tidy, two windows open to the breezes off the coast gave it the sweet smell of stories awaiting the uplifting of hundreds of minds. She herself had signed up for the subscription service the owner also operated from his shop, but when she had a few spare pence, she wished to own many of the fantasies that others created.

Today however she was attempting to fashion a story of her own. One, perhaps with Lord Parnham. To that end, Hadley had agreed to offer his insights. If he knew the man. If he would give a good report of him, if Parnham deserved it. If she could trust what Hadley had to say of the earl.

“Good afternoon, Lady Laurel.” Hadley doffed his hat and bowed before her. He too had the elegant silhouette of a man of the town. In emerald green frock coat and yellow damask waistcoat, he had a stock that might have held up the Parthenon as well as his chin, had he needed that, of course, which he did not. His buff breeches showed off to her attentive gaze, the line of his muscular thighs and shapely calves. They did nothing for her decision to regard him coolly, or at the most, as an old friend.

The two of them stood between a row of bookcases toward the rear of the shop. In the dim light so far from the entrance, she noted that Hadley appeared tired. His eyes rimmed in dark circles, at first she wondered if he’d been drinking.

“Are you well?” she asked, alarmed.

“Quite. Why do you ask?”

Curt, was he? “You don’t look it.”

“Why would you care?”

She rolled a shoulder. “Because…I don’t like to see anyone ailing.”

“I see,” he said and fingered the brim of his half stove pipe hat in his hand. He lifted his ivory walking stick and thrust it down at the wooden floor. The punctuation made her jump. “You didn’t like my poetry.”

She would give him his due. “But I did.”

He recoiled, then he peered at her.

“I always did, Hadley. Thank you. I…have not laughed much lately.”

“So I saw.” He mellowed but the hurt in his gaze gutted her. “You wanted to meet?”

“I did.”

“You’ve found a man you like?”

My. He was a wasp with his stinger out this morning.

Was this a good thing? “I have,” she told him.

He huffed. “Parnham, I suppose?”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Do be quiet. Yes, yes. Him.”

He leaned closer and in a stage whisper said, “I don’t like him.”

She inched near and lowered her voice. “Very well. Why not?”

“He’s too good looking.”

She pressed her lips together, her smile hard to contain. “And?”

“He dances well.”

Indeed. “Good rhythm.”

Hadley narrowed his beautiful green eyes to beady slits. “Graceful.”

Hmmm. “And?”

“There has to be more?”

Oh, she rather liked this contretemps. With the roll of a shoulder, she threw him a wide-eyed look. “Naturally. What of his temperament?”

“Sweet.”

“His reputation as a manager of his estates?”

“Dear god.” With a whack, he drove his walking stick into the floorboards. “I have no idea.”

“Ask around, will you?” Oh, she liked that idea!

“No!”

She stomped one impatient foot. “What do you know?”

“He likes you.”

Smart man. “How?”

“What do you mean ‘how’?”

“As a friend? A prospective—?”

“Yes. As a prospective.”

Delightful. “And you know this because you…?”

“Heard it from his lips. Is that good enough for you?”

“The best. Thank you.” She mellowed toward him. Despite his peevish temper—and a hint of jealousy, too, yes?—Hadley had told her the truth. “I’m very grateful to you.”

“Fine.” He jammed his hat on his head.

“Leaving?”

“Of course. Unless you wish to interrogate me about some other man.”

She licked her lips. That brought her to the point, didn’t it? The one that niggled her until wee hours in her bed each night. “I do.”

“There is someone else? Wonderful! Who?”

Oh, he was furious. Could this really be…jealousy? Oh, delights! “You.”

She could have pushed over the bookcase on him and it would not have fazed him as much.

It took him a bit, but he managed to form a word. “What?”

“You. I wish to ask a question about you.”

“Why?” He squinted.

Distrusting soul, wasn’t he?

“I am not one of your swains.”

“Used to be.”

His expression collapsed. To sorrow. “What do you want to know?”

“Why did you not marry the woman to whom your father betrothed you?”

“That is a very long story.” He glanced away, then around at the hundreds of books surrounding him. “Too complicated to tell here.”

“Why not tell me the short version?”

His cheeks went red with anger. “Because she loved another man.”

Had one of the bookcases fallen on her? “That…that’s…”

“Not what the ton says? No, it isn’t.”

Author Cerise DeLand

Sassy ladies and smart men make irresistible romance! That, plus a good dose of historical accuracy, are my hallmarks. Hope you will read all my Regency and Victorian romances!

www.cerisedeland.com

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Whispers from the Countess of H. regarding Those Scamps, the Devereaux triplets!

A Gentleman in Search of Revenge

August 7, 1815
Brighton, England

Today is a sad day, I tell you, when three young ladies from Ireland are brought to our distinguished shores to celebrate among the ton the end of Bony’s horrid regime.

Why, you may ask?

Oh, truly, these triplets appear to possess the best credentials. They are ladies by birth, the granddaughters of an earl, recently deceased. They are ladies by training, although one does wonder what caliber of education one can acheive in Dublin! They are ladies by inclination, even if it whispered that they have no dowry of any worth. And that, my dear friends, we may lay at the doorstep of their rapscallion grandfather who had quite a few marks against his character.

But then verily, I say that these three young ladies—dare I call them that—are known in Dublin and Waterford as…yes…scamps! Now I am astonished that they are brought here by that light of London society, Lady William Downs.

