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Category: Lizzi Tremayne

No but a Tacksman?

1814   Golburn, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands

“Young Robbie, he’s got an eye to your daughter,” said Màiri Gunn, as she drove her hoe into the ground, “and he’s smart and a right handsome young man, so tall for his age.”

“Robbie?” Sofia Gray’s mother frowned. “They grew up together, but since she’s becomin’ a woman, I’ve kept ‘er in the bothy and away from ‘im. He’ll be no but a tacksman,” she said with disdain.

blackhouse“No but a tacksman?” Màiri stopped and leaned on the wooden handle. “A tacksman is as high as a daughter of yours is bound to go. What, do you have plans to wed her to the son of the laird or something?” She laughed.

Sofia’s mother gritted her teeth and practically growled as she attacked the ground with renewed fervor. “We’re the biggest tenant farmers on this tack. They’d be lookin’ hard t’ find a better match fer their sons, but especially young Archibald.”

Màiri stared at her and gritted her teeth for a moment. “You forget yourself, woman. How do you intend to make this come to pass?”

Sofia Somewhere Like HomeMrs. Gray drew herself up. “Why, by sendin’ Sofia up t’ the manor into service. The sons won’t be able to resist her, and she’ll be wed before the year’s out,” she said, her voice edged with triumph. “An’ the whole family’ll benefit.”

“You have rocks in your head, woman.” Màiri wouldn’t bother going into all the reasons why it would never happen. “She’d end up like poor Fenella. Just returned from the laird’s to the village, and her so far along.”

robbie somewhere like home“Sofia isn’t a slut like her.” Mrs. Gray turned up her nose. “And we’re related to the laird.”

“We’re all related to the laird.” Màiri snorted. “No doubt it wasn’t for Fenella’s lack of trying to resist. Fenella’s a lovely girl. Your Sofia is too, but she’s a lot softer than Fenella ever was—she wouldn’t survive up there.” Màiri shook her head at the audacity of the woman. Everyone knew about the laird’s eldest son. Pray young Sofia wasn’t sent up into that lion’s den.

scottish

This has been a deleted scene from Somewhere Like Home, Lizzi Tremayne’s contribution to the Bluestocking Belles’ 2018 Holiday Boxed set! Hope you enjoyed it!

somewhere like home blurb

From the Highlands to Waterloo—can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her at the mercy of the laird’s degenerate son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

Follow Your Star Home is available now!

If you like Somewhere Like Home in Follow Your Star Home, be sure to join  Lizzi Tremayne’s VIP List here to be notified when Somewhere Called Home, the full novel, is released in May 2019!

The Bluestocking Belles 2018 Holiday Boxed Set

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

The Bluestocking Belles are proud to present eight never before published novellas in their latest Holiday collection. As always, we will donate some of the proceeds of the box set to a cause dear to the hearts of the Bluestocking Belles, women’s education. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Eight original stories, more than 600 pages of diverse characters,  complex relationships, and happily ever afters.

Only $3.99 US for this massive book!  Enjoy!

FYSHThe Novellas

A Yule Love Story, by Nicole Zoltack

When Sonja stumbles upon fallen bodies littering her beach, she heals the lone survivor. After all, her late mother had been a healer.

Unbeknownst to Sonja, that survivor is none other than Anoundus. At one time, he ruled alongside his brother as co-kings of Sweden, but no longer. He has been banished.

What kind of life will he face here? What role will Sonja play? Can the two dare to find love this Yuletide?

Paradise Regained, by Jude Knight

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.

Somewhere Like Home, by Lizzi Tremayne

Things are heating up in the Scottish Highlands. When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and heads for the city to build a new life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety for herself and the remainder of the family during the clearance of their village—and leaves Sofia to the lusts of the laird’s degenerate son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

But Sofia is dead, or is she?

A Wish for All Seasons, by Rue Allyn

The last thing Caibre MacFearann wants is to return to Scotland let alone be forced to stay there. But the chance to rekindle the lost love of his youth is too tempting to resist.

Losing Caibre MacFearann’s love once hurt so much that Aisla MacKai wants nothing to do with him when a blizzard brings the man to her doorstep. Kindness and human charity require that she give him shelter, no matter that her poor heart had never mended.

