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Persian Princess in Gypsy Thief Scandal

Zahrah snorted at the newspaper her brother had handed her, and threw it on the table. The Teatime Tattler had the headline completely wrong. “I am not Persian, nor a princess, nor Romanichal, nor a thief,” she told him. “Also, there was no scandal.”

“Actually,” Jamal retorted, as he helped himself to breakfast from the sideboard, “the last bit is correct. The article is about the fall of the House of Strickland, which is the scandal du jour. All of the papers have been covering the separate arrests and subsequent legal cases against father and son. The Teatime Tattler has done a bit of digging around and uncovered your role in precipitating the collapse of their house of cards.”

Zahrah forbore to point out that she had not invited her brother to breakfast. He would merely retort that he knew how much she missed him. “They have written about me?” She picked up the paper again to scan the article.

“They’ve changed a few details, probably because the duke made sure the papers knew there’d by consequences if they brought you into it.”

Ah yes. They had called her Sarah Joseph, and made those ridiculous claims that were in the headline. The overall outline was true, though. The innocent governess, persecuted by the eldest son of the house who then stole from her. Her eviction when she complained. The trials of her attempt to reach Birmingham, culminating in her arrest at the behest of a pack of drunken yokels who insisted that she must be a gypsy, and therefore a thief. The lies that saw the man who was now her husband arrested with her.

Indeed, thanks to the machinations of the Stricklands, she and Simon had had time to fall in love and decide to marry. “God closes the door but opens the window,” as her father was fond of saying.

Well. Let the Tattler have its story. It was nothing to do with Zahrah Marshall, wife of a Birmingham jewellery. Zahrah, whose father was from Egypt, and who was the vizier and best friend of an English duke. The duke’s first wife had, indeed been a Persian princess. In fact, if one knew the backstory, and interpreted the headline in that light, it wasn’t too far from the truth.

“I suppose ‘Protege of Persian Princess Victim of Gypsy Thief Allegations’ would not be nearly as exciting a headline,” she said. “Eat up, Jamal. Since you are here, you can escort me for a ride in the park. Simon is visiting a possible client, and I would like the company.”

***

Zahrah ibnit Yousef (ibnit means daughter of) is the  heroine of my story in Belles & Beaux, due for release on 15th December. Find out more about this story and the other seven, and preorder, on our projects page.

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Last Belvoir Standing Falls Hard

Long known as the game of love, chess had worked its spell again. Guests at Lady Osbourne’s November house party assure us that a certain very proper earl and a lady deep-dyed and scandal spent much time over the board, and now they are betrothed.

We have to ask what this generation of the Belvoir family is coming to. Known for their deep roots in the English aristocracy, their sobriety their prudence, their good name. Eight hundred years since the first Belvoir was raised to the nobility. Eight hundred yearswithout a touch of scandal. Now the three children of this generation have all chosen—shall we say ‘unlikely’ life partners? And in unusual circumstances.

First, Lady S., widowed twice before she could be wed, settled in spinsterhood (or so we thought) runs away from a houseparty with none other than the Merry Marquis AND HIS BROTHER, and was married to the Earl of S. before sunset the following day. The Earl of S., as readers will recall, was an unlikely choice, being the son of Duke of W. and his Persian wife. This was months before the Committee of Privileges ruled that the young man’s parents were validly married. What, we wondered at the time, was the Earl of H. thinking, allowing his sister to marry a man of mixed blood whose parents’ marriage was in question? Though it all turned out in the end.

Second, Lady J., belle, beauty and bluestocking. The youngest of the three Belvoirs seemed settled as her brother’s hostess and chatelain of whatever house his current diplomatic post required. Then along came Lord J. M. Rakehell. Rogue. Possible card-shark. Known dilettante. Suspected duelist. How did their two worlds even touch? And what did the lady see in rogue? Again, the Earl of H. allowed the match. Colour us mystified. And yet… Lord J. M. is a reformed man, a family man, a devoted husband with eyes for no-one but his wife.

Third, and most surprising of all, the Earl of H. had met, romanced, and married Miss A. F-H., who was abducted from the altar before the eyes of the minister, her groom, and all the congregation, and disappeared from sight for years. Where did she spend these years? Nobody knows, unless she has told the Earl of H.

