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Count’s Actions Get Curiouser and Curioser

There’s been scandalous talk in some corners of the Bon Ton regarding the company kept by the eligible bachelor, Armand Danger, Comte de Ytres.

Rumour has it that he was spotted at White’s seeking out the company of Lord Kingston Prendegast. Now your correspondent has it on good authority that the only reason why one seeks out the man willingly is to seek an invitations to one of his parties.

Few details are known about what goes on inside these bacchanals, as both guests and servants are sworn to secrecy suffice to say that the finest of spirits (and the finest of the lightskirts) are to be found.

We are curious to know what the good count is up to given his predeliction for attending auction houses of late and being seen in the company of one Miss Jade Bridges, sister of the current proprietor of Bridges & Sons.

A CURIO FOR THE COUNT

To find his future, he must own his past…

An excerpt from A Curio For The Count:
Lord Prendegast was easy to spot.

His costume hinted at a Tudor style – a close-fitting doublet in red satin edged in black which featured mameluke sleeves of red satin slashed with black. His hose was the same shade of scarlet. His shoes were red leather held by gold buckles and black bows, while gold rings and a striking collar made of large square links sat around his shoulders and neck.

Armand imagined this would be how a libertine Sir Francis Drake might dress. But who was he representing?

Mephistopheles?

It seemed appropriate.

Prendegast headed his way. Armand acknowledged him with a nod, but not his name.

His host clasped him by the shoulders. “Come now, do you see nothing to your liking?”

Armand forced a laugh. “I see plenty – too much to take in all at once.”

“Then greed is not your deadly sin. Very wise of you. The virtuous say to delay gratification is to make the conquest more satisfying. Perhaps there is something to it, perhaps not. Every taste is catered for here. You must be one of my first-time guests.”

He nodded over to a clutch of colorfully dressed prostitutes.

“Nothing is off-limits to my guests. If they do not whet your appetite, you may wish to sample the serving wenches as well as the food.”

He watched as Armand took it all in – the spectacle, the displays of flesh. More welcome than any of that was the smell of freshly roasted meat on a spit.

Prendegast noticed his interest.

“Lust and gluttony can be a potent combination. Enjoy.”

Armand bowed, took another sip from his ale, and put a lightness in his step to stop himself from looking entirely sober and used the opportunity to wander around the gardens.

There were more here than just the statue of Athena. There were at least a dozen magnificent life-sized figures from the pantheon of Greek deity. Armand had no idea who the sculptor was, but he could appreciate the workmanship. It was tempting to run his hands along the shapely calf of Aphrodite, so he did and ignored any strange glances that might have been directed his way.

Why not? Nothing was off-limits.

The anonymous sculptor was a master of his craft. Armand understood how Prometheus thought, his desire to create a beautiful woman – his perfect woman captured in marble and yet brought to life.

Armand allowed himself to feel a measure of hope for his mission.

Given the sculptures in the grounds, perhaps it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility that the Thalatte clock was in this building after all.

A CURIO FOR THE COUNT (BOOK TWO, THE GEMS OF LONDON)

Raised as an Englishman, Armand Danger, Comte de Ytres, is troubled by a dream from his childhood that leaves him speculating on his French past.

He is convinced an elaborate clock belonging to his late father, executed in the French Revolution, holds the answers he seeks.

Miss Jade Bridges works as a valuer in her family’s London antiques shop and auction house. One day she receives mysterious letter from an anonymous client willing to pay any price for a very specific statue clock.

While in pursuit of the clock, Jade and Armand meet and there’s immediate attraction. But how can it amount to anything when they are rivals for the very same object?

As the couple grow closer and attraction deepens, they agree to join forces to find the timepiece together.
Then an antiques dealer is killed. It appears someone else is willing to extract a fatal price to possess the clock for themselves.

What is it about this curio for the count that someone is willing to commit murder for it?

About Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter is a USA Today best selling author who writes richly detailed historical romantic adventures that have been praised for their strong characters and ‘edge-of-seat intrigue’. Her eleventh full length title, Deceiving The Duke, will be released early in 2022 by Dragonblade Publishing.