That formidable scion of our social order, it turns out, is cousin to the three girls’ dear departed mother. Having been favored by that lady when she was young, the lady who is their chaperone and mentor is eager to introduce these three young ladies to our English shores and our estimable English gentlemen.

Of course, these triplets are so unique that to look at them is to gasp in astonishment at their beauty. They are elegant of face and form, beautifully attired in the latest fashion, courtesy of their cousin.

A lady who wants to reform!

But what of their character?

Ahh. It has been whispered (not by me, of course) that one is rather…ahem…light-fingered. She has been known to acquire a few things that are not her own.

The oldest is light-fingered in another way and we shudder to think in what way. The third and the youngest, Adelaide, has no marks against her character. Lovely beyond belief. She certainly is a Diamond. But is she also a bit of an airhead?

I shudder to think at what will occur when these three ladies debut this evening at the latest ball of the season.

Countess of H.

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LADY, BE WANTON, NAUGHTY LADIES, Book #1

The lady wants to be good.
Lady Imogen has reformed! She’s witty, from an old Irish family, in pursuit of a fine man to marry—and she swears she’ll never indulge in her little…um…peccadilloes again!

She’s arrived in Brighton with her two sisters and her cousin for the Season—and she’ll ignore anyone who gossips about Grandpapa’s notorious odd talents—or her own tiny scandal. After all, a lady can change.

The gentleman wants revenge.
Returning home after the wars, Lex Rowlandson, the Earl of Martindale, vows to find the cur who sold him and his father into the hell of Napoleon’s dungeons.

With a few clues to the identity of the creature who stole years from his life and caused the death of his father, Lex seeks out suspects at a Brighton ball. But he’s captured by the effervescent woman whose smiles light the dark corners of his heart.

He should not be distracted from his cause. Yet he cannot resist the lure of Imogen’s charm. When he witnesses her plight at the hands of one fellow who threatens her reputation, Lex saves it—and marries her.

Falling in love with her husband, Imogen sees that the best way to thank him for saving her is to commit the very crime she vowed never to repeat.

But can a man whose life was stolen from him love a wife whose skill is taking from others what is not hers?

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Cerise DeLand embarks on her next romcom adventure with these three Irish ladies in this new series! She hopes you forgive their peccadilloes…and love how they reform and how they catch their man. Or, in these books, most often how the dashing men catch them! Cerise is really Jo-Ann Power who has been published since…well, forever! She is currently counting the number of novels she’s published because she has not kept track! Enjoy a laugh with Cerise DeLand’s newest releases, NAUGHTY LADIES from Dragonblade Publishing!

Frederick & Fiona: Frederick

by Susana Ellis

Frederick Hofbauer almost did not go to church that morning.

 

The party at Mellowwood Manor had lasted until the wee hours and he and his brothers Fritz and Franz, as footmen, were kept busy for more than two hours after that assisting the tired and tipsy guests with their outerwear and ensuring they managed to alight their coaches without injuring themselves. He barely had time to remove his livery before falling into bed next to his brothers, who were already snoring softly.

Dawn came much too quickly, and Frederick would have quite happily snored on past breakfast except for the sound of a light tapping on the door of the servant quarters.

“Frederick? Are you awake?” He recognized the soft voice as Daniel, the steward’s son, and sighed. Fitzwilliams had passed out again at the local inn and poor Daniel had to cart him home before word got out to his employer. Frederick would be tempted to leave the drunken lout where he was and suffer the consequences were it not for the frightened lad, barely six years old. He certainly did not deserve to be thrown in the streets.

Rising reluctantly from his bed, he opened the door and whispered to the boy to wait for him in the stable as he quickly donned his ordinary clothes and departed with him and Fitzwilliams’s old nag to the Dawdling Duck. By the time they had him settled in his bed at Hull Cottage, it was full daylight and Frederick was not inclined to return to his own bed. Instead he strolled around the estate, admiring the newly planted fields watching the milkmaids lead the cows into the milking shed. This was his favorite morning amusement during his free time, at least when he managed to retire before midnight.

Upon his return to the house, he found the cook ready to leave for church, about a mile down the lane. She clucked when she saw him.

“Up with t’ roosters again, lad? After all last night’s mayhem? I slept like a log until Mary brought me coffee.”

“Fitzwilliams,” he said simply. She rolled her eyes. “I should ha’ known. ‘Bout every Saturday night now. Yer too good to ‘im. Wretch deserves ta be sacked. Sad ‘bout the boy though.”

Frederick nodded.

She tilted her head to one side as she studied his face. “Come ta church wit’ me? I’ll wait for ye ta wash up.”

Frederick rubbed a hand through his hair. Well, it wasn’t as though he had anything else to do. The house was silent as a grave and it appeared as though its occupants were dead to the world after their evening of merriment.

“Very well,” he said with a smile. “I shall be only an instant, Mrs. Brown.”

Much later on, Frederick reflected that it was surely Fate that impelled him to accompany Cook to church that morning. Because that’s when he met Fiona and the scheme for his entire life was altered forever.

Meet Fiona here!

Frederick Hofbauer is the oldest (by two minutes) of triplets, his brothers being Fritz and Franz, who serve tea every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EST in the Tea Room, hosted by Cerise DeLand and Susana Ellis and their weekly guest authors, who come to discuss themselves and their books. If you are interested in discovering new authors and books, recipes, historical fashion, and lively conversation, please join them.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/265460994261469

The Tea Room recently celebrated its FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, and would love to welcome you to the festivities.

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?

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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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