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Stolen Kisses Home to Roost

Dear readers, we present a bit from a purloined diary regarding a similarly stolen kiss.

Wednesday—29th July, 1763… This afternoon, while removing ink stains from shirts, I watched that meddlesome miss from the house across the field, Miss Henrietta Smith, kiss Marcus Hardwicke. Just the thought of it brings me fits of giggles that leave me hiccupping. I know I should feel sorry for her, but the look on Marcus’s face can never be unseen. Instead of closing his eyes like he taught me last summer, his eyes grew twice as large as turkey eggs. He stood there, stiller than the statue at the center of town, arms like oak limbs stiff and hanging at his sides, and pallor as pale as putty.

I can’t keep my quill from shaking, I’m laughing all over again.

You could tell by the enthusiastic way she leaned into him, color high on her cheeks, she intended the kiss as a conquest. It lasted, and lasted, and lasted, to the point where I almost stepped away from my chores to save them both from the misery of it. At long last, she released him. Poor girl had a face like a kicked kitten—and now I’m feeling sorry for her! Miss Smith took a step back, and then retreated. She lifted handfuls of her skirts and ran all the way home. (I would have done the same, had I been soundly rejected. But when I kissed Marcus, I was kissed back!)

Now I suppose we won’t be seeing the likes of Miss Smith around here anymore. No loss for me, that’s for sure. Doubtful it’s a loss for poor Marcus either.

The Laundress, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1761
(Public Domain)

About the Book

Henrietta Smith was fifteen when she stole a kiss from Marcus Hardwicke. Over a decade later, she’s still waiting to be kissed back…

Henrietta learned the hard way that when you get what you pay for you might end up with a British soldier quartering in your home threatening your friends, an enormous dog tracking mud through your house and stealing the chickens, and Marcus Hardwicke disrupting your uncomplicated life by trying to improve it. And to think she just wanted her roof fixed.

Marcus, wickedly handsome carpenter and rebel rogue, fell off Henrietta’s leaking roof. He can’t leave until his broken ankle heals, giving him plenty of time to consider his past mistakes, including Henrietta’s indelible kiss from a lifetime ago. But Henrietta could lose more than her home if she doesn’t encrypt British secrets, and the latest puts Marcus in the crosshairs.

The first installment in debut author Hallie Alexander’s steamy Sons of Neptune Series introduces readers to a band of heroic rebels at the brink of the American Revolution.

Available on Amazon & KindleUnlimited: amzn.to/2ZxZqhJ

Excerpt

“Hetty Betty, a man couldn’t easily forget you. But you haven’t been Hetty Betty Smith in a long time, have you?”

“It’s Caldwell. Is. Was.” Henrietta rolled her eyes. Sam died last year, and she still hadn’t mustered the emotional resources to mourn.

“My condolences, Mrs. Caldwell.” Marcus bowed theatrically over an extended leg.

“Don’t be a fool.” She swatted him with her fan as if the last thirteen years hadn’t shaped them into adults. When was the last time she joked?

His face brightened with a wide grin. Nice to see he had all of his teeth. Was he assessing her too? For a woman nearing thirty, she could look a lot worse. Would he see her that way, or would he recall the mousy girl he had rejected?

“Pretty Hetty Betty.” He shook his head, clicking his tongue.

Dear God. He remembered everything, didn’t he? The one time she took a risk.

“Stop. No one’s called me that since childhood.” Since playing tag by the pond in the shade of the old great barn. Since stealing a kiss not meant for her.

“Pity.”

About the Author

Hallie Alexander’s debut historical romance, A Widow’s Guide to Scandal, was published in 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing. It was a finalist in the 2019 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. She writes steamy, feminist historical romances that take place in America with heroines who become the heroes of their own story as their swoon-worthy partners work to deserve their love. She is a Northerner living in the South with her husband, three children, and Doodles of Mayhem™, Bruno and Willow.

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For book recommendations, exclusive short stories, pictures of mischievous doodle dogs, and news about Hallie’s next release, sign up for her newsletter: tiny.cc/hallie_sm

Characters Demand Happy Endings

“She has been rather busy,” Barney Somerville commented. As a vicar, he felt it incumbent on him to be fair, anxious though he was to know how his story turned out. “She has retired, left her old house, spent months house-hunting, moved into her new house, and is now renovating.”