A former newspaper journalist, Elizabeth ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her amazing husband and two adorable and mischievous cats. In addition to writing books, Elizabeth produces a online reader magazine called Love’s Great Adventure.

Follow Elizabeth

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/6CCBA860-8532-439A-8E16-6A43F47D0C18

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethEllenCarter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth_ellen_carter

Website: https://www.elizabethellencarter.com

 

A young woman with fire in her speeches tours the country!

Dear Editor Clemmens,

Special from the States. Let me whisper from the near future, some news from across the pond. There is a girl, I have heard, who though plain of face and masculine in stance, is called America’s Sweetheart. Can you imagine? And for what? Because for a little thing of eighteen, she has a voice that carries deep into your heart, or your gut, if you are one to find her stance on slavery and the war unappealing.

Her name is Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, and when she shakes her curlyhead, men do the most amazing things. A protégé of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas, she has invigorated the Northern cause with her sappy speeches about dying soldier boys. Why, believe it or not, the Republican party has hired her to campaign for their candidates in the midterms. 

Imagine such arrogance for her to accept such a task when she does not have the right to vote herself. But she has. 

Of course, those wily men have sent her into the worst of those Copperhead lairs. Places they have no wish to go. And for good reason. Why, not two days ago, she was attacked and some of her curls clipped off by an unruly crowd of coalminers who have no use for this War between the States and forced military service.

I must say, I fear she will be running into difficulty with the woman’s righters if she continues on this path. But for now, she has caught the eye of our dear Susan B. Anthony, whose ardor for a young girl, well on her way to becoming the richest woman in America, will excuse the up-and-coming orator much. 

Though I have the feeling that a blow up is coming from another quarter. That thief in hiding, Julia Pennington, whom Miss Dickinson has taken under her wing, is sure to object to sharing her affections with the grand dame of suffrage.

And then, I too, may have some plans of my own for the young ladies—ones that will see me well-heeled for the rest of my days. And I want you to know that I am not the villain these girls make me out to be. Just doing my job as an investigative reporter.

~Floyd Burns, Reporter for The World

That Dickinson Girl: A Novel of the Civil War

By Joan Koster

BLURB

She’s going to be the greatest orator of the Civil War!

Eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is nothing like the women around her, and she knows it. Gifted with a powerful voice, a razor-sharp wit, and unbounded energy, the diminutive curlyhead sets out to surpass the men of her day as she rails against slavery and pushes for women’s rights. Only two things can bring her downfall—the entangling love she has for her devoted companion, Julia, and an assassin’s bullet. 

Forced to accompany the fiery young orator on her speaking tour of New England, Julia Pennington fights her growing attraction to the ever more popular celebrity. When a traitor sets out to assassinate Anna, Julia must risk her life to save her.

Loosely based on the life of forgotten orator, feminist, and fighter for justice, Anna Dickinson, That Dickinson Girl is the story of one woman’s rise to fame and fortune at the expense of love during the political and social turmoil of the American Civil War.

Available from: 

AMAZON  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BKT7DJQ5

B&N  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/that-dickinson-girl-joan-koster/1142596073 

KOBO  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/that-dickinson-girl

BIO of the Author

When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.

An ethnographer, educator, and award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history, and romance into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.

Joan blogs at JoanKoster.com, Women Words and Wisdom, American Civil War Voice, Zara West Romance, and Zara West’s Journal and teaches numerous online writing courses. 

AMAZON AUTHOR https://amazon.com/author/joan-koster

BOOKBUB https://www.bookbub.com/profile/joan-bouza-koster 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3989103.Joan_Bouza_Koster 

Facebook https://facebook.com/joankosterauthor/ 

Twitter https://twitter.com/womenwewrite 

Pinterest https://pinterest.com/joankosterauthor 

Instagram https://instagram.com/joankosterauthor 

What kind of match for a noted lady?

 

The Teatime Tattler has just confirmed that Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne has gone on a mission for her grand mere. We all love her grand mere and ache in our hearts that she is infirmed. Who can deny the woman, certainly not her granddaughter. We all would like to see the vibrant and beautiful belle settled with a family of her own, but alas, young women today have these ideas about marriage. Lady Nanette is no different. I have it on good advice that she has taken on the quest to avoid being matched to someone for whom she doesn’t care. She longs for a love match. Really. Don’t we all. 

