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Church Lady’s Lament

To Reverend Mr. Horace Sorsby, Vicar of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Knaresborough

Sir:

Reluctant though I am to criticize church matters, I truly must speak up, and hope my frequent liberal contributions to your parish will gain me attention. As you know age and infirmity make it impossible for me to attend services in Knaresborough. While I am pleased that a chapel of ease has been set up here in Harrogate for the benefit of leading citizens like myself who find themselves hampered from full participation, the man assigned  it has failed us. I am compelled to report that the curate you appointed to serve my our needs has proven to be negligent and useless.

First of all, his sermons focus entirely too heavily on service due the poor, in my opinion, and too little on the respect the lower classes owe their betters. I suppose I must excuse this as he is young and does seem to have a grasp on scripture.

I excuse it mainly because I am rarely able to attend even the chapel of ease here. That curate, Mr. Eustace Clarke, has been repeatedly asked to attend me at home. We are now moving into December, and I am obliged to report he made but two visits since summer. Neither visit lasted longer than an hour. I ask, Mr. Sorsby, do you believe that shows sufficient care for a frail old woman, one I might add who has generously supported Saint John in the past?

I am quite, quite distressed to add that my precious Wellington, an extraordinarily noble pug, has taken him dislike as well. The impudent young man accused my darling Welly of damaging his boots. I cannot believe poor Welly has developed a taste for leather. He has demonstrated no such affinity in the past. I am certain Mr. Clarke enticed him as an excuse to make a quick departure.

My loyal butler reports that it appears Mr. Clarke persists in wasting his time with that pathetic little soup kitchen he calls Pilgrim’s Rest, feeding every lazy, worthless beggar that imbibes from Harrogate’s public springs but refuses to pay for his lunch. Now news has reached me that he believes he needs funds to repair the roof of that barn. I will not stand for it. I demand you order him to close that fruitless and unproductive little mission down and focus on those of us who support the parish at large as he ought.

If my words have not been enough to convince you the man needs sharp words from his superior there is this. My personal maid, a woman of fine character, has told me that he is now seen walking out with a woman employed in the kitchens of the The Hampton Hotel. What such a woman is doing sporting about town on the arm of a single man, I can only guess. The hussy’s name I’m told is Doro Bigglesworth.

I trust you will counsel your curate about proper behavior and duties. I would hate to take my contributions and charity elsewhere.

With Respect,

Lady Louella Spotsworthy

About the Book: Desperate Daughters

Love Against the Odds

The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close.

Among them?  “Lady Dorothea’s Curate,” by Caroline Warfield

Employed at a hotel in order to assist her stepmother, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth had no use for a title. It would only invite scorn, or, worse, pity. Plain Miss Doro Bigglesworth suited her fine.

Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping the neediest. It gave his life meaning. He tended to forget the younger son of a viscount went by “Honorable.”

Working together at Pilgrim’s Rest, neither saw the need to mention it to the other, before fate separated them. When they were formally introduced after an unexpected reunion— in a ballroom in York—shock rocked them both. Can their budding love survive?

 

Vigilante among the Ton?

Every day in London’s streets, women of all ilk sell their bodies to earn enough to live and survive. Prostitution is no secret; it is a thriving business. Like all businesses, there are those who profit and those who toil. Equally so, every year in the glittering ballrooms of the marriage mart, young women are sold to the highest bidder for money and power. Here also, there are those who profit from the bodies and lives of their women.

So, it may come as no surprise that London has a new hero from this set. A vigilante who rescues young girls who have become tangled in the web of sex and excesses. She rescued a young girl from a prominent brothel run by Mrs. G two weeks ago. Brandishing her slim deadly blade, she snatched away the girl who had been sold to the brothel owner by her drunk of a father.

Then our vigilante struck again last weekend at an infamous bacchanal, which is thrown annually by Lord D. Yes, all the rumors you have heard are true. The party is as debauched as Lord D’s dark heart. Free-flowing wine and liquor, and anonymity provided by the masks fuel an atmosphere of immoral behavior. This night of excess was topped off by an auction, where the highest bidder would get to deflower a genuine virgin.