From the Umbrella Chronicles: James and Annie’s Story, by Amy Quinton

His Grace, James Quill, will not be a bachelor-in-poor-standing for very much longer. For I, Lady Harriett Ross of the Infamous Umbrella, have avowed to orchestrate his betrothal to his former best friend, Miss Annie Merryweather, whether either of them wishes it.

Surprisingly, His Grace has agreed to my proposed 10-step plan.

Not-so-surprisingly, Her Soon-to-be-Grace is determined to resist the notorious prodigal son.

Will they find love and forgiveness this holiday season?

Time will tell.

Lady Harriett Ross,

Self-proclaimed Motley Meddler * Mistress of Destiny * Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

The Last Post, by Caroline Warfield

Love for Rosemarie Legrand gave Harry the will to go on during the horror of trench warfare. Now, army orders trap him in a camp awaiting repatriation. A bout of the Spanish flu lays him even lower, but he is determined not to leave without her. He’ll desert if he has to.

Rosemarie waits for word on her cousin’s farm where she took refuge when war reached the outskirts of Amiens. She wrote to tell him. Has he forgotten her? When the slimmest of information arrives, she sets out to find him.

Can these two lovers reunite before it is too late?

A Fine Chance, by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Helen Watson arranged a job for an out-of-work former soldier at her workplace, unaware that she’s the miracle Robert Fairmont needed.

Robert has returned from the Great War a new man with a new name. A job in his father’s factory is the first step toward reconciliation.

Can Helen forgive him for hiding his true or will Robert end up losing his father and his one true love?

All he needs is a fine chance.

One Last Kiss: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time novella, by Sherry Ewing

Banished from his homeland, Thomas of Clan Kincaid lives among distant relatives, reluctantly accepting he may never return home… Until an encounter with the castle’s healer tells him of a woman travelling across time—for him.

Dare he believe the impossible?

Jade Calloway is used to being alone, and as Christmas approaches, she’s skeptical when told she’ll embark on an extraordinary journey. How could a trip to San Francisco be anything but ordinary? But when a ring magically appears, and she sees a ghostly man in her dreams…

Dare she believe in the possible?

Thrust back in time, Jade encounters Thomas—her fantasy ghost. Talk about extraordinary. But as time works against them, they must learn to trust in miracles.

Can they accept impossible love before time interferes?

Hope you love the stories!

Once again, if you like Somewhere Like Home in Follow Your Star Home, be sure to join  Lizzi Tremayne’s VIP List here to be notified when the full novel, renamed  Somewhere Called Home is released in May 2019!

Until next time!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

 

The Ungrateful Scots of the Honorable Lady S—

arrival at coast

My dear Mr. Clement,

I have become aware the Honourable Lady S— of the wilds of the Scottish Highlands has been keeping rather to the drawing rooms and balls of London lately. It seems there has been some discontent in her lands far to the north by some people who cannot see the forest for the trees.

Lady S—, in her goodness, has offered to many of her very own clan, from tacksmen through to the lowest sub-tenant, fine land and a good livelihood fishing and kelping. All they had to do was pick up their belongings and stroll to the coast, where this easy living awaited them.

But no, the more short-sighted them, they fussed and dragged their feet. Her new factor, Gellar, had to encourage them to leave. He lightened their load (so they wouldn’t have to carry their roof poles all the way to the coast) by a few small fires. I’m told it was cold at the time, so the fires should have helped them. A few of the miserable villagers refused to go and were unfortunately burned inside the dismal hovels they called their homes. A few died soon afterwards. One can but try to assist them; they must be expected to make some effort.

Surprisingly, there has been some evidence of unrest from these villagers. It is unfortunate they could not just trust in the benevolence of their clan leader, Lady S—. She means only the best for them.

There has been talk she means to replace the villagers with sheep. Sheep give a much better income per acre than the villagers and their motley cattle. Unfortunately, some of the ingrates have been heard to mutter comments like “your sheep won’t protect you when the French invade your shores,” and other things—much too crude to repeat here. Sheep which have already been placed upon lands have been stolen in large numbers—they were returned, but only after large numbers of Redcoats were dispatched. The rude people have also have been complaining about the factor’s earlier setting of controlled (well, mostly controlled) fires to clear the hills of brush and scruffy vegetation. The dry, useless greenery had to be eliminated so as to improve grass growth before the arrival of the eagerly-anticipated sheep.

