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Scandal for the Scions of Hawksedge

Dear Readers, The letter below was dated 1294 and sent to us anonymously. We are investigating the authenticity of the letter as I write this week’s column. However, publishing this epistle quickly was an opportunity not to be missed, since the letter contains information that will shake the foundations of one of England’s oldest and most noble family’s.

Dear Friend, I’ve written to you before of the young girl who some years past came to the abbey injured, alone, and unable to speak. We treated her as well as possible, helping her to learn skills that would prove useful should the time ever come when she might need to leave the abbey.

Two days past, she recovered her speech. I was called immediately. The girl, she is a young lady now, confided in me the secret of her identity. ‘Tis a secret which could get her killed, because it would destroy the current Earl of Hawksedge and make a scandal of the title and his family.

I chose to keep this information secret from the Earl despite his visit to witness the miracle of the young lady’s regained speech. The Earl would not tolerate any threat to his title, and I therefore feared for her life. Yet this young woman has done no wrong. Indeed much wrong has been done to her. I helped her to flee from the abbey, to find a home safe from discovery, and the means to earn a living.

But now I hear that the Earl has been found dead in a locked room, and the young woman, we’ll call her Larkin, was discovered wandering the keep shortly before the earl’s death was discovered.

Fortunately the man who found Larkin, Sir Talon Du Quereste, was once a herald for King Edward I, and is therefore completely trustworthy. He will discover the truth of the Earl’s death and whether or not poor Larkin was involved. There is more to the story, my dearest friend. But I dare not put the tale on ink and paper when Larkin’s life stands in the balance. ‘Twould be too easy for my words to be mis-interpreted. Then justice would never be done. I will write again when I can.

With love and affection,

Teresa Marie Clement, Abbess

Our Lady of Sorrows Abbey, Northumbria

Rue Allyn, is a Bluestocking Belle and award winning author of historical romances. You may find Rue on line via her website. Her newest release, The Herald’s Heart, is available for pre-order via this universal buy link or through Amazon. You may read an excerpt from The Herald’s Heart here.

Scandal on the Streets of Headstone, Arizona

Our devoted readers will no doubt find this clipping forwarded to The Teatime Tattler from The Headstone Gazette across the pond. Obviously, concerned citizens and devotion to proper behavior are not limited to here in London. — S. Clemens

Dear Ms. Decorum:

I’m penning this letter out of the utmost concern for the wellbeing and safety of our latest young debutante from Boston who arrived into Headstone yesterday. Lord have mercy, if the lovely Miss Daisy Danvers wasn’t thronged by a posse of train robbers the moment she set foot on the train platform! One witness claimed she fainted dead away and toppled straight over the side of the platform.

I’ve yet to verify the details, but another witness claims she was caught in the arms of none other than Prescott Barra, the rough and ready local bull rider who set a previously-unheard-of, 10-second record at our last rodeo. And you know what they say about those Barra brothers? Nothing but trouble, that’s what!

What’s worse about this report is the most unfortunate fact that Daisy hasn’t been seen since Prescott rode off with her on his horse yesterday. The very notion of them being lost in the desert — without a chaperone, no less — is giving me the vapors right this second. Oh, where are my smelling salts?

I did a little digging on my own and discovered that Daisy was sent to Headstone by the reputable Boomtown Mail Order Brides Company in Boston, which can only mean one thing: She is under contract as a mail-order bride to some gentleman in our town. Our very town, dear citizens! I’m not certain how reputable the name of this bridal agency will remain when they discover one of their brides is missing. The poor gel could be anywhere. Oh, the horrors! Is she safe? Is she alive? I can hardly bear to consider the possibilities.

Scandal in Arizona

Even if Daisy Danvers is returned to town whole and in one piece — may the good Lord let it be so! — I am distressed to be the one to point out that her reputation will be in shreds. The way I see it, the lovely Miss Daisy will only have one choice to salvage those shreds. Regardless of whom she is currently affianced to (may the Lord comfort him and send him another, more suitable bridal candidate), it is my Christian belief that Miss Daisy has been thoroughly compromised by Prescott Barra. Alas, he is the man she must marry.

I’ll be joining a group of God-fearing women who will be holding vigil on the steps of the General Store this afternoon. It is my hope and prayer they will have an update on this brewing scandal. Be assured I will report back with anything new I hear.

Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

Scandal in Arizona

About the Book

Dare-Devil Daisy: Mail Order Brides Rescue #5

To the world, Daisy Danvers is a spoiled young debutante from Boston who always gets what she wants. But she has secrets — big, festering secrets she doesn’t want her best friend, Meg Nicholson, to find out. All she needs from Meg is a promise to help her find the perfect husband the moment she steps off the train in Headstone, Arizona. Her very life might depend upon it.

She never dreamed her troubles would follow her out West, and a whole posse of armed robbers would be waiting for her when she disembarked. She also never dreamed a cocky cowboy would sweep her away to safety on his horse.

It’s way too bad the devilishly handsome Prescott Barra claims he’s already affianced to another woman, because he’s everything she’s been looking for in a husband. He’s brave and fearless with a streak of adventure as wide as the canyons they’re riding. When she discovers he has a secret or two of his own, she begins to hope that maybe — just maybe — their secrets will lead them to each other.

Available in eBook on Amazon + FREE in Kindle Unlimited at
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W61WBRR  
Coming soon to paperback!

An Excerpt~

The storm swirling across Meg’s features cleared. She stood and held out both hands to him. “You dear, dear man! I am so happy you’ve agreed to help me.”

That made one of them. He was fairly certain pretending to be engaged to Meg’s dearest friend was the most foolish thing he’d ever been asked to do.

“I’ll be sure to tell Shad how kind you were to me in his absence.”

Right. He was only doing this to help out a man he respected. Or at least the friend of the wife of a man he respected… Which was the same thing, wasn’t it? His brain hurt just thinking about it.

“What is her name?” he asked abruptly. He at least deserved to know the name of the chit he was going to be saddled with for a few days.

“Daisy.” Meg beamed at him. “Daisy Danvers, though some folks like to call her Dare-Devil Daisy.”

Blast it all! Helping Daisy sounded like a pack of trouble. Then again, he was a Barra brother. Trouble followed him everywhere he went. Trouble was his middle name.

About the Author

Jo Grafford writes sweet historical and contemporary romance stories — with humor, sass, and happily ever afters.

A typical day finds her with her laptop balanced on her knees, a fizzy beverage within reach, and a cat snoozing on her knees. He takes credit for most of what she does.

When Jo’s not writing stories, she’s reading them. She adores dashing gentlemen, resilient heroines with a sense of adventure, humorous sidekicks, dusty cowboys, bounty hunters, mail order brides…you get the idea.

She loves to visit with readers in her Cuppa Jo Readers group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders/.

To receive a personal email about each book she publishes, join her New Release Email List at JoGrafford.com or follow her on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford.

Plus you can read free chapters of many of her books on Wattpad.com/user/JoGrafford.

Foreign Children in Our Park

Many of Society’s finest will recognise the Redepenning boys, the three fine young sons of one of the Nation’s Heroes. Captain Richard Redepenning, second son of that well-beloved patriarch known to us all as Lord Henry, is deservedly renowned his courage and dashing.

His lovely wife, daughter of another Naval hero, was seen yesterday in Hyde Park with her three sons, accompanied by her sister-in-law, Mrs Julius Redepenning.

The fourth son of Lord Henry also serves his country as Captain in His Majesty’s Royal Navy. We regret to remind our readers that this gentleman’s reputation is not as sterling as that of his close male relatives.

You may recall his close brush with a court martial less than ten years ago, his hasty marriage in scandalous circumstances seven years ago, and his immediate departure to flee his brand new bride to the other side of the world, to return to his mistress and children.

This is old news, you may say, but this newspaper regrets to say that the man’s effrontery has no equal. We have it on good authority that the dusky complexioned boy and two little girls playing with Captain Richard Redepenning’s children were, in fact, the son and daughters of the very mistress for whom Captain Julius Redepenning left his unfortunate bride.

What pressure was brought to bear on Mrs Julius to force her to not only acknowledge these offspring of a kept woman — and a coloured kept woman, at that — but to take them into her care? This newspaper shudders to think!

The story took on an even more dire aspect when we learned that the boy who was being treated every bit as if he were the equal of Captain Richard’s sons has no Redepenning blood at all! Indeed, he is a child of a previous lover, whom Captain Julius permitted, undoubtedly motivated by lust, to remain with the seductress who drew him from his marriage vows.