Don’t worry, dear reader, our vigilante swooped in and rescued the poor farm girl, stolen from her family by Mrs. G to serve as the virgin sacrifice. Yes, our vigilante is no ordinary woman. She is fearless, passionate, a LADY of great heart. I will wait alongside you, breathlessly, to see where she will strike next.

About the Book: Unmask My Heart

Caroline Langdon has gained a reputation for being unattainable; she has turned down twelve offers of marriage over the past four years. A traumatic incident from her past has convinced her she never wants to belong to any man. Her plan to live as a wealthy spinster is tested when she meets the enigmatic Lord Wrotham.

For his new assignment for the crown, Cage Morgan must slip into the one role he’s never wanted, his title as the Earl of Wrotham. Lady Caroline is in grave danger. His job is to watch over her and investigate which of her jilted suitors wants her dead. But keeping tabs on the clever and fiery lady will prove to be challenging. And ignoring the attraction that flares between them impossible.

Will a daring rescue and a fake engagement lead two guarded hearts to take a risk on a passionate love neither of them thought imaginable?

 Excerpt:

“You can never trust a newspaperman.” Cage commented.

“Well, in this case, because the editor is a woman, I thought I could.” Clearly a mistake. Of course, a woman whose paper survives on its gossip column would choose the most sensational bits. Caroline grudgingly admired the editor’s cleverness. She glanced down at the article in her hand. “She does paint a flattering picture of me. Fierce and passionate. I almost wish people knew she was talking about me.” She took another swallow of wine. “I am tired of everyone talking behind my back about being an ice queen. I’m not frigid,” she muttered.

“Who had the gall to say you were frigid?”

Caroline couldn’t believe she had said that out loud. Her cheeks warmed and not because of the wine. He was the one man who made her feel the opposite of frigid. He made her want things that she had given up ever feeling again. She set down her empty wine glass on the windowsill.

Cage took one finger and lifted her chin until her gaze met his. “You are the most passionate woman I have ever known. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a blind fool.” The heat in his eyes almost had her believing his statement. He lowered his mouth to hers, brushing her lips once, twice.

Caroline sighed at the pleasure of his kiss. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her against him. Nibbling at her bottom lip, he pulled her under his spell. She parted her lips to welcome his exploration. His tongue swept in to play with hers, slick and hot. She grabbed hold of the lapels of his jacket as the world around them melted away.

“Caroline, your fire consumes me.” He kissed across her cheek and up to her temple. “You haunt my nights. I want to discover every inch of you with my tongue, my lips. I want you to burn me alive.”

His words emboldened her. Caroline slid her hand into his hair and pulled his head back enough for their eyes to meet. “Show me.”

About the Author

From the time she read fairytales as a child, Karla Kratovil was hooked on stories that ended in Happily Ever After. Now as an author of sexy historical romance she gets to craft her own happy endings. Karla lives right on the edge of Northern Virginia’s wine country with her college sweetheart, two terrific teenagers, and two blond terriers. She is a Taurus. Like any good earth sign she loves good food, good wine, and getting her hands dirty growing things in her garden.

To keep in touch, sign up for her newsletter on her website – www.karlakratovil.com

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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.

Rival Authors Clash At Sommer-by-the-Sea

Expressly for The Teatime Tattler

The Teatime Tattler has just confirmed that Lady Alicia Hartley has arrived in Sommer-by-the-Sea and will be reading from her new novel, The Lost Dowry at Mrs. Miller’s Circulating Library. Many of us have long waited for this her fifth book. I must tell you some doubted Lady Alicia would travel to the village in the horrid winter weather, but also in light of her novels recent review posted in the London Gazette. It was a blatant attack on Lady Alicia’s writing expertise. You would think the acclaim (and sales) of the other novels in this series would indicate the prowess of this amazing author.

Who is the reviewer who tarnishes her reputation and then hides behind the name Anonymous.  To add insult to injury, this reviewer has the audacity to spend half the review comparing Lady Alicia’s work to another author.

