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Ten Lords Rejected

London, 1817

In a previous article I mentioned my curiosity with regards to the house party that took place in the home of the Duke of Arscott to see that his daughter, Lady Lucinda Claxton married. Ten lords had been invited and I was anxious to learn which lord she settled upon. Therefore, it came as great surprise when she chose an American. Which then begged the question, why were the ten lords rejected?

One of those ten curiosities has been answered for I am told that the first to leave was Lord Emory Talbot, Viscount Ferrard. I was rather surprised that he’d been invited to begin with as last I’d heard he was not seeking a wife. In all my observations, he’d always preferred young widows to misses.

At first, I thought that perhaps he assumed it was a normal house party, with several guests, and hoped young widows would be present, when in fact, the guest list included few. However, it then came to my attention that he’d not attended for young widows or Lady Lucinda but announced that he’d hoped to gain an introduction to a younger sister, Lady Violet Claxton.

I can think of no two individuals less suited for the other. You see, while Ferrard can often be found in the ballroom, enjoying his status of a wealthy, bachelor viscount, Lady Violet avoided Societal events and when forced to attend she escaped to the gardens at the first opportunity. She spent far more time admiring flowers, plants, and bushes than she ever spent dancing, or even conversing with those in attendance. Further, if Ferrard had wished an introduction, all knew where she could be found as it was no secret that Lady Violet preferred roses to bachelors. Therefore, I’m quite perplexed as to why Lord Ferrard developed a sudden interest in Lady Violet.

Links for COURTSHIP OF CONVENIENCE: https://books2read.com/u/3JRlxX

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Excerpt~

Lady Violet folded her hands on her lap, tilted her chin and looked toward the horizon. Her green eyes narrowed as her lips pursed, as if she were mulling over a problem.

She then glanced at Emory, hummed, then turned away again.

“May I ask what is on your mind.”

“I believe I have a solution that might solve both of our problems, if you are willing of course.”

The only solution was a courtship and then marriage, but as he’d just met Lady Violet, that solution wasn’t an option.

“What I propose is a courtship of convenience.”

“Courtship of convenience?” he repeated, uncertain as to her meaning.

“Yes,” she answered with a nod of her chin. “You shall court me until January sixth and then we will declare that we do not suit. Your father will be satisfied that you spent more than an afternoon of effort, and mine will be satisfied that I allowed a courtship.”

All he could do was stare at her. Such an agreement would placate his father. What he did not know was if Lady Violet might have an ulterior motive, other than pleasing her father.

“But it must be a true courtship, in that we come to know one another, as I don’t wish to lie to my father and say you courted me when we just pretended to do so.”

A fine line to avoid deception, but he understood. Yet, he didn’t trust that this wasn’t a trap to get him to enter into an agreement in hopes that more came of their association. However, while he did not know Lady Violet, he had the oddest feeling that he could trust her and that this scheme was no more or less than what she described.

“As you detest untruth as much as me, I trust that you are in agreement that it must be a true courtship with a scheduled time for it to end and the two of us to part. Based upon your behavior in London, I assume you have no real desire for a courtship any more than I, as I fully intend to remain unmarried for as long as I am allowed. Therefore, we can satisfy the demands of our families while knowing that we will both be free of any commitment come January sixth.”

A true courtship without the expectation of a betrothal? The very idea was intriguing. If she were as truthful as she claimed, and Emory believed that she was, this would be a perfect solution. “I think that is an excellent idea, Lady Violet.”

Emory smiled to himself. This was the first commitment in memory that he was more than willing to make.

She nodded and faced forward. “I am glad we are in agreement Lord Ferrard.”

“How does one court in Laswell?” If he were in London, it would be drives through Hyde Park, ices at Gunter’s, taking in the theatre, calling on her home, and dancing at balls. None of which were available to him here.

“I’m not certain, Lord Ferrard. Perhaps we could simply stroll through Laswell and in the park, each day at a certain time for a specific length in duration when we will most likely be seen. Such meetings will eventually be reported back to my father, and as your brother lives here, he can assure your father that we did indeed court.”