With the extra money generated by the sheep, Lady S— will be much better able to assist her clansmen in their lovely new villages by the sea—when they get over their temper tantrums and learn to be grateful.

But all this will have to wait until it is again safe for the good Lady S— to return to her birthright. I, for one, cannot wait to see what these “improvements”, for that is what they certainly are, will be.

Yours respectfully,

An Admirer of Civilized Economics

Whatever can be going on?

This little bit of dirt comes your way compliments of Bluestocking Belle Lizzi Tremayne. Sofia and Robbie’s story, called Somewhere Like Home: The Novella is part of the upcoming Bluestocking Belles’ Christmas anthology! The full novel is expected six months after the release of this boxed set! Watch for it!

You’ll find Lizzi’s details beneath the Bluestocking Belles’ Welcome menu item at the top of this page or find her at the links below the Extract!

scottish

Somewhere Like Home: The Novella*

From the Highlands to Waterloo—

                    can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her to the lusts of the laird’s son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

 

Extract

Sofia turned away from the window as heavy footsteps sounded down the hall. “He’s gone, sir,” came a voice from the room next door.

She clamped her jaw tight at the voice of Gellar, the laird’s new man.

Sofia tuned her ears to listen as she drew back the bed curtains and pulled down the rumpled covers, then began to dismantle the bed-makings while trying to remember their replacement order.

“Are your men ready?” The laird said.

“Ready and keen, waiting with metal bins for their hot coals.”

Coals?

Sofia tried to focus on the unfamiliar bedding while still listening. Her heart grew chillier by the word. The bed not only had a straw mattress, all she’d ever known, but a canvas sheet, topped by a feather mattress. Which to tuck the sheets under?

blackhouse

“I don’t expect trouble. There should only be one able-bodied man in the whole village—the rest are off with the cattle. We needn’t worry about Gunn—he won’t be back until tomorrow.” Sofia stopped short, along with her heart.

Gunn? Did she hear correctly?

Then came the fat bolster at the head of the bed. She tossed it into place and fluffed it while she strained to hear.

“So, after we torch the village, we just stand back and wait or leave them to it?” Gellar’s voice grated as Sofia scarcely breathed.snow clearances

“Just in case any of the tenants have the brains to remember,” the laird said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, “you need to make sure they don’t take their roof timbers. They need to burn. I want the tenants gone and they can’t carry their timbers all the way to the coast. They can build with what they find there. Of course,” he chuckled, “there isn’t any wood for miles.”

Gellar laughed, and Sofia gritted her teeth to keep from shrieking.

She finally laid the sheet over the top of the bed, hands shaking so badly she had to walk around the bed several times to straighten it while the men continued.

“The crofts I’ve set aside on the shore won’t let them grow enough food to survive without working the beds and processing the kelp. At least they’ll stay warm while they’re burning it. The market for it isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still worth a lot to us. arrival at coastCertainly, more than the tenants and that blasted tacksman are paying in rents here. They won’t have the faintest idea how to fish, but they’ll figure it out if it keeps them from starving. Sheep on the hills instead of my erstwhile ‘clansmen’ will make us a fortune. As my dear lady believes, it will be a better life for them as ‘crofters’—an improvement.”

“For all of us,” Gellar said with a snort. “So, we start an hour before sundown?”

“Ideal,” said the laird. “Get cracking. You’re now my new factor. Make the most of it, ‘Factor Gellar’.”

Sofia flinched at the sound of clinking glasses, then somehow got the blankets on all anyhow and draped the elaborate tapestry ceremo­niously over all. Standing back, she surveyed her handiwork, waiting for her heart to stop racing after the heavy footsteps left the way they’d come.

She found another way back to the servants’ quarters, not daring to pass the open office door.scottish

Want to read more?

You’ll find the rest of the story in Somewhere Like Home: The Novella, part of the Bluestocking Belles’ next collection, to be published in November. Come along to our Facebook Event on 8 September to find out the title of this exquisite boxed set by eight of our Belles! We’ll be telling you more about each story and revealing the cover! We’ll see you there!

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Join Lizzi’s Book Club, with a sampler gift!

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*(and no, sorry, you can not see the cover yet!)

Pah-Ute War: in A Long Trail Rolling!

“Oh my goodness, Edith, will you look at this?” Mabel said, as she rushed through the garden gate.