We register our protest, as all right-thinking people must, at the probable contamination of three such fine young men as the Redepenning boys by the casual offspring of a harlot. May the Redepenning family come to their senses before too much harm is done.

Naval captain Jules Redepenning has spent his adult life away from England, and at war. He rarely thinks of the bride he married for her own protection, and if he does, he remembers the child he left after their wedding seven years ago. He doesn’t expect to find her in his Cape Town home, a woman grown and a lovely one, too.

Mia Redepenning sails to Cape Town to nurse her husband’s dying mistress and adopt his children. She hopes to negotiate a comfortable married life with the man while she’s there. Falling in love is not on her to-do list.

Before they can do more than glimpse a possible future together, their duties force them apart. At home in England, Mia must fight for the safety of Jules’s children. Imprisoned in France, Jules must battle for his self-respect and his life. Only by vanquishing their foes can they start to make their dreams come true.

Buy links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXXK53N/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unkept-promises-by-jude-knight

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47161695-unkept-promises

Barnes and Noble Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unkept-promises-jude-knight/1132401931?ean=2940163272938

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/unkept-promises

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/947394

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/unkept-promises/id1471938393

About Jude Knight

War and Petty Grievances

This letter appeared in my upper desk door this week by means I can’t explain. One continues to be astounded at how much jealousy, gossip, and spite is by nature the same in every era.

S. Clemens

Amiens, France, March 4, 1918

Darling Céline,

Oh why do I write this? By the time it arrives I may already be in Marseilles! You will have heard the news that the Russians have made peace with the Huns, the traitorous animals. Now the German war machine will pour its entire might into northern France while the worthless Yanks drag their feet rather than deploy their troops. Amiens will be destroyed—leveled even as Arras has been or the villages along the Somme.

Dear Edgar insists I come to you and Aunt Adele and remove myself from the path of the Hun army. Lucille, our maid of all work, is packing as I write this.

Gossip
Sabine

I was astonished that you would ask after Rosemarie when you well know I no longer speak to the hussy. Believe me, my brother’s widow has not improved her behavior in the past year, for all she now parades on the arm of a Canadian soldier—as if that would erase the taint of collaboration with a German. Rauol himself told me what she did before he died. Just wait. She will get what she deserves when the war is over.

The boy looks better fed this year, but of course decent women wonder what the trollop does to manage that miracle. The stupid English, now that she sews in one of their workshops, treat her as the would any decent woman. It is almost more than I can bear.

Rosemarie

I will never understand why God blessed her with a son while cursing me with none. Abbé Desjardin, that wrong-headed priest, takes her side. Well, let him protect her when the German war machine rolls into Amiens. She can suffer as she deserves. and she certainly isn’t coming with me. I just wish I could take her son south with me. Life is not fair.

Your loving cousin,

Sabine

About the Book

When it is finally over will their love be enough?

After two years at the mercy of the Canadian Expeditionary force and the German war machine, Harry ran out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images of darkness. When he encounters color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form a widow and her little son, hope ensnares him. Through three more long years of war and its aftermath, the hope she brings keeps Harry alive.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband left her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation when he died. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier, but Harry’s devotion lifts her up. The war demands all her strength and resilience, will the hope of peace and the promise of Harry’s love keep her going?

Available for Pre-order now. You can find it here: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/christmas-hope/

Gossip

Doings Near Hadrian’s Wall

A report from the Vindolanda excavations.

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I trust that you remember me from your visit to Hadrian’s Wall last summer. You expressed much interest in the diggings, and despite the severe cold you caught (t’was but a summer squall) invited me to share updates on the excavations. I do so with great delight, we have uncovered many items that in combination, allow us to paint a vivid picture of a time lost to us for two thousand years.

Vindolanda discoveries

The site of Vindolanda is a treasure of ancient artefacts. The site conditions can at times be grim – there is no winter season, and the Summer season is brief and intense. The colder months are devoted to cleaning and recording our finds.

The fort itself was manned from around 85AD to 370AD, thus spanning much of the early days of Roman occupation. The fort was manned by a troop from Gaul. The site so far consists of a bathhouse, many layers of wooden structures, the stone buildings of the fort and a larger town to the west, where many native Britons would have lived, and the families of the garrisoned soldiers.