At her statement, he assumed there were no other entertainments to be offered. Perhaps his brother would have suggestions. Though, if strolls were all they did, Emory doubted any conversation with Lady Violet would be dull. At least, not for the first few days.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Jane Charles is a prolific writer of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. Her love of research lends authenticity to her Regency romances, and her experience directing theatre productions helps her craft beautiful, touching stories that tug at the heartstrings. Jane is an upbeat and positive author dedicated to giving her characters happy-ever-afters and leaving the readers satisfied at the end of an emotional journey. Lifelong Cubs fan, world traveler and mother of three amazing children, Jane lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She is currently writing her next book and planning her dream trip to England. Be sure to join Jane on Facebook @JaneCharlesAuthor for Wine Pairings Wednesdays.

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The Ashmead Assembly

Special to the Teatime Tattler from Eunice Norton and the Monday Tea Circle of Ashmead on Afan.

We gathered as is our habit on Monday afternoon to review the news of the week here in the valley, and ran so far over our time that Bessy Grigg’s husband took umbrage at the delay in his supper. We had much to discuss.

The Benson family put up an entertainment for all and sundry at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday evening to celebrate old Robert’s sixtieth birthday. There were many who thought that appropriate, him being a fixture in the village, but some of us questioned use of the large room over the village offices for a family party, that space having run to shabby and disrepair in recent years, and the Benson family being in possession of a inn with a perfectly fine dining room, but Emma Corbin—she as was Emma Benson—insisted.

Most of us admitted she did the rooms justice. New paint. Waxed floors. Clean windows. Flowers sprucing it up, and greenery too for all it is summer and not Christmas. She even got that Welsh colonel staying at the inn—him who is some engineer they say—to repair the musicians gallery so it was safe to use. They brought some group of players down from Nottingham, too, for the dancing.

As you may expect every man and woman in Ashmead came, and the tenant farmers from round about as well. Some seemed to find children appropriate, notably the Corbins, but most of us don’t approve of little ones where there is drink and dancing. A bigger surprise was the arrival of the Duchess of Glenmoor, Lady Madelyn Caulfield that was. She rarely socializes with common folk and keeps to herself since the old duke she married died.

Of course, most folk came for a glimpse of Wee Robbie Benson himself, the innkeepers wild son gone these many years. Went off to war and came back a baronet. Emma Corbin claims he was a hero at Waterloo, too. Now he’s come to take ownership of Willowbrook, left to him by the old earl. Most folks claim they always knew he was the earl’s get. You only had to look at him to know, but don’t tell old Robert the innkeeper that. Took him as his own and won’t hear otherwise.

The biggest news was the arrival of the Earl of Clarion himself late into the evening. Come up from London straight to the assembly, though no one knows whether it was the only reason he came. Walked in proud as a lord—which of course he is—walked up and congratulated old Robert as bold as you please as if the innkeeper was a peer when everyone knows he started life as a footman at the Hall.

Then Wee Robbie came from the corner he’d been lurking in. When he stood next to the earl and the duchess stood to join them, you could hear a pin drop. Same eyes. Same hair. Same tall frame (though Robbies is a bit, er, sturdier than the earl.) Same proud tilt to the head. Folks in London ought to be aware that the man they know as Sir Robert Benson is naught but an innkeeper’s charity case and the Earl of Clarion’s bastard brother. No question about it. Don’t know what was said, but Sir Robert left right after.

The earl stayed. He even led Emma Corbin out, and she looked like she was going to burst. Then the duchess danced with that Welsh colonel. It was certainly a night to remember.

About the Book

When the Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead.

One sleepy village. One scandalous will. Four beleaguered heirs.

One is The Wayward Son.

Rob Benson returns to Ashmead reluctantly, determined to stay briefly. He never expects a shocking bequest and a termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—to bind him to the place. Lucy Whitaker wants what she can’t have, Willowbrook. If she must turn it over to the heir, she can at least make sure he loves it and its people like she does.  His life is London; hers is Ashmead. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?

Pre-order link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09484DC1D/

Watch for the duchess and the colonel in The Defiant Daughter in October.

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, proud Bluestocking Belle, has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Advertising for a wife? Astonishing!

