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Category: Teatime Tattler (Page 1 of 48)

Musings of a Motley Meddler: Men Who Do Not Listen

A Stolen Kiss by Marcus Stone

A Stolen Kiss by Marcus Stone

Christmastide 1814
Bath, England

Dear Interested Parties or Women the World Wide,

Today I’d like to discuss men who do not listen: the bane of every woman’s existence.

But first, a little background. The following is a record of my recent conversation with a certain prodigal duke at my home in London:

“Forgive an old lady for not standing, lad. My doctor says I have poor humours in my toe. What a load of shite, I say, but the left one does ache a’ times.”

He dipped his head and scarcely gave my propped foot a glance. “I need your help.”

“Indeed. I assume this is regarding Miss A— M— and her attentions, or lack thereof?”

I’ve blacked out her name from this transcript, for privacy’s sake, of course. As you well know, I am everything that is discreet.

At this point, I waived THE Umbrella about as many who talk with their hands might, but he took no notice. When I added a “Hmmmm?” and waved it again, I finally caught his eye.

He smiled. “May I hold It?”

“But of course.”

He took it gently, handling it with obvious care, and ran his hand down the length as if it were a treasured heirloom. “I’ve heard much about this Umbrella and your devious little exploits,” He raised a brow, but his lips held a smile. “and I think I might need this.”

So far so good, right? I like a man who knows what he wants. Still, I asked:

“Are you sure, young man? I must warn you,” I gestured towards the Umbrella. “That thing works.”

He smiled. “Good.”

“Right then. What’s your plan?”

Now, he looked uncertain. Of course. Come on, ladies, let’s raise our eyes heavenward and say it together: Men.

“Plan?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yes, my daft boy. What? Were you just going to toss It at her and hope for the best? It doesn’t work quite like that. Especially with the right kind of woman, and Miss M— is the right kind of woman.”

The duke got that silly look on his face at the mention of Miss M— by name, the one all men get when they are thinking of their one true love, but I digress.

“Ahem, yes, well, fortunately, for you, I have a plan already written out for you to follow.” I handed him my list. “I must say I was quite surprised by your note, saying you would call today. But I’d hoped—and here you are, poised to make my little job quite a bit easier.”

By job, I was referring to my plans to play matchmaker to him and Miss M— regardless of either of their preferences on the matter.

At this point, he stopped to read my plan:

  1. Make your intentions clear
  2. Send her a cornucopia of her favorite flowers
  3. Ensure everyone knows your intentions
  4. Give her a special gift—one she cannot return.
  5. Take her for a ride

His head jerked up, and a faint blush colored his cheeks. “Is take her for a ride a euphemism for…”

I shrugged and withheld a snort. “Time will tell.”

  1. Waltz with her in private
  2. Give her a taste of passion
  3. Take her sailing
  4. Bare your soul
  5. Propose

Now ladies, pay particular attention to this point in our conversation. For when he finished, I immediately articulated my warning:

“Heed me, lad. You must follow this plan to the letter. No skipping steps. No combining steps. And no funny business.”

He didn’t even blink. “When do we begin?” he asked.

“December 22. The Ruthford’s Winter Solstice Ball. I know. They’re a touch pagan, but it’s the perfect segue into Christmastide, which we shall spend at my home near Bath, and we need every opportunity available to us if we hope to secure your engagement by Twelfth Night.”

“Twelfth Night,” he repeated in a bit of a daze.

“Too soon?” I asked.

The duke smiled. “Absolutely not. Just wondering if I can wait that long.”

“Good answer. You’ll do.”

“And if the weather thwarts our departure for Bath?”

“Harrumph. It wouldn’t dare.”

“Heaven forbid.” The duke bowed and turned to leave, a smile on his handsome face.

“Duke? Leave everything else to me.” I help up my finger in warning. “I mean it, lad. Everything. Else.”

The duke dipped his head. “Yes ma’am.”

Now, perhaps I should have added: “Repeat after me. No skipping steps. No combining steps. And no funny business.” A second time.

But alas.

And wouldn’t you know, it all began to unravel on Christmas Day when he botched Step Four completely.

