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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.

Retrieving A Truant Husband? Or Falling Into Sin?

Sam, I have a doozy of a story for you this time. You told me the other day that the Truant Earl is back in England, and that you hoped he wasn’t ready to settle down. That man has been good copy for at least decade, even though he hasn’t set foot in the country for almost half as long again. But his lovers, his fights, and all his other adventures have kept your readers entertained ever since we started to write about him.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that–for from settling down–he has taken himself off to a house party. And not just any house party. His lordship has left for a week in the country with none other than Lord S.! That’s right. Lord S. whose house parties are a byword for sin and debauchery. Apparently the two of them were at school together.

The thing is, Sam, that isn’t the story. The Truant Earl’s countess is in London, too. Or she was. Came to collect her husband, found out that he had gone to S.’s party, and took off after him.

Will Lady C. retrieve her husband? How will she know? She hasn’t seen him since their wedding, when they were both all but children. What if she chooses the wrong man? This is, after all, one of S.’s parties! Anything could happen.

Perhaps Lady C. can turn her husband to the paths of righteousness. Or perhaps, just perhaps, she is about to fall down the slippery paths of sinful delight.

I’m getting myself off to the nearby village in the hopes that I can find a few loose tongued servants. More in my next letter.

The Truant Lord Clairmont by Jude Knight

Lady Clairmont goes to a scandalous house party to retrieve her truant husband after his return to England from a nine-year absence. What she discovers is unexpected.

A short story in Sunflower Season a fundraiser collection for Ukraine

SUNFLOWER SEASON is a charity collection featuring stories (some never-been-published and some old favorites) by over 70 — that’s right — SEVENTY of your favorite Historical Romance authors. ALL royalties will be donated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine. This set was released on June 7, 2022 and will only be available for a limited time. Preorder now and enjoy a summer of historical romance!

Featuring novellas, stories and novels by Sabrina Jeffries, Christi Caldwell, Amalie Howard, Virginia Heath, Caroline Lee, Golden Angel, Bree Wolf, Lori Ann Bailey, Nicole Locke, Natasha Blackthorne, Royaline Sing, Lenora Bell, Sabrina Jeffries, Amy Quinton, Janna MacGregor, Annabelle Anders, Rachel Ann Smith, Eva Devon, Sandra Sookoo, Tabetha Waite, Diana Bold, Sadie Bosque, Cheryl Bolen, Erica Monroe, Kate Bateman, Cara Maxwell, Tracy Sumner, Jenna Jaxon, Jane Charles, Eliza Knight, Mariah Stone, Robyn DeHart, Wendy LaCapra, Hildie McQueen, Madeline Martin, Amy Rose Bennett, Ava Bond, Kristin Vayden, Piper Huguley, Fenna Edgewood, Kathryn Le Veque, Caroline Linden, Nancy Yeager, Dawn Brower, Celeste Barclay, Lauren Royal, Michele Pollock Dalton, Glynnis Campbell, Rose Pearson, Erica Ridley, Sydney Jane Baily, Deb Marlowe, Rebecca Paula, Amanda Mariel, Christine Sterling, Ava Stone, Lauren Smith, Sawyer Quinn, Caroline Warfield, Jessica A Clements, Jude Knight, Anna St. Claire, Tamara Gill, Gina Conkle, Charlie Lane, Terri Brisbin, Bronwen Evans, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Merry Farmer, Tammy Andresen, Cecelia Mecca, Meredith Bond, Christine Donovan, Lana Williams, Carrie Lomax, Eve Pendle, Bethany Bennett, Bianca Blythe, Maggie Dallen, Samara Parish, Anna Campbell and more????

Again, ALL proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts. We are not affiliated with any charities but are only doing what we can to provide help for the innocent people who’ve lost so much as a result of this senseless tragedy.

Buy now at your favourite retailer. https://books2read.com/Sunflower-Season-For-Ukraine

Riot at Reform Meeting–Militia Called in to Keep Peace

From Our Yorkshire Correspondent

A meeting held today in York ended in a riot, which was put down by a troop of militia. The meeting was well attended by a wide variety of people, including a number who might properly be called ladies and gentlemen. The first speaker, who spoke at length on the iniquities of the legislation suspending habeas corpus, was allowed to complete his oration unmolested. Possibly because he had put his audience to sleep.