I hasten to inform you, dear readers, of a most titillating scandal. I am certain many of you have heard of the opening of a very fine (but small and rather shabby) hotel on the Marine Parade in Brighton.

I was there only last week and met with the Lady Proprietor in question. A Viscountess, or once she was, until her dear husband died under mysterious circumstances in Paris. Yes, you grasp about whom I speak, because that man, noble and charming as he was, died while at court of that horrid little Napoleon.

Well! I tell you, dear readers, that this lovely Viscountess W— has moved to Brighton and opened the only asset her dear husband left her. All else that was in the entail, of course, has gone to her departed husband’s rapscallion cousin. Lady W— was hard put to survive and appreciated that her husband had bequeathed her something tangible. If it’s of value remains however to be seen.

Alas! I am off the subject!

It seems that Lady W— has turned the graceful old mansion into a hotel. Yes! She sees how many wish to frolic along with the Prince Regent and she smartly has refurbished the W— mansion into a hotel! And her first guest is none other than Duke of S—.

Imagine that. He comes in search of a wife, too. And how do I know this? Because I have seen, as have you I do imagine, the advert in the Brighton Chronicle yesterday for a wife. It reads:

To the Ladies

A Wife Wanted

A Gentleman, who has lately arrived from Philadelphia, wishes to settle for life and is therefore anxious to be Married. His connections are reputable, his fortune large and he is thirty-one years of age.

He has no objections to a lady without fortune, provided she is young, sensible and with good disposition. 

Any lady who wishes to contact said advertiser, may send a letter to this publication, care of the editor, Mr. Fawkes.

The Gentelmen will take residence in Lady W—’s hotel on the 20th of June and remains until July first. During that time, he will interview those women of whose letters he approves.

The wedding will occur July second.

Can you imagine wedded bliss from such a procedure? 

I ask you, have we not come to the lowest method of seekiing a spouse?

And in such a pleasant place as Brighton. Astonishing!

***

Who is advertising for a wife?

Lady Winston’s Scandalous Hotel is a new series of Regency romantic comedies starring the lovely widow, Viscountess of Winston. A mysterious fellow who appears to materialize on the Brighton sands one morning becomes her assistant in the arts of love. Yes, he has come from the lamp. Come from Istanbul where the sultan’s vizier condemned him to aid widows and those who seek spouses. He is charming. Lady W is dismayed. Her hotel guests are all made quite happy because they are assisted in their quest for romance! For debut in the near future, THE DUKE’S SURPRISING BRIDE, BOOK 1!

Do see my website for more happy reading! 

The Mysterious Disappearance of Lady Arabella

July 1819

A most shocking bit of news has reached This Author’s ears regarding none other than the Duke of Ashmore’s sister. Yes, you have read right: Lady Arabella, this season’s Incomparable. They say, gentle reader, that Lady Arabella has mysteriously disappeared from the aforementioned duke’s residence on the evening of June 14 and not been seen since. It has come to This Author’s attention that the duke has sent out bowstreet runners to look for her. The Duke of Ashmore, who is as high in the instep as no other, with a name yet untouched by scandal and gossip, is said to be quite beside himself with worry.

Has she been kidnapped?

Has she run away?

Or has she – oh horror – eloped to Gretna Green?

The ton is abuzz with rumours. One cannot help but wonder how, and in what manner, our Incomparable has finally, and sadly, come to fall.

But oh, let it be known, Curious Reader, that This Author has it on the best of authority that a lady of the same stature, regal bearing and complexion as Lady Arabella has been espied boarding the stagecoach not to Gretna Green, but to Cornwall! Upon inquiring where she was heading, she replied she was answering a position as a governess—with a family of bourgeois origins.

A duke’s daughter as a governess?

This Author finds this so inconceivable that she has concluded this particular rumour to be a vicious falsehood, indeed. It cannot be true.

Or can it?

♥♥♥

About the Book

Arabella and the Reluctant Duke by Sofi Laporte

A runaway duke’s daughter. A handsome blacksmith. A festering secret.

Their lives were built on lies……until they unravelled.

Being a duke’s daughter is not all it’s cracked up to be. Surely there must be more to life than embroidery, balls, and finding a husband?