There was a time when this writer thought she had found it in Lord Morgan Fitzhugh before he left to serve the king. We all mourned the loss of his father and older brother, lost at sea on their trading ship. The reluctant lord has his demons to bear that resulted in his declaration of remaining a bachelor.

My news today is about the unsuspecting couple. Lady Nanette and Lord Fitzhugh have been stranded in a snowstorm. No has been able to reach them. As you know, Sommer by the Sea is experiencing the worst snowstorm in years. While many have settled into the safety of their homes, Lady Nanette struck out for her grand mere’s closed castle in the center of Lord Fitzhugh estate to retrieve a prized possession for her grand mere. She wants to hold it once again before she passes.

I have it on good authority that Lord Fitzhugh hasn’t let her go alone. Fighting through an avalanche and tunnel cave in, they must depend on each other to escape. In the process, they both have the potential of finding something they’ve been searching for. If only they will open their eyes. 

 The Duke’s Lost Love

Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne and Lord Morgan Fitzhugh, the reluctant 5th Duke of Preswick grew up near each other in Sommer by the Sea, Nanette at her grandparent’s now closed down Dunamara Castle and Fitzhugh at Preswick Hall. 

Fitzhugh is with his three closest friends. Each of them suffers a form of feminine defeat. After a night of drinking, they decide to swear off the company of women for three years and instead study chivalrous love. 

The following morning, Nanette and her three ladies arrive at Fitzhugh’s doorstep in a broken carriage. She is on her way to Dunamara for two reasons, retrieve an item for her ill grandmother and to avoid a dinner party to meet yet another suitor she will find lacking. She seeks the solitude of Dunamara to determine if her ideal is realistic or a dream no man can fulfill. 

Fitzhugh takes her to Dunamara. A freak snowstorm strands them at the castle. Fighting through an avalanche and tunnel cave in, they must depend on each other to escape. In the process, they both have the potential of finding something they’ve been searching for. If only they will open their eyes. 

Available at Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt:

“It’s because of you that I acted.” Her voice was low and composed.

Her statement caught him off-guard. For a moment, he thought he had misunderstood until he peered at her. “Me?” He quickly moved from embarrassment to confusion. He didn’t take his eyes off her.

“I’ve witnessed situations where people willfully rejected taking action. They looked on as if the situation was an entertainment. It’s much the same amongst the ton. Along with too many insulting innuendoes and uncaring, hurtful, and yes, intentional acts of total disregard at the expense of someone.

“But not you. I took notice of you all those years ago. The example you set. You didn’t walk away from others when they needed assistance. I made a pledge to myself I would never be, nor be associated with, that type of person.

“No. I am not brave. I am a thinking, feeling person who doesn’t define acts of kindness as a weakness, but rather as a strength. I have learned your lesson well.”

“Don’t make me out to be something I am not. There are many more like me, better than me.” He closed his saddlebag.

“So you may think. But if you looked, I mean more than a passing glance, you would see the truth. At least that has been my plight. I haven’t met anyone who can meet my standard. ”

He returned to her.

“And I will not accept anyone less.” She added before he said anything.

They were both searching for something. He hoped with all his heart Nanette would find it. She’d grown to be a beauty one any man would be proud to have as a wife. He tilted his head as his gaze travelled over her face and searched her eyes.

His body heated as he caught a glimpse of her, the real Nanette. Aware of her intelligence and independent spirt, now he found her banter warm and enchanting. He admired her fire, her ice. Deep down, he wanted to find out more about her warmth.

 

A Letter found, revealed and a scandal too!

Enclosed is a private correspondence found in the F. Carter family secretary in 1871. The letter, originally from Mrs. Mary Westmore (né Reynolds) addressed to Mrs. Lavinia Fitzroy (né Lawton) in Bath, England dated December 4th, 1839, has been faithfully copied below.