“What is it?” Edith picked up another of her husband’s shirts from the basket and shook it out.

“Wasn’t your sister coming west from St. Joseph by stage?” Mabel’s voice rose as she spoke.

“Yes?” Edith paused, a clothespin in her mouth.

“Says here,” Mabel went on, “the Pah-Utes are on the warpath again.”

Edith swallowed hard and bit her lip. “Do you blame them, after those idiots in Williams took those poor Indian girls captive?”

“Yes, well, you’re one of the only ones feeling sorry for them. No stage’ll be coming this way for awhile—it says nearly every stage and Pony Express station has been attacked, station keepers killed, and stock run off or taken—for nearly a hundred miles!”

“Where?” Edith peered over her friend’s shoulder at the Deseret News. “Which stations are they talking about?”

“Says from Schell Creek nearly to Carson Sink.”

Edith let her breath out. “Oh, thank God for that. That’s west of us. No stage runs west out of Salt Lake.”

“Oh,” Mabel said, visibly deflating. “But it’s still bad news, nonetheless,” she said defensively.

“But bound to happen,” Edith said, her mouth a firm line.


A Long Trail Rolling

Long Trail Rolling

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

In the Old West’s Utah Territory of 1860, Aleksandra is trained by her father in the Cossack arts. She finds herself alone, disguised as a Pony Express rider, running to keep her pa’s killer from finding their family’s secret. And that was before she galloped full speed into the middle of the Paiute Indian War.

Xavier isn’t about to let anyone get too close, especially a woman, while he bides his time as a Pony Express Station Manager in the middle of a desert, evading his heritage as the eldest son of an old Spanish Californio family. His history taught him women are not to be trusted. Letting this slip of a stroppy, yet alluring, girl get under his skin is not on the cards.

The villain is coming closer, with his sights set on Aleksandra. Thrown together in an ever-worsening situation, despite their own agendas, can Aleksandra and Xavier overcome their differences before the ever-increasing odds overtake them?

 


Excerpt from A Long Trail Rolling

In A Long Trail Rolling, due to circumstances best left unsaid until you read it, Aleksandra rides the Pony Express—as a boy. Things went from bad to worse and she rode through some of the worst part of the attacks of the Pah-Ute war. Here’s an excerpt from the story. Aleks is just about to leave a Pony station in to the west of Salt Lake City in Utah Territory.

Enjoy!


‘You take care out there through the canyon. Horses and riders don’t just disappear by themselves.’ Peter shook his head, his lips a firm line below his furrowed forehead.

‘I promise.’ Thanking him, she vaulted on and the mare laid back her ears and fairly flew on toward Overland Canyon.

The trail entered the canyon from the flat valley floor, meandering gradually upward in a wavelike fashion, sage-brush and early sprouts of grass growing along the creek next to the trail. Aleksandra was just wondering why everyone thought Overland Canyon was so dangerous when the trail became abruptly steeper and began to twist and turn tightly as the hills closed in. Sitting straighter, the blood beginning to pound in her ears, she picked up her reins and scanned the mountainsides flanking the track as they rose higher and higher, ensnaring the pathway within a narrow gorge of exposed strata and tumbled stone bluffs.

Bluffs just meant for ambuscade, with caves big enough to shield a man.

Aleksandra gulped. Giving the little mare her head, they raced on through the canyon.

She glanced left up the mouth of a small ravine as they surged past it.

Blood Canyon.

She shuddered, remembering its name from stories in the Indian village, glad she didn’t have to ride through that even narrower defile winding its way to the top of Blood Mountain.

The trail finally opened up into rolling sage-brush covered flats, Canyon Station dead ahead.

Feeling faint, Aleksandra gasped for a breath, wondering how long she’d held it through the last gauntlet. Laughing shakily, Aleksandra leaned forward, giving the puffing mare a heartfelt hug, then sat up and mumbled sweet nothings to her, scratching her withers as they trotted slowly into the station.

Aleksandra left there on a gray colt, keen and ready to run. The keeper, his jaw set and a frown deeply embedded in his lined face, hadn’t seen the Eastbound Express rider either.

The trail ran gradually uphill ahead of her along the little creek, then left it, rising up the center of a long, open valley. On her left, two prospectors looked up from working their rocker in the creek to wave at her. She reined in for a moment.