Running away to work as a governess, Lady Arabella does not count on being hired by a precocious 14-year-old girl who runs the family…. or being swept away by her dashingly handsome father.

Mr Philip Merivale, inventor, blacksmith and widowed father of three lively children, is not amused. Clearly, the beautiful new governess who answered his daughter’s advertisement must be a lady. There is one thing he hates more than anything: the aristocracy.

But challenging the lady who has snuck into his life has unexpected consequences: Philip finds himself falling for a woman whose true identity represents all he claims to despise.

When spats turn to sparks, Arabella discovers that Philip harbours a devastating secret of his own… one that threatens to jeopardise everything.

Arabella and the Reluctant Duke is a standalone and Book 2 of The Wishing Well Series. This is a sweet traditional Regency with simmering romance, mischievous, witty banter, and heart-throbbing happily ever after.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32xRAa1

 ♥♥♥

About the Author

Sofi was born in Vienna, grew up in Seoul, studied Comparative Literature in Maryland, U.S.A., and lived in Quito with her Ecuadorian husband. She has worked as a journalist, university lecturer, foreign language teacher and librarian. Sofi likes coffee, owls, ruins and books. When not writing – she is always reading – she likes to travel and scramble about the countryside exploring medieval castle ruins, which she blogs about on her website. She currently lives with her husband, 3 trilingual children, a sassy cat and a cheeky dog in Europe.

Visit her website here: https://www.sofilaporte.com

Join her newsletter to receive a free prequel to the Wishing Well series: https://www.sofilaporte.com/newsletter-1

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

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More Scandal for Scandal-Prone Noble Family

Sam, you mentioned when we met several weeks ago that if I came across something interesting there might be a guinea in it. I’m on the track of something now. I’m writing to check that the deal is still on.

I was at my club last night — that’s what you wanted me for, was it not, Sam? The fact that I’m still welcome in Society even though my pockets are to let?

As I was saying. I was at my club last night and I witnessed a confrontation between a peer and another gentleman. I don’t wish to name them just now. You understand, I’m sure. I trust your word, Sam, but my rent is due.

I can tell you that one is a very proper gentleman indeed, which is why it was odd to hear him championing a maiden who, it appeared, was at risk of losing that status. In his hand he held a page torn from the betting book! Have you ever heard of a person doing such a thing? But when he explained to the major domo of the club it included a wager on taking a lady’s virtue, his action received that eminence’s approval

The second person insisted that women of low birth have no virtue — he was in a gentlemen’s club so he must, ipso facto, be a gentlemen, yet I hesitate to ascribe the status to him, given that he was the originator of the wager and intended to be the instrument of its success.

At that, the peer, for the gallant knight was a peer, threatened to rearrange his face, and his dastardly opponent threw oil on the fire by shouting a comparison between the young lady in question and her sister. Whereupon, the gentlemen hit him, and a wisty castor it was, too.

The thing is, Sam, I know both men. The cavalier has been adamant in ignoring one of a pair of sisters, and the cad has been equally diligent in pursuing the other. And here’s the thing. Though they have been raised in a noble house, everyone knows that they are the daughters of its head, but not of his gracious wife.

There are so many ways this could develop. A ruination? A mesalliance? A duel? I’ll keep watching, Sam. Just let me know whether it is worth that guinea.

Melting Matilda

Fire smolders under the frost between them.

Can the Ice Maiden Soften the Granite Earl?

Her scandalous birth prevents Matilda Grenford from being fully acceptable to Society, even though she has been a ward of the Duchess of Haverford since she was a few weeks old. Matilda does not expect to be wooed by a worthy gentleman. The only man who has ever interested her gave her an outrageous kiss a year ago and has avoided her ever since.

Can the Granite Earl Melt the Ice Maiden?

Charles, the Earl of Hamner is honour bound to ignore his attraction to Matilda Grenford. She is an innocent and a lady, and in every way worthy of his respect—but she is base-born. His ancestors would rise screaming from their graves if he made her his countess. But he cannot forget the kiss they once shared.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YS4DHMJ

For Amazon in other countries and for other book retailers, see: Books2Read: https://books2read.com/MeltingMatilda

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