My Dearest Lavinia,

You may perhaps recall that my beloved niece, Ellen, is to be married in the new year? We are all beyond pleased that she has captured the heart of one of the Carter boys and will be moving here to Weymouth! There is a fly in the ointment of our happiness, however. My brother. 

Rafe has called upon me to assist Ellen with her wedding preparations, but during my recent visit to Cherrybrook, I was reminded forcefully that, for someone so ruled by schedules, he shows surprisingly little aptitude for managing his personal affairs. My niece quite runs the household (all but my brother’s dogs, who are wholly without manners), but she is so efficient and indulgent that I fear Rafe cannot see how bereft he will be without her! 

Ellen confided in me that she will not be easy unless her father remarries, so together we have hatched a plan. This is where you come in, dear friend. Several of our friends credit you with having made worthy matches under your watchful eye, and so I implore you… would you apply your matchmaking talents to Rafe’s situation?

I have enclosed a list of qualities he demands in a wife. Please make of it what you will. 

Do apprise me of your answer as soon as you are able, for I do not expect my brother’s agreeability to last long. His stubbornness grows by the day. I wonder if you will find him much altered from the boy you once knew?

Affectionately yours,

Mary

The book: Matchmaking Gone Wrong

The clock is ticking! Widowed Dr. Rafe Reynolds will soon be left alone when Ellen, his daughter and favourite backgammon opponent, weds.  

Shortly before the Christmas holidays, Ellen and his meddling sister Mary, convince Rafe to let them find him a suitable wife. Rafe reluctantly agrees, but he insists that love doesn’t matter at his age, and ladies who are loud and demanding need not apply. 

Mrs. Lavinia Fitzroy, exuberant widow and old friend, is bold, well-connected and entirely uninterested in marriage for herself. She is just the woman to help find the gruff doctor a wife, but finding the perfect match for Rafe proves to be as thorny as winter holly. One minute everything is going as smoothly as clockwork, and the next, it’s gone to the dogs!

Will Lavinia discover the perfect bride…one who ticks all the boxes for the doctor?  Only time will tell!

Book Four in the Cherrybrook year, “Time Will Tell” may be read alone. With older protagonists, it’s a later-in-life romance (kisses only)!

BOOK LINKS:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BJ7ZJYTX

https://www.charlottebrothersauthor.com/time-will-tell

(The rest of the series is wide, but I’m keeping this exclusive to Amazon for the first few months)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlotte Brothers

I grew up with an emotional support book. You know, the girl who never leaves home without one tucked under her arm “in case”?

For me, this was usually an English classic or high fantasy YA with a strong romantic subplot. When I finally read my first genre romance novel at the gentle age of forty, I was happily swept away! Once reading romances became a beloved habit, penning my own quickly followed. 

Currently, I live in Michigan, USA, with my delightful family, beloved pets, and a busy bird feeder. I do my utmost to write heartfelt stories about memorable characters with a dash of humor and playful prose. If you’re a Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Georgette Heyer, or (actor) Richard Armitage fan, you’re my kind of book friend!A

A Scandalous Incident in Drury Lane!

A certain lonely lord was seen leaving Drury Lane early – entirely missing the final act of Miss Ryan’s divine Duchess of Malfi. He’s seen her play before, no doubt. It’s said he’s present in his brother’s box for every show so what dreadful occurrence might interrupt such dedication? The gentleman in question is a known connoisseur of theatre – and actresses. He left early, stepped into a hack with a footman-type, and wasn’t seen again that evening. One can only pity the actress concerned – because rumour has it that something scandalous occurred last night at Carlton House…

Whatever has happened, the incident appears serious. The Prime Minister could not be reached this morning. It’s said he’s unwell, though lights burned late in Westminster last night. The matter is top secret, but it’s certain at least one known rake was seen leaving the Regent’s private rooms at an unearthly hour – and the Prime Minister’s private secretary was spotted using the tradesman’s entrance twice. One doesn’t like to spread gossip regarding the higher echelons of government, but one can hardly help it in this case. Only one other thing seems certain – this secret incident doesn’t seem to involve any ladies, which is both a comfort to society, and a disappointment to this writer. If all that’s at risk is the reputation of a certain London actress, our debutantes may sleep soundly in Mayfair.