It was not so for the second speaker, whose fiery oration on the topic of rotten boroughs had barely started when it was cut off by a flying vegetable, and then several such projectiles. Several in the crowd took exception to the missile throwing, and within moments, the hall was in chaos, with some scurrying for safety and others wading into the fight.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, some say because of the arrival of armed militia men and others despite this intervention. Several ladies were spirited out the door by burly footmen, one was  escorted away by a clergyman, and  yet another was rescued from the middle of the riot by a gentleman who proved to be Lord D F. This gentleman is not only an army officer (retired) but also the scion of a noble house and a protege (some say a half-brother) of a notable duke who, before his marriage and his elevation to the title, often entertained readers of this paper with his amours.

Our readers will stare when they learn that lady our officer saved — first from the rioters and then from the militia — had no maid with her but was accompanied by a monkey!

Several reputable observers claim that those who lobbed the first object were not reformers at all, but rather pro-Government trouble-makers, or possibly even paid agitators sent to cause trouble. Certainly there can be no greater evidence of the innocence of at least some of those who attended than the little lady with the winsome smile and her mischievious simian. Who, after all, would take a monkey to a riot?

One hopes that the young lord’s patron will receive a scathing denunciation of the government’s tactics in denying Englishmen (and women) their right to meet in peaceful discussion.

One also hopes that we will find out the names of the young lady and her pet, and whether the first meeting we observed between her and Lord D F was followed by further meetings in pleasanter circumstances.

This reform meeting appears in “Lord Cuckoo Comes Home”, Jude Knight’s contribution to the Desperate Daughters box set.

Please do buy the book. Nine wonderful stories in 772 pages, only 99c for the ebook until the week of publication.

Read more and find buy links here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

 

Is the duchess having an affair?

“There’s a story here, Sam,” William Scattermole insisted. “Come on! Everyone will want to read it. The Duchess of Haverford is secretly meeting with the Duke of Winshire? The man she wanted to marry when she was a debutante?” 

He waved the article he wanted Sam to print. “I saw them with my own eyes, going into the same private meeting room at your aunt’s bookshop. They were alone there for a full hour. What were they doing? I can’t tell you that. But I can guess, and so can our readers.”

“Not happening,” Sam told him. “We’re not printing that article, Will, and every newspaper printer in London will say the same.”

“But it’s news!” Will insisted.

Sam sighed. The boy was keen, he’d give him that. And a good writer, or he would be when he learned the use of a fullstop. One of the sentences in the article under discussion was one hundred and fifty three words long! But Will had not yet learned the realities of survival for Society commentators.

“Look, Will. Let me explain this to you point by point. First, what do you think the Duke of Haverford will do if I publish this story about his mother?”

“What can he do,” Will said, belligerently. “It’s the truth. Besides, we’d call her the Duchess of H. Like we usually do, to disguise her identity. People will know we mean her, but they won’t be able to do anything about it because we didn’t use her name.”

Perhaps the boy was an idiot. “That works for Mrs H., or even Lady H. But Will, how many Duchesses of H. and Dukes of W. are there? Disguising the name isn’t going to do us any good at all, and I don’t think you want two dukes out for your blood. I certainly don’t.”

“But it’s the truth,” Will insisted.

“Perhaps.” Sam held up his hand to stop Will’s objection. “I don’t doubt what you saw, Will, but my second point is that your article makes the direct inference that their graces are having an affair. You saw them enter a room, Will. You didn’t see what happened inside it. She’s a lady in her fifties with two adult sons. He must be sixty if he is a day. If they were having an affair, wouldn’t they be looking for more comfort than a room with upright chairs and a table?”

From the look on his face, Will was as uncomfortable with thinking about a dignified matron like the duchess in intimacy on said table or against the wall. He faltered, and then rallied. “We could soften that a little, perhaps.”

“Is there a story without it?” Sam asked. “They are both known for their charitable works, and the duchess has used my aunt’s rooms for philanthropic meetings before. Duke of W. and Duchess of H. meet to talk about scholarships for deserving students. Not much of a story there.”