Lady Ruth Winderfield was prowling impatiently along the spaces between the lines in her manuscript. “That’s easy for you to say, Reverend. You and Theo are first on her list. She has to have you done by early next month.” She bit back what she was going to say next, but the Marquis of Aldridge guessed her complaint.

“You and Val were about to enjoy your first kiss, were you not? And now it has been months. But take heart. She must finish your story before it is my turn.” His smirk turned wry at the edges. “I’ve waited years,” he murmured, almost too low to be heard. For the moment his heart was in the hazel eyes that lingered on the lady he loved. Saint Charlotte, they called her. She had rejected him several times, and how his author was going to resolve this was beyond him.

Otto had been sitting hunched over a tankard of ale, but he looked up at Aldridge’s complaint. “At least you are sure your story will be written one day,” he pointed out. “She doesn’t think she’ll have time for mine. And I read the original at school. It did not turn out well.”

Barney clapped the big dark-skinned man on one rugged shoulder. “She specialises in happy endings, my friend,” he pointed out.

Theo looked up from the game of cards she was playing with Otto’s wife, Desiree. “Why don’t we write a letter?” she suggested. “A summary of our concerns. A manifesto, if you will. We could send it through the Teatime Tattler. I know she reads that.”

Aldridge twirled his empty glass between his fingers. “Dear Jude, your characters are revolting?” he suggested.

“Set aside time to write us now, or we leave.” Otto’s blunt suggestion fell into a brief silence, which Val broke, speaking as Theo’s pen flew across the page at his dictation.

“Dear author, please remember your characters. We are yearning to get out of your head and onto our pages.”

(Book sculpture by Susan Hoerth)

Dear characters and readers. I have missed you all. I’m trying to carve out some time to write each day, and hope to catch up soon. Love you all.

Jude Knight

A Startling Scene at the Devonshire Ball

A group of people around each other-a Time Travel Regency

Description automatically generated

Dearest Sister:

You asked me to write you about all that happened at the event of the year, begged me to give an account of the guest of honor, the Contessa Sinatore. I cannot write all now, but I promise to relate much more when I have the time. This amazing anecdote must suffice for the moment.

I secured a country dance with the Contessa. A fine dancer, she is very tall and certainly athletic enough to accomplish all that you have read about her heroics. After the dance, I had the temerity to ask how she accomplished the rescue of the child. “What techniques did you employ to climb the manor wall?”

Before she could answer, among the many notables gathered around her, Lord Litton interjected, “Tut, tut there, Downey. Quite an unfair question, my boy. You cannot expect a woman to explain the technical skills involved. Far outside a woman’s ken. Common knowledge, don’t you know?”  He embarrassed me, as though tutoring a child. “It is unfair to expect more of women, particularly from the darker, southern European cultures.”

Several other men nodded sagely and murmured “Quite right, Lord Litton, quite right.” 

I didn’t know how to respond. Should I apologize to the Contessa? I was saved by her. She laid a hand on my sleeve and with a devilish smile said, “Do not trouble yourself, Mr. Downey. Adam had similar questions concerning women.”

A Parliamentarian, Mr. Quagmire asked, “And how is that, my lady?”

“I guess you haven’t heard the story.” She leaned in and everyone leaned closer to hear her. “In the Garden of Eden, Adam went to God one day to ask him why he had made the woman Eve the way he had.”

Several men smiled and said they hadn’t heard it.  “As they walked in the Garden, Adam asked God, ‘Why did you make women so beautiful?’”

“God answered, ‘So you would like them.’”

She had Adam answer, “Then why did you make them so soft and cuddly?”  The men chuckled at this, looking at each other with near leers on their faces. I felt the need to say something, but the Contessa continued in a deep voice, “And God answered. ‘So you would enjoy holding them for your comfort.’”

“’Yes, marvelous,’ said Adam, ‘but why, why did you make them so stupid?’”

 The men roared their laughter, until Cassandra held up a hand and they quieted before she spoke.     