Which required a new step: Step 4.5— Apologize in a grand way; grovel if necessary.

I must say he executed step 4.5 beautifully over Christmas dinner.

But then, His Graceless Idiot decided steps 8 and 9 weren’t truly necessary.

Weren’t. Truly. Necessary.

Now. One would think that when wooing a reluctant woman, a man would take and follow the advice he had received from a knowledgeable person who was/is, in fact, a woman.

But then again, he is only a man. Flawed and human, though beautiful in his way.

Fortunately for him, my Umbrella and I work magic.

Unfortunately for you, you will have to read the latest story in the Umbrella Chronicles by Amy Quinton to find out what happens next—release date, November 2018 and included in the 2018 Bluestocking Belles Holiday Boxed Set.  Details to come!

 

Lady Harriett Ross,

Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

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

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

Orphan trains, mail-order brides, mortgages and more — Under a Mulberry Moon

Mr. Clemens, Editor
Tea Time Tattler
Fleet Street, London

Dear Sam,

My news is certain to astonish you, sir. There’s a great deal to tell, some of it I can hardly believe it myself. I composed my thoughts while under a mulberry moon but now take pen in hand to inform you.

Eliza Wells, the millright’s daughter, was whisked off by her uncle Joseph Wells to visit him and her cousins in California after her grandmother suffered a stroke. Eliza doesn’t understand why her grandmother hasn’t responded to any of her letters. Her grandmother, worried because she hasn’t heard from Eliza, is nobody’s fool. She arranged for former railroad detective Kit Halsey to investigate. And a good thing, too, for Joseph has ulterior motives and Eliza is trapped. Can you imagine her dilemma?

Ruby is running from her parents and large family to the unknown of Charlie Ransom. She answered his ad for a mail-order bride and agreed to meet him at Sundown Ranch just outside of Duston, Texas. Hope rose in her heart as she thought of being loved by him and having a house to herself. She wasn’t afraid of work, but she wants it to be for herself and a loving husband. Sick of war, Charlie left Ohio and bought a ranch in Texas. Now Ruby won’t marry him until he can tell her he loves her. Will he find her love worth the wait when four orphans and a tornado of trouble surround him?

Mr. Clemens, don’t you grow sad knowing there are so many orphans in the world? Former orphan train child, now grown, Mercedes “Merry” Murphy Bird, is the successful co-owner of a boardinghouse in Mockingbird Flats, Texas. She sure seems to find rescuing three quirky orphans from the orphan train irresistible even if it isn’t quite legal. Merry is determined to give the children a better life than she endured at the hands of the Nebraska couple who adopted her. I figure there’ll be a family for Merry. Boardinghouse resident and lawyer Blake Woolfe has come to town to take over the law practice of his late uncle. Blake is the eldest of ten children and spent far too much time caring for them and his mother to want anything to do with children now. I’m sure you can sympathize with him.

Children’s Aid Society authorities don’t exactly know that Polly Friday Bird and her sister are single and neither woman is going to volunteer the information. Polly hated the life she and Merry led after they were adopted by a surly Nebraska couple who really wanted free drudges. Polly believes the boardinghouse she and Merry purchased is an ideal place to raise a family for Polly with a large yard, numerous rooms, and a good school nearby. Still, when the authorities appear, she may need a husband in order to keep her children. She is trying to convince Manford “Ford” Daily to marry her and then leave. This is humorous, sir, because Polly’s problem is that Ford won’t go. I must confess I laughed in many spots when I heard her story.

But, I shall move on to a serious part of my news. Poor dear Ada Weathered has only two weeks to pay the mortgage on the land her father left her. In spite of her working two jobs, she simply won’t have the money to pay by the deadline. Donal “Mac” McTiernan chased deserters to Brady City, Texas, and hoped it would be his last duty for the Army. When Ada and the Texas cavalryman met Mac was so taken with that redhead with green eyes that he isn’t sure he can complete his mission and help her save her land.  I’m sure you join me in hoping so.