Ladies and gentlemen all, such matches are not to be held up as examples. It seems, against all the odds, that these couples are happy, an outcome on which no wise person would have wagered. It stands to reason, that they have used up all the luck. The next outrageous match is sure to be a dire failure.

The Husband Gamble in The Wedding Wager

When the pawn becomes Queen, she and the opposing King will both win the game of love

Rilla and Hythe write one another off as all wrong, but when they are drawn together at the countess’s house party, they discover how right such a match could be.

The Wedding Wager

Can Lady Osbourne produce at least one “miracle” match every month for a year and win the wager with her cousin? In fifteen sparkling novellas, fifteen of superb historical romance authors bring their notoriously unmarriageable heroes and heroines to a house party in search of the answer.
Introductory price only 99c

Cousin’s private wager creates a public spectacle–who will win the crown?

Who is the greatest matchmaker of the ton? Lady O. has laid claim to the title, and her cousin Lady S. has challenged her to prove it. Which of them first spoke of this private wager–and the prized family possession that will belong to the winner? We cannot know, but we do know that, since the beginning of the year, all of Society has been abuzz with news from houseparties where Lady O. has been bringing together the the notoriously unmarriageable.

So far, the results have been astounding. People who have sworn off marriage have tied the knot, those who don’t believe in love have fallen to Cupid’s arrow, rogues have reformed, parlour games and contests of skill have turned into games of love.

With seven months to go, the betting is running hot in clubs, salons, drawing rooms, and coffee shops; in high and low places. Can Lady O.’s run of luck continue? Or will even her matchmaking eye fail her, giving the game–and the prize–to her cousin?

Find your Buy Links here to take advantage of the pre-order discount-

https://books2read.com/weddingwager

Click here to download the prologue

Abducted Bride Seeks New Bridegroom

Miss A.F. had an unsuccessful Season. No surprise, you say, dear reader. Who would want to offer for a woman who jilted her groom at the altar, rode off with a troop of horsemen, and disappeared from sight for three years? Abducted by fairies, say the credulous. Ran off with the gypsies, say others. Fairies or gypsies, the lady’s reputation is non-existent, and one can only marvel at her gall in thinking to appear in Society.

Unsuccessfully, as we say. But the lady is made of strong stuff! She has managed to enveigle her way into one of Lady Osborne’s house parties! Can the noted matchmaker find a husband for such an unlikely candidate? She has a wager with her cousin that she can.

This time, dear reader, we believe she has bitten off more than she can chew!

In other news, the ever proper Earl of H. is attending the same house party. Will he find a bride among Lady Osbourne’s collection of misfits, hoydens, and bluestockings? One thing is certain. Miss A. F. need not apply!

The Wedding Wager

The Boast—pride goeth before the fall…

After facilitating the match of the season, Lady Pandora “Pansy” Osbourne, has boasted that she is the best matchmaker The Ton has ever seen. Always willing to bring her cousin down a peg or two, her cousin, Lady Octavia Sewell insists that was no feat of matchmaking at all, as the couple involved were clearly destined for one another despite Pansy’s meddling. A bitter argument ensues and a dreadful challenge is issued. Pansy must do more than say it… she must prove it.

The terms of the wager are set!

Pansy must produce no less than one match per month between people who have been notoriously unmarriageable—spinsters, bluestockings, rakes and fortune hunters, oh my! But there’s more riding on this than simply her pride! If Pansy loses, she will have to give up her most prized possession—a tiara that belonged to their grandmother will be forfeited into Octavia’s grasping hands.

Published 27 September

Find your buy link at https://books2read.com/b/mdDpyX

The Husband Gamble

When the pawn becomes Queen, she and the opposing King will both win the game of love

Amaryllis Fernhill fled her wedding to her uncle’s thrice-widowed crony, ruining herself in the eyes of ton. Three years on, she needs a husband to unlock her inheritance—preferably one who wants little to do with the society that has rejected her. Can a countess famous for making unlikely matches make one for her?

The Earl of Hythe needs a countess who will add luster to his family name and support his career as a diplomat and politician in London and the capitals of Europe. But he also wants a wife, a partner, a friend. No one he meets seeks to know the man behind the title. Can the matchmaking countess succeed in finding a perfect lady with a caring heart?

Rilla and Hythe write one another off as all wrong, but when they are drawn together at the countess’s house party, they discover how right such a match could be.

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