‘Good afternoon gentlemen!’

‘And to you! Safe through Overland, are ye?’ shouted a big bear of a man.

‘Yessir!’ she shouted. ‘You haven’t seen an Eastbound rider in the past few days, have you?’

‘No.’ He turned to the other, who shook his head. ‘No, we haven’t, sorry, lad!’

‘Okay, thanks. Having any luck?’ She smiled at the pair.

‘Luck’s all good, Boy! All good!’ the other one added in a shrill voice.

‘What are these workings, please?’ Aleksandra remembered to lower her voice this time.

‘This here’s Clifton Flat, best gold workin’s in the territory!’ He puffed up his chest. ‘Major Egan found gold here a few years ago and we’re in his employ, workin’ it for him!’

‘Excellent, thank you, enjoy your day!’ she replied with a wave and loosed the reins. The colt, needing little encouragement, shot off like an arrow from a bow.

‘Hold on to your hair!’ The burly prospector bellowed over the wind in her ears, as the horse bolted on up the valley, then over the top of the next ridge.

Hopping off at the top, Aleksandra looked out over the expanse spread out before her in awe. The track arced steeply down the mountainside for several miles, with good visibility in every direction, before coming to rest in a huge, fertile-looking wash that seemed to go on forever. Her papa had called the place by its Indian name, Ibapah.

‘Guess we’d better start down that hill,’ she said to the colt, and began running down the track beside the colt, who snorted and skittered beside her until he became accustomed to trotting alongside her.

The Deep Creek Station keeper had no word of the missing rider either. Feeding her well, he sent her out on a pinto Mustang, who loped across the flat valley floor, heading for Prairie Gate. Only four more stations until she was done for the day.

On a keen horse and free to enjoy the day.

She finally let her mind wander back to Xavier and her heart sank, the only shadow in her day. She wondered how he fared with his family and if he missed her as she missed him.

With a gulp, she realized was time to face it. Ahead was a good three hours of open and clear trail to ride. It was time to work through it.

She took a deep breath to try to dispel the anxiety that immobilized her when she thought too hard about their relationship. Every time they seemed close, it all slipped away. She feared nothing she could do would ever hold it together.

Her thoughts circled throughout the day as they traversed the dry sage-brush flats, passing Prairie Gate and Antelope Springs Stations. She repeatedly gripped the buckskin bag beneath her shirt, desperate for guidance.

In the distance ahead stood the Antelope Range. The pass they needed to traverse wasn’t particularly high, but the rocky divide lined by cedars and piñón pines was still challenging. The fresh scent of the evergreens tingled in her nostrils when she brushed them in passing, clearing her head.

At Spring Valley Station, the worried keeper handed her two thick sourdough muffins filled with salt pork.

‘Hope it don’t spoil yer supper over at Schell, but it’s a long slog over that mountain.’

‘Always enough room for more food,’ she said with a grin.

‘Anyways, I’m givin’ you the best little horse I’ve got, Aleks.’

‘Thanks, Patrick.’ She took a deep breath and looked at the little black Mustang. Her eyes shone with a quiet intelligence. She was evenly muscled and solid, her legs clean.

‘She’s the toughest horse I’ve ever known. She’ll take good care of ye over Shellbourne Pass and get ye to Schell Creek in no time!’ He puffed his chest out as he stroked the mare’s neck.

‘I’m thankful for all the good horses and the men of the stations. They’ve always got a smile for me and a pat for the horses when we ride out.’

His brows drew together and he tried for a smile. ‘You take care out there, won’t you? We don’t want another missing rider.’

‘I’ll see you on the way back. We’ll be fine.’ Aleksandra gripped his hand firmly, then vaulted onto the mare and set off for Schell.

Aleksandra wasn’t sure which of them she was trying to reassure.

Her heart sang as the nimble mare climbed up through the trees to the top of the 7000-foot high pass. As the sun neared the horizon, the air began to cool and she hopped off, jogging down the descent to warm up and get some feeling back into her feet.

As she prepared to mount again, a movement back down on the flats caught her eye. Spinning toward it, she saw only a herd of antelope, now motionless, eyes staring and ears perked to scrutinize her passing. She gave a shaky laugh and the antelope disappeared into the dusk.

Aleksandra swayed and jerked back upright, coming awake from drowsing.

Not a good idea.