Prepare yourself because the next tidbit is frightening. Anya Fleming’s son Willie-boy found his father hanged in their barn six months ago. The boy hasn’t spoken a word since and is now gravely ill. Anya is convinced her late husband haunts her son. Anya knows the only person who can help her when in comes a specter, her former love, Yellow Smoke, now a powerful shaman. Yellow Smoke was devastated when Anya married Lewis Fleming but doesn’t know Anya was forced to do so. I hope Yellow Smoke will overcome his resentment and help Willie. I know you’ll join me in my good wishes.

A bit of fun news is that a widow buys a groom. Katherine Parnell needed a husband to help her operate Maggie’s Baked Goods and raise her four-year-old son. She had no intention of remarrying until Jim Sutton landed in the Meadow Creek jail for defending her. He inherited land and was hoping to make this community his home. Jim has demons of his own and doesn’t want to get close to anyone. Join me, Mr. Clemens, in hoping these two can find happiness together.

After delivering his sister to Freedom, Matthew is ready to find Matthew’s freedom. He’s been running from a guilty conscience. Mr. Clemens, you and I know that it’s not possible to outrun our conscience. Brenna is determined to provide for her son—even though he fights her at every step. Jobs are scarce but men are plentiful and marriage may be the only way Brenna can survive. If Brenna and Matthew unite to save her son, will her the boy tear them apart?

Another frightening situation occurred when Aurora Cavender went off to Utah in search of her twin brother, Jason, who was reported dead. She didn’t expect to encounter the cad who abandoned her at the altar years ago, Garret Mosely. He insisted he wasn’t Garret though and calls himself Nebraska Joe of the Hell’s-Gate Gang. Aurora knows her twin isn’t dead, but believes he’s injured. Well, I tell you! She was captured by a ruthless gang and had to rely on Garret to help her rescue Jason and escape Robber’s Roost.  The outcome of it all is that the lady lassos an outlaw.

I do so hope you’ve enjoyed my news. Until next time, I remain,

Your faithful correspondent,

Caroline

Only 99 cents for a limited time! Amazon buy link: http://a.co/99Odsch

Excerpt from A FAMILY FOR MERRY:

Tears burned the back of Merry’s eyelids when she surveyed the children. They lined up as if going to slaughter. Some wore hopeful expressions, some fearful, some so downtrodden their eyes were those of old people in young faces. Several in particular tugged at her heartstrings—the ragtags, the unadoptable. What would happen to them?

A scrawny little girl whose nametag said Abigail limped. Problem was, she sometimes changed legs. She hovered around a toddler labeled Tamara. Occasionally, Abigail brushed against Tamara and the baby would cry.

Merry suspected Abigail pinched the baby to make her appear disagreeable. Tamara was a pitiful sight. Mucous drained from her nose and red spots were on her exposed skin. On closer examination, Merry decided the spots were from a paint crayon.

Sorrow and mirth warred inside Merry. What an ingenious child Abigail was. The poor girl must be frantic thinking she’d be parted from Tamara.

A boy whose nametag read Calvin stood with feet braced, arms crossed, and a stubborn expression locked on his face. His age would be around nine. He glared as if he dared anyone to adopt him. No one did.

Merry got Abigail’s attention. “You must be tired from standing on your bad leg while taking care of Tamara. Why don’t you both sit here beside me?”

Abigail pulled at a lock of her disheveled hair. “Both of us? You mean Tammie can stay with me?”

“Yes, that’s what I mean.”

Abigail picked up Tammie and deposited her at Merry’s side then promptly sat beside her so that she and Tammie were mostly obscured by the skirt around the table.

Merry motioned to the boy. “Calvin, I can see you don’t need anyone to look after you, but would you help me by standing beside Abigail to make sure no one bothers her or Tammie?”

He didn’t move for a full minute before he inhaled and released a deep breath. “S’pose I can.” Slowly, he ambled to stand behind Abigail and Tammie, as if daring anyone to touch the girls.

Merry wrote the names of the three children on the list and her name as the person adopting. To mask the fact there was no husband, she wrote her first name and then sort of scribbled her middle and last name in what she hoped passed for a husband’s name. Murphy Bird could be a man’s name.