It took a bit more persuasion, but eventually Will accepted Sam’s dictate. He cheered up when Sam gave him the job of looking into the rumour that the Earl of Ruthford had publicly accused his wife of infidelity, and the pair of them only married a matter of weeks.

“That’s safe enough,” he told Will. “There are any number of Lords and Ladies R.”

Once Will was gone, he counted off the other three points in favour of squashing the story.

“Three, one of our secret investors happens to be the Duke of Haverford, and while I’ve never hesitated to write about him, I’m not going to risk writing about his wife or mother. Not after what he said to me last year, when I published the rumours about Lady C, as she was then.”

He shuddered at the memory.

“Four, I know, better than most, how much good Her Grace does, using her status and her reputation as a most upright and moral lady. I’m a hardened newspaper man, but I’m not going to interfere with her work by painting her as a hypocrite.”

But the last reason trumped all the rest, and was the one he was least likely to disclose to anyone else. If there was one person in the world he feared, it was the formidable lady who ran the Book Emporium and Tea Shoppe. Miss Clemens prided herself on keeping the secrets of her guests (as she preferred to be known). He winced at the mere thought of her reaction to Will’s article.

He opened the folded paper that Will had left behind and read it again. Yes. William showed promise. But this article must never see the light of day.



Paradise Triptych

By Jude Knight

Long ago, when they were young, James and Eleanor were deeply in love. But their families tore them apart and they went on to marry other people. Paradise Triptych tells their story in three parts.

Paradise Regained

James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.

Paradise Lost

In 1812, the suitor Eleanor’s father rejected in favour of the Duke of Haverford has returned to England. He has been away for thirty-two years, and has returned a widower, and the father of ten children.

As the year passes, various events prompt Eleanor to turn to her box of keepsakes, which recall the momentous events of her life.

Paradise Lost is a series of vignettes grounded in 1812, in which Eleanor relives those memories.

Paradise At Last

Now Haverford is deceased nothing stands between the Duchess of Haverford and the Duke of Winshire. Except that James has not forgiven Eleanor for putting the dynasty of the Haverfords ahead of his niece’s happiness.

Can two star-crossed lovers find their happiness at last? Or will their own pride or the villain who wants to destroy the Haverfords stand in their way?

Paradise Triptych contains two novella and a set of memoirs: Paradise Regained (already published), Paradise Lost (distributed to my newsletter subscribers) and Paradise At Last (new for this collection).

Order your copy now: https://books2read.com/Triptych

Damsels in Distress Take York by Storm — Love Against the Odds?

The women who call themselves the Bluestocking Belles are at it again, Sam — invading another set of lives and writing a series of tell-all stories. And people call the Tattler a scandal rag!

This one will be out next year, but I should be able to scrape a few details from the Belles and their friends before then. This year, Meara Platt, Ella Quinn, Mary Lancaster, and Alina K. Field have joined the Belles for the collection.

So far, what I’ve discovered is that all the stories are about one family and their connections.

You may remember the jokes and gossip a few years back when the Earl of Seahaven took his fifth bride, and her young enough to be his granddaughter? And a baker’s daughter, at that. Then he died before the first year was out. All jokes about stamina and demanding young brides aside, it was a terrible thing for the girl, especially when the child she was carrying at the time was not the Earl’s longed-for son, but a ninth daughter.

The new earl, a distant cousin, decided that he had no responsibility for the upkeep of ten females. The dowager countess was left to her own devices, with her own baby girl and eight step-daughters.

That was three years ago, more or less. The latest news will be in the Bluestocking Belles’ new collection of stories. Apparently, the ladies have managed to somehow afford a York Season! There’ll be more than the races to amuse the Polite World this year. It’ll be intriguing to see how many suitors are willing to take on a bride with a very small dowry and a whole platoon of sisters.

I’ll be digging around some more, Sam, and I’ll certainly let you know what I find out.

Oh! And the collection is called Desperate Daughters. Catchy title, that, and it says it all, really. This should be a lot of fun!

***

Read more about Desperate Daughters and preorder here.

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