“‘Well, my boy,’ God said, ‘I wanted them to like you too.”

I must tell you, sister, it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud at the stunned looks, mumbles and ‘umphs’ all around. The Contessa was saved from any complications by the Earl of Drayton, who quickly claimed her for the next set.

I knew you would enjoy that recollection. I will write with more about the Contessa when I can.

Your Loving Brother,

Robert

About the Book

Time Travel Regency

A Cat Burglar is Thrust Back in Time

Art Thief Cassie Sinatore: Shackled and dressed in a neon orange jumpsuit, she awaits extradition at Heathrow Airport. An accident with a nearby experimental radar plane throws Cassie back in time, dumping her in a wooded countryside. The rider who discovers her is charismatic, more compelling than any man she has ever met. She chalks up the man’s Regency outfit and odd behavior to the eccentricity of the rich. Or maybe he is just a nutbar, but the man is offering a ride.

Lord Ross Kerrington: The new Earl of Drayton, having returned from the wars in 1815, finds the Kerrington family in turmoil, lunatic women who make him consider returning to the army. The alluring woman he discovers in the estate’s Greyfield Woods strikes him as equally mad. The woman wears bizarre attire, acting with a peculiar cheekiness that borders on insolence. Considering the very real dangers a madwoman faces encountering the surrounding inhabitants, he decides to bring her home until he can decide what to do with her. Unexpectedly, his family has other ideas.

 Meeting the Kerrington family, Cassie finally realizes she is trapped 200 years in the past. Faced with the frightening situation, she resolves to win her independence using her cat-burglar skills. Then things get complicated. 

Against her will, she finds herself caring about the Kerrington family, fighting a powerful attraction to the very proper Ross. Dependent on the Kerringtons’ good will, Cassie finds it increasingly difficult to navigate London society, the family, and even more, her growing passion for Ross.

Besides, someone is trying to kill him.    

Stealing Time is available for Amazon Kindle.

BW Haggart’s Website will premier at the same time offering more information, blogs and book reviews.

His Majesty’s Navy Is Not Prepared!

Precipitated by the Corsican Monster’s recent escape from Elba, many of our readers have written with concerns about England’s preparedness for battle. Thus we dispatched our best investigative reporters to various military offices seeking information with which to reassure the public. Much good news was received and will be reported at a later date. Today we wish to issue a stern warning to the government that disturbing events at the Royal ship yards in Great Yarmouth may well result in England’s inability to defend herself on the seas.

Thomas Byam Martin
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

It is the work of the Comptroller’s office to oversee the procurement, storage, and dispersal of all Naval supplies, from the thread and cloth for uniforms to the materials for constructing and outfitting his majesty’s ships as well as the maintenance of those ships in port and at sea. After The Corsican’s abdication last year, the Comptroller’s office announced the sale of surplus supplies, as they were believed to be no longer needed. Present events reveal this to have been an error in judgement of monumental proportions.

Our reporter was granted an interview with the Deputy Comptroller of the Navy, Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin. Martin said definitively that no reduction in supplies would occur while the country was at war. Although, he promised efficiency would be improved in all processes (procurement, storage, delivery et cetera) undergone by supplies. The Rear Admilal went to great lengths to assure our reporter that all ships were fully supplied and much surplus remained in the Great Yarmouth warehouses, although he could not permit our reporter entrance to the warehouses or the holds of any of his majesty’s ships. We are grateful for said reassurance. While no one will doubt the honor, sincerity, and trustworthiness of Rear Admiral Martin, perhaps he is mis-informed as to the status of naval supplies at the Great Yarmouth shipyard.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

It has come to our attention via very reliable sources that despite the recent peace and Rear Admiral Martin’s assurances, naval munitions are in very short supply. Our reporter interviewed the officers and crew of several vessels–all of whom shall remain nameless to protect their standing in the navy. Each man reported insufficient supplies of the materials needed to perform his duties. Especially concerning was the report from munitions officers that shot, powder, canon balls, even canons were all missing from or greatly reduced on the lading bills of the ships where interviews were conducted. This frightful news lends credence to the concerns expressed by our readership.