Beside Merry, Polly whispered, “What are you doing?”

“You know exactly. I am not deserting these children to chance.”

Polly’s eyes sparked fire. “Neither am I. You can put my name down for Evelyn and Noah. You know that no one will adopt a boy who’s mute, at least not for any decent purpose.”

Polly rose and stepped over to the two she’d chosen. “Evelyn, Noah, I’d like you to come live with me.”

Hope sprang into Evelyn’s eyes as she clasped Noah’s hand. “He don’t never talk but he’s good and real smart.”

“I’m sure he is. He won’t have to talk at our house unless he wants to.” She took Noah’s free hand and led the two to the table.

The two children sat on the floor beside Polly’s chair as Abigail and Tammie did at the table’s other end.

When Polly had reclaimed her place, she leaned near Merry. “Can we really get away with this?”

“Proceed as if everything is secure and above board. We can do this, Polly. We can’t let these children suffer as we did just because we don’t have husbands.”

“They’ll each have a wonderful home with us. We’ll love them as if we’d given birth to them.”

“Exactly. And we have the room and a good place for them to live and grow. Aren’t you excited?”

The anthology UNDER A MULBERRY MOON contents are:

  • A FAMILY FOR MERRY, Caroline Clemmons
  • A FAMILY FOR POLLY, Jacquie Rogers
  • ADA AND THE TEXAS CAVALRYMAN, Carra Copelin
  • COMES A SPECTER, Keta Diablo
  • MATTHEW’S FREEDOM, Cissie Patterson
  • MILLRIGHT’S DAUGHTER, Zina Abbott
  • THE LADY LASSOS AN OUTLAW, Charlene Raddon
  • THE WIDOW BUYS A GROOM, P. A. Estelle
  • WORTH THE WAIT, Patricia Pacjac Carroll

Check out the blog and Facebook page:

http://Facebook.com/UnderAMulberryMoon

http://underamulberrymoon.blogspot.com

Bio for Caroline Clemmons

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Follow her on BookBub.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

What’s a brother to do?

Lord Adrian de Courtenay watched his sisters from across his seat in their carriage while they returned home from Hollystone Hall. Grace, the older of the two, had a sweet smile set upon her face, most likely because she at last came to a common accord with none other than Lord Nicholas Lacey. Miranda, the youngest in the family, sat staring out the window with a blank expression and red rimmed eyes. He hated to see her cry but in this case, it was only what she deserved. She looked up as though she sensed his displeasure.

“Not. One. Word.” She murmured between clenched teeth and pointing a slim finger in his direction.

Adrian shrugged before pulling a slim cheroot from his coat and lighting it. “I said nothing, Miranda,” he answered watching the trail of smoke.

“How shall I ever show myself in Society again?” Miranda moaned before hiding her face in her hands.

Grace reached over to give their sister’s arm an affectionate squeeze. “People forget, dear heart.”

Adrian groaned. “I am not certain shall ever forget, at least any time soon. To see our sister so scantily clad in that costume has been engrained into my soul.”

A screech emitted from across the seat. “You should have been more concerned with what Lord Aldridge and Gren proposed to me,” Miranda fumed, her face turning red in either anger or embarrassment. Adrian was not sure which. “Why, oh why, did you not call them out to save my honor?”

Adrian leaned forward in his seat with a frown. “I would not dare call the gentlemen out given your performance at the charity ball. They did nothing but teach you a lesson that I pray you shall remember and not repeat, little one. I have barely recovered from the ordeal of trying to save your reputation as it is.”

The carriage came to a halt and Adrian noticed they had arrived home. Before the footman could put the step down and open the door, Miranda flung herself out of their conveyance. She leaned her arm upon the frame to peer back inside.

“I hate you, Adrian!” she yelled. “I will hate you until I die.” With a sob, she fled into the house.

Adrian gave a heavy sigh, descended from the carriage and turned to assist Grace. He was just heading up the walk when he espied none other than the Danver sister’s scratching away on a piece of parchment while standing in the middle of the sidewalk. He ignored them and went into his townhouse wondering what page the little scene they had witnessed would turn up on in tomorrow’s edition of the Teatime Tattler.