A station showed, about a mile away.

Must be Schell Creek. Think about something to stay awake.

Her mind flicked back to Xavier and she cringed.

And stop avoiding the challenge with him. Think it through, focus. Try to resolve something, before we get to Schell.

She shook herself.

It finally clicked. In her impatience, she’d driven him away by asking for more closeness than he could give. The emptiness in the pit of her stomach overwhelmed her, and the thought she might never have a chance to see him again, much less get the opportunity to make, no, let this relationship work.

Life is indeed short in the West.

As they neared the station, her choices suddenly became clear as a mountain lake.

How did I miss them before?

It was as if they were written on a wall before her.

You can’t make someone love you,

you can’t fix anyone,

and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

Fervently she vowed to offer Xavier, and others in her life, the time they needed to learn to trust, fully knowing she might never get the chance to try again with Xavier. Her desolation ran deep and tears poured down her cheeks as she rode into Schell Creek Station.

It might have been the mare that did it, stopping dead in her tracks, nearly dropping Aleksandra over her shoulder, or maybe it was the flies that buzzed around the blood pooling beneath the butchered man in the Express station doorway. Whichever it was, it got her full attention.


I hope you enjoyed that!

Long Trail Rolling

To read more, you can find it here

 

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I only sought a lady’s maid… and now this…

Such goings-on in the manor of Lord and Lady M–!

I had it from Lady M– herself!

A faint rapping came upon the door. The soft voice of Emma, the parlour maid, followed. “My Lady?”

“Enter,” I called.

Emma entered and curtsied to me. “Pardon me, My Lady, but the young woman is here about the position. Would you like to see her in the morning room?”

“Yes, thank you. I’ll be there presently.” With a sigh, I stood from my seat at the desk and stretched, glancing around my bedroom with a wince. Dresses, chemises, ribbons seemed to have strewn themselves over every available surface. I was sorry for Hannah, my maid, but she truly was not well, and the trip away with her daughter would do her the world of good. I desperately needed a lady’s maid.

Never mind, perhaps this one will be suitable.

I straightened my bodice and patted my hair back into position. Earlier this morning, Emma had tried her best with my coiffure, but she had never been trained as a lady’s maid.

C’est la vie.

My husband Lord M—’s ancestors frowned down from their portraits at the picture I must make with my less than salubrious attire, but I was, indeed, trying to remedy that situation this morning.

Emma stood beside the closed door to the morning room, curtsied and opened it. I entered, and the portal clicked closed behind me.

The girl, dressed in a tidy shirt and skirt, stood beside the fire in the grate, her pelisse over her arm. She curtsied, then looked directly at me, which I found refreshing.

“Good morning, and you would be Rachael,” I said, as I seated myself in one of the comfortable French chairs.

“Yes, My Lady. Good morning to you. Thank you for seeing me today.”

“Mmm. You understand I seek a lady’s maid. Have you a character?”

She handed over the single sheet of paper, folded and sealed. I glanced at the seal. Sutherland, no less.

“And what was your position at Sutherland’s?”

“If it pleases you, My Lady, I was a parlour maid there, but me mum trained me to be a lady’s maid since I was young.” She dropped her eyes to her wool-lined pelisse and the fingers of one hand crushed her carefully pleated skirt as she stood waiting for my next question.

“And you do not wish to continue as a parlour maid?”

She swallowed hard and looked back at me. “No, if it pleases you. I wish to better myself, to honour the memory of my mother.”

“You’re well-spoken. Your mother’s doing?”

She nodded. “Yes, My Lady.”

“And why do you wish to leave the employ of the Sutherlands?”

She took a deep breath and tightened her jaw. She finally answered. “Do you wish to hear the acceptable answer to that question or the truth?”

I smiled at her. The girl had gumption. “I appreciate being given the choice,” I said, with a wry grin. “The truth, please. Always.”

“It’s to be the truth, then.” She tightened her jaw for a moment. “I’d aspired to the position of lady’s maid there, but one young Master Sutherland… he was a bit free with his hands on more than one occasion, and… well, luckily, I was blessed to be holding a hot warming pan in mine, and… no one was injured, but the noise was tremendous.” Her lips twitched, but she kept a straight face. “Several other servants rushed to the room. I escaped and stayed as far away as possible from the young master. Fortunately, or unfortunately,” the girl looked down at me with a grimace, “on the same day, a young girl from the estate, Sofia, came into service as a tweenie.” She looked at me again, her brow wrinkled.