What will become of a nation whose might rests in having the most superior fleet in the world, if that fleet cannot feed itself nor fire a shot in England’s defense? I beg you dear readers, communicate with your members of parliament and urge them to see this terrifying situation corrected post-haste.

S. Clemens, Editorial Director.

This weeks article from S. Clemens is as always a complete fiction with the exception of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin who served as Deputy Comptroller of the Royal Navy from January 1815 to February 1816 when he was appointed to the position of Comptroller in full. He served as the Royal Navy’s comptroller from February 1816 through November 1831 and was responsible for many improvements in the Royal Navy supply systems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Byam_Martin.

I wrote this article after researching a character for the next Bluestocking Belles Boxset. That character’s mission will be to investigate the reports of supply shortages and see the situation corrected as well as bringing any wrong doers to justice.

About Rue Allyn: Award winning author, Rue Allyn, learned story telling at her grandfather’s knee. (Well it was really more like on his knee—I was two.) She’s been weaving her own tales ever since. She has worked as an instructor, mother, sailor, clerk, sales associate, and painter, along with a variety of other types of employment. She has lived and traveled in places all over the globe from Keflavik Iceland (I did not care much for the long nights of winter.) and Fairbanks Alaska to Panama City and the streets of London England to a large number of places in between. Now that her two sons have left the nest, Rue and her husband of more than four decades (Try living with the same person for more than forty years—that’s a true adventure.) have retired and moved south.  When not writing, enjoying the nearby beach or working jigsaw puzzles, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance.. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com.  She can’t wait to hear from you.

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Royal Rumors From Aldonia

Dearest Readers,

Have you heard the news? Word from Aldonia is that our illustrious Crown Prince is finally in the market for a princess.

With the prince’s two younger siblings married off, it was only a matter of time that Prince Christopher found a bride.

My sources in the palace, however, tell me that the search may have hit a bit of a snag. 

Not because of anything our dear prince has done, of course. Nay, it seems that the arrival of a certain English miss has caught a few eyes. 

Royal Rumors

Though the lady’s connections are undeniably good, we’re not all that convinced that she is fit to be a queen.

Have no fear, dear readers. As you well know, Prince Christopher has never acted in a way that is anything less than perfect. And he has only ever put crown and country before all else.

But we must wonder; why do our sources tell us that he’s been acting somewhat out of character around the gel? 

And word has it that the mysterious Lady L’s cousin was very much in line to take the crown. Will there be familial discord? And will our dear prince shock us all with an unexpected announcement soon?

We doubt that he’d do anything to shock us. But then, considering his brother ran off to England, and his sister married the help, one can never tell.

We shall keep our eyes and ears very much open, and report back when we have even a sniff of scandal about our fearless leader. 

The Teatime Tattler’s Aldonia Correspondent

About the Book

Heavy is the heart that wears the crown…

Prince Christopher Wesselbach learned from a young age that crown and country come before everything else.

Now, as Crown Prince and future king, he knows that duty to the throne requires him to marry.

But he also knows from bitter experience that women are fickle and not to be trusted. So, he’ll choose a wife based on what Aldonia needs in a queen and nothing else. He won’t allow a woman to change the life he chooses to live, and he won’t be foolish enough to let his heart get involved in the decision.

Lady Lucia Allenwood does not fit in with royalty. If stealing from the queen wasn’t proof enough of that, then engaging in illicit meetings with a handsome stranger certainly was.

But her cousin seems to have caught the interest of the elusive Prince Christopher and so Lucy must do her best to stay out of trouble, and not disgrace the family name.

Despite their best intentions, Lucy and Christopher can’t seem to stay out of each other’s ways, and when they clash, sparks inevitably fly.

But can Christopher learn to trust? Not just a lady, but his own heart?

And will Lucy be able to redeem this royal?

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Knu1Hu

Amazon UK & Ire: https://amzn.to/2xJHo2b

Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books  |  Goodreads

About the Author

Nadine Millard is a bestselling writer hailing from Dublin, Ireland.

When she’s not writing historical romance, she’s managing her chaotic household of three children, a husband and a very spoiled dog!

She’s a big fan of coffee and wine with a good book and will often be found at her laptop at 2am when a book idea strikes.

Royal rumors

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