Sherry Ewing is proud to be one of the Bluestocking Belles. Lord Adrian de Courtenay and his sisters made their first appearance in A Kiss For Charityinside the Belles’ 2016 box set Holly and Hopeful Hearts. A Kiss For Charity is available for individual sale.


Holly and Hopeful Hearts

When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever marriages she can. Eight assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?

Holly and Hopeful Hearts is a Bluestocking Belles Collection with 25% of the sales benefit the Belles’ mutual charity the Malala Fund!

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 A Kiss for Charity Blurb:

Love heals all wounds but will their pride keep them apart?

Young widow, Grace, Lady de Courtenay, is more concerned with improving her mind than finding another husband. But how was she to know that a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would spark her interest and make her yearn for love again?

Lord Nicholas Lacey has been on his own for far too long after losing his wife in a tragic accident. After a rare trip to a masquerade, his attention is captivated by a lovely young woman. Considering the dubious company she keeps, perhaps she might be interested in becoming his mistress.

From the darkened paths of Vauxhall Gardens to a countryside estate called Hollystone Hall, Nicholas and Grace must set aside their differences in order to let love into their hearts. It will take more than a dose of holiday cheer to see these two on the road to finding their happily-ever-after and a kiss for charity may just be what they both need.

Excerpt:

Arms of steel wrapped around her waist to prevent her downward pitch. Her rescuer’s cape whirled around their bodies as though the cloak itself would conceal them from the night and those around them. Fathomless dark eyes were all but hidden in the black mask that concealed his features, yet, a flicker from the walkway lanterns hinted at their color. His eyes were brown, much like his hair, she surmised, if the curls that formed around the edges of his hat and mask were any indication.

Grace gasped as he quickly maneuvered her off the pathway to save them from being run over by the eagerness of the crowd. Sheshivered, but not from the cold for she was far from chilled. No. Shequivered from the warmth that raced up and down her spine at being this closeto a man, let alone held intimately for the first time in many years.

“Are you hurt, my lady?”

His deep voice went straight to her heart. His low tone plummeted down to reach into the very depths of her soul to awaken a part of her that had been left dormant as though she had been waiting for him her entire life. Waiting… yes she had been waiting for someone to come along who would give her this sudden feeling of completeness, even though he was a total stranger.

The realization of what she was doing hit her as if a bucket of icy water had been thrown over the top of her head. He was asking her something, but her brain could not wrap itself around what he had inquired.

“Pardon me?” she asked in a breathy whisper of astonishment, especially when she realized she had been caressing the lapel of his jacket beneath his cloak.

His arm tightened around her. She watched in mild fascination as one side of his mouth turned up in a cocky grin. He knew exactly how her body was reacting to their close proximity.

“I asked if you were hurt, although I might also beg for an introduction.”

“I h-hardly think this en-encounter is a-appropriate,” Grace stammered. Was that actually her voice sounding so unsure of herself?

He leaned down, and, for an instant, she thought he was about to kiss her.

“How utterly charming that I have you all tongued-tied.” His words whispered gently in her ear were almost her undoing.

Before she could comment, Moriah’s voice was heard above the noise of the crowd, and she quickly untangled herself from the man who did nothing to hide his disappointment.

“There you are,” Moriah declared as she stared up at the stranger. Grace could only imagine what was going on inside her friend’s mind, given their recent conversation. “I am sorry I lost you. Are you all right?”

Grace nodded. “Yes… of course. Thank you, sir, for your assistance this evening,” she murmured shyly to the gentleman whose lips turned up into a charming grin.

He raised his fingers to tip his hat towards her. “It was my pleasure to rescue a fair damsel in distress.”

Her eyes followed him through the crowd until he disappeared. Her heart hammered in her chest. What in the world had just happened?

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A Prescient Conversation!

A new movement is afoot in the nation that has some citizens perplexed and others outright enraged. Your reporter has insinuated herself into a fashionable group of ladies and gentleman discussing this radical concept. Thank goodness the true identity of New York Herald society columnist Truly C. Goode is unknown, for I should never have received an invitation to this august gathering, or any other for that matter.