About the Book: The Case of the Black Diamond (Part I)

AVAILABLE ON LIMITED RELEASE:  https://amzn.to/3AU941L

The Case of the Black Diamond Part I
Nicknamed ‘the lonely lord’, Alexander Lindsey has spent a decade spying for the King and believes himself immune to surprises – until he meets Miss Ryan. Claire Ryan doesn’t swoon, and doesn’t blush – but when the Regent’s jewel is stolen, Lord Lindsey turns up at The Soho Club, asking questions. Soon, Claire and Alexander are investigating each other.

This is the first of a five part series. Part II is already available.

Release Date: 22 November 2022

Excerpt from The Case of the Black Diamond, by Clyve Rose:

Outside The Soho Club, dark clouds gathered in the afternoon sky. The air thickened, closely heavy in the prelude to a drenching. Claire shivered at the change in temperature, the tensing of mood. She sipped her coffee, watching Xander Lindsey, watching her. His gaze seemed focused rather closely on the rim of her cup, specifically where the fine china met her lips. 

She sipped her brew again. “If you’re intent on seduction, you should know I am not my sister.”

His gaze lifted to her face, steady, focused, powerfully intent. “I have never seduced your sister. I am no rake, Claire.” His voice remained sure, strong, and deeply tempting.

“So it’s a ruse?” She guessed.

He inclined his head, his “mmmm,” resonating low in his throat, like a throb. “We can’t all mask our clandestine activities with scent.” His tone turned husky, intensity sharpening like a honed blade.

“I am not in the habit of short term liaisons,” Claire spoke carefully. “I am not in the habit of being seduced, either.”

“There’s a remedy for that,” he said quietly, suggestively. Did his voice deepen further? How deep does he—stop it.

As though he’d heard her, Xander set down his cup. He walked slowly towards her, the way one might approach a rare and dangerous object.

“Tell me, Claire Ryan, are you armed?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Because I should like to kiss you. If I halt here, you may blade my heart open instead,” he stopped halfway across the chequered floor, arms by his sides like a supplicant. A supplicant with warm brown eyes, and a devastating dimple.

Claire affected a study of the distance between them, lifted her head, locking her gaze to his.

“Three steps back gives you a sporting chance, Xander Lindsey.”

“Indeed?” The resonance from his baritone rippled through her. Nevertheless, he held his ground and Claire lifted a brow, gaze travelling brazenly over his planed face. He stared right back, smiling, offering that dimple where she lingered before studying the cleft in his chin, his corded neck muscles, those powerful shoulders of defined shape. Her gaze dropped lower, taking in his broad torso, narrow waist, and the shapely front of his trousers. She smiled then, wide and joyous, walking slowly towards him, slower than ever, as though she may never reach him, never touch him. Time stretched out, thinning, heating, bringing her closer to the heft of breath beneath flesh, her pulse beating faster with each step until her skin throbbed with the thought of his lips beneath hers, his surrender within her body. 

“Something to savour,” she murmured, watching his answering smile. His tongue darted out, licking his lips and she let out a small laugh, not blinking at all. Not missing a moment of Xander Lindsey standing before her, arms at his sides, gaze locked on hers with an impulse she felt in every nerve and muscle. Claire touched his cheek, stroking him gently before leaning forward, lips positioned inches from his. Reaching up, she slipped her other hand beneath his jacket, sliding her palm over his shirt, feeling his breath shorten, his weight shift…until she located his hidden jacket seam. Keeping her gaze on his, she extracted his pistol as smoothly as possible, stroking the barrel along firm muscle as she withdrew. She kept his barrel there, smoothing it lightly back and forth against his shirt, teasing him with danger, with steel, with her unbroken gaze.

“Is it cocked, my lord?”

Author Bio:  Clyve Rose is an award-winning author of historical fiction in Australia and the US. She has been writing historical romance for the best part of two decades, and has three bestsellers to her credit. She believes that love is the highest and strongest force known in the world, and that it only manifests when we are our best and truest selves. She’ll continue writing about love in all its various, glorious forms, and that one day her epitaph will read Just one more read-through.

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