This would all be just a literary issue, but I am here to tell you we must rally behind our girl. I have it from a very reliable source that Lady Alicia is not the only author who will be reading on at the circulating library. No, my dear friends. The other author mentioned in the review will be attending as well.

Will there be sparks? One can only hope. Mrs. Miller has scheduled the reading for Tuesday at 4:00. I, for one, will be there.

The Lady and Her Quill

Her mind kept telling her to stop loving him, but her heart couldn’t let him go.

Renowned author Lady Alicia Hartley has lost her muse after a bad review. She blames it all on the author JC Melrose. A chance encounter with a handsome, witty Justin Caulfield has her heart racing, and her muse seemingly back. Is he her savior or her worst nightmare?

He didn’t see the turbulent ocean. He was too busy dealing with a different tempest.

The recently retired Captain Justin Caulfield is facing his own demons. As gifted author JC Melrose, his stories honor men who died at the hand of one man. His only focus is to avenge their deaths, that is, until he meets and falls in love with Lady Alicia.

The two authors take on a writing challenge based on a story of stolen gold taken from the newspaper headlines all to determine the better writer. While researching the story, Lady Alicia is captured by the thieves’ ringleader. Can Lady Alicia turn this mystery into an award-winning story? Can Justin save his real-life heroine? Can they both overcome their own challenges for a happily ever after?

Available at Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

Alicia looked at the women. They had all been close ever since they were Mrs. Bainbridge’s charges and remained that way long after graduating. This was the one place they were themselves without reproach or censure.

“Tea, if I may. Ladies, nothing pleases me more than your concern and friendship. My sister and her husband had to leave without me. I had work to do in London. When I was ready to leave, the weather stopped the passenger coaches, and I missed the mail coach. That is the reason for my unplanned sea voyage.” With her hands now warm, well, at least she was able to flex her fingers, she turned and faced them.

“That is all very distressing,” Anna said.

“I would be happy if that were all, but it’s obvious I also have an enemy.” She took the cup of tea from Mrs. Bainbridge and sat next to Pat who ate a small cake with butter icing.

“Enemy. What happened?” Her friends stopped with whatever they were fussing and were abuzz with questions.

Alicia removed a scrap of paper from her reticule and handed it to Anna. “Read it if you like. The last paragraph is most insulting.”

Anna read the article aloud. Alicia stared at nothing in particular. The words didn’t sound any better when someone else read them.

“This last paragraph isn’t terrible.” Anna handed the paper to Effie who wiped cake crumbs off her fingers on the linen before she took the scrap.

“Anonymous ended my review talking about another author.” Alicia swirled her spoon in her teacup tapping the sides in a frantic rhythmic beat.

“Be careful, dear. You’ll crack the china,” Mrs. Bainbridge said.

Alicia stopped mid-stir. Removed the spoon. And put it to the side.

“You don’t take constructive criticism well,” Pat said picking crumbs off her plate and eating them. “That’s all this is. Your heroine was brave and her hero daring. The story was deeply romantic.”

“Pat.” Effie covered her friend’s hand with her own. “Ever since you met George everything to you is romantic.”

Pat smiled as Effie took another bit of cake. “Everything George does is…romantic.”

Alicia coughed, choking on her tea.

“Oh, my. Are you all right?” Pat asked, pounding Alicia on her back.

“You’re so wicked, Pat,” Anna said.

“Just taking a lesson from Alicia’s heroine.” The devilish glow in Pat’s eyes could not be missed. “I thought that dialogue was good when I read it. Is it plagiarism if you quote dialogue from a story?”

Alicia shook her head, a large smile on her face.

“Do you have any idea who wrote the review?” Mrs. Bainbridge asked.

“Not at all.” Alicia took another sip of tea. Her insides were warming.

“Is the reviewer possibly another author?” Hattie asked.

“I haven’t given it much thought.” Alicia stared at Hattie over her teacup.

Hattie took the article. She opened a wooden box that hung on the wall exposing a dart board and pinned the newspaper in the center. She removed three darts from their case.