Join me now as we quietly observe my fellow guests. Mr. Albert van der Roos is holding forth at present, but Mr. Billy Wentworth and van der Roos’s niece, Miss Sarah Smythe are equally passionate on the subject presently under discussion.

“I say, do you really believe it possible? That this preacher should call for the banning of liquor is beyond the pale. The man should keep to the Good Book and leave honest folks in peace with their pastimes.” Mr. van der Roos slammed his fist onto the arm of his chair.

Miss Smythe fluttered her fan and smiled sweetly. “But dear Uncle Albert, surely you do not consider alcohol an entertainment.”

“Entertainment? Hardly. A necessity, by God. I can’t imagine life without its soothing effects. Only thing that gets some of us through the day.” Van der Roos’s eyes grew large as he observed his niece. “Don’t tell me you agree with the damned parson? You’re just a chit of a girl. What do you know of a man’s needs?”

Mr. Wentworth had thus far been content to lounge silently in the corner of the divan, but hearing Sarah so described roused him to give voice to his thoughts. “Miss Smythe may be young, but she has a right to her opinions.” He tilted his head as though in thought. “Of course, should this temperance idea take hold, it could have unintended consequences.”

Miss Smythe had at first brightened when Wentworth spoke, but now a glower marred her continence. “Really? And what bad could possibly occur? I should think preventing husbands of the lower classes drinking to the point of inebriation might better society. As it is, they beat their wives and children after spending the money for food on demon rum. It is the less fortunate of whom we must think.”

Van der Roos harrumphed as his eyebrows rose nearly to his receding hairline. “The poor will always be with us. The Bible says so. Why should I be denied because the lower classes can’t hold their liquor?” Van der Roos ended on a blustery note, so incensed had he become.

Wentworth suppressed a smile with difficulty. “While both of you make excellent points, it is not the poor of whom I am thinking, but rather the criminal classes. Should this temperance thing take hold, and God forbid become law, I foresee great trouble. If we learned nothing from the whiskey tax rebellion of some years past, it should be that the government should leave a man and his liquor alone.”

Van der Roos beamed. “Hear, hear!”

Wentworth held up his hand and continued, “I foresee an entire criminal industry in the making, transporting, and selling of unlicensed liquor growing up overnight should temperance become law.” He shook his head as if in disbelief. “I don’t think you need worry, van der Roos. Such insanity will never pass the Congress. Too many of the members enjoy their tipple overly well.”

________________

Of course, 120 years after this conversation took place, Congress passed the Volstead Act and all of Wentworth’s fears were indeed realized. Linda Bennett Pennell’sMiami Days, Havana Nights gives readers an inside look at the unintended consequences of Prohibition.

Excerpt

Chapter 1
May 18, 1926
105 South Street
New York City
 

Knocking – sharp, loud, rapid – echoed through the empty speakeasy. Sam froze, the notes of a tune stuck in the roof of his mouth. He glanced at the entrance and leaned the handle of his push broom against his shoulder. Puffs of dust settled on the floor boards around his feet while he remained motionless.

It was late, too late, to be admitting customers, even for the city’s illegal watering holes and gambling joints. Although a thick crossbar and several stout locks protected the heavy iron door, an uneasy feeling crawled down Sam’s spine. Growing tension over control of the Fulton Fish Market, in fact the entire South Street area, was making a lot of people jumpy, including him.

Several seconds passed without noise from the other side of the door. Sam let out his breath and laughed at himself. Working at the fish market in the afternoon then staying up half the night at the speakeasy didn’t leave much time for sleep. It kept him on edge. All the rumors and threats floating around these days weren’t helping either. Inclining his ear and hearing nothing, he relaxed and gave his broom a shove.

Bam, bam, bam.

Sam’s heart jumped into his throat.

“Open up, Monza. I know you’re in there.” The shout, colored by an Irish lilt, came from the second floor landing accompanied by renewed pounding. “I come to talk with ya. We need to settle this business. I got a proposition for ya.”