The site is fascinating. It is buried deep in rank muds, but that is its glory. The mud is low in oxygen, which is the enemy of preservation of objects. So many things have emerged from this mud that it staggers the imagination. There would be few sites indeed that allow us to get a glimpse into the day to day lives of people two thousand years past.

The town itself would have been a hive of activity, perhaps typical for the towns along the Wall, close to the forts – where the money and markets were. We have uncovered spinning whorls in great quantity, a business important for textile manufacture. The town – or vicus – as it is known in latin, also had an animal butchery, with excellent drainage. We know that the soldiers consumed vast quantities of bacon, sheep and used goat hides for their tents. There is also a bathhouse, which would have been heated, and used by locals and soldiers.

But the finds are what has made Vindolanda famous. Hundreds of leather sandals have been uncovered, and of all sizes – from children shoes, to the dainty lattice patterned ladies sandals, and rugged soldiers foot wear. Other leather goods include goathide tents, the neat lines of stiches joining the hides still intact.

Wooden objects such as combs, and many pieces of horse harness, game pieces, weaponry, arrowheads, and textile fragments are also well preserved. You will pardon the personal nature of the following, but we also found the first known wooden toilet seat, its design similar to the ones in use today.

The most fascinating of all has been the Vindolanda tablets. Written on thin sheets of oak, and a similar size to a modern postcard, many tablets have been uncovered, and to our joy, the writing (in a blackish mix of ink gall) is still readable. While many are like a modern shopping list one might give a servant, some are letters home from soldiers complaining about the weather, and one is a party invitation from a young lady.

Vindolanda

I will finish up, Mr Clemens, in the hopes that you will find this of sufficient interest to publish in your newspaper. We trust that should you visit England again, you will pay us a visit, and perhaps participate in the diggings yourself.

I have taken the liberty of enclosing some photographs of the finds.

About the Druid’s Portal Series

The Druid’s Portal series is a genre blend of action, adventure, romance, time travel and magical historical fantasy. Set in Roman Britain in the Hadrian’s Wall and Northumberland region.

On the First Journey, travel back in time with modern day archaeologist Janet and meet Roman soldier Trajan. Described as the book the writers of Indiana Jones wanted to write, and a runner up in the Raven awards for dark fantasy.

The Second Journey is now out on Amazon. Join Ethan, son of Janet and Trajan as he follows his heart into danger and an alternate history that will lead him from Hadrian’s Wall to the dark past of Stonehenge.

Available on Amazon https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

Vindolanda

 Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey

A love that can never be.
Ethan—latest guardian of the Arwen pendant—finds his heritage of time travel a burden he can scarcely endure. Rowena—last of the line of Daman—is a soldier in the Celtic army, forced to perform deeds that haunt her. Both tormented by visions of the other, separated by barriers of time.
A time that should not exist.
Rowena flees the catastrophic end of her time but is trapped by an ancient family pact with an evil goddess. Desperate to save her, Ethan crosses over into her timeline, where his parents never met, and Daman—their greatest enemy—rules.

The past is ruled by a man who knows the future.
Thirty days to stop a goddess taking over her body. Thirty days to save his timeline. Together they will fight their way through an altered history to the dark past of Stonehenge.

Time is running out – for everyone.

Vindolanda

An excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey

Then a sound… soft laughter… and he gazed at the woman with hair the colour of moonlight and eyes as dark as the night. Coloured mist wrapped around her, tight woven as destiny. Dark threads of death and red banners of danger – all centred around and surrounding the woman.

His love.

She filled a hole in his heart he had always known was there, but had never known the shape of it was her. The sense of completeness hit him like a blow.

“I will find you… ” he shouted as she faded. “I will protect you, always… ”

But she was gone, leaving nothing but a ghostly fragrance of flowers, and he was alone once more.

Read a preview: https://tinyurl.com/DruidsPortal2

or buy on Amazon: http://getbook.at/DruidsPortal2

About the Author

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer. Escape the everyday with time travel action adventure novels, scifi and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation.

Find a world where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

Contact Cindy on

Website: http://www.cindytomamichel.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel

Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel

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