“Your turn.” Hattie offered her the white darts, Alicia’s favorites. “I made sure the word ‘anonymous’ is in the center.”

Alicia put down her cup and took the darts, stood a good distance from the board and aimed. The dart board was a relic from the previous owner of the house. Mrs. Bainbridge encouraged her girls to take aim at their problems, literally and figuratively. If questioned about the dart board’s use, the appropriate response was the girls were building their hand-eye coordination.

Of course, she’d given thought to anonymous’ identity. She’d been thinking about who the critic was ever since she read the review.

She let loose her first dart. It hit the capital A in anonymous.

Excited to hand in her new manuscript to Caulfield, she hardly tasted her breakfast. There was enough time for her to deliver her story and be back in time to leave with her sister and family for the journey here. Everything was going well until she stepped inside Caulfield Publishing.

As soon as she walked into his office, she knew something was wrong. The man was not neat, but the disarray was beyond the pale. She noticed the review when she handed him the paper.

She took aim and let the second dart fly. This one landed on the next letter, n.

Reviews like this are…not unusual. I’ve happily published your little stories. Keep in mind, you can’t please every reader.”

He wants to put off publishing her next book until the summer. Based on one review. One review. How could he?

She didn’t take time to aim the last dart. As fast as she lifted it, she let it loose. It nested with her other two. Alicia removed the darts, returned them to their case and closed the board, but not before she removed the article. Alicia handed the scrap of paper to Hattie.

“No, you keep it.” Hattie waved her away. “Put holes in his review just as you did in the paper it is printed on.”

She returned to her seat and took another sip of tea feeling much better.

“Thank you, Hattie. I feel like myself again.”

Mr. Caulfield wasn’t at all pleased when she told him she had yet to decide if she was going to submit her next book to him. She should have told him then and there about the letter from William Lane.

She stayed in London for two days after Beatrice and Elkington left going through every word of The Lost Dowry trying to make sense of the reviewer’s comments. Her heroine didn’t have to be the only one to succeed. The hero could have been more… heroic. She stared off into the room.

What made her expect to succeed? Anonymous certainly didn’t think she should.

“Alicia, are you listening to me?” Effie asked.

“Obviously not. She’s off in her world planning another great adventure,” Anna said.

Alicia put her cup on the small table next to the chair.

“Of course. I’m listening.”

“Have you read any of J. C. Melrose’s stories?”

The mere mention of the author’s name made her blood boil. To think her closest friend would suggest such a thing. Alicia got to her feet so fast she nearly knocked Effie over.

“Traitor.”

Effie grabbed her arm before Alicia walked away.

“No. Listen to me. You remember when Mr. Lindsay was teaching us about the Romans and why they were so successful?” Effie said with quiet yet determined firmness.

Alicia stopped a bit confused.

“Romans? What are you after? I could care less about the Romans at the moment.”

Alicia stared at her friend, waiting for her to finish her thought. How was this line of thinking relevant?

“Know your enemy,” Anna said from across the room.

“Precisely.” Effie’s face filled with triumph. “Why did this reviewer who was too much of a coward to take credit for his work, make the comment? The way you find out is by reading J. C. Melrose’s story.”

Effie’s idea was worthy. Alicia lowered herself back into her chair. More than worthy. 

About the Author

There was never a time when USA Today Bestseller, RUTH A. CASIE hasn’t had a story in her head. When she was little, she and her older sister would dress up and act out the ones Ruth created. Today, Ruth writes exciting and beautifully told legendary historical romances, medieval, Regency, time travel, and contemporary romantic suspense that are both rich and engaging. Her stories feature strong women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her stories are full of, ‘edge of your seat’ suspense, mind-boggling drama, and a forever-after romance.

She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a vice president in a product/ marketing manager role, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. Ruth hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.

Where You Can Find Ruth:

At her website:  https://ruthacasie.com/

Sign up for her newsletter:  http://bit.ly/RuthsNewsletterSignUp

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The Duke’s Missing Lady!

To our devoted readers!