“Go on, please,” I said.

“Not only has her whole family been sent out to the coast in the Clearances, but Sofia was waiting for her young Robert, the son of the old Tacksman, and the love of her life, to return from his military service, but, well, things have gone badly for the young miss. Very badly. I know it is just a matter of time before…. well, before she is dismissed… and then his attentions could return to me. I’m a good girl and don’t want to go that way, if it pleases you, My Lady.”

I frowned at the character in my hands, as yet unopened.

Was there any point opening it?

 

Author’s note:

For those of you who have read the first book in The Long Trails series, A Long Trail Rolling, this is the first of Scotty’s stories. As you may remember, Scotty is the trading post proprietor in A Long Trail Rolling, my award winning debut novel. Scotty’s real name is Robert, not Scotty, but you’ll have to read the as-yet unwritten books to find out the reasons he changed his name!

I invite you to wait to hear the rest of Scotty and Sophia’s story in the boxed set by the Bluestocking Belles, coming later this year!

Meanwhile, check out my other books on my website!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

About Lizzi

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced in the Gold and Pony Express Country of California before emigrating to New Zealand.

Busy raising two boys, farming, and running her own equine veterinary practice, she never thought she’d sit down long enough to write more than an article. A serious injury, however, changed all that, and planted her in one place long enough to jump-start her new career as an author!

With Lizzi’s debut historical romance, A Long Trail Rolling, she was: Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings; Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award for the best unpublished full manuscript; Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel and third in the 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section; and Finalist, 2015 Best Indie Book Award. Her newest novels and novellas, all released in 2017, are currently entered in more contests, and she’s working on her next novel!

When she’s not writing, she’s swinging a rapier or shooting a bow in medieval garb, riding or driving a carriage, playing in the garden on her hobby farm, singing, cooking, practicing as an equine veterinarian or teaching high school science. She is multiply published and awarded in special interest magazines and veterinary periodicals.

Lizzi is new to the Belles, but she’s loving the friendships she’s already developing with the rest of the ladies. She adores how they’re so progressive, organized, and fun. Best of all, they are all willing to put themselves out there, together, to achieve more, create more, than would be possible going it alone.

Lizzi loves to connect with her readers!

You can learn more about Lizzi and her books here or on these social media sites:

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Heard on the Boardwalk of Camp Floyd

Camp Floyd, Utah, 1860

“Did you hear about the other night at the saloon?” Miss Mora whispered, then forced a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes at a tall, dark, and handsome passing them on the boardwalk.

“No, whatever happened?” Miss Alamander, dressed in blue, sidled closer to her friend, if you could call her that, and together they took refuge behind her fan. Miss Mora’s lips made a moue at the back of the man who had just passed them without sparing the ladies, in their glittering (if slightly stained) dresses, another glance.

“I’d gone with Mr. Sorley for an evening of fun and cards at his cabin, entertaining him and his friends,” Miss Mora gave the other woman a wicked smile, “and—“

“I’ll bet you made a pretty penny for that night’s work,” Miss Alamander cut in, her lips tight.

She just smirked.

“Okay.” The woman in blue crossed her arms and waited, but Miss Mora just stood with one brow raised. Her curiosity eventually got the better of her, even over her annoyance at Miss Mora’s good fortune at the potential expense of hers. “What happened?” she finally asked.

“You wouldn’t think it, would you, but that big blond brute of a man, Jackson—”

“Yes?” she breathed, egging Miss Mora on.

“If you’d let me finish,” she harrumphed, “Jackson stumbled into the saloon late last night, drunk as a skunk, and…” She broke off and smiled over her fan at a man passing by, then resumed, “he stormed across the room toward this boy, and he so young he hadn’t a hair on his face.”

“And…?”

“Well, the young lad had his hat on, a big ten-galón hat, you know, like the caballeros from Mexico wear?”

“Get on with it,” Miss Alamander said crossly. We don’t have all day.” She smiled at a filthy man riding his horse past them, his stench following him, and swallowed hard.

“That boy, he got the best of him!” Miss Mora whispered.