Sam’s breathing kicked up a notch as he looked over his shoulder toward the office. The boss didn’t like to be disturbed when he was meeting with his guys. The pounding from outside in the hall returned in earnest, but the office door remained fixed.

“You gonna open this damned door or do I break it down?” The door knob rattled and jerked.

Behind Sam, the office door clicked open an inch. He watched in the mirror over the bar as the muzzle of a .38 Special emerged from the opening, its nickel-plated barrel glittering in the overhead lights. One of the gangsters stepped into the room, met Sam’s eye in the mirror, and jerked his head, then the room went dark. Sam dropped his broom and backed into an alcove next to the bar. The office door opened wider. Several shadows scurried across the floor. Metal locks and bolts snapped and clanked, then the entrance door swung inward.

About the Book

Debts. Most people have them. Many involve money. Others fall into less well-defined categories

1926, New York City. After witnessing a gangland murder, seventeen-year-old Sam Ackerman is sent to Miami under Moshe Toblinsky’s protection. Once in Miami, Sam is forced into bootlegging. He falls in love with Rebecca, whose devout parents refuse to approve the match until he disentangles himself from his criminal bosses. With the end of Prohibition, Sam persuades Toblinsky to set him free. The price? A debt, as Toblinsky puts it, of friendship. A debt that Sam keeps secret from Rebecca. A debt that will one day come due.

Present day, Gainesville, Florida. History of American Crime professor Liz Reams seems to have it all – early success in her field, a tantalizing discovery associated with old time gangster Moshe Toblinsky, and the love of a wonderful man. Life is perfect. So why does she keep refusing her guy’s proposals? Her journey toward understanding begins when she must confront a long-term, yet unacknowledged, personal debt. Once on the path of self-discovery, she finds clarification at every turning, most importantly during her research into Sam’s life. All of these personal revelations come at a price, however, as she becomes embroiled in emotional and physical dangers that may prove greater than she can handle.

Miami Days, Havana Nights releases on Amazon July 18, 2018.

About the Author

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, “Let’s pretend.”

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

“History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire  

Other Books:
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel from Soul Mate Publishing
Confederado do Norte from Soul Mate Publishing
When War Came Homefrom real Cypress Press
Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn from the Wild Rose Press

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This Stuff Will Sell Papers

Clemens, Editor
The Teatime Tattler
Fleet Street, London

Sam,

I don’t know if you can use this, but one of the Jarratt & Martinson tea clippers is leaving Macao in the morning. I’m coming back to London, but I can’t afford the clipper so I’m sending this ahead. It’ll get there faster. You know that favor I owed you? Consider it paid.

Your hunch was right. The Duke of Sudbury’s cub wheedled his way into the East India Company Factory in Canton. By all accounts, the worthless oaf spent more time prowling the flower boats where they provide all the delights he chased in London along with plenty of exotic local depravity tossed in. He either quit the Company or was tossed because he’s supposed to be working for Jarratt, though “work,” may not be what he’s doing. I know you don’t care about politics but Jarratt may be trying to use the pup to get to Sudbury. Bears watching.

Now you owe me because there’s more. It isn’t just the boy that washed up in Macao. A girl followed him—Sudbury’s oldest girl, the uppity one too proud to so much as dance with any gent lower than a duke, the one with the weird Arabic name. Superintendent Eliot and his wife put it out that they’re hosting her on Sudbury’s behalf, but I doubt Sudbury even knows where she is. I saw her myself going in and out of Eliot’s house as swanky and stuck up as ever she was in London, every inch the duke’s daughter, but I heard rumors.

I got myself an invitation to dinner by one of the China traders, Harold McIlroy.  It cost me a pretty penny in drinks at the club where they all congregate, but it was worth it. The ladies of Macao dig dirt with the best of them. I got an earful, I can tell you. I don’t see how it can all be true, but where there’s smoke, there has to be at least an ember or two.