This just in…

 It has come to the Teatime Tattler’s attention (by a very reliable source I might add) that the woman who recently held the Duke of H’s heart has gone missing! Apparently the man is beside himself and has sent out inquires to all corners of London and beyond. Perhaps Lady R is only hiding from the man given her last encounter with him and his ex-mistress. Or is her disappearance subject to a nefarious nature? Stay tuned for further updates and remember you read it here first.

S. Clemons, Editor
The Teatime Tattler

Samuel Clemons read this latest tidbit from Abigail Danvers and grinned. His readers will go mad with the news that the Duke of Hartford lost the lady whom some have whispered was a love match. Love… what a silly emotion getting the better of oneself.

His office door opened and Samuel handed the parchment to the young gentleman whose ink-stained fingers implied he had been busy in the press room.

“Make this a special edition,” Samuel declared with a smirk. “I want it on the front page and not buried inside. Our readers deserve to see this first thing with their breakfast.”

“Yes, sir!”

Samuel watched the man leave before leaning back in his chair. A laugh escaped him. He loved his job and was satisfied the Teatime Tattler would be sold out come the morning. Tomorrow was going to be a glorious day.


Sherry Ewing is one of the Bluestocking Belles and her Regency novel One Moment In Time: A Family of Worth, Book Two was nominated as a 2019 RONE finalist with InD’Tale. Enjoy this excerpt.

Excerpt: 

Edmond opened his eyes and found himself gazing into the face of an angel. Emerald pools, green as the Scottish moors, stared back at him with an expression of wonder. He reached out to lightly caress her cheek just to ensure she was real. She trembled beneath his touch and he thanked God Roselyn had awoken once more.

Swinging his legs down to the floor, he stood and reached for her hands to help her to rise. Her beautiful face wore a confused frown, and without thought he acted on the urge to assure himself she was real and on the mend, bringing her into his embrace. He knew in his heart his gesture was inappropriate; he should not be so bold, especially considering all that she had been through, but he could not resist.

Stepping back as he should became impossible when she returned his affection by placing her arms around his waist. As if they had a will of their own, his hands made their way up her arms and into her glorious curling hair that cascaded down the length of her back. It felt like the softest silk to his touch and a lock coiled around his fingers taking possession of him.

He took her chin in his fingers and tilted it up so he could see the face she had been hiding in his chest. Once more staring into her eyes, he saw her lips tremble and wondered how sweet they would taste. Leaning forward, he came to within a breath and hesitated. But only for one second. At last, he brought his mouth down to hers in a gentle first kiss.

There could be no mistaking her hesitation nor that she was inexperienced in her technique. Edmond retained enough control to remember she was a young innocent and he did not wish to scare her away. His heart rejoiced when he felt her arms creep up his back and he tightened his hold upon her. One taste would in no way satisfy the sudden desire he had for her and her encouragement gave him the permission he needed to deepen the kiss all the more.

His sanity finally reined in his desire, and he broke the spell by ending their kiss abruptly. Alarm briefly shook him when Roselyn took several steps backwards to put some distance between them. In the silence of the room, the only sound was the two of them attempting to catch their breaths after the heat of the moment.

One moment in time may be enough, if it lasts forever…

When the man Lady Roselyn Anne Winslow has loved since she was a young girl begins to court her, Roselyn thinks all her dreams have come true… until the dream turns into a nightmare.

Lady Roselyn is everything Edmond Worthington, 9th Duke of Hartford, could ask for in a wife and he is delighted to find she returns his love… until he loses her, not once but twice.

From England’s ballrooms, to Berwyck Castle and a tropical island that is anything but paradise, Edmond and Roselyn face ruthless enemies who will do anything to tear them apart. Can they recover their one moment in time?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  Barnes & Noble  | Apple Books  | Kobo

Amazon AU  | Amazon BR  |  Amazon CA  | Amazon DE  |Amazon ES  | Amazon FR  |  Amazon IN  |  Amazon IT |  Amazon JP |  Amazon MX |  Amazon NL |  Amazon UK 

More about Sherry

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page at www.SherryEwing.com.

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Website & Books: www.SherryEwing.com

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