Miss Alamander looked up from the blue bodice that just barely covering her bosom and blinked. “But no one gets the best of Mr. Jackson! That’s impossible, how did he do it?” She hissed as Miss Mora turned away from her to make eyes at a man walking down the street leading his mules not a yard away from them.

The gentleman’s accoutrements bespoke his success in the goldfields—not only his exquisite, if dusty, clothing, but the fine wood and leather cases piled high over his pickaxes, shovels, and pans. His waistcoat alone must have cost more than her wages for a month. She gulped and took a breath deep enough to nearly bust herself out of her bodice, but he never looked her way as Miss Mora strode boldly toward him.

“And how might you be today, sir?” she asked him in a throaty tone, somehow wiggling her top half at the same time she floated off the boardwalk and through the mud.

“All the better for seeing you,” he said, with a chuckle. “Will you ladies be here long?”

At least this time, he included Miss Alamander in his glance.

“That depends upon what you have in mind, sir,” Miss Mora continued, as she slithered up to him and stood between him and Miss Alamander, as if on purpose. Her gliding was made all the more difficult by the half-foot of slop which the locals deigned to call a “street” here in Camp Floyd. The soldiers didn’t seem to mind, but the ladies did.

“What do you say you come along with me for awhile,” he said, then nodded at Miss Alamander, still standing on the boards, “and then you can rejoin your friend afterward?”

The woman in blue took a deep breath and unclenched her hands and smoothed the silk down over her abdomen and joined them demurely before her. She gritted her teeth and forced a smile at him, then turned to face the other men passing her by as the stores closed for the day.

No one was up for a tussle at this early hour, at least the locals, and the soldiers would be at their mess up at the fort, so Miss Alamander cooled her heels for what seemed a month and fought back a smile.

This was going to be fun.

She schooled her features to look impatient as Miss Mora finally returned, a bit less tidy than when she’d left. She was missing a few hairpins, but wore a big smile. She jingled as she hopped up onto the boardwalk.

“So stop looking like the cat that ate the cream,” Miss Alamander said, pursing her lips, “and tell me! How did a mere boy best big old Jackson, especially when he was in his cups?”

“He cut him.” Miss Mora gave her a sideways smile. “Jackson stormed toward him, and you know how big he is, but this boy, his waist no bigger around than that brute’s leg, just stood up at his table, cool as a cucumber, knocked his glass on a table, even with his arms held behind his back by one of Jackson’s henchmen, and cut him. Sliced his arms and then those of the despicable man behind him, and bolted out the door! No one’s seen the boy since.”

“No.” Miss Alamander did her best to look shocked, but it would be nothing to what she was about to see on her friend’s face. She couldn’t wait.

“Yes,” Miss Mora said, nodding her head emphatically.

“You don’t say,” Miss Alamander said. “Now I remember. I heard something about that… I heard it wasn’t a boy at all… it was a girl!

Miss Mora’s chin dropped until it came to rest on her ample and exposed bosom. For once, she was speechless.

Wow, what a woman, if it was one! Who could she be? You’ll have to read A Long Trail Rolling to find out!

About the Book

Camp Floyd

A Long Trail Rolling

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

Just orphaned, Aleksandra holds the family secret her father died for. She hides by joining the Pony Express as a boy, where an alluring Californio sees through her guise and offers help—and more.

Xavier’s conviction that women cannot be trusted is deeply rooted in the reasons he left his birthright. But Alex is like no woman he has ever met.

With the killer getting closer and an Indian war brewing, Alex and Xavier must decide whom they can trust, and what they really want.

Lizzi is one of the newest Bluestocking Belles!

Lizzi

A Long Trail Rolling is the first book in

The Long Trails series, out now!

Find the book here:

#ReadforFreeonKindleUnlimited or buy it here in paperback or digital on Amazon

Lizzi loves to connect with her readers!

You can learn more about Lizzi and her books here or on these social media sites:

Subscribe to Lizzi’s Newsletter (with a free gift!)

Subscribe to Lizzi’s Blog

Friend Lizzi on Facebook

Follow Lizzi on Twitter

Follow Lizzi on Bookbub

Follow Lizzi on Instagram

Follow Lizzi on Goodreads

Follow Lizzi on Pinterest

Follow Lizzi on YouTube

Email Lizzi

Visit Lizzi’s Author Website

 

 

Sign Me Up!  

Sign up for Lizzi’s newsletter here, with a free gift!

 

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