Ingram, Dennison, and Dean’s ladies between them told me the girl:

~wears men’s clothes
~escaped torture and worse for her crimes by convincing some big Chinese official to let her off as the ladies said, “in the way of light skirts everywhere.”
~wormed her way into Jarratt’s house with nothing but a Chinese servant. The Dennison woman said Jarratt actually admitted he had his way with her.
~threw herself at the Duke of Murnane, a married man whose “poor abused wife,” lives in a dumpy little house in the native quarter
~uses opium tar
~sneaks into the house at night even with the man’s wife in residence

The Chit has nerve. All Macao knows what she is, but she parades around town while a little servant hops along behind her holding some fancy parasol on a bent handle to keep the sun off her like she’s some short of rajah’s female.  I cornered the little weasel, a Chinese boy who looks like at least one Portuguese tomcat got at his great-grandfather’s tabbies. Name’s Filipe. The boy talked about the trollop like she’s the queen herself. Calls her “Lady Zamb.” I think he’s half in love with her. Wouldn’t say a bad word. Talked about her like she’s some kind of saint, and I know for fact she isn’t that. He told me to ask the woman who runs the mission school. One of the Quakers. He had to be lying. I can’t see a prune-faced female missionary tolerating the sort those women at McIlroy’s described.

I’ve had enough of the mission crowd myself. That job my cousin promised in the newspaper here? Turned out to be the mission rag. Can you see me writing for some chapel-goers? They print it at a place they call Zion’s Quarter. Bunch of tea totalers. No thanks. I’m for home.

I hope you can use some of this because I need the money. If you print it you owe me. Just send the cash to Greaves at the Horse and Gander in Southwark. He’ll hold it for me. Sudbury will make your life hell if you do it though. I remember what he did to you years ago when he came back to London after he was trapped by the Barbary corsairs. He had a wife and suspiciously well-developed baby in tow. Wait, wasn’t that the one with the Arabic name? Apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Don’t let him bully you. This stuff will sell papers.

See you in six months.
Garrett Mullins
___________________________________________

About the Book: The Unexpected Wife
Children of Empire Book 3

Crushed with grief after the death of his son, Charles Wheatly, Duke of Murnane throws himself into the new Queen’s service in 1838. When the government sends him on an unofficial fact-finding mission to the East India Company’s enclave in Canton, China, he anticipates intrigue, international tensions, and an outlet for his frustration. He isn’t entirely surprised when he also encounters a pair of troublesome young people that need his help. However, the appearance of his estranged wife throws the entire enterprise into conflict. He didn’t expect to face his troubled marriage in such an exotic locale, much less to encounter profound love at last in the person of a determined young woman. Tensions boil over, and his wife’s scheming—and the beginnings of the First Opium War—force him to act to rescue the one he loves and perhaps save himself in the process.

Zambak Hayden seethes with frustration. A woman her age has occupied the throne for over a year, yet the Duke of Sudbury’s line of succession still passes over her—his eldest—to land on a son with neither spine nor character. She follows her brother, the East India Company’s newest and least competent clerk, to protect him and to safeguard the family honor. If she also escapes the gossip and intrigues of London and the marriage mart, so much the better. She has no intention of being forced into some sort of dynastic marriage. She may just refuse to marry at all. When an old family friend arrives she assumes her father sent him. She isn’t about to bend to his dictates nor give up her quest. Her traitorous heart, however, can’t stop yearning for a man she can’t have.

Neither expects the epic historical drama that unfolds around them.The Unexpected Wife, will be released on July 25.

https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B07FGGC918/

Here’s a short video about it:

The Unexpected Wife

Charles Wheatly, Duke of Murnane, beloved secondary character in books 1 and 2 of Caroline Warfield's Children of Empire Series, runs to the other side of the world only to find his problems—and true love at last—waiting for him in The Unexpected Wife.

Posted by Caroline Warfield, Storyteller on Saturday, April 14, 2018

About the Author

 

Carol Roddy – Author

Traveler, would-be adventurer, former tech writer and library technology professional, Caroline Warfield has now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, and divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy. In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins torn apart by lies find their way home from the far corners of the British Empire, finding love along the way.

She has works published by Soul Mate Publishing and also independently published works. In addition, she has participated in five group anthologies, one not yet published.

For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here:
https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

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